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Pentax DA SMC f/3.5-5.6 18-55mm A Review


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  • Distance scale, metal lens mount, good CA control at tele end


  • Average resolution

Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £200

Slightly more translation than normal is required to have any chance of cracking the Pentax code. Super Multi Coating (SMC) corrects chromatic aberrations, while DA indicates digital dedication, as opposed to the FA system for film. AL indicates the use of an aspherical lens. Simple really!

Pentax cameras use a 1.5x magnification factor should you need a 35mm guide, so the lens offers an equivalent of 27-82.5mm and a minimum focus of 25cm, which is comparatively short. This lens also has a small maximum aperture, stopping down to f/40 at the 55mm end. Yet, despite its budget credentials, this optic is one of the few in this category to have a hard-wearing metal lens mount, though admittedly the rest of the external construction is plastic. The zoom ring has a deep grooved rubber grip and smooth action, while the narrow focus ring allows manual focus while in AF mode. Furthermore, the lens has a focus distance scale, which is fast becoming a rarity on modern optics.

Image Quality
Overall, the Pentax optic shows a fairly average performance. Resolution is average, with some corner sharpness falling off. While not displaying the highest resolution in this category, it maintains a consistent performance throughout the aperture range. But where Pentax really wins favour is at the telephoto end, where all chromatic aberration is nicely controlled, though at 18mm it is a little more noticeable to the eye.

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This Pentax optic offers adequate performance for everyday photographs. However, if you want top quality, or intend to make bigger prints of your work, then the flaws become obvious, particularly at the edges and corners. The distance scale and metal mount are appreciated though.

Trusted Score

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Score in detail

  • Value 8
  • Design 8
  • Image Quality 8
  • Features 8

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