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02-11-2009, 02:19 PM   #1
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FA 35mm f/2, bad bokeh?

I probably spent so much time thinking about this and second guessing myself today that it'll be too late to actually get a lens in hand for it's intended purpose by now anyway, but I'm going to go ahead and ask, anyway.

Set up:

I've been doing a lot of fashion and catalog type photography for a friend of mine that makes clothes. Just kinda happened into it while I was looking to do more with my photography, and I really enjoy it. I've been stalling around upgrading my camera body because I keep thinking they are JUST ABOUT to announce something, and I'm absolutely horrid for buyers remorse, anyway. I've got a k110d now. This Friday there's a fashion show at a nightclub I was invited to attend. I'm allowed to bring my camera in, as long as I don't get in the way of their official photographer, so I'm not sure what their rules will be about flashes. I'm operating under the assuming I'm going to need to work with terrible available lighting, so I'll need fast and high ISO. My current lens line up is are a SMC Pentax-M 28mm F2.8, SMC Pentax-M 50mm F1.7, and my workhouse auto focus lens is a Sigma 28-70mm f/2.8 EX DG IF Aspherical.

I've been thinking strongly about adding a great manual prime to my line up that I can use in situations where I don't feel like mucking about with the manual settings on the 50mm, but I wanted it to be wider so I can use it for at least 3/4 portrait shots. That brought me to the 40mm limited, the 35mm limited macro, and the Pentax SMCP-FA 35mm f/2.0.

If it helps, my ghetto in home studio is 12 by 14, so I take a lot of my portraits with about 6 to 8 feet of separation, so it looks like for my purposes the main difference in field of view between those is about a foot.

The question:
Price for speed and quality, it seems like the FA 35mm may be the length and speed I'm looking for. However, there were a lot of comments about bokeh being bad on it. I used the pixelpeeper flickr search to look at a bunch of examples look at the field of view and the bokeh on the 35mm, and I'm not sure what the complaints are. Can someone give me some pointers how to compare these three options, and maybe give an example picture of the "bad" bokeh on the 35mm so I can see what is meant by the complaints?


Last edited by Mister Guy; 02-11-2009 at 02:22 PM. Reason: Wrong focal length in title, I sucketh mightily
02-11-2009, 02:25 PM   #2
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I personally don't think the bokeh is bad at all - I rather like it actually.

Here's a quick snap (nothing fancy) from around home with the FA35 @ f2.8.



c[_]
02-11-2009, 02:36 PM   #3
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Taken with the FA 35 at f/4 judge for yourself

Last edited by wildman; 02-23-2009 at 05:02 AM.
02-11-2009, 02:39 PM   #4
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The bokeh isn't "bad" not one bit! but you can see at times some harsh highlights with obvious 6 sided aperture blades, not "BAD" but not as butter smooth as it can be.

02-11-2009, 02:41 PM   #5
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Than unprocessed wildman? I'm assuming you're posting that to point out the odd difference between the look at the top and the bottom, if it is. Why is there such a marked difference between the top left and bottom right?
02-11-2009, 02:45 PM   #6
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The 35/2 is a wonderful lens and you will love it. The "bad bokeh" complaints I read so far, mostly where made in comparisson to the 31mm Ltd., which is unfair... You will need the speed for your fashion show and so will have no real alternative anyway, if you can't invest into the 31mm. In its price range (and some way beyond), there is not better lens, except perhaps the 43mm Ltd.

Ben
02-11-2009, 03:30 PM   #7
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It's fast (focus and aperture), relatively inexpensive, and small which is great for walkarounds.



Despite that, I *still* have a hankering for the 31mm...
02-11-2009, 03:31 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mister Guy Quote
Than unprocessed wildman? I'm assuming you're posting that to point out the odd difference between the look at the top and the bottom, if it is. Why is there such a marked difference between the top left and bottom right?
Keen eye!

I had completely forgotten that there was a small bit of white railing on the extreme lower right that I had cloned out and smoothed down. Sorry about that I didn't mean to be misleading. This file was originally downsized and posted for another purpose other than this thread.

I can assure you that other than the usual posting limitations anything above the moth is untouched.

BTW I don't shot much at "normal" focal lengths but in my opinion the FA 35 is one of the best REGARDLESS of price. I understand they have been discontinued. Get one while you can.

My apologies for my carelessness,
Wildman


Last edited by wildman; 02-11-2009 at 03:43 PM.
02-11-2009, 05:16 PM   #9
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Thank you guys for a wide range of examples so quickly!

It looks like for the cost, I can't go wrong, and get to add an autofocus fast prime to satisfy my itch until I see what happens this spring with the bodies!
02-11-2009, 06:44 PM   #10
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The bokeh for the FA 35/2 is typical for lenses of its focal length and shorter and probably a little better than most. In fact, photozone.de called it "...very smooth and buttery." However, under certain circumstances (stopped down with complex background) it can look a little "busy".
  • Is it worse than other lenses? Nope. (Even my Jupiter-9 will do this under the right circumstances.)
  • Is the bokeh generally pleasing? Yep.
  • Should it be a concern? Nope.
  • If you buy the lens and it doesn't work out will you have trouble selling it? Nope.
  • Are supplies of the FA 35/2 getting a little low. Apparently.
Conclusion: If you think the 35/2 is what you need, buy in confidence. You won't get stuck.

Steve

(The FA 35/2 is easily the best lens I own...)
02-13-2009, 07:51 AM   #11
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I can't speak to the supply chain, because I did my part to reduce it. My FA35 just came off the UPS truck. I haven't had time to do much more than some snapshots around the backyard, but I'm already concerned. I think my package was contaminated; I'm pretty sure there was some LBA in that box, and I think I got it all over me. Is there anything I can do? Is it too late for me?!?

I'm afraid only time, and the photo session this afternoon and tonight, will tell!
02-13-2009, 09:12 AM   #12
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define "bokeh"

Jason
02-13-2009, 09:25 AM   #13
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You are right. It's terrible.

I will make you a favor and pay for the shipping so you can get rid of this lens. And please, there is no need to thank me.

It's a pleasure to help
02-13-2009, 10:15 AM   #14
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Ahaha I just had a little impromtu photo shoot and I couldn't use my 35/2. It was too bloody sharp! lol...even manually focused!
02-13-2009, 10:48 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by netuser Quote
You are right. It's terrible.

I will make you a favor and pay for the shipping so you can get rid of this lens. And please, there is no need to thank me.

It's a pleasure to help
I couldn't do that to you, I'd feel so responsible.

A good lens is one that has you on your belly in the front yard in less than two hours after coming off the truck.

A great lens is one that distracts you from the ant hill you're laying in.



It is a busy sorta background, I'll have to be aware of that and try it in some different settings.
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