Pentax DA 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6 AL review
The SMC Pentax-DA 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6 AL, to give it its full name, is Pentax’s take on the ubiquitous ‘kit lens’ concept, designed to offer a functional lens to sell with their SLR bodies at the lowest possible price. And while most of the other manufacturers have taken the opportunity to explore how to build a lens as simply as possible, and using as much plastic as they can get away with, Pentax have taken a different approach.
They have attempted to produce an optic which feels well-made and offers some genuinely desirable features for serious photographers, including a non-rotating front element for filter users, and a fully usable manual focus option. This approach will no doubt appeal to the more knowledgeable buyer, but the big question must be whether the optics live up the apparent aspirations of the lens, or instead corners have been cut at the expense of showroom appeal.
UPDATE: During the final preparation of this review, Pentax announced an new 'mark II' version of this lens to coincide with the launch of the K20D, and presumably tweaked to take better advantage of the 14Mp sensor. We hope to get our hands on the new lens, to see exactly what improvements Pentax have managed to make.
- 27-83mm equivalent focal length range
- 'Quick shift' manual focus system
- KA mount for Pentax APS-C dSLRS only
Angle of view
The pictures below illustrate the focal length range from wide to telephoto:
|18mm (27mm equivalent)||55mm (83mm equivalent)|
Pentax DA 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6 AL specifications
|Street price|| US: $110
|Date introduced||September 2004|
|Maximum format size||APS-C|
|35mm equivalent focal length (APS-C)||27-83mm|
|Diagonal angle of view (APS-C)||76°- 32°|
|Lens Construction||• 12 elements/ 9 groups
• 1 Aspherical element
|Number of diaphragm blades||6|
|Maximum magnification||0.34x at 55mm|
|AF motor type||• ‘Screw drive’ from camera body
• ‘Quick Shift’ manual focus
|Focus method||Extending front element|
|Filter thread||• 52mm
• Does not rotate on focus
|Supplied accessories||• Front and rear caps
• Petal-type lens hood PH-RBA 52mm
|Weight||225 g (7.9 oz)|
|Dimensions||68mm diameter x 67.5mm length
(2.7 x 2.7 in)
|Lens Mount||Pentax KA|
* Supplied accessories may differ in each country or area
Foreword / notes
If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read some of our Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this article (it may help you understand some of the terms used).
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Dpreview use calibrated monitors at the PC normal gamma 2.2, this means that on our monitors we can make out the difference between all of the grayscale blocks below. We recommend to make the most of this review you should be able to see the difference (at least) between X,Y and Z and ideally also A, B and C.
Pentax SMC Pentax-DA L 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 AL (21827)
For Digital Slr Cameras
PENTAX DA 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL Weather Resistant Lens
for Pentax Digital SLR Camera
Pentax 21977 DA 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 ED AL (IF) DC WR Lens
for Pentax Digital SLR cameras
|Too low to display|
Pentax DA 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL Lens
for Pentax and Samsung Digital SLR Cameras