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12-12-2017, 09:04 AM   #1
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Advice on Adding a 35mm lens to Collection

I'm thinking about adding a 35mm lens to my collection for my K-1. I was considering the Pentax 35mm SMC FA f2.0 AL lens, but today I noted the Pentax 35mm DA f2.4 lens is on sale for $121US.

Ultimately, I'm interested in image quality so I'm wondering how these two lenses compare. If they are comparable, I would probably opt for the FA since it is more rugged and full-frame, but I have heard stories about how great the IQ is for the meager DA so if there is any IQ advantage to be had there, I might fore go its limitations due to the excellent price.

Anyone had experience with both of these who could give me a recommendation?

Thanks.


Last edited by Bob 256; 12-12-2017 at 09:11 AM.
12-12-2017, 09:07 AM   #2
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The FA is F2, of course the DA is cheaper, but it exhibits vignetting on FF. I'd say the FA would be the way to go.

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12-12-2017, 09:16 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
The FA is F2, of course the DA is cheaper, but it exhibits vignetting on FF. I'd say the FA would be the way to go.
That's my first instinct Adam, but given the glowing IQ comments of the DA, I'm wondering if it offers enough of an IQ edge to consider it. The vignetting can be overcome in post processing, and though it's a concern, IQ is more of an issue to me. The great price also pulls me toward the DA but I'm willing to pay more for the FA should the two be comparable IQ wise.
12-12-2017, 09:47 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bob 256 Quote
That's my first instinct Adam, but given the glowing IQ comments of the DA, I'm wondering if it offers enough of an IQ edge to consider it. The vignetting can be overcome in post processing, and though it's a concern, IQ is more of an issue to me. The great price also pulls me toward the DA but I'm willing to pay more for the FA should the two be comparable IQ wise.
The FA f/2 can be had at Adorama or B&H right now for $75 off so it is still more than double the price of DA f/2.4. For the extra money you get better build and a unrivaled reputation for sharpness. I'm considering one myself. Merry Christmas to me. Sure the DA is more compact, lighter, and the price is definitely attractive. You have to get equipment that suits your purpose but image quality at a still reasonable price wins for me.

12-12-2017, 09:48 AM   #5
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If both small f (3.5) and not being auto-focus would not be a problem, Takumar 3.5 is also doing a fine job - especially while shooting B&W. But the DoF that the lens provides (or, rather, cannot provide) is making me sick in the stomach lately, and may not be a good alternative to these.
12-12-2017, 09:55 AM   #6
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If you go up to " lenses " above, you will find info about those lenses including an " in depth review " of the da

Here is the link

https://www.pentaxforums.com/reviews/pentax-da-35mm-f24-al/introduction.html
12-12-2017, 10:33 AM   #7
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Remember, if you use the DA on the K1 and end up in "crop" mode due to the vignetting, you're down to 16MP, which in my mind, flies in the face of why the K1 is so great with wide angle and landscape/architecture etc. I'd really go for a full frame lens. And I know this is way off the charts if you're on a tight budget, but if you can, and you want a sharp fast 35 on full frame with really nice bokeh, check out the Sigma Art 35. It was on a nice sale recently, but just checking, it's back to full price. Will it go down again with New Year's etc? Perhaps, but, "only the Phantom knows"....
12-12-2017, 10:53 AM   #8
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It really depends on budget and your wishes. You have lots of options:
a) DA 35mm f2.4 can be found super affordable now, online or used. Great lens at that price, amazing. But it has some CA and it has no aperture ring. Came from the same lineage as the FA 35mm f2, but was tweaked for digital
b) FA 35mm f2 is apparently better than the DA, but has some film era features. The lens coatings are not as good as the new HD coatings, but its fast
c) DA 40mm Limited. Its not 35mm, but some people use it on FF and they like it. Super compact, and comes in XS, SMC and HD versions.
d) Sigma 35mm art. Should be the sharpest 35mm lens currently available and it has fast aperture. AF might be iffy with some copies and its heavy.
e) Samyang 35mm f1.4. Sharp, big, quite affordable, fast aperture, but manual focus.
f) Pentax FA 31mm limited. Full frame, legendary lens, people love it. Not super affordable, though.

I have DA 35mm f2.4 and DA 40mm XS, but only use them on APSC. Could recommend both, though. It just does not seem worth it to spend so much more to get something better. Also have Carl Zeiss 35mm Flektogon, which is really not as sharp wide open, but it has nice character and its almost macro. Its m42 mount. I wouldn't recommend it as the only 35mm in someone's collection

I'd recommend you write down some wishes. Is size important? Fast aperture? Do you need aperture ring (for use on bellows, film SLRs)? Will you use the lens wide open, or around f8? Do you need AF? Once you have a list of these, you can rank the lenses and then just get the one that fits most of your wishes at a reasonable cost. If you are looking for FF lens and deciding between DA 35mm and FA 35mm, I would go with FA 35mm. And get a nice lens hood for it.


Last edited by Na Horuk; 12-12-2017 at 11:00 AM.
12-12-2017, 11:03 AM   #9
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I have had both, and for the K-1 the FA 35 2 is in my opinion the better choice. You get full frame lens corrections in camera with that lens. The DA variant has corrections only in crop. I thought that sharpness was similar when comparing the lenses but less vignetting on the FA. I also felt that the manual focus on the FA was better (but no quickshift). F 2.0 can be useful but the 2.4 was no slouch either. I favor the FA variant for your needs.
12-12-2017, 11:29 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bob 256 Quote
That's my first instinct Adam, but given the glowing IQ comments of the DA, I'm wondering if it offers enough of an IQ edge to consider it.
QuoteOriginally posted by Bob 256 Quote
IQ is more of an issue to me
I have never shot with the DA 35/2.4, but can vouch for the image and build quality of the FA 35/2 on both APS-C and 35mm film. The lens is a stand-out performer on both with the possible exception of bokeh at moderate apertures. At the current price point and considering that the FA 35/2 includes both dedicated hood and case, features an aperture ring (full backward compatibility), and has adequate image circle for 24x36 format, my choice would be the FA 35/2.


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12-12-2017, 12:06 PM   #11
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Thanks for all the feedback folks!

I may have answered my own question in going to the reviews for the lenses (as suggested by Aslyfox). The lens designs for the FA and DA are near identical except for scaling so I would expect their IQ to be near the same. That being the case, I think I'll lean toward my first choice, the FA. It has the better build, full-frame coverage, and metal mount. Since it's a scaled up version of the DA (or probably the other way around), it should have better sharpness further from the image axis than the DA (also less the vignetting of the DA) as pointed out by PentaxSyntax . Glad From1980 mentioned the discounted price - I may well make use of that. I might have leaned toward the 35mm Art lens, but the price is too much out of my neighborhood for any additional gains it might offer. I also considered the 31mm but it's a bit too close to the 28mm which I already have.

Anyway my question is answered and there was a lot of good information in everyone's feedback.
12-12-2017, 01:09 PM   #12
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Glad you picked the FA. It's very good.
12-12-2017, 01:16 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bob 256 Quote
Since it's a scaled up version of the DA (or probably the other way around), it should have better sharpness further from the image axis than the DA (also less the vignetting of the DA)
I think the differences that comparison threads found were that the DA f2.4 is sharper in the image centre at wide open aperture, but the FA has better corner sharpness and less vignetting. I seem to remember the DA has newer coatings. Its also super light and it has fast AF. Basically, the DA was tweaked for APSC digital. So yes, for FF camera, FA makes more sense, if you can find it at a reasonable price
12-12-2017, 01:49 PM   #14
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I have both, and recommend the FA35 - a little faster and glass rather than plastic aspherical element.

But to be honest I don't think many would be able to tell the difference between the DA35 and FA35's images. Not sure I could.
12-12-2017, 04:36 PM   #15
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I use the da 35mm 2.4 on the K-1. I don't notice a lot of vignetting. Not noticable. But it does have quite a lot of field curvature. It even can create swirly bokeh.
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