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09-03-2012, 06:57 PM   #1
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Pentax A vs F 35-70mm F3.5-4.5 lens comparison

I have recently bought a pentax-A 35-70 f3.5-4.5 lens,
so far I like it,but not had much time to test it yet.
.I share a KX camera with my wife but she prefers auto focus lenses,And so mostly uses the 18-55 kit lens how does the
pentax-F 35-70 f3.5-4.5 compare optically to the pentax-A I can see no differences on the lens review data base except the auto focus and a slightly lower score .
Ant thoughts would be most appreciated.
Steve

09-03-2012, 07:05 PM   #2
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According to this site Pentax Zoom Lenses with Medium Focal Lengths the two lenses share the same optical formula.
09-04-2012, 01:25 AM   #3
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The F35-70mm is oft refered to as 'a bag of primes'.... While I don't quite agree with that, it is a very very good little zoom - sharp as nails and covering some reight usfull focal-lengths...
It lacks the magic of my FA35, the speed of my FA50 and the reach of my D-FA100(samsung)
However - Its AF is quick - it's small an unassuming and the images it produces are great... It the lens I pair with th MZ-7 at the moment which is a camera I still use frequently
09-04-2012, 04:59 AM   #4
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The A version was in production from 1985-89 and the F version from 1987-1991. So, they are fairly contemporary and had an overlap of ~2 years of production. That ought to mean that their coatings are equivalent too. If that is the case, and their optical formula are identical, then the only real difference ought to be in how they are focused. I own the F35-70 but have never handled or used the A version, so I can't compare the two in actual practice.

09-04-2012, 07:12 AM   #5
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I believe a more interesting comparion might be between the variable aperture f3.5-4.5 models (either F or A) and the Pentax-A 35-70mm f4 (fixed aperture). My F 35-70mm is a nice lens (and at the price, everybody should have one), but my impression of images created with the fixed aperture A35-70mm f4 is that is may have a bit of pixie dust added. However, it is rarely mentioned and a lot of people don't even seem to know that it exists.

Images taken with A35-70mm f4 on Flickriver.

I've got one, but have yet to shoot with it. May have to make a conscious effort to change that.
09-04-2012, 08:14 AM   #6
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I think the A and F 35-70mm f3.5-4.5s are optically the same. They share the same unusual lens element in the light shield of the mount, something I haven't seen on any other Pentax lens. The A version doesn't have a great manual focus feel, while the F is very quick at auto focus. The F version isn't very expensive either, hardly much more than the A. I'd choose the F between the two. I think the A has one ring for focus and zoom and the F is two because of the autofocus.

I have the A 35-70mm f4 lens and really like it. It looks and feels like a better-built lens. I have tried to sell it a few times but my opinion of its value and the market disagree. It has separate zoom and focus rings with a 58mm filter.

The 35-70 range works better for me on film. If I'm using a zoom on APS-C I prefer it to start wider.
09-04-2012, 08:22 AM   #7
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There's also the M35-70/2.8-3.5, it's faster but much bigger. It’s closer to the AF25-70/2.8 and the slower A35-70/4, optically.


Phil.
09-04-2012, 06:18 PM   #8
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Thank you for all your replies,
Sounds like the F 35-70 is going to be even more useful than the A 35-70 that I recently bought.. And I should be able to convince my wife to use it instead of the kit lens. At least for some shots.
considering the low price the F 35-70 usually sells for on ebay I will try and win the next one that comes up.the A 35-70 only cost me 35 and I have seen the F go for only a little bit more seems like a really good price for the score it achieves. most lenses that score highly on the review database command much higher prices.
Steve

09-04-2012, 06:21 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by steve7cat Quote
Thank you for all your replies,
Sounds like the F 35-70 is going to be even more useful than the A 35-70 that I recently bought.. And I should be able to convince my wife to use it instead of the kit lens. At least for some shots.
considering the low price the F 35-70 usually sells for on ebay I will try and win the next one that comes up.the A 35-70 only cost me 35 and I have seen the F go for only a little bit more seems like a really good price for the score it achieves. most lenses that score highly on the review database command much higher prices.
Steve
It is usually a bargain in my opinion. Mine was $33 shipped (it came as a body cap on a SF-1).
09-08-2012, 08:44 AM   #10
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I can say with a certainty your best investment would be a second camera body.
I would suggest alternative lenses but I assume price is a huge factor and you want AF.
I found with APSC something like the more expensive 24-50 F4 (in either A or F) to be far more useful as I am used to 35mm film field of view.

That said you can really only use the review scores as a general guideline as I have found them to be horribly skewed based on what that person had used previously and what lenses they own, plus many people over rate what they grew up with or their favorite stuff, or have a bad copy of something and rate it horribly, or compare a $50 lens to the $1200 lenses they own.

I actually have tweaked some of the ratings I gave a few of my A lenses a bit lower since as I have experienced new stuff they really start to show their age in areas like chromatic aberrations and sometimes sharpness. Pentax A series is still the only lens series I use though (I hate AF).

EDIT: Actually if you have an 18-55 I wouldn't bother with either of the lenses you mention, as the 18-55 is a much more useful range for the camera you have. Better to get something that compliments what you have. I got my 70-300 (an old AF tamron FF lens) for $100 from a friend because I needed the 300mm end of it (slow as hell there though).

Last edited by PPPPPP42; 09-08-2012 at 08:49 AM.
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