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07-13-2014, 11:32 AM   #1
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My first Limited lens: the SMC Pentax-DA 35mm F2.8 Limited Macro

As an author/photographer, I've been searching for a REALLY sharp grade-A lens for taking pictures ranging from scenes to closeups of inanimate objects. I'm using the K-3 now, with a K-5 for a backup. I did a lot of research here on the forum as to what might be the best lens for that purpose. I settled on the SMC Pentax-DA 35mm F2.8 Limited Macro. Yes, I know it's out of print, and that there is a slightly upgraded version with slightly better lens coating. I just can't really justify the cost of the newer version, however. What I want is sharpness, great color rendering and contrast in my images, and from what I read, this lens is rated 10 out of 10 on those factors. The bonus is the macro capability, enabling me to take macro detailed shots of inanimate objects.

I managed to find a used SMC version on e-bay that was billed as being in excellent shape. I bid on it, and won it at a cost (shipped) of $314, which was a bit below what I usually see them going for. I'm really looking forward to receiving it in the next week or so.

So I'd like to ask those of you who have a copy of this lens what your experience has been with it, and maybe see some sample images. It would be great to learn more about what your actual experience has been while I wait for the delivery of mine. This is my first limited Pentax lens, and I hope it will be worth the investment!

Thanks,
John
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07-13-2014, 11:39 AM   #2
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How big are the objects that you are wanting to photograph?

That said, I can't brag on Pentax Limited glass enough. DA or FA Limited are both really good. Assuming your lens is all in good working order and all that I think you will be very pleased. There isn't a lot of choices out there from ANY manufacturer that make much better lenses.
07-13-2014, 11:50 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by alamo5000 Quote
How big are the objects that you are wanting to photograph?
I write about firearms, and most of my "money shots" are of handguns and long guns. Here's one example, taken with the K-3 and the SMC FA 50mm f/1.4 lens, the sharpest I own until now.

John

07-13-2014, 12:07 PM   #4
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NICE.

Have have you ever heard of "Stickman" or "Stickgunner"? The guy is an amazing firearms photographer.

FWIW I am an avid firearms fan as well as photography. I am curious to know more about that aspect of stuff.

Depending on what kind of shots you are looking for you might want to investigate several different focal lengths, but that being said I am sure the 35mm will be awesome for handgun photography. If you want detailed photos of long guns possibly use your 35mm and get stitching software.

---------- Post added 07-13-14 at 02:12 PM ----------

Stickman is a professional photographer by all accounts. He's a SWAT guy (law enforcement officer) who does photography for a lot of the major manufacturers.




07-13-2014, 12:14 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by alamo5000 Quote
NICE.

Have have you ever heard of "Stickman" or "Stickgunner"? The guy is an amazing firearms photographer.

FWIW I am an avid firearms fan as well as photography. I am curious to know more about that aspect of stuff.

Depending on what kind of shots you are looking for you might want to investigate several different focal lengths, but that being said I am sure the 35mm will be awesome for handgun photography. If you want detailed photos of long guns possibly use your 35mm and get stitching software.
Presently, to photograph long guns (sometimes as long as 56 inches), I use my 18-135mm WR, using a tripod. If I were to use the 35mm, I'd have to use a stepladder - possible but not optimum for long exposures. Here's another photo that's in my now-being-printed book on classic firearms, to show you the kind of scenes I like to take. This one was shot with the FA 50mm 1.4.

John



---------- Post added 07-13-14 at 12:18 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by alamo5000 Quote
NICE.

Have have you ever heard of "Stickman" or "Stickgunner"? The guy is an amazing firearms photographer.

That's not a handle I'm familiar with - looks like he does good work, though. If you get Dillon's Blue Press, you can read my regular articles and see my photos in the center of almost every issue.

John
07-13-2014, 12:21 PM   #6
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Classic firearms such as WWII stuff? Or are we talking old west stuff or all of the above?

Do you ever do staged action scenes or is it more like a product 'catalog' type thing that you prefer?

My buddy Stickman has actually inspired me to try and take some firearms shots... I might put some up later

And per his advice to me "Lighting is everything".
07-13-2014, 12:23 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by alamo5000 Quote
Classic firearms such as WWII stuff? Or are we talking old west stuff or all of the above?

Do you ever do staged action scenes or is it more like a product 'catalog' type thing that you prefer?

My buddy Stickman has actually inspired me to try and take some firearms shots... I might put some up later

And per his advice to me "Lighting is everything".
All of the above. Most of the stuff I write about runs from the mid-19th Century to the present day. Pictures - the same. More documentary shots of firearms rather than action photos.

John
07-13-2014, 01:17 PM   #8
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Wise choice

The 35mm limited is an excellent lens. Renders beautifully. Great resolution, contrast, colours and flare resistance. A real gem. If I could only have one for my Pentax, this is it. A few links to keep you busy:

Some sample photos on Flickr

Dedicated thread for this lens here on PF

A discussion of the 35 vs 100m macros

07-13-2014, 03:41 PM   #9
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The 50/1.4 is a pretty darn sharp lens as well, so I'm not sure you'll see a massive upgrade in IQ, especially at smaller apertures. Also, it's not as much wider as you'd think. What you will see is a massive upgrade in close focusing ability!

A suggestion, why don't you get the 21, use it and the 35 for a bit, sell off whichever you don't use. The 21 is not as sharp as the 35, but it is more than twice as wide as the 50, perhaps better for long guns (or even better, try the 15!).

The 21 and15 focus pretty closely as well. Here's my Taurus 357, the only real firearm I've photographed (with the 21).
07-13-2014, 04:18 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by sinjin Quote
The 35mm limited is an excellent lens. Renders beautifully. Great resolution, contrast, colours and flare resistance. A real gem. If I could only have one for my Pentax, this is it. A few links to keep you busy:

Some sample photos on Flickr

Dedicated thread for this lens here on PF

A discussion of the 35 vs 100m macros
I'm really liking what I see here. Sharp, and the colors just pop. That's what I'm looking forward to. Thanks.

John
07-13-2014, 07:13 PM   #11
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I purchased one on eBay a few weeks ago for about $400 in Mint condition(green stripe older version). It came all the way from Japan, so I bit my finger-nails for 2 weeks until it finally came in the mail. It's a beautiful lens and takes great pictures with wonderful color rendition. However it looks so nice you might not want to use it as an everyday, walk-around lens and have it banging around in your bag.


That's why I was thinking about getting the 35mm f2.4 which is easily replaceable at $139 last time I looked. Occasionally I do copy and small product work myself which is why I needed a macro. Another thing about this lens is that it comes with a beautiful front cap with felt interior (really looks classic). Unfortunately, the cap is not one of those clip-on caps, you push it as far as it can go and it stays on, but it can easily slip off and if you lose it you are out of luck.

Last edited by hjoseph7; 07-14-2014 at 03:51 AM.
07-13-2014, 08:48 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by hjoseph7 Quote
Another thing about this lens is that it comes with a beautiful front cap with felt interior (really looks classic). Unfortunately, the cap is not one of those clip-on caps, you push it as far as it can go and it stays on, but it can easily slip off and if you lose it you are out of luck.
I wonder if will accept the same clip-on cap that the 50mm f/1.4 uses - they both have 49mm diameter objective lenses It seems that would be less likely to fall off. I'll check that when I have it.

John
07-13-2014, 09:01 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by hjoseph7 Quote
That's why I was thinking about getting the 35mm f2.4 ...

Another thing about this lens is that it comes with a beautiful front cap with felt interior (really looks classic). Unfortunately, the cap is not one of those clip-on caps, you push it as far as it can go and it stays on, but it can easily slip off and if you lose it you are out of luck.
I had the DA 35 2.4 for a while. It was fantastic. Not quite there with the limited, but close enough for most situations. Better in some respects (focus speed, focus throw). Images suggest it was worth twice the asking price.

As for the lens cap on the 35 limited, it is nice but impractical. The first thing I did when I got my 35 limited was buy a Genuine Pentax 49mm pinch style plastic lens cap ($9) and put the original cap away before I lost it. Did the same for my 15mm limited as well.

Last edited by sinjin; 07-14-2014 at 07:23 PM. Reason: Added a link to purchase the lens cap at B&H
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