My go to DSLR lens for when I want to go back to basics is the Pentax-DA 35mm f/2.4.
It’s compact, very light, simple (no aperture ring, basic focus ring with no distance markings), auto focuses quickly, and delivers fabulous images, especially considering its low cost.
The focal length of 35mm equates to a field of view of 52.5mm on my Pentax APS-C DSLRs, right in the middle of the 50 and 55mm lenses I’ve used most extensively on film, so very comfortable and familiar.
At f/2.4 it’s fast for a 35mm, and wide open is sharp enough, with smooth bokeh for a lens this wide.
The minimum focus is not as good as the Pentax-F 35-70mm, but close enough most of the time, and it’s just the ideal lens to stick on a DSLR and shoot without thinking much about anything but composition.
Plus of course it’s a prime, so need to make any decisions about zooming.
There’s a reason it’s nicknamed the “Plastic Fantastic”.
Here are a few photographs from my most recent outing with it, paired with the ever faithful Pentax K-m.
Which lens do you reach for when you want simple, no-frills pleasures?
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