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Pentax Coatings: Ghostless, SP & Aero Bright
Posted By: Blue, 06-16-2010, 07:43 AM

Has anyone besides me noticed how little information there is available on some of the specialty coatings used by Pentax? The SMC coating is also limited and apparently had undergone numerous revisions since the early 70s. Some rumors say it was originally designed at the request of Japanese police for traffic cameras.

The Ghostless Coating was announced in 1992 and is considered a milestone for Pentax. It was apparently 1st used in 1997 on the the FA 43mm ltd and all subsequent limited lenses as well as certain * lenses. However, besides the LTD lenses, the other lens it was used on is unclear.

SP Coating The front surface of the optics is treated with the Pentax-original Super Protect (SP) coating. Applying a special fluorine compound to the lens surface through a vapor deposition process, this coating effectively repels dust, water and grease, making it easy to wipe off annoying stains such as fingerprints and cosmetic marks.

The Aero Bright Coating enhances image-description performance by effectively reducing reflections over a wider wavelength range. Compared to conventional multi-coatings, this new coating greatly improves light transmittance in the lens, while drastically reducing flare and ghost images that deteriorate image quality. It is an original lens coating using a silica aerogel with uniform porous structure as a base material to produce clear high-quality images by assuring and outstanding anti-reflection performance over a broad range of wavelengths. It is currently used on internal elements of the DA* 55mm for improved light transmission and reduced flaring and ghosting. Apparently the DA* 60-250mm also has the A.B. It is used on the new 645D lenses as well.

Update as of 2012:

Pentax released a new coating called the HD coating, which offers better reflectance (i.e. less ghosting/flare) compared to SMC, and it is more durable than Aero Bright and thus suitable for use on the front element as well as other elements.

 SMCHDAero Bright
Reflectance-+++
Durability++-
Cost+++-
That is all I've turned up on these. However, Pentax has been close to the vest on Coatings all the way back to the 50s. This info is from Pentax Imaging, Dimitrov and Pentax press releases.

Last edited by Blue; 04-16-2013 at 05:56 AM.
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05-22-2013, 12:12 AM   #31
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According to Bojidar Dimitrov's KMP site the FA 20-35 f4 AL also has ghostless coating.

06-02-2013, 09:11 AM   #32
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QuoteOriginally posted by LennyBloke Quote
According to Bojidar Dimitrov's KMP site the FA 20-35 f4 AL also has ghostless coating.
I vaguely remember that the old ghostless filters from the screwthread era had a spherical surface to reduce reflections rather than normal optical flats. It would seem to have been a short lived gimmick.
06-02-2013, 01:23 PM   #33
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QuoteOriginally posted by pentasonic49 Quote
I vaguely remember that the old ghostless filters from the screwthread era had a spherical surface to reduce reflections rather than normal optical flats. It would seem to have been a short lived gimmick.
It wasn't anything to do with the Ghostless Coating that was developed for lenses on digital video cameras in 1992. The FA 43 LTD was the first slr lens Pentax used it on.
11-29-2013, 11:42 AM   #34
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I am quite impressed with the SP coating Pentax puts on their sensors. Having shot a few Sony cameras, when dust got on their sensors it was a pain to get it off. With the K30, a simple sensor shake actually removes nearly all the dust spots that may get on it.

12-04-2013, 09:48 AM   #35
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New to Forum, I love it
02-03-2014, 08:35 PM   #36
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Coatings, the most important............zooms and primes!

QuoteOriginally posted by stillshot2 Quote
I am quite impressed with the SP coating Pentax puts on their sensors. Having shot a few Sony cameras, when dust got on their sensors it was a pain to get it off. With the K30, a simple sensor shake actually removes nearly all the dust spots that may get on it.

I am to. The SP coating on the front element makes cleaning the lens easy. It lets water bead down or be wiped gently with no smear.


On the Ghostless coating. When I first bought the DA35mm f/2.4 I noticed how low the light bounce from the front element was. It has a very dark look because its reflecting back very little light. And remember it goes the other way to. A lot of light does bounce off the sensor back through the lens; the less reflection back down the better! Looking down this lens pointed toward you there is very little light reflections of green, blue or other colors. Of course a lot could be it being a prime lens. But I compared my Pentax SMC 50mm lens, much more light coming back out the front element of the 50mm. I bought a filter for the DA35mm f/2.4. This is the first lens that I could see and take a pic to prove the Hoya Pro 1 digital was hurting IQ. I do have the filter on other lens however and its a good one. Its just this coating and lens design is superior when it comes to allowing the most amount of light through with little return to your eyes. Read the reviews where you just about can't introduce flair in this lens. Now ...


After all that I discovered it has a different Ghostless coating I thought is was SMC with SP on top. So I don't know what to make of it. If the DA35mm f/2.4 has higher IQ with Ghostless versus SMC. Of the three coatings I am most familiar of if HD is better than SMC where does Ghostless place? I don't know. Perhaps its in the design of the lens. That is if the lens can benefit from it. So that still does not answer which is better Ghostless or HD?


Taken on a bright sunshiny day with only some clouds now and then. Not many of my lens could do this pointed right into the sun. The 35mm did.


Lots of PP, but nothing to remove flair as there was none.

Last edited by jamesm007; 02-05-2014 at 04:21 PM. Reason: As always grammar clarity
08-03-2014, 11:15 PM   #37
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A belated post:

The Nikon Nano Coat is only applied to one element in a lens, but I'm not sure how many elements get the AB treatment with Pentax. Any idea?

I've also heard that the AB coat is "soft" and so it's only applied internally too.

Cheers.
09-19-2014, 06:28 PM   #38
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with the advances, other than the optical formula, optical coatings are as important if not more If effectively coating a large contributor to IQ it ought to be primodial in deciding the quality of the lens, Optical formula and the glass dopant are known science, world has not moved much, its now more a science than art. It is the coaoting thats the art. discerning that makes a lot of difference, thus the difference between new and old, one cannot forget the fame of T* coating of zeiss thats what made the difference.

09-30-2014, 03:46 PM - 2 Likes   #39
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Zeiss T* coating/SMC is the result of Pentax Zeiss cooperation,same with the K mount.
K mount was planned for Contax and Pentax.
But than Contax was a Kyocera project.
The Ghostless coating was made by Pentax at first for the Japanese Police Traffic Unit.
Than later all Security cameras on London Heathrow get the same coating,and at the end the Pentax lenses.
Best regards
11-08-2014, 09:23 AM   #40
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Just another thanks to Asahi-man for his always interesting and reliable insights.
11-08-2014, 01:06 PM   #41
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QuoteOriginally posted by asahi man Quote
Zeiss T* coating/SMC is the result of Pentax Zeiss cooperation,same with the K mount.
K mount was planned for Contax and Pentax.
But than Contax was a Kyocera project.
The Ghostless coating was made by Pentax at first for the Japanese Police Traffic Unit.
Than later all Security cameras on London Heathrow get the same coating,and at the end the Pentax lenses.
Best regards
Morning Asahi,

I was looking for the source, as I remember reading this as the initial source for Zeiss' T* coating being acquired in a trade/partnership with Pentax when they were cooperating with the K mount development and several lenses (K28/f2, etc.).

02-25-2015, 07:31 PM   #42
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ah ha someone wrote what i needed to write
All About SLR Lens Coatings - Articles and Tips | PentaxForums.com
but since its propreitary, i think zeiss has the best coating today, though its no longer an art, but just science subject to proprietary knowhow. voigtlander and pentax tdy may be on par.
02-25-2015, 08:26 PM   #43
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QuoteOriginally posted by uttam.hathi Quote
ah ha someone wrote what i needed to write
All About SLR Lens Coatings - Articles and Tips | PentaxForums.com
but since its propreitary, i think zeiss has the best coating today, though its no longer an art, but just science subject to proprietary knowhow. voigtlander and pentax tdy may be on par.
I was getting ready to link Bdery's review.
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