Pentax DA 35mm/2.8 Macro Limited.
The Pentax Limited lenses are well regarded among the Pentax shooters since the first FA Limited series lenses. The FA Ltd are faster than the DA Ltd which goal is to be smaller or pancake lenses. They are the modern incarnations of the old screwmount Takumar lenses, sure the Takumars were even better built but for modern lenses the Ltd are certainly different than most lenses produced these days where plastic is king. The DA35 Macro Ltd have a built-in metal lens hood, i like lenses with hood like that, and a beautiful metal front lens cap with velvet inside.
The DA35 Macro Ltd is my first, and only Ltd, that i own at the moment but i really like that lens. It’s a versatile lens since it can do landscape as well as Macro and it performs very well in both situations. If you buy it to do mainly Macro in the field, it’s not the best choice because of the close distance from the subject when you’re at the 1:1 repro ratio. For serious Macro i would choose the DFA 100mm Macro WR or the A*/FA* 200mm Macro.
Like i said, at the minimum focusing distance you’re almost touching your subject with the front of the lens, if i’m using that lens for photographing frogs i don’t use the built-in lens hood. I like the FOV that this lens gives to photos because you can see more of the background than with a longer Macro lens in the 100mm to 200mm range, but you have to careful that the background doesn’t look too busy and distract from your subject.
This shot above was taken with the DA35 Macro Ltd with aperture set at f/8. You can see that the background is too present and doesn’t help reading the photo, too distracting, even if i had selected f/4-5.6 the background would had still be too busy.
This shot was also taken with the DA35 Macro Ltd but this time at f/5.6 and i composed to eliminate the distractions in the background and it makes for a cleaner shot.
When you learn how to use that lens and control the background in your shots it will deliver beautiful photos with great colors and contrast. It also makes a good lens for landscape hpotography, it’s still plenty sharp for that purpose.
If you like metal lenses with great built quality and good manual focus feeling, then the Pentax Limited lenses are for you, sure they are not cheap but using such lenses is so much fun ! I will certainly buy at least another one of those Limited, pentax put a wide angle DA zoom Ltd on the roadmap that they showed for 2012/2013, hope that it will make it to production…. i will be one of the first to order one :)