Lens review

Pentax smc FA 35 mm f/2 AL

20 July 2010
Arkadiusz Olech

3. Build quality

At the beginning let’s compare the Pentax to its competitors with the same parameters. As you can see in this chart, the tested lens is one of the smallest and physically the lightest of all at the same time. To tell you the truth only the Zeiss sticks out significantly there as it is the most complex construction; the whole rest of lenses belongs more or less to the same price and weight category.

The photo below helps us to realize how small the Pentax 2/35 really is – it is positioned there next to a 18-55 mm II kit lens and a Sigma 1.4/30 ( a Pentax mount version).

Pentax smc FA 35 mm f/2 AL - Build quality

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Despite small dimension and weight, the build quality of the tested lens is good. We deal here with a metal mount and a skeleton filled with black plastics of high quality. Immediately after the mount, on the barrel, we’ll find a ribbed aperture ring. Above, there is a clear distance scale in feet and meters behind a window.

Pentax smc FA 35 mm f/2 AL - Build quality

Unfortunately the constructors didn’t come up with the idea of installing a fully-fledged manual focus ring. If you want to set the focus manually you must fight with a narrow strip surrounding the front element system, which is at the same time a 49 mm filter thread (the smallest in this class of equipment) and outside, a mount for a lens hood. Rival Canon and Nikon lenses boast fully-fledged manual focus rings.

What’s interesting, the 35 mm lenses, showed by us in the chart, differ greatly when it comes to the optical construction. The Zeiss features the biggest number of elements (9), then comes the Canon (7) and the Pentax, which consists of 6 elements in 5 groups. The Nikkor has the same number of elements as the Pentax. Inside the lens, we also find a circular aperture with 6 diaphragm blades which can be closed down to f/22.

Pentax smc FA 35 mm f/2 AL - Build quality

The buyer gets both caps and a petal-type lens hood included in box.

Pentax smc FA 35 mm f/2 AL - Build quality