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07-20-2008, 09:00 PM - 2 Likes   #1
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Theory on DA 35mm ltd 'greatest lens ever' (?) tag

QuoteOriginally posted by frank Quote
The DA35/2.8 is an excellent macro lens, and a very good lens for general shooting too. Mike Johnston from Photo.net hinted that this lens could be the greatest lens he's ever used:

Maturity in the World of Digital Photography - photo.net

You can find more about this from his blog on July 18th:
The Online Photographer: July 2008


You know, this is quite significant. Mike Johnston has owned or tested hundreds
of top lenses over the years, maybe thousands. In his own modest, self-effacing
way, he's the top of the heap when it comes to.... well, everything to do with
lenses. It can be argued that his opinion of a lens is worth more than any other
one person's on the planet.

So it's almost a bit strange to me that he could say that about the DA 35ltd -
because it's truly a great lens... but not even the best lens I own. In my opinion.

And I think Carl Weese (his partner in crime on The Online Photographer) has had
a take similar to Mike's on the DA 35...

Here's what's been in the back of my head about this ever since I read him
hint at this a few months back - I wonder if he and Carl aren't getting
a bit blown away by that Samsung sensor in that loaned K20D they're using.

Since I upgraded from my K100D, I've just noticed that almost all my lenses
are slightly 'better' - very subtly so, but better. Skin tones and texture, the blend
of colors in the bokeh - all slightly better, to a degree that's hard to notice
consciously, but that just causes the images to 'pop' more in my brain.

It's not all attributable to the simple 6 --> 14MP upgrade - it's something new in
the way the sensor handles color and microcontrast.

So I wonder - is the DA 35ltd really one of the best lenses he's ever used, or is it more
likely that the DA 35 + K20D combo is one of the best he's ever shot, and
he's attributing it all to the lens?



.


Last edited by jsherman999; 07-20-2008 at 09:05 PM.
07-20-2008, 09:19 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by jsherman999 Quote
You know, this is quite significant. Mike Johnston has owned or tested hundreds
of top lenses over the years, maybe thousands. In his own modest, self-effacing
way, he's the top of the heap when it comes to.... well, everything to do with
lenses. It can be argued that his opinion of a lens is worth more than any other
one person's on the planet.

So it's almost a bit strange to me that he could say that about the DA 35ltd -
because it's truly a great lens... but not even the best lens I own. In my opinion.
Jay,
I was unable to find Mike Johnson's "greatest lens" statement, though he did say that he was going to review "one of the greatest.." in his column next month. Presumably that lens is the DA 35 limited though he also hinted that it might be the Zeiss 28/2 or maybe even both. I will be curious to read what he has to say.

I think you might have a point regarding exposure to new sensor technology and a new lens at the same time. In any case, I know that you have worked with a lot of lenses and if you say you have better than the DA 35 in your quiver, I believe you.

Steve
07-20-2008, 09:44 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Jay,
I was unable to find Mike Johnson's "greatest lens" statement, though he did say that he was going to review "one of the greatest.." in his column next month. Presumably that lens is the DA 35 limited though he also hinted that it might be the Zeiss 28/2 or maybe even both. I will be curious to read what he has to say.

I think you might have a point regarding exposure to new sensor technology and a new lens at the same time. In any case, I know that you have worked with a lot of lenses and if you say you have better than the DA 35 in your quiver, I believe you.

Steve
Yes, he said 'one of the greatest', my thread title was too brief.

Also, he's hinting it's not the Zeiss:

QuoteQuote:
....
Anyway, I hope you'll come back from time to time to see some sucky (but perhaps informative) pictures, and even the odd, occasional good one. Next month, for instance, I'll be writing about a brand new digital lens that I think is one of the greatest lenses I've ever used. And that's really saying something, since I've used far more lenses than I care to count. (Don't assume it's the Zeiss I mentioned earlier. But don't assume it isn't.) Hope to see ya then.


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07-20-2008, 11:25 PM   #4
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I think personal preference plays big role in his statement. What he things the best isn't guaranteed the best to the others. But if he thinks DA35 is one of the greatest lenses he ever used, that does mean something special about this lens

Personally I think the DA35 is an excellent lens, but not my best ever.

07-25-2008, 07:27 AM   #5
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The DA35 is unique in my experience--it's rare that a lens that excels so spectacularly as a macro is also excellent as a walk-around lens...especially one so small and so affordable. Perhaps he's referring, in part, to this amazing versatility.

If the world were perfect, it would be an f/1.8. But in this world, the DA35 is really quite an achievement.
07-25-2008, 07:57 AM   #6
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Definate subjectivity afoot (and perhaps a mixture of all the other factors mentioned). I've now tried three copies of the Zeiss 25/2.8 and one each of the 28/2 and the DA35 and the 25 has finally won me over. I wouldn't call it the best lens ever, but to me it was the most interesting of the three.

I suspect his subjectivity might be taking the longer look though - If you factor in availability, AF (+quick shift), 1:1 macro, good general performance and its price, the DA is guaranteed to turn more a lot more heads right from the get-go. If money and AF weren't a factor, and more people had access to Zeiss glass at their local store - might be a different story. The fact that the Zeiss could still compete (and possibly excel) a lens offering so many advantages over it tells you how good the optics and build alone really are of those lenses. And I for one will corroborate that

Nonetheless, its nice to hear of Pentax in the running for best anything from anyone, heh. Go 35, w00t!
07-25-2008, 08:55 AM   #7
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DA35 is one of the best macro lens, but not the best lens for me.
I didn't find something special or outstanding in DA35. It's rather strange lens - it couldn't be walk-around lens, lens for portrait or lens for landscapes. I couldn't find how to use it.
07-25-2008, 09:02 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by mabelsound Quote
The DA35 is unique in my experience--it's rare that a lens that excels so spectacularly as a macro is also excellent as a walk-around lens...especially one so small and so affordable. Perhaps he's referring, in part, to this amazing versatility.

If the world were perfect, it would be an f/1.8. But in this world, the DA35 is really quite an achievement.
Unfortunately NOT. I differ.
DA35 is dark first of all and no good for portrait or landscapes. I understand that fans like to create myths - but, DA35 is just VERY GOOD MACRO lens in metal body and it's ALL.

FA35/2 or FA31 are really walk-around lenses, DA40 or FA43 too, but not DA35.
I will wait DA*30 to use with weather-sealed body as regular lens.

07-25-2008, 12:19 PM   #9
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Did anyone try the DA 35ltd on FF camera?

eom... well... i'd have to put something here so it's more than 10 characters
07-25-2008, 01:14 PM   #10
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Did the article mention what they used the lens for or what about it they thought made it so fantastic? What other lenses have they used on the K20D? Did they compare it to anything else?

It's one of the best lenses for hand-held close-up shots, and hand-held macro, never really did any macro (or macro-ish) type of photos until I got this lens. It's a terrific lens up close, great detail, saturated colors, although a bit dark if uncompensated. It has quick-shift focusing, it's metal, it's a perfect walk-around size.

All around, however, I have a lot of focus issues with the lens at infinity and near infinity, seems hit and miss, mostly miss. I wanted to love it so much, that I bought a second copy, hoping it would be better or different from the first, but they are the same.
(infinity tests for me were on a tripod with SR off, remote release f8 and better, shutter speed 200 and better, even manual focused, etc.., and then walking around at mid-range with SR on and high shutter speed and f6.3 or greater)
some people thought the images looked just fine, and maybe so, but not for me with higher expectations that I have and direct comparison between 2 DA35 models and the DA35 compared to the FA31, the FA43 and the DA40. Both DA35's came in last for scenics, landscapes, candids, general. But they came in first for up-close detail.

Where as the FA31 and FA43 reliably focus at infinity and do everything the DA35 does and significantly better, except for that really amazing close-up work that this lens does really well. I love the size and build and wanted to use it as a general-purpose walk around, but it didn't cut it for me. But I'll keep it for close-up and macro-type stuff.
07-25-2008, 04:57 PM   #11
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The images Ihave seen from it are pretty darned amazing and it wipes out the biggest disadvantage of my FA43 Limited... the rather large nearest focus distance. Plus it's a more useful focal length IMO. Still not sure if it has the same magic as the FA43. And it's not as fast.
07-25-2008, 05:02 PM   #12
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@ augustmoon - I had the same findings as you re: the DA. Pentax FA31mm ltd and DA35mm ltd macro resolution comparison - a set on Flickr
07-25-2008, 05:29 PM   #13
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I haven't touched the DA35, but I'm surprised at everyone saying how it's only good close-up.

While it isn't a very good landscape focal length on digital, my FA50 macro is outstanding in just about any circumstance except maybe low light.
07-25-2008, 05:50 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by rparmar Quote
The images Ihave seen from it are pretty darned amazing and it wipes out the biggest disadvantage of my FA43 Limited... the rather large nearest focus distance. Plus it's a more useful focal length IMO. Still not sure if it has the same magic as the FA43. And it's not as fast.
I'm trying to find someone who can prove me wrong so I can pickup perhaps a magical 3rd copy and use it as a walkaround and landscape lens. The last person who told me this is a fantastic landscape lens, sent me some pics that had nothing but fuzzy blurry trees in the background, so I'm still waiting.

I'm still thinking I got an amazing copy of an FA43, because my FA43 smokes my FA31 Ltd. my FA50, and my FA77 ltd for sharpness. And at close ranges only the DA35 beats it (along with the focusing distance)....

?
07-25-2008, 09:22 PM   #15
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DA35 covers approx. 1.08 crop at FF.
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