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02-18-2013, 11:17 AM   #1
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Pentax FA 35mm or DA 35mm?

Which lens is the better buy? I want sharp sharp sharp and am unsure which lens is better? I've ordered the Pentax 18-135mm for my everyday outdoor zoom lens and I also want an inexpensive Sharp lens I can shoot indoors for my train model photography. It looks like the DA 35mm is a bit less expensive but is it as sharp a lens as the FA 35? Which one would you buy?

02-18-2013, 11:31 AM   #2
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I can't compare the two but I can give you a +1 for the DA 35mm. It's the first lens I've ever bought and I couldn't be happier with the picture quality. It's not very good for landscapes but for short/medium distance it's incredibly sharp.

There's a thread here dedicated to pictures taken with the lens so it might be worth checking out. https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/lens-clubs/196639-da35-f2-4-plastic-fantastic-club.html
02-18-2013, 11:37 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by csmoore Quote
I can't compare the two but I can give you a +1 for the DA 35mm. It's the first lens I've ever bought and I couldn't be happier with the picture quality. It's not very good for landscapes but for short/medium distance it's incredibly sharp.

There's a thread here dedicated to pictures taken with the lens so it might be worth checking out. https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/lens-clubs/196639-da35-f2-4-plastic-fantastic-club.html
Yep I've seen that thread and the pictures are outstanding. I still question though which lens is sharper?
02-18-2013, 11:44 AM   #4
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For model train photography have you looked at the DA 35mm f/2.8 Limited Macro?

DA 35mm f/2.4 $187 Minimum focus: 30cm
FA 35mm f/2 $549 Minimum focus: 30cm
DA 35mm f/2.8 macro $659 Minimum focus: 14cm

Best buy / value is almost certainly the DA 35m f/2.4. Most useful for model trains? I'm thinking the 35mm Limited.

02-18-2013, 11:53 AM   #5
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If you want just sharpness you should probably get the DA 35mm f2.4. The FA is slightly brighter (f2.0), is better built (metal mount) and has an aperture ring. It also has a longer focus throw, which means you can focus more precisely if you are doing it manually, but means AF can be slower. These things can be important for some uses, but you probably won't miss them. Oh, and some people say the FA 35mm fringes a little more than the DA 35mm f2.4.
The DA 35mm macro is also a good suggestion, I think its even sharper and allows close focus (ie. macro), which can be really useful for studio-type work. This one is also has better build and aperture ring, and it even has quickshift. But it does cost a little more.
But honestly, in terms of just pure sharpness, any modern Pentax prime will deliver (and many old ones as well)
02-18-2013, 12:06 PM   #6
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The DA 35/2.4 was based on the FA 35/2 design; there isn't a huge difference optically. If you want "sharp", the DA 35 is fine, but "sharp sharp sharp" and "inexpensive" don't go together...
02-18-2013, 01:15 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by THoog Quote
The DA 35/2.4 was based on the FA 35/2 design; there isn't a huge difference optically. If you want "sharp", the DA 35 is fine, but "sharp sharp sharp" and "inexpensive" don't go together...
How true. I was just hoping there wasn't a huge discrepancy between the DA and FA as I find the DA pricing to be really good and within my budget.
02-18-2013, 02:56 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Driline Quote
How true. I was just hoping there wasn't a huge discrepancy between the DA and FA as I find the DA pricing to be really good and within my budget.
Then happy you will be!


Steve

02-18-2013, 04:23 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Then happy you will be!


Steve
Wise you are! Why do I feel green and fuzzy all over right now?
02-18-2013, 08:57 PM   #10
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If you want "sharp sharp", get the Samyang 35/1.4 or Zeiss35/2.
02-18-2013, 09:02 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by civiletti Quote
If you want "sharp sharp", get the Samyang 35/1.4 or Zeiss35/2.
Price same as DA 35? About $175?
02-18-2013, 10:35 PM   #12
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I agree with others that the 35 mm limited is a good choice for close up work if you can swing the price. I would make the correction that it does not have an aperture ring and the min focus distance is much much closer then 14 cm. You can get close enough that the hood blocks the light.
02-18-2013, 10:46 PM   #13
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sharp sharp sharp lens = macro lens
think about your budget when you buy a lens
02-18-2013, 11:42 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Driline Quote
Price same as DA 35? About $175?
"Sharp sharp" is not $175.
02-19-2013, 05:51 AM   #15
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We have several threads on this, and people with opinions either way. If you are just starting out with primes, the DA 35 is the way to go. For me it is not, and you would pry the FA 35 from my hands only with, perhaps, an FA 31. I still shoot film for fun, and the DA does not have an aperture ring which older (most fun) film bodies need. Also, the FA has a very handy F/2.

Unlike the superfast 35/1.4 offerings, it is small and light and comfortable as a compact walkaround lens.

Last edited by GeneV; 02-19-2013 at 05:59 AM.
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