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07-05-2012, 10:16 AM   #1
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35mm 2.4 vs 40mm 2.8 LTD vs 40mm 2.8 XS

I want a prime near the 35mm APS-C normal equivelant. But it would seem pretty redundant to end up getting two of those lenses.

I love the aesthetics and practicality of the 40mm lenses - a K5 with a pancake is a remarkably compact camera system. So I was leaning towards a 40mm 2.8 LTD. But the cost is more than twice the 35mm 2.4, which has a great reputaton for optical quality. Could the 40mm XS by a good compromise? Not that much more than the 35mm in cost, and even smaller than the 40mm in size.

I've read that the 40mm XS uses the same optics as the 40mm limited. Is that true? I realize the limited is all metal and has nicer construction, but otherwise, does it take better images than the XS? Does it focus faster or more accurately or have any other advantages?

How would you rate the three lenses in terms of image quality? AF speed? Build quality?

Do you find the extra length of the 40mm lenses to be a bit too restricting compared to the 35 as a general purpose lens?

Any advice welcome. Thanks.

07-05-2012, 10:30 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by SenorBeef Quote
I want a prime near the 35mm APS-C normal equivelant.
The DA 35mm 2.4 is equivalent to 52.5mm on a full frame, and that's about as close to "normal" as you can get. It's a very good lens. When I want to go longer, my next lens up is the 55mm 1.8 and I don't experience a gap between the two.

I also use a 28mm, and for me, that's my "normal"--I use it way more often than the 35mm for general walking around use.

If you think of normal as a range, the 28mm would be considered a "short" normal, the 40mm would be a "long" normal, and the 35mm sits in the middle. All good lenses. You need to find out what is normal for you.
07-05-2012, 11:01 AM   #3
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I have the 35mm f2.4 and the 40mm XS. They are both very sharp and have a similar max aperture. Here are the differences:
When wide open, the 35mm has less purple fringing, but more bokeh aberrations (where the bokeh in front and behind the focus takes a certain hue).
The 40mm XS is probably sharper and has faster AF. It also appears to be better built (more solid, more dense) than the 35mm, though the 35mm is still much better than some other cheapo lenses I owned, which are not only made of plastic, but also very cheap plastic.
The 40mm XS has a 27mm filter thread, so for filters and lens caps.. you're on your own (though I heard they can be found online, if not in camera stores). Its lens cap is also a bit weird, because you push it in, but that pushes the element in and changes focus. You should probably switch to MF for this, so you don't move the camera's AF gears.

I don't own the 40mm limited, but what I read is that it is slightly better than the XS in every way, except regarding aperture blades, where the XS has rounded ones. But the general optics model is the same. The limited also has some numbers on it and the focus ring isn't 'in the way' (with the XS the focus ring is relatively big and you tend to move it when trying to mount the lens, which isn't great).

Oh, also, as I am typing this, I noticed the forum has suggested similar threads, which deal with the same lens comparisons:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/132945-da-40mm...5mm-2-4-a.html
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/120008-dal-35m...m-2-8-ltd.html
Not sure what they came up with, though.

Edit: and I just uploaded some shots taken with the XS on my 500px page, if you are interested the link is in the sig, they are on the first page. Some images there are also taken with the 35mm, but you would have to sift through the pages find them, and that might be too time consuming. Just check the "focal length" in the bottom right square on the photo to see which lens it is.
07-05-2012, 11:01 AM   #4
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Yeah, I prefer the 35mm focal length, but I'd be willing to give it up for the amazing compactness of the 40mm length since it isn't all that huge a difference. I was just saying I definitely want a lens in the 30-40 type range and these are my best bet.

07-05-2012, 11:17 AM   #5
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Keep in mind that a 50mm is still a 50mm on a crop sensor, it just has its borders cut off. The 50mm keeps the world as you see it with your eyes, but a 35mm, even if on crop, will still feel "wide angle"-ish in terms of space compression and distortion. Feel free to buy an old 50mm (K, M, or A series). These lenses are well-built (metal), sharp, fast, minimal aberrations, nice bokeh, cheap.. only problems might be metering and AF, depending on which model you get.
07-05-2012, 11:24 AM   #6
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I would vote for the 40mm Ltd. The better build of that lens will outlive the other two lenses. The Ltd is better then the xs.
07-05-2012, 11:25 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by johnyates Quote
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The DA 35mm 2.4 is equivalent to 52.5mm on a full frame, and that's about as close to "normal" as you can get. It's a very good lens. When I want to go longer, my next lens up is the 55mm 1.8 and I don't experience a gap between the two.

I also use a 28mm, and for me, that's my "normal"--I use it way more often than the 35mm for general walking around use.

If you think of normal as a range, the 28mm would be considered a "short" normal, the 40mm would be a "long" normal, and the 35mm sits in the middle. All good lenses. You need to find out what is normal for you.
Actual 35mm is almost long normal, 28 to 30mm is the standard normal for ASP-C


I have the Sigma 30mm and Pentax 40 ltd, i would go for the 30mm for normal lens though, the 40mm is just a bit too long for my taste and i like long lenses...
07-05-2012, 11:28 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Na Horuk Quote
I don't own the 40mm limited, but what I read is that it is slightly better than the XS in every way, except regarding aperture blades, where the XS has rounded ones.
If you compare the blades you actually see they are the same...

07-05-2012, 12:01 PM   #9
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I'm usually the heretic on these and will be again - I'd take the 35/2.4 because 40 is getting a bit long for me. I have found the 35/2.4 to be a genuinely startlingly good lens. I also own the 70 limited and appreciate the pancake size and build but the 70 is not that much better optically, particularly in the center, but many will vote based on cost. Good luck with your decision.
07-05-2012, 12:11 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Anvh Quote
Actual 35mm is almost long normal, 28 to 30mm is the standard normal for ASP-C


I have the Sigma 30mm and Pentax 40 ltd, i would go for the 30mm for normal lens though, the 40mm is just a bit too long for my taste and i like long lenses...
I think they deliberately made the 35mm/2.4 non pancake, so as to justify charging less money (but I could be wrong). I also own the Sigma 30mm F/1.4, which is a great lens, and it is an ideal normal APS-C lens. The triangular bokeh is kinda disappointing wide open, but its not a problem at F/2, and my copy is sharp corner to corner for landscapes at apertures >F/2.8. Its very sharp at all apertures in the center (except maybe wide open).

But the 30mm F/1.4 isn't a pancake So, now I own the DA15mm, and I love it. I think I'd be dissapointed in the 35mm F/2.4, because its not compact enough. And I'd be disappointing in the 40mm F/2.8 because its too long. I guess I'll buy the DA21mm and maybe later the DA70 or FA77.
- Sheldon
07-05-2012, 12:24 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by sheld Quote
I think they deliberately made the 35mm/2.4 non pancake, so as to justify charging less money (but I could be wrong). I also own the Sigma 30mm F/1.4, which is a great lens, and it is an ideal normal APS-C lens. The triangular bokeh is kinda disappointing wide open, but its not a problem at F/2, and my copy is sharp corner to corner for landscapes at apertures >F/2.8. Its very sharp at all apertures in the center (except maybe wide open).

But the 30mm F/1.4 isn't a pancake So, now I own the DA15mm, and I love it. I think I'd be dissapointed in the 35mm F/2.4, because its not compact enough. And I'd be disappointing in the 40mm F/2.8 because its too long. I guess I'll buy the DA21mm and maybe later the DA70 or FA77.
- Sheldon
If you want a pancake then the 35/2.4 is not your lens - it's normal sized. I'm far less concerned about size of lenses than I am with optical performance/cost ratio and perspective. If the 40XS were a 35XS I'd have it in a minute. But I like the 35's view better than the 40 and it's cost to optical quality ratio is about the best in the Pentax lineup today IMHO.
07-05-2012, 12:30 PM   #12
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I have the DA 40 limited and the FA 35, the optical formula upon which the DA 35 f/2.4 is based. I don't have DA 40 XS but it's supposed to be very similar (if not identical) optically to DA 40 limited.

Here's my take based on what I've read and what I personally experience:

Build quality: DA 40 limited > DA 40 XS > DA 35 2.4. (plus: DA 40 has a hood, XS and DA 35 do not come with hoods)
AF speed: DA 40 XS/DA 40 limited > DA 35 2.4. (but they're all probably really close in reality)
Image quality: probably a tie. these are all excellent lenses optically, will give you very pleasing results.
Low light abilities: DA 35 2.4 > DA 40 limited/DA 40 XS. I think the f/2.4 will be very handy in times when 2.8 is just a little too slow. Although honestly with your K-5 camera, the difference between 2.4 and 2.8 is not that much.
FOV: the DA 40mm lenses are definitely tighter than DA 35 and you need to consider whether that's an issue for you.

Paired with your K-5, the limited lens series is really nice and classy-- that body deserves an all metal build lens, in my opinion. It seems a little cheap to put the DA 35 plastic fantastic on the K-5, even if the optical results are excellent. The DA 40 XS is a good option but might be a bit too small; plus there's no hood. I guess a FA 31mm is out of your price range, eh? And if you want "amazing compactness," then the DA 40s are the way to go. I'd go for the DA 40XS and put the rest of the money towards a DA 21.
07-05-2012, 12:52 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by seventysixersfan Quote
I have the DA 40 limited and the FA 35, the optical formula upon which the DA 35 f/2.4 is based. I don't have DA 40 XS but it's supposed to be very similar (if not identical) optically to DA 40 limited.

Here's my take based on what I've read and what I personally experience:

Build quality: DA 40 limited > DA 40 XS > DA 35 2.4. (plus: DA 40 has a hood, XS and DA 35 do not come with hoods)
AF speed: DA 40 XS/DA 40 limited > DA 35 2.4. (but they're all probably really close in reality)
Image quality: probably a tie. these are all excellent lenses optically, will give you very pleasing results.
Low light abilities: DA 35 2.4 > DA 40 limited/DA 40 XS. I think the f/2.4 will be very handy in times when 2.8 is just a little too slow. Although honestly with your K-5 camera, the difference between 2.4 and 2.8 is not that much.
FOV: the DA 40mm lenses are definitely tighter than DA 35 and you need to consider whether that's an issue for you.

Paired with your K-5, the limited lens series is really nice and classy-- that body deserves an all metal build lens, in my opinion. It seems a little cheap to put the DA 35 plastic fantastic on the K-5, even if the optical results are excellent. The DA 40 XS is a good option but might be a bit too small; plus there's no hood. I guess a FA 31mm is out of your price range, eh? And if you want "amazing compactness," then the DA 40s are the way to go. I'd go for the DA 40XS and put the rest of the money towards a DA 21.
Sorry but you can't make knowledgeable statements about the 35/2.4's performance based on owning the FA35. While the optics might be based on the older lens the rest of the lens is different. I own the 70ltd and it's a nicely built lens. Problem is that the type of materials in the barrel and all have little to do with the optical performance, and where they do modern polycarbonites exceed many steel/aluminum qualities when it comes to stability across environments, etc. Finally, hoods cost $5 or so, if you choose not to own a lens because it doesn't come with a hood....well......to each their own.
07-05-2012, 01:02 PM   #14
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Forgot to mention quick-shift. If that's an important feature for you, then your only choice among these three lenses is the DA 40 limited.

Docrwm-- you're right, I don't know how the DA 35 f/2.4 stacks up. It seems most everyone who owns one is very happy with it, though, especially as a price/performance lens. It's very light and compact enough, though not a pancake. If I didn't have a FA 35 already, I would have strongly considered buying the DA 35 f/2.4
07-05-2012, 01:48 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Na Horuk Quote
. . .

I don't own the 40mm limited, but what I read is that it is slightly better than the XS in every way, except regarding aperture blades, where the XS has rounded ones. But the general optics model is the same. The limited also has some numbers on it and the focus ring isn't 'in the way' (with the XS the focus ring is relatively big and you tend to move it when trying to mount the lens, which isn't great).

Oh, also, as I am typing this, I noticed the forum has suggested similar threads, which deal with the same lens comparisons:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/132945-da-40mm...5mm-2-4-a.html
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/120008-dal-35m...m-2-8-ltd.html
Not sure what they came up with, though.

Edit: and I just uploaded some shots taken with the XS on my 500px page, if you are interested the link is in the sig, they are on the first page. Some images there are also taken with the 35mm, but you would have to sift through the pages find them, and that might be too time consuming. Just check the "focal length" in the bottom right square on the photo to see which lens it is.

Optically, the 40 LTD and XS are the same and the same designer did the optics( K.J.). The LTD has the metal barrel with distance scale with quickshift and nice hood and metal mount. The XS lacks that and the barrel was designed by the Ikea furniture designer currently working for Pentax/Ricoh (). The XS lacks a hood. As far as focus, they both have screw drive and the 40 LTD was one of the fasted focusing primes I had (until I sold it). Given they have the same elements (i.e. optical layout and formula), I doubt the difference in focus speed is humanly noticeable.

At present the 40 LTD is ~ $369 and XS around $245. The former is subject to go back up to $499 in a day or 2.
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