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102 of 104 people found the following review helpful
Pros:
Cost
Optical Performance

Cons:
Plastic build
No included hood or bag
Smaller aperture vs competition for same price

Bottom Line:
Buy one.

The Pentax 35mm is a great lens that complements any standard zoom. The aperture is large enough to be advantageous. It offers at least a half stop over an f/2.8 zoom, and in reality probably closer to an f/stop given the fewer lens elements. The lens is bright at f/2.4, where most zoom lenses lose significant contrast wide open. Focus is fast and accurate (one of the faster lenses I have used), taking only a fraction of a second to lock in most cases, min to infinity to min is about 1 second or less.

The lens has moderate to low distortion (-0.8% barrel) and minimal CA on the K-5, not much over 1 pixel at the corners. The lens is very good across the frame from f/2.4 to f/2.8 and excellent from f/4 to f/8. It really performs well optically.

Although the construction is all plastic, it is a well built lens. I wouldn't let this be a deciding factor in purchasing this lens or not. If this lens had metal construction, everyone would think it were a Limited. However, it does lack quick shift focus.

This lens performs nearly as well as lenses costing much more, and I see why Pentax limited the aperture to f/2.4. They wouldn't want to compete with their other products. The price is fine, and so is the lens. I recommend this lens to anyone looking at the Pentax system. It is great for people of all experience levels. It should be called the Pentax DA 35mm f/2.4 AL [un]limited.
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49 of 49 people found the following review helpful
on February 14, 2011
The free shipping was fast as usually, thanks to Amazon.com!

You can read all other reviews for its pros and cons. I'm just telling you why I've picked up this lens.

I went to a kid's party about two weeks ago, I took my K-x with the 18-55mm kit lens on it. I set ISO to 1600 (sometimes 3200) auto. I didn't use flash at all. Most of time, the indoor light were sufficient for a decent photo. However, kids moved a lot and fast, the shutter speed was simply not enough to capture those actions...so a faster lens is obviously necessary for this situation. I have a M 50mm f1.7 lens, I got the decent speed, but with manual focus, it's almost impossible to get focus quickly enough. So my conclusion is that I need a faster lens with AF!

I've been thinking to get FA 50mm f/1.4, but for indoors with limited space, its FOV seems too narrow, although its price is acceptable, I doubt its usefulness for indoor application (when I shot with 18-55mm lens, I seldom used any FL higher than 50mm, most of the time, 18-35mm).

The next thing I've been considering is this lens. Its price is right, it has f/2.4 aperture, it's lightweighted, it looks nice on my K-x (see those pictures I shot with my cell phone). I tested it as soon as I got it. Indoors, no lights on, only tv is on, so it's pretty dim, I set ISO to 1600 auto, lens wide open (f/2.4), AF worked well, pretty fast, no hunting, the picture came out bright, sharp, the color looks very good to me. I further tested in a restaurant (see those photos I uploaded). With K-x's low-light performance, this lens is a perfect companion! I would think it's more than enough for a kid's party (light condition is much better than restaurant). I cannot wait to put it in real test for the next kid's party coming soon...

Usefulness: although it can be used for anything, I would think it's most useful for indoors (specially for moving subjects that require decent shutter speed). For other situations, like outdoors, in good light condition, I still prefer using my 55-300mm (a very sharp, versatile lens to me), or the 18-55mm kit lens (I don't have any other expensive lenses).

Lens hood: it doesn't come with hood, I don't think you need a hood for indoors. I bought a lens hood on ebay for the old 50mm f/1.7 lens, but doesn't fit well. I put the hood on this lens, perfect fit! I can put the cap on the hood, too.

Thank you for your time, and hope this helps.

UPDATES:

After attending two birthday parties (one at school, the other at a friend's house), I would say this lens is sufficient for this purpose, although sometimes I only wish I got wider FOV (I killed FA 50mm F1.4 for this reason). Other than that, with aperture wide open, the picture is sharp, bright, color rendering is good, WB is accurate (more natural compare to my M 50mm F1.7 lens which gives me warmer tone). At both parties, I set my K-x to ISO1600 auto, at school I often got ISO800 at 1/60sec, in the house (in the afternoon, all natural light through windows except in the basement), I can get ISO-200 sometimes at 1/60sec, most of the time, I got 400-800, because of this, I switched my 55-300mm lens on for the second half for some candid photos.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on January 30, 2012
Sure, the Pentax 31 f/1.8 is better performing, and the f/2.4 speed of this lens is not terribly fast. This lens is also all-plastic construction. Why buy it?

Buy this lens because it gives you 85% of the performance for 10% of the price. Although all plastic construction, it feels tough, sturdy, and light. Although f/2.4, indeed, is not terribly fast, it honestly feels faster than that (f/2.0?). Focus is quick, the lens itself is small, and the resulting photos are surprisingly sharp given the price. There is very little not to like here. If you own the 31/1.8, this lens is worth buying as a backup, or using in environments where you do not want to possibly damage your precious 31. If you do not own the 31, then buy this lens instead, and spend the money you saved traveling and taking photos instead of buying equipment. It is a win/win.

You have so much to gain and so little to lose with this big/little lens.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
I'm both very pleased with this lens and a little disappointed. On the plus side, the lens produces beautiful photos. It's sharp from f-2.4 on. It focuses very quickly and is very light. It's the last point that leads into my disappointment. The lens is light because it's built of plastic including the lens mount and filter threads. I find myself in the odd situation of wishing the lens cost more. Because it's such a sharp lens and such a useful focal length, the APS equivalent of a 50mm, I'm sure that I'll be using it a lot. That means putting it on and taking it off my camera. How long will the plastic K-mount last? Hopefully, with care a long time, but I'd happily pay a quarter to a third more to get a unit with a metal mount.

I'm actually happy with the build quality. Everything seems tight and built to tight specifications, just what I've come to expect from Pentax lenses. And for the price I really shouldn't complain. It's easily the best lens for the price I've seen. While I don't have one of these cameras, I expect that it would make a great low weight compliment to the Kx or Kr camera bodies. Even with a heavier body the light weight is appreciated.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on January 5, 2012
I have the 21, 40 and 70 mm limiteds that are amazing lenses and cost accordingly. While the 35mm 2.4 isn't as well built IQ matches easily my limiteds and has even better center resolution.
I RECOMMEND IT, BUY IT
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on January 22, 2013
I don't have the photographic experience to evaluate this lens in comparison to others primes lenses, but I can say that for someone used to using stock lenses or, in my case, the 18-200mm f3.5 SuperZoom Sigma that I used as a "walk-around" for years, this lens is a marvel of sharpness and clarity.

I had no idea what I was missing out on by using an "average" or "all-in-one" lens - compared to this.
Granted, there's no flexibility in zooming in on the subject but in-return, you get sharp, clear photos in low light.

I'd only ever experienced an aperture of f3.5, at fastest, before, but now light comes from nowhere and turns an otherwise hopeless shot into something not just OK, but a real keeper. Most of my best photos now, are taken at f2.4 or f2.8 (close ups of people, given the depth of field limitations)

I've used my old Sigma lens just once since I bought this Pentax lens - just to get a wider-angle shot. Otherwise, I simply don't want to see it after using this.

For someone who didn't really know what a prime was before looking at this - if you have a good camera body and wonder why your photos aren't as sharp as what you see in magazines - this lens is basically what you're missing.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on April 8, 2014
Prior to buying this lens, I've just been using the 18-135 WR that I bought with my K-30. I wanted to try a prime and this was the cheapest one I've seen that got decent reviews. I've been using it for about a week; I'll update in 6 months or so. I'm impressed so far.

First, the drawbacks:

1) I shoot mostly outdoors. We get a lot of rain and wind here. The 18-135 is weather resistant, so I don't worry about taking it out in the rain or down to the beach when the sand is blowing around. I wouldn't want to take this lens out in those conditions, so that limits its utility for me.

2) As pretty much everybody notes, the lens is very soft on the edges at f/2.4. I tried shooting some distant landscapes with it completely open with pretty poor results. The center of the image was fine, but a significant portion of it was unacceptably blurred.

3) It seems like an awkward focal length to me, which may just be my lack of experience. If I had a bigger budget I would probably get one wider prime lens and one longer one.

4) The K-30 is a pretty loud camera, and with this lens it's noticeably louder than it is with the weather-resistant zoom. You won't be sneaking up on anybody.

On the plus side:

1) It's extremely light but the K-30 still feels balanced with it, so it's very comfortable to carry around.

2) At smaller apertures it is really, really sharp. People noticed the clarity and detail of the images right away. Full size prints (14"x21") will look good, and I think it'll be possible to substantially enlarge images that are well lit and well focused.

3) While I won't be using it wide open on landscapes, I went out and shot some macro-ish stuff and got decent-to-good results at every aperture. The very narrow depth of field at large apertures on close shots makes the softness on the edges pretty much irrelevant so long as your focal point is in the center. If you're into macro stuff, you should be able to do very well with this lens.

I'm sure the focal length won't seem so alien once I get used to it. Meanwhile, the image quality of the shots that I am comfortable with ranges from really good to stunning. For $150 or less, there's no way to go wrong with it. It has its limitations but they're easily worked around and when used to best advantage, it'll give you some great images.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on March 31, 2011
This is a great lens, lightweight and compact; it allows me to photograph people without attracting a lot of attention. The autofocus on this lens is very fast and accurate, and allows me to capture moving children . This has helped me to increase my keeper rates to around 90%, around a 30% increment when compared to my zoom lenses(Tamron 28-75 & 24-135); which always never had the subject in absolute focus when speed was necessary.

This lens has made me understand why people love Pentax primes, and rejuvenated my passion for photography. I can carry this lens everywhere and shoot for hours without any signs of tiring. Prior to this, I sometimes used to dread taking my camera out of my bag. But now I do not think twice about doing so.

One con I can think of is the usage of six aperture blades for this lens. Due to that attribute, this lens produces a smoothy blurred background with hexagonal circles of confusion; at any aperture above f2.4. This is an area where I certainly miss my zoom lenses; which produces very creamy bokeh with beautiful circles of confusions.

I wish the lens was a f1.8 lens, which would have made this lens a true classic. However, I do realize why Pentax could not offer a faster lens as the DA 70mm limited is the fastest DA branded lens; which runs for 500+. If Pentax started offering lenses faster than that I guess it would be harder for them to market the 70mm limited. On the plus side, however, since this is a f2.4; the DOF at that f-stop is not razor thin and allows me to take great pictures w/o worrying about subjects being out of focus.

Now, I have seen people complaining about the build quality of this lens. In my honest opinion, it is very good and tightly built. Sure the lens barrel wobbles slightly but I have held the 40mm limited (which I returned since I did not like the FOV) and Canon 24mm f2.8, and IMHO the build quality of the 40mm is not that superior than the DA 35mm f2.4, and the Canon is pretty appalling compared to this lens. So, I don't have any complaints with the build quality of this lens. Other camera manufacturers have been getting away with far less. It is certainly near the build quality of my Tamron 28-75, which has loosened up a lot after 2+ years of reliable service.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on October 4, 2011
I first started to consider purchasing this lens when I fell in love with an old Super Takumar 35mm f/3.5 lens I received from a friend. I figured that the DA 35mm f/2.4 would be easier for me to use since my only goal was having a 35mm with auto focus. I wasn't just surprised when I received this lens in the mail... I was astonished! The lens has excellent sharpness throughout the most of it's range: from f/2.4 to f/16. f/22 suffers a bit, but is still acceptable. It's *incredibly* sharp from f/3.5 through f/5.6... nearly to the point where it's TOO sharp. (Did I just say that?) The color rendering is surprisingly similar to the old SuperTak: Beautiful. This lens also handles sun flare very well. All of these factors have made this little 35mm my favorite lens and I use it for work 80% of the time. At MSRP this lens is a steal.

Pros:
Incredibly sharp. Perfect for environmental portraits. Slightly wide angle expands perspective just enough to create a spacious feel without significant distortion (<1% barrel). f/2.4 is open enough for most uses. 35mm is not for headshots, but the 70mm Limited would compliment this lens perfectly.

Cons:
Misses focus about 1% of the time. I realize this is nit-picking but every once in a great while I'll need to shoot the same composition again due to front focusing. Again, it doesn't happen very often, but I have noticed it happens most often when the subject is between 6-10 feet away when the lens is around f/3.5 or more. At f/4 the depth of field probably negates the missed focus. I have focus calibrated my K10 to zero out this lens so I know it's just missing it, but at 1% of the time it's really hard to complain.

Notes:
I have a metal screw-on hood and 81B HMC filter on it just to protect the front element. Don't use a cheap UV filter with this lens, it ghosts pretty bad with it (as does all of my other lenses) but the HMC filter is much more functional without ghosting.

I have no qualms about the plastic mount; I've mounted and remounted the lens hundreds of times and there are NO signs of wear. If it finally shows wear after 4000 mounts you'll have to just remind yourself how long this inexpensive lens lasted.

This lens is NOT a 50mm replacement. It might have a 52mm Field of View on the crop body but it is NOT a 52mm lens. Make no mistake: This is a 35mm lens and *IS* a wide angle. Lens makers are very careful to state FOV to give you an idea of the view, but they state nothing about expansion or compression. Landscape photographers may disagree with me, but plenty of portrait photographers can see this effect.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on March 14, 2014
It always seems odd to me that prime lenses are more expensive than zooms. They have fewer elements and are probably a lot easier to design, so they should be cheaper, right? Well, no. All the manufacturers know that photographers will pay big bucks for lenses which produce better quality pictures. Prime lenses almost always beat zoom lenses for image quality, so the manufacturers know they can charge more.

It's rare to find a prime lens that is high quality, works with all your camera's modern features, and is reasonably priced. But the DA 35mm f/2.4 AL lens is just such a creature. I bought mine for just under two hundred clams, and I see the price has dropped a bit more since then, making this a really good deal. Image quality is excellent - it's a prime!

I think Pentax is aiming this lens at users who are starting to outgrow their kit lenses. If you've ever pixel peeped images taken with your kit lens you've probably noticed some things that didn't make you happy. Softness, purple and green fringing, distortion. Don't get me wrong - Pentax's kit 18-55mm lens is quite good as kit lenses go. But it 'aint a prime. If you're looking for substantially better image quality without spending several weeks' pay, then the DA 35mm f/2.4 is a great entry point to the world of primes. Sure, you can pick up older lenses on the used market for even less, but they probably won't have autofocus and may not have auto-aperture either. The DA 35mm f/2.4 is auto everything and will work with all the available modes and settings on any modern Pentax DSLR. Highly recommended!
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