SMC Pentax DA 35mm f/2.4

SMC Pentax DA 35mm f/2.4

I have already tested this lens on my Pentax K-5 and K-7, but how does it compare on the NEX 3? Tested for benchmark purposes. I copied the build text from that lens, but the charts and conclusions are new.

The DA 35mm f/2.4 actually feels reasonably well built. It has a plastic barrel that closely resembles the metal barrels of the limited series lenses, with a knurled plastic focus ring at the front. The only thing missing is the focus distance scale. The mount is also made of plastic. The lens is nearly the same size as the SMCP FA 77mm f/1.8 Limited, but the DA 35mm f/2.4 lacks the bulk of the Limited lens.

The quality of the lens actually feels good next to some similar inexpensive plastic lenses. The focus ring is smooth and there isn’t a lot of play in the lens barrel. The main reason it feels cheaper is the lack of weight. The actual build quality is fine given that it is all plastic. Sadly, there is no quick shift focus and the focus ring turns while focusing (same as FA limited lenses).

The lens is a 6 element, 5 group design, with a minimum focus distance of 0.3m (1 ft) and a magnification of about 0.17x. The filter threads are the standard 49mm that Pentax has used for ages, and the lens weighs only 124g (4.4 oz). Being an inexpensive lens it includes neither a hood nor a soft case. It is the lens, press on rear cap, and snap on front cap only.

NEX 3 Optical Characteristics

NEX 3 MTF 50 (Sharpness)

NEX 3 MTF 20 (Resolution)

NEX 3 Lateral Chromatic Aberration

The lens has noticeable barrel distortion of -0.8 (numeric average between tested apertures). Coefficients can be found in the following chart.

All data gathered using Imatest.


The lens is sharp across the frame, is sharp from f/2.4, and even better by f/4.

The lens lateral CA is pretty average, and longitudinal CA is typical.

Flare resistance of the lens is excellent.

Distortion is better than average for wide angle standard lenses, having slightly noticeable barrel distortion.

Bokeh: if I have a chance I will take some bokeh shots.

– Sharp across the field at f/4 and up, but still good at f/2.4.
– Very few complaints optically

– Build materials.

Uses (sample):
– General Purpose Lens

This is really an excellent value lens. If you are shooting Pentax system and want a fairly large aperture standard lens with excellent all around optical quality, you need look no further. The main drawback to it is the all plastic build. Just adding a metal mount would go a long way as it would quiet most of the nay sayers.

As a NEX lens, it is fine, but you have no direct aperture control without the appropriate DA adapter, and focus is manual only and fairly sensitive, although it is easier to manual focus than the Tokina 35mm f/2.8 Macro.

If you like my review, you might shop for camera gear at Adorama.

The gallery images are © 2011 Eric Tastad, and may only be used for personal evaluation of the lenses. The images were exported straight from camera with my default LR3 settings for the NEX 3, which have some sharpening set since it is a fairly high resolution sensor and LR tends to under sharpen.