Budget High-Performance Pentax Lenses

Started Nov 10, 2013 | Discussions thread
JNR Veteran Member • Posts: 3,119
Re: Budget High-Performance Pentax Lenses

cgarrard wrote:

Three of my votes for current Pentax Lenses that perform extremely good for the price are the:

  • Pentax 18-55mm DA AL- weather sealed, non rotating front element, metal mount, smc coating (easy to clean folks), good max magnification for macro work, much better than competitors kit lenses by far. (About $80-140.00 USD currently)

No argument, but just a clarification that the Pentax weather sealed lenses are designated as WR. It can be confusing with five distinct versions of the 18-55!

  • SMC Pentax-DA 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6 AL (first version - more elements, poorer at either end, only slightly better than competing kits)
  • SMC Pentax-DA 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6 AL II (revised version with greater sharpness, quick shift)
  • SMC Pentax-DA L 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6 AL (lightweight newer version with plastic mount, no quick shift)
  • SMC Pentax-DA 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6 AL WR (weather-resistant newer version - good build, quick shift)
  • SMC Pentax-DAL 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6 AL WR (weather-resistant but with lighter build - plastic mount, no quick shift; introduced with K-50)

I got the best of the bunch in my closeout kit with the K-30 (SMC Pentax-DA 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6 AL WR). While it isn't the sharpest overall zoom I have used, it isn't below average in any aspect. It might be the best zoom I have used in working against the light (I especially enjoy shooting against back-lighting). The build is markedly better than the 16-45 - quite nice feel overall.

I think either of the WR lenses are an especially good value, but take care to be sure you aren't buying a resale from the K-50 kit if you want the metal mount and quick shift. All of the newer optical designs (the last four on the list) should be optically the same - and really are optically better but not by a huge margin based on tests I've read.

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 JNR's gear list:JNR's gear list
Pentax K-3 Fujifilm X-T20 Pentax smc DA 40mm F2.8 XS Lens Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS Rokinon 85mm F1.4 +15 more
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