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09-17-2020, 12:43 AM   #1
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Which 35mm lens?

Hello

I have a maximum budget of around 1000 euros/1200 dollars to spend on a 35mm lens. Which one would you recommend within my budget, and why?

It doesn't have to cost that much. That's just the most I would be willing to spend on a good 35.

It would be used on the K-1.

09-17-2020, 01:28 AM - 3 Likes   #2
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In AF choices, I'd heartily recommend either the older SMC or newer HD versions of the FA 35mm f/2. It's compact, robust, and the image quality is excellent, especially if you stop down just a tiny bit (f/2 is perfectly usable, but even f/2.2 is noticeably better). The HD version has some nice little upgrades such as improved coatings and a textured focusing ring that, whilst not essential, are definite improvements. I use my HD model on the K-3 primarily (so APS-C), but I've tried it on my A7 MkII with an adapter and was no less impressed with the optical performance on the full frame sensor.

If MF is your thing, take a look at the Samyang / Rokinon 35mm f/1.4... It's physically quite a long lens, but it's not heavy for what it is, and image quality is - IMHO - fantastic. Again, it benefits from being stopped down, but is already good wide open across the frame, which I find impressive at the price point. I have it in Sony A-mount for use on full frame. Infinity focus is slightly off on mine in that it reaches perfect focus just before the marking on the lens, and goes slightly past infinity by the time it reaches the hard stop. It's not a problem for me, but I thought it worth mentioning as Samyang / Rokinon have had some issues with consistency.

Both the above lenses have minor quirks... they're not perfect; but then, what is? Neither will disappoint you, I think, and each will leave you with a BIG chunk of change from your 1000 euros...

Last edited by BigMackCam; 09-17-2020 at 02:31 AM.
09-17-2020, 01:49 AM   #3
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It depends on how fast you want. I have and can recommend the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art, which sells in the US for $699 at present. Not sure of the price in Europe. It and the Samyang are pretty hefty though (665g and 690g respectively). The Pentax f/2 is only 193g. Check out a comparison of their specs here. The Pentax is also much cheaper.

If it's mostly for landscape, I'd say go for the Pentax. If for portraits you may value the added shallowness of field of the f/1.4 lenses.

Last edited by Paul the Sunman; 09-17-2020 at 04:15 AM.
09-17-2020, 01:51 AM - 1 Like   #4
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One should not discount the FA31mm f1.8 Ltd. A great lens with superb IQ. A second hand one would fit your budget.

My 5 cents.

09-17-2020, 01:53 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Paul the Sunman Quote
It and the Samyang are pretty hefty though (665g and 690g respectively).
I'm surprised the Samyang is that heavy... it's never struck me as such. It certainly balances well on my Hasselblad HV.

I see it's available new on eBay right now, in Pentax mount, from a seller in Poland at just GBP 240 + 14 shipping, which is something of a bargain considering the optical quality...
09-17-2020, 02:24 AM   #6
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Another vote for the FA 35mm F2 Lens. I have both the old version and the FA 31mm and to be honest I prefer the 35mm. I don't know in real use how it compares with the newer HD version, but I think the SMC version is a great lens.

(In case I get banned ;-) I'm not knocking the FA 31mm, it's just in the vast number of cases I've compared the 31 with the 35, I've really not noticed any differences that aren't down to slight angle variation, light changes etc. Also, it's a lot cheaper and lighter plus I feel more relaxed when using it in the field, especially when the weather is a bit iffy.)
09-17-2020, 02:32 AM - 1 Like   #7
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For a recommendation, one would need some information about the intended use. E.g. the slightly wider 31mm Ltd. is an excellent lens unless your primary use are night skies, where the Samyang has better coma correction. However, it's manual focus. The Sigma 35/1.4 A HSM has both, but it lacks 'character', is bigger/heavier than the 31mm Ltd and bokeh isn't as creamy either ...

So let us know what you want to use it for! I like to throw my FA35/2.0 into my bag just in case for it's compactness, light weight, 49mm filter diameter shared with a lot of my other primes and reliable performance if I want a moderate low-light wide-angle 'just in case' or a lightweight hiking set. If I know that I'm going to shoot with a prime in that range in advance, it's usually the 31mm Ltd. with it's dedicated set of 58mm filters, if I need any. The built-in hood doesn't allow to use step-up ring with this lens.

So what are you looking for? MF acceptable,. AF required, silent AF required? Bokeh/sun stars/astro performance important? Weight/size a concern?
09-17-2020, 02:56 AM   #8
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Thank you all for your great responses. I am at work right now, but will define my needs more specifically when I get home. I will look into the different lenses already suggested as soon as time allows me. 🙂

09-17-2020, 02:58 AM   #9
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Sigma Art if it is your budget and you don't mind the weight.
09-17-2020, 03:32 AM   #10
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the possible contenders -

28mm - 43mm full frame sensor Pentax prime lenses:

Full Frame Prime Lenses between 28mm and 44mm | PentaxForums.com

28mm - 43mm full frame sensor Third party prime lenses:

Full Frame Third Party Prime Lenses between 28mm and 44mm | PentaxForums.com
09-17-2020, 06:29 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by BarryE Quote
Another vote for the FA 35mm F2 Lens. I have both the old version and the FA 31mm and to be honest I prefer the 35mm. I don't know in real use how it compares with the newer HD version, but I think the SMC version is a great lens.

(In case I get banned ;-) I'm not knocking the FA 31mm, it's just in the vast number of cases I've compared the 31 with the 35, I've really not noticed any differences that aren't down to slight angle variation, light changes etc. Also, it's a lot cheaper and lighter plus I feel more relaxed when using it in the field, especially when the weather is a bit iffy.)
I own both myself as well, my 35 is the older SMC version and no longer functions as as autofocus lens (or even like an A series...) So these days the FA 31 is more likely in the bag.

But my comparison of the two lenses indicates the SMC 35 f2 is no slouch. Film era comparison and tests available that I have read show a higher center resolution for the FA 31, AND better edger performance for the FA 35. In practice the differences are pretty subtle.

Caveat, I'm not a master of the fa 31. Also my comparison is on crop (k3). I have shot the 31 on film as well as a k1 and frankly it was more magical than the 35 mainly by being wider but not too wide. That's not a knock on optical results, just an observation of my impression.

Here's an older Flickr folder of FA 35 shots: https://www.flickr.com/gp/129729978@N02/Xk4u6B

Some FA 31 shots: https://www.flickr.com/gp/129729978@N02/4t811d

And some of the same subject with several lenses: https://www.flickr.com/gp/129729978@N02/h8k802

Last edited by UncleVanya; 09-17-2020 at 06:59 AM.
09-17-2020, 07:49 AM   #12
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It is important for us to first know if you are shooting full-frame, or APS-C only, do you really mean 35mm, or are 30mm lenses also OK, and a little bit about what you want to shoot?

In APS-C, the 35mm Ltd. Macro is an amazing lens. Not super fast (f2.8), but sharp and wonderful and useful all the time.
The DA35 is a great choice, too, and not very expensive.
If you want faster aperture, I would absolutely go with the FA31 Ltd for general usage.
If you want to mostly shoot subjects in the very center of the frame, and only APS-C, the Sigma 30mm f1.4 is amazing. The corner performance is awful, though, so not a very general purpose lens.
If you want something wildly funky, the old Takumar 35mm f2.3 is a fantastic lens, but it is huge and clumsy to use.
The Sigma 18-35 f1.8 is a great lens that also does 35mm, but it is huge and some people have focusing problems. Mine focuses quite reliably, but not all of them do
If you want a slightly tighter lens, the DA40mm Ltd and FA43mm Ltd are also very special.

All of the ~30 to 40mm lenses available for Pentax are really wonderful in one way or another. Here is my suggestion: Just pick one, buy it used for a fair price, and use it for a month or two. If you don't love it, sell it, and try another. Each has different strengths, so only you will be able to pick the right one for you.

As for me, I have the DA35mm Macro Ltd., the Sigma 30/1.4, the Takumar 35/2.3, the Sigma 18-35/1.8, the FA43/1.9, and the FA31/1.8. I use each of them differently, and have no intention on selling any of them.
09-17-2020, 08:20 AM   #13
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If you can live with a shaft driven lens, a bit plastic feeling and occasional purple fringing I would recommend the HD FA 35mm 2.0 as well.
Pentax SMC-FA 35mm f/2 AL - Review / Test Report - Analysis

I own the Sigma 1.4 35 mm, which is a very good lens. But it needs to be stopped down to 2.0 to perform well over the whole frame.
The Sigma feels more like a tank and the built quality is very good. But the weight is according and I would not like to have it on a K-1.
Second thing is, focusing of the Sigma really works only with the center AF point, which is very limiting.

I only did choose the Sigma over the Pentax because of the wider aperture. I wanted a lens that gives the same look on APS-C as my A 1.7 / 50 mm on the K-1.
For a K-1 I would not even have taken the Sigma into account. If you want something more solid then the 35 mm 2.0, the 31 mm 1.8 is the logical choice.
09-17-2020, 08:25 AM   #14
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I have the newer HD FA 35mm F2 and the Samyang 35mm F1.4. The Samyang is sharper at F2 than the FA 35 at F2 but only if you are pixel peeping, and it is still nice and sharp wide open at F1.4. So if you really want F1.4 then the Samyang is a nice lens and as BigMackCam has mentioned it handles nicely despite it's size. I really like both but I can honestly say the HD FA 35 gets the most use. It is a nice portable size, sharp enough at F2 and really good from 2.8 up, plus AF is nice. It is my go to landscape lens on the K1 but for daily use it is usually glued to my K3 where it makes an excellent nifty fifty substitute. I bought the Samyang first because I wanted F1.4, but ended up getting the HD FA 35 for the AF. Now that I have both I can say I should have just bought the HD FA 35 in the first place. F2 is bright enough I don't miss F1.4 and having AF more than makes up for it.
09-17-2020, 08:43 AM   #15
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I own the FA 35/2 and can recommend it or the HD variant without reservation with a nod given to the HD due to better focus ring grip and coatings.* I've done a ton of good work with mine such that it is on my never sell list.


Steve

* The Ghostless coatings on the non-HD are actually pretty incredible.
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