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04-12-2014, 11:46 AM   #1
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Need help choosing 35mm Lens

I currently have a K5. I will be upgrading to a K3 in August.

I'm looking for a GOOD 35mm lens. I need this for landscape & portraits mostly.
Does anyone have experience owning multiple that they can share with me?

Pentax 31mm F1.8
Pentax 35mm F2.4
Sigma 35mm F1.4

I really like what I'm seeing from the Sigma lens. But is it worth the cost difference over the other two?

04-12-2014, 12:27 PM   #2
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Only if you need f/1.4

Also consider the Pentax 35 f/2.8 limited
04-12-2014, 12:34 PM   #3
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Pentax FA 31mm f1.8 limited
Pentax DA 35mm f2.8 limited macro
Pentax FA 35mm f2.0
Pentax DA 35mm f2.4
I think that is the correct order. The rest depends on your budget and needs (macro?)
Although I would say 35mm for portraits is a little wide.
04-12-2014, 12:41 PM   #4
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True. 35mm can be a bit wide. But it won't be my full time portrait lens.
It'll be used more when I need to capture the environment along with the portrait.

I'm looking for a lens that is extremely sharp.
You feel that the pentax 31mm Limited is as sharp as the Sigma 35mm 1.4 Art?

04-12-2014, 12:55 PM   #5
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If you after 35mm - have you considered the Zeiss ZK 35/2. It is a stunning lens, meters on the K5. The disadvantage of the Zeiss 35 is - it is manual focus.

I use mine mainly for landscapes, although there is one portrait.

I had a Pentax 35/2.8 Limited Macro which I really liked, but I sold it as I was never using it - I would always reach for the Zeiss every time I wanted 35mm.

I have also used a friends Pentax FA31 and that is also a very good lens. If AF was important to me I think I would take the FA31.
04-12-2014, 01:05 PM   #6
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I think the FA 31mm ltd and DA 35mm macro limited are both very sharp, with the FA and DA not far behind. I doubt any of these would be "not sharp enough"
04-12-2014, 01:07 PM   #7
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I had the DA 35 f2.4 and 35 f2.8 limited at the same time. Both excellent but sold the former because I like to shoot macro and the latter is definitely a step up in all regards save one. The DA 35 f2.4 is easier to focus at 'normal' distances. That being said I've found autofocus on the limited to be very good. Anyhow, you said sharpness was key; the limited is insanely sharp in my opinion. I'm constantly amazed by the detail and micro contrast it produces.
04-12-2014, 01:21 PM   #8
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DA 35mm f/2.8 Limited Macro.

04-12-2014, 01:42 PM   #9
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Most people seem to prefer the Pentax 31mm.
I'll definitely give it a look.

Perhaps I'll rent one for a few days and see how I get along with it.
04-12-2014, 02:06 PM   #10

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You need to decide which lens renders the images the way you prefer. So keep looking at photos from the lenses. The PPG is still my favorite site for this.

This is a good place to save money. The DA35/2.4 is actually quite good. Great wide open. As good or better than the FA35 that preceded it. I'd even pick it over the Sigma 35/1.4, but this is where personal preference comes in.

I think the FA31 is unquestionably the "best" lens here, but it's also the most unique. So you have to be ready to deal with its unique rendering characteristics. When it's impossible to tell exactly where nearby objects transition from being In-Focus to Out-Of-Focus, your images don't look the same. Want a lens that's nearly the opposite? Try the FA*24 - the most abrupt transition to OOF I've seen.

The FA31 is the only lens you're considering that's a modern classic. But you don't have to like it - really!

I own or have owned all the Pentax lenses I've mentioned.
04-12-2014, 02:43 PM   #11
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+1 for the FA31mm.
04-12-2014, 03:02 PM   #12
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FA 35/2 ...almost never leaves my camera. 'Nuff said.

Fotostevia on Flickr: Pentax-FA 35/2

PM me if you are interested in a test drive.


Last edited by stevebrot; 04-12-2014 at 03:08 PM.
04-12-2014, 03:20 PM   #13

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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
FA 35/2 ...almost never leaves my camera. 'Nuff said.

For a while I had both the FA 35/2 and the Zeiss ZK 35/2.
At most apertures you couldn't see the difference but at 2.8 or wider the Pentax was clearly sharper.
04-12-2014, 03:32 PM   #14

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QuoteOriginally posted by wildman Quote
For a while I had both the FA 35/2 and the Zeiss ZK 35/2.
At ... 2.8 or wider the Pentax was clearly sharper.
Interesting: This is opposite from the tests on Optyczne/Lenstip.
My ZK 35/2 is certainly very sharp at f/2, in the focus plane of course!
04-12-2014, 03:44 PM   #15

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The photos from the Zeiss certainly look better than those from the FA35. But neither one is a dog. That's why I think the nearly identical DA35/2.4 is still a good option.

I'd say the Zeiss has more traditional rendering than the FA31, however. Which could be either good or bad, depending on what you want.

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