Fast normal prime lens for Pentax?

Started Mar 19, 2014 | Discussions thread
JNR Senior Member • Posts: 2,832
Re: Fast normal prime lens for Pentax?

audiobomber wrote:

JNR wrote:

Jim King wrote:

See a good review of this lens here. I have a copy and find it almost as good as my FA 31mm Limited, although it isn't as solidly built.

As the various reviews indicate, it is quite consistent in all aspects, all the way to f/2. The build doesn't bother me, but its relatively poor resistance to veiling (loss of contrast against the light) is rather surprising for a modern prime. My much older 50mm f/1.4 (m series) has far superior SMC coatings yielding better contrast, as does the DA 16-45 - which is at its best from 28 to 35mm.

Flare resistance is a strength according to the Lenstip review. That is what I've found as well.

"Work against bright light is definitely a strong point of the tested lens."

The Lenstip review is pretty much a rave:

"If you look closely at the accomplishments of the tested lens’s optics, you can find that it is the best 2/35 class instrument tested by us."

The FA 35 keeps me from buying an FA 31, and keeps me from using my DA 40mm Limited.

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Yes, it does just fine against the light in particular circumstances. Flare as typically tested with specular light (the sun for example) in the frame or near it. This is very different from veiling caused by broad areas of background light that reduce lens contrast significantly and is rarely included in the lens review testing. The FA 35 copes poorly with bright windows in the background or even toward the sides if that light reaches the front element.

You would think this was taken with wide open aperture, but it is stopped down to near-peak lens performance at f/4 (full frame from RAW as shot, except reduced to 25% of original, and minor color temp. correction):

Certainly correctable from a RAW image, but it would be a real challenge to fix from JPEG. I could post many shots like this, but in recent years have avoided using this lens in this kind of situation, so no recent examples. (I have no less than five K-mount lenses that match this focal length and aperture, and all of them would perform significantly better in this situation. That said, the FA 35mm is a better lens in the majority of situations - just not this one.)

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 JNR's gear list:JNR's gear list
Pentax K-3 Pentax smc DA 16-45mm F4 ED AL Pentax smc DA 21mm F3.2 AL Limited Sigma 17-50mm F2.8 EX DC OS HSM Samyang 8mm F3.5 Aspherical IF MC Fisheye +12 more
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