smc DA 35mm f/2,8 Macro Limited?


Link Posted 07/12/2008 - 22:34
I’m thinking of buying a new lens for my Pentax K100D Super.
I only have the 18-55 kit lens and I usually like landscape photography even if I happen to use the lens for architecture or portrait photography.
To complete the kit I first thought of the Pentax 55-300 which would enable me to take animals or musicians at concerts… have more possibilities…
But recently I have also been thinking of the Pentax 35 mm Macro Limited which would perhaps correspond more to my type of photography as it looks versatile to me : I could use it as my single lens during my numerous walks for landscapes and close-ups of flowers, mushrooms, etc. .
Someone has suggested I purchase the Sigma 17-70 Macro which would be a more versatile lens.
Perhaps I have not thought of other options.
I have a limited budget but my idea was to buy both a telephoto and a macro lens in the long term.
Any advice? Any experiences with either lens? Thank you for your advice.


Link Posted 07/12/2008 - 22:55
My experience with macro lenses has been that generally the longer ones are more universally usefu. So I use the 100mm f2.8 Macro.

For low light you might consider the 50mm f1.4, otherwise I would use zooms for their verstility.

12-24mm, 16-45mm and 55-300mm are all I need and they all work very well indeed.

However, that's for my photography and you might well have different needs, so it's something that needs careful thought. Don't discount the kit lens, which is not at all bad.
Best regards, John


Link Posted 07/12/2008 - 23:12
I don't own the DA35 (yet) but I've been very impressed by all the photos I've seen from it. Here's a link that I've posted before: click

Probably one of the most positive lens reviews I've ever read bar none! I think you'd be very happy with it.
Joining the Q


Link Posted 12/12/2008 - 21:43
So if I understand you well, it's better to own the 55-300 for its versatility, it may be an ideal lens for a kit that already contains the standard 18-55 (which is a good lens).
However the 35 Macro Ltd looks impressive.
How does the latter compare to the other two Pentax macro lenses available? And what about the Sigma and Tamron macro lenses?


Link Posted 12/12/2008 - 22:38
I have a 50mm Sigma macro lens as well as a Vivitar 100mm and Tamron 90mm.
To be honest I never use the 50mm as it is just too short for most things, if you want it for bugs and insects then something in the 100mm range would be far better but if you are wanting a lens more for the wide aspect with that added advantage of macro then the 35mm would be the one.

As for the Sigma 17-70mm is is a nice lens but is not 1:1 like the others so you are not getting a true macro lens.
No equipment list here but thanks for taking an interest. My Flickr


Link Posted 12/12/2008 - 22:40
It's 100mm every time for versatility.

The 35mm Macro does indeed look attractive, but it's similar in coverage to the 50mm ones on film and unless you are copying lots of documents a bit on the short side for me.
Best regards, John


Link Posted 13/12/2008 - 07:53
I'm sure that the 35mm lens produces some excellent results but for me, that FL is too short for macro work. It's probably very good for static subjects like jewellery, coins, models etc, but for living subjects you'd need to get very close which often means no more subject.

The SMC Pentax F/FA 100mm 1:2.8 macro lenses are superb and the Sigma 150/180mm macro lenses increase the distance from wary/dangerous subjects even further.

I've said before that my holy grail is the SMC Pentax-A 200mm macro lens, but I've given up on that and bought the Sigma 180mm 1:3.5 instead. It also fills the telephoto gap between my DA* 50-135mm and the DA* 300mm.
Peter E Smith

My flickr Photostream

Daniel Bridge

Link Posted 13/12/2008 - 10:23
As I already own a 105mm macro, the 35mm is tempting for me, just for the different perspective it would offer. Probably wouldn't use it a huge amount for living things (although approached with patience many insects don't mind you getting that close), but for fungi I think it would be great. I quite often use my 16-45 with an extension tube.

I've shot lizards, dragonflies, butterflies and hoverflies with the 50mm on 3 extension tubes, so about an inch away.

K-3, a macro lens and a DA*300mm...


Link Posted 13/12/2008 - 12:47
Hi Benoit,

I've been using the Pentax 35mm Macro Limited for a few months now, mainly for shooting jewellery, but some other general stuff as well. It really is a lovely lens and I've been delighted with the results I've had.

When choosing a macro, I also looked at the Sigma 50mm and 70mm, but plumped for the Pentax 35 because I liked the perspective it gave, and being much smaller and lighter than the other two, the handling was much better. Not having to switch between manual focus and AF is great too.

However, as others have mentioned, this is not a lens I would reccomend for things like insects etc. To fill the frame with, eg. a bee, you have to get frighteningly close. So close in fact that the camera / lens affect the lighting! In which case I use a 2X converter, but this makes it slower and changes the prespective.
'The RAW is the score and the print is the performance' - Apologies to Ansel Adams

Last Edited by Haworth on 13/12/2008 - 12:48


Link Posted 13/12/2008 - 13:17
Thank you for your valuable advice, so if I want a macro lens for shooting flowers, mushrooms, etc. the Pentax 100 mm would be the best option? Morever it will enable me to use it for shooting insects for example butterflies more easily. Am I getting it right?


Link Posted 13/12/2008 - 13:23
Yes, you're getting it right!
Best regards, John

George Lazarette

Link Posted 13/12/2008 - 17:57
Macro lens features:

1 They focus VERY close.

2 They are very sharp.

3 They have a flatter field than other lenses - useful when copying documents.

4 They often have a deeply recessed front element - no need for a hood.

5 They are often slower than non-macro lenses of the same focal length.

6 They are often bigger and heavier than non-macro lenses.

7 They should perform well at small apertures (f11, f16) because DOF is critical when shooting close-up.

8 The longer the better for wildlife - 200mm best, 100mm good, 50mm not so good.

9 Focussing is critical, so MF is often preferable to AF.

10 It's usually practicable to meter manually (especially with a DSLR) so manual exposure lenses are perfectly usable.

11 There is no bad macro lens. Not totally true, but on the whole any macro lens you buy with a recognisable name will be pretty good. That includes Ricoh, Cosina, Vivitar, etc.. Even Sigma. The Tamron 90mm is legendary.

That's all you need to know about macro lenses.

(Waiting for lots more features to be listed by others better informed)
Keywords: Charming, polite, and generally agreeable.


Link Posted 15/12/2008 - 10:55
If you do decide to purchase the 35mm Macro, all I can say Ben 76, you will definitely NOT be disappointed. I have one, and for macro work it is excellent and excels with its high definition.
Not everything in life is Black & White, If only it were!
Kind Regards,


Link Posted 15/12/2008 - 16:37
I think the DA35 is a great lens for what you're looking for. It's very sharp and the speed ( 2.8 ) is decent, especially compared to the kit lens and the 55-300 that you have.

Makes a good compact walk-around solution when compared to the zooms you mention. The 35mm focal length is very convenient for street photography, and you can also get in as close as you want (I'm always surprised by how far away I have to be with other lenses now!) If you like the focal length, there's nothing wrong with this lens.

As a macro, it's true, the 35mm focal length is unusual. think of it as a 35mm with macro capability, rather than a macro lens that's only 35mm!

Not the greatest FL for portraits, but macros are generally considered too sharp for portraits, unless you're trying to show off pores and wrinkles.

It focuses very well with autofocus and has the quick shift capability too (third party lenses don't) so you can switch instantly to manual focus, and it has the largest focusing ring of the DA limiteds (which isn't saying much).

[edited out some unintentional smilies]
Last Edited by farfisa on 15/12/2008 - 16:39
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