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SMC Pentax-A 35mm F2.8 Review RSS Feed

SMC Pentax-A 35mm F2.8

Reviews Views Date of last review
13 119,230 Mon May 14, 2018
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $135.50 9.15
SMC Pentax-A 35mm F2.8

SMC Pentax-A 35mm F2.8
SMC Pentax-A 35mm F2.8

This lens is optically similar to the M version.

SMC Pentax-A 35mm F2.8
©, sharable with attribution
Image Format
Full-frame / 35mm film
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
Yes (A setting)
Automatic, 5 blades
6 elements, 6 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 36.5 mm
170 g
Production Years
1984 to 1989
Engraved Name
smc PENTAX-A 1:2.8 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 F2.8
Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-13 of 13
Forum Member

Registered: March, 2011
Location: Niagara, Ontario
Posts: 57

3 users found this helpful
Review Date: May 14, 2018 Recommended | Price: $30.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Color & contrast rendition, sharpness, well built, easy to use
Cons: None that bother me

My favourite walk-around lens. It's versatile and produces great colour and contrast. Exposure metering is usually spot-on. Great for recording old buildings and neighborhoods as well as scenic nature views. Focuses easily and I like the lightweight combination of this lens with my K5-11 and K10D. Images on my APC sensors are sharp, therefore corner sharpness is not a concern for me. I usually shoot at f4-f8. Have not tried it on my full-frame film cameras.
Site Supporter

Registered: October, 2008
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Posts: 8,061

4 users found this helpful
Review Date: December 18, 2017 Recommended | Price: $130.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Good optics and handling.
Cons: Build not as good as older 35mm lenses.
Camera Used: Pentax film bodies (K1000, KM, KX, K2, K2DMD, ME, MX, LX, Super A, P50, Z1-p, MZ-S)   

The A35/2.8 was released in 1984 and remained in production until 1989. It was a direct replacement for the M35/2.8, these two lenses also have the same optical design. There was no AF “F” or “FA” Series 35mm f2.8 replacement for the A35/2.8.

Good optics and the A35/2.8 is the sharpest from f/8 to f/11. The A35/2.8 is a bit soft in the corners, but decent wide open.

Focal Length:
Excellent one lens option on full frame and very useful for landscape/street shooting. If I’m going to pick just one lens to walk around with all day, 35mm would be my first choice. On APS-C you get the FOV of a “normal/standard” lens.

Better built than my newer FA series lenses, but not as good as any K/M Series lens I own. There are no issues with the aperture ring on this “A” Series lens, like there is with the A50/1.7 or A50/2.

The A35/2.8 is a nicely sized well balanced lens that is easy to handle. I have no issues manually focusing the A35/2.8 or using the aperture ring. The A35/2.8 also has an excellent distance scale for hyper focal focusing and size wise is a great lens to travel with. The A35/2.8 is about the same size as the A28/2.8 or A50/1.4.

The A35/2.8 has a 49mm filter ring, which is common for any “M” or ”A” Series lens in the wide to short telephoto focal range.

The A35/2.8 uses the 49mm square plastic clip-on lens hood that also works with any “M” or “A” Series wide angle 28mm or 35mm lens. This hood also comes with a leather case. The A35/2.8 uses the HA-90B hard or the S70-70 soft lens case.

F/2.8 is average for a wide angle lens, so no issues here. There was also a faster more expensive A35/2 lens, so f2.8 is a good compromise at a reasonable price.

The A35/2.8 vs my other similar FL wide angle primes:
I also own the K35/2.0 and the K35/3.5.

The K35/3.5 is the sharpest and the A35/2.8 & K35/2 are pretty much the same optically.

I would rank/rate them in this order: 1) K35/3.5 – 9.5, 2) K35/2 – 9, 3) A35/2.8 – 8.5.

I bought the A35/2.8 as I’m building a 49mm filter thread lens kit for travelling and was missing a 35mm wide angle. This cuts down on the number of filters I need to carry when I shoot both colour and b+w film on the same trip. The A35/2.8 is a great 2nd wide angle option or a replacement for a 50mm-55mm lens in a kit. Overall I rate the A35/2.8 at 8.5 out of 10, rounded up to a 9.

Update May, 2020:
After adding the FA35/2 to my collection, the old A35/2.8 is looking less favourable compared to my other 35mm lenses. I'll still give it an 8.5, but am now rounding it down to an 8.

I bought my A35/2.8 online and paid $130USD. It was in excellent + condition.

Sample shots taken with the A35/2.8. Photos are medium resolution scans from original negatives. Both shots were taken in Vancouver.

Camera: KX Film: Ferrania P30 ISO: 80

Camera: P50 Film: Kodak Gold 200 ISO: 200

Camera: MZ-S Film: Kodak Ektachrome 100 ISO: 100
Veteran Member

Registered: July, 2013
Posts: 319

2 users found this helpful
Review Date: November 5, 2017 Recommended | Price: $175.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: very sharp, perfect colors and contrast
Cons: nothing
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-1   

Actually, I wanted to own the FA 35mm F2, but then I saw in a photo shop a wonderfully preserved A 35mm F2.8 and I tried it and loved it! A leather quiver was also there and the lens is great. An outstanding combination with the K-1.

Here are my first photos:
Senior Member

Registered: April, 2013
Location: St. Louis, MO
Posts: 114

2 users found this helpful
Review Date: December 19, 2013 Recommended | Price: $150.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: focal length (fov), color, contrast, sharpness, handling, A-auto
Cons: not very fast at f2.8
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: *ist DS   

I'd rate it overall a 9.5 if I could.

It's just about, almost, the perfect "normal" lens. Not super fast at f2.8. Focuses well. The sharpness is more than anyone could ask for. The color and contrast are beautiful and exemplary of what makes Pentax lenses so good in these respects. It focuses reasonably well for a 2.8. Bokeh is quite decent. I don't expect magical bokeh from a 35mm compared to a fast 50mm. Rare lens.

For me, this may just be the perfect and ideal walk-around, normal lens on a Pentax DSLR. Equivalent focal length of about 53mm, close enough to 50 to feel like a 50. I also really like 28, but it's a wider-normal where this is a normal-normal, at least to me who grew up only using a Takumar 50mm on film.


Veteran Member

Registered: March, 2009
Location: Salt Lake City, UT
Posts: 509

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: September 6, 2011 Recommended | Price: $140.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Light, compact, good color rendition, good IMQ at f2.8
Cons: focusing ring feels differently from M or K lenses (less resistance).
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 9   

The lens is well built. It is light and compact and perhaps share the same optical formula with M35 f2.8. IMQ is good at f2.8 but not spectacular. There are signs of some aberrations at f2.8. Will post more information once I have more opportunities.
New Member

Registered: July, 2009
Location: Piatra Neamt
Posts: 16

3 users found this helpful
Review Date: September 1, 2011 Recommended | Price: $135.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: small & light, good build quality, sharp
Cons: none
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 10   

I was originally looking for a 35mm f/2 (I'm a low-light maniac), but couldn't find a working copy at a reasonable price. Then I checked out the new 35mm f/2.4 "plastic wonder" which of course has AF, auto-aperture, excellent image quality etc. , but I had already become accustomed to the the great build quality and pleasure of manual focus from old K and M "fast fifties", and the "plastic wonder" just didn't have such features (I especially disliked the fact that the focus ring had a short throw compared to MF lenses).

So I kept looking, and this 35mm f/2.8 eventually popped out, and I grabbed it quick. First impression, it was unexpectedly light (I was used to the weight of earlier K and M lenses) (maybe the body is made of plastic? I don't know for sure), but this doesn't mean it isn't solid. The MF ring runs very smoothly, with absolutely no play whatsoever, and the lens is a pleasure to focus manually. And, of course, it has the much-desires A-setting, so you can use it on your digital body in all exposure modes.

I find the image quality to be very good, it is reasonably sharp even wide open, and I haven't noticed any aberrations. Flare control is good, but even so, a lens hood would help (or use your hand to protect against lights that are just outside the frame). I give it maximum score for image quality, because I can't find anything wrong here.

Regarding bokeh, I find it not as pleasant as that from a "fast fifty". Maybe it's because I'm spoiled (I also have the 50mm f/1.2 , along with a 50mm f/1.7), and this lens being only an f/2.8 with 5 aperture blades, cannot give the same results. But then again, since bokeh is a very subjective thing, and I haven't tested this aspect of the lens thoroughly, you might find it very ok for you.

On film, this lens turns into a wide-angle little beast, and it gives very nice images! You can shoot wide-open in the evening without any worries, the image is sharp corner-to-corner. (and, you've guessed it, I couldn't have used the "plastic wonder" on the fully-manual film camera that I had, because of the lack of an aperture ring)

On digital, let me say the following: I've just come back from a hiking trip, two days in the mountains. Lots and lots of landscapes, and people with landscapes behind them. Since I couldn't carry too much, I just took my 18-55 kit lens. But in the end, most of the pictures that I took with the kit lens were at or around 35mm anyway! What I mean to say is that this little lens is a good companion that won't break your back, will deliver very good quality images and will be appropriate for a lot of photographic situations because of the 35mm focal length.

Senior Member

Registered: February, 2010
Location: Miami
Posts: 226

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: July 1, 2011 Recommended | Price: $120.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: build quality, manual focus
Cons: rare

I really like this lens because its one of those wonderful A series primes. You hardly ever see them for sale so when I saw this one on Ebay I pounced on it. It produces nice quality images, but I just haven't gotten anything special from it yet. It is solid but not extraordinary, just a good performer that gets the job done. I have yet to try it on landscapes, as noted above though.
New Member

Registered: December, 2009
Location: Southern California
Posts: 1

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: April 29, 2011 Recommended | Price: $245.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Small, light weight, SMC,
Cons: MF....

This is one of the hard to find lens on the market. 35mm give you a 50mm prime at f2 on DSLR. Very small and light weight, plus "A" setting, it become one of my favor prime lens. I love it~~
Inactive Account

Registered: July, 2008
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Posts: 1,100

2 users found this helpful
Review Date: February 15, 2010 Recommended | Rating: 10 

Pros: Build Quality, Contrast, Sharp, Size, Price

From my experience this lens is very hard to find. Over the past 3 years of being a Pentax owner I've never seen this lens selling locally.

This copy is in excellent condition, I picked up the A 35 just a week ago and it hasn't left my K-x since. I love the 50mm equivalent view. Contrast is amazing and so is the sharpness even wide open. f/2.8 is fast enough for me at this focal range as speed/brightness is supplemented by the K-x ISO performance. This lens is possibly my best purchase ever in photography. If you like manual focusing, a 50mm view and you can find an A 35 I can highly recommend this lens.
Veteran Member

Registered: May, 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 1,971

2 users found this helpful
Review Date: August 10, 2009 Recommended | Rating: 9 

Pros: Light weight. Sharp. 'A' setting for DSLR's.
Cons: none

Excellent sharpness in this lightweight and well built A-series lens. I've used it on both film and digital with sharp results in both places. Highly recommended for the price point and ease of use with the A setting on DSLR's. I always get perfect exposures and punchy colors with this lens no matter where I'm using it. I don't have a lens hood for it, yet have no issues. It doesn't pop up for sale very often so grab it when you can.
Senior Member

Registered: October, 2008
Location: Great Plain, Hungary
Posts: 204

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: June 24, 2009 Recommended | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp, well built
Cons: None

I was lukcy to get this lens off ebay with a P5 body for only about 50 USD a couple of months ago. When it arrived I immediately put it on my *istD body to try but I wasn't particularly amazed by its performance. It is nice, handles colours well, good resolution, sharp enough when stopped down a bit.

BUT (as there is always a but) when it used on film.... it ROCKS! It gives very good, detailed, contrasty, sharp pictures from about f4 on (in my experience you can get the best out of it at about f8).

2 users found this helpful
Review Date: December 14, 2008 Recommended | Price: $100.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: small, light and sharp
Cons: none

I bought this lens as a normal lens for my K100D, because I dislike autofocus and wanted something small and light. I use it often and have not been disappointed. It is very good up to f5.6, and sensational at f8 and f11, where I mostly use it, anyway.

Don't hesitate - this is a fine lens.
Site Supporter

Registered: April, 2007
Location: North Palm Beach, Florida
Posts: 728

3 users found this helpful
Review Date: March 9, 2008 Recommended | Price: $130.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Excellent sharpness at 5.6, nice contrast, acceptable bokeh
Cons: Not razor sharp wide open, relatively rare
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 8   

This lens defies the common myth that A series Pentax were not as well built as M series or Super Taks. My copy is very tight, with no play in the focus ring... feels very nice. Sure, a bit of plastic here and there, but it makes the lens seem somehow more contemporary than earlier models.

I bought this 35mm for landscape work, and color rendition is excellent. I am hard pressed to pick another lens that makes the sky as wonderfully blue without aid of a polarizer. The sweet spot of this lens seems to be f/8 or f/11, but f/5.6 will yield awesome sharpness. Bokeh is nice at f/3.5, maybe not as creamy smooth as a 50 f/1.7 M, but very pleasing. I found no CA or flares of any type.

I compared this lens head to head with my 35mm f2.8 M series lens, shooting the same high depth of field composition with both lenses. The images at f/2.8-5.6 were nearly dead even, maybe a slight advantage to the M type at f/2.8. I give the nod to the A series lens from 5.6 on... it gave me excellent dof and contrast all the way to f/22.

I found the metering was excellent on my K10d.

Seldom mentioned, this glass seems on par with all the Takumars and K mounts that preceded it. Add in the auto aperture, and you have a lens that is a pleasure to shoot with. Highly recommended if you can find one.
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