Budget High-Performance Pentax Lenses

Started Nov 10, 2013 | Discussions thread
JNR
JNR
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Re: ... Comparing zoom to primes... the only way to Know !
In reply to Gary Martin, Nov 14, 2013

Gary Martin wrote:

photozone rated it 3/5 :

http://www.photozone.de/pentax/641-pentax1855f3556wr?start=1
" it is capable of delivering decent results although it's nothing to rave about either. The corner quality is a certain Weakness at 18mm specifically at max. aperture and this is also amplified by a fairly Strong Field Curvature here. Stopping down to f/8 is therefore advisable... "

Here are other Photozone ratings (optical performance) for Pentax zooms:
DA*16-50 = 3/5
DA16-45 = 3.5/5
DA18-135 = 1.5/5

So if the kit lens gets 3/5, that pretty much supports the OP's point that it is a good value, especially when compared to much more expensive lenses. FWIW, I've owned 3 versions of the kit lens: the original 18-55 which came with my *istDS in 2005, version II which came with my K200D in 2007, and currently the WR version which I bought separately in 2009, and all 3 have been solid performers. And I own much more expensive glass to compare it with. Let the lens snobs sneer, but I've been able to produce some good work with that lens.

Adam over at PF wasn't terribly impressed with the 16-50 either when comparing it to the Sigma and Tamron. The build is great, though, and that isn't taken into consideration on optical tests. Bottom line is this - budget lenses often perform as well as, or better than higher priced lenses if you take care to avoid their weakest settings.

The OP got raked a bit for bringing up this topic, but a lot of folks don't want to spend the big bucks for the very best optics. Pentax offers so many possibilities to do quality work at a reasonable price point if you are willing to look into the older optics, especially if MF is an option.

It would be interesting if there was a modern comparison of the kit lenses available - perhaps with some step-up zooms included for comparison. A hint at how Pentax would do in this competition is offered by Lenstip (http://www.lenstip.com/202.11-Lens_review-Pentax_smc_DA_18-55_mm_f_3.5-5.6_AL_II_Summary.html) in their assessment of the newer optical design:

The old Pentax “kit lens” was acknowledged to be one of the best cheap kits on the market. Could it be improved without the significant price increase? Pentax proved that yes, it could. The new model doesn’t give way to the old one in any aspect and its results are definitely better when it comes to the image resolution, chromatic aberration correction and astigmatism.

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JNR
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