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Is this the lens to lift our vision from the seductive trap of the zoom lens? Does it offer an improvement in terms of quality, or some other advantage with its simplistic approach? Let us now tread the path of discovery.
A maximum magnification of 0.17x and closest focus of 0.3m is closer than the 50mm lens of the days of film, but nowhere near a close focusing or macro lens. There is no aperture ring, which in one way is a pity as it is evident that this lens is actually a full frame design and could be used with Pentax film cameras. The f/2.4 maximum aperture is moderately fast and should enable low light shots to be taken, especially as the current Pentax DSLRs have such a good performance at higher ISO values.
There is no weather sealing and no Quick Shift manual focusing, but there is an extremely modest price tag. This may well tempt photographers who have never tried a fixed focal length lens to have a go with this one, possibly leading them onwards towards the very fine Limited lenses. This was always the logic, that a high quality standard lens would whet the appetite for more Pentax lenses.
The other omission is the Quick Shift feature, so there is no manual tweaking of the focusing when in AF mode. This can perhaps be forgiven in exchange for a very attractive price.
|The MTF50 graph, showing the ability of the lens to record fine detail, gives a good account of the lens. The performance is creditably even across the frame and resolution is very good. MTF50 was tested using a Pentax K-5 Digital SLR and imatest.|
|The MTF20 graph shows the response of the lens to coarser detail and is excellent throughout, reaching a peak at about f8. MTF20 was tested using a Pentax K-5 Digital SLR and imatest.|
There is little to criticise and this is certainly borne out in the real world pictures. These reveal a punchy, colourful lens that reproduces the scene with a quiet and polished confidence. This is true of both high and low contrast subjects, a distinction which is not often made in lens tests.
|Chromatic aberrations are extremely well controlled in the centre, the degree of correction falling off towards smaller apertures and the corners of the field. CA was tested using a Pentax K-5 Digital SLR and imatest.
Although CA can be seen in severe situations, it is not generally a problem. Flare is also superbly under control and almost impossible to induce.
All in all, a high quality, classy lens indeed.
|The Pentax-DA 35mm f/2.4 AL lens offers a very high level of optical quality for a very reasonable price.|
SMC Pentax-DA 35mm f/2.4 AL ProsVery high quality optics
Highly cost effective
Helps disciplined approach
SMC Pentax-DA 35mm f/2.4 AL ConsNo weather sealing
No Quick Shift
No lens hood provided
|VALUE FOR MONEY|
|Construction||6 elements in 5 groups|
|Angle-of-view||44° (with PENTAX D-SLR camera body)|
|35mm equivalent focal length (on APS-C body)||53.5mm|
|Minimum focus||0,3 m|
|Number of Diaphragm Blades||6|
|Size (lxw)||63.0mm x 45.0mm|
|Optional accessories||Lens hoods: PH-SA49 or RH-RC49
Lens case: S70-70