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01-10-2015, 03:07 AM   #1
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Is there any point owning both the FA 31mm and the DA 35mm?

I have the DA 35mm and may soon have some funds to spend on a lens or two. The DA 21/3.2 is definitely on my list but I'm also looking at the FA 31mm. Given the excellent reviews of both the 35mm and the 31mm, is there anything to gain by getting the FA 31 when there is only 4mm and half a stop difference between the two?

01-10-2015, 03:17 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by carlb Quote
I have the DA 35mm and may soon have some funds to spend on a lens or two. The DA 21/3.2 is definitely on my list but I'm also looking at the FA 31mm. Given the excellent reviews of both the 35mm and the 31mm, is there anything to gain by getting the FA 31 when there is only 4mm and half a stop difference between the two?
DA 35 macro? I'd say because one is a macro lens (slower to focus) and the other one isn't, it might actually make sense to have both, depending on what you plan to shoot. Plus the 31mm has legendary bokeh

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01-10-2015, 03:20 AM   #3
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Sorry, forgot to mention it's not the macro. It's the plastic fantastic 35/2.4
01-10-2015, 03:36 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by carlb Quote
Sorry, forgot to mention it's not the macro. It's the plastic fantastic 35/2.4
I actually keep both. I'm still wondering whether I'd sell the 35/2.4.

I use the plastic 35 for more "dangerous" places: hiking, street shooting, shooting in a crowd. I guess that I'm "baby-ing" my 31. h


Addition:

They actually render differently. The 35 renders more vividly and provides more contrast to images, but I'd like to say that the images seems "generic" and doesn't have that distinctive Pentax look.

But there is no mistaking for the image that FA31 produces.


Last edited by drypenn; 01-10-2015 at 03:44 AM.
01-10-2015, 04:56 AM   #5
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No, not really. I have the 35/2.4 but not the FA31. They're so close focal length wise, and as Adam said the 31 has a better bokeh and its rendering is legendary.
01-10-2015, 06:18 AM   #6
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FA31 (or FA35) will give you better subject isolation and rendering. I would choose it over DA35/2.4
01-10-2015, 06:22 AM - 3 Likes   #7
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I gave this a lot of thought some time ago, so here is what I found out. These are the lenses you can currently buy as new:
- DA 35mm f2.4: plastic, affordable, great image quality. Doesn't come with hood, has no lens markings. Has pretty fast AF and modern lens coatings. Great lens for its price, has a thread dedicated to it if you want to check out sample photos: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/122-lens-clubs/196639-da35-f2-4-plastic-f...c-club-45.html
- FA 35mm f2.0: this is what the DA 35mm came from. The FA is the original, comes with hood (for film, full frame), has metal mount, aperture ring, distance scales. Might not be as flare-resistant as the DA, but is generally considered to be better optically. But only marginally, since the DA shares its design. For some reason, this lens is stupendously expensive in some countries, but not much more expensive than the DA in others. Someone called this one the "poor man's FA 31mm" once
- DA 35mm f2.8 limited (macro): used to come in SMC version, now comes in HD version - this means it has improved lens coatings and rounded aperture blades, but the SMC was already very great. Macro lenses don't have much character, but they are incredibly sharp, with flat field of focus. Has quickshift, AF, hood, and it is true 1:1 macro!! But since it is a macro lens, it has slightly slower AF, because the range of possible focus is so much bigger. Keep in mind that for macro with this lens you will be very very close to the subject, only a couple cm from the front element. Modern lens, really great IQ, many use it for landscapes as well as macro.
- FA 31mm limited: Legendary lens, slightly wider than 35mm. Has aperture ring, lens hood, metal build, distance scales.. but not QS. Legendary lens. Its IQ is slightly above the FA 35mm, but it is most legendary for its special character, the way it renders contrast, colours, bokeh. Don't know if its as sharp as the HD DA 35mm, but you are paying for an overall package, not just lab test measurements.

There are many many threads about the 35mm lenses, about 35mm vs. 40mm, and so on. Ultimately, I doubt any of these lenses would disappoint you. If you have specific needs, buy the one that meets them. If you have a specific budget, buy the one that falls within. You will lust after the others regardless of which one you buy This is why there might be a point in owning many lenses of similar focal length. One is for macro, one is for fast AF, one is for bokeh shots, and so on. Many people on this forum own many 50mm lenses, or many 28mm lenses. But if you find you don't ever use one of them, feel free to give it a new home. Circulate the goods, get in some money

Last edited by Na Horuk; 01-10-2015 at 06:32 AM.
01-10-2015, 06:57 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Na Horuk Quote
I gave this a lot of thought some time ago, so here is what I found out. These are the lenses you can currently buy as new:
- DA 35mm f2.4: plastic, affordable, great image quality. Doesn't come with hood, has no lens markings. Has pretty fast AF and modern lens coatings. Great lens for its price, has a thread dedicated to it if you want to check out sample photos: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/122-lens-clubs/196639-da35-f2-4-plastic-f...c-club-45.html
- FA 35mm f2.0: this is what the DA 35mm came from. The FA is the original, comes with hood (for film, full frame), has metal mount, aperture ring, distance scales. Might not be as flare-resistant as the DA, but is generally considered to be better optically. But only marginally, since the DA shares its design. For some reason, this lens is stupendously expensive in some countries, but not much more expensive than the DA in others. Someone called this one the "poor man's FA 31mm" once
- DA 35mm f2.8 limited (macro): used to come in SMC version, now comes in HD version - this means it has improved lens coatings and rounded aperture blades, but the SMC was already very great. Macro lenses don't have much character, but they are incredibly sharp, with flat field of focus. Has quickshift, AF, hood, and it is true 1:1 macro!! But since it is a macro lens, it has slightly slower AF, because the range of possible focus is so much bigger. Keep in mind that for macro with this lens you will be very very close to the subject, only a couple cm from the front element. Modern lens, really great IQ, many use it for landscapes as well as macro.
- FA 31mm limited: Legendary lens, slightly wider than 35mm. Has aperture ring, lens hood, metal build, distance scales.. but not QS. Legendary lens. Its IQ is slightly above the FA 35mm, but it is most legendary for its special character, the way it renders contrast, colours, bokeh. Don't know if its as sharp as the HD DA 35mm, but you are paying for an overall package, not just lab test measurements.

There are many many threads about the 35mm lenses, about 35mm vs. 40mm, and so on. Ultimately, I doubt any of these lenses would disappoint you. If you have specific needs, buy the one that meets them. If you have a specific budget, buy the one that falls within. You will lust after the others regardless of which one you buy This is why there might be a point in owning many lenses of similar focal length. One is for macro, one is for fast AF, one is for bokeh shots, and so on. Many people on this forum own many 50mm lenses, or many 28mm lenses. But if you find you don't ever use one of them, feel free to give it a new home. Circulate the goods, get in some money
FA31mm is very sharp from edge to corner at wide open F1.8. I think it Is sharper than 35mm at a given aperture.


Last edited by starjedi; 01-10-2015 at 07:16 AM.
01-10-2015, 07:24 AM   #9
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FWIW, I had both at one time and sold the DA 35/2.4. I just found I wasn't using the DA 35 and decided someone else who would use it should have it. It's a great value lens, but I just always reached for the FA 31 instead.
01-10-2015, 07:28 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by starjedi Quote
FA31mm is very sharp from edge to corner at wide open F1.8. I think it Is sharper than 35mm at a given aperture.
Actually, it isn't "very sharp from edge to corner at wide open F1.8," which is a big part of the FA31mm's character. The DA35mm Macro is much more consistent across the frame, due to a flatter focus field, like most macros. Both excellent lenses, of almost equal renown.
01-10-2015, 07:45 AM - 1 Like   #11
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If you have the money for both, you don't need to find the point.
01-10-2015, 08:14 AM   #12
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To answer the basic question of the thread...No, I don't think there's much point in owning both, but as others have pointed out, there are a number of reasons to own the FA 31 over the DA 35. I'd consider selling the 35 if you opt to buy the 31 so that it can help finance the 21 that you also want.
01-10-2015, 08:38 AM   #13
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agree, no need to keep both really. trade that 35 for a DA21 or 15
01-10-2015, 08:48 AM   #14
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If you get the 31 you'll have a hard time taking it off the camera Seriously, when I got mine a hardly used anything else.
01-10-2015, 09:26 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by jrpower10 Quote
Seriously, when I got mine a hardly used anything else.
If you own a Ferrari, why drive anything else? Cept' of course when it snows

I owned the DA 35 plastic fantastic. It produces flat sharp boring pictures as compared to the FA 31. I gave mine to my brother.
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