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02-23-2009, 03:48 PM   #1
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DA 35 Macro vs. FA 35 "normal"

I think I need a shorter macro lens. I was doing some copy work for a cousin this weekend and ran out of height on my copy stand while using an A 50mm Macro on my K10d. The copy stand will give me about 45 inches vertical, but some of her artwork was too big for the field of view. I finally switched to my FA 35mm to get everything in the frame.

Questions for those of you with a DA 35mm and/or some close to that focal length: Does the flat field characteristics show up in "normal" shooting on the DA35mm? I've seen lot's posts that seem to indicate it would be a good normal lens. Does the FA 35mm have enough depth of field to do copy work successfully? I've usually done smaller things and have relied on 50mm A or SMC Takumar to do the job.

Having only recently acquired the FA 35mm, I am looking at a tough sales pitch to justify yet another lens. (My wife doesn't seem to believe me when I say you can never have too many lenses.) Thanks for any comments or opinions.

Vern

02-23-2009, 08:59 PM   #2
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As far as the depth of field, it should have more than the 50mm lenses you've been using at equal apertures due to its shorter focal length (35mm vs. 50mm). So if the dof on the 50mm's is sufficient, the 35mm should be even moreso.
02-23-2009, 09:23 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by er1kksen Quote
As far as the depth of field, it should have more than the 50mm lenses you've been using at equal apertures due to its shorter focal length (35mm vs. 50mm).
Actually, for a fixed subject size the depth of field is a wash. The deeper DOF usually associated with shorter focal lengths is counterbalanced by the need to move the camera closer to the subject in order to have it fill the frame. Thus, the depth of field of both the 35mm and 50mm lenses will be the same if they're both used at the same f/number and the camera is positioned so that the subject appears the same size in the image.
02-23-2009, 10:27 PM   #4
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That's a good point, nice catch. I didn't think of that.

02-24-2009, 10:17 AM   #5
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Is the DA 35mm a true macro?

Sean, er1kksen, thanks for your comments.

The DA35mm has had great reviews, but I haven't seen any tests on its macro abilities. In my mind there are some design features to a macro lens that are a little different from the standard designs. Does the resolution hold up in the corners? Is there any vingetting? Is the focus area truly flat? Or, is it just a nice lens that will focus very close?

Or possibly I don't know what I'm talking about and am making something out of nothing.

Vern
02-24-2009, 12:22 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Vern Quote
Does the resolution hold up in the corners? Is there any vingetting? Is the focus area truly flat? Or, is it just a nice lens that will focus very close?
I don't really take many "formal" macros, but IMHO this is a true macro lens with a flat field. Below are images of a shot I just took at F/5.6 on my K100D Super. The image was taken at a distance of 170mm (according to the focusing index on the lens), and both the full frame and 100% crops of the center and corners are shown. No sharpening was done on either image.

The images are brighter at the upper-left because that is where the light was shining from, but other than that I see no noticeable vignetting.

The right side looks a bit softer, but I'm pretty sure that's because my totally manual alignment technique is less than perfect. Minute changes in camera angle, both vertical and horizontal, have a major impact on sharpness at these distances and this was the best I was able to achieve over several shots. If you saw the ball-joint tabletop tripod I was using for these I'm sure you'd be impressed at how well they turned out



02-24-2009, 01:23 PM   #7
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Sean, thanks for taking time to take the photos and sharing your thoughts.

I have found a few reviews overing some detail.

Mike Johnston quite likes it and has a couple reviews. The Online Photographer (The Online Photographer: The SMC Pentax DA 35mm ?/2.8 Macro Limited) and Photo.net (An Optical Paragon - photo.net).

Digital Camera Forums and Discussion has a positive review in its news (Pentax DA 35mm f/2.8 Macro Limited Lens Review - Digital Camera Forums and Discussion).

However, Photo Zone didn't seem to like it as much (Pentax SMC DA 35mm f/2.8 Limited macro - Review / Test Report).

I think I'm going to start saving my pennies.

Vern
02-24-2009, 01:55 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Vern Quote
I think I'm going to start saving my pennies.
Start sweet-talking your wife, too

02-24-2009, 08:38 PM   #9
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"I'll never know how the TV got into my pajamas!" <--- hahahaha... classic.
Sorry, couldn't help it
02-25-2009, 01:04 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Miserere Quote
Start sweet-talking your wife, too
good advice
it does work if you're good enough...

QuoteOriginally posted by Sean Nelson Quote
Actually, for a fixed subject size the depth of field is a wash. The deeper DOF usually associated with shorter focal lengths is counterbalanced by the need to move the camera closer to the subject in order to have it fill the frame. Thus, the depth of field of both the 35mm and 50mm lenses will be the same if they're both used at the same f/number and the camera is positioned so that the subject appears the same size in the image.
actually I believe that the camera/lens wouldn't be moved. OP said, he used 35 vs 50 because from the same distance 50 couldn't get everything in FOV while 35 could. Saying that, we can assume that camera wouldn't be moved relative to the subject and then 35 WILL have bigger DOF than 50...
BR
02-25-2009, 10:10 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Vern Quote
I have found a few reviews overing some detail.

Mike Johnston quite likes it and has a couple reviews. The Online Photographer (The Online Photographer: The SMC Pentax DA 35mm ?/2.8 Macro Limited) and Photo.net (An Optical Paragon - photo.net).

Digital Camera Forums and Discussion has a positive review in its news (Pentax DA 35mm f/2.8 Macro Limited Lens Review - Digital Camera Forums and Discussion).

However, Photo Zone didn't seem to like it as much (Pentax SMC DA 35mm f/2.8 Limited macro - Review / Test Report).

I think I'm going to start saving my pennies.

Vern
This is a very useful compilation Vern. Those reviews are throwing fuel on the LBA fire. And the review from from Photozone, they gave it very good marks across the board, just not the "Highly Recommended" top-mark that we come to expect from Pentax!!

I have an unexplainable desire for this lens. While I've always been a fast prime lens guy, I've never been a macro lens guy. Maybe because they are slow (f/stop) and slow (focus throw).

But coming back to an dSLR from an advanced compact, I really miss having the ability to get in close. (My Ricoh GX-8 could focus on a dime (literally) and fill the frame with it.)

I originally thought I wanted an FA35/2 as a fast all around normal-lens, but this DA35/2.8 is gaining fast.

In the film days, I had no on-camera flash, no SR and fixed speed of film. So, fast f/stop was critical. But now with on-camera flash, SR and on-the-fly ISO adjustment, fast maximum f/stop is less critical to getting a sharp image.

(Aside: I guess that's Pentax's philosophy for the relative slowness of some of the compact DA primes (21mm, 70mm)...go a fraction of a stop slower, then reallocate the cost savings of the smaller glass into the optimizing the quality of the glass and the construction, as well as the gaining the benefits of tiny size. (Meanwhile, Olympus negates their tiny 4/3's bodies by offering enormous and pricey f/2.0 zooms!!!))

(Of course, fast f/stop still allows advantages for shallow-DOF and view-finder brightness.)

So, maybe I can give up the f/2 for the f/2.8 to gain the macro. And the price locally for DA35 is very very good at the moment, compared to USA.

Anyways, back to the original question.

For me, the decision works this way:
A) I don't have any lens at this focal range. B) I do have fast lenses. C) I don't have any lens that can do close up. D) I don't plan to use it on film-body. Therefore, I am leaning towards the DA. Then price is very close and the DA has quick-shift focus, so the decision becomes clear.

(But then again, that bright f/2 viewfinder is sooo tempting....)

Both lenses seem excellent and cannot go wrong one way or the other, just different strengths and weakness.
02-25-2009, 11:09 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by dave9t5 Quote
This is a very useful compilation Vern. Those reviews are throwing fuel on the LBA fire. And the review from from Photozone, they gave it very good marks across the board, just not the "Highly Recommended" top-mark that we come to expect from Pentax!!

I have an unexplainable desire for this lens. ...

Then it's my duty to do this:







02-25-2009, 11:47 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by jsherman999 Quote
Then it's my duty to do this:
Let me add some fuel to the fire ;-D





02-25-2009, 12:15 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by jsherman999 Quote
Then it's my duty to do this:
[...]

Jerrysherman, you are a very bad man! Very bad!


Your images in the M-lens Club forum broke me down. I ran out and bought a K-m "digital-back" just to mount my M20/4 (...and got me mini-lusting for an M85/2).

You didn't know you were doing it then, so can forgive. But now you are conciously trying to break me down....

If you have posted any of your secrets besides good lenses (both pre- and post-processing) anywhere here I would like to read it.
02-25-2009, 12:23 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sean Nelson Quote
Let me add some fuel to the fire ;-D
You too, are a very bad man!!



Nice stuff. I like the juxtaposition of the 2 insect images! (Is that a wire-cut die?)
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