July 19, 2009

DA 35mm Macro - A Year Later

I posted some of the first sample photos from the DA 35mm Macro lens over a year ago (May 08, 2008) taken while on vacation in Mexico. At the time, I was quite pleased with the results and really liked the philosophy our engineers had taken in designing this lens. There was a need for a small, lightweight normal focal length lens with good optical performance, as well as the ability to offer close focusing capability. In essence, this was a lens designed to satisfy those photographers who wanted a nice walk around lens they could use all day and not need to switch lenses.

It was interesting that the initial reaction to this lens fell firmly into two camps...those that "got it" immediately and those that criticized Pentax for calling this a Macro lens and dismissed it as having no value in anyone's camera bag.

Unfortunately, most of the confusion and criticism of this lens (by folks who had not even used the lens) was semantics driven by our decision to call this a "macro" lens. I know our engineers debated over the naming of this lens realizing that some people would assume by the name that this lens was a dedicated "macro" design. In retrospect, the "macro" moniker was probably the simplest way to identify the additional close focus feature of this lens.

A year has passed, and with the 35mm Macro now in the hands of many Pentaxians, I'm glad to see the increase of posts by photographers who are really pleased with this lens. It's a great example of why our Limited lens are unique in the industry. Much credit goes to our engineers who really think about the way photographers shoot and then design a lens offering the form and function that will best enhance your particular shooting style.

These 35mm Macro photos shot with the K-7 in RAW at ISO 400. Processed with CS4 to produce JPEGs for posting here on Blogger. Click on any thumbnail to see a larger file.


  1. Ned,

    I'm in the "I love this lens category." I find the "marco" very useful. Now if I want to shoot butterflies I take out my Lester Dine (although I so darn scared of breaking the thing I don't take it out often). I do plan on getting the DA 100 this year to get over the paranoia. But the focal length on the 35mm is close to 50mm which is what I really like about the lens.

    It's my lens of choice if I'm just taking one lens with me.

    Great optics too.

    Now if you guys would just come out with a 58mm Limited and a 90mm Limited, I'd be all set. Broke, but all set.

    Thanks Ned!!

  2. Ned,

    Is there anywhere you can get a replacement leather case for the 35mm? Long story, but a friend's dog chewed mine up while were hiking one day. Given my dog destroyed an Manuel Alvarez Bravo and an Ed Weston monographs (he also chewed the leg off a vintage 50's sofa.......), I couldn't get too upset.

    Anyway, I'd really love to buy one.



  3. Stanley,

    Your dog chewed on a Alvarez Bravo and Weston print and he/she can still walk? (smile). Let me check with someone in service to see how you can get one.


  4. They were monographs if they had been prints………. I haven’t been able to replace the Bravo one, but I did managed to find a fairly good used copy of the Weston. So….. 

    I love that dog so you just kind of roll with it.

    He’s a character and he’s very tolerant while I’m out taking photos so it’s a bit of a wash.

    Thanks so much. I’m a pretty loyal customer (and broke one too). I have a K10, K20, 2 K1000’s and a K2 and of course more lenses than I probably need.

    I’m getting the K7 in a couple of months. Hopefully before Stanley (the dog in question) and I take our Vermont camping trip in September. I’m trying to save up enough for that and the 15mm. That 15 just looks like it will be fantastic for nature photos so I’m really excited about it.

    And you are absolutely correct on the 35mm. That’s one very useful lens. I have the 21, 40, and 35. I’m more of an outdoor photographer. I actually find the close focus very useful. I do plan on getting the 70 though after the 15. Then I’ll move on the 31 and 77, but that will have to be next year.

    Thanks so much!!!

  5. I love my DA35mm, I'm not a macro shooter, so that wasn't my criteria for purchasing this lens, but the close focusing capabilities of this lens certainly come in handy.

    If I want to travel light somewhere, then I'll throw the DA35 on and off I go. For such a compact lens, I find the image quality to be outstanding.

    Thank you Pentax for making such gear!

  6. Wish it went down to f/2, but because of that, I'm still looking for an FA35...

  7. Anonymous6:37 PM

    I bought this for my K20D based on Mike Johnston and Carl Weese's rave review and they are NOT WRONG! I'm doing the "digital [poor man's] Leica with one lens for a year" experiment Mike proposed and LOVE IT!
    The IQ of the lens is stunning and my only request is PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE give me a 24mm/f2.0 like this so I can move to the equivalent of a 35mm focal length lens when I get my new K-7 later this year! Want proof? go here: gallery.me.com/geezerdude Except for the Pleasant Hill gallery, the rest are with this lens! (I didn't have it when I went there.)
    Rob "MacDaddy" White

  8. Lovely samples Ned!

    I love this lens I sold my 16-45mm f/4 to get it, I know many thought I was crazy but I much prefer it.

    Here's some photos I took with it which I won an award for:


    Would love to hear some feedback

  9. Hi Ned

    I just love this ..Much as I love my old 50/4 macro ....it has an especial image. However I bought it only recently and was shocked thati it has doubled in cost here in the UK in less than a month. A suicidal bit of marketing from Pentax in my view

  10. Anonymous11:03 AM

    The DA 35 certainly is one of the most unique lenses available. It's incredibly capable for a wide range of uses, and helps me produce some beautiful images.

    I "get it," so I got it, and I love it.

  11. As I commented on your original post. This lens is an ideal travel companion. However, I have also found it to be irreplaceable for my portrait work.

    I was about to get the DA*50-135 today, but a 200€ price increase made that "not worth the money *sigh*

    Following the lens prices I have found that the DA35 is the only lens that has not rocketed in Finland. Was it deliberately higher priced than its siblings, or?

    Sorry for whining, but as a hobbyist a 200€ price increase does make a difference.


  12. The lens prices have increased here in the US also. However, I still feel like you are getting very good value with Pentax. Particularly on the Limited Prime lenses. I have the 21, 40, and 35 and will be buying the 15 shortly. I'm not a zoom lens person, so I can't speak to those lenses, but even at the current prices I think the Pentax lenses are worth it.

  13. The only comfort I get on lens prices comes from looking at the pricing of N*k*n lenses, and those are heart-stoppers. Pentax does, though, compete in the better buy for the money category, so any price increases can still be an advantage to the competition.

  14. If the DA35 is not on the camera it's in my pocket. I never leave it at home. A very versatile lens.

    Now, wining about that it should not be called a "macro" if it is not a dedicated macro, that is just plain silly! Is the DFA100 macro less of a macro lens just because it is a good long portrait lens as well?

    I second the request for a 90mm limited (or something in the range 90-105mm). A 90mm f3.5 ltd would be a nice equivalent of the SMC Pentax-M 135mm f3.5, an unofficial limited of it's era. Time to expand the ltds upward now after the 15mm completed it in the other end.

  15. Douglas,

    Exactly on the macro. In fact I just used mine this AM to take some great Morning Glory flower shots after a rain storm at the park where I walk my dog.

    Ned, please on the 90mm!! Douglas is exactly correct. We need the 135mm equivalent.

    Douglas you might want to try out the Voigtlander 58mm. It's almost an 85mm until Ned gets us one in a Pentax. :-)

    A great day to all!!

  16. Hi Ned,

    Have you seen this - the Ashiflex 50 3.5 55 years later.


    It seems it would make a great ad or story. Use one lens (a prime) from Pentax's arsenal from each decade to shot and tell a story about Pentax, backwards compatibility and the ethos of primes.

    Cheers, Alistair

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  18. The 35 Macro Limited is a brilliant lens. Mine is on my camera 90% of the time.
    The DA 35 Macro Limited is why I shoot with Pentax.



  19. Rob said "PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE give me a 24mm/f2.0 like this so I can move to the equivalent of a 35mm focal length lens when I get my new K-7 later this year!"

    I have an old Vivitar 24/2 that makes me very happy. Not a macro but close focus.

  20. The DA 35mm is my favorite AF lens for my K20d and K200d. I bought it because of its 1:1 capability. Since I have a macro-tak I opted to pass over the D FA 50mm which is a good lens. I also like the DA 21mm ltd.


  21. Anonymous2:36 AM

    I was playing games online however for reading this post more interesting thanks for the share please do keep it going great job....Loveing this.



    Increase your brand popularity overnight

  22. The 35ltd macro is one of my favorite lenses. I use find it very nice for product shots as well as just general shots when I was learning to use it...


    BTW love the Sandwich Dolphin pieces...especially the candlesticks. I had the same pair in clambroth...

  23. Ned

    Apologies for hijacking your blog, but you probably need to visit this forum asap ..........



    Helen Oster
    Adorama Camera Customer Service Ambassador