Lens review

Pentax smc DA 35 mm f/2.4 AL

Pentax smc DA 35 mm f/2.4 AL
5 April 2011
Arkadiusz Olech

1. Introduction

Originally posted 2011-02-28 on Optyczne.pl

In times of analogue full frame the choice of standard 45-58 mm focal length lenses used to be huge and it was true for practically every available system. Most amateurs had within their reach not only lenses as fast as f/1.7-f/1.8 but also f/1.4 constructions.

The introduction of the APS-C/DX format caused troubles. Lenses of 1.4/35 class became fast standard then – you could find them in most of systems but they were very expensive at the same time. If you wanted to treat smaller detectors seriously you had to design a fixed-focal standard lens especially for them. Only Sigma approached the issue seriously enough - already in February 2005 presented the 30 mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM model. For many years it was the only option available on the market. In 2009 finally a real competitor was launched – the Nikkor AF-S DX 35 mm f/1.8G. Several “primes” made of plastics and designed for small sensors were shown also by Sony, including the 1.8/35 model, launched last year, which, regrettably, we haven’t had the opportunity to test so far.

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We had to wait till September 2010 for the next Pentax move. It was long, taking into account the fact that Pentax, contrary to Canon, Nikon and Sony, didn’t introduce full frame so it should treat the smaller APS-C sensor very seriously indeed. In this system the presence of f/1.4-f/1.8 lenses with focal lengths ranging from 30 to 35 mm seems to be simply compulsory. To tell you the truth there is the Pentax smc FA 31 mm f/1.8 AL but it is an expensive device, designed for full frame, so belonging to equipment quite different than a standard f/1.4 lens designed for smaller sensors.

The owners of Pentax reflex cameras had to wait a very long time but finally they got their cheap standard lens. Last year the Pentax smc DA 35 mm f/2.4 AL model was launched. It’s still a far cry from the fastness of the Sigma f/1.4 of the Nikkor f/1.8 and, I suppose, it remains the main flaw of the new lens, especially if you consider that the Pentax additionally is a tad more expensive than the Nikkor. Perhaps it has other advantages, though, which can recompense the higher price and slower aperture? You can check it out reading our test – enjoy!

The lens was provided for our tests by the Fotozakupy.pl shop.

You are also invited to get acquainted with our test procedure, described in the article "How do we test lenses?" If you feel it’s still not enough, please go to our FAQ section where you can find some further explanation.

Pentax smc DA 35 mm f/2.4 AL - Introduction

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