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

SMC Pentax-A 28mm F2.8

Reviews Views Date of last review
62 290,533 Mon February 28, 2022
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
97% of reviewers $80.88 8.40
SMC Pentax-A 28mm F2.8

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

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

SMC Pentax-A 28mm F2.8
©, sharable with attribution
Image Format
Full-frame / 35mm film
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
Yes (A setting)
Automatic, 5 blades
7 elements, 7 groups
Mount Variant
Check camera compatibility
Max. Aperture
Min. Aperture
Min. Focus
30 cm
Max. Magnification
Filter Size
49 mm
Internal Focus
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 55 ° / 46 °
Full frame: 75 ° / 65 °
PH-S49 (28/35mm)
Hard case HA-90B
Lens Cap
Plastic clip-on
Weather Sealing
Other Features
Diam x Length
63 x 36.5 mm
170 g
Production Years
1984 to 1988
Engraved Name
smc PENTAX-A 1:2.8 28mm
Product Code
User reviews
Lens hood was not included with lens
Manual FocusAperture RingAutomatic ApertureFull-Frame SupportDiscontinued
Price History:

Add Review of SMC Pentax-A 28mm F2.8
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Site Supporter

Registered: July, 2011
Location: Melbourne
Posts: 1,066
Lens Review Date: February 28, 2022 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $100.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Compact nice focusing feel
Cons: none

I have come to really appreciate the A series 28mm. The slightly wide field of view but not too excessive width makes it easy for most subjects. Not having to use the green button for metering is really a nice convenience. The extra bonus of how well the lens performs as a macro lens when reversed was a pleasant surprise. Easy to focus with a nice throw for the focus ring. I used the rectangular lens hood from the Takumar era, it fits nicely on the lens barrel but unless you are using a filter it can stop you easily achieving infinity focus. It seemed to help with the contrast when the hood was used. Another Pentax lens well worth having in your kit.
Some photos

fishing by Gary Wakeling, on Flickr

up sky by Gary Wakeling, on Flickr

the cape by Gary Wakeling, on Flickr

dimm close by Gary Wakeling, on Flickr
Site Supporter

Registered: August, 2017
Location: Ronneburg
Posts: 1
Lens Review Date: February 17, 2022 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 9 

Pros: A-Setting lens, easy handling,
Cons: CA wide open
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-3,K-200D,Z-5   

This is a well, compact lens. I'd have no problem making very good images with it.

If you need the corners very sharp, stop down a little.

Used properly, it's sharp! /5.6: Sharp all over. to f/8: Optimum; very sharp

Focus is easy. I can do it with one firm finger.

CA: There's some coma at f/2.8 and f/4. Its gone by f/5.6.

Satisfactory and useful on digital cameras, better on analogue that's what it's built for.
New Member

Registered: September, 2020
Location: Derbyshire
Posts: 3

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: August 21, 2021 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $60.00 | Rating: 4 

Pros: Fantastic barrel design, easy focus
Cons: Flat rendition, very uninspiring, poor corner definition, instantly forgettable.
Sharpness: 4    Aberrations: 4    Bokeh: 4    Handling: 9    Camera Used: MZ5n/MX   

Note - I used this lens only with film, NOT digital.

Compared to the any Nikkor 28mm lens I have used, plus also the Zuiko 2.8, this Pentax is just.............well, it's hard to drum up any enthusiasm about it. It was just pedestrian to me.

The form factor was great - good looking, easy to use (the A range to me at least handle better than any M lens - I have large hands). But that's all. Oh - and the 'A' setting meant that I could use it on my MZ5n to get that fantastic, infallible 6 segment meter.

Some have said that Pentax uses the same optics in its F AF version. Really? No way.

All I remember getting is flat looking prints and slides even if I used hyperfocal focussing.

No - I'd advise you to miss this one unless you are really on a budget.

Registered: December, 2007
Location: In the most populated state... state of denial
Posts: 1,406

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: August 4, 2021 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $20.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Sharpness, color rendition, auto-diaphragm
Cons: construction - CA
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 6    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: MZ7 - K5IIs   

I got a "faulty" version of this lens. The diaphragm ring is stuck in A; which seems to be a common fault.
That is not a problem with the MZ or the Digital cameras but is a problem in manual cameras.
Works great in every mode in the DSLR

Lens is well built, with the colorful distance scale and the hyperfocal marked in orange.
Focusing is silky smooth and precise

Image quality is similar to the M-28mm/2.8
Pictures are sharp, especially at F/5.6 - 11, with some difraction after F/16
Colors are nicely rendered. Bokeh is neutral.
There is some coma wide open, and corners can be soft in 35mm but not on APS-C
Not much purple fringing even wide open.

PS in the K3-III the purple and red fringing is very noticeable, I changed the rate of the lens based on that

Excellent lens!
Senior Member

Registered: December, 2010
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 139

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: June 7, 2021 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 9 

Pros: Nice wide astro imaging
Cons: None
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K3, K01   

Mainly used for astrophotography
Small compact and light, easy to use in the dark
A nice little performer even wide open at F2.8
Below is a stacked image through a light haze
Hence the haloes around the bright stars
Pentax K3, ISO 1600, 4 second exposure
50 lights, 30 darks, 70 bias, no flats
Stacked in DSS processed in PS
Recommended for Astro
New Member

Registered: December, 2010
Location: London
Posts: 1
Lens Review Date: June 4, 2021 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $56.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: tack sharp images, v.nice Bokeh, low price, great build quality
Cons: nothing to complain about if you get a good example
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K1 1   

I have just acquired a K1-1 FF body and started using my 35mm DA and 50mm DA Prime lenses in FF mode but wanted a 28mm mainly for close-up work and had a tight budget so started looking for an old Pentax "film" camera lens. The Forum members gave the Pentax A f/2.8 28mm pretty good reviews and the example I bought was in "as new" condition. Popping it onto the body and setting in A mode this works a treat. Manual Focus is eased with the K1's red flash in the viewfinder markings when you have hit the focus correctly and Auto or Av mode (so far) give tack sharp images with great soft Bokeh in close-up use. It seems sharper than the DA 50 and equivalent or better than the DA 35 with great realistic colour rendition and little visible CA. I have seen no evidence of the quoted vignetting but have probably not needed to fully open up the F-stop with the test images I have taken to-date. Overall this seems to be excellent VFM, great IQ, very little CA and lovely soft Bokeh.

Build quality of these older lenses seem much higher than current "kit lenses" and semi-pro lenses with metal bodies and lovely damped focusing, though must admit the cheap plastic bodied DA 35 and DA 50's actually work fine and are also good VFM.

My old SLR favourite as a walk around lens was a 28 or 35mm - latterly mainly a lovely 35mm Prime (on a Minolta X700), but on my K5 DSLR this would obviously be x 1.5 so the DA 35mm is actually a 47,5mm equivalent. so almost a 50mm. I have not tried this 28mm back onto the APS-C K5 retrospectively to use as an effectively 35mm prime (like my old Minolta) , but will give it a go. I do have a Pentax M SMC 50mm f/1.4 that used to be fine on my partner's MX and my K1000, but seems rather poor CA on the K5 or K1, but the Pentax A 28mm seems MUCH better in terms of sharpness of image and CA.

So, this lens is, for me, "a keeper" and a great extra FF lens at remarkably low cost.
New Member

Registered: September, 2019
Posts: 1

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: November 18, 2020 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $15.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Centre sharpness, colours, contrast
Cons: Field curvature, corner aberrations
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 8    Value: 8    Camera Used: Sony a7   

A special, if somewhat flawed lens. I usually find using a 28mm boring but theres something about this one....... The colours and contrast are fantastic throughout the aperature range and the centre is impressively sharp wide open too. Its nice and light too, fairly compact but not as much so as some other A lenses. It also resists flare pretty well even without a hood. It is however rather let down but the field curvature which makes it almost impossible to take totally sharp landscapes, the CA can also be quite bad in the corners.

Dont know what it is about this lens but the results are more than the sum of its parts. A special 28mm for me.

New Member

Registered: February, 2019
Posts: 12

4 users 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.

Registered: April, 2009
Location: Madrid, Spain
Posts: 8,901

4 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.

by Jonathan MacDonald, on Flickr

by Jonathan MacDonald, on Flickr

by Jonathan MacDonald, on Flickr

by Jonathan MacDonald, on Flickr

by Jonathan MacDonald, on Flickr

by Jonathan MacDonald, on Flickr

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.
Site Supporter

Registered: February, 2017
Posts: 1,478

1 user found this helpful
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: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 9    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 le 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!

UPDATE 20/4/21:-

I have been doing some extensive testing of 28mm Pentax lenses lately and as a consequence have amended my scores - 9 for sharpness, from 8. I would like to give it 8.5 but that is not an option and 9 for handling down from 10.
I believe much of the perceived softness is due to two factors - focusing errors and flare. Unless using live view, manually focusing this relatively fast lens through a normal DSLR viewfinder, which is optimized for slower AF zoom lenses, with no manual focusing aid in the viewfinder can be problematic - possible but much care needs to be taken. I have installed a micro prism focus screen in my K3 and much of the softness issues I experienced have gone away. This type of lens is designed for 35mm film as a wide angle, but many of us are using it as a standard lens on crop bodies. Using a standard lens hood, rather than a wide angle one or none at all, helps to reduce the impact of flare. So the changes in score reflect these observations and as such I believe it to be an even better bargain now, notwithstanding the fact that prices have risen lately

Some recent sample shots:-

UPDATE : December 2021

A recent purchase of a K1 ii has given me chance to revisit this lens. As a wide angle on FF or film, I cannot see anything wrong with it at all. Any issues I have experienced with accurate focusing on crop disappear with the K1. For the money I can see no reason not to get great landscape lens in a small package with this choice.
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.
The second is of an elderly gentleman standing at a community bookshare station. It shows sharpness at f2.8.
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.
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.
Site Supporter

Registered: December, 2016
Location: Silverstone
Posts: 310

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: 7,494

8 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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