DA 35/2.4 - A Plastic Wonder! -- DAL35 vs FA35 vs DA35m vs A35 (many photos!)


fengwei

Moderator
Staff member
Aug 25, 2004
14,462
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Queenstown
www.pbase.com
#1
I got the new DA35/2.4 lens along with my new K5 camera a few days ago. It is a beautiful looking lens, kinda like a smaller sized FA77. But when held in hand, it feels really light. It's probably the lightest non-pancake lens I've every had. Yeah, it's plastic lens with a plastic mount like all the DAL lenses, and it doesn't come with quickshift feature. Why Pentax called this one as a DA instead of a DAL is beyond me, but I'd call it as DAL35 in this short review simply because it has a plastic mount, it doesn't have quickshift feature, and it's easier to differentiate from the DA35 macro lens.

I got it purely because of its price and curiosity, not because I need another 35mm lens (I already have the FA31 and FA43 Ltd lenses, two of my favorite lenses). Well, after two days play, I really like this little lens, and think its light weight is a selling point instead of a drawback. It is so light and compact, I don't feel much extra weight at all when mounted on the K5 camera. Believe it or not, this has been the only AF lens that I've ever used to actually take photos ever since I got the new K5 camera. Normally I'd try all my lenses on a new camera just to make sure the camera and all my lenses are matching well. But this time I decided to give this lens a really good run.

30mm to 50mm happens to be my favorite focal length on cropped dSLR cameras, and I've had pretty much all Pentax 35mm lenses except that mystery SMC M 35/1.4 which never came to production stage. The results from the K5 and DA35/2.4 have been very satisfactory so far, and I do think I've got some keepers.

Pentax has made quite a few 35mm lenses, other than this new DAL35, there is a DA35 macro which is still under production, and the highly rated FA35/2 might still be in production too. I guess sometimes we are spoiled by so many options offered by Pentax, just don't know which one to buy or keep. A few friends asked me to do a thorough comparison between a few Pentax 35mm lenses, two of them even offered their DA35 macro, FA35/2 and a rare A35/2 to me for the comparison review. To be honest, I'm not really good at reviewing lenses, normally when I got a new lens, I'd just bring it out for a spin instead of shooting some charts at home. But since this is probably the only prime lens under $250usd currently offered by Pentax, I'd like to see how it stands against the other few 35mm lenses too.

Enough said, let's get to the points. Obviously Pentax designed this lens based on the FA35/2. Both lenses have the same 6 elements in 5 group optical design, both feature the AL element to minimize aberrations, and both can focus as close as 30cm. The new DAL35 is much lighter at 124g vs 195g for the FA35 (and 215g for the DA35 macro). To save the cost, this new DAL35 lens doesn't come with bayonet fitting for a matching lens hood, only a 49mm screw on lens hood can be used. But this lens has Pentax Super Protect coating on the first lens element to help minimize dust & water to stay on the lens. AF is very fast, even faster than the FA35/2 which is considered as one of the fasted AF lenses by Pentax. During the test against the other 3 35mm lenses, I felt that DAL35 is actually slightly faster than F2.4. Photos taken at the same settings (iso/aperture/shutter speed) appear to be brighter than those from the other 35mm lenses. It is more or less an F2.2 lens I think.

Anyway, after a couple of days play and some tests, here are my over impressions about this lens:

1. Looks beautiful, compact and light weight
2. Makes sharp photos even at wide open aperture
3. Produces very pleasing bokeh and colors
4. Hard to see any CA in the actual photos
5. SP coating for easy cleaning
6. Can focus down to 30cm for some nice closeups
7. Plastic mount might feel cheap, but it's not the first ever
8. Widest aperture is actually faster than F2.4, It's more like a F2.1 to F2.2 lens

Overall I'd say this is a plastic wonder.

All testing photos and sample photos can be seen at Pentaxforums:

DA 35/2.4 - A Plastic Wonder! DAL35 vs FA35 vs DA35macro vs A35
 

nik34

Senior Member
Aug 30, 2007
2,445
0
0
AMK Singapore
#7
A plastic Wonder! What a good names.

Superb & cheap..:thumbsup:
 

Dec 2, 2009
310
1
18
Singapore - West Side
#8
very good lens from what you have covered, for the price, really worth considering get one to go with K5. think i n g . . . . .
 

hellfire88

Senior Member
Aug 26, 2009
558
1
18
#9
thanks you fengwei for the review! planning to save $ to get the new 18-135 when it's out so i can use for my overseas trip in dec. now i only got 18-55kit and 50mm f1.4 M. hmm need to work out my finances. damn poison!
 

GreatFun

New Member
Jun 27, 2010
14
0
0
#10
Great Review ;)

A job well done :thumbsup:
 

pentax

New Member
Jan 18, 2003
245
0
0
Ang Mo Kio
Visit site
#12
Wonderful reviews. Thanks for all the efforts in reviewing K5/KR/DA(L)35mm . I enjoy the readings in this forum and other forums (like xitek).
 

tabako

Senior Member
Nov 25, 2005
1,104
1
38
#13
I want to buy the FA35mm, FW, where did you say I could get during the outing? I forgot? How much roughly?
 

snapnut

New Member
Oct 1, 2004
580
0
0
#14
These are some nice photos.
I guess u can have it cheap and good as well... ;p
 

zoom3

New Member
May 18, 2007
1,017
0
0
Singapore
#15
Frank, thanks for putting together this excellent review (& the one in PF). I am sure a lot of your time has gone into this. I feel tired just scrolling through all the pics.:sweat:
 

sbc

New Member
Jun 27, 2005
1,090
4
0
West of Singapore
#18
Wow! Thanks for the shoot-out. I am very impressed with the DA35 Micro Ltd! The contrast, resolution and PF is superior to the rest. Only with the bokeh does it lose out to DAL35.
 

obfuscate

New Member
Nov 20, 2008
1,524
1
0
#19
WOW! The Bokeh of the DA35 is really really really good! :lovegrin: That was a top notch review on the other forum too! :thumbsup:
 

scorpioh

New Member
Jul 17, 2007
1,973
0
0
Woodlands
#20
I hate this lens! How can Pentax make such an optically good lens at such a price?!
 

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