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SMC Pentax-A 135mm F2.8 Review RSS Feed

SMC Pentax-A 135mm F2.8

Sharpness 
 9.4
Aberrations 
 8.4
Bokeh 
 8.9
Handling 
 9.7
Value 
 9.8
Reviews Views Date of last review
34 156,155 Fri January 11, 2019
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $138.79 9.24
SMC Pentax-A 135mm F2.8
supersize


Description:
This lens is slightly slower than its K-series counterpart- it features 4 elements in 4 groups and weighs 340g.



SMC Pentax-A 135mm F2.8
© 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
4 elements, 4 groups
Mount Variant
KA
Check camera compatibility
Max. Aperture
F2.8
Min. Aperture
F32
Focusing
Manual
Min. Focus
120 cm
Max. Magnification
0.15x
Filter Size
52 mm
Internal Focus
No
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 12 ° / 10 °
Full frame: 18 ° / 15 °
Hood
Built-in, slide out
Case
Hard case HB-120
Lens Cap
Plastic clip-on
Coating
SMC
Weather Sealing
No
Other Features
Diam x Length
65 x 77 mm
Weight
340 g
Production Years
1983 to 1989
Engraved Name
smc PENTAX-A 1:2.8 135mm
Product Code
23497
Reviews
User reviews
Features:
Manual FocusBuilt-in HoodAperture RingAutomatic ApertureFull-Frame SupportDiscontinued
Price History:



Add Review of SMC Pentax-A 135mm F2.8
Author:
Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-15 of 34
New Member

Registered: April, 2017
Posts: 7
Lens Review Date: January 11, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $90.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: sharp once stopped down a bit, handful, colours, IQ
Cons: for the price you pay, none!
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 9    Camera Used: Pentax K50, Fujifilm XT-20   

The Pentax-A 135mm f/2.8 is a nice glass, though a bit a delusion af f/2.8: the Auto-Chinon 135mm f/2.8 does better at full aperture, but being a (rare?) M42 lens, I would still recommend the Pentax-A.
From f/4 it is quite a lovely lens and better than the Pentax-M 135mm f/3,5.
Here, I posted a comparison of the three lenses here (sorry for the crop images do not tell the whole story beacuse thay are automatically generated):
http://www.rustichelli.net/Hobbies/Photography/LensTests/legacy-135mm-on-24M...enses-test.php
   
New Member

Registered: January, 2018
Location: London
Posts: 2
Lens Review Date: April 24, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $180.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp, bright, light, built-in hood
Cons: 1.2m minimum focusing distance, some chromatic aberration
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-1   

This is a really excellent lens.

- Sharp from f4, and extremely sharp at around f8
- Great handling due to small size, light weight and all-metal construction
- Nice bokeh
- Virtually no distortion (geometric aberration)
- Built-in hood (not very big, but much better than nothing).

Downsides?

- The sharpness isn't great at f2.8
- Moderate amounts of green/purple fringing towards the edges of the lens at all apertures
- I wish it would focus closer than 1.2m, but that's probably asking too much of such a compact lens.

Overall, this lens is a joy to use, gives great results, and is very good value!
   
New Member

Registered: November, 2017
Location: Lake Worth, Florida USA
Posts: 3
Lens Review Date: December 9, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $149.99 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharpness, lightweight, color rendition, price,
Cons: I haven't found any as of yet
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: Pentax K1   

What's not to like about this lens? It's lightweight and sharp. The bokeh is dreamy. It's perfect for portraits wide open and after taking multiple pictures at 2.8 with a variety of subjects I was surprised just how sharp this lens is. Stop it down slightly and it only improves.

This is the kind of lens that is so inexpensive that I am tempted for find another as a backup.

   
New Member

Registered: June, 2014
Location: Sydney
Posts: 11
Lens Review Date: June 23, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $135.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp, easy to focus in low light
Cons: None
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-7   

Hi all,

Bought this lens second-hand back in the 1990's and I still have it. The lens is easy to use in low light, focusses easily and furthermore I can use it with my Sigma 1.4x DG EX APO Teleconverter (not a universal TC you will recall). The attached photo was taken from the northern end of Sydney Harbour (near the northern pylon of the Sydney Harbour Bridge) looking back toward the city, a distance of 2-3 kilometres. No colour correction or sharpness has been applied to this shot, which says a lot about the quality of the teleconverter in use also!

P.S. Sorry about the orientation !

   
Veteran Member

Registered: August, 2011
Location: Austin, Texas
Posts: 302
Lens Review Date: June 9, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $110.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Build, image quality, size, weight, built in hood
Cons: not autofocus (is that a negative?)
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-3   

I have owned this lens for about 10 years originally used on my K20, though also on my MX for film. My favorite use is music festivals and garden photography (ponds). Very nice lens that feels like quality from the first. Only negative might be the lack of autofocus, but I am an old hand with manual cameras. Now that the K-1 is out, I am even less likely to ever sell it. Mine came near mint in the original box.



Lost Bayou Ramblers
   
Veteran Member

Registered: October, 2014
Location: Washington
Posts: 2,177
Lens Review Date: March 16, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $128.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Light weight, easy to focus, sharp
Cons: none
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: k3   

I would have rated this lens a 10 except for f2.8 not being quite as sharp as other apertures, just being usable. The lens is light, has good contrast and focuses close enough for a 135mm. It is built like most other manual Pentax lenses "like a tank" virtually indestructible. You can expect many years of good service from this lens.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/24877856@N00/albums/72157665797239592
   
Site Supporter

Registered: January, 2015
Location: Maryland
Posts: 1,674
Lens Review Date: January 19, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $130.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Color rendering, Sharp, Compact, Contrast, Bokeh
Cons: MF, CA at 2.8, Minimum focus distance
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-30   

Spectacular!

My first Pentax-A lens. I am amazed by the build quality and better yet, image quality of this lens!

Extremely sharp, amazing color rendering, very nice bokeh...
I wish the minimum focus distance was a bit shorter, but I don't complain.
Extremely compact; I was expecting a lens at least 30% larger. This is a pro, not a con!
Incredible handling, smooth focus throw, extremely sharp (right, I already said that.)

I am told this is a great portrait lens, I have yet to try that out... I'm still finding my niche in photography, but I really like just wandering the outskirts of town and shooting wildlife and old buildings.
I actually think this focal length is awkwardly perfect. If I need wider or narrower I will zoom with my feet when the situation allows. If not, I'll try to use the perspective to my advantage.

Here's a shot using this lens the day it arrived:

   
Pentaxian

Registered: May, 2013
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 1,186
Lens Review Date: June 3, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $60.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Skin tones, Bokeh, non-invasive nature
Cons: super-critical focus wide open
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-01, 550D, BMDPC   

For cinematographic use, this lens has a couple of advantages, and a couple of disadvantages.

First, it lets you set the camera further back for when you're filming mids and close-ups, and even further back for long shots with multiple performers, especially on cameras like the BMD Pocket Cine Camera, with it's s16 sensor and massive crop factor.
This gives the performers more space to work in, as well as makes it easier to follow their movements with smooth pans.
The narrower view angle makes it easier to hide lights out of shot, and lets the Soundie get the Boom Mic in closer to the talent for clearer audio.

Wide open, there is some fringing and CA, but nothing a half decent colourist can't sort out quickly.

This lens absolutely has to be used on Tripod or Slider, forget about using it hand-held or on shoulder rig on s16, 235 or APS-c. I'd be hesitant to use it on a rig on FF too.

Lastly, focus.
Get it right, and this lens is beautiful.
Get it even slightly out, and once you see the footage on a decent screen, you'll see it is absolutely unforgiving of missed focus, even closed down to f4 or f8.
Just missed, is missed-by-a-mile on this one.

And when working with a Matte Box and filters, you will need a flexible join between the lens and the Matte Box, as there is nearly a full 2cm length change between minimum and infinity focus, so it's pretty easy to end up with reflections on the back of the filters being seen in the frame.

The colour transmission matches other SMC lenses, which also makes the Colourists job easier.
   
Pentaxian

Registered: September, 2013
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 865

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: December 13, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, reasonably lightweight and small in size, good build quality, beautiful rendering
Cons: Chromatic aberrations may appear in high contrast situations
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: K30   

The lens I have looks like it has been used about two times, and only has one or two specks of dust in it from old age. The focusing is super smooth and predictable, but manual focus does make the lens harder to handle than an auto-focus lens so I reluctantly deducted a point for the handling category (even though as far as manual focus lenses go this is as good as it gets). The lens lets in a lot of light and the subject just snaps right into focus. Since it is an A lens it is really easy to meter, and the build quality is great and nearly on par with my K 55mm 1.8 lens. There is a hood built into the lens, which is convenient. It is sharp wide open at f2.8 as long as you nail the focus, it gets even better if you stop down just a little to f3.2, and at f3.5 it already seems to be at top performance. Chromatic aberrations can show up in high contrast situations at f2.8, but will go away once you start stopping down a little. This lens isn't the most "contrasty" lens I own, but it very accurate in terms of color rendition. Plus, a little photoshop/ lightroom can easily add contrast and easily fix any chromatic aberrations.

Here is a sample at f2.8 focused on an open sign that is brightly backlit by a window (pretty much one of the worst case CA scenarios):
https://www.flickr.com/photos/adudenamedjosh/15942930446/in/photostream/

And a portrait of a model who is usually impatient. She surprisingly wasn't during this shoot and didn't even notice I was manual focusing the whole time with this lens when I asked afterwards. So this shows that this lens can be manually focused quickly and accurately:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/adudenamedjosh/15346418644/in/photostream/

I could also focus quick enough to get a puppy in focus consistently:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/adudenamedjosh/16761356108/

You will have to stand rather far back to fit a whole person in the shot, so for full body portraits expect to go outdoors:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/adudenamedjosh/15888827650/

Shooting into the sun without the hood can easily give you that flare look:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/adudenamedjosh/15888824410/in/photostream/

A Landscape at night: https://www.flickr.com/photos/adudenamedjosh/16742817405/

A flower shot: https://www.flickr.com/photos/adudenamedjosh/16326657974/

This lens can be so sharp that you could even crop and use it for wildlife if you want to: https://www.flickr.com/photos/adudenamedjosh/16954826416/

All shots were on my K30, but I would really like to see what this lens can do on the 24mp K3! Comparing this lens to many other excellent Pentax and Minolta lenses I have owned, this lens really performs.
   
Senior Member

Registered: June, 2011
Location: Rotterdam
Posts: 124

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: November 2, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $150.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: solid, sharp, compact, looks good on K-01
Cons: None
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-5 and K-01   

I give this lens a 9 overall. For this price it seems hard to find anything sharper and more pleasing. I would have given a 10 if I didn't know the SMC Pentax-A* 135mm F1.8 exists as well. Unfortunately I haven't had the chance to compare. But this lens is definitely a better performer compared to the M 135mm F3.5.

At first I left this lens somewhat unused until I recently bought a K-01. This camera features focus peaking which really helps with these manual focus lenses. It's just a pleasure to use: solid, a good grip and focusing is smooth and precise. And hey, the K-01 and 135mm 2.8 look great together! Some shots:


(background of this photo here)


(background of this photo here )

   
Veteran Member

Registered: April, 2011
Location: Chicago Area
Posts: 366

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: July 7, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $120.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Very sharp, fast, light, small
Cons: Chromatic Abberation wide open
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: Pentax K-3   

I purchased this together with a M135/3.5 to see how a manual focus tele lens would do on my K-3. I had expected to like the M135 better as there appears to have been some mixed reviews of this A135.

I was very positively surprised. I did some extensive testing, and found this lens to be very sharp. Wide open at f2.8 it is same as or better than my 55-300mm at f5.6 (good copy). Stopped down to f4, it is slightly better in the center and much better in the corners than the 55-300 at f8.

Compared to the M135, the two are about the same from f5.6 and higher. The A is much better at f2.8 than the M at f3.5.

The lens definitely generates some chromatic aberration especially wide open.

The lens handles very well, with the A setting being a definite plus. The manual focus is a pleasure to use, and I can't really deduct anything for it being a manual focus lens (doh).

Highly recommended!
   
Veteran Member

Registered: January, 2013
Location: Florida
Posts: 418

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: January 23, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $65.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Gorgeous on full frame
Cons: manual focus
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: LX, K-01   

Its a great lens... very nice on film and behaves like a 200 on crop sensors. The 2.8 is super useful for indoors no flash shots as long as you bump the ISO a bit.
   
Senior Member

Registered: January, 2014
Posts: 143

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: January 23, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $180.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, Focus range is long and very smooth, Bokeh, Lets in a lot of light for focusing, reletively small and light weight
Cons: Minimum focus distance
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-30   

Awesome lens! This is my first lens I bought other than my kit 18-55 so I don't have expirience with too many lenses. Focusing is very smooth and easy to control. Feels good. Shoots good. Fast lens. Great buy!
   
Site Supporter

Registered: June, 2013
Location: Montreal, Canada
Posts: 471

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: December 30, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $200.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp, very robust, very bright
Cons: CA (more so with dslr)
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 9    Value: 9    Camera Used: K-1000, K-x, K-30   

it's been with me for close to 30 years now. Bought it for astrophotography and ended up using it all the time. Much sharper than many of today's zoom lenses.

Here are links to some of the astrophotos I used it for. Notice how sharp the stars are even on the edge of the field.

Cygnus

Pleiades

Orion
   
Forum Member

Registered: September, 2013
Posts: 62

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: December 26, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $120.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: metal construction, high speed, built-in-hood, high IQ
Cons: not detected
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: LX, K-30   

excellent portrait lens at FF, allow You do not put the lens into the face, than shooting face-portrait.
fast (F/2.8) and built-in hood just pleasure to work with.
use-full from wide open (f/2.8) and from f/4 are best.

at K-30 fully compatible (at "A" position of the aperture dial ring), nice for portrait too, but more longer, than at FF.
nice to, possible to stay far from model, than shooting only eyes.
I still like it a lot.
Add Review of SMC Pentax-A 135mm F2.8



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