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10-14-2020, 12:03 PM   #1
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Pentax 35mm f/2.0 SMCP-FA AL or the new HD model?

I am looking to buy a new 35mm lens. I have read the reviews on here and they seem to indicate that the older Pentax 35mm f/2.0 SMCP-FA AL is superior to the new model with HD coating. However, on Youtube the reviewers seem to think the new HD version is sharper and better than then older AL version... The HD is slightly higher in price but not so much as make that a factor so... Which one is the better lens?

10-14-2020, 12:16 PM - 1 Like   #2
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I would not put a lot of weight on those reviews. Optically the lenses are identical. The difference is primarily the coating which by all reports improves things a bit. The older model's reviews go back years and people making those reviews fairly compared it to contemporary glass. It appears the reviews of the new model compare it more to modern glass. Which may not be all that fair. But these are subjective reviews, no real tests are made so they are just people's opinions based on their experience and views.


Between the two models I think there is no doubt that the new one is 'better' to some degree. But it is still a very old design and should not be compared to lenses like the new DFA 50mm.
10-14-2020, 12:22 PM   #3
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What kind of pictures are you intending to take that you think will be affected by the difference ?
10-14-2020, 12:35 PM   #4
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I plan mostly to take landscape/street maybe some astro until I get a better lens for that. Basically, just a general lens for my K1 that is a bit wider than my 50mm. Since they are close in price I just want to get the better of the two.

10-14-2020, 12:55 PM   #5
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I already have the old FA but if it was me I would go for the newer HD version. I certainly like my FA 35 (amazing performance for such a small size) but don't use it as much now I have a FA 31 Limited. I'm glad they still have the HD 35 in the range as the main trend for new lenses at the moment is to design them bigger, heavier, more expensive but better, and its nice to still have access to lenses which are more affordable, still good IQ and definitely more portable.
10-14-2020, 01:28 PM   #6
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I think the new hd identifies as the smc via exif. They are so close to being the same lens that ricoh treats them as the same. Where I live the hd is a lot cheaper so I got that one. At first the f2 performance was a bit off putting but I've learned to like it.

A Japanese site did a comparison but I failed to find it.
10-14-2020, 01:34 PM - 1 Like   #7
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I have the DA 35 2.4 which I think is a fine lens even on full frame...

I also have the DA 35 2.8 Limited which would be my recommendation if you are shooting APS-C...

But out of your two choices if I had the budget for it I'd go for the HD version.
10-14-2020, 01:36 PM - 2 Likes   #8
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As noted above, I would take the HD reviews with a grain of salt, particularly the "6" rating.* I shoot with the original FA 35/2.0 and it is on my "never sell" list, mostly because it has never let me down. That said, I might consider purchase of the HD version at some point, because:
  • Same optical design (the original was a premium offering when it debuted 21 years ago) and compact form factor as the original
  • While the "ghostless" coating on the original is pretty amazing, as in almost no reflections off the front and inner elements, the HD coatings are supposed to be even more so
  • The focus ring on the HD version looks to be an improvement over the lens that I own and should make manual focus easier when gloved and/or with the hood on
If you like the example photos from the original, you can expect similar from the HD.


Steve

* I don't believe the "don't buy" recommendation is merited, particularly within the context of the actual review. Beyond that, I don't concur regarding bokeh evaluation, handling, AF, value, and appropriateness for intended use. On FF, mine is used for urban and street photography and on APS-C, as a general walk-around prime.


Last edited by stevebrot; 10-14-2020 at 02:22 PM.
10-14-2020, 01:43 PM   #9
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I found the japanese comparison. I think it's a camera shop so keep that in mind and judge by the photos.
google translate link: Google Översätt

?PENTAX?FA35mmF2??? | THE MAP TIMES

Mine is incredible contrasty against back lighting. The simple optical design and HD coating is pretty impressive in this regard.
10-14-2020, 02:26 PM   #10
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If you're happy to stay with the smaller sensor APS-C bodies, have you considered that, for a similar cost to one of those lenses you could buy two new primes: the SMC Pentax-DA 50mm F1.8 and the SMC Pentax-DA 35mm F2.4. Neither will disappoint - see their reviews here on Pentaxforums. Alternatively, if you have the funds, the DA 35 Limited (SMC or HD) is outstanding on APS-C.

Philip
10-14-2020, 04:48 PM - 1 Like   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by MrB1 Quote
If you're happy to stay with the smaller sensor APS-C bodies, have you considered that, for a similar cost to one of those lenses you could buy two new primes: the SMC Pentax-DA 50mm F1.8 and the SMC Pentax-DA 35mm F2.4. Neither will disappoint - see their reviews here on Pentaxforums. Alternatively, if you have the funds, the DA 35 Limited (SMC or HD) is outstanding on APS-C.

Philip
I already have the 50mm1.4(great lens) and the DA 35mm f2.4(nice lens) but I want a full frame 35mm to use on my K1. Then I will save up and try to find a 20mm in great shape...

Thanks everyone for the information. I was wondering why it looked like the old was better than the new. But it makes sense that those are older reviews and there aren't nearly as many for the new HD model so that is the disparity. Appreciate your taking the time to answer! Peace

---------- Post added 10-14-2020 at 08:04 PM ----------

I just placed my order for the HD version. Should be here by next Tuesday. Hopefully, have some good weather next week and get some nice photos of the autumn leaves. They have really hit their peak this week. Thanks again everyone.
10-14-2020, 06:05 PM   #12
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I thought that bdery or someone else was going to do a review of the new HD version for the site and compare it to the old version. It would be nice... the new version's focusing ring looks actually usable, the hood looks nice, etc etc. This is especially of interest to folks that are considering this lens since the user reviews are not all that good. I've wondered about this even if I'm not really in the market for a 35mm lens.
10-14-2020, 07:33 PM   #13
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Since both versions are using the exact same lens formula, I don't see how the version with the newer, updated HD coatings could not be better. As I understand, the newer coatings are also smudge-resistant and easier to clean. As Steve says, the more substantial design of the MF collar can be a factor too. I have had the older version for years, got it for use on my film bodies (FF) and found the performance, small size, and excellent image quality to be very attractive. On APS-C, however, for me its 35mm FL is not as versatile as it is on a FF body. On a FF body, it is a great compact walk-around general-purpose prime lens having a pretty fast aperture that can deliver good results even wide open.
10-14-2020, 07:57 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by pres589 Quote
I thought that bdery or someone else was going to do a review of the new HD version for the site and compare it to the old version. It would be nice... the new version's focusing ring looks actually usable, the hood looks nice, etc etc. This is especially of interest to folks that are considering this lens since the user reviews are not all that good. I've wondered about this even if I'm not really in the market for a 35mm lens.
Yes, it would be nice to have a good comparison review. I agree that the focus ring on the HD looks to be a real improvement, though the original ring is not particularly bad. It is easy to find and use the ring, particularly if the hood is attached, assuming the user is bare-handed. Add gloves and it can be hard to get a grip.

As far as the hood is concerned, I just happen to have both old and new versions in front of me as I type this. The pebbled surface on the new is rather subtle and does not particularly match the finish on my K-3. Aside from the surface finish, it is identical to the original version. I bought the new type because the one I had was showing wear and the new was less expensive than the old.


Steve
10-15-2020, 02:58 AM   #15
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Too bad this guy isn't available for Pentax:
TAMRON | SP 35mm F/1.8 Di VC USD
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