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SMC Pentax-FA 35mm F2 AL

Sharpness 
 9.5
Aberrations 
 8.8
Bokeh 
 8.0
Autofocus 
 8.9
Handling 
 8.6
Value 
 8.6
Reviews Views Date of last review
71 258,673 Tue October 1, 2019
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
96% of reviewers $318.19 9.16
SMC Pentax-FA 35mm F2 AL

SMC Pentax-FA 35mm F2 AL
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SMC Pentax-FA 35mm F2 AL
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SMC Pentax-FA 35mm F2 AL
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Description:
The smc Pentax-FA 35mm is a compact full-frame wide-angle lens with fast aperture. In 2019 it was replaced with an HD coated version.

SMC Pentax-FA 35mm F2 AL
© www.pentaxforums.com, sharable with attribution
Image Format
Full-frame / 35mm film
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
Yes (A setting)
Diaphragm
Automatic, 6 blades
Optics
6 elements, 5 groups
Mount Variant
KAF
Check camera compatibility
Max. Aperture
F2
Min. Aperture
F22
Focusing
AF (screwdrive)
Quick-shift
No
Min. Focus
30 cm
Max. Magnification
0.17x
Filter Size
49 mm
Internal Focus
No
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 45 ° / 38 °
Full frame: 63 ° / 54 °
Hood
PH-RBA49
Case
S80-80
Lens Cap
Lens Cap F 49mm
Coating
Ghostless,SMC
Weather Sealing
No
Other Features
Diam x Length
64 x 44.5 mm (2.5 x 1.8 in.)
Weight
195 g (6.9 oz.)
Production Years
1999 to present (in production)
Pricing
$319 USD current price
$299 USD at launch
Engraved Name
smc PENTAX-FA 1:2 35mm AL
Product Code
22190
Reviews
User reviews
Notes
One hybrid aspherical element

Features:
Screwdrive AutofocusAperture RingAutomatic ApertureFull-Frame SupportDiscontinued
Purchase: Buy the SMC Pentax-FA 35mm F2 AL
Sample Photos: View Sample Photos



Add Review of SMC Pentax-FA 35mm F2 AL Buy the SMC Pentax-FA 35mm F2 AL
Author:
Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-15 of 71
Site Supporter

Registered: January, 2016
Location: Alberta
Posts: 4,275
Lens Review Date: October 1, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $150.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Fast, sharp, about a 'normal' FoV on APS-C
Cons: screw drive, not weather sealed
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 6    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-S2   

Really awesome lens! I nice addition to my primary kit.
I really like the lens hood that comes with it.
Nice focal range that is nearly what a 50mm would look like on a full-frame.
Strongly suggest this lens!
   
Site Supporter

Registered: July, 2011
Location: Melbourne
Posts: 527

4 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: May 31, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $150.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Size, quality, value
Cons: none

Well I picked this lens up cheaply on eBay, mostly due to the fact that Pentax had released an updated version, why not try the original. Well the lens on the K1 was an easy to live with choice for the month, I almost felt like I was back in the film days with a high quality point and shoot. The angle of view was common in many cameras from that era. I found it performed nicely for landscapes and with a minimum focal distance around 30cm detail close ups were able to be taken easily. When reversed for super macro, the use of the manual aperture meant extra versatility compared to a lens with no way to close the aperture when reversed. Shooting into the light there seemed to be no obtrusive flare and the lens hood works well and reverses onto the lens for storage. The bokeh was pleasant and not intrusive and despite using the in body motor for focusing, it was not very noisy and focused accurately and quickly without hunting under normal conditions. If Pentax was happy to update the lens with a new lens coating and leave the optics alone, I guess they must have thought the quality was worth persevering with, I am happy to recommend this as a keeper.
Some examples of my month with this lens

twin city by Gary Wakeling, on Flickr

drop ismo by Gary Wakeling, on Flickr

rainbow pier by Gary Wakeling, on Flickr

star chasing 2 by Gary Wakeling, on Flickr

moving on by Gary Wakeling, on Flickr

morning church by Gary Wakeling, on Flickr
   
Site Supporter

Registered: September, 2011
Location: Twin Cities, MN, USA
Posts: 77
Lens Review Date: April 15, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $165.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Nice Bokeh, Lightweight, Sharp, Useful FOV for APS-C
Cons: Plastice construction, Small focusing ring
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 8    Value: 9    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: KP   

Still getting used to this one, but I can tell it's an awesome indoors & street shooter. I was looking for a small (unobtrusive) lens that was fast enough for low light use, and also offered capability of bokeh when called for. When I first mounted it, I found
it need focus calibration (not so unusual for a 20yr old lens) but once I dialed in +2 on my KP, it's on the money, and despite
being a screwdrive design, it's plenty fast for AF. Definitely recommended for APS-C shooters....will fit the bill as a proxy for
a nifty fifty until I can affort a K1 or it's successor.
   
Site Supporter

Registered: October, 2018
Posts: 360

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 3, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $250.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Very sharp landscape lens. Field of view equivalent to a normal lens on the Pentax K3. Gorgeous colors and excellent contrast.
Cons: None discovered up to now.
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: Pentax K3   



   
Pentaxian

Registered: December, 2012
Location: Seattle, WA USA
Posts: 1,214

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: August 30, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Speed, handling, rendering
Cons: It's messing up my LBA strategy?
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K5ii   

This lens showed up new at one of our on-line retail sponsors some years back for a couple of hundred bucks and I picked it up. I had owned a DA 35/2.5 (see my review) and it was great for the money, but I never really bonded with it. I had plans and fantasies about owning an FA 43 and perhaps someday an FA 31, but money and opportunity had kept me from going that way, so I thought this would do as a placeholder.

I was immediately astonished at how good and useful this lens is. After years of ownership, if I don't use it for a while and then take it out, it's magic all over again. It has far exceeded my expectations and it's a great focal length on ASP-C and film (no K1 for me yet).

I think of f2 being "not particular fast for a prime", based on the 50/2 lenses that came with K1000s, but f2 feels absolutely fast enough with this lens somehow. Indoor photography without a flash it's great. It's small and tight and has beautiful rendering, sometimes surprising me with 3D seperation. I shoot local bands (friends mostly) in small, dark clubs and both the focal length and the low and weird light ability is shockingly good. I smirk at the Canikon folks there with giant zooms.

The only issue I have with this lens is when I think about even the 43mm now, it feels too close in focal length and I HATE the idea of giving this lens up. I'm sure the FA 31 ltd would blow me away because no one who has owned it has ever said differently, but honestly it's hard to think about spending that money when this lens is so good for so cheap.

Only partial knock is the that bokah can get a little geometric in middle apertures. This happens with any lens that wasn't specifically engineered for that. Understanding that, I can avoid it or accept it. Bokah and sharpness wide open are quite pleasing.


Both of these images shot at f2.4



   
Pentaxian

Registered: May, 2016
Posts: 1,776
Lens Review Date: April 7, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $275.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: image quality, apeture ring
Cons: none
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-3II, super program, zx-l   

I initially bought this lens to use on film, since it has an aperture ring. I also use it on my digital camera often (both pictures below are on digital).

I've always liked its image quality both on digital and film, the color profile is less vibrant than the da 40 but it's pleasant and well balanced. Haven't done side-by-side comparisons, but it's very sharp and I've never noticed any bothersome ca.
edit: after writing this review, I did side-by-side comparisons with the da40. I took down a point each on sharpness and aberrations because of the corners at f2.8 (which is the max aperture of the da40). In the center and stopped down to f5.6 they're equally great. I don't particularly care for corner sharpness wide open but astro photographers might, my overall liking of this lens is unblemished.

It's one of the most consistently focusing screwdrive lenses that I have: once micro-adjusted, it focuses precisely shot to shot.

I'm taking a point off for handling because I can't easily remove and attach the front cap with the hood on. As a result, I rarely if ever use the lens hood. The lens has good flare resistance and nice contrast, but I still like having a hood to protect the front element.



   
Forum Member

Registered: February, 2016
Location: Moab, Utah
Posts: 90

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: February 10, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $271.99 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: SHARP, close focusing, bokeh, flare resistance
Cons: manual focusing ring small, not smooth back and forth
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 5    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: Sony a7ii, a7s   

This renders more resolution than any other 35mm lens I've used. It's sharper than Tak sharp. The floating element really shows in performance. This lens also resists flare better than any other SMC lens I've tried in 35mm focal length. The small size and light weight (but not too light) is nice. I do not like how small the focusing ring is and the fact that it's right on the front of the lens where my hands typically bump the hood as I focus. It also has a slight bounce when I shift focusing direction and I have seen this on the two copies I've tried. This is a bargain for current prices of 271.99 and a very nice lens. If you only own one 35mm lens, this is a good choice.

I also have and have compared in detail, this lens to the Takumar 1:4 f=35mm, Auto-Takumar 35mm f2.3, S-M-C Takumar 35mm f3.5, SMC K 35mm f2, and Pentax-M 35mm f2.8.. For anyone curious and wanting to compare, see my video for a comprehensive review with examples.
   
Senior Member

Registered: June, 2012
Location: La Paz, Bolivia
Posts: 110

4 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 3, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $300.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: sharpness, high speed, compactness
Cons: hexagonal bokeh stopped down
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 6    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 7    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-5, ME Super, K-1   

Great sharp, little lens, light & compact. Producing perfectly usable results (sharpness, microcontrast) even wide open. On APSC it's a normal lens, on film it's the classic reportage lens. Looking forward to using it on the K-1. The only downside I see is it's hexagonal bokeh stopped down. Can't judge its value relative to DA 35 which supposedly has almost the same optical formula, but the FA 35 is a very good lens.

Todtnauer Wasser by Georg, on Flickr

The following one was taken with the K-1.

Dumbo by Georg, on Flickr
   
Senior Member

Registered: March, 2010
Location: Svealand
Posts: 172

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: July 5, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $333.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Light, small, fast
Cons: None
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: Pentax K-5   

A great lens. It's sharp and AF is very fast and accurate. Warm nice colors.
   
New Member

Registered: March, 2014
Posts: 1

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: May 17, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $220.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: VERY SHARP from F/2.8 on, little abberation, small, fast AF, nice bokeh
Cons: None
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K5IIS, MZ-S   

Very sharp from F/2.8 on, little abberation, small, fast AF, nice bokeh.
Full frame ready.
Camera Used: K5IIs, MZ-S
   
New Member

Registered: April, 2013
Posts: 3

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 11, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $325.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Small, light, sharp, focal length on APSC
Cons: Expensive for it's age
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 7    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K5   

Great sharp lens with 50mm equivalency on APSC and as it's f2 also great for indoors. Performance wise it's up there with the Nikon 35mm f1.8G although a bit noisier!

Full frame ready, obviously, and sure this will perform even better on the MZ-D
   
Veteran Member

Registered: January, 2012
Posts: 1,972

6 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: December 22, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $405.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: VERY SHARP from F/2.8 on, little abberation, small, fast AF, nice bokeh, metal mount, fairly solidly built
Cons: Not as sharp wide open, expensive, hard to come by on used market
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 8    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-01, K10D, Z1p   

OK, just having used this lens for something over a year now, I am in the position that can actually say something about this small beauty.

Lens is built decently - although not as well as some of my SMC-F lenses ( which are partially metal ) - this one has pretty respectable amount of glass inside and you can feel that the weight of it comes mainly from this. Lens is plasticky, but actually feels fairly solid. Much better built than 40mm f2.8 XS for example, still it is not as good as SMC-F 50mm F/1.7 or 28mm F/2.8 - which both are much better built with tighter tolerances and solid feel to them.

Image quality - which is basically most what I care for - is simply amazing. Lens is pretty sharp from wide open but with touch of softness. When I stop it down to F/2.5 or 2.8 it JUMPS in sharpness a huge leap - taking over my 28mm F/2.8 at wide open ( still a sharp lens!) - the FA 35mm F2.0 is simple a superb piece of glass. Uniformly sharp on APS-C from somewhere around F3.5-F4.0 - it is just superb for a substitute of normal 50-55mm normal lens on crop cameras. Its field of view feels very natural and just right!

The rendering is very pleasant - as mentioned earlier wide open lens has touch of softness , but that is actually nice for portraits and similar applications on a crop camera. Colours are very natural, skin tones beautiful , and bokeh is very smooth. On rare occasion you do notice the hexagonal shapes in highlights but that all depends on the kind of background so with some clever positioning you can achieve pretty pleasant blurred background for you subject.

Overall a very high quality piece of glass. I was battling myself before I got it - having already a great copy of Flektogon 35mm F2.4 - but I am very glad I finally got it and kept both lenses. FA 35 F2.0 is an AF lens and that helps immensely with some situations, the rendering is different - with flektogon being more contrasty with punchier colours, but FA 35 is more pleasant for portraits and offers an uniform sharpness for landscapes from F4.0 onwards, where Flektogon sharpens up across the frame from around F5.6 . On the other hand for manual focusing the Flektogon is simple superior + a great macro mode, where the FA 35 focuses only down to around 30cm - the Flektogon goes down to stunning 18cm !

To sum up - a very good quality prime, slightly on expensive side but well worth it. Hard to come by on used market for a good price, and the new ones are ridiculously expensive - still the performance it offers is really placing it UP on the shelf with the best of best.
A highly recommended lens !

Bottom line - One point down on handling due to way the aperture ring feels - slightly rough. Focusing also could do with some extra dampening. Finally I took down on value one point as well, because I think the lens as currently priced new on UK market ( around £450 ) is slightly overpriced, probably £300 would be more appropriate ) - considering the amount of plastic it has. BUT optically I would say this lens is actually pretty a bargain - if it was housed in a limited body I can easily see its price up there with the 77 or 31 limiteds !
   
Site Supporter

Registered: February, 2012
Location: Houston
Posts: 129

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: November 27, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $250.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: sharp, lightweight
Cons: plastic
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 9    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: k5   

Lovely little lens. 35mm is perfect for walking around. This lens is sharp from F2 on. the hood that comes with it is a little annoying as it can come lose easily. All in all a great lens that takes sharp pictures with great contrast
   
Senior Member

Registered: December, 2011
Location: Alaska
Posts: 125

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 1, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $330.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Small, lightweight, fast aperture, aperture ring, FA
Cons: Lightweight come at the cost of plastic construction. No quick-shift focus.
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 8    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-5   

I picked up this lens in March following a sale at B&H. Been quite pleased with it - have the 40mm Ltd, but wanted something a bit wider and faster. Purchased before the new Sigma Art 30/1.4 was available - but appreciate the light weight (195g vs 430-435g for the new or previous 30/1.4 Sigma) and compact size. Would like to have quick-shift focus, but generally very pleased with the results after 1 month of use.
   
Pentaxian

Registered: January, 2012
Location: Tokyo
Posts: 1,649

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: December 16, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $360.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp, bright, focal length useful on both APS-C and film
Cons: Not great for manual focusing, no quick shift, no 24mm version available!
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 8    Value: 7    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K20D, K-01, MZ-3   

This was the first prime lens I bought and I think 35mm was the right focal length to choose. In regular use it has proven to be a very solid performer and a versatile lens. I can only echo all of the positive comments in the other reviews.

I use it a lot for low light because it's quite fast and sharp wide open. For night shots, hexagonal highlights are quite noticeable, but I personally donít mind that. I also use it for head and shoulder portraits because it allows for good subject isolation. I should mention that there is some of purple fringing, which I notice with bright light sources at night, but rarely in well-lit scenes.

It has focused quickly on all the cameras Iíve tried it on. Iím now using it on a K-01 and it works well with the contrast detect autofocus. Perhaps because of the accuracy of CDAF or the better sensor, the sharpness with this camera-lens combination is really good.

My only hesitation in recommending the FA35 is the competition from other similar Pentax lenses, especially the newer plastic DA35, which seems to give you 95% of the performance for much less money. It was released shortly after I got it.

So I feel I have to rate this down a bit for value, but in truth I'm glad I paid the extra and got the hood, the case, the full frame coverage, the metal mount, the distance scale and the slightly brighter aperture, which is meaningful because it is still sharp at f2. I only wish it had silent focusing, weather resistance and the latest coatings to really justify itís price.
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