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SMC Pentax 35mm F3.5 Review RSS Feed

SMC Pentax 35mm F3.5

Reviews Views Date of last review
41 206,059 Sun December 19, 2021
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
98% of reviewers $111.29 9.45
SMC Pentax 35mm F3.5

SMC Pentax 35mm F3.5
SMC Pentax 35mm F3.5

The SMC Pentax 35mm F3.5 is the slower and smaller version of the two K series 35mm lenses. The optical design goes back to that of the Auto-Takumar from 1959!

SMC Pentax 35mm F3.5
©, sharable with attribution
Image Format
Full-frame / 35mm film
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
Yes (no A setting)
Automatic, 5 blades
5 elements, 4 groups
Mount Variant
Check camera compatibility
Max. Aperture
Min. Aperture
Min. Focus
35 cm
Max. Magnification
Filter Size
52 mm
Internal Focus
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 45 ° / 38 °
Full frame: 63 ° / 54 °
PH-S52 (24mm)
Dedicated hard case
Lens Cap
Plastic clip-on
Weather Sealing
Other Features
Diam x Length
63 x 36 mm
161 g
Production Years
1975 to 1977
Engraved Name
SMC PENTAX 1:3.5/35
Product Code
User reviews
Manual FocusAperture RingFull-Frame SupportDiscontinued
Price History:

Add Review of SMC Pentax 35mm F3.5
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Forum Member

Registered: October, 2018
Posts: 60
Review Date: December 19, 2021 Recommended | Price: $100.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Colours, sharp, build
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 9    Camera Used: KP K70   

My go to standard prime (APSC) if manual focus is on the cards. The colours that this lens produces are phenomenal. It's as sharp as you will ever want from F4 to F8 and the build quality is typical K series - tank-like. Mine has a slightly slow aperture mechanism, so needs a little shutter speed adjustment to the green button reading on my DSLRs. Other than that it is up there with the K55 1.8 as my favourite manual lens.
New Member

Registered: September, 2020
Location: Derbyshire
Posts: 3

4 users found this helpful
Review Date: October 29, 2021 Recommended | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, SMC coatings, flare resistance, colour rendering, handling, build quality
Cons: Slow aperture means a bit harder to focus, it will distort if your camera is not level when shooting something with straight lines.
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: Pentax KX   

In Praise of the 35mm Lens

When I got my Pentax KX film camera, I decided that after the 50mm A 1.4 I would have one other Pentax lens and the self imposed condition was that I did not have that lens already in my Nikon kit: so a 35mm focal length it was to be.

After scouring the internet for a 35mm f2 or 2.8 of any kind I saw that they were all very expensive.

I then started to look at the Pentax 30mm 2.8. I'd seen these going for around 99 on eBay and in some camera shops in the UK. However when I looked they were all upward of 200-300 on eBay which to me was a joke (honestly the gouging going on about those is ridiculous).

So, for 129.00 only (and before the UK officially left the EU and import tax came into play) I bought a mint looking Pentax K 35mm 3.5 lens from an eBayer in France.

My experience with this unassuming lens (which even in the old K Lens leaflet Pentax says 'has unusually high resolution') has been nothing but revelatory.

It is my view that this lens - this jewel - is actually possibly the best standard lens for your SLR. And I'm going to explain why I think its an absolute peach:

1) It's beautifully built - very precise focussing with a focussing grip just the right size.
2) Aperture selection is great - there's even an f4 in there somewhere and the aperture ring you can get the in between apertures up to F16.
3) A highly readable depth of field scale for hyper-focal work - set f8 and 'be there' for sure.
4) Unbelievably light and compact - who needs pancake lenses for goodness sake?
5) Close focussing goes beyond the 0.35m mark - it focusses closer than any standard 50mm I know of, adding to its versatility.

Despite that large front element trying to draw light into the small aperture, the 35mm 3.5 K behaves extraordinarily well with the sun in the frame and will give you clean, clear 10 pronged star busts in your pictures. I only saw penta-ghosts when there was another filter over the lens so all you have to do is don't use them and keep that front lens clean if you want starbursts!

Looking over this site, so many photographers have posted excellent pictures taken with the K 35mm 3.5 but the reaction always seems to be 'Oh yeah right - a 35mm..zzzzzz'.

I agree that the 35mm focal length has been around for a long time and has been superseded by more glamourous wide angles like the 24mm which is my personal favourite. It's maybe considered boring, but this little chap has certainly made me think twice about it as a photographic tool. In fact I'm a convert to the 35mm focal length. But I'm not sure that Nikon makes one this good!

This lens - well my copy at least - is very sharp indeed. I've taken pictures of raindrops on plants in B&W and colour and the sharpness is incredible - good enough to marvel at. It renders even the fine filaments on plants in general views of gardens and landscapes. 'Unusually high resolution'? I think so! It's sharp enough - believe you me. In landscapes at f8/f11 I would say that the fore and middle grounds are very sharp indeed with only a slight drop off in the background (longer distances) which for all I know could just be the result of atmospheric conditions.

Close up, and wide open the lens is sharp in the centre and drops off gently working your way outward. This performance changes as you stop down and improves as more gets sharper.. But the bokeh is entirely useful on a 35mm - even a slow one like this. The bokeh effect on a 35mm lens acts as an anchor to your subject matter - the subject matter's context is not stripped away, (for example if taking a picture of a flower, other flowers are there just rendered more softly) nor is bokeh background made ugly or distracting. The subject matter therefore is relatable to its it context - there is no blur affect at all. If you are want total isolation of subject matter - get another lens.

As well as being sharp, the 35mm K 3.5 is also contrasty. It likes to pop E6 by slightly under exposing it; it likes films with longer density toes - like Velvia 100, Agfa APX 100 and Tri-X 400, and even Ilford XP2. Give it Velvia 50 and HP5, and you'll get colour and shadow blocking if you're not careful. For filtration for B&W film using 52mm filters in the K tradition, nothing harder than a Y52 Yellow - be very careful using O56 Orange. And watch out for polarisers too. This is a lens where you do indeed expose for the shadows and let the highlights look after themselves.

If using this on digital, I think this lens will reward judicious time in post processing with some marvellous results on your screen.

What else?

Well, its not a really wide wide-angle - so watch out for hyperfocal focussing in tight areas otherwise you will run into out of focus zones in your pictures than with wider wide angles. Where it excels is in wide open spaces, where it does not push the scenery away and sees it more like we human beings actually see things.

At 3.5 maximum aperture and despite the heroic efforts of that bulbous front lens element, it is a learned experience focussing on a 1970's KX I can tell you. And you can forget it in dull weather where you might need to use a head torch to set focus and then take a meter reading . How modern Pentax DSLRs or other makes might work I cannot say. But for a younger person (I am going to be 56 in about eight weeks time) it might not be a problem at all.

If your camera composition is off axis, you will get obvious barrel distortion; keep the camera straight however and the distortion is very well controlled on very straight man made objects (and hey - in digital distortion can be corrected anyway can't they in post processing).

So in short, this 35mm might be the only lens you would ever need - very sharp at all distances (use f8/f11 in scenic shots), versatile in terms of focussing limits, light and lovely to handle plus SMC coatings delivering lovely colours.

50mm did you say?


If I was going to have one lens and one SLR, this would be my choice despite the slow aperture (just whack the ISO up on digital). I would even consider buying a full frame Pentax DSLR model that worked well with manual focus lenses just to keep it in my forthcoming move from film (it's getting so darned expensive and the day is nearing when I will have to give film up in order to get my two kids through university!).

The Pentax 35mm 3.5 K: A real Pentax gem and possibly for me, the best 35mm focal length lens I have ever used (I've used Nikon and Olympus BTW).

Recommended without reservation.

A lens for all occasions I kid you not!!

Registered: April, 2007
Location: Toronto/Victoria
Posts: 460

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: August 28, 2021 Recommended | Price: $75.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Small, nicely build, excellent quality
Cons: Slow for its focal length, 5 blade diaphragm, manual
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K1 II   

This lens is supposed to be identical to the Super/SMC Takumar 35mm f3.5. I've owned two different versions of the Takumar, and the K mount version is decidedly better at wider apertures. I would also call its IQ better than the FA 35mm which I owned on two separate occasions (but no longer own at all).

I appreciate its output as much as the DA35 macro. The colours this lens produces are great and it really has no technical weaknesses other than the 5-blade diaphragm which for the typical photography a wide angle lens is used for, isn't a huge loss.

It's manual focus and manual aperture on a DSLR but when focused properly it is an excellent performer.
New Member

Registered: February, 2015
Posts: 11
Review Date: July 22, 2021 Recommended | Price: $100.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, great colours and great build quality
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: MX, K1000, ME Super   

Bought this and 28mm f3.5 together but I seem to always reach for the 35mm. Small, light and discreet. I've used it across 3 cameras but mostly on my ME Super. I've previously had a gap between 50mm and 24mm, mostly using a 50mm f1.4. I much prefer the wider aspect and the 50 has pretty much stayed at home since the 35 came along.
This thing is beautifully made, such a joy to use and it is sharp from f5.6 onward.

Another great Pentax lens. Really recommend.
Site Supporter

Registered: February, 2017
Posts: 1,943

2 users found this helpful
Review Date: June 15, 2021 Recommended | Rating: 8 

Pros: Build quality, size and handling, colour rendition, contrast
Cons: Not super sharp at infinity
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: K3 and KP   

Having a thing for 35mm's on APSc at the moment, and liking the K series of lenses, I finally managed to obtain a "mint" copy. I will review this lens for APSc use, though I see no reason why it would not make an excellent semi-wide for film.

Overall the lens is very nice to use with typically great K build quality and handling. Focusing is beautifully smooth and apertures click positively. It is delightfully small and compact on any camera. A word of warning though. On APSc, due to the short focus throw care needs to be taken when focusing, especially with the small dim viewfinders we have on DSLRs, compared to the heyday of those on such as a ME Super or MX.

IQ I would not rate as highly as some do below. It is not at all bad and for most uses excellent, but there is a slight softness in images wide open when focusing on distant subjects. It's not bad, indeed I find it to be perfectly acceptable but for pixel peeping the faults are evident. Stop down to f5.6 and there is not a problem. At close to mid ranges the sharpness is excellent. Even without a hood it controls flare very well, though it is possible to create some ugly effects if shooting directly towards the sun. On film I do not reckon you will notice a sharpness problem at any distance.

Where this lens excels is in its colour rendition and contrast. Images exhibit pop and vibrant, deep colours. I refer you to Pepperbury Farm's review below. He expresses this so much more poetically than me.There are some mild aberrations evident at any aperture but nothing to lose sleep over.

Is it my "best" 35mm? No, my HD DA f2.8 and HD FA f2.0, are both optically better and offer the convenience of AF and in body aperture control, with EXIF data. But both are considerably more expensive and neither as well built nor have that unique character of the K colours. My DA f2.4 is about the same optically, but lacks the character. If you just wanted a good standard do-it-all lens I would recommend either of the newer designs (though not a DA 35mm f2.4) over this old one, but I would recommend this one for that something special it brings.

UPDATE September 2021

I have decided to use this for SIC this September and have stuck it on my KP for the month. It is immediately apparent that this lens and camera could be made for each other. The light and compact K 35mm f3.5 beautifully compliments the KP body, even more so than my 30mm f2.8. And those colours.....

and an example of that ugly flare


I recently acquired a K1 ii. This lens performs as well on the FF format as on the APSC one with the expected slight loss of edge performance and slight vignetting wide open. As such all I can say is that it must represent the best bang per buck for any lens in the K mount. A great small, light handy optic. Either as a normal standard on crop or slightly wide on FF, you can't go wrong. I have been spending a lot of time lately with my 35mm lens collection, and I am coming to the conclusion this just might be my favourite.
New Member

Registered: June, 2018
Posts: 2

3 users found this helpful
Review Date: March 7, 2020 Recommended | Price: $100.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Very small, excellent contrast and colors, good flare control, great central sharpness
Cons: Middling mid-frame sharpness and low corner/edge sharpness
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 7    Camera Used: MX, X-T3   

This lens is for someone who values a good performing lens that is small and lightweight. With that said this lens was very good overall. Wide open it's already very contrasty and central sharpness is REALLY high (NO spherical aberration!), but mid-frame and edge sharpness aren't quite there. Even when stopping down to f/5.6 the mid-frame and edge sharpness don't catch up to the center, there's a considerable gap between the two and it's only when you get to f/8 when it starts to even out. This seems to be caused by a combination of field curvature and high coma aberration. I also noticed a small to moderate amount of chromatic aberrations at all apertures. Given the reviews and the f/3.5 aperture I was hoping for something that was in the league of the K 28mm 3.5. It has the contrast but not the overall resolution I'm afraid, but it has traits help make it desirable. High contrast, flare and ghost resistant, small and lightweight, it's a nice lens to behold and use that's for sure. It's recommended if you can get it for a good price.
New Member

Registered: January, 2019
Posts: 8

3 users found this helpful
Review Date: January 29, 2019 Recommended | Price: $186.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharpness across multiple apertures
Cons: Wide Open, It's still not that fast
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 9    Camera Used: K50   

Here are some sample pics I've taken with this lens:

I find this lens to reach a level of sharpness at f8 and f11 that I haven't seen from any other lens I've handled (which is admittedly only a handful). At f5.6 it's still equivalent or better to the other prime lenses that I own at their sharpest apertures. At F4 or below, the sharpness drops off on the edges slightly.

After I had purchased this lens, I came across a serious of sharpness tests conducted for a number of the older film era lenses. This one is among the best, not just at the center but across the entire periphery of the lens. The results of the test match my experience:

Aside from sharpness, the color rendition is also quite nice.

I shoot on an ASP-C camera, so the 35mm focal length converts to roughly 50mm which is nice as a general purpose walk-around shooter. It also weighs only ~160g and is the smallest lens that I own, so again, a perfect prime for just walking around and snapping shots in whether you are Full Frame or APS-C

The build quality is excellent. Metal construction, even though the lens is likely 40 years old at least, the focus and aperture rings still turn quite smoothly. Obviously this will depend on what particular copy you get, but this is definitely a plus as compared to the more modern plastic body lenses.

Finally, what is also great about this lens is that it can be had for around $100 at the time of this writing. Bang for the buck, I can't think of any other lens that offers so much value. I have the M 50mm/f1.4 lens, which is also a cheap, great value lens but as a point of comparison it's sharpness only gets close to the K 35mm/f3.5 at around f8. Otherwise the edges soften up quite a bit on the M 50mm/f1.4 as the aperture opens, and it's considered to be a good lens. Many of the other well ranked manual primes are really only superb at maybe one or two apertures, so keep this in mind when comparing options.

The only real con that is that the lens is not very fast. For night time shots, there are going to be some compromises such as longer exposures or higher iso.

If you are mostly a prime shooter, I think you will very much enjoy this lens.
New Member

Registered: September, 2016
Posts: 4

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: October 7, 2018 Recommended | Price: $65.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Light, small, sharpness, colors
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 5    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: LX,K3,K2DMD,   

This little tank behaves as it is build for, and all in a wonderful matter
For its price you get a well made and exremly sharp lens, always to take with you,
because its so small and light f3,5 did not show smooth bokeh like the K35 f2,
but for landscapes and architecture it shines !
The colors are very pleasing too.
Highly recomended !
New Member

Registered: October, 2017
Posts: 1

2 users found this helpful
Review Date: May 27, 2018 Recommended | Price: $160.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Center Sharpness, Build
Cons: Soft on edges and corners on FF....falls off fast!!
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 9    Value: 6    Camera Used: Sony A7Rii   

I've tested enough glass to know lens can vary copy to copy so I'm just talking about my copy: your mileage may vary. Used on a crop sensor this is a very sharp lens corner to corner. But on a FF the softness at all 4 edges is very apparent. I'm a big fan of Pentax glass so this one was a disappointment.
Senior Member

Registered: May, 2016
Location: Duluth, MN
Posts: 141

3 users found this helpful
Review Date: March 15, 2018 Recommended | Price: $150.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Sharp in center on K1
Cons: A little soft at edges on K1 (but not bad)
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 8    Camera Used: K1   

I do like the lens, but not enough to keep using it over my 31 and 43 limiteds, even though I really like the 35mm FOV. There is just a little bit too much glow and softness towards the edges, even at f8. Could easily be sample variation. My K 28 3.5 is better. Like many Pentax lenses, old and new, it is excellent in the middle 2/3's of the frame. The search continues...
New Member

Registered: February, 2018
Posts: 12

3 users found this helpful
Review Date: March 12, 2018 Recommended | Price: $100.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: So sharp you'll cut yourself
Cons: The f3.5 thing is in the name...
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 6    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K30   

Actually started out with this on film where I was able to compare to the Zeiss 35 f2 on the Contax G2. This one more than held its own.

To paraphrase Blackadder, the K 35 f3.5 is sharper than a sharp thing that got out of bed and decided to be especially sharp this morning. If you want to own a true classic, just buy one and work out the green button thing afterwards. Seriously, if you see one, just go ahead and snap it up, whether you're full frame or APS-C. it's that good.

The rest (did I mention it was sharp?) is as good as any of the first issue K Takumar-carryovers; built like a tank with metal throughout, super smooth handling.

I can't quite believe this myself, but you can evidently still buy this for less than a fifth of the price of a new 31 limited. Just checked on ebay. The world's gone mad. Take advantage!
amateur dirt farmer

Registered: December, 2014
Location: probably out in a field somewhere...
Posts: 40,748

5 users found this helpful
Review Date: December 2, 2017 Recommended | Price: $140.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: size, build quality, clarity, color rendition
Cons: slow aperture can hinder low-light shoots
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 9    Camera Used: K-3, K-50   

for November's Single In Challenge, I used my recently-purchased copy of the SMC 35mm f3.5 (aka K35/3.5) - I was told before I bought the lens that the lens has a sterling reputation and that I should enjoy it...

they were right - this thing drips with pixie dust...

the only negative thing I can think of for this lens is its relatively-slow maximum aperture of f3.5 - if you are OK with this, you'll love this lens; if you are a low-light fanatic, you're going to be frustrated unless you like bumping up the ISO...

fine, negativity out of the way, let's talk color - point this lens at reds, I was told... it loves red; it also loves blue and green and orange and yellow and brown... any color, the K35/3.5 loves it...

bokeh is not always smooth with the five-blades in the iris, but you'll see old-school penta-bokeh if you're less than wide open...

typical of K-series lenses, this one is built like a tank and is a joy to operate - smooth focus ring, snickety-goodness on the aperture ring, and well built all around...

and the pics:

library by Pepperberry Farm, on Flickr

rust by Pepperberry Farm, on Flickr

Christmas decorations... by Pepperberry Farm, on Flickr

sunset by Pepperberry Farm, on Flickr

and the rest of my album for this lens:

in short - no reason to not want a copy of this classic; slap it on and have a ball with it....
Site Supporter

Registered: December, 2014
Location: Colorado
Posts: 497

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: September 22, 2017 Recommended | Price: $100.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, compact
Cons: None
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-1   

Best 35mm prime that I've ever had. There may be better 35mm lenses out there (Samyang 35/1.4 and Sigma 35/1.4) but you have to pay much more. Already very sharp wide open. Close 1 stop and this lens becomes sharper, corner-to-corner, on a full-frame K-1. I compared this lens to DA35/2.4. This lens is better at f3.5 than DA35/2.4 at f3.5. At f8 they become about equal.
Veteran Member

Registered: January, 2014
Location: New Carlisle, IN
Posts: 1,475

2 users found this helpful
Review Date: April 11, 2017 Recommended | Rating: 10 

Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-3   

This lens is of solid, quality build. Imaging is sharp and contrasty. This lens is worlds ahead of the M-35/2.8. Though 1/2 stop less-fast, bokeh is better at 3.5 than it's 2.8 cousin at 2.8. I bought this lens for film use, but tested first on my K-3. Now I don't want to take it off the K-3. Maybe I need a second.

This sample is literally the very first photo I took with this lens. I got it in the mail, put it on my K-3, and went outside. The sun was setting through some passing storm clouds, so light was "variable". I set the aperture to 3.5 and framed this statue on the porch railing. I focussed, hit the green button, and pressed the shutter. Perfection on the first try.
Forum Member

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

2 users found this helpful
Review Date: February 21, 2017 Recommended | Price: $150.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Contrast, colors, microcontrast in that order
Cons: 5 bladed aperture
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K1000, Sony A7 series   

This lens is superb, and in my opinion the best of the manual focus 35's from Pentax, possibly from anyone.

I compared it with several different 35mm's and this one had the most contrast, rendered the best colors. When I zoomed in, the microcontrast you would expect from having only 5 elements is there. Images have "punch" like the old Zeiss lenses. The image is very rich with fine detail, yet contrasty. Bokeh is actually nice when wide open. It's only when stopping down that it can become overly harsh. If I'm looking for bokeh, I'm wide open with extension tube anyway, so it's not an issue for me. This one is sharp right from wide open. I never need to think about stopping down for sharpness with this lens. Mine is the coated version. As typical, SMC makes flar not much of an issue, however on this 35 and as with any, it can happen and I have to shield it. Flare resistance seems better than most 35's as far as flare goes.

Build quality better than most a and some of my m series lenses. I prefer this over the 2.8's, m series, any pentax 35, this is the one. I also prefer it over several other brands that I compared it to. This lens is small. All these reasons make it my all arounder 35. Mine is pretty pristine, as it seems many are. Focusing is as smooth as day it left factory and clicks perfectly. I don't even mention build quality as a best thing about this lens because it's a given. Pentax K, M Tak series second to none on build quality.

This lens is a case of complex simplicity. I think it was a well thought out design from Pentax and a smart small lens.
Add Review of SMC Pentax 35mm F3.5

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