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SMC Pentax-A 35-80mm F4-5.6 Review RSS Feed

SMC Pentax-A 35-80mm F4-5.6

Reviews Views Date of last review
6 38,720 Mon August 6, 2018
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
67% of reviewers $16.67 7.20
SMC Pentax-A 35-80mm F4-5.6

This lens is a manual focus version of the autofocus smc Pentax-F 35-80 F4-5.6 lens, both of the same plastic build.

SMC Pentax-A 35-80mm F4-5.6
©, sharable with attribution
Image Format
Full-frame / 35mm film
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
Yes (A setting)
Automatic, 6 blades
7 elements, 6 groups
Mount Variant
Check camera compatibility
Max. Aperture
Min. Aperture
Min. Focus
40 cm
Max. Magnification
Filter Size
49 mm
Internal Focus
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 45-20 ° / 38-17 °
Full frame: 63-30 ° / 54-25 °
Lens Cap
Plastic clip-on
Weather Sealing
Other Features
Diam x Length
65 x 58.2 mm
185 g
Production Years
1995 to 2004
Engraved Name
smc PENTAX-A 1:4-5.6 35-80mm
Product Code
User reviews
Manual FocusAperture RingAutomatic ApertureFull-Frame SupportDiscontinued
Price History:

Add Review of SMC Pentax-A 35-80mm F4-5.6
Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-6 of 6
Loyal Site Supportaxian

Registered: September, 2013
Location: Texas
Posts: 482
Lens Review Date: August 6, 2018 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: $5.00 | Rating: N/A 

Pros: Small, Light, Center sharpness.
Cons: Abysmal corner sharpness.

On the K-1: I have to say, the center sharpness at 35mm surprised me. Quite sharp wide open. The corners are a different matter, soft by the time you reach the corners of apsc, and terribly smeared out by the corner of full frame. These were fine in the film era, but not so great by today's standards.

It's really pretty good for a compact old manual zoom. I rate this as fairly good value (they are super cheap) for apsc.

I'd stay away from them on full frame. It just can't keep up with modern designs.

Registered: September, 2010
Location: MD
Posts: 908

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: February 10, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $25.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: convenient range, light, value, decent wide open
Cons: could be sharper
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 7    Value: 8    Camera Used: Pentax K-30   

I will compare this directly to the Pentax F35-70 f3.5-4.5 I own and really like. (My review of it on this database.)
Lens are about the same size and similar build quality.
The A has extra length going to 80mm.
The F35-70 is faster and has autofocus that works well for me, two good advantages for the F.
They both work well wide open but improve as you close down to f8. Both have nice color and contrast.
In terms of sharpness, the F is definitely better in the 35-50mm range, but the differences are less as you close down. At f11, the A may even be better.
At 70mm, the A is slightly sharper at every comparable f-stop.
At 80mm, the A is similar to my DA 18-135 at 80mm, and the A is even better at f11.

All in all, a very nice lens, and I can do best using LiveView to get focus.
Still, it's a bit of a bother needing to enter the focal length for shake reduction, and my F35-70 does a more consistent job of good autofocus than when I use manual focus and the viewfinder on the A35-80.

UPDATE: I've had the opportunity to compare this lens directly with the Pentax A 35-70 f4. I'm lowering this one to a "7" (from an 8), since the A 35-70 f4 is definitely a step up. (And it is still another step up to the F 35-70)
Veteran Member

Registered: January, 2012
Posts: 1,973

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 1, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $20.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp ! Even from wide open
Cons: recognized as 4.5 on autofocus cameras
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 7    Value: 10    Camera Used: K10D K01   

I am surprised to see a mixed reviews! I got this lens some time ago for my ME Super as I often wanted to keep my ME in a car but found that 50mm prime not always allowed me to get the shot I wanted. So I was testing it before on my DSLR's ( K10D and K-01 ) - and I am amazed at the sharpness it delivers from wide open ! This is truly a gem lens - didn't realise that this cheapo can take such a good shots! Usually we dismiss kit lenses - but with Pentax is different. I found my DA L 18-55 quite extraoridinary - and on many aspects during a bright day the results when lens is stopped down 1-2 stops - cannot be differentiated from my 50 1.7 !! - which is amazing to me. And now this little fella - I am shocked - shame I cannot link any images in here (dunno the reason but icon to add an image is gone from reviews editor ) - anyway the only drawback I found is that lens is actually regonized by my bodies ( K10D, K-01, Z1p ) as 35-80mm f4.5 - fixed (!) Well not a big deal but just a thing to note. I thought that it was my copy like that - but no - after my son ( who shoots with ME ) "borrowed" from my this zoom - I just simple bough another one ( they are cheap so far - and now I have two at home and can confirm that both lenses are detected as f4.5 constant - not 4-5.6 My second copy delivers the same excellent results!

I like :
focusing is smooth and easy to control
lens is *very* sharp from wide open
very light and compact
cheap !
looks good
feels quite solid and sturdy in hand - I am surprised - it feels like it was more glass inside that it looks

I dislike :
aperture ring works little bit jerky ( when moved outside the 'A' position )
cheap build ( a lot of plastic - but good quality )
6 aperture blades - bokeh would be smoother with 8 blades I guess

Overall - an excellent lens for the money - one of the best bang for the buck currently available ( I bough my 1st copy in excellent condition at cash converters for 15, and second copy with little dust inside one eBay with faulty MZM and several films for 17 including P&P
Veteran Member

Registered: February, 2012
Location: Fredericton, New Brunswick
Posts: 631

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 30, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 9 

Pros: Cheap, Lightweight, Has Aperture Ring
Cons: Plastic, soft at wide end.
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-5   

A steal if you want to fiddle around with older lenses. Soft at wide end in my experience, but sharper towards 80 - Stop it down to 8 and it will keep up with most zooms of the era in sharpness.
Forum Member

Registered: March, 2010
Location: Norfolk
Posts: 83

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: September 7, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 8 

Pros: lightweight, compact, sharp enough
Cons: economy-class build

Don't be too dismissive about this one, it's the joker in the Pentax pack. Mine came with an MZ-M I bought as a stand-by many years ago and although it had a few outings with reasonably good results it was relegated to the drawer because I had several faster, brilliantly performing M lenses for my MX and was shooting mostly 50/100 ISO colour slides.

I recently re-discovered it and tried it on my DS, which starts at 200 ISO and was pleasantly surprised. So I put it on my K-7 for a real workout and found it amazingly sharp, especially at the long end, at pretty well all apertures, though if using the wide setting it's best to stop down to f8.

It lacks the biting contrast of more recent lenses but that's no bad thing. The colours are fine. The close focus capability works well in bright conditions and the bokeh is very pleasant.

In these days of variable ISO a relatively slow lens is less of an issue. This one gives me 52~120mm effectively, which I find useful. It's compact and light, which is a blessing with these heavyweight bodies. Build is economy-class but it manages to look workmanlike rather than cheap and nasty. The action is smooth without feeling sloppy.

Maybe I just got a good'un. I give it 8 for performance and it deserves 9 or 10 for value for money. I shall put it to good use on the DS as a walkabout lens and I won't mind if it takes a few knocks.

It's nice to find something that delivers a bit more than it promises.
Site Supporter

Registered: August, 2007
Location: Toronto
Posts: 745
Lens Review Date: January 8, 2008 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: N/A | Rating: 3 

Pros: Small size, light weight, nice ribbed zoom and focus rings, includes aperture ring, convenient 49mm filter size, modern styling, easy to read distance scale.
Cons: Lens is soft across the frame. Wide open, even softer in the corners. Lacking in contrast and colour reproduction of other SMC lenses.

I got this lens for free on an MZ-M body.

After shooting a couple of rolls, the poor image quality put me off shooting any more with it.

This is the same poor optical design as the autofocus version. Rather than being a lens snob, I wanted to like these lenses. Unfortunately they are beat handily by the very modest FA 28-90 3.5/5.6.

The best results I had with this lens are closeups. I found the bokeh quite attractive when shooting flowers at full closeup (I hesistate to call it macro -- the focusing scale simply shows a flower.)
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