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11-03-2009, 08:47 PM   #1
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Impressions of the new DA L kit lenses ?

Has anyone compared the new 18-55 DA L kit lens to the 18-55 AL II ? That's the lens that ships with the new K-x ($650), and the 50-200 zoom in the bundled $750 pricing is also a DA L (the 55-300 bundled lens for $850 seems to be the regular DA model). I've read that the lens is lighter (read: more plastic, less metal or glass), but there's only one review in the lens reviews and it has little detail. Please comment on build quality, sharpness, CA, distortion, etc.
Thanks - AT

11-04-2009, 05:30 AM   #2
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I think the K-x is shipped with the first version of the kit, DA 18-55mm AL (no DA L). See amazon, for instance. And the 55-300mm ED is an economical, although optically identical, version of the 55-300mm DA lens.
11-04-2009, 07:31 AM   #3
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Yes, I saw that the 55-300 lens in the K-x bundle deal is also DA L. I'd like to hear from users who have handled and taken shots with the same FL lens in both DA L and the metal mount AL II versions. Are they equally tight build quality ? Same corner sharpness, distortion, CA, etc ? I've never owned a plastic mount lens, so I'm looking for hands-on experience, beyond the marketing claim which of course is that they are identical in build and optics. I do have a number of Pentax M and A lenses, and they have held up quite well.
11-04-2009, 07:39 AM   #4
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I have the DA L lenses with my K2000. Optically they are fine, probably identical to the DA II lenses. I have not used the DA 18-55 I or II for comparison, but I have used the orginal 50-200 and find no difference what so ever between that and the DA L. I imagine the same can be said for the 55-300.

You give up the metal mount, quick shift, and the hood. The plastic mount is fine. Not usually using manual focus (or quick adjust) with the kit lenses, so no biggie there. I do wish they would have spent the extra $10 or $15 to include the proper hoods. Hood are essential for photography (IMO). Reduces flare, helps contrast, etc.

11-04-2009, 08:02 AM   #5
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Does the hood from 18-55 DA(ver I) fit on 18-55 DA L?
11-04-2009, 08:11 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by adrian.ciobanu Quote
Does the hood from 18-55 DA(ver I) fit on 18-55 DA L?
Yes, same hood.
11-04-2009, 08:18 AM   #7
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I have the DA L 18-55mm, came with my Km. I like it - an excellent all rounder with plenty of colour and contrast.

I too would quite like to get the proper lens hood for it, but they seem very difficult to get hold of. I can't find any on ebay. Something of a surprise, as there must be plenty of demand for the hoods.

Obviously you can get hold of a generic lens hood to fit the filter thread, but I'd rather have the genuine bayonet fitting one.
11-04-2009, 08:47 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dangermouse Quote
I too would quite like to get the proper lens hood for it, but they seem very difficult to get hold of. I can't find any on ebay.

Obviously you can get hold of a generic lens hood to fit the filter thread, but I'd rather have the genuine bayonet fitting one.
Wouldn't one of the generic bayonet hoods from eBay be usable and less expensive?



11-04-2009, 08:52 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by causey Quote
I think the K-x is shipped with the first version of the kit, DA 18-55mm AL (no DA L). See amazon, for instance. And the 55-300mm ED is an economical, although optically identical, version of the 55-300mm DA lens.
this is a mistake. the k-x kit comes with dal lens, and the picture shows it with the dal as well.
11-04-2009, 12:06 PM   #10
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The DA-L lenses are *not* new with the K-x - they were introduced last year for the K-m (well, the 18-55 and 50-200, anyhow; the 55-300 is new). In all cases, they *are* optically identical to the regular versions of these lenses (and by "regular", I mean the DA II for the 18-55). It's no more just a "marketing claim" than, say, observing that the red and black K-x are functionally identical.

Also, I wouldn't be surprised if some retailers wouldn't be trying to sell the K-x with an older version I 18-55, hoping the user wouldn't know the difference, as otherwise I'm sure they are having a hard time unloading those older lenses. Not sure it would be such a bad thing to get the older lens, though - still very good optically, and the metal mount, hood, and most significantly quick shift might make up whatever slight loss in optical quality there is.

Last edited by Marc Sabatella; 11-04-2009 at 12:34 PM.
11-04-2009, 12:16 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by p0opstlnksal0t Quote
this is a mistake. the k-x kit comes with dal lens, and the picture shows it with the dal as well.
It appears to be so... I had no idea DA L lenses were different from DA I. I've just read about them online: basically, optically the same as DA II, they have plastic mount, no quick shift, and no hood. I wonder how much Pentax saved by not including the hood...
11-04-2009, 04:01 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by atown Quote
Has anyone compared the new 18-55 DA L kit lens to the 18-55 AL II ? That's the lens that ships with the new K-x ($650), and the 50-200 zoom in the bundled $750 pricing is also a DA L (the 55-300 bundled lens for $850 seems to be the regular DA model). I've read that the lens is lighter (read: more plastic, less metal or glass), but there's only one review in the lens reviews and it has little detail. Please comment on build quality, sharpness, CA, distortion, etc.
Thanks - AT
Well, as stated in the review of the 18-55 DA L, it uses the same optical formula as the AL II, so you can look under those reviews to get an idea of sharpness, CA and other optical characteristics.

Build quality is the same, other than the plastic (rather than metal) mount.

Here's a review you may be interested in:

Pentax Lens: Zooms - Pentax 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL II SMC DA (Tested) - SLRgear.com!
11-05-2009, 12:40 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by tomwil Quote
Wouldn't one of the generic bayonet hoods from eBay be usable and less expensive?

Thanks for finding that - just ordered one!
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