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12-07-2019, 08:31 AM   #1
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HD FA35 or FA43 limited. Am I crazy that I like FA35 samples better?

I'm looking for a compact normal prime for my K-70 faster than 2.8. I've had the DA40, really liked it, but I like the 40mm 2.8 shots from my 16-50 just fine. I also tried the 35/2.4 and didn't like the plastic feel of it. So at first I was determined to get a 43 and blow off the 35, but looking at sample images of the FA35 (not many out there yet of the HD version), I have to say I'm impressed. And some of the 43 images have bokeh busier than I like. There's only one review of the HD version of the 35 on here and would like more opinions. Am I crazy that I'm leaning toward the 35?

12-07-2019, 08:43 AM - 1 Like   #2
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crazy? ….nah....what suits yer taste fer yer photography...….

I've been on the fence fer quite sometime on the 43 or 31......after getting the 77 I was not blown away reckon too much hype expectation is one reason not going for it....

cost is a deterrent

I am also content with what I am getting with the FA35.....40XS.....FA50/f1.4.....whether crop or FF.....price of all 3 which I paid is about the average of the 43

if I have the dollars at disposal maybe I would
12-07-2019, 09:24 AM   #3
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You like what you like, nothing too crazy about that. The 35mm is wider, which may be part of what you like. The 35mm probably has a flatter image,
(sharper corners, less 3d pop), which may be what you like.
12-07-2019, 09:36 AM   #4
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DA35mm f2.8 Macro Limited should be on your short list also...

as well as the Voigtlander Ultron 40mm f2 SL II....

12-07-2019, 10:21 AM   #5
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DA35/f2.8 Ltd Macro gets another vote here. My son has the HD version and the results are excellent.
12-07-2019, 10:32 AM   #6
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You're comparing two excellent lenses, nothing crazy about liking one or the other. I didn't see one being better optically when I had both, but kept the fa 43 for the build quality and focal length.
12-07-2019, 10:39 AM - 1 Like   #7
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The FA 43 was designed to have a particular look, so it's OK if that look is not what you want. The most disappointed owners didn't look at enough sample images before buying.

I almost suggested the DA 35 Limited Macro but the OP said faster than f2.8 and it isn't. I would argue that f2 is not that important except I have one awesome FA 35/2 shot at f2 where it was necessary.
12-07-2019, 10:49 AM - 1 Like   #8
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I've just bought the HD FA35/2 and haven't had a chance to put it through its paces fully, but from initial testing, I like it. It's well built (not Limited standard, but solid enough) and sharp across the frame on APS-C, even wide open. I like the way it renders, especially stopped down just a tiny bit.

If you can live without the aperture control and half a stop extra light gathering, can I suggest you also consider the inexpensive DA35/2.4 which is based on the same optical formula. The rendering, aperture for aperture, is (to my eyes, at least) very close to that of the HD FA35/2, especially from f/2.8 onwards. I've yet to do exhaustive side by side tests between the two lenses, but looking at my test shots from the HD FA35/2, they remind me immediately of the DA35/2.4, albeit with - I think - a smidgen more contrast and perhaps a little extra "pop" around f/2.4...

Folks seem polarised on the DA35/2.4, but I've always liked it. Those who don't probably wouldn't be too fond of the FA35/2 and HD FA35/2 either, IMHO.

As others have stated, the SMC or HD DA35/2.8 Macro Limited would also be an excellent choice, but I note you said you were looking for something faster than f/2.8...

12-07-2019, 11:11 AM   #9
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Since the OP appears to live in the US

the option of renting equipment exists

So the OP could do his own testing and comparison

Information on Businesses that offer cameras and lenses for rent.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/137-photographic-industry-professionals/...ml#post4542890

Last edited by aslyfox; 12-07-2019 at 01:13 PM.
12-07-2019, 11:23 AM   #10
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Thanks everyone. Looking at more samples at sub 2.8 on APS-C, there are some absolutely gorgeous 43 images but also some that really turn me off, mostly from harsh OOF areas, but also from CA and PF (although I don’t worry about these too much with post processing). The FA35 images seem to be more consistently solid, not overly harsh backgrounds, and more of a “film like” feel to them that I seem to like?

Regarding the DA35 2.4, I only disliked the build and a little more softness at 2.4 than I like. Is the build of the HD35 better than the DA35/2.4?

I also came across an HD FA/FA comparison from CameraVille on YouTube. He actually shows better sharpness at f2 for the HD version, but I’m not convinced it wasn’t a focusing difference. A new coating wouldn’t improve sharpness all else being equal, would it?
12-07-2019, 11:30 AM   #11
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I agree with Mike; I also have a 35/f2.4 and the results are very good - but the build quality is nothing like the 35/f2.8 Ltd, and it doesnít have QuickShift. Itís maybe a question of what's more important; a half-stop extra light gathering at bargain prices vs. Limited build quality and rendering.

Or thereís the f2, of course! 😜
12-07-2019, 11:40 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by mconwxdr Quote
Regarding the DA35 2.4, I only disliked the build and a little more softness at 2.4 than I like. Is the build of the HD35 better than the DA35/2.4?

I also came across an HD FA/FA comparison from CameraVille on YouTube. He actually shows better sharpness at f2 for the HD version, but Iím not convinced it wasnít a focusing difference. A new coating wouldnít improve sharpness all else being equal, would it?
The build quality of the HD FA35/2 is a different level altogether; solid and robust, and nicely finished too.

I've watched that CameraVille comparison, and I too suspect focusing may have been responsible for the HD's better sharpness at f/2. Having said that, it's quite possible that the HD coating is responsible for improved micro-contrast, which could indeed contribute to ever-so-slightly sharper-looking results, at least when pixel-peeping. Whether it's noticeable at normal reproduction sizes and viewing distances, I seriously doubt.

I will say, I'm not a huge fan of the bokeh rendering at f/2... it's a little busier than I'd like. To be fair, though, I knew about this before buying the lens and it doesn't concern me. It quickly smooths out once stopped down a little. And f/2 is still eminently useable if needed.
12-07-2019, 12:04 PM   #13
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The 43 is a funny lens. When it’s great, it’s hands-down my favorite. It’s not always great though. It seems to favor soft light and smooth backgrounds. With a busy background, it seems the bokeh gets whacky.
12-07-2019, 12:26 PM   #14
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I have been a happy FA 35/2 user for about a decade and have no problem recommending it or the HD version, though I always point out that bokeh can be busy depending on background. I might point out that its performance on 24x36mm FF is similar to that on APS-C. Below is a link to a Flickr search against my account for photos with the FA 35/2, should you be interested.

Search: pentax fa 35 | Flickr

As for comparison with the FA 43 Limited, I would not consider the decision "either or".


Steve
12-07-2019, 01:08 PM   #15
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I've had my FA 35mm f/2 and my FA 43mm f/1.9 for many years. I love them both, but loved them more with my film bodies (FF). The FA 35mm does perform better as to bokeh than the FA 43mm LTD. It also is better wide open, and better at the frame edges at wider apertures. From what I've seen, the HD version looks to be a bit improved as to build quality, as well as optical. On APS-C, the 35mm lens is closer to normal perspective.
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