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SMC Pentax-A 35mm F2 Review RSS Feed

SMC Pentax-A 35mm F2

Reviews Views Date of last review
10 75,399 Sat December 12, 2020
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
90% of reviewers $282.67 9.11
SMC Pentax-A 35mm F2

SMC Pentax-A 35mm F2
SMC Pentax-A 35mm F2

This lens is optically similar to its M counterpart.

SMC Pentax-A 35mm F2
©, sharable with attribution
Image Format
Full-frame / 35mm film
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
Yes (A setting)
Automatic, 6 blades
7 elements, 7 groups
Mount Variant
Check camera compatibility
Max. Aperture
Min. Aperture
Min. Focus
30 cm
Max. Magnification
Filter Size
49 mm
Internal Focus
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 45 ° / 38 °
Full frame: 63 ° / 54 °
PH-S49 (28/35mm)
Hard case HA-90B
Lens Cap
Plastic clip-on
Weather Sealing
Other Features
Diam x Length
63 x 41.5 mm
205 g
Production Years
1984 to 1989
Engraved Name
smc PENTAX-A 1:2 35mm
Product Code
User reviews
Lens hood was not included with lens
Manual FocusAperture RingAutomatic ApertureFull-Frame SupportDiscontinued
Price History:

Add Review of SMC Pentax-A 35mm F2
Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-10 of 10
Site Supporter

Registered: February, 2017
Posts: 1,501

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: December 12, 2020 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 9 

Pros: IQ, build, versatility, handling
Cons: Rarity
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 10    Value: 8    Camera Used: K3, KP   

Having suffered from LAS for a few years now, I have come to realize I prefer a good MF lens over a good AF one. So I had been looking for a good MF 35mm lens for my K3 and KP for a while. I am blessed with the wonderful HD DA 35mm Ltd., but it is AF and, yes I know the MF on it is just fine, I want MF! I considered the K , f2 and f3.5, but the F2 was too expensive and the f3.5, too similar to my K 30mm f2.8. in terms of size and speed. I then considered the M 35mm f2 but the reviews on that lens were a bit hit and miss, so I set my heart on the A version or a K version if a relatively cheap one came up for sale. I managed to get my A version for £250 including tax and delivery costs, which was a bit more than I wanted to pay, but now that it is in my possession I can confirm it is worth it. I am reviewing this only as a crop sensor lens as I neither have a desire for a K1 or to use it on film, so please bear in mind that caveat
It is useably sharp wide open at f2 and quickly becomes very sharp thereafter. My copy is actually a smidge sharper than the already excellent HD DA Ltd at f2.8 or 3.5, but this is only if you do some serious peeping. The colour rendition is the same as my Ltd and my K 28mm f3.5, so for me, that is a great result as I really like the look of these two lenses. There is some CAs at the wider apertures, and a slight loss of contrast wide open, but nothing to lose sleep about. It focuses nice and close too.
It has a decent build quality, if not quite as good as the K range, and is reasonably light with smooth focus and the convenience of the A setting.
The only downside I can see is its availability. It is rare. If you can find one and like MF as I do or need the aperture control for film use, do not hesitate. If you can not find one or prefer the convenience of AF, you are better off getting a used Ltd. model as the difference in IQ is so slight it may be down to sample variation.

UPDATE June 2021

I soon discovered the infinity focus was way off on my copy, so I had to send it for re-calibration. In the time it was off a couple of other 35mm's came my way - K 35mm f3.5 and HD FA 35mm f2.0. Each has had some considerable testing. The K produces (slightly) nicer colours, at the expense of a slight decrease in sharpness wide open. The HD FA is comparable IQ wise but offers the added benefit of AF at the expense of size and weight. The A remains my favourite 35mm though, especially on the K3, which I have equipped with a microprism focusing screen. The HD FA suits my KP better. Some more shots from this beauty:-

New Member

Registered: April, 2018
Posts: 2

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 15, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $370.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: sharp, light, automatic, handsome
Cons: rare, not cheap, worth it
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 8    Camera Used: k5   

beautiful and consistent color rendition

fast and SHARP stepped up and wide open. paid a bit more than you all did but i acknowledge these people and take no offense.

will get expensive as people realize wwhat
New Member

Registered: March, 2018
Posts: 1

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 10, 2018 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: $220.00 | Rating: N/A 

Pros: sharpness in the center of the frame
Cons: sharpness at the edge of the frame
Sharpness: 6    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 6    Camera Used: SONY A7 42Mpx   

I tested the lens on the SONY a7 42Mpx
sharpness in the center of the frame..A - f2 - 5 , f2.8 - 8 , f4 - 9 ,f5,6 - 9 , f8 -8
sharpness at the edge of the frame....B - f2 - 2 , f2,8 - 3, f4 - 6 , f5,6 - 7 , f8 - 7
sharpness at the edge of the frame....C - f2 - 1 , f2,8 - 1, f4 - 2 , f5,6 - 3 , f8 - 4

recommend this lens to the matrix - APS-C or smaller.

Site Supporter

Registered: April, 2015
Posts: 2,481

6 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: January 18, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $270.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: sharp wide open, fast, great colours, nice focus
Cons: none
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K5IIs, K3, K-01   

One of the very best 35mm lenses Pentax ever made. In some regions it might well be the best.

I own 2 of them and sold my FA35/2 in favor as I prefer the A35 despite the FA being lighter and an AF-lens. The only 35/2 lens which I do find better is the Zeiss Distagon T* 35/2, but this is quite a heavy lens, not at all the lens you chose for light travel. I also have the SMC Takumar 35/2 which is optically identical with the K35/2. There is no question, the DA35 Macro-Limited is a fantastic lens as well, great macro, but… AF hunts due to its macro ability and long focus throw, most of the time I use it manually for that very reason.

At 2,8 the A35/2 is as sharp as the DA35limited but allows F2 and thus is more versatile aside of lack of macro ability. But add a Canon D240 52mm achromatic close-up lens plus an 49-52mm adapter and one has excellent close-up abilities. Or a Canon D250 achromat. Both fantastic value.
Sigma or Pentax achromatic lenses cannot compare.

At infinity the A35/2 is as sharp as the DA35limited. It does not have this special micro-contrast which the Zeiss Distagon supplies. Wide open sharp enough, it allows portrait, particular because
bokeh with its 6 blades is astonishingly nice wide open, I did not expect that.

At F3.5 the A35/2 is as sharp as my K35/3.5 wide open! The K35/3.5 is of course very light and has this special 3-D presentation which it shares with the Zeiss, but it's use is limited. If I would have to chose just one lens, it might well be the A35/2.

I prefer the A35/2 even over the A28/2 (I have two copies of this lens as well, because both, the A35 and the A28 allow excellent DLSR comparison)

Built quality is excellent, similar to the M35/2.

I am aware that a review is very subjective, normally I would rate this lens 9 or 9,5, but due to some rather "of-the-point reviews" it got I feel one has to balance this out. 10 points is what I would give the best Limiteds of the Zeiss Distagon and the K28/2. So a healthy 9.5 it is.

Registered: May, 2013
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 1,349

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: June 3, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $280.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharpness on FF
Cons: None yet
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-01, K-3, BMD4K, A7s, GH4   

I've had one of these gems for a couple of months now, used for Video/Cinema shooting, and the occasional still.
When I have a 50mm on a full frame A7s, this 35mm gives a close enough to similar framing when on a K-01 or BMD camera with s35 sensor to be able to match the shots between FF and s35.

The K-01 loves it, so does the K-3 - Very easy to do hand-held work with a K-3 and this lens.
This lens makes a BMD camera look better then they are,..
The M4/3 sensor of a GH4 really doesn't take all that much advantage of the lens though - the 35 looks like a 70mm.

Put the 35mm on a Full Frame A7s, and the section of the glass used by the APS-c and s35 cameras is excellent, but there is a fall off in focus sharpness out near the edges of the frame - the sort you wouldn't notice in a still, but do when a person moves partially in to the soft zone in video.

I recommend this lens to anyone shooting FF, s35 or APS-c, it's excellent value for money.
The consistency of the colour transmission also makes it very easy to match colour grades between this and other SMC lenses, especially the 50f1.7, 85f2, 100f2.8 and 135f2.8
Veteran Member

Registered: August, 2011
Location: Austin, Texas
Posts: 302

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: February 9, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $189.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Solid build, smooth focus, sharp, great color
Cons: no auto-focus???
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10   

I also agree this lens in under-rated. It shines next to the FA 35 F/2 version with a much better build and every bit as good optically. I had owned one for near 20 years before selling it after moving to digital...a mistake. I found a nice example recently at a good price and have been enjoying it very much on my K-3. A previous reviewer calls it ugly. I don't understand at all. Every one of the pre F/FA/DA lenses are beautiful in my eyes and I am so glad to be able to use them on the new cameras. Perhaps there are few reviews simply because it is somewhat rare. It is very nice indeed shot wide-open with a wonderfully smooth bokeh. I have not tested it for CA in extreme lighting. I suspect it will have the usual bit of easily corrected fringing.

The only criticism I have is it is soft at F/2 when focused at infinity. Closer than 30 ft or so and it is just fine. It seems to be optimized for medium to close distances.

Registered: March, 2013
Posts: 360

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 11, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $300.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: sharp, fast,iq, bokeh, color rendering, optical performance
Cons: N/A
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 9    Camera Used: K5   

First of all, previous reviews of this lens are very strange. Just one rating, only for sharpness category, and it is 7??? C'mon consumer zooms sometimes got better ratings here on pentax forum. Are those ratings some kind of conspiracy by Pentaxian holy order? Masked secret weapon with false ratings?

Second, see ratings for SMC Pentax-A 28mm f/2, that lens got 9.10 overall. But this is a better lens. I tested them side by side and keep this one. Slightly, but noticeably better sharpness, better/easier focusing (wierd, in theory should be opposite?), better bokeh, better color rendering (subjective).

Third this is probably the best 35mm ff lens Asahi/Pentax ever made ( not 30, not 31, just 35 ). This statement is based on expirience with K35f/2, K35f/3.5, M35f/2, M35f/2.8, A35f/2, A35f/2.8 and FA35f/2.

Overall rating should be 9 but I give it 10 because of previous reviews and ratings.
Veteran Member

Registered: May, 2007
Location: Singapore
Posts: 3,953

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 11, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $300.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Wide maximum aperture, build quality, optics
Cons: Rare, front of lens looks average looking
Sharpness: 7   

Got a pristine copy of this rare lens from a good friend. The lens looks very similar to its f/2.8 sibling but just a tad longer in length. Build quality is good and the optical quality is good on my copy. The first impression is the very nice color rendition this lens gives, just warm and punchy. Kinda hard to get the original hood but with the proliferation of generic 49mm metal hoods, this is not an issue. I'm very pleased with the focal length on digital and is ideal as a prime lens for walkabouts. The f/2 maximum aperture (very usable) and 6 bladed aperture does make a difference bokeh wise compared to the cheaper and more plentiful A 35mm f/2.8.

UPDATE: When this lens was tested against other Pentax 35mm lenses, the resolution was found to be worse compared to the newer Pentax lenses. For this reason, I have changed my recommendation.
Veteran Member

Registered: January, 2009
Location: N Carolina, USA
Posts: 475

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: August 5, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $275.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Great build quality, IQ, size, good bokeh and DOF & it's beautiful
Cons: none other than it's fairly rare

First of all, I think the Pentax-A series lenses are great looking and most of them have great build quality and IQ. Also, most of them are fairly compact and have a great fit and feel on modern DSLRs.
The copy I have is sharp wide open and only gets better when stopped down. The color and contrast are great throughout the aperture and focus range and bokeh is good for the focal length.
DOF is predictable and consistent and the lens is a pleasure to use, especially with a split-image focusing screen. The focus ring rotates @180 degrees which makes minor adjustment easy.
It's small and compact for a fast lens, but not too small, light but not cheap or "plasticky".

Highly recommended if you can find it.

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: July 22, 2007 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $340.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Great focal length on digital, decent build, really good all rounder
Cons: Ugly

I was nervous about buying this lens as I couldn't find an awful lot of information about it out there on the net. The screenshots I could find showed a fairly ugly lens, and I was braced for disappointment.

In fact, when it came, I realised it's a gem. It's very sharp, and quite useable even wide open, and the bokeh is nice. I don't think it's going to set the world on fire, but I absolutely cannot fault it. If this was the only lens I could ever have I'd shrug my shoulders and say "fine", because it really does the job.

No complaints from me.
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