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Pentax-A 28-80mm F3.5-4.5 Review RSS Feed

Pentax-A 28-80mm F3.5-4.5

Sharpness 
 7.1
Aberrations 
 6.7
Bokeh 
 7.1
Handling 
 6.9
Value 
 8.6
Focusing 
 6.8
Reviews Views Date of last review
15 75,564 Sun June 25, 2023
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
80% of reviewers $22.44 6.54
Pentax-A 28-80mm F3.5-4.5

Pentax-A 28-80mm F3.5-4.5
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Pentax-A 28-80mm F3.5-4.5
supersize

Description:
The Pentax-A 28-80mm F3.5-4.5 is a manual focus zoom lens without SMC coating. Note that there is also a more expensive super multi coated version with more elaborate optics.

Pentax-A 28-80mm F3.5-4.5
© www.pentaxforums.com, sharable with attribution
Image Format
Full-frame / 35mm film
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
Yes (A setting)
Diaphragm
Automatic, 8 blades
Optics
8 elements, 8 groups
Mount Variant
KA
Check camera compatibility
Max. Aperture
F3.5-4.5
Min. Aperture
F22-32
Focusing
Manual
Min. Focus
100 cm
Max. Magnification
Filter Size
58 mm
Internal Focus
No
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 55-20 ° / 46-17 °
Full frame: 75-30 ° / 65-25 °
Hood
No dedicated hood
Case
No dedicated case
Lens Cap
Plastic clip-on
Coating
Weather Sealing
No
Other Features
Diam x Length
69 x 82 mm
Weight
456 g
Production Years
1989 to 1994
Engraved Name
PENTAX-A ZOOM 1:3.5-4.5 28-80mm
Product Code
27057 and 27527
Reviews
User reviews
Notes
No SMC coating
Features:
Manual FocusAperture RingAutomatic ApertureFull-Frame SupportDiscontinued
Price History:



Add Review of Pentax-A 28-80mm F3.5-4.5
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Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-15 of 15
Pentaxian

Registered: September, 2017
Location: South Wales
Posts: 2,502
Review Date: June 25, 2023 Not Recommended | Price: $6.00 | Rating: 2 

 
Pros: Cheap
Cons: Poor build quality, not SMC glass
Handling: 2    Value: 5    Camera Used: K-1    Focusing: 3   

I bought this very cheap to obtain spare parts for another lens, and have not taken pictures with it. I can however comment on build quality - after all I have taken it apart!

Pentax loved 28-80mm zooms around this time (1980-2000?) with lots of A, F and FA series versions. There were three in the A-Series : the SMC, non-SMC, and Takumar in descending order of quality. This is the middle one.

Mine has been well used, missing the focus sleeve rubber and with small scratches on the front lens (the previous owner[s] must have been of the no protective filter school of thought), but those are not Pentax's fault. But what did shock me is the looseness in the construction, making both the zoom and focus controls sloppy and wobbly. I see that other reviewers have reported similarly.

For example the focus sleeve fits in the outer barrel with about 0.5mm to spare. In engineering terms this would be classed as a loose running fit whereas what is needed here is a sliding fit with only about 0.05 - 0.1mm to spare. I can see this is not wear, it was made that way; I have worked in machine shops and would be ashamed of making such a slack fit, and while this stuff is made on automatic lathes, someone was responsible for setting them up. Were Pentax making their budget stuff feel cheap deliberately?

To find this general slackness is surprising because whan you first pick it up it feels re-assuringly heavy, like the previous K and M-series of lenses. But I have some K and M-series and none of those have this slackness.
   
New Member

Registered: September, 2022
Posts: 23
Review Date: October 30, 2022 Not Recommended | Rating: N/A 

 
Pros:
Cons:
Camera Used: K-70   

I got this on a cheap P30t body, so essentially for free.
Full disclosure, I much prefer primes to zooms.

I find this lens horrible to use. The zoom is so loose, that tilting it even slightly will zoom in/out, and focusing is never enjoyable*. Somehow it has a perfectly bad combination of dimensions and weight to feel "wrong" in my hands.
Compared to the plastic 18-55 kit lens that came with my K-70, this feels cheap and sloppily put together. I haven't been able to get a good photo with it, but since I find it so horrible to use I haven't tried all that much.
It's a good thing that it clicks into macro mode, that means the zoom won't shift when moving the camera, and it makes for a somewhat usable macro.

I doubt I'd pay $10 for one if mine broke.

* the extremely loose zoom might indicate my copy is worse than average.
   
New Member

Registered: June, 2017
Posts: 14
Review Date: April 12, 2021 Recommended | Price: $5.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Inexpensive, good range on full frame
Cons: Larger size than generic alternative 28-80's from Vivitar, Sigma etc
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: P30    Focusing: 7   

I got this for next to nothing with a P30 camera.

The reviews before me are very good - thank you. Yes - this lens feels cheap and there is almost no resistance to turning focus or zoom. The good in this is the lens is light for its size and is easy to adjust with just a finger or two.


Used as pentax intended - to take colour prints while travelling using the KA-mount and programme exposure this lens is just fantastic.

Yes, I can get better image quality with the 28, 50 and 135mm primes but you would not see this with my typical 7x5 or 10x8 travel or holiday prints. As with qll zooms there is vignetting - but not so bad as to stand out.

On the P30 with its pentaprism (not pentamirror) and its good bright screen focusing is easy with the split screen of the P30 or P30T which it was designed for.

Used with those limitations - and with a 3-stage rubber fold-out lens hood - this is a great combination. It fits in a typical lowepro "holster" shaped camera-bag with room for a polarizer and a mini-flashgun. with a broad strap this can be comfortablly carried all day long.

JUST NOTE you need 58mm filters - so this doesn't work well alongside a set of PENTAX primes.


My only issue - the alternatives similar spec zooms from Sigma and Vivitar are smaller - and so sit better on a table-top travel tripod. But - both those examples are 1-touch and I like 2 touvh zooms by preference.

For portraits at 80mm, where you miss the bokeh of a fast prime - using a quick burst of on-camera strobe light and a slow shutter speed makes the background even "softer" and helps give a 'POP' to the image.
   
New Member

Registered: February, 2019
Posts: 15
Review Date: February 15, 2020 Recommended | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Very small focus turn from close to infinity
Cons: Fells cheap and nasty
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 7    Value: 10    Focusing: 10   

When you think about zoom lenses, they are remarkable bits of technology. They allow a keen photographer the ability to wander all day long without carrying two pounds of separate lenses around in a huge bag, while taking away the faffy clumsiness of lens change - and all the associated noise - every 20 minutes. This lens has a great focal range, and the actual focus ring is just a short turn from 3 feet to infinity. That puts most lenses of its day to shame. The focus ring is very sensitive, but that's to enable quick focus. It therefore gives a magnificent "in focus range" depth-of-field that you'll struggle to match until you get to modern digital compact zooms.

A very neat lens that sadly feels really cheap and nasty. I think this is why most people are put off from the really harsh - and some quite unfair - comments, below. Also, it does not say "SMC" on the front lens print so people assume it isn't SMC, but it is.

As all zooms have a sweet spot from two stops in and two stops down from closed, you can expect the same from this. F5.6 is good f8 and f11 excellent. And expect 10mm off the top and bottom focal lengths if you want neat photos. In fact, this takes really very good and sharply balanced images with no distortion in the impressive remaining range of quality from about 38mm to 70mm. Macro is superb when you click it off the green mark to the start of the scale.

A very good lens to learn how to use zooms correctly. A fine lens for folks who don't have heaps of money to throw at lenses, or who are just starting out. And pretty good for anyone who does not want to carry three prime lenses around all day long. Just make sure you don't spend more than $25.

You'll need a 67mm shallow wide-angle hood on a 58mm to 67mm step up ring to escape vignetting at the amazing lowest end of 28mm. Even then, you'll get - albeit insignificant - corner vignetting at 28mm. Because it has such an open front and the need for an open shallow hood, expect some minor flare in some images, so fit a multicoat filter to protect the lens front and help reduce flare. As I've said, this lens has multicoat, but the up-front exposed lens is poor design to minimise flare. That lens needs to be there because of the superb wide-angle focal range and the need to reduce vignetting.

The next best lens up is the Pentax M 40-80mm which may give a little better image quality - if you buy a clean and working one - but has a much reduced sweet spot focal range of only about 50mm-70mm. Same superb macro feature.
   
New Member

Registered: August, 2015
Location: Yorkshire
Posts: 4
Review Date: May 28, 2018 Recommended | Price: $15.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Cheap. Decent quality.
Cons: A bit heavy, but nothing else really.
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-70    Focusing: 7   

Bought off eBay for little money. Good image quality at f8. Nice close focus feature.
   
Site Supporter

Registered: May, 2015
Location: Hampshire
Posts: 892
Review Date: July 3, 2017 Recommended | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Cheap
Cons: There are much better 28-80 zooms
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 9    Value: 8    Camera Used: K-5   

This almost squeezed into the 8 as a mark on the basis that it is cheap, it seems quite robust, has a close focussing ability at 80mm and around F8 it is not too bad. Close focussing just a click away, easy to use.
I would not recommend spending more than $10 to get one but if you need a zoom it will do a job. At 80mm and F8 I think it will be as good if not better than the kit 18-55mm lens with a cropped 55mm image. I do not have the -F SMC 28-80mm which would be a better lens to buy as they can be found cheaply too.
I cannot not recommend this lens, it does do a job and if nothing else may help you to evaluate your other lenses IQ.
   
Senior Member

Registered: September, 2014
Location: Nelson
Posts: 265
Review Date: November 6, 2014 Recommended | Price: $5.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Price,build
Cons: None
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-01, K-X   

Purchased for cost of shipping on a P-30 body with a bag and Sunpak flash. Looked to be fungused but cleaning revealed remarkeably good glass with only a mark on front element (not visible) remaining.
Although not an SMC version the coating it does have does the job; sharp and clear with bonus of the 'A' aperture setting. Nice weight and build, macro is capable if not stunning.
   
Veteran Member

Registered: April, 2009
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 499
Review Date: April 1, 2014 Recommended | Price: $20.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: very cheap, if used right it delivers solid results
Cons: It is very finicky
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 6    Bokeh: 6    Handling: 7    Value: 9    Camera Used: K-5   

I read the reviews on this one prior to purchasing this lens. However, I wanted a manual focus, walk-around zoom lens with macro capability that I wouldn't cry over if I lost or destroyed it. For $20, I figured I could live with the problems reported with this lens.

I've had it out once to a local arboretum. I was using this lens and the Tak 55mm 1.4 on extension tubes. This lens out performed the Tak 55 that day. Both were used in bright sun to shade, ISO 100, the appropriate shutter speed, and a variety of apertures. The camera (for this lens) was set to 85mm for shake reduction and I prefer to take pictures about one stop dark. I probably took about 300 pictures between the two lenses. Of the 20ish remaining, they all came from this zoom.

The colors are vibrant. The bokeh is meh....nothing great but not horrible. There was some fringing in a few shots - which to me verifies the (lack of) lens coating another poster mentioned. It delivered sharper pictures than my 55-300 and kit lens, but certainly wasn't the same level as my 60-250.

I did not feel the play others mentioned in the lens barrel. It does click into macro mode and that took me a bit to get used to. But, the focus rotation on the lens was similar to the manual 135s and longer lenses that I own. Perhaps I was lucky and found a good copy of this lens. I don't know. What I do know is it will be traveling with me to destinations far and near!
   
New Member

Registered: October, 2013
Location: Naples
Posts: 10
Review Date: November 1, 2013 Recommended | Rating: 6 

 
Pros:
Cons:
Sharpness: 5    Aberrations: 5    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 6    Value: 7   

economic but non so bad zoom... I'll never buy it not even for 10 dollars.
   
Forum Member

Registered: September, 2010
Location: Temuco, Chile
Posts: 53
Review Date: September 30, 2010 Recommended | Price: $15.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: price, zoom range, bokeh
Cons: build quality, heavy

The good: overall a decent lens, good contrast. Being a non-smc lens, i use the hood of the K135mm i own on it, but shades the corners at 28mm. The 8 blades gives a very pleasant bokeh.

The bad: both the focus and zoom rings are very loose, and when the focus ring reaches a limit, it sound like when you walk on a piece of glass laying on concrete. The minimum focusing distance of 1 m. isn't very good for indoors, and the focus ring travel is very short for a manual focus lens, around 90

The ?: on a K200 it gives me a constant aperture of f/4 ...?

The conclusion: it CAN make pictures and, if you know what you're doing, it can make very good ones. I think the best meaning for this lens is "patience".
   
Site Supporter

Registered: February, 2010
Location: Salt Lake City, UT
Posts: 1,900
Review Date: August 16, 2010 Recommended | Price: $30.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Macro focusing, nice color rendition
Cons:

I have the Pentax-A (non SMC).

My overall impression of this lens is that it's OK. It's not amazing glass, but it's not bad either.

On our modern bodies, the lens reports at 3.5 all the time, even though it's 3.5:4.5. It's macro focusing abilities are a nice touch. It's color rendition is nice. It's focusing is smooth, if not dampened like the A50/1.2 or the A* lenses.

Overall, not a bad option for some macro shooting for a very inexpensive price.
   
Senior Member

Registered: January, 2009
Location: University of Waterloo, ON
Posts: 239
Review Date: July 17, 2009 Recommended | Price: $26.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: great IQ for the price, A contact, inexpensive, very contrasty, rich colours, quite sharp at F8, beautiful bokeh
Cons: rotating front element, "loose" focusing, sensitive to harsh lighting conditions, slightly soft wide open

I bought this for pseudo-macro work and use it as such, thus my review shall be mostly based on this lens' merits in its macro mode. Furthermore, I use this lens on digital, which means I'm getting extra reach and DoF, and am less prone to falloff and edge softness.

Being a zoom, it is inevitable that, wide open, some softness will be noticeable. That said, images taken wide open are still quite usable. By F8, it's actually quite sharp. The following was taken at only F5.6, wherein various filamentary components of the flower are quite distinguishable.



On the K200D, I find metering is generally quite accurate. Colours are quite vibrant straight out of camera. Contrast is quite marked as well, rendering images with a strong feeling of depth and life. The only exception is when there is a strong light source shining across the front element at an oblique angle, but this is easily solved with a lens hood (though finding an adequate one may be a trick).

My main gripes with this lens are mostly related to build quality. I find the focusing ring to be far too loose - there's almost no resistance to movement. Furthermore, the front element rotates, making polarizers tricky to use, and rectangular hoods out of the question.

Overall, I'd recommend this lens as an inexpensive "starter" macro. Its optical qualities seem to outweigh its shortcomings in build quality.
   
Pentaxian

Registered: March, 2008
Location: Quebec city, Canada
Posts: 9,170
Review Date: June 10, 2009 Recommended | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Cute, nice A series finish, even performances
Cons: Minimum size not at zoom extreme

As commented above, the picture does not show the SMC-A, but the Pentax-A (which is the lens I own).

It is a really nice lens, well made like all A lenses (this is the first A zoom I ever used). It feels rugged, reliable, but less so than SMC-A primes (more moving parts). Aperture ring works very well but I never use it... The lens is at its minimum length at an intermediate zoom position, a bit surprinsing at first. The "macro" mode (more accurately "close focusing mode" ) is reached by zooming at 70 mm and turning the zoom ring further, and it has a positive feel to it.

IQ seems good, though not as great as my best lenses (primes, most of them). What impresses me is that I do not see a drop in IQ as I open the aperture, performances in general seem very even at all apertures. Pixel peepers would probably differ in opinion, but in real life that's my experience.

Metering with the K20D is very accurate, at all apertures. The focusing ring is decently damped, but not quite as nicely as on an M lens. Much better than modern AF lenses of course.

The copy I own still looks new, which is a testament to the previous owner as well as to Pentax manufacturing. Despite the lens not being labeled SMC I have not observed significant flare or haze issues. But then the same can be said about my Takumar Bayonets... Sometimes I think we put too much faith on the SMC label. This lens IS coated, by the way.

A nice lens to own, it doesn't see much action because my Sigma 17-70 is my usual walkaround lens.
   
Pentaxian

Registered: March, 2007
Location: Greater Copenhagen Area
Posts: 425
Review Date: February 7, 2009 Recommended | Rating: N/A 

 
Pros:
Cons:

I have this lens, and it is OK, but may exhibit flare (owing to the lack of SMC coating and 8 elements in 8 groups).

There is a smc PENTAX-A ZOOM 1:3.5-4.5 28-80mm, which is supposed to be much better.
   
Junior Member

Registered: August, 2007
Location: Bournemouth, England
Posts: 36
Review Date: September 21, 2007 Not Recommended | Price: $80.00 | Rating: 3 

 
Pros: decent colours/ contrast
Cons: Poor IQ, poor build quality

I have had this lens for several years having purchased it on ebay. Never liked the quality of the end result, images always looked far too soft and indistinct. Despite not much use the lens seems to have become very loose over the time I've had it, not something expected of an old Pentax lens.

In most conditions colour and contrast are ok but CA is apparent as soon as any well lit highlights appear. When I purchased my K100D I took some images and compared them closely with my other lenses and it only confirmed what I already knew. This was the budget range from Pentax and it shows in the images produced. If anyone wants it let me know. It's just taking up space, and it will only cost you postage.
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