Excellent mechanically, a bit soft, go for "AL II" or "AL WR" instead
| No, I would not recommend this product.
|Size / weight|
|Value for money|
Mechanically it's probably one of the best kit lenses out there. Metal mount, unlike most others, full time manual focus (you can just turn the focus ring even when the camera is in the AF mode), front element doesn't rotate on focusing and the hood has a special opening to reach the filter - using this lens with a polarizer is a pleasure. Be aware though that Pentax now has a similarly-looking DA-L lens, which seems to be the same optically, but is all made of plastic, including the mount - they can be distinguished by the grey band on the barrel instead of green. Given how cheap used DAs are, it's better to buy a used DA than a new DA-L in my opinion.
Auto-focus is driven by the screw from the body and is a little noisy, but ok for this type of lens.
Optically it's a mixed bag though. You need to stop it down to at about F/8 to get anything remotely sharp and it's outright soft towards the longer end at any aperture. Recently Pentax came up with the "AL II" version, as well as the "WR" (weather-resistant) version and they're a bit sharper. Resistance to flare is pretty good. Chromatic aberrations at wide angle are noticeable, but can be corrected in Adobe CameraRaw, however they reduce the already insufficient sharpness even further. Distortions are noticeable at wide angle, but they're of simple pincussion type and are easy to correct.
Also none of these lenses have an aperture ring, so they cannot be used with extension tubes.
Overall, a decent kit lens, but newer reincarnations are a bit better for virtually the same amount of money.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Underrated lens for the money
This is the first Af pentax lens I have purchased, but I own several Mf SMC Pentax lenses and have used the "kit lenses" for two other systems(Nikon and Sony).
Construction is excellent. Pentax has a metal mount and real glass lenses. Sony has glass lenses and a plastic mount, Nikon uses plastic mount and polycarbonate lenses.
The design is well thought out. The manual focus ring has a long throw and it is easy to acquire a sharp focus. Nikon and Sony have a short throw and are harder to use manually. It also focuses closer than the other kit lenses. The lens hood (included with the lens) is excellent and positively locks on to the lens. Nikon and Sony offer the hood as a purchasable accessory. It weighs about the same as the Sony, but heavier than the Nikon,(plastic lenses and mount). That being said it is still easy to carry on the camera.
Used in the manual mode it acts like the SMC-A lens series. Focus is fast and smooth. In auto focus the focus speed is limited by the body used but it focused quickly and made sharp images. In the auto mode, after the camera has focused you can adjust the focus just by turning the focus ring if the camera made a wrong subject choice. If you kept your finger on the button the exposure stays the same. Nikon and Sony won't do this.
Image quality is good and usable without tweaking. Nikon has a tint that needs correction, The Sony runs slightly blue. The images are sharp as they are on the Sony and Nikon.
So we have great images, excellent design and construction, great manual focus performance, easy auto focus tweaking, and a great price. What's not to like. This kit lens is better than other makers kit lenses, and even some of their mid range lenses. It is hard for me to call this a kit lens as it works so well.
Mine was new in the box with the MFG warranty and less than a SMC-a 50mm
Pentax smc DA 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL offers good value
In the midrange of its focal length, e.g. 35mm, and a medium f stop, this is a very sharp lens, rivaling anything that's available including expensive primes. Focus sharpness drops off noticeably at the long and short ends of the range. It isn't a fast lens so its best use is outdoors or with flash indoors. Construction is plastic but it feels solid. It is very light so it is nice lens to take on a hike. Note that if you are buying a used version that came with someone's kit it will not have a lens hood. You can buy an after market hood for a few bucks on ebay. You'll need a hood or a protective filter because the front element of the lens sits right at the end of the barrel just waiting to be scratched. If you get a used lens in excellent condition and play to its strengths it offers incredible value.
One of the best purchases I have made in many years.
| Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
|Size / weight|
|Value for money|
In January of this year I purchased a Pentax K110D body on ebay. I have several lenses from my old Pentax film camera but wanted a digital camera. The lenses I have worked great but were not auto focus. I researched which lens came with the Pentax K100D camera and decided to return to ebay to see if there were any used lenses in good condition. I found the Pentax SMC DA 18mm-55mm F/3.5-5.6 AL Lens on ebay. I place several bids and won. The lens is everything that I wanted and more than I expected. It is a great auto focus lens that my wife and I can use without being a shutter bug. Now I have the camera and lens that I wanted and saved myself about $500 in the process.
Pentax SMC DA 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6
What I like about this lens: 1. light weight, 2. Focusing is fast and accurate from Macro to Infinity, 3. Will work equally well on my Pentax ist DL or Pentax K20d.
Why did I decide to buy it? I previously had lenses ranging from 28mm to 1200mm, this lens completed my list by providing a true Wide Angle on the digital format and I simply couldn't pass up the price. I agree that it is not world class optics but the resolution can hold its own with any kit lenses and more than meets my needs, even at very large enlargements (16x20)