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10-24-2014, 04:36 AM   #1
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What should I buy, DA 35 mm 2.4 or DA 50 mm 1.8

I am a newbie, my equipment is a K50, the 18-55 WR kit lens and few very cheap and old telezooms (Pentax F 28-80, Pentax F 35-80, Tamron 28-200).

I am absolutely not satisfied with the sharpness of the 18-55 lens (yes, I know that is a kit lens...) so I am going to buy a cheap prime lens (I can't spend more money).

My doubt is between the DA 35 mm f/2.4 AL SMC and DA 50 mm f 1.8 SMC. I have read all the reviews here on PentaxForums and it seems that they are both great lenses, the 50mm seems to be slightly better.

The price here in Italy is 189,90 euro for each (it includes 4 years official Pentax warranty. I could save around 50 euro without this warranty but I think that it is not a good idea..).

My doubts are related with the focal lenght. I am going to buy this lens now mainly because in the beginning of next year I am going to have a travel in New York/Niagara Falls/Puerto Rico, so I would like to buy a lens good for travel photography. I am not expert, mainly because I never travel till today with a DSLR, so I don't know which is the most used focal lenght. For the moment I have taken a lot of pics in any focal lenght of my 18-55, so I can't say that I am more wide-angle or zoom.
My idea is to take with me the 18-55 and this new one I am going to buy.

Maybe is a good idea to take the 50mm and use the kit lens just for wide angle focal lenght?

Any advices?

10-24-2014, 04:42 AM   #2
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The 35 is more versatile. Your portraits can include more of the background - it's a classic photojournalism angle of view.

But the 50 is longer, quicker and will give you a narrower depth of field capability than your kit lens does.

Last edited by clackers; 10-24-2014 at 05:03 AM.
10-24-2014, 04:43 AM   #3
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My vote goes for the DA 35mm f2.4 as well, as for the 50mm buy an older cheaper MF glass.
10-24-2014, 05:12 AM   #4
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I owned the DA 35 for 6 months. I do not recommend it. Rendering was mostly artless. As for focal length, I would say that wider is better for an everyday lens. Other lenses to consider: 40 Limited, 35 Limited Macro, Sigma or Tamron 17-50, FA 35.

10-24-2014, 05:30 AM   #5
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I would agree with the previous post that either the DA40mm f2.8 or DA35mm f2.8 macro are superior to the 35 f2.4. Of these, the 40mm is less expensive new, and is commonly offered used at attractive prices. There may be some offered in the for sale thread here on PF. The macro capacity of the 35mm f2.8 is definitely useful IF you do close ups. The 40mm is pretty limited in close focus, but for general scenics, touring photography, the 40mm is the lens I would recommend.
10-24-2014, 05:32 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by kharry2012 Quote
I owned the DA 35 for 6 months. I do not recommend it. Rendering was mostly artless. As for focal length, I would say that wider is better for an everyday lens. Other lenses to consider: 40 Limited, 35 Limited Macro, Sigma or Tamron 17-50, FA 35.
I think the OP has mentioned a constrained budget, so I would say go for the Sigma or Tamron 17-50 in your option list. The limiteds are too expensive(?)
10-24-2014, 05:36 AM   #7
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In keeping with the OPs preference for lenses at around $200, and that it's an either or, not a both of, suggesting he doesn't want to spend $400, I'd say the 35 ƒ2.4. If you do decide a 40 might be nice... and it is a nice walk around lens, see if you can find a deal on a 40XS.

With my kit, I often have a choice between the 35 and the 50, and I almost always take the 35.. unless it's going to be near dark out while I'm shooting, or I can take both.
10-24-2014, 05:52 AM   #8
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BTW: KEH is offering a 40mm f2.8 for $228 in EX+ condition, but I've no idea what shipping ti Italy would cost. Better to have it sent to US hotel where you intend to stay with a "hold for pickup."

10-24-2014, 06:11 AM   #9
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I would say of the two the 35 would be better for you. It was my first prime and I used it exclusively on a trip to Washington D.C. when I first got it. I got some great photos with it. I would think the 50 would not be wide enough for general travel purposes.
10-24-2014, 06:14 AM   #10
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I have an old manual SMC Takumar 55/1.8 and new DA35/2.4 . For travel I would suggest getting 35mm although even this is not wide enough for a large number of situations.
10-24-2014, 06:20 AM   #11
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IMHO the 35/2.4 lens is better for general purposes;
the Limited lens too expensive.
But instead kit lens, the Tamron 17-50/2.8 also a good choice.
10-24-2014, 06:34 AM   #12
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I have had a very good experience with the DA 35mm f/2.4 It is decently sharp wide open if you can accept the depth of field. When you close down the aperture a little it can produce very nice images. The colors are a little neutral but that's OK. You can easily add just a little bit of saturation, vibrancy, and edge sharpening.

The lens does project a FF image so you can use it with a film body. Since there's no aperture ring you would have to use a body with Av or Tv mode.

The 50mm becomes a mild telephoto lens. Good for portraits perhaps but not necessarily daily life work. Try setting your kit lens to 50mm and don't change it. Now walk around and see how that focal length feels.
10-24-2014, 06:35 AM   #13
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I started with the 50mm f1.8 as my first prime and I do enjoy it a lot. Real nice for portraits, as advertised. I later added the 35mm f2.4 and, as others have written above, it is more versatile and I use it a lot more. So you might want to start out with the 35mm, depending on your shooting style. But either of them is a very good lens for very little money.

In hindsight I'm wondering, though, if I shouldn't have stayed away from the 35 plus 50mm and gotten the 40mm limited instead. Not much of a price difference than the other two combined and right in the middle of their focal lenghts.
(... of course I never expected I'd end up buying them both. )
10-24-2014, 06:38 AM   #14
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For travel, landscapes, group photos and such, get the DA 35mm f2.4. In my opinion, DA 35mm f2.4 is not great for closeup portraits or architecture (unless you enable distortion correction or shoot raw and fix it in post), but it is great for general photos of streets, city, landscapes, etc. Very sharp, fast AF, better low light performance than kit lenses. Definitely a big upgrade from 18-55mm, even though it takes a little getting used to.

If you want portraits, low light photography (museums, cathedrals, indoor, after twilight), photos with shallow depth of field (lots of bokeh) or photos from a distance, get the DA 50mm.
DA 40mm comes in three versions. SMC limited, HD limited, and XS. The XS and SMC limited are optically identical, but the XS is smaller, thinner, and cheaper. The main downside to the XS is that it has no quickshift, no lens hood, and odd filter threads (27mm). I still enjoy using it, though. The HD limited has newer lens coatings and is the most recent version. It has the same glass, just improved lens coatings. There is a small difference in the photos, perhaps not worth the difference in price. DA 40mm is a good general purpose lens, can be used for all sorts of photos, but it is only f2.8. Its main advantage is that it is sharp, fast AF, and very small.
I prefer DA 35mm for photos of landscapes and nature (where green is dominant colour, with lots of blue), and DA 40mm XS for photos of people and man-made things or highly coloured flowers, that look almost unnatural.

Edit: If you want to use these lenses on a film body, make sure the film body can choose the aperture. Before the auto-aperture was invented, the aperture had to be set by hand, on the lens. But these lenses are so modern, they don't have an aperture ring. So if you want to use the lens on a really old film body, you might want to buy a lens with an aperture ring. You can check the camera review database for specific cases.
10-24-2014, 06:48 AM - 1 Like   #15
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I just got back from a family trip to London. In order to travel relatively light I took three small lenses with me - A28/2.8, F50/1.7 and F35-70/3.5-4.5. I did not take my kit 18-55 - even though I have the WR version, which is always needed in England, I also find that the lens disappoints more often than it impresses me. I ended up using all three, because I had a mix of indoor low light situations, cases where I needed to go as wide as a I could, and cases where a zoom was going to work best. I've been thinking about the DA35/2.4 for a while, because quite often the 50 is too long, although it is great for low light and just a beautiful lens to work with. Since my budget is a bit bigger, instead of getting the DA35 I will probably get a 17-70 or 28-75 type zoom which will be almost as fast as the DA35, but with a lot more flexibility (but also will be a lot larger). To a large extent I agree with @Stavri - the 35 will give you a wider lens that will work for a lot of landscape and indoor shots. You can cheap M50/1.7 or A50/2.0 lenses second hand, and as long as you are comfortable with manual focusing they are great to work with. And by cheap, $20-30 is not an unusual price.

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