« The K20D Arrives | Main | Random Excellence: Cassiopeia A »

Wednesday, 23 April 2008


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


after seeing pictures #2 and #6 in the above post, i really got interested in checking out this lens. the subtle background colors remind me of old school rangefinder lenses. quite nice.


The lens looks impressive.
I also like the bokeh.
Is it only my uncallibrated cheapish monitor or the images looks a bit warm?


Mike, I had no intention of wanting this lens. I request that you find something wrong with it. And if you don't at least have the decency to make something up.

My marriage may depend on it...

No pressure.

Now I'm really in a pickle. Shots I've seen elsewhere of the 35 macro have similar qualities to what you're finding.This lens is looking very good, but I already have the FA 35 f2, which does a nice job but is not macro and is pretty plasticky. Decisions, decisions...

Miserere and Mike,

one reason not to get this lens (especially as a normal quite small walk-around lens) is 2.8.

Until I got the 31 Ltd. on a bargain I used the FA 35/2 almost all of the time and must say that this lens is just great. After calibrating it with the K20D it is nothing but sharp even wide open. The bokeh is fine - in my opinion, it is small and light and it comes with a very nice lens hood.

An aperture of 2.0 is not just for speed but also for bokeh. At more normal shooting distances as the picture of Mike here, you will hardly get any bokeh with 2.8. I noticed that f2 is just so enough for a blurry background at distances at a few meters.

I think that the FA 35/2 is the real normal lens for Pentax.

best always

Definitely beautiful bokeh. I know that I said something tongue in cheek in a previous thread about how the samples were making me want to jump ship from the 31 Limited to this lens, but in all seriousness, I'm a bit surprised at how similar results from the two lenses are looking. Very nice.

One addition: of course the bokeh is great, and it is propably better than that of the 35/2, though bokeh is very dependent on background and I suspect that particular background behind Mike being quite bokeh-friendly.

However, it is nice, indeed.

We are talking here about the look of pictures, or more precisely how a scene is rendered through the lens and the medium, right? So I may add one impression of the last weeks. I was shooting color negative film (one overdue old roll of something called "paradise 400" and one roll of fuji superia 800) with a Canonet QL17 (the rangefinder with the 40 1.7 lens) and an OM 4Ti with 35/2. As I received the small prints from the one-hour lab, I thought that THIS is bokeh and even the small q&d prints look great to me! Let alone the feeling of shooting film, no chimping, no burnt highlights, a true sensitive experience...
And maybe I am wrong, but could it be, that bokeh tends to look smoother on film, especially the transition from sharp to blurred? Anyone experienced this?

Maybe I am just searching for a reason to buy some film Pentax for the 31 Ldt.

Sorry, but I had to say this ;-))

best always

While you're in this mood, want to buy my turntable? It's a pretty good one, and I'll give you a great deal. [g]

Mike J.

"And maybe I am wrong, but could it be, that bokeh tends to look smoother on film, especially the transition from sharp to blurred? Anyone experienced this?"

It is very demanding to find a sharpening regimen for digital captures that is kind to the sharp/soft transition, or to out of focus areas in general. One thing I'm not looking forward to is the testing I'll have to do to find the right procedure for the K20D--the fates would never be kind enough to simply let me keep using what works on the K10D...

Nothing to do with the lens but be careful posting hi res pictures of keys as it would be fairly easy to make a copy of them... Diebold did this recently on their voting machines locks which were hacked within days.

Someone enlighten me, what is the point of 35mm MACRO? Wouldn't someone intersted in macro photography prefer something a little longer. Or, is there a niche in macro photography that this lens fills? I am thinking that like Mike, far more people would be interested in this lens as "an all-purpose normal prime." And if thats the case wouldn't something a good bit faster be better received. To me, Pentax still needs an affordable true fast fifty for the cropped format as the 21mm and 40mm don't quite fit the bill. ch

Hi Mike,

I'm sure it's only good folks that read your blog, but did you have to show us a detailed image of your OWN keys taken with one of the sharpest lenses on the block? ;-)


Is this a manual-focus lens?

Those could be my keys! I've got a Leatherman micra knife (better scissors than on the Swiss Army) and that very same LED light.

Mike, that's a nice macro shot of your keys. Gee, it wouldn't be too difficult to make a copy now, would it? Ah, but photographers aren't burglars, are they?

"Someone enlighten me, what is the point of 35mm MACRO?"

Charlie H.,
Well, the 50mm-equivalent (or 55mm, or 60mm) "short" macro has a long and well-established heritage in 35mm lenses. The new Pentax (52.5mm-e) is virtually the equivalent of that. The old debate about 50mm-e vs. 100mm-e in macro lenses is an old one, and, as with all such either-or choices, each "side" has its adherents and champions. The primary advantage of the shorter choice is that they're usually smaller and cheaper, as well as simply that the lens can double as a normal--something Leica used to actively recommend with its 60mm f/2.8 R lens. Conversely, the people who usually went with the longer choice were nature photographers who needed a little more room for lighting or who wanted to stay a more comfortable distance from "critters." As I say, I'm not a macro photographer so I don't really have strong opinions either way--I jut have far less use for a medium tele than I do for a normal.

I did used to own the superb Olympus OM Zuiko 100mm f/2, which wasn't nominally a macro lens but focused much closer than an average 100mm lens--almost as close as macro--and it often came in handy when doing portraits because I never hit the close-focusing limit. That was a special lens, in its day, although it never enjoyed the reputation it deserved.

Mike J.

Re the keys, copying my keys from a photograph would be FAR more work than just breaking a window to get into my house. Anyone who went to the trouble would almost deserve the very slender pickings they'd find inside. What are they going to do, steal my books? All things considered, my books are far and away the most valuable contents of my house. Of course that's only INSURANCE value. Books are notoriously difficult to liquidate for anything more than a small fraction of their replacement cost.

For a photographer, I'm a particularly poor target. I have very little in the way of equipment. Even the rather junky contents of my camera cabinet would require a lot of work on eBay to liquidate, for not-very-significant proceeds. (If it were likely to be lucrative at all, I'd do it myself.)

Also, crime in the town where I live is low compared to the national average, although burglary is high--for us--at about .62 the national rate. (Rape and burglary, at .66 and .62 of the national average respectively, are the only categories of crime where we come anywhere near the national norm. Although I suspect what qualifies as a "burglary" locally might include some pretty unimpressive crimes. We had zero arsons and 1 murder in my town last year, for example. And that one murder put us well above our long-term annual average for murder!) But one advantage of having the most, um, "modest" house on a very nice block: any burglar (even a dumb one) casing our block would probably peg our house as his worst option. And once he got inside he'd quickly realize how right he was. [g]

In short, I'm not going to worry...too much.

Mike J.

Mike, what kind of turntable are you talking about? If not for me, two friends of mine could be interested. But honestly I think that they will stick to their ipods.

Seriously, it is a mood, truely, but I intend to hold it for some time. That is, in November this year I will participate in an exhibition at a local adult education center. It will be mostly environmental portraits, and I decided that everything I contribute will be done on film. For various reasons, and it just feels better.

Carl, it seems that you also care about subtleties in your pictures as you look for a sharpening regimen. Ah, and your pictures look like quests for them. I never went that far, but would be very interested if you gained any insights with your K20d.
Btw, did you compare my 2 DNGs, or did you do your own tests? I mean, there is a difference for sure, and I would be very interested in your opinion.


"Someone enlighten me, what is the point of 35mm MACRO?"

Well, macro lenses of any sort are special-purpose items anyway. The long-focal-length macro lenses that are all that has been released so far for small-sensor DSLRs are fine for bug chasers, but hopeless for copying larger artworks, old prints &c (you have to set up the camera so far from the subject you just about need a stadium to work in). They're also fairly useless for photographing the likes of architectural models (yes, there is still the odd architect about the place who makes real models rather than computer renderings) &c. This lens actually makes me think seriously (for all of about, oh, I don't know, maybe 30 seconds) of trading in my Canon 40D. After 30+ years of using Canon SLRs that's a reasonable achievement.


All so, and come to think of it I can't ever remember using a 105mm "micro" on a copy stand. It was always the old 55mm f/3.5.

Mike J.

I'm not sure that nature photographers always want a longer focal length macro. The nature shots I've published were mostly done with a shorter (50mm for color slides) macro because I wanted all the depth of field I could get for maximum detail. Context can be a big part of the story in a nature photo. Mind you these weren't true "macro" photos; they were highly detailed close-ups.

I used to have the 50 mm/f4.0 Pentax macro that I used mostly with a slide copying bellows. I never managed to do a good job with them, because of my ignorance may I add. Too bad because it might have been fun trying to copy slides with a digicam, instead of scanning, to see how well that worked.

The most stunning thing about these images is how much better Mike looks with a full beard. Sans moustache, there's too much a hint of the Pilgrim Fathers. . .

El Inglés,
I'm flattered. It's not really much of a beard yet--I just stopped shaving a few weeks ago. I managed to keep clean-shaven for several months, but then I lapsed. It's very embarrassing, but it's possible I'm too lazy to shave!

Mike J.

"Btw, did you compare my 2 DNGs, or did you do your own tests? I mean, there is a difference for sure, and I would be very interested in your opinion."

Just got a chance to look. There is certainly a difference, especially in the darkest areas. Where it comes from however, is a question. A 17 meg PEF converted by Pentax Browser to a 30 meg DNG converted back down to a 14 meg DNG by Lightroom...for all I know the noise reduction is an accidental side effect of all the number crunching to make those conversions. In any case, the procedure is too laborious to consider as a workflow unless it turns out to give a repeatable improvement and could be applied to the rare worst-case shot as a kind of hail mary pass.

I also think that, like Mike Reichman, you look better bearded.

i say the plate is half uncovered.

Not advisable to publish photos of your keys :-0

About the lens - what is the benefit of a 35mm (probably normal with the sensor size) macro lens compared to 60 or 100mm as I see other manufacturers make?

I rented the Pentax 35mm Macro for two reasons:

1. I wanted to try my hand at macro photography.

2. I wanted to use one of the vaunted Pentax Limited lenses.

So far I'm finding macro photography to be very interesting. I found that a breeze in the air is a bad thing! Flowers do move.

Limited lenses are so fine. This thing is built like a finely jeweled instrument. I produces excellent sharp images with good brokeh. It's a joy to use. I'm not sure about the focal length at 35mm for my use. I'll probably go with a longer focal length macro like the Tamron 90mm f/2.8 then to satisfy my need for a Pentax Limited maybe the 70mm f/2.4.

Why a 35mm Macro?

Call it walkaround macro; or a flower macro. There is HUGE use of macro with P&S camera. Just look on Flickr. So this lens appeals to that group as they move to DSLR.

Also, it's light, portable, versatile, and very high quality, (ah, Pentax).

It's odd that few mention that with SR now standard, lens speed isn't quite as important for that "stopped down" effort from a larger starting point. Many macro users are striving for better DOF anyway as resolution is often maxxed out.

At least Pentax calls a macro a macro. Sigma and Tamron call every close-focus lens a macro.

The comments to this entry are closed.



Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 06/2007