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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 
 8.7
Reviews Views Date of last review
76 277,115 Mon October 19, 2020
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
96% of reviewers $311.79 9.20
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 76
Pentaxian

Registered: July, 2008
Location: Luxembourg
Posts: 5,665
Lens Review Date: October 19, 2020 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $350.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Fantastic travel lens
Cons: None
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-1   

A fantastic travel and night lens.



800 ISO


800 ISO

































All my FA35 shots.
   
Junior Member

Registered: July, 2020
Posts: 47
Lens Review Date: September 2, 2020 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $340.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: sharp optics, no obvious aberrations
Cons: pricey brand new
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 8    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K10D, K-3 II   

I bought this to give me both a fast lens in this focal length and good autofocus for family shots and other shots where I need quick focus, as well as to do occasional wide-field astrophotography with it. I was able to buy this new rather than getting the newer version of this FA 35-mm f/2 lens -- which I did after reading the reviews saying that this first version is much better than the second version. This copy gives me good, sharp images even wide open (but I tend to use it around f/5.6-f/8 just as I do with most of my lenses when I want real sharpness). It's nice to have the option of f/2 if you need it in low-light conditions, especially in cases where you're walking around without extra lenses at hand. I was pleasantly surprised as to how good the autofocus is on my K10D and K-3 II cameras, even in low light -- excellent for Pentax.

My $340 price included shipping and tax. It's light and I would not want to drop it for fear that it might not hold up on much impact. The focussing ring is better than on my FA 50-mm f/1.4 -- no complaints about manual focusing, and the filter does not rotate when focusing. The focusing ring rotates about 120 degrees from infinity (toward the left, or counter-clockwise as viewed behind the camera) to the closest focus. Although the aperture ring sits close to the camera, this lens has a wider aperture ring, and it extends 360 degrees around the barrel, so it's no problem moving the ring from the side or bottom.

Mine came with the black plastic "flower" hood with large PENTAX in sliver/gray letters; the hood rotates on and snaps in place, and it has two nice white lines to line up with a white line on the lens to let you know where the filter is supposed to go (a nice feature). You can have PENTAX on top, or on the opposite side you can have the "window" for the rotation of the polarizing filter on top; there is a black piece that snaps in and out to give you the option of putting your finger through the hood to rotate the filter (nice, but the window piece can be tricky to get in and out). Again, I'd prefer metal hoods to plastic ones, but this hood does its job well and looks fine. It's nice to not have a hood that screws into the filter's threads.

I tested the lens' sharpness doing some longer astro/star photos with a clock drive, and I'm very pleased at the sharp star images. I tested the bokeh background on some garden flowers, and it's quite good along with very sharp photos of flowers and bees. I'm glad I got the lens and will use it a fair amount, but I wish that the price had been cheaper.

photo showing the lens on my camera with the dedicated lens hood:

<div>
   
Veteran Member

Registered: July, 2007
Location: North West UK
Posts: 382
Lens Review Date: June 19, 2020 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $200.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: IQ. Small, quick AF. Rendition, lack of CA, great contrast. Sharp
Cons: Not much
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-1 K-3II K-70   

What a lovely little gem of a 35mm lens.

I bought mine second-hand for a mere £180, especially as I was about the splash out on the newly released HD version for more than twice the price. The one I have is immaculate and found at a local dealer. Oh how I love to find a gem from time to time.

So what is it like? Well I DO have the DA35mm F2.4 as well, which is superb, even on the K-1, but why this? Well the aperture ring for starters, so as to use on film bodies.
Is it better than the DA? Having loved and still love (if I can prise it off my GF's K-3 these days) I was concerned if it gave that wonderful filmic look that you got with the DA? Well yes and more so.

Sharp from wide open, superb contrast at F2. great control of CA (certainly one of the best FA lenses in that regard), and oh so natural punchy colours.

Is it better than the DA? Yes, but in a different way. The DA is a big surprise on full frame on how good it is, but the FA35 is just that much better overall. Better build and slightly faster.

Downsides?
Screw focus, but it is pretty quiet for screw AF
It Is a Lot more money than the DA, but you don't have to worry about vignetting at certain distances to subject (not all the time) that the DA will do.
Not weather sealed - but we are talking about a lens from the nineties.
and Finally
Why oh why did Pentax still charge more for the SMC-FA version at the same time as the HD-FA version was released. Hmmmm

But overall, it is a tiny beast of a lens that is just superb. and a perfect complement to the DA35 should you already have one. If you don't, get the FA35 in either coating, it will be worth it.
   
Site Supporter

Registered: October, 2008
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Posts: 6,859

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: May 24, 2020 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $198.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Optics & speed.
Cons: Build and manual focusing.
New or Used: Used    Camera Used: MZ-S, Z1-p   

The FA35/2 AL was released in 1999 and is currently still in production. It was a replacement for the old A35/2 which had been out of production for ten years. A HD version of the FA35/2 was released in 2019.

Optics:
The best Iíve seen for a Pentax 35mm lens. Features aspherical elements and ghostless coating.

Focal Length:
Excellent one lens option on full frame and very useful for landscape/street shooting. If Iím 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 ďnormalĒ lens. Over the years Pentax always had two 35mm lenses in their lineup, the faster F/2.0 and a slower F/2.8 or F/3.5. I guess we should be thankful that there are currently two FA 35mm lenses available. One designed for film cameras and the other for digital.

Build:
FA Series lenses are all over the place in build. First you have the metal ďLimitedĒ lenses which are the best, then the mostly metal FA* lenses with their cheap silver paint, then the regular FA primes/zooms that have a lot of plastic parts and lastly the cheap kit zooms that even have a plastic lens mount. The FA35/2 falls into the third group, so itís a far cry from the build of an old Takumar lens!

Usage/Handling:
The overall size/weight of the FA35/2 is good, so itís a nice portable lens. The manual focus ring is a bit small for my liking and is made of rubber. Turing the focus ring, as well as the aperture, are both on the clunky side and nowhere near being considered smooth. I donít do auto focusing, so I canít comment on how the FA35/2 fairs in that field. The distance scale is behind a plastic window and is acceptable.

The FA35/2 has a 49mm filter ring and comes with a dedicated tulip style bayonet lens hood labeled PH-RBA 49mm. The hood mounts on the outside of the lenses filter ring. The hood also has a removable polarizer window which is a nice feature, so using a CPL/LPL is no issue. The hood is quite big and when reversed mounted on the lens for storage, is a bit hard to remove as there is not much left of the lens to grip/hold onto. Itís also a bit hard to remove the pinch type lens cap when the hood is mounted in the shooting position.

The FA35/2 came with the S80-80 soft lens case and the reversed hood & lens fit nicely into the case for storage.

Speed:
Excluding the prototype M35/1.4, F/2.0 is the fastest 35mm lens that Pentax has ever made. It would have been nice to see a Pentax 35/1.4 lens in production, but that's unlikely to ever happen.

The FA35/2 vs my other similar FL wide angle primes:
I also own the K35/2.0, the K35/3.5 and the A35/2.8, this is how I rate the four against each other:

Optics: FA35/2, K35/3.5, K35/2, A35/2.8
Speed: FA35/2 & K35/2 tie, A35/2.8, K35/3.5
Minimum Focusing Distance: FA35/2 & A35/2.8 tie, K35/2 & K35/3.5 tie
Build: K35/2 & K35/3.5 tie, A35/2.8, FA35/2
Handling: K35/2 & K35/3.5 & A35/2.8 tie, FA35/2

I would rank/rate them in this order: 1) FA35/2 Ė 9.5, 2) K35/3.5 Ė 9.5, 3) K35/2 Ė 9, 4) A35/2.8 Ė 8.5. However if I could only keep one 35mm lens it would be the K35/3.5, as it's a Pentax classic and a favorite of mine, but just a little on the slow side. The K35/3.5 optics are very close to the FA35/2 and its build & handling are way better.

Summary:
Optic wise you are unlikely to find a better Pentax 35mm lens, but for the way I shoot there is more to a lens than just great optics. Interacting with the FA35/2 leaves me cold, due to its plastic build and less than stellar manual focusing. If the FA35/2 was built like a FA Limited lens, I would give it a perfect 10 with no hesitation. Unfortunately it isn't so overall I rate the FA35/2 at 9.5 out of 10, rounded down to a 9.

Price:
I bought my FA35/2 from a forum member and paid $275CDN. It was in excellent + condition and is boxed with all accessories.


Sample shots taken with the FA35/2. Photos are medium resolution scans from original slides and negatives. All shots were taken in Vancouver.

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



Camera: Z1-p Film: Ilford Delta 100 ISO: 100



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

Registered: April, 2019
Posts: 5
Lens Review Date: February 29, 2020 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $100.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: sharp, small, fast
Cons: plastic
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: k200   

i wanted to shoot star fields. i was browsing used adorama. ONE HUNDRED AMERICAN DOLLARS! of course i ordered. came with shade and pouch in original box. i think it was a demo. this was around 2015. right place right time. lucky. still, given performance i would be satisfied paying + 300 bucks new. a fella can spend that much on a new lens and get garbage, you know the brands. this lens lives up to the pentax reputation.
   
Custom User Title

Registered: January, 2016
Location: Alberta
Posts: 5,023
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: 725

6 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: 98
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
Location: Quebec
Posts: 1,444

2 users 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: 7    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: Pentax K3   

Lipan Point sunrise

Lipan Point sunset
   
Pentaxian

Registered: December, 2012
Location: Seattle, WA USA
Posts: 1,339

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: 2,309

1 user found this helpful
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: 111

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
Add Review of SMC Pentax-FA 35mm F2 AL Buy the SMC Pentax-FA 35mm F2 AL



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