Lens review

Pentax smc DA 35 mm f/2.4 AL

5 April 2011
Arkadiusz Olech

3. Build quality

The competition in the class of standard 30-35 mm lenses is not fierce. Lenses belonging to this category are shown in the following chart. As you can notice, even Pentax itself features here an 2.8/35 instrument for smaller sensors which can be not only a macro lens but also a good substitute of a standard device – after all it is only slightly slower than the 2.4/35 lens tested here. You must remember, though, that the 2.8/35 model belongs to the top Limited series and its price is much higher. We find this small difference between the Macro Limited model and the 2.4/35 one puzzling. After all the competitors - the Nikkor and the Sigma- featuring f/1.4-f/1.8 apertures are much faster than the Pentax. The full frame, faster Pentax smc FA 35 mm f/2 AL can be also considered an additional alternative to the smc DA 35 mm f/2.4 AL here.

The photo below shows the tested lens positioned next to the Sigma 1.4/30 (K mount version without HSM motor).

Pentax smc DA 35 mm f/2.4 AL - Build quality

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The body of the Pentax smc DA 35 mm f/2.4 AL. is entirely made of plastics, mount included. The lens is physically very light because its weight amounts to only 124 grams. Inside the mount there is a rear element, 2.5 cm in diameter. It is surrounded by the inscription “Assembled in Vietnam”. During focusing the rear element moves with the whole optical system and, on passing to the minimum focus, it hides about 0.5 cm inside the casing .

Pentax smc DA 35 mm f/2.4 AL - Build quality

On the casing itself we see a big notice ‘PENTAX 35 mm’ which is ribbed on both sides to ensure a better grip. On the left the ribbing is divided by the plate with the inscription ‘smc PENTAX DA’. Even further you can find a serial number of the lens.

Further on the barrel there is an immobile part of the casing with a green stripe and two notices: ‘SMC Pentax-DA 1:2.4 35mm AL’ and ‘49 mm’. Then we meet a ribbed manual focus ring which is less than 1 cm wide. It doesn’t feature any distance scale, it moves evenly and smoothly but its working range is rather narrow. Running through the scale needs less than a 90-degree turn.

The movements of the ring make the whole element system shift and it can extend from the inner tube by about 0.5 cm. The front element is 31 mm in diameter and it is surrounded by a non-rotating filter thread with a diameter of 49 mm.

When it comes to the inner construction, we deal here with 6 elements positioned in 5 groups. One element is aspherical. Inside you can also find an aperture with six diaphragm blades which can be closed down to f/22.

Pentax smc DA 35 mm f/2.4 AL - Build quality

In this price segment producers are usually thrifty when it comes to standard accessory kits. The 2.4/35 model is not an exception to this rule –we get just two caps included in box, that’s all. They even tried to stint on these caps – the cap covering the mount is not a standard screw-in one (with which the lens was photographed) but an ordinary stopper made of moderately stiff plastic.

Pentax smc DA 35 mm f/2.4 AL - Build quality