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SMC Pentax-A 28mm F2.8 Review RSS Feed

SMC Pentax-A 28mm F2.8

Sharpness 
 8.6
Aberrations 
 8.2
Bokeh 
 7.7
Handling 
 9.2
Value 
 9.3
Reviews Views Date of last review
55 248,660 Thu September 5, 2019
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
96% of reviewers $84.29 8.42
SMC Pentax-A 28mm F2.8

SMC Pentax-A 28mm F2.8
supersize
SMC Pentax-A 28mm F2.8
supersize

Description:
This lens is similar to the second version of the smc Pentax-M 28mm F2.8 lens.

SMC Pentax-A 28mm 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, 5 blades
Optics
7 elements, 7 groups
Mount Variant
KA
Check camera compatibility
Max. Aperture
F2.8
Min. Aperture
F22
Focusing
Manual
Min. Focus
30 cm
Max. Magnification
0.13x
Filter Size
49 mm
Internal Focus
No
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 55 ° / 46 °
Full frame: 75 ° / 65 °
Hood
PH-S49 (28/35mm)
Case
Hard case HA-90B
Lens Cap
Plastic clip-on
Coating
SMC
Weather Sealing
No
Other Features
Diam x Length
63 x 36.5 mm
Weight
170 g
Production Years
1984 to 1988
Engraved Name
smc PENTAX-A 1:2.8 28mm
Product Code
22997
Reviews
User reviews
Notes
Lens hood was not included with lens
Features:
Manual FocusAperture RingAutomatic ApertureFull-Frame SupportDiscontinued
Price History:



Add Review of SMC Pentax-A 28mm F2.8
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Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-15 of 55
New Member

Registered: February, 2019
Posts: 10

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: September 5, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $40.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Small, light, does what it does
Cons: Tends to attract dust and haze. Plas-sticky
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 7    Value: 7    Camera Used: Film   

I've had one through the years on film cameras, so I'm not getting confused between the actual lens performance and a digital processor plus sensor then a heap of on-camera picture quality adjustment software systems, followed by an online editing software suite to get my images.

It's a really nice lens, but it tends to lack the solid metal feel of the "M" series version. Quite a few "A" series lenses have plastic parts inside and outside. They also wear out faster, developing wobbles and wear in most of the moving parts. That's kind of acceptable when you realise they are decades old. What you also have to keep in mind is that servicing an old "A" Series lens can be risky as some parts can break more easily than the better-built "M" lenses.

I think a lot of people have good and bad views on this lens because they are not realising that a lens can look internally clean, while being a mess inside when it comes to wide angle designs. A lot of people assume they can simply "look into" a lens and see haze and dust; you cannot, especially with a wide angle that tends to have small diameter and highly magnifying optics. You need to carefully shine an LED light through it - never looking directly at the light beam - to see the real muck and haze inside. As with most sub-50mm lenses, it's not the easiest of lenses to clean out. And Pentax seem to have made these with glass that tends to fog and that is hard to clean up. Get a dirty one and you will have bad images, so seek guarantees from your seller and make sure you can return it if it's full of blue foggy haze or masses of dust. Dust tends to cluster on the lens system around the aperture blades; caused by wear on their movement through the decades. Get a clean one and it will be 8, 9 or 10/10 for image quality.

As with all lenses it is sharpest for most of the images across the centre-to-corners at f5.6 to f11. And it performs very similar to the "M" Series version in most situations. Outside of that range this lens stays sharp with only minor softening; pretty much what any sane mind would find 100% acceptable.

Easy to work (yep, you simply turn the rings) this is a great lens. It's such a pity so many sellers force buyers to fork out a small fortune on auction sites, and it's more of a pity some buyers fork out that much cash. $40-ish is a reasonable price. Over that and you are clearly rolling in cash and may as well save a bit more and buy a Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon.
   
New Member

Registered: April, 2018
Posts: 3
Lens Review Date: August 16, 2018 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: $40.00 | Rating: 6 

 
Pros: compact and good build, cheapü
Cons: not good enough on digital
Sharpness: 5    Aberrations: 4    Bokeh: 5    Handling: 9    Value: 7    Camera Used: Pentax K-5   

I was rather disappointed with this lens. Got it cheap in a good condition and compared it with the 18-55 WR (tested it with F8). The good thing is, that I now appreciate much more my 18-55 because it is so much better, especially in the centre. In the corners there was a small advantage for the full frame 28mm but that doesn't justify using it.
   
Pentaxian

Registered: April, 2009
Location: Madrid, Spain
Posts: 5,793

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 2, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $50.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Small, good build quality, sharp from f/4, excellent (very modern) rendering
Cons: Soft wide open, over-exposes
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 5    Handling: 9    Value: 9    Camera Used: K3, 35mm film SLRs   

I got this lens as part of a bundle that I bought mostly for the A 50mm f/2.8 macro and didn't expect much of it, as I've read that the M series 28mm f/2.8 mark II has the same optics and I was never really impressed with that lens, despite reviews.

However, I gave it a chance and have been pleasantly surprised by the photos it's capable of producing. I like lenses that are f/2.8 max aperture to be sharp at that setting as it's not that fast in the scheme of things, and that's really the only major disappointing aspect of this lens. Wide open it's pretty soft so I never use it there. However, stop down just one to f/4 and it's very sharp indeed, so I regard it as an f/4 lens and use it as such.

Ignoring the wide open softness this lens has superb IQ characterised by great sharpness and a very modern rendering, by which I mean very strong contrast and bold, saturated colours, and produces results which look like those from the best modern glass (such as DA limiteds).
Bokeh is quite poor, but 28mm f/2.8 lenses usually are.

The lens is well constructed (much better than the more common A 50mm f/1.7) with smooth aperture and focus rings and is pleasant to use. In the A setting it tends to over-expose (by about 2/3 of a stop) and I suspect it's doing so also on the film cameras I've used it with (mainly an MX). Easy to compensate for once you're aware of it.

This is very good lens which is handy to have around, especially when travelling as it makes a good small, normal-ish prime on an APS-C DSLR and a good wide-angle on film, and I've had it with for my last couple of major trips. It's let down by it's performance wide open and little else.

Some sample images.


Florence
by Jonathan MacDonald, on Flickr


IMGP9580a
by Jonathan MacDonald, on Flickr


IMGP3737a
by Jonathan MacDonald, on Flickr


IMGP0270a
by Jonathan MacDonald, on Flickr


Osaka
by Jonathan MacDonald, on Flickr


IMGP0074a
by Jonathan MacDonald, on Flickr


IMGP3754a
by Jonathan MacDonald, on Flickr
   
New Member

Registered: June, 2017
Posts: 2
Lens Review Date: June 2, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $95.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: build quality,sharp
Cons: NON
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 9    Camera Used: K3-2   

I love it!
I think I can shoot a wonderful sight.








https://www.flickr.com/photos/139049399@N07/shares/m15rV4

https://www.flickr.com/photos/139049399@N07/shares/GP59NY

https://www.flickr.com/photos/139049399@N07/shares/ZUM1sp

https://www.flickr.com/photos/139049399@N07/shares/8629K0

https://flic.kr/s/aHsm1LCdhf
   
Site Supporter

Registered: February, 2017
Posts: 423
Lens Review Date: May 27, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: ideal focal length on apsc, build quality, handling
Cons: IQ needs assistance
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: k3   

I am reviewing this lens for use on APSC cameras, as I do not like the 28mm focal length on film and by default FF digital so have not used it on film. For film I much prefer something wider like a 24mm or even 20mm, or something narrower like 35mm.
I have used the 28mm on my K3 now for 18 months, and for a long time I found the images ok but not exceptional. They certainly lacked something special when compared to the DA 35mm f2.4, not sure what. I was shooting JPEGs. Recently however, I have switched to shooting RAW and processing images in camera and by doing so I have been getting the results I want. Its not super sharp, but is IMO acceptably so. I recommend users shoot RAW with this lens and unless you are a pixel peeper, no disappointment should follow.
The lens itself is a typically well made manual focus model from the 80's. Much better construction than most modern lenses. I paid £50 for mine and that represents excellent value for money. The A lock setting means that it functions brilliantly with Pentax DSLRs. I love the field of view on APSC (42mm equivalent). It balances nicely on my K3. With all these factors in consideration I think it makes a perfect walk around lens.The only thing it lacks is auto focus but that does not bother me.
As these lenses are very reasonably priced I can't think of a good reason for not having one. Recommended!
   
New Member

Registered: March, 2017
Posts: 2
Lens Review Date: March 22, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Size, weight, A setting for aperture
Cons: Not super sharp.
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 9   

I've owned this lens since the mid 80's. Although I don't consider it to be particularly sharp I used it regularly in the film era and since it's my favourite focal length for aps-c, I use it even more now.
It has good contrast and pleasant colour and if I don't go overboard cropping images the sharpness is acceptable.
I've adjusted infinity focus on it and I'm satisfied with the results I'm getting. Quite often there are Pentax-M, Tokina and Rikenon versions available on CL from $20 to $70C but I'm not tempted because I don't feel there's a chance of much improvement.
I've included four sample images in the review.
The first is of an through-arch bridge over the Fraser River. Even though it's taken through a window it shows infinity sharpness at f5.6.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/135991508@N02/30713312553/
The second is of an elderly gentleman standing at a community bookshare station. It shows sharpness at f2.8.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/135991508@N02/31402699105/
The third is an overhead shot at an ocean pier showing some people in the process of leaving after a public baptism ceremony while others are still engaged in conversation. The person of focus is a young man on the left side of the frame looking across the gathering to the horizon. It's shot at f6.3 and has good sharpness edge to edge.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/135991508@N02/30162970264/
The fourth illustrates its close focus and bokeh capability. Here the subject is of a small figure in an display case outside a local toy store.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/135991508@N02/32311652305/
   
Site Supporter

Registered: December, 2016
Location: Silverstone
Posts: 172

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: December 26, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $55.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Sharpness, cheap to buy, lightweight
Cons: Low saturation, low contrast, flare
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-S2   

My copy of this lens was found on eBay for £45. It has turned out to be quite a good performer, well worth the modest outlay, but it needs more "work" in PP than my modern lenses..

Sharpness is good at f/4, very good after f/5.6. It's a bit soft wide open, as others have commented.

It cannot handle flare like a modern lens, so never leaves the bag without a hood. I use the hood for a 50mm FF lens, reflecting the standard FOV that this lens has on APS-C.

This lens naturally delivers RAW files with lowish contrast and saturation, by modern standards.

I find that the easiest way to overcome this is to switch to one of the reversal film profiles in Silkypix. I generally use Film Colour V1 or V2, tweak up the saturation a little and enhance the contrast one notch.


Here's a sample shot, processed as above, without any distortion correction but with Silkypix's default sharpening, etc. The location is Stowe House, near Buckingham in the UK. Go visit...

It is very light, coming from the days when Pentax strove to be the smallest and lightest. I really like that in a lens.

I may keep it, I may not. It's chief rival in my hiking bag is an A24/2.8...
   
Site Supporter

Registered: October, 2008
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Posts: 6,194

6 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: August 21, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $68.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Decent build, speed, optics and handling.
Cons: Not as good as any “K” Series 28mm to 30mm lens.
Camera Used: Pentax film bodies (K1000, KM, KX, K2, K2DMD, MX, LX, Super A, P50)   

The A28/2.8 was released in 1984 and remained in production until 1988. It was a direct replacement for the M28/2.8 V2. The similar Auto focus F28/2.8 was available alongside the A28/2.8 from 1987 onwards. All three lenses have the same optical design.

Optics:
Decent optics and the A28/2.8 is the sharpest from f/8 to f/11. The A28/2.8 is a bit soft wide open and in the corners, there is also noticeable distortion which is typical of a wide angle lens with no “AL” element.

Focal Length:
Back in the film days this was the most popular wide angle focal length for anyone starting photography. Very useful for landscape/street shooting. On APS-C you get the FOV of what the FA43/1.9 is like on FF, more of a “normal” lens.

Build:
Better built than my newer FA series lenses, but not as good as any K/M Series lens I own. There are no issues with the aperture ring on this “A” Series lens, like there is with the 50/1.7.

Usage/Handling:
The A28/2.8 is a nicely sized well balanced lens that is easy to handle. I have no issues manually focusing the A28/2.8 or using the aperture ring. The A28/2.8 also has an excellent distance scale for hyper focal focusing and size wise is a great lens to travel with.

The A28/2.8 has a 49mm filter ring, which is common for any “M” or ”A” Series lens in the wide to short telephoto focal range.

The A28/2.8 uses the 49mm square plastic clip-on lens hood that also works with any “M” or “A” Series wide angle 28mm or 35mm lens. This hood also comes with a leather case. The A28/2.8 uses the HA-90B hard or the S70-70 soft lens case.

Speed:
F/2.8 is average for a wide angle lens, so no issues here. There were also faster f2.0 28mm lenses and slower f3.5, so f2.8 is a good compromise at a reasonable price.

The A28/2.8 vs my other similar FL wide angle primes:
I also own the K28/2.0, K28/3.5 and the K30/2.8.

- The K28/2.0 is better than the A28/2.8 in all aspects, other than if you want a smaller 28mm lens at a cheaper price.

- The K28/3.5 has slightly better overall optics and is better built, with a nicer “meaty” feel to it. (Though some may find the K28/3.5 too big) The A28/2.8 however is 2/3 of a stop faster, so it’s better for lower light shooting.

- The K30/2.8 has better optics and is better built compared to the A28/2.8. Both are about the same size, with the K30/2.8 being a bit heavier.


I would rank/rate them in this order: 1) K28/2.0 - 10, 2) K30/2.8 – 9.5, 3) K28/3.5 - 9 and 4) A28/2.8 – 8.5.

Summary:
I bought the A28/2.8 as I’m building a 49mm filter thread lens kit for travelling and was missing a wide angle. (I now have a wide angle companion for my FA43/1.9 & FA77/1.8) This cuts down on the number of filters I need to carry when I shoot both colour and b+w film on the same trip.

Even though I rank the A28/2.8 last amongst my 28mm to 30mm lenses, it’s still a good small wide angle lens for travelling that you can find at a reasonable price.

Overall I rate the A28/2.8 an 8.5 out of 10.

Price:
I bought my A28/2.8 from a local camera stores used section and paid $90 CDN. It was in excellent + condition.

Sample shots taken with the A28/2.8. Photos are medium resolution scans from original negatives and slides. The first shot was taken in Vancouver and the second in Brooklyn, NY.


Camera: ME Film: Ilford FP4+ ISO: 125




Camera: K2DMD Film: Fuji Provia 100F ISO: 100

   
PEG Moderator

Registered: August, 2008
Location: Hielands o' Scootlund....... "Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand"..............William Blake
Posts: 40,625

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: June 23, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $100.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Ideal "Street Photography" length lens on FF
Cons: Perhaps not the sharpest tool in the box, but good enough when stopped down a bit

The FF K1 made me buy it, ideal focal length for "Street" work".

A wee example taken recently...

   
Forum Member

Registered: February, 2014
Location: Warsaw
Posts: 76

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: June 24, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $80.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Good image quality, build quality, A - setting, Price to FOV ratio :)
Cons: Not super sharp
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-500   

Quite soft wide open, starts to be sharp after f3.5, very sharp after f5.0.
Unsurprisingly sharper then kit lens but not as sharp as expected from prime lens, don’t get me wrong it is sharp but unfortunately not as sharp as Pentax A 50/1.7.
Thanks to A setting easy to use.
As for its price it is a great lens, sharp and reasonably fast. Very useful in indoors shooting when 50mm is too long.
For less than 80$ it is worth buying.


   
Pentaxian

Registered: March, 2014
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 890
Lens Review Date: June 19, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $85.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Compact. Pretty Sharp. Relatively fast. A setting
Cons: Focus ring is a tiny bit loose feeling
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 9    Camera Used: K500   

Needed a little bit wider FOV than my 35 or 50 could give me and I didn't want to reach for my DA 18-55 zoom. This lens certainly fits the bill. Over-all very nice contrast and good sharpness across almost all stops. Provides a nice and aesthetic softness but it is not at the expense of color, contrast or sharpness. Contradictory, I know, but it is something you have to see to understand. It's a good thing. Color rendition is like most Pentax -- excellent. The Focus ring seems a tiny bit loosey/goosey but it still instills the feeling of a well built lens. There are some pretty good 28/2.8 lenses out there from Sigma and Vivitar, etc.; however, the Pentax-A 28/2.8 should be on your list if you are looking for a a quality lens to give you a bit more FOV.

IMGP0726 by Ripper2860, on Flickr
   
New Member

Registered: February, 2012
Posts: 2

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: January 25, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $82.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: IQ, size, built quality
Cons:
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K5   

A great standard lens for APS-C – if you can cope without autofocus.
   
Forum Member

Registered: September, 2013
Posts: 62
Lens Review Date: December 26, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $50.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: solid body, clear image. just good lens
Cons: not detected
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: LX, K-30   

wide angle at FF, slightly wide (EFL 42mm) at crop (K-30)
has an A-setting of aperture dial ring, so fully compatible with DSLR.

using it for indoor or open-space outdoor.

overall not complaints. images has very good quality, sharpness and nice-enough bokeh.
i think from K-KA manual 28mm lens it is one of the best.

using it often, with no doubt.
   
New Member

Registered: May, 2013
Posts: 2

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: November 3, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $100.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: well built, compact size, A mode
Cons: sharpness
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-r   

This lens is compact, lightweight and well built. It produces accurate images with good contrast and nice colours from wide open. Bokeh can be pretty nice for close portraits shots. Not very good sharpness for landscape work.
Can be used as an inexpensive standard walk around lens on aps-c.
   
Senior Member

Registered: May, 2013
Location: Lima-Peru
Posts: 114

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: September 29, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $90.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Inexpensive, Good IQ
Cons: non for the proce
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: pentax k.30   

This is a great lense for the price, i just try it today, and well an image is worth a thousand words.
Add Review of SMC Pentax-A 28mm F2.8



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