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12-15-2010, 02:15 AM   #1
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Stupid question about DSLR lenses: DA vs AL?

I've probably just been looking in the wrong places for the answer to this basic question.

Anyway I recently bought a used K10D. I knew the lens was damaged a bit (that's why it was affordable!) but I just noticed the other day that there is actually a big crack in the plastic housing that holds the actual glass in place, just where the screw threads for attaching a filter are. I don't think it is that big of an issue, at least for now, but I was thinking about shopping for a replacement.

But I'm a little confused as to what I am actually looking for. If I search on, say, ebay for "Pentax SMC DA 18-55" I get a bunch of results for "SMC AL". What's the difference between DA and AL? Which is the appropriate one to get?

12-15-2010, 02:26 AM   #2
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DA 18-55 AL
DA 18-55 AL II; optically improved version of above
DA 18-55 AL WR; WR version of the II

And there is the DA-L 18-55 (maybe with AL at the end but I have not seen one so don't know), the el cheapo kit lens for the K-x/K-r; missing lens hood is the biggest difference with the above. Also has no quickshift, no distance scale and has a plastic mount instead of a metal mount.

The II, WR and DA-L are optically the same (from hear say). And I would get one of those.

PS The only stupid question is a question not asked
12-15-2010, 05:05 AM   #3
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DA-L is for entry level lenses, full plastic. AL is for Aspheric Lenses.
12-15-2010, 05:25 AM   #4

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FWIW, you might want to look at an alternative lens to the 18-55, which is an 'ok' kit lens, and regarded by many as one of the better kit lenses, but nonetheless not that good compared to other Pentax glass.

I'm not going to start making reams of suggestions, largely because I have no idea what your preferred subjects are, (and that will largely determine the focal length/range of the alternative lens(es)), but there's a huge collection of old and new glass out there that'll work well on your K10D.

That said, there are plenty of the 18-55 kicking around for less than 30.

12-15-2010, 05:38 AM   #5
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Since you did purchase the K10d which is weather sealed, if you are on a budget I would suggest at least replacing the 18-55 you have with the 18-55mm WR version - you should be able to find one in the marketplace here or on ebay for around $120 or so used - this version of the kit lens is weather resistant (thus the WR designation), making your camera fully protected in inclement weather.

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