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07-16-2017, 10:14 PM   #1
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Which 35mm lens? (DA 35/2.4, FA 35/2, DA 35/2.8 Macro)

I'd like a 35mm prime for using on my K-3 as a normal lens. I learned about photography with a K1000 SE and for a long time only had the canonical 50/2 and the famously heavy A 70-210 f/4 zoom. Out of the three I'm looking at, if you had to pick one, what would it be? My thoughts are:

DA 35/2.4:
Pros:
Least expensive (New for less than $200, used ones seem to sell for $75-80)
Lightweight
Cons:
Plastic mount. Not sure if this is a big deal or I'm just spoiled by my heavy all-metal 70s lenses.
No aperture ring, so I wouldn't be using it on my film cameras.

FA 35/2:
Pros:
Has an aperture ring should I ever want to use it on one of my film cameras (Not sure if I would since I already own a Pentax-M 28/2.8)
Slightly faster than the 35/2.4 (supposedly it's the same optics with one slightly better element?)
Possibly better full-frame performance if I ever went to a full frame camera.

DA 35/2.8 Macro:
Pros:
Macro capability
I'm fond of the looks and construction of the Limited lenses since they look less plasticky and more like a classic Pentax lens
Cons:
Most expensive
Slowest. Practically, f/2.8 isn't a huge difference from 2.4, but since I'm looking for the fast aperture one gets from a prime, maybe that makes a difference.
Also no aperture ring, supposedly doesn't play nice on a full-frame dSLR either.

Lenses I currently own are:
SMC Pentax-M: 50/2, 28/2.8, 100/2.8
SMC Pentax-A: 50/2, 70-210/4
SMC Pentax-F: 50/1.7, 35-70/3.5-4.5
SMC Pentax-DA: 18-55/3.5-5.6 from my old K200D.

07-16-2017, 10:58 PM   #2
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The plastic fantastic DA35mm f2.4 is by far the best value for money. It is definitely worth to consider. At the other of the price range, you have the FA31mm Ltd.

FA31mm f1.8 Ltd
Pro
Super IQ, Fast lens. FF
Cons
Expensive

The FA31m would be a major step upwards IMHO. The DA35mm f2.4 would feel nicely a gap in your lenses.

You will get a lot of comments and suggestions. You may need to consider your Lens Plans.

Hope that the comment may help.
07-16-2017, 11:18 PM   #3
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It looks like you've outlined their pros and cons quite well. So now it's up to you to prioritize: price (DA 2.4), practicality for potential FF and aperture ring for film (FA), and quality (DA 2.8 Limited). With film, a full EV difference between f/2 and f/2.8 is significant. But with the K-3's sensor and SR, it's less so.

If it was in my budget in your situation, I'd go for the DA f/2.8 35mm macro limited. The IQ and macro capabilities justifies the cost and the only reason I wouldn't go that direction is if I was planning on phasing out all my APS-C and going K-1.

If K-1 was in the plans, and an aperture ring wasn't essential, then the king of quality right now is the Sigma 35mm F/1.4 Art, but more than double the price of the Pentax limited!

Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens for Pentax DSLR Cameras 340109
07-16-2017, 11:18 PM   #4
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out of the 3 that you've listed get the DA35/2.8 if you're interested in macro as well. If not, then go for the DA35/2.4, best value for money and really sharp wide open. If you start looking at other options, then the list will go on....FA31ltd as already mentioned, Sigma 35mm f1.4 Art etc etc

07-17-2017, 01:43 AM - 1 Like   #5
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I have both the FA35 and DA35. Having used them on a K-1 in FF mode the DA seemed to be inconsistent in exposures and focusing, might just be my copy. I love the FA though it is softer at 2.0... I mostly use it from 3.2 upwards, but have done a couple of events on 2.0 and 2.8 and with some careful sharpening the results are pretty good (even great on screen size images). The colour rendering and pop effect are great and the bokeh seems lovely. But take this as an experience from a street photographer who doesn't really focus on image quality as on the image content. Focusing is pretty fast on the FA, I have to say.
To cut long story short, I stopped using the DA after purchasing the FA.
I did test Sigma 35/1.4 in the shop but wasn't impressed with the focusing variability... it wasn't microadjusted and I might have been put off by the narrow field of view but I decided to wait for the new Pentax offering...
07-17-2017, 01:45 AM   #6
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The FA has the same optical formula as the DA 2.4 has. You would be getting that for the metal mount and aperture ring. The macro has the best build quality and doesn't look as dated as the nineties FA 2.0 and it has quick shift for fast manual focus adjustment. Being a Macro it is also most versatile. The other two are both excellent lenses too. A plastic mount is not a problem as long as you don't drop it. The lens is very light. A metal mount on a plastic body would probably be a weaker. construction.
07-17-2017, 01:48 AM   #7
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While valid I have slightly different thoughts to ^ re; macro. I have the DA35/2.8 and think it is wonderful, but, I also have lots of macro lenses and think this is the weakest of them all in terms of usability. I say this because the 35mm focal length is ultimately its weakness (you need to get really close to the subject to get macro outcomes). If you are after 'macro' capability to tick a box then ^ offers a good viewpoint. But, if you want macro performance for a variety of things then I suggest getting a purpose lens with much longer focal length (90mm plus macros give lots of versatility). If the latter thought is in your mind then I would go for the DA35/2.4 if you NEVER want a FF camera (great price) but would suggest the FA35/2 if you are going FF. The FA31is sublime, but it is a different league lens when considering cost (and performance )
07-17-2017, 02:15 AM   #8
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Buy the DA 35/2.4 and a cheap (standard/normal) metal hood off eBay. Great lens considering the price ...

07-17-2017, 02:26 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wild Mark Quote
I would go for the DA35/2.4 if you NEVER want a FF camera (great price) but would suggest the FA35/2 if you are going FF.
still the DA35 F2.4 is pretty good with the K-1. its fully compatible and ive seen pics on here with minimal vignetting with that combo.
07-17-2017, 02:55 AM   #10
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I have the plastic-fantastic DA 35 and, while it is great optically (and do not pass on it due to the plastic mount - it's a non-issue), I've never really connected to the lens.... I find it too clean, too antiseptic .... I am even considering selling it off for another focal length altogether...

not enough character for me...

at that focal length, I prefer the DA 40 Limited, but that's just me...
07-17-2017, 03:03 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by schnitzer79 Quote
still the DA35 F2.4 is pretty good with the K-1. its fully compatible and ive seen pics on here with minimal vignetting with that combo.
Undoubtedly but the FA35/2 does perform better on FF. Price points are definitely different and so the DA35/2.4 is a worthy alternative is performance is negotiable.

---------- Post added 17-07-17 at 08:05 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by pepperberry farm Quote
at that focal length, I prefer the DA 40 Limited, but that's just me...
Agreed even the XS 40mm 2.8 is a good suggestion at half the the price.
07-17-2017, 03:06 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by pepperberry farm Quote
at that focal length, I prefer the DA 40 Limited, but that's just me...
How is 40mm 35mm?
07-17-2017, 03:15 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by D1N0 Quote
How is 40mm 35mm?
it's not - just offering a different perspective...
07-17-2017, 05:00 AM   #14
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DA 35mm f2.4 was first AF prime I got for Pentax. Its great, plastic mount is no problem. Few people regret buying it, especially at the current price. I got it because the FA 35mm was much, much more expensive at the time. If you can get a good deal on an FA 35mm, I would say get that instead. If you are after super sharpness and highly corrected optics, then get DA 35mm f2.8 macro (SMC or HD). It is probably the sharpest and most highly corrected of the 35mm offerings, if you can live with the cons (price, not perfect on FF, though there are some mixed reports).
I was thinking of selling my DA 35mm f2.4 and replacing it with DA 35mm f2.8 limited, but the price difference is a bit steep. I believe in the macro lens, though, since I've seen many photos taken with it, and I have DFA 100mm macro. Macro primes are just different; less character and more sharpness. I enjoy character in my lenses. But my photos at 35mm FoV usually don't need character. They are landscapes with wide DoF that mostly need sharpness. That said, of my primes, the DA 35mm f2.4 is probably most used, and its the only 35mm AF lens that I own

tl;dr: All of those lenses are good. Check out what is available locally, at what prices. If you plan on using it on film or FF, get the FA. If you plan on using macro or if you just need sharpness, get DA 35mm macro. If you want a good, affordable lens and save some money for the next lens, get the DA 35mm.
07-17-2017, 05:19 AM - 1 Like   #15
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I'm with pepperberry. I think the DA35 f2.4 is a useful tool but it's not really exciting to use. It's the "Well, I want AF, and a faster aperture than my 18-135" lens, not the "I can't wait to see what comes out of this thing" option. Less art instrument, and more of a tool, I guess. It's also not really as fast as I would like, either for really low light shots, or for depth of field reduction. Maybe I would like to use it more if it was more like the Nikon 35 f1.8? I could see it being a very nice focal length to work with on full frame, where it's a bit wider than normal, but on crop it's harder to get excited about.
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