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08-30-2007, 01:24 PM   #1
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What is it about SMC?

For the longest time, I thought SMC was just a marketing gimmick. Any decent lens in the last 40 years has a coating, and Pentax was milking it with an acronym. (Kind of like how every digital camera needs a DSP/processor chip, so now they all get marketing names -- PRIME, or DIGIC, or WHOZITZ-9000.)

But the more I try out different lenses, from Nikon, Sigma, Tamron, the more I find myself drawn to the SMC look. Rich blacks, crisp contrast, no blooming, saturated colours.

Is there something really different about Pentax's SMC? Or am I drinking the kook-aid?

08-30-2007, 01:54 PM   #2
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I think Pentax was one of the first, if not THE first, to offer multicoated lenses for consumer cameras. The SMC coating has always been one of the very best available. So, no, you're not just imagining things.
08-30-2007, 03:03 PM   #3
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I believe the SMC coating aids in removing/reducing flare and ghosting, increasing contrast and possibly saturation, so yes it does affect the overall IQ significantly. According to Photozone the Tokina versions of the Pentax lenses exhibit more flare so the SMC really does work
08-30-2007, 05:25 PM   #4
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back in the good old days, when pentas WAS a leader in cameras, they were the first to develop multi coated elements. They then liscenced the technology to others.

The same thing is very common among manufacturers, for example the same thing took place when Pentax developed the present prisim for view finders. They were the first, then liscenced it to others.

08-30-2007, 07:13 PM   #5
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Pentax did not milk the market with the SMC branding.

In fact Pentax was offering Multi-Coated lenses for a number of years before all their competitors and they said nothing about it because they were under the assumption that everybody else was already using this method of lens coating.

It was only when their competitors started boasting about it and making Pentax look inferior for not mentioning that they started to use the SMC branding on their lenses.

It's that typical quirkiness of Pentax not having the marketing in place to take advantage of their innovations.



I must say though that I'm of the same opinion re SMC lenses. I love their colour rendition and as such have quite a collection of SMC-M lenses in my bag.

Last edited by Trawlerman; 08-30-2007 at 07:15 PM. Reason: additional
08-31-2007, 06:37 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
back in the good old days, when pentas WAS a leader in cameras, they were the first to develop multi coated elements. They then liscenced the technology to others.

The same thing is very common among manufacturers, for example the same thing took place when Pentax developed the present prisim for view finders. They were the first, then liscenced it to others.
Well to be a little more technically correct, Pentax bought the technology from a California company. Zeiss I beleve also had a close to equiv. coating technology. Pentax was the FIRST to make it commercially viable to consumers. This is not to degrade the quality, which really was pretty unmatchable, or to ignore the incremental inprovement in their newer "ghostless" coating but they were not the first to develop multi-coated elements..
AOHC says it best:
"1971 - Super-Multi-Coating
World's first multi-layer anti-reflective coating on consumer lenses. This patented technology made possible high-quality wide-range zoom lenses.
All competitors owe Asahi Opt. Co. this technological breakthrough."
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