Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Pentax Lens Review Database » Film Era Pentax K-Mount Lenses » FA Prime Lenses
SMC Pentax-FA 35mm F2 AL Review RSS Feed

SMC Pentax-FA 35mm F2 AL

Sharpness 
 9.5
Aberrations 
 8.8
Bokeh 
 7.9
Autofocus 
 8.9
Handling 
 8.7
Value 
 8.4
Reviews Views Date of last review
64 209,276 Thu March 3, 2016
spacer
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
95% of reviewers $330.63 9.14
SMC Pentax-FA 35mm F2 AL

SMC Pentax-FA 35mm F2 AL
supersize
SMC Pentax-FA 35mm F2 AL
supersize
SMC Pentax-FA 35mm F2 AL
supersize

Description:
The Pentax FA 35mm is a compact full-frame wide-angle lens with fast aperture. As of 2012, this lens is still available for purchase.



SMC Pentax-FA 35mm F2 AL
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
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
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 (In Production)
Pricing
$271 USD current price
$299 USD at launch
Engraved Name
smc PENTAX-FA 1:2 35mm AL
Product Code
22190
Notes
One aspherical element

Features:
Screwdrive AutofocusAperture RingAutomatic ApertureFull-Frame Support
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 64
Senior Member

Registered: June, 2012
Location: Berlin / Freiburg / On the road
Posts: 102

2 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

1 user 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

1 user 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: 2

1 user 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: 1,973

3 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

1 user 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: 124

1 user 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: 1,269

1 user 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.
   
Site Supporter

Registered: December, 2009
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand
Posts: 1,099

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: December 7, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $350.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Fairly small and light, fast autofocus, good f2, tack sharp from f4
Cons: Build could be better (normal for FAs though), autofocus could be quieter
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-5, K-1   

UPDATE - FF:
Now I have spent time with this lens on the K-1, my opinion of the FA35 and has only improved further! Its a great match with the K-1, light, small, sharp, fully usable wide open, and bokeh sees a surprising improvement (possibly due to closer focusing distance for same field of view). Also stopped down to f16 I'm seeing nice star flares (like DA15) - see f16 example below!
Its my most used lens on the K-1 and I have increased my ratings to reflect the performance on the K-1. Tempted to give it a 10 overall but build is not quite there.

Samples FF:
At f2: https://www.flickr.com/photos/kiwi_jono/32025960244
At f2: https://www.flickr.com/photos/kiwi_jono/32751914666
At f5.6: https://www.flickr.com/photos/kiwi_jono/32611225171/
At f16: https://www.flickr.com/photos/kiwi_jono/32867622422

APS-C:
Its a great lens and is particularly useful on a crop DSLR (field of view on crop is close to 50mm full frame).
Definitely had to spend some time fine tuning the auto focus (on the K-5) because it was out quite a bit. Once I dialed it in though it is returningg very sharp photos.
Its pretty sharp in the centre of the frame at f2 (a bit soft in the corners) and I find it very usable. Even better the contrast wide open is surprisingly good. Sweet spot seems to be f5.6 where it is very sharp across the frame. f4 is nearly as good as f5.6.

I have noticed a little CA at times but its pretty minimal.

The supplied hood is good and can be fitted in reverse over the lens body when not in used - protecting the lens.

So far I am happy with bokeh and have not seen anything I would call ugly but then when I am looking for bokeh I shoot mostly wide open. The lens can focus relatively closely too - which helps.

I have scored this lens 9. On one hand this seems a bit high given that there are better lenses around (costing more) on the other its a great all round lens and good value. The DA 35 f2.4 may well be the value king but I find f2 useful.

The more I use this lens, the more I'm liking it. I'm seeing a lot of good results even at f2. For example take a look at the second f2 image taken in bright contrasty light - there is a little CA (have not attempted to remove) on right side of the dragon head but otherwise its impressive with good contrast. Very comfortable with the 9 rating now and f2 really is handy.

Samples APS-C:
At f2: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kiwi_jono/10399776183/
At f2: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kiwi_jono/11316786296/
At f2: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kiwi_jono/12146154904/
At f4: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kiwi_jono/11233812534/
At f5.6: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kiwi_jono/11320538734/
   
Junior Member

Registered: December, 2012
Posts: 36
Lens Review Date: November 19, 2013 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: $340.00 | Rating: N/A 

 
Pros: Fast focus.
Cons: Just a little bit off on everything; expensive
Sharpness: 9    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 7    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-5   

I really tried to like this lens. I still missed it the moment I packed it and shipped it to the next user, but I couldn't for the last half a year. The focus keeps getting off a little, and it becomes crucial when snapping; bokeh is not as good as Pentax-F 50mm 1.7; and more important, I failed to produce a decent amount of good pictures with it compared to that 50/1.7. It's sharpness is ok after 3.2 which means I failed to get sharp images at 2.2; its AF is fast; I just have to give up on this lens.
   
New Member

Registered: February, 2013
Posts: 3

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: September 23, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $400.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros:
Cons:
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 9    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K5   

Good lens. Very compact and strong enough.
However, I find the price a little high for a plastic lens.

Photos with this lens here
   
Junior Member

Registered: January, 2013
Location: Texas
Posts: 32

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: September 10, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $420.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharpness / Contrast
Cons: None
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: Pentax K30   

This lense has nearly everything right: sharpness, contrast, low vignetting, low distortion, shade, good resistance to flare, lightweight, good aperture, full frame, you name it.
The manual focusing ring could be wider, and I don't like the rubber it is made of (common problem of most of the 'FA' serie).
Sharpness is already good at f/2.0, becoming excellent at f/4.0.
   
Pentaxian

Registered: November, 2009
Location: Strand
Posts: 1,366

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: August 8, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $450.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Small, light, AF, flare resistant, very sharp and good contrast
Cons: Not so good for MF, plastic feel, pricy
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: k5, k20   

Dependable lens on a K5.

One lens for street, cityscape, portraits, travel.
   
Junior Member

Registered: August, 2012
Posts: 34

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 7, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Good optics, bright, compact
Cons: Occasional problems with reflections
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 8    New or Used: New    Camera Used: *ist DL, LX, K-01, PZ 10   

I find this lens very useful on APS-c cameras. The focal length is normal, it is quite bright (2.0) and compact. Optically it is good although perhaps not striking. Build quality is decent. Under certain conditions this lens has problems with green reflections (not normal lens flare) which I expect come from light bouncing off the sensor, to the lens and back to the sensor. I have not experienced this with other lenses. Have not used this lens much with film cameras so I don't know if something similar can happen with film.
   
Senior Member

Registered: November, 2012
Location: London
Posts: 157

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 20, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $450.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp, quick af
Cons: Bokeh
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 7    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K5iis   

Sharpness : Corners and centers are sharp at f2.8

Abbs. : None to be seen, slight color bokeh

Bokeh : Not the best, looks like the short end of a superzoom

Handling : Tiny MF ring

Value : I would give a ten if this was under $300, but at $450, it is good value, but not GREAT value.
Add Review of SMC Pentax-FA 35mm F2 AL Buy the SMC Pentax-FA 35mm F2 AL



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 11:05 AM. | See also: NikonForums.com, CanonForums.com part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top