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Lens review

Pentax smc DA 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 AL II

16 October 2009
Szymon Starczewski

11. Summary

Pros:
  • a relatively solid barrel for a kit lens,
  • very good image resolution at all focal lengths on slight stopping down,
  • low or medium chromatic aberration,
  • distortion level lower than its competitors’,
  • quite good work against bright light,
  • efficient autofocus,
  • small weight and compact physical dimensions,
  • good price/quality ratio.

Cons:

  • weak picture quality at wide angle and maximum aperture,
  • significant coma,
  • high vignetting level at 18 mm.

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. Those interested in buying a Pentax reflex camera don’t have to think about changing the kit lens right away because they get with the body a good instrument almost free of charge which performance is really satisfactory.

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Sample shots:

Pentax smc DA 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 AL II - Summary Pentax smc DA 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 AL II - Summary Pentax smc DA 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 AL II - Summary
Camera: Pentax K20D
Parameters: 55 mm, f/8.0, exp. 1/160 sec., ISO 100
File: JPG, 4672x3104 pix, 7.0 MB
Camera: Pentax K20D
Parameters: 55 mm, f/8.0, exp. 1/160 sec., ISO 100
File: JPG, 4672x3104 pix, 7.3 MB
Camera: Pentax K20D
Parameters: 35 mm, f/8.0, exp. 1/160 sec., ISO 100
File: JPG, 4672x3104 pix, 6.9 MB
Pentax smc DA 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 AL II - Summary Pentax smc DA 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 AL II - Summary Pentax smc DA 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 AL II - Summary
Camera: Pentax K10D
Parameters: 55 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/50 sec., ISO 400
File: JPG, 3872x2592 pix, 2.6 MB
Camera: Pentax K10D
Parameters: 35 mm, f/6.3, exp. 1/30 sec., ISO 400
File: JPG, 3872x2592 pix, 2.7 MB
Camera: Pentax K10D
Parameters: 55 mm, f/9.0, exp. 1/250 sec., ISO 200
File: JPG, 3872x2592 pix, 2.2 MB
Pentax smc DA 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 AL II - Summary Pentax smc DA 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 AL II - Summary Pentax smc DA 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 AL II - Summary
Camera: Pentax K10D
Parameters: 18 mm, f/3.5, exp. 1/2000 sec., ISO 200
File: JPG, 3872x2592 pix, 4.0 MB
Camera: Pentax K10D
Parameters: 18 mm, f/8.0, exp. 1/400 sec., ISO 200
File: JPG, 3872x2592 pix, 4.1 MB
Camera: Pentax K10D
Parameters: 18 mm, f/3.5, exp. 1/1600 sec., ISO 100
File: JPG, 3872x2592 pix, 3.1 MB



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