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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
55 262,899 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
Author:
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Site Supporter

Registered: October, 2008
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Posts: 6,691

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 its 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 Im 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, its 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

   
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
Cons:

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.




   
Pentaxian

Registered: April, 2009
Location: Madrid, Spain
Posts: 6,571

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
   
Senior Member

Registered: July, 2011
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 282

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 28, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $70.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: perfect "normal" focal length on APS-c DSLR's, cheap compared to the AF version and with better optics
Cons: manual focus (if you think AF is the bomb)
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 10    Value: 10   

This lens has quickly become my favorite and most used.........I've learned to work around alot of the manual focus problems, by simply by using the old stand bye of hyperfocal.........with this method, and simply knowing my in-focus range, found it's actually quicker to shoot than most any AF lens. Seems to be the perfect "normal" focal length for APS-c camera's, equaling the FOV on 35mm format and their 50mm lenses. Making this lens/camera combo very easy to use and compose with. Only downside I can really find is that with just a 5blade shutter, it can produce some weird booka and sunstars when stopped down or shooting at night. Don't worry with the f2.8 max aperture, this lens is a bit faster than advertised, and very sharp from the get-go and extremely so from about f4.5-f11. It's very bright for an f2.8 also, as I've been able to produce amazing pics handheld at night even without the highly regarded hi-ISO capabilities of the KX. Couple samples below of pics taken with this lens. 1st, a landscape using a long exposure with tripod, and 2nd a handheld night scene.




   
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.
   
New Member

Registered: February, 2019
Posts: 12

2 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.
   
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.
   
Inactive Account

Registered: September, 2011
Posts: 6

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 17, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $170.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: superb sharpness, contrast, color rendition
Cons: no longer manufactured
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-5   

Same optics as M28 ver.2 and F 28. Very sharp lens with excellent contrast, no distortions.

This lens produce sharper images than my short F2.8 zoom.
The short 17-50mm'ish F2.8 zooms also pale in comparison when it comes to contrast.
It works well on new DSLRs like K-5 to take advantage of the added dynamic range ability of the new sensors to achieve images rich in color with great details.
   
Site Supporter

Registered: December, 2016
Location: Silverstone
Posts: 202

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...
   
PEG Moderator

Registered: August, 2008
Location: Hielands o' Scootlund
Posts: 49,208

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, dont 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.


   
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.
   
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.
   
Forum Member

Registered: August, 2013
Posts: 83

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: August 2, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $90.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Not very expensive, well built, small, A mode
Cons: Not as sharp as expected
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 9    Value: 8   

A few shots

Pentax K-5 - 1/80sec - F4.0 - ISO 100 - Auto white balance - spot meter - tripod

Now a few pics with 1, 2, 3 extension tubes with different settings. The lens was not reverse mounted. The quality may not be the best since I have not a macro rail to fine focus . The full size pics are on flickr.
















In the next pic the lens was reverse mounted on 2 extension tubes. The subject it's a Dionaea Muscipula sensor more or less the size of a Human hair.



http://www.flickr.com/photos/xz1pics/sets/72157634903950036/

Enjoy
   
New Member

Registered: November, 2012
Posts: 1

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: July 16, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $150.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: small, build quality, A
Cons:
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-5   

An inexpensive wide lens. Applicable Terms of use for regular lighting with very good results. Someone might not mind the lack of AF, but no problem for me. The lens is very sharp from f4 to f22 are visible defects in the form of image aberrations. This lens I would recommend it to everyone that does not require professional results in low light conditions

Some pictures:

Lagoon
Water Slide
Butterfly
Add Review of SMC Pentax-A 28mm F2.8



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