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SMC Pentax-DA 35mm F2.8 Limited Macro Review RSS Feed

SMC Pentax-DA 35mm F2.8 Limited Macro

Sharpness 
 9.8
Aberrations 
 9.3
Bokeh 
 8.8
Autofocus 
 8.1
Handling 
 9.2
Value 
 9.0
Reviews Views Date of last review
106 356,956 Wed March 29, 2017
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
98% of reviewers $476.99 9.48
SMC Pentax-DA 35mm F2.8 Limited Macro

SMC Pentax-DA 35mm F2.8 Limited Macro
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SMC Pentax-DA 35mm F2.8 Limited Macro
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Description:
The Pentax 35mm Limited macro lens is designed for use only with APS-C format Pentax DSLRs.

SMC Pentax-DA 35mm F2.8 Macro Limited
Image Format
APS-C
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
No
Diaphragm
Automatic, 9 blades
Optics
9 elements, 8 groups
Mount Variant
KAF
Max. Aperture
F2.8
Min. Aperture
F22
Focusing
AF (screwdrive)
Quick-shift
Yes
Min. Focus
14 cm
Max. Magnification
1x
Filter Size
49 mm
Internal Focus
No
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 45 ° / 38 °
Hood
Built-in, slide out
Case
Soft case Z100
Lens Cap
Dedicated metal push-on
Coating
SMC,SP
Weather Sealing
No
Other Features
Diam x Length
63 x 46.5 mm (2.5 x 1.8 in.)
Weight
215 g (7.6 oz.)
Production Years
2008 to 2013
Engraved Name
smc PENTAX-DA 1:2.8 35mm Macro Limited
Product Code
21730 (black)
Variants
Black and silver
Features:
Screwdrive AutofocusQuick ShiftBuilt-in HoodAutomatic ApertureAPS-C Digital OnlyDiscontinued
Purchase: Buy the SMC Pentax-DA 35mm F2.8 Limited Macro
In-Depth Review: Read our SMC Pentax-DA 35mm F2.8 Limited Macro in-depth review!
Sample Photos: View Sample Photos



Add Review of SMC Pentax-DA 35mm F2.8 Limited Macro Buy the SMC Pentax-DA 35mm F2.8 Limited Macro
Author:
Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-15 of 106
Junior Member

Registered: October, 2010
Location: Dundas, Ontario
Posts: 26
Lens Review Date: March 29, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Versatile, compact, amazing capabilities
Cons: I am sure some will find some, but I can't seem to.
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: Pentax   

Another review to over a 100 here, well I think it's not going to matter much. I think this lens is excellent, or maybe even amazing. Macro lenses require some dedication, skill, maybe even patience and probably a tripod if focusing really close. I find this lens to be great throughout the focus range. Perfect colors, hues, tonal range and sharpness is amazing. Some people complain about the focusing which is rather odd, I find this lens to focus plenty fast and quick shift focus assist really helps speed things up - so then when I go from close range to mid range, I always use the quick shift focus and then use the AF button to fine tune the focus point if necessary. This lens focuses really fast for me, as good as all the other DA Limited lenses. My wish would be for Ricoh to make like a DA70/2.8 macro lens, it would be my ultimate lens.

DA 35 Limited is a great lens. It looks really well matched on any Pentax DSLR - just look at the gorgeous focus ring and the build in hood! It's probably my most favorite DA limited lens, but all are very equal and amazing in a way.
   
New Member

Registered: December, 2013
Posts: 1
Lens Review Date: January 12, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Sharp, contrast, build and feel are great.
Cons: AF unconvincing
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 4    Handling: 9    Value: 8    New or Used: New    Camera Used: k30   

To repeat myself a bit from my 35mm 2.4 review (apologies if you just read that one!):

I was shooting with the 2.4 in Ireland, and found that the greens (of which there are plenty in Ireland) could sometimes look a bit garish. Despite the great clarity, and nice micro contrast, generally I wasn't convinced by the realism of the colours in some situations. So when I found the 35mm 2.8 macro limited going cheap, I snapped it up, thinking I would sell the 2.4. However, I found with the limited, that oddly blues seem to boom out quite a bit! Maybe my eyes are going funny! Or maybe it's the white balance on my k30, which somehow has never been as convincing as my old k100d.....?

Pros:
The Limited has fantastic sharpness, and a touch of extra 3d depth. Perhaps the thing which really strikes me is the deep contrast. It seems easier to balance the shadows and highlights convincingly in PP. I love the build and feel. The built in hood is nice, and manual focus is a pleasure, just like with the old lenses.

Cons:
The AF is really pretty bad. It does this weird micro hunting, as if you were in AF-C mode, and when it finally locks you are never quite convinced it's nailed it. I do find the colours a little cool for a Pentax lens.

With a possible move to FF on the cards, I have a nice (ridiculously sharp!) A 35-105mm 3.5 which compares pretty well, giving more of a classic subtle colour balance. So with a preference also for a longer macro; the punchy, FF compatible, and quick AF 2.4 might actually be the keeper of the two.

Thinking of trying the 40mm limited instead maybe. Quick, small, cheap, with by all accounts just as good IQ, tiny, and seemingly more useful on FF???
   
Site Supporter

Registered: October, 2009
Location: NorthEast Pennsylvania, USA
Posts: 377
Lens Review Date: October 2, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $251.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Allowes plenty of light at f2.8.
Cons: The push-on front lens cap
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: Pentax K-3   

I've had this lens for awhile and I had to really think something up for the "negative aspects" section. I had the DA 35mm f2.4 and although that lens was sharp I think that this 35mm f2.8 macro limited is sharper. I pick out my sharper images by zooming in or cropping and with this lens the job is really tough because (as long as I hold the camera still) all of the photos are sharp! The 35mm focal length is good because it makes it easier to take hand-held macro shots. The first mushroom photo below is without a flash and the second mushroom photo one is with my Metz 58-AF-2 at a 45 degree bounce angle. I have a Tamron Di SP 90mm f:2.8 Macro that I most always use on a tripod but I find that the 35mm macro doesn't need "babysat" as much. Some times you know that a particular lens is a "keeper" and you won't ever give it up for any reason. I've got 4 lenses like that and this one is at the top of my list!

March 27, 2017--The lens I used (35mm 1:2.8) for this review almost got sold but it ended up getting broken by a "potential buyer". Sooo, I bought another one. It seems I didn't want to sell it as bad as I thought. After having used my new one extensively, (and having bought a Pentax 49mm snap on front lens cover) the only thing I have to add is that this copy is every bit as good as my first one. I upgraded all the "aspecs" to 10 all the way because I really, really have a lot of faith in this lens. I'll never- ever even think of selling this one!
   
Senior Member

Registered: December, 2011
Location: North Rhine-Westphalia
Posts: 229
Lens Review Date: July 14, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $435.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Close-to-perfect "3-D" rendering, beautiful build quality, convenient pull-out hood, 9-bladed aperture, a viable standard that doubles as a competent macro.
Cons: Super-close working distance at 1:1 can make lighting challenging, AF occasionally hunts, F2.8 a bit slow for a standard.
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-3, K-7   

Likely the best-rendering lens in my bag. Crisp sharpness and contrast, top-notch colour saturation and differentiation, yet nothing clinical about it. A lens with real character. Some users gripe about the somewhat "busy" bokeh in non-macro situations, but to my mind, creaminess isn't everything and can even be a bit boring, particularly when paired with flat, muddy rendition. A candidate more deserving of the title "Art Lens" than some, IMHO.

But why on earth do I use it so comparatively rarely? Possibly because its standard focal length forces me to be a better photographer, to be more inventive in my composition, given that I can rely less on the straightforward, tried-and-tested recipes of wide-angle and telephoto shots. This can be a little imposing or hampering, particularly if you are a photographer who is a bit weary to be without wider or longer options and reluctant to constantly change lenses.

Yet, almost every single time when I did step out of my comfort zone and really engaged with this wonderful lens, I have been richly rewarded. To remind myself of this, and what the lens is capable of delivering, I have compiled this little gallery of DA35 Limited shots:

https://500px.com/marc_synwoldt/galleries/ode-to-my-underused-standard
   
Site Supporter

Registered: May, 2011
Location: Hanoi
Posts: 193

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: August 27, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $450.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: perfect close up, product photography
Cons: nil
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: Pentax K200D   

35ltd is really the monster of product photography. The minimum focus only 14cm so it's easy to approach the target.

DA 20-40ltd HD black edition, on Flickr


DA* 55mm f1.4 + DA 1.4x HD Converter, on Flickr


100 MACRO WR, on Flickr


35ltd, on Flickr
   
Senior Member

Registered: May, 2014
Location: Galway - Ireland
Posts: 212
Lens Review Date: August 21, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp, IQ
Cons: Don't buy it for macro
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K3   

WHO IS IT FOR ?
The 35mm f/2.8 Macro is a great prime lens for almost everything you can think about... except macro. The focal is great for street photography and portrait (even if we could expect a larger aperture). But, the macro option here is a bit disappointing, we will take about it later.


HANDLING
This lens is small sized but perfectly build in the best of Pentax tradition. The focus rings are smooth and soft.


AUTOFOCUS
The autofocus is not top fast, but for most uses it is correct.


IMAGE QUALITY

>SHARPNESS
This lens is amazingly sharp and contrasty.

>BOKEH
Bokehs could be softer, there are some luminance variations in the bokeh spots.

>CHROMA ABERRATIONS
A little bit of purple fringing can be observed, but nothing to care about.

>FLARE
I did not notice any flare issue for this lens. Ghost is well controled.

>COLOR RENDITION
Nice rendering. Maybe slightly cold.

>DISTORSION
Almost none

>VIGNETING
Nothing to care about in field conditions...


MACRO : REALLY ?
When I tried this lens it was mainly for its macro option. And this are some considerations about it : the macro images you can get from this lens are great in terms of image quality, with nice sharpness and low aberrations. The focal seems weird when you try to do macro however because it includes too much background elements. Macro tends to isolate the subject from its background and the 35mm focal is not great for isolation. Last but not least, the working distance at 35mm is ridiculous, which is not convenient for outdoor shooting and which is not convenient for te lighting of your subject. You can keep this lens for casual 1:10 proxi, but don't expect to use it much for 1:1 macro.



CONCLUSION
If you search for a nice 35mm providing clean and sharp images for portrait and casual proxi shots, this is a great lens. But it should be clear in your mind when you buy it that you don't want it for macro purpose. Macro is just an extra option on it, not the aim of the lens.


SAMPLE PICTURES
https://www.flickr.com/photos/134793426@N02/20493628368/in/dateposted-public/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/134793426@N02/20060690033/in/dateposted-public/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/134793426@N02/20688400551/in/dateposted-public/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/134793426@N02/20060687083/in/dateposted-public/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/134793426@N02/20493656250/in/dateposted-public/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/134793426@N02/20655378176/in/dateposted-public/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/134793426@N02/20681644025/in/dateposted-public/
   
Senior Member

Registered: November, 2009
Location: Denver, Colorado
Posts: 209
Lens Review Date: August 19, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $479.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Crisp contrast and colors
Cons:
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-5IIs   

Image quality in all lighting, all apertures and at all distances is consistently crisp. Colors are rich.

I find the 35mm (50mm equivalent) FOV great for everyday use.

True 1:1 macro makes this superior for real close up work. The difference between 1:2 and 1:1 is significant and allows you to maximize bokeh blur. At 1:1 the front element is less than one inch from the subject making setup more challenging.

Handling is similar to other true macro glass with short focusing throw at long end near infinity and much longer throw as you go to greater magnifications.

Auto focus is screw drive so down side is it is slower and noisier than SDM variety. Pros are that it is unlikely to fail as SDM models are prone to. I use this lens exclusively in manual focus and find it smooth and intuitive.

The pull out hood is great and I use it constantly.
   
New Member

Registered: October, 2014
Posts: 14

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: July 26, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $450.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Definicion, contraste, color
Cons: Tapa, funda
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 9    Value: 9    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: k5, k50, k200d   

Muy buen lente. Excelente en capacidad de enfoque, aun con el sol de contra. Definicion casi perfecta, colores y contrastes sublimes. Pesimo sistema de la tapa del lente, que siempre se sale. Calidad de construccion muy correcta, totalmente metalico. Velocidad de enfoque promedio, funciona con el tornillo de enfoque de la camara (no tiene motor). El bokeh es mediocre, tiene buena forma, pero la focal corta no permite desenfoques muy pronunciados. En Macro es muy bueno, pero la focal corta atenta contra la comodidad de uso y condiciona sus resultados.
   
Pentaxian

Registered: October, 2014
Posts: 353

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: May 18, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $320.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, built in hood, IQ, macro, build quality
Cons: Working distance at maximum magnification

This is among the most well regarded lenses in the Pentax lineup, and my experience is in full agreement with the general consensus.

If you are after a dedicated macro lens to go for 1:1 magnification you might be disappointed because, although it offers this capability, the working distance with such a short FL is not easy to work with. Close-up shots with less extreme magnification is where this lens really excels as a "macro" tool.

The 35mm focal length on APS-C gives rise to a "normal" field of view, so this is also suited as a general purpose walk around lens, which is the key to the versatility of this lens. The AF is fast and accurate on both my cameras. It also lacks a focus limited so it might hunt a bit if you go back and forth between general usage and close-up focusing, but this is to be expected so it's not really a fault. Moreover you can limit the hunting by judicious use of the quick shift function.

I find this lens to consistently provide high quality shots, with outstanding sharpness, micro-contrast, color punch, lack of distortions and aberrations. In my experience this is true in every kind of situation, lighting and composition: 1:2 close up shots, landscapes, interior shots with low light, portraits....

Some consider this lens one of the sharpest available on K mount, and although i do not own each and every K mount lens ever made for comparison, i can say with confidence that this one truly exploits the 24MP AA filterless sensor of the K-3.

There are fastest lenses available around this focal length, but this is sharp enough at f2.8 that you can trust this lens at its maximum aperture in low light, so this is not an issue.
   
New Member

Registered: January, 2015
Posts: 4

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: January 13, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $354.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Light , good handling , sharp, silent auto-focus
Cons: F 2.8 , not enough when photos are taken inside
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-30 , k7   

If you use this lense on a good DSLR such as the k-3 or k-30 you are going to get exellent results, however , if you use it with a k-7 , it is another story.
The 35mm is an f2.8 , and the k7 has a very very bad iso handling.
This is a great lense to have if you got a good camera to put it on
   
New Member

Registered: December, 2014
Posts: 2

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: December 15, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $350.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Compact size, very good image quality, acceptable AF speed (because it is a macro )
Cons: ugly little :)
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 9    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-5iis   

This lens is absolutely a gem .You can use it for daily photos. Its af speed quite enough for this. Also you can of course use it for macro but closest focus distance really low but it makes good job. But i think it is ugly. So as a abstract it is an ugly gem for me





   
Senior Member

Registered: April, 2011
Location: LODINGEN, Northern Norway
Posts: 274
Lens Review Date: November 21, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $750.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp,dual purpose
Cons: why isnt it WR?
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K5 and K3   



This is one of my most used lenses.
Fantastic easy to use, for hand held macro.
Very easy to control D.O.F
   
Site Supporter

Registered: September, 2010
Location: Arizona
Posts: 392

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: August 1, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $314.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharpness, excellent optical characteristics, macro capability
Cons: Absolutely none
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 9    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-3   

After reading the many glowing reviews on this lens, I bid on this one on e-Bay and won it. It's easily now the very best prime lens in my kit (others are the 50mm f/1.4 and the 15mm f/4 Limited). Inasmuch as Pentax APS-C cameras have a 1.5x crop factor, this lens equates to the old 35mm film standard of 50mm - in this case about 53mm equivalent. Hence it "sees" things much like human vision, with no distortion through elongation or compression in the picture.

It's SHARP. And this sharpness continues pretty much to the limits of the frame, with a minimum of chromatic aberration. It focuses well, and seems right on with my K-3. It's good for low light; certainly not the equal of the 50mm f/1.4, but since both my K-3 and K-5 have great ISO capabilities, it's plenty good enough - and enough to give a narrow focus range if you wish to isolate the subject and give pleasing bokeh in the background. It's ideal for portraiture.

While focusing can be slow from within the macro area to infinity and back, that's a characteristic of most macro lenses. If you have the focus set in the mid-range to begin with, it's as quick as any autofocus lens. I like the "quick shift" override if you find it necessary to use it, but the autofocus (I set it to "spot") is uniformly right on. For really close macro shots, I prefer to focus manually to be sure that what I want to be sharp is right on the button. This lens will not disappoint in either mode.

With its macro capabilities, its easy to get really close to a subject, and take a photo that will even reveal flecks of dust on that subject. I do commercial photography, using my photographs for magazine articles, and this baby is a prize for that. I have authored a book, with most of the photos being my own. Those taken with this lens stand out for their clarity - the colors pop, and very little post-processing is required in order get a photo ready for publication. Here are five examples of the types of photos I take (firearms, mostly). All were taken with this lens. These were of course downsized to fit here.











I also like the pull-out lens hood - very handy. I question why it's internally lined with a felt-like material. I know it traps unwanted light well, but it's also a dust magnet. Hasn't proven to be a problem in use, though. The screw-on lens cap is a pain to use, so I substituted a standard pinch-type Pentax lens cap. It's much quicker on and off.

In short, this is a great "universal" prime lens. A longer-range macro would be better where you can't get real close to your subject (hornets and birds, for instance), but if you can get close, this will take pics from as close as 5.5 inches to give you a 1 to 1 macro image. For inanimate objects, used with a tripod, it's unbeatable. With the 24 megapixel size of K-3 images, you can blow up the picture of a small thing to absolutely enormous. The build quality is impressive, and barring abuse, it should last a lifetime.

All in all, this is a superb lens - very deserving of its elite "Limited" label.

John

http://www.pentaxphotogallery.com/artists/paladin
   
New Member

Registered: July, 2011
Location: ile de france
Posts: 23
Lens Review Date: July 14, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Excellent optical and mechanical properties
Cons: No
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 9    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: Pentax K5   

Excellent optical and mechanical properties

The best quality, focus is super ...sharp, super ...contrast, super

I recommend this lens to anyone looking for a versatile and sharpen lens.

Top quality and valuable lens.

A lens is just perfect

Exemple
https://www.flickr.com/photos/100897798@N05/14595712086/
   
Veteran Member

Registered: November, 2012
Location: Newark, Delaware
Posts: 435

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: June 8, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $399.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: sharpness, build quality, compact, doubles as normal and macro.
Cons: autofocus when going end to end from macro to normal
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K5 and K10D   

This lens is one of my top 3 favorites, along with the DFA 100 mm Macro WR and DA 21 Limited. I use the 35 for macro shots of botanicals or inanimate objects and the 100 mm DFA for butterflies, birds and dragonflies where the 100 mm is more suitable. Between the two lenses, I have all my macro needs covered. The DA 35 also doubles as an excellent normal lens as well. It is the biggest of the limiteds and not quite a pancake but it is still a very compact lens that handles well on my K5. Build quality is exceptional, the lens feels like it is meant to last for generations. I got mine new from B&H as a black friday special at a one time special price of $399. I could not imagine a better lens for $399 than this one.
Add Review of SMC Pentax-DA 35mm F2.8 Limited Macro Buy the SMC Pentax-DA 35mm F2.8 Limited Macro



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