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HD Pentax-FA 35mm F2

Sharpness 
 8.6
Aberrations 
 7.6
Bokeh 
 6.6
Autofocus 
 8.3
Handling 
 8.3
Value 
 7.6
Reviews Views Date of last review
7 28,658 Mon June 7, 2021
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
86% of reviewers $348.75 7.86
HD Pentax-FA 35mm F2

HD Pentax-FA 35mm F2
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HD Pentax-FA 35mm F2
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HD Pentax-FA 35mm F2
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HD Pentax-FA 35mm F2
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Description:

This is a re-release of the well respectedfilm era smc Pentax-FA 35mm F2 wide angle lens. This new version has HD coating as well as SP coatingand an updated exterior design. The lens covers the full frame format. On APS-C the angle of view will be narrower and the lensis considered"normal" lens rather than a wide angle lens. The new version has retained the aperture ring and can be used with no restrictions on film cameras.

This 35mm lens is rated down to -10 degrees centigrade.

Case, caps and lens hood are included with the lens.

This lens went on sale on February 22, 2019.


HD Pentax-FA 35mm F2
© 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: 44 ° / 38 °
Full frame: 63 ° / 54 °
Hood
PH-RBG49
Case
S80-80
Lens Cap
O-LC49
Coating
HD,SP
Weather Sealing
No
Other Features
Diam x Length
64 x 44.5 mm (2.52 x 1.75 in.)
Weight
193 g (6.8 oz.)
w/ Hood: +20g
Production Years
2019 to present (in production)
Pricing
$346 USD current price
$399 USD at launch
Engraved Name
HD PENTAX-FA 1:2 35mm
Product Code
22860
Reviews
User reviews
Notes
One hybrid aspherical element. Compatible teleconverters: A 1.4x-S, A 2x-S, DA 1.4x AW AF

Features:
Screwdrive AutofocusAperture RingAutomatic ApertureFull-Frame Support
Price History:



Add Review of HD Pentax-FA 35mm F2
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Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-7 of 7
Senior Member

Registered: September, 2010
Location: Lyon, France
Posts: 213
Lens Review Date: June 7, 2021 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $400.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Compact & light, relatively cheap
Cons: No DA/DFA perks
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 10    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-3II, K-1   

I'm very happy with this lens and feel that some of the other reviews are a bit unfair in their ratings.
I bought this lens new, the year it was re-released and with a clear understanding of what to expect: it is still the same old FA lens, with a new dress. It is exactly the same strategy as today (2021) with the HD FA limiteds.
However, I was sold by the following points:
- it was offered cheaper than the original FA was at the time (again, same as the Limiteds in 2021)
- a dedicated hood is included in the package; together with the HD coating it made me expect improved IQ.
- I much prefer the new look
Of course, we can all wish this lens was redesigned differently to incorporate modern Pentax perks (WR, quickshift, DC...) but that was never the promise. And the price, size and weight would have been (will be?) much different.

Coming back to the qualities of the lens, I bought it originally as a standard on APS-C and it served me well as such for years. Today I use it as a moderate wide angle/walk around on full frame. It's so easy and convenient to take anywhere. It is my most used prime. It is perfectly usable wide-open at f/2 and probably at its best between f/4-f/8.

>Compared to the 31mm Limited, it is noticeably lighter and smaller, and the rendering is more neutral (I mean that in a good way: "faithful"). Autofocus seems faster and quieter, although I never made a scientific comparison. Anyway, I don't have the 31mm anymore, draw your conclusion...
>I cannot compare to the original smc FA 35mm, having never tried it.
>Compared to the DA 35 "plastic", it has several advantages "on paper" (although I never tried this one either): wider max aperture, official FF compatibility, aperture ring.
This brings me to usability on non-AF film bodies: manual focus is actually possible with this lens. You will not find the comfort that you come to expect from an M-series or A-series lens, of course, but the ring is definitely better damped than on AF-zooms that I own (F- and FA-series). Despite the funny look, I can actually consider using it on my MX.
   
Site Supporter

Registered: February, 2017
Posts: 1,059

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 14, 2021 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Fast AF, IQ, reasonably compact and light
Cons: Cost new
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 6    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K3, KP   

I only picked my copy of my lens up yesterday, but I spent some time testing it extensively, so I will share my initial thoughts and update later if they should change. I will also be reviewing it as a standard lens on APSC, rather than as a slightly wide on film or FF

The lens is reasonably well constructed (though not as nice as the Ltd 35mm but much nicer than the DA 35mm) and balances nicely on my K3 and KP bodies. The AF is very snappy, and quiet for a screw drive, when compared to my HD DA 35mm f2.8 Ltd, but similar to my DA 35mm f2.4. It is however more reliably accurate than the latter lens at wide apertures and in low light. My Ltd has always been accurate, just slow in low light.

Sharpness and contrast are surprisingly good at f2 and only improve thereafter. It is a smidgin sharper than the HD DA 35mm at f2.8, which is what I would expect. At f4 and beyond for sharpness I can not tell any of these lenses apart.

Chromatic aberrations can be quite noticeable in on the edges of highlight areas when pixel peeping and do not completely go away when stopped down, which I did not expect at the smaller apertures. The Ltd lens is much better in this regard. When looking at pictures in the whole though I do not notice the aberrations, so its not much to lose sleep over.

As a general walk about lens I think I prefer this over the Ltd. It still focuses fairly close (30cm) and the snappier AF and extra stop is more beneficial, to me at least, than the closer focusing and superior build of the Ltd. The HD DA is in every way better than the DA. However, we need to consider cost. I paid 250 for my minty copy. New they are asking 379 (599 for the HD DA and 139 for the DA) here in the UK. At 250 to 300, I think it a worthy upgrade to the DA, but at any more than 300 it is very questionable. Personally if I had to choose one of the three and had to pay for it new I would go for the Ltd. as you really do feel like you are getting something special. If I could not afford the Ltd the DA makes more economic sense as any of its short comings in comparison are marginal.

I do wish that Pentax when they released this lens had done something other than improve the coatings and tart up the body. They could have added instant MF overide and/or WR. To reduce the additional costs these improvements would have incurred, removing the aperture ring would have made sense. I feel they upgraded the FA lens in a lazy manner. Still, it makes a very good standard lens on APSC and if one can find a used copy at a reasonable price I do recommend it.

Some real world photos, SOOC...







   
Pentaxian

Registered: May, 2015
Posts: 1,844
Lens Review Date: October 31, 2020 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Size, build, price-size/performance ratio
Cons: Screwdrive focus, busy bokeh under certain circumstances
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 6    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 8    Value: 7    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-1   

The HD Pentax FA 35mm f2 produces very nice images and handles very well on an K-1. It's an old optical design but one that, at least in conjunction with the HD coatings, produce very nice contrast and colour. I fully understand Pentax decision to update the lens.

It's not to be compared to a huge contemporary lens. The CA and wide open sharpness isn't quite up to that standard. Sharpness even at f2 is adequate at close distances but become less acceptable at distance. Partially this is due to lighting conditions at distance often being more challenging and likely to create glow.

The changing characteristics can be used creatively and performance is never unacceptable. Foilage against sky is the stressor to keep an eye on as it can trigger rather buzy bubbly bokeh. It does extremely well against the sun, contrast is barely affected.

All in all it's a great versatile lens to have mounted on your K-1 when things are happening around you.
   
Pentaxian

Registered: February, 2015
Posts: 8,536

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 6, 2020 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: $300.00 | Rating: 6 

 
Pros: Small, light weight
Cons: Screw drive, hexa. bokeh, no IF (old design)
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 4    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 4    Value: 5    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-1   

Got that lens from a kit. Works well on the K1. The lens is tiny compared to camera body, and sharp from f2.8 - f4, nice to have as a compact travel and street prime.
Size is great, optically quite sharp corner to corner when stopped down a bit. Here is the deal: it's an old design not well in line with modern digital bodies: screw drive AF very quick and little noisy, moving front when focusing can be annoying if hand holding the lens while focusing, hexagonal bokeh, a bit soft wide open by today's standards. What still makes it viable is the average price, cheaper then new models with silent AF and modern glass. We would appreciate if Ricoh could make an effort to redesign that kind of lens to 2020 standards (better lens body, better match with camera body, silent IF and better optical performance wide open, and rounded aperture blades).
   
New Member

Registered: May, 2017
Posts: 14

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: February 10, 2020 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: so light and so good i love it; not worse than sigma 35 / 1.4 art
Cons:
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: Pentax K-1   

I had a sigma 35 / 1.4 art, but I sold it as soon as I bought the HD FA 50 / 1.4 because this lens is amazing
I missed the 35mm. I bought HD FA 35/2. I was very surprised by this lens. AF is fast and accurate. High quality universal lens. Not worse than sigma 35 / 1.4 art.

[IMG]https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/members/109479-vnosek/albums/13279-portrait-vnosek/picture129365.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
   
Pentaxian

Registered: April, 2009
Location: Madrid, Spain
Posts: 7,642

4 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: January 20, 2020 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $300.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Compact, decent build, fairly sharp wide open, film-compatible
Cons: Could be sharper wide open, some colour-fringing in OOF areas
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 6    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 8    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-3   

Revised 05/06/2020 to add more detail and more varied sample photos.

I will undoubtedly re-visit this review once I have had more time with this lens but I wanted to add something as there's only one other review at present.

I just got this the other day, having gotten a good deal on cyber Monday and have had some time with it. It comes with a protective pouch, a well-made hood and proper front and rear caps (not the cheaper ones that the DAL lenses come with). It feels reasonably solid, more so than the FA 50mm f/1.7, the only other FA lens I've owned. The manual focus ring is nice, though a little narrow, and is dampened better than most AF lenses are. The finish is good overall but I strongly suspect the painted-on text on the sides of the barrel will not take long to start disappearing.

AF performance is good, nice and fast and generally very accurate, though of course it's screw-drive so makes some noise.

Image quality is decent but not perfect. It's pretty sharp wide open, certainly usable, though bokeh can be a bit nervous and I've noticed some mild green fringing in some out-of-focus areas, but it doesn't bother me. I haven't yet shot anything stopped down further than f/4, though I can say at f/4 is extremely sharp. While sharp enough wide open it's noticeably better at f/2.2 so I use it mostly at that aperture or f/2.5, settings where it's plenty sharp and still has a DoF and low light advantage over my 35mm DA Limited.

It certainly won't be replacing my 35mm Limited but it will replace the DAL 35mm f/2.4. I'm a fan of standard primes (50mm-ish equivalents) and as they go this is pretty good. For the price I can't really ask for more but if I had to list the most obvious points for improvement they'd be: WR, built-in focus motor, f/1.4, all of which would change it into another lens entirely. Of the three I mention the Limited is certainly the best overall but there's no getting away from the fact that this lens is a stop faster and focuses quicker.

I've used it on a couple of film cameras (mostly a Z-1) where it handles nicely but don't yet have developed and scanned results to post.

Overall, yes it's an old design that's been re-vamped cosmetically, but for the price (it's quite frequently available with a discount) it's hard to ask for more - small, sharp, quick AF and decent rendering. I'm sure there'll be a DFA* WR DC 35mm f/1.4 at some point, but it'll undoubtedly cost at least three times what this does.

Here's a size comparison with the 35/2.4:


2020-01-19_07-20-22
by Jonathan MacDonald, on Flickr

Some sample photos are below, with a 100% crop of the first one provided to show wide-open sharpness at the point of focus. Unless otherwise stated these are wide open.


2020-01-17_10-13-04
by Jonathan MacDonald, on Flickr


ScreenHunter 4747
by Jonathan MacDonald, on Flickr


2020-01-17_10-13-27
by Jonathan MacDonald, on Flickr


Tyres
by Jonathan MacDonald, on Flickr


X-T20
by Jonathan MacDonald, on Flickr

f/4

Street
by Jonathan MacDonald, on Flickr

f/2.8

Made for walking
by Jonathan MacDonald, on Flickr

f/4

In the park
by Jonathan MacDonald, on Flickr

f/2.2

City blossom
by Jonathan MacDonald, on Flickr
   
Junior Member

Registered: February, 2012
Posts: 40

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: August 2, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $395.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Small size, firm solid build, fast focus, gorgeous design, traditional Pentax appeal, green ring
Cons: Bokeh fringing a bit strong, not as sharp as you would hope, poor out of focus transitions
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 6    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K5, K3, K1   

HD FA 35mm Lens Review:
======================

WOW. This lens REALLY holds onto that traditional Pentax appeal. Really reminiscent of the old FA line of lenses, particularly looking like the FA 35mm f2 from years past, only very updated.

Great feel in the hands, great look on the cams, solid in the hand and on the camera, very very fast focus in Live View on both the K3 and K1. Very sharp center at f2.2 on the K1, not certain of the K3, K5 - f 2.5 f2.8 suits them better ... does not have so much a bight in the center at f2.2.

Bokeh CA, or bokeh fringing, is almost horrid. I have black dogs and their fur is magenta/cyan beaded so heavily their black fur is pinkish in photos. In the shade when shooting outdoors and the White Balance can go awry with heavy shadow hues at the 6500k mark while the camera is struggling to keep a warmer 4500k balance, again my dogs are pink. Frustrating.

However, I can fix this in RAW somewhat as it seems most any photo I really like I end up editing in RAW anyway. But it does take extra work... a lot. The bokeh CA / fringing is really that bad.

What else to say.... vignetting. Well, it is quite exactly where you would expect it at f2-2.8 being heavy, some present f2.8 to f4, gone thereafter f4 on up .... even on Full Frame it seems gone at f4 - f6.


BIGGEST ISSUE - Bokeh transitions can be busy / dizzy at f2 - f2.5 when shooting the right distances or lengths of transitions are in that "funny zone" that challenges the lens. This lens can have the appearance of being a standard zoom instead of a fine prime when bokeh / oof transitions are challenged. I will say, the FA 24-70 does much better and MUCH cleaner when it comes to bokeh. In fact, however, the FA 24-70 is the best dang Center Subject lens I have ever seen - for stills and portrait (absolutely NOT for landscape as borders suffer 30mm - 40mm on that lens).


This HD FA35mm is killer sharp corner to corner at f7.1 already, not needing to stop to f9-f12 to get perfect even sharpness like you need to for landscape shots using other lenses.


BIGGEST NOTE - this is a screw driven lens, and that does not bug me one bit given this allows to have such a tiny lens instead of another annoying BEAST attached. This is a nice break really, and personally, being a landscape shooter and stills shooter, the screw drive can help me feel assured I am locked onto the subject.



A NOT SO HUMBLE RANT:
=====================

I would like to say - THANK YOU, Pentax !!!


I was ticked when you re-released the entire FA lens collection throwing a red ring on the lenses and improving nothing when Ricoh first took over IN 2014/15. We needed REAL lenses to update our line up at the time and you failed us on this issue, especially throwing a useless and slow f2.8 / f4 20-40mm with soft corners at a staggering 1200 bucks at us. But, 3 years later, Pentax had, in my opinion, come from having only SOME good glass in the way of small and well made primes, but OUTDATED, to updating an entire line of lenses. I own a slew of the old and now new lenses and I am SO DAMN PLEASED with the new lenses. Nikon and Canon are shaking in their shoes these days, thanks to Pentax and Sony shaking up the APSC / Full Frame sector and Panasonic in the MFT. (Oh, look out for Fujifilm - check out what they are doing!!! Mind blowing that Fujifilm was nothing in 2014 and now have a bomb shell Full Frame already that took Pentax a full decade to achieve. Fufifilm is making the best lenses on the market today, bar none, especially their primes). But, as it stands in 2019, overall, Pentax really is the cream of the crop now without paying 5 grand for a camera body. Lenses like this HD FA 35mm for a measely 400 bucks, the FA 15-30, FA 24-70, FA 50mm, the 3 amigos FA primes, and even the OUTSTANDING walk around lens, the FA 28-105 (that makes for an incredible Professional Landscape Lens) really makes great photography possible for shooters and Penax really owns the mid range / upper mid range market thanks to this more recent updated line of lenses like these listed. I mean, really, look what Pentax has done in 5 years. WOW again.


Pentax has gone from being behind Nikon and Canon on modern lenses, to having a just a few modern Pentax lenses that are in the perfect focal length ranges and OUTPERFORMING the Nikon and Canon equivalents. IF, and it is a big IF, Pentax had the fast AF subject tracking that Nikon has and Canon nearly has, Pentax really would take over the market.


As it is, Nikon, Canon, Sony, Fuji, Panasonic, and Pentax all have their places in the APSC and Full Frame Market. To date, Pentax is still thee most over all recommended Landscape / Architectural cameras to use in those fields, and for GREAT still photography, I would choose no other. And, it is VERY apparent, that Pentax knows this and continues to aim to make the most elegant, yet rugged, sharp shooting cameras aimed at performing in the challenging outdoor environment while maintaining crisp, high dynamic range photos composed by dead accurate, albeit slow focusing, auto focus systems. KUDOS. That is a VERY targeted market goal that yields GREAT results.


BACK TO THE HD FA 35mm: IN SUMMARY

==================================

I bought this HD-FA 35mm on a whim. Not certain I needed it, but this lens REALLY makes some nice Full Frame snaps. Crazy depth and bizarre perspectives can be captured using this 35mm. Sharp enough to get good results, feels great doing it thanks to this elegant construction and quick, decisive Autofocus. For the most part, contrasty images, good color, good over all photographs, but watch for the bokeh fringing. Otherwise a spectacular 400 dollar purchase.
Add Review of HD Pentax-FA 35mm F2



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