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SMC Pentax-A 35-70mm F3.5-4.5

Reviews Views Date of last review
16 78,768 Sun October 27, 2019
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
94% of reviewers $49.83 8.00
SMC Pentax-A 35-70mm F3.5-4.5

This lens has variable aperture that is faster than that of the fixed-aperture A version at the short end and slower at the long end.

SMC Pentax-A 35-70mm F3.5-4.5
©, sharable with attribution
Image Format
Full-frame / 35mm film
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
Yes (A setting)
Automatic, 6 blades
8 elements, 8 groups
Mount Variant
Check camera compatibility
Max. Aperture
Min. Aperture
Min. Focus
32 cm
Max. Magnification
Filter Size
49 mm
Internal Focus
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 45-23 ° / 38-19 °
Full frame: 63-34 ° / 54-29 °
Lens Cap
Plastic clip-on
Weather Sealing
Other Features
One-touch Zoom
Diam x Length
66 x 50 mm
243 g
Production Years
1985 (start of production)
Engraved Name
smc PENTAX-A ZOOM 1:3.5~4.5 35~70mm
Product Code
User reviews
Manual FocusAperture RingAutomatic ApertureFull-Frame SupportDiscontinued
Price History:

Add Review of SMC Pentax-A 35-70mm F3.5-4.5
Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-15 of 16
New Member

Registered: October, 2019
Posts: 2
Lens Review Date: October 27, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $45.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Overall a great lens
Cons: None so far
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-50   

This lens also has pretty good low light performance. IQ is top-notch. Color reproduction is just great.

Right-click the following images and click "Open Image in New Tab", then zoom in.

- Pentax-A 35-70mm F3.5-4.5
- Pentax K-50 DSLR (16.3mp)
- mounted on tripod
- aperture priority
- ISO 100
- F3.5
- white balance set to AWB for most pics
- focus peaking enabled on camera
- using manual focus assist
- 2-second timer

During the day with natural light, 1 second exposure:

Macro, during the day with natural light, cropped in camera after taking shots, both 4 second exposure:

Took these at 9am on a Sunday morning with natural light coming in from a window.

70mm, F11, 2 or 3 second exposure:

This shot was taken in a living room at night with just one soft incandescent lamp turned on across the room.
White balance set to tungsten, 8 second exposure:

These two were shot in the living room in the late afternoon:

Do yourself a favor and right-click on the below image, then click "Open image in new tab". Zoom in, pan around. Then prepare to pick your jaw up from the ground.

Yeah, this lens is highly recommended by one such as myself.
New Member

Registered: February, 2019
Posts: 12
Lens Review Date: February 9, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $35.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Sharp, easy to use, tiny
Cons: Plastic design and build
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 8    Value: 8    Camera Used: ME Super Ricoh KR10   

It's sad that it's so under-rated, I think. Macro sharpness perfection. Best macro I have ever used. Lovely across-the-focal-and aperture range imaging with high quality sharpness. Some folks who don't trust zooms and who turn only to heavy and multiple primes need to use this lens as it will change some minds.

f3.5 to f22 is a very useful aperture range for most work, although you won't get the best from this lens outside of the f5.6 to f11 range or the 40mm to 60mm focal length. This does limit the lens, but that's the nature of zoom lens design.

It's tiny and weighs next to nothing, so it's prefect for photography where you don't want to look covered in lenses like Sputnik being wheeled up the road on a trolley. Pretty much the size of an A or M series 50mm lens but with a better range of application.

Because of the nature of the zoom and macro function built around a rather weak and aged plastic design, the zoom/focus mechanism can become a little lumpy, dry and wobbly with age, but that's nothing to worry about unless you are particularly unrealistic and super-fussy when buying vintage lenses for less than $40. Make sure you don't pay more than that for this lens. As with the rest of the plastic made lenses in the A Series range, the aperture ring gets sticky and worn out through time. If you are buying one and the seller states it's dry and just needs lubrication, don't buy it as the the ring is more likely to be worn out, the internal mechanism is broken, or it's just an old ruined lens.
Site Supporter

Registered: March, 2014
Posts: 38

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: August 14, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $40.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Light, small, sharp
Cons: none unless you want to quibble about the limited range
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 9    Camera Used: Pentax K10, MX, K1000   

I've heard some negative about this lens, but in all honesty, I don't think that you can go wrong adding this little fella to your kit.

If you like manual lenses, and want to go on a walkabout to a park or zoo, or a midway or some other peopled area, it's as good as it gets. It's small, light and more than acceptably sharp.

I use it very frequently for portraits, and shots of children. On the small cmos sensor, it works out to be a 50 - 105 zoom. Perfect people lens.


Loyal Site Supporter

Registered: April, 2015
Posts: 1,266
Lens Review Date: July 1, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $25.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Sharp, good colours, light
Cons: No AF compared to the F Version
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 7    Camera Used: K5II, K30, K-01   

The main reason for writing this review is to point out, there are two different versions of this lens on the market:

SMC Version
Non-SMC Version

I guess that the bad reviews of this lens are about the non SMC Version!

The SMC Version is a very good lens, excellent for portrait but as one can find the Autofocus F 35-70, which is basically the very same but with a superfast (noicy screwdrive) AF, why bother with the A Version?

Nevertheless, it is really a good lens. Three primes within one body, light, not too fast .... but at 2,8 it would be much larger.

Of course the A Version looks better than the F Version (to my taste).

Very good on the K-01 with Peak-On, easy to focus then.
Forum Member

Registered: September, 2013
Posts: 62

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: December 28, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $90.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: compact, solid design, A-mode compatible with DSLR
Cons: may be a little slow, also soft a litttle
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 9    Value: 9    Camera Used: ME-super   

It was my second zoom after TAMRON 28-50, and tamron was not to good.
I was Using is for short period on the ME-super and was upgraded it for M35-70/2.8-3.5 only because last one was faster.
35-70/2.8-3.5 also has a better sharpness.
other all it is a good-enough lens, compatible (now) with DSLR because it has an Auto mode of aperture ring.
Veteran Member

Registered: June, 2010
Posts: 749

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: September 13, 2012 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: N/A | Rating: 5 

Pros: very compact zoom, very light
Cons: build quality, zoom range too small for today's standards
Sharpness: 6    Aberrations: 6    Bokeh: 5    Handling: 5    Value: 7    Camera Used: K20d   

Better avoid this lens for serious photography....maybe it can be useful for some fun zoom effect shots, if you intend to use it for serious photos than that better buy 16-45, which is great value for price.
Only positives of this lens I can think of are small size and weight. Build quality is rubbish, focusing ring is not smooth at all, same applies for zoom mechanism. Optical quality is pretty mediocre.
Site Supporter

Registered: April, 2011
Location: Lost in translation ...
Posts: 17,956
Lens Review Date: May 31, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $45.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: IQ, sharp, good "macro" application, zoom range (for me), "one touch" zoom
Cons: Too short focus throw, rotating front element
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 9    Camera Used: K-5, K-r   


A very good compact and versatile lens for my usages ... on APS-C = about 50mm to 105mm. IQ is good and the macro application does quite well. Sharp, good colors, 49mm filters, etc. ... but the bokeh is only average for my tastes and the focus throw is too short for me.

I like the "one touch" (pull/push) focus/zoom set up ... reminds me of one of my Tamron Adaptall-2 zooms, but it's just a personal preference here IMHO. I almost wish that my SMC A 35-105 f3.5 was of the same design ...

Still testing and awaiting sunnier days for a long test shoot, but the lens definitely deserves a "8" in my books, based on what I've seen thus far ... quite pleased.

A+ et salut, John le Frog

Junior Member

Registered: September, 2009
Location: Galati on Danube-Romania
Posts: 33

5 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: February 18, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 9 

Pros: An "eye like" image as the Good Old ones lenses, not excessive sharp or contrasted
Cons: The range on APSC senzor (not a true fault), manual focus

An old styled good lens with an original perfume. Yes, the focal range is moved in 53-105mm domain, but if this is suitable for you, voila the little treasure. Good mechanic (my one), reduced dimension and light. Can be accurate focused with focus indicator on Pentax K7 unlike many other manual lenses.
In dimmed light it overexposes 1/2 to 2/3 EV, that means an equivalent of f2.8 (on K7). Images have a natural (film) aspect, not very sharp or contrasted. But they can be post-processed to increase sharpness, there is place for this.
A lens is a link of the chain: lens/camera/post-process soft and the lens must be judged and integrated with the camera and p.p (in or out of the camera). I post some examples of photos with this lens on K7 (protection filter and hub included). All are taken as PEF and p.p. in an appropriate (for me) RAW soft processor on PC.

Forum Member

Registered: July, 2010
Location: Lubbock, TX
Posts: 59
Lens Review Date: October 3, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $53.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Sharp pictures 90% of the time, Good price for people on a budget, Good focal length range, great close-up lens
Cons: Construction is a little loose for an SMC Pentax Lens, zoom creep, sometimes pictures aren't as sharp as one would like them to be

I bought this lens for $53 before I went on a trip to Palo Duro Canyon State Park in Northern Texas in September 2010 because I needed a wide angle lens (a must for taking shots of a canyon). It worked perfectly with the rolls of Kodachrome 64 I used and produced really nice pictures with it.

This lens is also really good for close up shots and for really nice wide angle shots; the focal length range is excellent for everyday shots (it's on my K1000 all the time). I've taken a few group photos and portraits with it and they've all turned out excellent. I also like some of the macro pictures I've taken with it. It's a great overall lens.

The construction is a little loose, which sometimes lets the lens zoom mechanism slide all over the place when I walk (sometimes when I'm taking a picture), but I overlook that because of its overall great performance. If I could rate it, I would rate it 8.5/10, but the ratings only let me rate it with whole numbers instead of increments. I would recommend this lens to everyone.
Veteran Member

Registered: April, 2010
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Posts: 805

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: September 23, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $25.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: IQ, Colour, Contrast, Good macro capability
Cons: Quaint push-pull zoom,
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 9   

A very good lens for next to nothing outlay.

Best at 50-70mm focal length, and as a big bonus very good macro abilities at 70mm (see photo below).

On my K-x and K-7 the lens will actually do F3.5 at 70mm (or so it reports)

I give it a 9 mainly because of great image quality.

Is this lens sharp?

Veteran Member

Registered: August, 2009
Posts: 392

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: June 21, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 6 

Pros: Compact, sharp, 0.25x macro, 49mm filter
Cons: Fiddly mechanism, slow at the long end.

At worst, it will function as a cap for a spare body to protect the mirror! Dinky little lens which is quite sharp and retains the 49mm filter ring. Optically, its not as sharp as the f4 35-70mm which I have also tried out. My example has slightly stiff focussing which results from the single ring for both focus and zoom action, and I guess this will be common for this lens given its age and the fact that it was the A kit lens.

I've taken some wedding photos for mates with this, the type of situation where it excels. I didn't want to risk spilling champagne into my primes, and it performed flawlessly whilst the light was good. Zooms are a compromise on quality, and a Mf1.7 would have produced some nicer out of focus effects than this can achieve, and would be able to continue into poor light without the need for a flash. However, for the 5x7 B&W prints I made for them, you could still see individual hairs on the brides blonde head, from 2m away with this lens. Pretty sharp.

I use manual lenses for film, on the basis of OOF highlights from their larger apertures and reduced depth of field, sharpness with their larger and fewer elements, and manual focus accuracy. This lens represents a compromise on all 3 of these aspects and defeats the purpose of using the old Pentax lenses. It also feels tacky in comparison to the M lenses which I prefer.

I'm giving it a harsh 6 which translates as "change it soon".
New Member

Registered: June, 2008
Location: Oregon
Posts: 6
Lens Review Date: May 30, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $35.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: light weight, optical quality
Cons: construction quality

This is an excellent walk-about lens due to its light weight, compact size, and good optical quality. One could do a whole lot worse. I do find it reassuring that even Pentax's "throw away" lenses, like this one (throw away in that it's often a loss leader or included as part of a basic "kit") is a good lens. They don't build junk.

I highly recommend this lens as a great general purpose short zoom for general photography.
Veteran Member

Registered: June, 2008
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 2,162
Lens Review Date: September 3, 2008 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $60.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Compact, sharp, nice color rendition, macro abillity (1:4)
Cons: Not fast, have to enter focal length to use SR

This is a very nice lens. I use it on a K100D, where the FOV is equivalent to 52-105mm. It has become my "walk-around lens" especially for heading to the park with the kids. I used to walk around with a film body and a 50mm, so I like the focal length. The ability to zoom in for candid portraits or for semi-macro (1:4 or so) shots of flowers is gravy. It really isn't much bigger than a M 50mm, very portable.

The only downsides I see with this: it isn't fast, and changing the focal length each time I zoom is a little clumsy. (I am not sure how much difference this makes, maybe I could just leave it on 50mm and not worry?). In order to use the lens for hand-held indoor shots with natural light I have to push the ISO and get a little noise. I haven't noticed any distortion, although I'm no expert in that. It seems very sharp to me, too. If you have the chance, get one!
Veteran Member

Registered: January, 2008
Location: Long Island, New York
Posts: 2,703

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 8, 2008 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $45.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Very small, quick handling, plenty sharp, wonderful color and contrast
Cons: Could be a little wider, some zoom creep

Gosh, I love this lens! This is easily my favorite lens and the one most likely to be on the camera when I leave the house. It serves as my walkaround lens, my aquarium shooting lens, and has done a very good job with portraits as well. It has the great combination of sharpness, contrast, and wonderful color.

It even has a "macro" setting at 70mm that allows you to get pretty close, but its definitely not a true macro (1:4?). Still, it comes in handy for close up shooting when you want to travel light. This lens is very compact (a little bigger than the A50/1.7), it's light, and very easy to use. Focus is smooth and quick as is the one-touch zoom.

I've read that the constant aperture (F4) version of this lens is better, but you are going to have to pry this thing from my cold, dead fingers! Yeah, it's MF, but that's something I can live with when I'm getting images like these. There are times when I wish it were a little wider or maybe a little longer, but I'd rather focus on the positives than on its shortcomings. There's a reason why I constantly rave about this thing.

Link to thread with some pics:
New Member

Registered: June, 2007
Location: London
Posts: 22
Lens Review Date: December 29, 2007 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $100.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Unusual, Pleasant output, useful zoom range, nice to use
Cons: Handling a bit weird, not "killer sharp" but still good

This was an ebay purchase for me and I use it on a Samsung GX10 which is my "spare body" I keep at the office (I use a K10D mostly but the cameras are identical anyway).

It's a weird thing to use with its small push/pull zoom and focus ring - particularly unfashionable and especially odd to use on such a small lens. But that's part of the appeal too.

There's something nice and old-school about this, and it's lovely and small with a very useful range that's great for social gatherings - and it's faster than the kit lens by one stop at its longer end.

They call it a "macro" but in reality although it focuses quite close it's hardly a macro - maybe 10:1 or something at best!

As a bit of fun I would give this lens a thumbs up as a holiday/party/fun lens - and I second everything in the previous review about pleasing colour and "vinyl versus CD" feel!!!!
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