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06-12-2013, 02:27 PM   #1
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Impressed with DA 18-55 AL II

I recently acquired a Pentax DA 18-55mm Version II kit lens on ebay for about $80. Currently I've got a K5 with an FA 43, and a DA* 50-135. I had the DAL version of this lens but sold it figuring I would never use it. I was impressed by the ratings of the version II lens, so I thought while I'm waiting saving up to purchase a DA 21, I'd give it a try.

I was pleasantly surprised to find out at 21mm this lens actually performs admirably. So good in fact, I'm thinking of holding off on the purchase of the DA 21 even longer although I do really want to see those nice starbursts so maybe not .Here are a few photo's at 21mm.

(Sorry the car needs washed)





06-12-2013, 02:34 PM   #2
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I dunno man, but the sharpness and chromatic aberrations, especially at <25mm, are horrible imo. not a surprise though at that price.
06-12-2013, 02:37 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Driline Quote
I recently acquired a Pentax DA 18-55mm Version II kit lens on ebay for about $80. Currently I've got a K5 with an FA 43, and a DA* 50-135. I had the DAL version of this lens but sold it figuring I would never use it. I was impressed by the ratings of the version II lens, so I thought while I'm waiting saving up to purchase a DA 21, I'd give it a try.

I was pleasantly surprised to find out at 21mm this lens actually performs admirably. So good in fact, I'm thinking of holding off on the purchase of the DA 21 even longer although I do really want to see those nice starbursts so maybe not .Here are a few photo's at 21mm.

(Sorry the car needs washed)


The DA 18-55mm II and the DA L 18-55mm is the same lens optically

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06-12-2013, 02:47 PM   #4
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In the three categories of things that can happen with a lens, bad, average, average and awesome, the 18-55 gave us a good does of average with a bit of bad... the 21 gives us a good dose of average with a bit of awesome. The 18-55 never gets on the camera. Especially since I have the 18-135, and Tess has the Tamron 17-50. There's absolutely no excuse to use it. I would have sold you one of my two for $50, I have to keep the white one, it goes with my white K-01.

06-12-2013, 03:15 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
The DA 18-55mm II and the DA L 18-55mm is the same lens optically
BE CAREFUL WITH THIS COMMENT, IT IS ONLY A HALF TRUTH....the 18-55 has a lot of discontinuations and reconstructions for newer models where the name of models get confusing.

To clarify, NOT ALL DA L 18-55 lenses are the same as the AL II which is now discontinued. I had the OLD DA L 18-55 and it is NOT the same as the DA AL II which I have also owned. The AL II performed quite differently (the white balance was different, the colors were brighter on the AL II, image was sharper on the AL II, etc) However, from what I have read, the new K30's have been packaged with a DA L 18-55 that has upgraded optics identical to the AL II. If you bought a KR and earlier models or happen to get a hold of a DA L 18-55 that is older, it can be mistaken for the upgraded model.

Pentax really screwed up on their 18-55 model numbering system. When they upgraded optics in the lenses released with the K30's, they should have named them DA L II 18-55 to separate the old from the new.

Bottom line, if you buy a DA L 18-55 lens, I don't have any way of offering info and know of no references that will allow somebody to know if it is an upgraded model or not. For this reason (and others) the 18-55 will never be in my possession unless it is the WR model.

Hope this helps.

Peace,
JF
06-12-2013, 03:33 PM   #6
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QuoteQuote:
I dunno man, but the sharpness and chromatic aberrations, especially at <25mm, are horrible imo. not a surprise though at that price
Where have you heard that?
Sharpness of the 18-55 II is best near the wide end, and quite good for a zoom, less so towards the long end. Fully open, it gets a bit soft, but this is true for much more expensive lenses, too.

And CA seems not to be so much worse than with a couple of well regarded primes. I remember some published tests on optical benchs which found managing of CA quite well for a kit zoom.
06-12-2013, 03:56 PM - 1 Like   #7
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I'm only using this lens at the wide end. I've got great lenses with the FA 43 and 50-135 at the long end. So I know what good glass is and have no illusions regarding a kit lens IQ. I'm just amazed at the sharpness at the 21mm focal length as that is what I eventually will purchase in the DA 21.
06-12-2013, 03:56 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by JF Jayhawk Quote
BE CAREFUL WITH THIS COMMENT, IT IS ONLY A HALF TRUTH....the 18-55 has a lot of discontinuations and reconstructions for newer models where the name of models get confusing.

To clarify, NOT ALL DA L 18-55 lenses are the same as the AL II which is now discontinued. I had the OLD DA L 18-55 and it is NOT the same as the DA AL II which I have also owned. The AL II performed quite differently (the white balance was different, the colors were brighter on the AL II, image was sharper on the AL II, etc) However, from what I have read, the new K30's have been packaged with a DA L 18-55 that has upgraded optics identical to the AL II. If you bought a KR and earlier models or happen to get a hold of a DA L 18-55 that is older, it can be mistaken for the upgraded model.

Pentax really screwed up on their 18-55 model numbering system. When they upgraded optics in the lenses released with the K30's, they should have named them DA L II 18-55 to separate the old from the new.

Bottom line, if you buy a DA L 18-55 lens, I don't have any way of offering info and know of no references that will allow somebody to know if it is an upgraded model or not. For this reason (and others) the 18-55 will never be in my possession unless it is the WR model.

Hope this helps.

Peace,
JF
I don't think you're right, for as far as I know there was no DA L II lens. Here's the 18-55mm kit lens chronology:

1. DA 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 (2005)
2. DA 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 II (2008)
3. DA 18.55mm F3.5-5.6 WR (2009)
4. DA L 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 (2009)
5. DA L 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 WR (2013)

#2-5 are all the same optically.


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06-12-2013, 03:57 PM   #9
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@RKKS08: I think I mixed up the AL WR with the AL II. sorry about that.
06-12-2013, 05:18 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
I don't think you're right, for as far as I know there was no DA L II lens. Here's the 18-55mm kit lens chronology:

1. DA 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 (2005)
2. DA 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 II (2008)
3. DA 18.55mm F3.5-5.6 WR (2009)
4. DA L 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 (2009)
5. DA L 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 WR (2013)

#2-5 are all the same optically.

I NEVER said that there is a "DA L II". I did say "the AL II" as in DA 18-55 AL II. The AL II is rumored to be the same as the NEW DA L 18-55 and the same as the WR version.

Your chronology is not all accurate in that you left off the "AL" in the listings and I believe this is what is confusing yourself and others. The AL II does in fact exist and it is in the Pentax Forums Lens Reviews. I believe it is what you are referring to as lens number 2 in your list that you say was released in 2008. Please see this link...

SMC Pentax-DA 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 AL II Reviews - DA Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

Also, the DA L is NOT the same as I mentioned previously...there are 2 versions, but not announced by Pentax and not in the reviews and this is rumored. What IS CERTAIN is the DA L 18-55 listed in the review forums is NOT optically the same as the WR versions and NOT the same as the DA 18-55 AL II. At one time (before Ricoh took over) you could reference the lens construction on the Pentax Imaging Lenses web page and see the DA L 18-55 vs the AL II and WR lenses. NOW, PLEASE DO NOT QUOTE ME ON THIS, BUT, the difference if I remember correctly is that the one aspherical element was removed from the AL II/WR lenses.

AGAIN, the NEW DA L 18-55 is rumored to be like the AL II and WR lenses. Here is the link to the OLD DA L 18-55...

https://www.pentaxforums.com/lensreviews/SMC-Pentax-DAL-18-55mm-F3.5-5.6-Zoom-Lens.html

Last edited by JF Jayhawk; 06-12-2013 at 05:29 PM.
06-12-2013, 07:04 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by JF Jayhawk Quote
AGAIN, the NEW DA L 18-55 is rumored to be like the AL II and WR lenses. Here is the link to the OLD DA L 18-55..
So in your estimation, is my lens..... the DA 18-55 AL II have the best IQ of any of the aforementioned lenses you speak of?
06-12-2013, 07:08 PM   #12
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Whatever.

The DA 18-55 II that came with my K-200D is great, and the DAL version which came with my K-x is optically identical (according to dimitrov) and is my favorite lens on the K-x.

Both are very sharp, and the K-x DA L version in particular is a magical lens that never seems to take a dud photo.
06-12-2013, 07:49 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by rawr Quote
Whatever.

The DA 18-55 II that came with my K-200D is great, and the DAL version which came with my K-x is optically identical (according to dimitrov) and is my favorite lens on the K-x.

Both are very sharp, and the K-x DA L version in particular is a magical lens that never seems to take a dud photo.
I've had the same experience. I like K-x's DA L version more than the original DA 18-55 II that came with the K200D. I'm using the former fairly often--after DxO, pics look great.

Examples (all taken with K-x + DA L 18-55):
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/post-your-photos/225076-landscape-el-morro.html
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/post-your-photos/224788-travel-fort-san-c...rla-slums.html
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/post-your-photos/225277-streets-streets-s...n-condado.html
06-12-2013, 08:14 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Driline Quote
So in your estimation, is my lens..... the DA 18-55 AL II have the best IQ of any of the aforementioned lenses you speak of?
First off, all lens models suffer "sample variation". So I cannot answer this question directly. However, the DA AL II. WR, and now the new DA L 18-55 are all supposed to be better. There are others jumping into this thread stating their KX/K200D models came with DA L models better than "the original DA II" (I quote this here for that expression 'original' and version II is a massive contradiction,,,,the 'original' is version I, not version II).

While those terms are contradictive, the fact a DA version can produce better images than version II is possible, but conglomerating ALL version I lenses and test them against version II,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,well, NO WAY. According to SLRGEAR.com and other websites, and according to my experience, the ALII, the WR versions, and new DA L models of the 18-55 are in fact slightly superior in the least.

My AL II vs the older DA L was significantly better in sharpness at the corners. The color reproduction was very noticeably better with the AL II where the DA L was darker and flatter. Most of all, the vignetting was largely improved due to the aspherical element changes made (most likely). I have had 3 DA 16-45 lenses, all performing different in sharpness, but all 16-45 lenses had bright, natural and punchy color and the 1645 is known for this. Well, my AL II images were identical in color and brightness, but the old DA L was not even close.

SO, bottom line, if all samples delivered the same performance per each model, the WR model and AL II are better than the old DA L and DA AL I. At the very least, there is a difference in vignetting and significant improvement in color reproduction.

Last edited by JF Jayhawk; 06-12-2013 at 09:12 PM.
06-12-2013, 08:25 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by JF Jayhawk Quote
First off, all lens models suffer "sample variation". So I cannot answer this question directly. However, the DA AL II. WR, and now the new DA L 18-55 are all supposed to be better. There are others jumping into this thread stating their KX/K200D models came with DA L models better than "the original DA II" (I quote this here for that expression 'original' and version II is a massive contradiction,,,,the 'original' is version I, not version II).

While those terms are contradictive, the fact a DA version can produce better images than version II is possible, but conglomerating ALL version I lenses and test them against version II,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,well, NO WAY. According to SLRGEAR.com and other websites, and according to my experience, the ALII, the WR versions, and new DA L models of the 18-55 are in fact slightly superior in the least.

My AL II vs the older DA L was significantly better in sharpness at the corners. The color reproduction was very noticeably better with the AL II where the DA L was darker and flatter. Most of all, the vignetting was largely improved due to the aspherical element changes made (most likely). I have had 3 DA 16-45 lenses, all performing different in sharpness, but all 16-45 lenses had bright, natural and punchy color and the 1645 is known for this. Well, my AL II images were identical in color and brightness, but the old DA L was not even close.

SO, bottom line, if all samples delivered the same performance per each model, the WR model and AL II are better than the old DA L. At the very least, there is a difference in vignetting and significant improvement in color reproduction.
The DA L is of identical optical construction as the DA II, DA WR, and now the DA L WR. Any differences are sample variation.
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