The Pergear 35mm F1.4 Full-Frame Manual Focus lens is ideal for everyday shooting, street photography, travel photos, portraits - and for those who enjoy shooting slightly wider than a 50mm focal length, but still like to keep things simple.
One of the best budget lenses on the market right now, this offering from Pergear is excellent value for money and does a really great job when focused correctly, though it might take some focus peaking to get the subject pin sharp.
Being a manual focus lens means you'll need to allow for some trial and error if you're a photographer who relies on autofocus a lot of the time (guilty) but it's worth becoming familiar with this lens as there's not much that it can't do.
Is this the best 35mm lens we've ever reviewed? Of course not. But for under $130 / £120 / AU$199 at the time of writing, it's pretty great for photographers on a budget as well as being one of the best cheap lenses for students too.
The price of this lens also makes it excellent for beginner photographers who don't wish to spend a fortune on gear, as well as those who are new to shooting with a manual focus lens.
The Pergear 35mm f/1.4 is designed for use with full-frame mirrorless cameras, although it can also be used with APS-C models where it provides a crop factor with an equivalent focal length of around 52.5mm.
If you're looking for one of the best lenses for street photography, then this entry-level affordable brand alternative from Pergear might just surprise you with what it can accomplish.
Need guidance on a specific area of this 35mm lens? Or if you just want to skip to the verdict or see the sample image results, then be sure to navigate through this review using the handy section tabs above.
Pergear 35mm f/1.4 Specifications
Release Date: November 2022
Mount: Sony E / Canon RF / Nikon Z / L-Mount
Full frame: Yes
Image stabilization: Unspecified
Diaphragm blades: 10
Aperture: f/1.4 to f/16
Minimum focusing distance: 30cm
Maximum magnification ratio: Unspecified
Filter size: 43mm
Weight: 0.36 Kilograms
What's in the box?: Front and rear lens caps, lens hood, nice little lens pouch, and of course the lens itself.
Pergear 35mm f/1.4 Key features
We tested this lens with the Sony A7III mirrorless full-frame camera and had the chance to experience this lens as the manufacturer intended, and to its full potential. The super affordable price of this lens is what really sets it apart as a key selling point for beginner, amateur, and even professional photographers who might be looking for a reliable lens that won't empty their wallets at the same time.
Aside from the bright f/1.4 maximum aperture that's beneficial for shooting in low light conditions, and for creating bokeh, another critical feature of this lens includes the 63.2° angle of view, as well as being equipped with a focus magnifier, as well as the option to focus to infinity for those who might struggle with or be new to focusing a lens manually without an autofocus aid.
While it might take some experimentation and tinkering to find your comfort level with this lens, using a manual focus is great for sharpening your photographer's eye and getting in the habit of making sure your subject is in focus before leaving the scene, forcing you to really take your time with an image.
But with that said, it's not always possible to capture high-speed or moving subjects in focus with this lens unless you really master it or time your shot perfectly. This lens is fast - but you might need to be faster, especially with action and street photography, when you're ideally aiming to catch someone in the moment.
Pergear 35mm f/1.4 Build and handling
The design of this lens is pretty old-school, though despite its cheaper materials it still feels very sturdy and even a little on the heavier side. The lens barrel has a clicked aperture ring stepped with the right amount of resistance, and click, marking full stops from apertures f/1.4 to the minimum of f/16.
The lens has a very analog and mechanical feel, which we felt made it more grippy and comfortable to hold when finding the focus. There's also a multi-layer coating applied to the front of the lens which aids in suppressing potential lens flare and ghosting from occurring, while also retaining accurate image colors.
Being compact, this lens would be ideal for those who like to travel light, or the picky shooters who seem to interchange lenses fairly frequently. You could easily keep this lens in your pocket, and it conveniently comes with a drawstring lens pouch to keep it safe and contained when not in use.
Pergear 35mm f/1.4 Performance
The Pergear 35mm f/1.4 performed surprisingly well and proved to be suitable for pretty much every type of photography including standard portraits, street photos, landscapes, close-up, and even the occasional pet portrait at the beach. The versatility of this lens makes it ideal for someone in need of a lens that can do it all, for a super affordable price if you're willing to forgo autofocus.
Admittedly, for someone who has always relied on using autofocus, this lens can be a difficult adjustment to get used to and master. So don't expect to be shooting perfectly sharp shots straight away unless you're already accustomed to using a manual focus lens for general photography.
A lot of times, we found that an image we initially thought was sharp enough or at least centrally in focus turned out to be a complete miss once viewing it on a larger laptop screen or photo editing monitor. The focus to infinity feature is meant to assist in getting every part of the image sharp, though this can be fiddly to use and isn't always reliable. We also found that some images did contain flares and some distortion around the edges which can be easily corrected in post.
As you can see from the sample images, the focus from this lens isn't perfect by any means, but it's flexible. There were times when the focus and sharpness of the resulting images were slightly off, but it's difficult to tell immediately unless you're viewing the images on a much larger screen or blowing them up as bigger prints.
It's hard to keep a manual focus perfectly tuned when the scene around you can easily change, and so can your position when shooting handheld and without a tripod. The smallest movement can change your focus - but maybe this is a good thing for producing creatively abstract images using slower shutter speeds.
For sharper results with this lens, it might be worth investing in one of the best mini tripods for steady shots while still being able to travel light. The lens did not struggle however with shooting the scene we gave it, whether it was a city landscape, a shop window, a close-up of a sandy rock, or a photo of Tilly the double doodle chomping down on a stick.
Pergear 35mm f/1.4 Lab results
We run a range of lab tests under controlled conditions, using the Imatest Master testing suite. Photos of test charts are taken across the range of apertures and zooms (where available), then analyzed for sharpness, distortion and chromatic aberrations.
We use Imatest SFR (spatial frequency response) charts and analysis software to plot lens resolution at the center of the image frame, corners and mid-point distances, across the range of aperture settings and, with zoom lenses, at four different focal lengths. The tests also measure distortion and color fringing (chromatic aberration).
A quirk with this lens, and indeed some other lenses with manual aperture control and no electronic contacts is the aperture values marked on the lens barrel don't necessarily have a direct correlation to camera shutter speed. This is why there are no results for f/2 or f/11. Treat the aperture markings as a rough guide only.
Center sharpness is a mixed bag, being decent enough at f/2.8 and f/8, but we'd expect a better performance at f/4-5.6. Mid-frame and corner sharpness are similarly average.
Lateral chromatic aberrations are well controlled in the center of frame, but move outward just a little and fringing soon becomes very pronounced, and stays noticeable into the corners of frame.
Barrel distortion is quite severe for a lens that isn't particularly wide.
Pergear 35mm f/1.4 Verdict
The Pergear 35mm f/1.4 is a fantastic lens for beginner photographers and students to become better acquainted with shooting manual focus and mastering the art of focus peaking. It's great for professional photographers too as it produces pretty great images for an unbelievably affordable price.
As we outlined in our review, the lens is built from strong and sturdy materials and feels very substantial, yet also keeps a compact form and could easily be stored in your pocket. We were happy with the image quality produced by this lens as well as the features provided to aid with focusing which include the option of focusing to infinity, and a clicked aperture ring on the lens barrel for added convenience.
Is it the best 35mm lens on the market? Certainly not. Image quality is nothing special, as the lens isn't especially sharp and it produces relatively pronounced fringing and barrel distortion. There are definitely better lenses out there to complete your setup, but of course for a much higher cost than this modest and appeasing offering from Pergear.
If you're on the fence about this lens, it's worth taking a chance on it if you're looking to save some money on your setup. But if you need something with more polished image quality and reliable focussing for a big event, you might be better off investing in a branded alternative.