Many people who purchase a DSLR never go beyond the kit lens that comes with their new camera. The normal, basic zoom that comes bundled in the box is more than sufficient for their needs, and they don't see a need to spend more money on a separate lens. For those people, the whole point of an interchangeable lens system is lost. Since my new camera allows me to change lenses, I wanted to take full advantage of this feature and explore what different lenses have to offer.
Lucky for me, my husband has a varied collection of lenses for his DSLR that also work on mine. But having to borrow a lens isn't the same as having one of my own. The freedom to explore a lens' qualities and characteristics through experimentation is very enlightening. It can really help open up your creative eye, and give you new insight into photography.
With this in mind, here are my thoughts on my first new lens acquisition (after the 18-55mm kit lens), the Pentax DA 35mm F2.4.
Note: For in-depth analysis, there are many reviews of this lens online. I can only give you my amateur opinion and describe how this lens works for me. I don't have any fancy scales or graphs.
My main camera is a Pentax K-x. Although there is a K-5 in my family, I have a tendency to tremors, and the increased weight can become a problem. Therefore, the lightweight, yet well-made plastic construction of my new DA 35mm F2.4 made me extremely happy. This lens is also relatively inexpensive for a prime lens, and that's another benefit. My main lens before was the 18-55mm kit lens, so my first impression of the DA 35mm is my resulting photos are significantly sharper. This seemed to be the case at all apertures, and it didn't matter how near or distant the subject was. The close focuing distance of 12 inches also impressed me.
I'm still practicing with manual focus, and I found the wide focus ring made it fairly easy. There's only a 90 degree sweep, but that seems to be enough. My one drawback with the focus ring is there's no scale to let me know where I am. The auto focus works extremely rapidly and for those occasions when I'm trying for a unique shot it lets me get the shot I want. When the opportunity arises, I'm happy with the distinctive starburst effect from the six aperture blades.
Overall I'd say I love how this lens allows me to take better photos and really helps me feel that I am capable of becoming a better photographer. I think it has really elevated my creativity since I started shooting with it in February 2011. I would highly recommend this lens to beginners like me and even more experienced photographers may find the low weight and great optics would make this lens a great addition to their collection.