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SMC Pentax-A 28mm F2.8

Reviews Views Date of last review
55 262,890 Thu September 5, 2019
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
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
Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Ascending) Showing Reviews 1-15 of 55
Senior Member

Registered: September, 2006
Location: Ottawa, ON
Posts: 134
Lens Review Date: February 23, 2007 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: $50.00 | Rating: 4 

Pros: manual focusing and build
Cons: lacks contrast, image quality is blah

Bought this lens quite cheap and in excellent condition.
Manual focusing is a treat but I never warmed up to this lens.
Image-wise, I find it a bit bland and definitely nothing special in comparison to the FA 28-105 f/3.2-4.5 zoom, which is only marginally slower at the same focal length and a lot more versatile. (but has a crappy focusing ring)

Maybe my copy is defective, but I would say unless you have a manual focusing fetish, or are on a tight budget, there are better alternatives out there.
Veteran Member

Registered: November, 2006
Location: Belgrade
Posts: 656
Lens Review Date: March 2, 2007 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $80.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Small, very well built, very good image quality
Cons: Minor vignetting and loss of contrast only wide open
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 9    Value: 8   

This lens is often underrated and overlooked for the reasons I can not understand. It is indeed a very good lens!

Sharing the build quality with other M and A series lenses it is a pleasure to use. Optically it is very good at all apertures between f/4 and f/16 in all respects. The very important quality is that there is no practical difference between center and corner sharpness and contrast at that aperture range providing uniform and pleasing results throughout the frame. Also, barrel distortion typical for all wide-angle lenses is usually not noticeable or if noticeable it is far from distracting.

At f/2.8 there is very slight loss of sharpness and contrast, but still almost uniform across the frame. This characteristics makes it really hard to spot minor quality loss at f/2.8 since within a single frame one does not have multiple points of reference with clearly variable quality to compare, so with most subjects (apart from test charts) it will most likely remain unnoticed. However, on uniformly lit surfaces slight vignetting may become noticeable, but gets greatly reduced at f/4 and disappears entirely by f/5.6. Finally, at f/22 (as with any other lens) diffraction becomes noticeable slightly reducing edge sharpness.


(Note: opinion based on use with Pentax *istDS.)
Senior Member

Registered: April, 2007
Location: Toronto/Victoria
Posts: 265
Lens Review Date: April 21, 2007 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 9 

Pros: Smooth focusing, size, very high optical quality
Cons: Manual focus lens, slight purple fringing at large apertures, "only" F/2.8
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 10   

My father gave me this lens when I started a high school photography course. He still had the box and manual from roughly 1983.

I will use it at every aperture with confidence. It is a bit better than my FA version at F/2.8-4, and then they're even from there.

Wide open there are no halos on bright areas nor is there a significant loss of sharpness to the edges. No perceptible loss in contrast either. Backlit objects do have some purple fringing, but remain sharp. About the only thing stopping down does is reduce PF and increase DOF.
Senior Member

Registered: October, 2007
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 273
Lens Review Date: December 20, 2007 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 9 

Pros: Small, light, sharp, fairly low distortions
Cons: Slightly loose focusing ring

I got this lens as a loaner from my grandfather along with a Super Program. It is very sharp once you stop down past f5.6. Faster than that, it is still reasonably sharp.

The sample I had had a slightly loose focusing ring.
Inactive Account

Registered: November, 2007
Location: North Brunswick, NJ
Posts: 473
Lens Review Date: January 25, 2008 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $85.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Good optics, sharp picture quality
Cons: Cheap build quality

This is actually a very good lens. It renders images beautifully with accurate, warm colors. For the focal length, the bokeh is actually quite smooth and buttery. It also has the A setting on the aperture ring, which allows you to adjust the aperture straight from the camera body, instead of having to do it with the ring as you would on a K or M lens. The focus is also very precise and smooth.

My only gripe with this lens is the cheap build quality. I bought mine second-hand. It's in great condition, but I've gotten used to the build quality of my M 50/1.7. So, it doesn't really par up. Pentax used some combination of metal and plastic, which didn't work right. Also, on my copy, the aperture ring is a little stiff.

Despite the one negative, this lens is a gem. I recommend it completely.
Veteran Member

Registered: October, 2006
Location: NJ USA
Posts: 13,056

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: February 29, 2008 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 9 

Pros: film perspective, quick to use
Cons: colors not as concentrated as with some

This lens doesn't get enough respect. It has very good resolution, though contrast and color concentration aren't typical Pentax.

But really it is a judgement call - sometimes I feel the modern Pentax color rendition is a bit TOO concentrated, a bit too there. The more restrained picture this 28 gives can be seen as more naturalistic.

This restraint may be seen as lack of contrast or resolution, yet when I've tested the lens directly, I find what difference there is is very minor. Versus the 16-45, the 28 has the ultimate edge in resolution and micro gradations, while the zoom concentrates the color and gradation more. It is a bit of a paradox, the zoom on its own seems better, yet on closer inspection the 28 shines. Resolution wise this lens is fully equivalent with the Takumar 50's and 35.

I love this as a walk around lens - especially on film. My sample works beautifully, with a good focus feel.

Aug '08 update: I now have 4 other 28's plus the above mentioned 16-45. The SMC-A reproduces noticeably more detail and sharpness at every aperture than either Super / S-M-C 3.5 Taks, and beats all the others as well. The Jpeg sizes straight out of the camera are very much higher. I found the color and contrast similar to the Taks, which was a bit of a surprise given the overall impression of the lens. The Vivitar TX 2.5 has a bit more contrast and color saturation, and stopped down gets close to the Takumars in resolution. The more I use this lens the more I'm impressed.
Lens Review Date: April 6, 2008 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $100.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: good build quality and image quality is good

I think someone summed this lens quality as "blah". I can under stand this because I have not found a wide angle lens to knock me off my feet in image quality either.

That said, this is as good as or better than everything I have used in the 17-35mm range (that would be the Tamron SP17-35, Tamron Adptall 17mm, Vivitar 19mm, Tokina 20-35mm, Sigma 15-30mm and Canon EF 24mm). Expect to get better quality when looking at 50mm and longer lenses, but for a wide angle that you can pop in your pocket, this one does the trick.

This is one of my favorite travel lenses and I have taken some great images with this lens on both film and digital.
New Member

Registered: October, 2008
Location: London / Southampton
Posts: 1
Lens Review Date: February 4, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $90.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Beautiful construction, good image quality

Got this lens for 40 at a local shop.

This is by far my most used lens for street and architectural photography. The lens does display some minor purple fringing that the edges when wide open, but this disappears completely by f/4. Likewise the edges are less sharp and display some vignetting at f/2.8, but this rapidly clears up as the lens is stopped down.

The imges produced are not the most puchy or exciting but i feel it produces very 'real', accurate images. One of it's best features is the lack of distortion; horizons and edges are truly straight!

My copy is wonderfully constructed, the focus ring is a joy to use especially as the full focal range is acheived with only a 90-degree twist of the ring.
New Member

Registered: August, 2009
Location: targu-jiu
Posts: 4
Lens Review Date: August 27, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $125.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: small ,sharp,even at f2,8

I find this lens just perfect for street shooting,it's s poor man's 43 ltd
Inactive Account

Registered: June, 2009
Posts: 35

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: September 7, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $90.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp, cheap, good built quality by today's standards

I just want to add a few particulars to the other reviews. I had mixed results from the start with a K20D and this lens. Not very high in resolution, it seemed. But then some shots turned out very very sharp.
The problem is with the regular focusing screens in the digital slrs the point of perfect focus is quite vague. So i used the green light focus confirmation. After a while I tried focusing the lens with live view at 8x. In my lens there is a slight constant difference between perfect focus and the steady green light point, like 1 millimetre on the lens scale. Completely unperceptible through the viewfinder, and hard to spot on pictures if you close the lens down, but when you get it right it's very very sharp even at f/2.8. For maximum sharpness focus using live view and f/2.8. Again, the difference in sharpness at 100% is huge, at least in my lens, even if you're going for f/8
New Member

Registered: January, 2009
Location: PNW
Posts: 11
Lens Review Date: September 9, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $50.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: good all around focal length on digital sensor, fastish, sharp, bokeh
Cons: none really for the price i paid

love this lens great for people shots and the bokeh can be pretty nice.
took this at f2.8
New Member

Registered: December, 2009
Location: Egham, Surrey
Posts: 1

4 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: December 2, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $100.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Crispy sharp, good contrast, detail, color redition, no distortion

The picture quality from this lens is far more than the price I paid. Highly recommended to get it if you want to have 28mm. lens.

Lens Review Date: December 17, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 8 

Pros: Enough sharp, good bokeh
Cons: Not so good image corners due to 5.6

Just got this lens from e-bay. Using it with GX20.
1. It is good (not great) walk around lens on aps-c (42mm), but could be used also for landscape photo closed down to 2-3 steps.
2. It is little bit soft and cs wide open, but good for close portraits shots. Closing it down to 2 stops makes it sharp and usefull for street photography.
3. It is strongly depends on focus precision, even closed, so I use nikon`s K3 focusing screen (rebuilded by our chineese friends) and using microprisms ring have enough precised manual focus.
4. Contrast is good from wide open.
5. Bokeh is smooth and looks well for my first view.
Senior Member

Registered: January, 2009
Posts: 173
Lens Review Date: June 26, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $55.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Cheap, sharp, has A setting.
Cons: Lacks contrast and saturation

Got this lens on eBay in minty condition as a replacement for my 28mm SMC Takumar. The build quality of the A series lenses is a bit disappointing to me, but this lens actually handles really well. The lens is very sharp in the center even at f2.8, some sharpness fall off at the edges. Little to no vignetting, CAs are almost non-existent. Distortions are very low too. However, when shotting yesterday in the direction of the sun (without a hood) the contrast and saturation was rather low. When shooting away from the sun this thing excels. For the $55 I've paid for it this lens is great. I think it outperforms my SMC Takumar 28mm f3.5 in all areas.
Veteran Member

Registered: July, 2010
Posts: 2,395
Lens Review Date: July 22, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $100.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: fast, good build, small
Cons: low colour saturation/constrast in harsh light

A great starter prime, and a relatively inexpensive way to a good prime on your dSLR with a loose-normal field of view. Very sharp at f 4, and very respectable at f 2.8. As far as resolution is concerned, this lens is far sharper across the frame than the kit lens. A good FOV for indoors, but not particularly bright. Good for general photography and landscapes. I find it pairs nicely with a 50mm 1.7 or faster.

The build quality is very nice and operation is generally smooth, like a good instrument.

Worst quality of this lens has to do with harsh lights, colour contrast and flares. Easily fixed with a lens hood and/or polarizing filter. However, even with these things, the images will not be as saturated as would see with a 50mm, or one of the DA lenses. It's a nice look actually, more organic / film-like (of course, depending on the film), but it does not make the colours pop like other lenses. There is all sorts of resolution buried in the images, so it takes well to post-processing. I suspect a lot of the "meh" comments about this lens are related to it's rather muted colour palette. Bokeh renders nicely for a wide-angle.

I would give this lens an 8 if there was an alternative in this price range... but this lens is SHARP for the dollar.

Overall a great prime for those on a budget or just starting out into the world of primes. The aperture is wide enough and the FOV is very flexible. I find this lens is great for "snapshots" - despite manual focus, it's a nice focal length for spontaneous pictures.
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