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03-14-2010, 08:43 PM   #1
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DA 35mmF2.8 macro vs DA 40mm F2.8 pancake

I recently acquired a K-x with the 18-55mm and the 50-200mm DA-L lenses. So far I am very happy with both lenses. But... I "grew up" in photography in the 1960's with a Contarex and a Leica M3. Back then the common wisdom was that "consumer" priced zoom lenses were just that - for consumers - and could not possibly compare for image quality at any setting with a prime lens of comparable focal length. My personal experience back then confirmed that. For equal dollars spent, primes had it all over zooms.

I suspect, that even with modern technological improvemments in lens design and manufacturing, the same is still true to a greater or lesser degree: a zoom must be a compromise where a prime can be designed to produce better images for the same cost.

That being said, I am planning to invest in a "normal" lens first. Most of my shooting is outdoors in all types of weather, from bright sunny clear to dull overcast and drizzling. I shoot primarily landscapes where my lens will be set at or near infinity. A small percentage (5%??) might be closeups of textures such as tree limbs, old weathered farmhouse boards, etc. A VERY small percentage might actually be considered "macro" but for them I prefer to use a longer than "normal" lens so I have some working distance from my subject. I rarely shoot people (portraits) and bokeh is not the most important consideration, though good bokeh is a definite plus.

For me, sharpness is the primary consideration, though wide apertures are not. Outdoors I usually shoot ISO 400 and close the lens down to its best aperture, which still usually results in high enough shutter speeds so tripods are not required. Good contrast and color rendition are also major considerations. Given a choice, I prefer "warm" color to cool.

I have read the entire lens review database for all lenses from 28mm to 50mm and am currently considering two, both of which look like great lenses:

SMC Pentax-DA 35mm F2.8 Limited Macro - $599.99 + $20 shipping

and

SMC Pentax-DA 40mm F2.8 Limited - $369.95 + free shipping

Currently, I find the prices above on eBay.

Both receive raves from users. One has macro capability, the other is so small many will wonder if I even have a lens on the camera. They're the same aperture, close to the same focal length, and both could be considered as "normal" lenses for the K-x. Obviously price is part of the consideration, but frankly, NOT the most important aspect. I'm hoping someone here owns or has owned both lenses and can point out which they prefer and most importantly, why. Thanks in advance for all input.

Tim

03-14-2010, 09:02 PM   #2
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I have owned the DA40, and now I own the DA 35 2.8.

I liked the DA 40, but I prefer the DA 35. Here's why:

1) It's wider. I never really grew into the 40mm focal length - just a tad to long and a tad too short (for me).

2) It's a true 1:1 macro. Having a 35mm FOV at 1:1 or 1:2 or 1:3 brings you some very unique images.

3) It just gave me more pleasing output. This is maddeningly vague, I know, but it did. If I still had both I'd try to figure out exactly why, but at the time I just preferred the detail, bokeh, and FOV the DA 35 brought.

The DA 40 was smaller and locked focus faster, and would be very sweet paired with the K-x - one of the smallest of not the smallest DSLR combos there is.

These guys really liked the DA 35, and they're more articulate than I about why: ---> link.



.
03-14-2010, 09:44 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tim_R Quote

Both receive raves from users. One has macro capability, the other is so small many will wonder if I even have a lens on the camera. They're the same aperture, close to the same focal length, and both could be considered as "normal" lenses for the K-x. Obviously price is part of the consideration, but frankly, NOT the most important aspect. I'm hoping someone here owns or has owned both lenses and can point out which they prefer and most importantly, why. Thanks in advance for all input.

Tim
I don't own either so can't comment - I just wanted to say thanks for asking this because I'm keen on getting one of these. I have read a lot about both and am definitely leaning towards the DA 35mm but am always keen to hear more opinions on both.
03-15-2010, 05:08 AM   #4
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I don't have the DA40, but the Voigtlander Ultron 40mm, which you might also want to consider. The FOV difference is significant on the K7, but not too large. The Ultron is a bit better for portraits because its max aperture is f2, but it lacks AF. I find that the image and built quality are excellent on both lenses.

You may want to check prices for the da35 - B&H sell them for $539 but its out of stock right now. Ebay seller "prodigital200" has it for $529.

03-15-2010, 05:46 AM   #5
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Hi, Tim R!
I had the same question sometimes ago. Now I have DA35 macro: it's a nice piece of glass. I carry it all time .... and other lenses, if the case. Good luck in your decision.
BR
03-15-2010, 05:48 AM   #6
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Probably not what you want to hear, but shooting landscapes at f/8-f/16 you already have the ideal lenses in the two kit lenses (unless you wanted to upgrade slightly to DA 16-45mm and DA 55-300mm). Stopped down that far you are not likely to notice a significant difference in with the primes and your lenses now in your shots.

Here's some other suggestions to give you something a bit different:
35mm A f/2.8 - manual focus, excellent IQ, and about $100.
40mm M f/2.8 - manual focus, manual app, pancake lens - very cheap.
28mm M/A f/2.8 - manual focus, could probably p/u for $50.
DA 10-17mm Fisheye - great IQ and fun fisheye at 10mm, and near rectilinear at 17mm. Very versatile lens.

Just some thoughts. Doesn't seem to make much sense to purchase DA35 or DA40 for what you are needing/wanting to shoot with.

c[_]
03-15-2010, 05:55 AM   #7
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I thought I saw that DA 35 cheaper somewhere. It's a pretty good buy...!
03-15-2010, 08:04 AM   #8
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I chose the DA 35 over the 40 for one major reason....it's versatility. Like you, I was also looking for a prime lens that would give me superior image quality, close to normal fov, is reasonably fast, would allow me to take sharp landscapes as well as true macro, and everything in between, and be small to boot! The DA 35 Ltd is the only prime lens that fulfills all those requirements for me. If I could only own one lens, this would be it. I also have the kx, and I can assure you, you will notice the difference in your images with the DA 35. This lens was well-worth the extra cost to me.

03-15-2010, 09:17 AM   #9
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Hey. I have got a DA40, but I have to say I prefer the DA 35mm. DA 35 Macro on ASP-C is equal equivalent to a 50mm macro lens on the FF. The 40mm on the ASP-C is a bit too long as a standard lens. However, I found 40mm is pretty good on portrait in some situation, like you take a picture of one sitting in the opposite side of a table.

If I were you I will get neither 40 or 35, I think the DA 21 is the most "must" lens in the whole pancake family, and its equivalent 35mm on 35mm film camera is pretty attractive.
03-15-2010, 09:23 AM   #10
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35 > 40, though both are very nice.
03-15-2010, 11:01 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tim_R Quote
I recently acquired a K-x with the 18-55mm and the 50-200mm DA-L lenses. So far I am very happy with both lenses. But... I "grew up" in photography in the 1960's with a Contarex and a Leica M3. Back then the common wisdom was that "consumer" priced zoom lenses were just that - for consumers - and could not possibly compare for image quality at any setting with a prime lens of comparable focal length. My personal experience back then confirmed that. For equal dollars spent, primes had it all over zooms.

I suspect, that even with modern technological improvemments in lens design and manufacturing, the same is still true to a greater or lesser degree: a zoom must be a compromise where a prime can be designed to produce better images for the same cost.
It's pretty much still true as a generalization, but a sufficiently good (= expensive) zoom can rival most primes - particularly primes like the DA40 and DA35 that are not any *faster* than said zooms. The kit lenses are not those zooms, though.

For me, sharpness is the primary consideration, though wide apertures are not. Outdoors I usually shoot ISO 400 and close the lens down to its best aperture, which still usually results in high enough shutter speeds so tripods are not required. Good contrast and color rendition are also major considerations. Given a choice, I prefer "warm" color to cool.

I have read the entire lens review database for all lenses from 28mm to 50mm and am currently considering two, both of which look like great lenses:

QuoteQuote:
Currently, I find the prices above on eBay.
You can generally beat those prices with the major US dealers like B&H and Adorama.

I don't have both, but as much as I love my DA40, I'd say if price is not a stumbling block, that seems the better choice for you. I really like the 40mm FOV, but I need a wider a lens to complement it (currently M28/2.8). A 35mm would make a good compromise if you're looking for just one lens in that range (and don't want to spring for the 31, of course).
03-15-2010, 12:12 PM   #12
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eventhough the DA35's IQ is really outstanding, I have to go for the DA40 as a normal walk-around due to it's faster AF and compactness (yes, it's really cute). I dunno but the DA35 didn't seem to grow on me.
03-15-2010, 12:21 PM   #13
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I don't think that the AF on the DA40 is really that much faster than the DA35 (if at all), it's just that the focus throw is shorter due to it not being a macro. Do a bit of quickshift to get yourself into the right focusing range to begin with, and they're equally fast. Going from 1:1 to infinity will of course take longer.
03-15-2010, 12:56 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by deadwolfbones Quote
I don't think that the AF on the DA40 is really that much faster than the DA35 (if at all), it's just that the focus throw is shorter due to it not being a macro. Do a bit of quickshift to get yourself into the right focusing range to begin with, and they're equally fast. Going from 1:1 to infinity will of course take longer.
quickshift is not AF, so to speak. so it is still not that independently faster.
03-15-2010, 01:21 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by deadwolfbones Quote
I don't think that the AF on the DA40 is really that much faster than the DA35 (if at all), it's just that the focus throw is shorter due to it not being a macro. Do a bit of quickshift to get yourself into the right focusing range to begin with, and they're equally fast. Going from 1:1 to infinity will of course take longer.
Exactly right, the DA 35 has long long ways to travel, used to own this lens and it is definitely my second favorite lense I've ever owned after the DA* 50-135.
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