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06-10-2013, 01:26 PM   #1
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28 or 35?

I'm going to get either a 35 mm or 28 mm for my k-x. Would mainly be used for taking photos of people (one to several) in both formal and informal situations.

Not needing advice on what particular lens to buy- wanting to know which length of the two you prefer for taking pics of people. I have a 50 but it's not wide enough for all the situations I need it for. Also have a 15 which of course is too wide for general use.

06-10-2013, 02:46 PM   #2
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I personally think the 28 goes with 15 and 50mm nicely, enough of a gap to see a difference. I own the DA40 so a 24mm is better spacing for me than 28 or 35 - but I have kept my Rikenon 28/2.8 since it's such a great lens and won't fetch much at market. The 28 may show a smidge of distortion even with aps-c so not a great lens for large groups.
06-10-2013, 03:21 PM   #3
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I love my FA 50/1.4, but like you, I find it a bit long when multiple subjects are involved. For this reason I purchased the FA 35mm/2.0 - and have no regrets. Whenever I have to shoot an event and I'm concerned about space, I just pop the 35 on and call it a day. I also own a 28 - but shooting just 1 or 2 people brings me in closer than I like.
My 2 cents.
06-10-2013, 04:01 PM   #4
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I'm not the most experienced voice in any discussion, so take this for what it's worth. I picked up the 35/2.4 this year for the exact reason you mentioned. My main indoor lens is a 55/1.8, but I had the "too tight sometimes" issue. I am really happy with the pictures I'm getting out of it and 20mm differential is definitely noticeable, but I still occasionally find the same problem. I get a 28/2.8 thrown into a trade a few months later that I didn't want, but am learning to love. It's had the strange effect of making me want a 24mm/something, though. It feels like a strange in-between distance for me. I get expanded background that I didn't realize I was missing, but now I want more.

The 35mm for me was just that step back that I sometimes needed, but nothing more and sometimes it wasn't quite that. If I had my 55mm, but everything else was blown away in a storm, I'd probably pick the best lens between 28 and 35 that was available in a my budget and aperture needs and not worry about what it was....and then go get something wider.

06-10-2013, 04:06 PM   #5
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If you own the 18-55 kit lens, do some experimentation with the 28mm & 35mm focal lengths. See which one works better for you.
06-10-2013, 04:23 PM   #6
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Probably my most used manual lens is my Super Tak 28/3.5. It's a very useful walk around lens and I find it gets more use than 35 on our crop sensor DSLR's, at least for me. I own the DA 40 Limited and I often wish I had bought the 35 instead, not that there is anything wrong with the 40 other than the size doesn't work well for me. If you're going to shoot with MF lenses, it won't cost much to get both.

For what it's worth, I spent a good amount of time a few years ago going through all my 18-55 kit lens shots to see what length I was shooting most of the time and 24mm was the overwhelming majority so that's why I probably prefer the 28. I don't own a 24.
06-10-2013, 04:57 PM   #7
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Had both the DA 35 f2.4 (two copies actually) and the F 28 f2.8.

I preferred the field of view of the F 28. It allowed for better pictures in tight quarters, such as frequently found indoors.

Attached are three pictures. The one with the wider FOV is from the F 28, the narrower FOV the DA 35, and the last one superimposes them on top of each other.

You can see how much of a difference there is.

I wish Pentax made a DA 28.
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PENTAX K-30  Photo 
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PENTAX K-30  Photo 
06-10-2013, 06:18 PM   #8
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My experience with (casual) people photography:
With DA 35mm f2.4 - okay for full body shots, not great for close portraits. It has some distortion and its a wide lens, so it makes people look rounder. And then ladies complain they look fat.
DA 40mm XS - cool lens, good focal length for 3/4 body shots. Not much distortion, so even a close up looks okay. But the lens is unflatteringly sharp. It shows all blemishes, acne, wrinkles, you name it. Its also only f2.8, so you can't do those dreamy bokeh shots that are so popular now. For those you need a 55mm or 85mm f1.4. Right now I'm doing a series of photos of people with a sign. The photo is cut just above ankles with 1/3 of the top of the frame being empty and I'm using the DA 40mm XS. The whole person is sharp, the background is a little blurred but not extremely.
But if you want to take photos of whole people, body and surroundings, of groups of people, then get the 28mm. 35mm is not very wide on APS-C, its probably not wide enough for group photos of 3 or more people.


Last edited by Na Horuk; 06-10-2013 at 06:23 PM.
06-10-2013, 06:59 PM   #9
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Mathematically, 27.4 is halfway between the 15 and 50 (27.4/15 = 50/27.4), so the 28 is almost perfectly centered between the two. I think FOV wise, they are close to the same. Still, I have both!
06-11-2013, 07:12 AM   #10
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I have an FA 28mm, FA 35mm and DA 40. The debate rages in my head each time I pack my kit for the day. Talking strictly FOV, I like 28mm best, 40mm least. I will change lenses less often with the 28mm mounted than I will with the 40mm.

A 28mm is the shortest normal length lens. Photographing people with a wide angle lens is disturbing to me, due to wide angle stretching. For classic portraits, normal lenses are too short, but the longer the better.

Of course there's more to a lens than FOV. The FA 35 goes to f2, for better subject isolation and faster shutter speeds in dim light. It has smoother bokeh and greater resolution than the others at any aperture. The DA 40 is tiny so it's easy to carry along. Its very punchy colour & contrast makes it ideal for landscapes, but not so great for less than perfect faces.

Sometimes I think I should sell them all and get an FA 31mm, but it's larger and heavier and I'm not convinced it carries the lofty price. (I heard it's actually 32mm, not 31?). I would pay FA 31mm price for the DA*30mm f1.4 that was shown in the 2008 lens roadmap. I assume it would be similar in build to a DA*55 (WR, silent motor, quick-shift focus).

Last edited by audiobomber; 06-11-2013 at 07:22 AM.
06-11-2013, 07:39 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by audiobomber Quote
A 28mm is the shortest normal length lens.
On APS-C, 28mm is right in the centre of "normal".

I have a Sigma 28/1.8 which is very versatile because of its close focusing abilities. One of my most used lenses.
06-11-2013, 07:51 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by strangeboy Quote
I purchased the FA 35mm/2.0 - and have no regrets. Whenever I have to shoot an event and I'm concerned about space, I just pop the 35 on and call it a day.
agreed!!


QuoteOriginally posted by audiobomber Quote
Sometimes I think I should sell them all and get an FA 31mm, but it's larger and heavier and I'm not convinced it carries the lofty price.
Yep, I'm in the same boat with my F 28, FA 35, Da 40, and FA 43. I could sell all of these to get FA 31, but not sure it's worth the effort and expense to get "the one lens to rule them all"
06-11-2013, 08:45 AM   #13
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Well, no clear cut winner yet, but I much appreciate everyone's help.

If I had to pick right now I'd lean towards the 28 I guess...but my biggest concern with it would be potential distortion at close range- but I guess switching to the 50 would be prudent at that point. Mildly concerned with max aperture of 2.8 vs 2.0, but not a dealbreaker.

Also thinking that shooting with a 28, then cropping as needed after the fact, may be almost like having two lenses? Anyone's thoughts on that? Put another way, is a shot on a 28 cropped to 35 equivalent to a shot with a 35?
06-11-2013, 08:49 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
On APS-C, 28mm is right in the centre of "normal".
I don't know about the center. I see what you mean though, the diagonal is right at 28mm. I'm willing to extend normal status up to 40mm on the long end. Where would the short end be? Certainly 24mm is a wide angle. I'd have to call 25mm a wide angle too. I've never heard of a 26mm lens, but that might qualify as a normal.

The reason I wouldn't like to extend normal focal length too low is because wide angle stretching can be ugly.

Last edited by audiobomber; 06-11-2013 at 09:35 AM.
06-11-2013, 09:21 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by sipsey Quote
Well, no clear cut winner yet, but I much appreciate everyone's help.

If I had to pick right now I'd lean towards the 28 I guess...but my biggest concern with it would be potential distortion at close range- but I guess switching to the 50 would be prudent at that point. Mildly concerned with max aperture of 2.8 vs 2.0, but not a dealbreaker.

Also thinking that shooting with a 28, then cropping as needed after the fact, may be almost like having two lenses? Anyone's thoughts on that? Put another way, is a shot on a 28 cropped to 35 equivalent to a shot with a 35?
This is exactly why I choose the 35. At f/2.0 I can get pretty close to the portrait shot DOF of the 50, and at 35mm I'm wide enough for most situations.
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