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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
64 196,556 Thu March 3, 2016
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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
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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 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 to Present
Pricing
$494 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 16-30 of 64
Senior Member

Registered: September, 2006
Location: Grand Junction Colorado
Posts: 212

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: January 2, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $350.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp
Cons: Focus shift when stopping down nervous bokeh
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 5    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 10    Value: 8    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K10D, K20D, K5iis   

Overall, an excellent lens. The focus shift issue bothered me for years until I found that there was a significant focus shift when stopping down from F2 (aperture used to calibrate lens to camera). Since I started using F4 for calibration, the performance is much better.

Bokeh can be harsh but seldom use the lens in ways it could be an issue. If I/you want a 35mm lens with great bokeh, chose either the Super Takumar or SMC Pentax 35mm f3.5!

Photoshop does not have a profile for this lens but I have had great success using the the DA 35mm f2.4.
   
Veteran Member

Registered: February, 2009
Location: egypt
Posts: 373

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: December 19, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 10 

 
Pros:
Cons:
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 8    New or Used: New   

this lens is very sharp even at wide open.
the bokeah also is very good.
I bought it a week ago from B&H
It is as some said the fa 31 poor man.
   
Loyal Site Supporter

Registered: May, 2011
Location: Arlington, VA USA
Posts: 719

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 26, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $350.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp, good bokeh, small and vivid colors.
Cons: Auto focus won't lock sometimes
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-5   

This lens is well worth getting, new or used. Glad I picked one up as this has fast become my favorite lens. Beautiful colors and sharp. People say the bokeh is not the best, but I find it very pleasing. You won't be disapointed if you get a new or used copy!!
   
Senior Member

Registered: January, 2011
Posts: 258

7 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: July 17, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $380.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: lightweight, small, sharp closed down
Cons: too soft wide open, usable from F2.5, don't deserve the price
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 5    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K200D   

It is not a bad lens, but I was expecting more usefulness wide open! It behaves just like the plastic DA 35 2.4, but the bokeh of the DA is rounded at 2.4. The FA is with 6 almost straight blades which produce hexagons even on 2.2, on 2.5 it is bad most of the time. This could be good when shooting landscapes though especially night ones! The lens have almost none aberations and is sharp edge to edge on crop sensor - perfect for landscape. For low light and bokeh the only choice should be the sigma 30 1.4, because the FA Ltd 31 1.8 is not for everyone! If I had the money for 31 Ltd I wasn't going to use crop sensor or pentax!
I have found my copy for 380$ in my country with everything: case, hood, ... that's all in perfect condition. So now I know why the DA 35 is 2.4, it is the same lens as this one and they have skipped the bad from it by closing it down from the factory. Which means that Pentax doesn't have fast "normal" lens except for the 31Ltd and Sigma 30 1.4. If they sell the DA as 2.0 it was going to perform awful against the competition from the other brands(nikon and sony).


Test against Flektogon 35 2.4 MC

Another test of the flek, seems that I was not perfectly on focus when tested against the FA.

But K200 doesn't have live view...so it is a little difficult to manual focus precisely.

So FA 35 2.0 - good lens, bad price! Overall money/performance the DA 35 2.4 is the better choise.

PS there is a little possibility that my copy is not right but...I doubt it.
   
New Member

Registered: July, 2011
Location: ile de france
Posts: 23

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: November 19, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $400.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Good lens
Cons: No
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 9    New or Used: New   

Bon objectif, solide, peu encombrant, bonne qualité optique
Prix abordable
Rapport qualité prix = Excellent

Il fait de très bonnes photos et toujours avec un super piqué...

La preuve en image

http://www.flickr.com/photos/eral95/6010913761/in/photostream/lightbox/

   
Veteran Member

Registered: May, 2011
Location: Southern California
Posts: 4,082

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 13, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $250.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp, Fast, I like the Bokeh on mine, Light, great Focal Length
Cons: Could be faster I guess.
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 9    New or Used: New   

I really love this lens. It's sharp enough wide open and fast enough. Sure It would be nice if it was 1.4 or 1.8, but it's still a great low light performer on my K-r. The stop faster than my Tamron 28-75/2.8 really helps. I know many have complained about the bokeh of this lens, but I like my copy. Also, the full price for this lens before it went out of production was way too high, but I lucked on a new old stock so, for me, it was 1/4 the price of a FA31. I couldn't resist.
   
Veteran Member

Registered: December, 2007
Location: Montreal
Posts: 1,209

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: September 17, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $400.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp from f/2, compact, color
Cons: 6 blades only, no quick-shift, expensive (2011)
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 8   

I bought primarily this lens for low-light hand held photography. It does very well in this respect, the f/2 aperture is fully useful. But I think at the current prices (as of sept. 2011) this lens is not as competitive as before. The DA 35mm f/2.4 is much cheaper and shares most of its characteristics. Of course the FA 35mm is still faster and includes a hood (with the usual filter opening). But the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 is one full stop faster and is about the same price. Recently I made the choice of getting the Sigma and will probably sell the Pentax if the performance is good enough. The Sigma is unfortunately much bigger (expected for f/1.4). Another contenter is the FA 31mm which is probably the best lens in this range if you can shell out the money to get it.

Bokeh seems better to me than its reputation. You may be annoyed by the hexagonal highlights but otherwise it's still better than what most zooms would produce at this focal length IMHO. And of course, the FA 31mm Ltd has most probably the edge here.

As a legacy film lens, it includes an aperture ring and covers full frame. The downside is no quick-shift.

AF as noted by most people is very fast.

Colors are typically FA style: more neutral than the bright DA.

My pictures taken with this lens: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ensh/tags/smcpfa35mmf20al/

Check also the Pentaxian Flickr: http://www.flickriver.com/lenses/pentax/smcpfa35mmf20al/

   
Site Supporter

Registered: April, 2010
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Posts: 795

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: August 16, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $280.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: AF accuracy and speed, IQ, Colour contrast and resolution, fast aperture
Cons: Plasticky
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10   

I think it is every bit as good as the DA 35 limited, except that it has faster AF.

Just about the perfect prime lens for street shooting.

The DA L 35mm and it are virtually the same glass, and the DA L gets rave reviews, and so should this lens.
   
Senior Member

Registered: March, 2011
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 112

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 19, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $475.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: light, relatively small, fast auto focus, accurate auto focus, good built, fair price
Cons: noisy auto focus, no manual override, looks cheap

I use it with my K-5. Excellent lens! Very good IQ, good sharpness, even wide open at F2. It also renders a fairly smooth bokeh. It's light, fairly well built, and it auto focuses quickly and accurately. It looks cheap, but it's well built.

The FA35 is definitely a good alternative to the FA31 Ltd. According to Photozone tests, the sharpness from both are comparable. The FA35 is smaller and lighter than the FA31. But perhaps even more important, it's less than half the price!

I was under the impression that the FA35 was discontinued. But I bought it "new" recently at B&H.

Here's a photo taken with the FA35 on the K-5, wide open at F2. Focus point was on the strawberry.


Strawberry 1 by Armanius, on Flickr
   
New Member

Registered: March, 2011
Location: Tuktoyaktuk, NWT
Posts: 5

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 24, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $400.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Everything about it
Cons: No quick shift manual focus like the DA lenses

This is my sharpest lens, especially wide open. Unlike the FA 50mm f1.4 this lens doesn't need to be stopped down to get sharp results. The angle of view is perfect as a normal lens. Good control over DOF.

This lens did not play well with some of my cameras, balking a little at infinity focus, however before I could send it back I bought a K20D, it was a match made in photographic heaven. Finally a camera lens combo that seems incapable of doing any wrong. I have my WR kit lenses for harsh environments but for most other shooting (especially people) the FA 35 is my hero.

Sorry if this review seems more emotional then scientific but this is not a perfect lens, it just takes photographs with true character. It is an artists tool, not a scientific instrument.

EDIT - my copy is still having issues with infinity focus, it may need repair, as an indoor lens it is flawless but shooting landscapes means turning the AF off or making a number of attempts to focus. Hopefully the repair will not be too expensive.
   
Forum Member

Registered: April, 2009
Location: Treviso (Italy)
Posts: 87
Lens Review Date: February 19, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $380.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Fast, small, sharp and great colors reproduction
Cons: Non
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 9   

It's my "normal" on *istD.
Small and light; it's the best choice, in my opinion, for street and all-around pictures in this price range.
   
Veteran Member

Registered: June, 2010
Posts: 734
Lens Review Date: February 17, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $320.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: sharpness, performance wide open, small size
Cons: manual focusing ring, noisy AF
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 9    Value: 9    New or Used: Used   

Very nice and bit underrated piece of Pentax Glass.....very sharp,nice vivid colours in small compact body
sharper and more contrasty than K30 and maybe on par with FA31 ltd
although body is plastic, it feel solid and tight.....so no problem here
what i disliked about the lens was a noisy AF and small manual focus ring, bit of chromatic aberations.....but besides those it is an very very good lens
   
Veteran Member

Registered: February, 2007
Location: Toronto
Posts: 1,710
Lens Review Date: February 10, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp and plenty of contrast wide open, small, lens hood with polarizer window
Cons: short focus throw, hard to find, price premium

Great lens, probably one of the best purchases I've made.

The lens sings right from f2 and leaves little to be desired in terms of sharpness, contrast. I was surprised for the longest time why Pentax had decided to discontinue the design. (Only to reappear as the slower more economical DA35/2.4)

Bokeh is by and large, great, and smooth. Occasionally gets disturbed by busy backgrounds but that's something you have to watch with most lenses.

All in all an excellent walk around lens and a 'gotta have' staple to anyone's kit!
   
Veteran Member

Registered: May, 2010
Location: Borlänge, Sweden
Posts: 373
Lens Review Date: February 3, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp sharp sharp sharp. Accurate focusing. Near limit is good
Cons: tiny bit of distortion, ugly look, expensive even in 2nd hand

Amazing lens! Pentax should alredy have made an SDM star version of it.

The sharpness at f2.8 is about equal to my two (7 and 8 element) super takumar 50 1,4 stopped down to like f4-5,6.

For some reason the FL isn't right for me, probably because I've used too many 50mm's. I prefer to use my 16-45 at 16mm or a 50mm prime. But I'm sure this lens will be my main lens this summer.

When I got it I was looking at the sigma 30 1,4, da-l 35 2,4 and 43 1,9. Found this used for about 1/3 more than a new 35 2,4 and it was worth it for the real thing!
   
Pentaxian

Registered: November, 2008
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 2,437
Lens Review Date: January 23, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Small & Sharp
Cons: A bit expensive

Awesome lens in a small package. There is nothing negative about this lens except may be a price as noted by Darren too.

I have been using it for street & food photography and I must say that this lens produces beautiful color and contrast. There are couple reviews about Bokeh but honestly there is nothing wrong about it - even though I owned other bokeh masters like FA50/FA77/Helios, I certainly don't find anything negative about bokeh produced by this lens - it's a different lens with sharp corners and may be that's the reason the apparent bokeh doesn't look as 3D as other lenses.

I don't understand why Pentax decided to stop producing this beauty. Get hold of it if you can.
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