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SMC Pentax-A 50mm F2.8 Macro Review RSS Feed

SMC Pentax-A 50mm F2.8 Macro

Sharpness 
 9.7
Aberrations 
 9.3
Bokeh 
 8.7
Handling 
 9.4
Value 
 9.6
Reviews Views Date of last review
31 136,000 Fri June 21, 2019
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $150.13 9.61
SMC Pentax-A 50mm F2.8 Macro
supersize


Description:
The SMC Pentax-A 50mm F2.8 was the first Pentax macro lens to offer a fast aperture of F2.8. This lens supports auto metering and offers 1:2 (half life-size) reproduction.

The front element is sufficiently recessed that no lens hood is needed.



SMC Pentax-A 50mm F2.8 MACRO
© www.pentaxforums.com, sharable with attribution
Image Format
Full-frame / 35mm film
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
Yes (A setting)
Diaphragm
Automatic, 6 blades
Optics
6 elements, 4 groups
Mount Variant
KA
Check camera compatibility
Max. Aperture
F2.8
Min. Aperture
F22
Focusing
Manual
Min. Focus
24 cm
Max. Magnification
0.5x
Filter Size
49 mm
Internal Focus
No
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 32 ° / 27 °
Full frame: 47 ° / 40 °
Hood
Not needed
Case
Hard case HA-90
Lens Cap
Plastic clip-on
Coating
SMC
Weather Sealing
No
Other Features
Diam x Length
63 x 40 mm
Weight
220 g
Production Years
1984 to 1988
Engraved Name
smc PENTAX-A MACRO 1:2.8 50mm
Product Code
28190
Reviews
User reviews
Features:
Manual FocusAperture RingAutomatic ApertureFull-Frame SupportDiscontinued
Price History:



Add Review of SMC Pentax-A 50mm F2.8 Macro
Author:
Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-15 of 31
Junior Member

Registered: December, 2017
Posts: 29
Lens Review Date: June 21, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $90.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Excellent built quality
Cons: Nothing I can think of.
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: K20d   

Today was my lucky day, i found the 50 mm Macro A and the 100 mm macro A together in a local ad site.

I was looking for either one of these to suit my object photography needs.
The 100/4 macro is well known to me. The 50 mm macro is a delight to use.
A versions are new to me and a much appreciated extra with the use of the K20d.

Pentax bodies with APS sensors are offered at rediciulous low prices.
Together with these macro lenses they give excellent quality.
What more do you need?
   
Junior Member

Registered: January, 2013
Location: Texas
Posts: 32
Lens Review Date: January 27, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $180.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Size, Built Quality, Sharpness
Cons: Aperture ring
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: Pentax KP   

A long time ago, I used that lens with film cameras and my remembrance is that it was 'very good but not excellent'. Same for tests in magazines in the 1980's.
Because I like the light weight, the smooth focusing ring, and the 'built-in' hood, I decided to buy another one last year. I was very surprised by the high image quality; very similar to my legendary Nikon 55/2.8 Macro AIs (used on a Fuji X-T20).
The only thing I dislike is the plastic aperture ring (not used with Pentax DSLRs, but used when adapted on mirrorless cameras).
Be careful, many Pentax 'A' lenses have issues now, stiff focusing ring, stiff aperture ring, haze, separation of glued elements, etc.
Not more than other brands, but these lenses are 30+ years old.
   
Site Supporter

Registered: February, 2017
Posts: 466
Lens Review Date: May 27, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Close focus, Image Quality, Build Quality, Really useful Focal Length on film, FF and APSC
Cons: Rare possibly a bit pricey
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 9    Camera Used: K3, MX, KX   

I don't usually review a lens or camera unless I have owned it for some time, but in this case I must make an exception. This is probably the most useful lens anyone who shoots both film and digital could own. It is super sharp, not that I pixel peep, has nice contrast and colour reproduction. It focus usefully close, although not ideal for pure macro. It has a good general focal length for film or FF, and a nice short telephoto length for APSC. It handles well on both film and Pentax DSLRs due to the A lock. It has a reasonably bright max aperture. The only thing it lacks is AF, no big deal.
I bought my copy from Australia off Ebay. It cost me 102. I believe that was cheap as I have seen copies go for much more when they occasionally appear. I had been and still am in love with the DA50 f1.8, but was looking for a close up solution for that lens for walk around use. It was suggested that I get the Ltd 35 f2.8, but as I already had the 50 and the DA 35mm f2.4, both of which I like, the expense just did not seem justifiable.
I was looking on Ebay for the M 50mm f4, but the A 2.8, appeared in the search at what I consider to be a steal of a price.
It is a typically well made MF lens from the 80's with excellent handling characteristics, producing very good IQ. if you can find one get one as long as you can afford it. It balances nicely on any film or DSLR. It is small enough to fit in a jacket pocket so there is to reason to leave it behind when out and about. On my K3 this lens combined with a 28mm A f2.8, covers the vast majority of my needs. With my MX for film I will combine it with my 35mm f2.8 and 20mm f4.
Highly recommended!
   
Pentaxian

Registered: April, 2009
Location: Madrid, Spain
Posts: 5,956

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: February 15, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $50.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Small, light but well built, excellent image quality
Cons: Bokeh can be harsh
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K3 & various film SLRs, Fujifilm X-M1   

I bought this lens for a great price and in mint condition. They usually sell for much more than I paid.

It's small and light but well built, I'd say to the same standard as the DA limited series. It's not nearly as solid as Takumars or K or M series lenses but it is significantly better in this regard than the A 50mm f/1.7 or f/1.4.

Focusing is very smooth and the aperture ring clicks nicely making it very pleasurable to use.

Image quality is excellent. It's fairly sharp wide open, with a tiny bit of glow but still very usable, and extremely sharp by f/4. Colour and contrast are fantastic, yielding a look comparable to modern digital-age lenses. Though I've used it mostly for it's close-focus abilities, it also makes a superb landscape lens. The bokeh can be harsh in some circumstances but that's hardly unusual for any lens. In most cases it's fairly smooth, especially when focusing close.

I have used this on film as well as digital but have not yet scanned any of the negatives so here are some examples from my K3 and Fujifilm X-M1. The first shot was taken wide open.


IMGP6341a
by Jonathan MacDonald, on Flickr


IMGP6453
by Jonathan MacDonald, on Flickr


IMGP6368a
by Jonathan MacDonald, on Flickr


DSCF1181
by Jonathan MacDonald, on Flickr


IMGP6340a
by Jonathan MacDonald, on Flickr


2018-03-28_08-25-31
by Jonathan MacDonald, on Flickr


IMG_7251a
by Jonathan MacDonald, on Flickr
   
Pentaxian

Registered: February, 2010
Location: Eureka, CA
Posts: 3,639

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: February 14, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $125.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: small, excellent build quality, sharp, very good rendering and color, very good contrast, no hood needed
Cons: none of any significance
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: Pentax K-5iis   

I already own the DFA 100 macro and the DA 35 macro, and I also own the K 50 f1.2 and the M 50 f1.7, so this lens faces stiff competition from my other glass and is very much a "speciality" lens. I bought it initially for aquarium photography, but it quickly shoved aside the M 50 f1.7 as my "take everywhere, use seldom" 50mm prime. It features more accurate color reproduction than my other two 50mm lenses, and the close-focus ability is an additional plus. While it may provide"only" 1:2 magnification, if the lens were 1:1 it would be significantly larger, which would nix one of its best attributes. For people who need 1:1 there are many others options available to fit that niche. For 50mm on APS-C or FF, 1:2 is usually enough.

Image-wise this lens produces sharp, contrasty images with very attractive colors. On an APS-C camera it's sharp edge to edge, at least from f4 (not sure about wide open, as I've never shot it wide-open). While this lens would not be the best choice as a portrait APS-C lens (the faster Pentax 50mm lenses, which often sell at lower prices, would obviously be preferable), for nature photography, both close-ups and landscapes, this lens is about as good as it gets at 50mm.

Build quality on the lens is superb. The lens itself (i.e., the glass elements) are very compact and are placed deep within the body of lens, which allows the outer barrel to function as a hood --- a very nice feature. Manual focusing is beautifully dampened. This is not a cheap plastic lens. It's from a different era, when quality counted for something and manufacturers took pride in their wares. There's real workmanship behind it, and it is a joy to own and use. Highly recommended to those who still appreciate old school values.

Some sample images:











   
New Member

Registered: June, 2016
Posts: 13

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: December 16, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $109.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Excellent build quality and all manual with the benefit of being an "A" series lens
Cons: none so far

Found this gem at Adorama used and snapped it up quick. Fits my K1 fine and works great-- this may be my 'go to' walk around lens!
will upload sample pics at another time after I do some more tests with this.
   
Loyal Site Supportaxian

Registered: September, 2013
Location: Texas
Posts: 489

4 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: November 29, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $180.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Incredible sharpness, Reasonable Bokeh, All-around usefulness.
Cons: None.

I have used numerous lenses. I do not give high scores easily. (I think a huge number of PF review scores are ridiculously inflated.) That being said, this lens is outstanding.

Remarkable:
- Extreme resolving power: Out-resolves all other 50mm and 100mm macros I've tried. Much sharper than the limited's I've tried. The sharpness is not limited to the macro domain. It's just as sharp at 10 meters. Well matched with the Rear Converter-A 2Xs. In fact, it's sharper even with the aforementioned converter than the S-M-C tak or the m 100/4's without.

Handling
- Smooth, well damped focusing.
- Inset outer element means it effectively has a built in hood.
- Modest size. (But this comes at the cost of 1:1)

Image quality
- Very good contrast /acutance above f3.5
- Bokeh good for this class of lens on mid-distance subjects. Produces attractive portraits on full frame but you may have to soften in post if the sharpness is unflattering for your subject.
- Great color rendering.
- Focus 'snaps' well so it's a pleasure to manual focus through the OVF.

Flexibility:
This lens has good enough bokeh and has reasonable enough speed to serve as an all-around 50 in most situations. It can produce some remarkable photos in full direct sunlight.

Weakness:
- Doesn't do 1:1 without an extension tube
- Manual focus only. (an issue for some, but not all users.)
   
Junior Member

Registered: March, 2016
Posts: 41

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 20, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $100.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Build quality & Optics.
Cons:
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 10   

My most used lens, great value super to use.
Bokeh a little rough compared to the 1.4 M, and the
long focus throw not ideal for everything but it's perfect for what
it is and it's VERY useful.
   
Veteran Member

Registered: August, 2011
Location: Austin, Texas
Posts: 302

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: January 9, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $188.90 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, solid build, great bokeh, great color
Cons: Long throw manual focus
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-3   

Not an auto-focus lens, but who the $#!& cares! I use is for what it was made for...macro. Auto-focus can be a pain in the neck with macro shots and the focus-point aid in my K-3 is just perfect. I had been without a true macro for a while and was glad to pick this up...absolutely mint with caps, in the case. I will always have it with me for those close-detail nature shots.



Just for grins, I thought I'd try something with the SMC-A 50 Macro on my K-3 at ISO 51200...looks pretty good. You can easily see the dust particles. Hand held, 1/200 f-9.0 The left side bokeh is very smooth. Some purple fringing there, but it looks good (ISO 51200 after all)
   
PEG Moderator

Registered: August, 2008
Location: Hielands o' Scootlund
Posts: 42,219

5 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: June 17, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $250.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Very sharp
Cons: None
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 8    Camera Used: K20D   

A great small lens, very sharp indeed, will get only occasional use from me, but when required there is no real substitute for a real macro lens.

The linked images are the first few I took with this lens, to be perfectly honest it blew me away with the image quality.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/attachments/12-post-your-photos/226747d14...-seed-seed.jpg
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/attachments/12-post-your-photos/226752d14...cycle-life.jpg
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/attachments/12-post-your-photos/226748d14...low-flower.jpg
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/attachments/12-post-your-photos/227490d14...e-so-sharp.jpg
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/attachments/12-post-your-photos/227488d14...rfolk-pine.jpg
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/attachments/12-post-your-photos/228236d14...-explosion.jpg
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/attachments/12-post-your-photos/228233d14...ower-poppy.jpg
   
Site Supporter

Registered: March, 2014
Posts: 38

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 23, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: sharp, light, smooth
Cons: none
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 9    Camera Used: Pentax K10   

Just heaping more praise on this incredible lens. One of the very sharpest and best lenses I've ever owned.

If you find one in good condition, grab it and worry about the price later. You're not going to find one on Ebay for less than $250, so deal with it!
   
New Member

Registered: December, 2013
Posts: 23

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: January 24, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $175.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: sharpness, contrast, 3d effect, bokeh, macro
Cons: what?
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: yes   

This lens is a real gem, once you find it never loose it. One of the sharpest lenses of the entire pentax lens family from the oldies to the new series. You can make a deadly combination with a macro converter lens especially for macro shootings. My lens has some paint scratches here an there, but the optics and blades are in good condition so i'm happy to have it. My advise keep it in your collection, if you give it away you may not be able to find another in a short term, cheers...
   
New Member

Registered: October, 2013
Location: Naples
Posts: 10

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: November 1, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $30.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Razor harp from f4 (2.8 is good for potraits), Otpical performance are great! Well built. Good Macro on apsc and general use.
Cons: The focus movement has no limitation so it's a bit slow.
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 8    Camera Used: k5 - film slr   

honestly I think that most of the reviews on PentaxForums are a kind of self-gratification, something between feticism and masturbation, so I'm used to give a reasonable vote and some realistic value to the lens I write about, to review for me is meant to compare a lens to all others in its kind, and not to my expectation or satisfaction, so...

...I have to admit that this 50mm marco is a very good normal prime... at a reasonable price (100-150) it could be a great purchase for many of us who are looking for great sharpness and wonderfull colors, due to an incredible vivid and micro-contrasted tone to tone transition, and can exchange a stop or two of aperture with a moderate macro capability... bokeh is extreemely smooth and sharpness i very high in short focus range and in medium range too (5m). At maximus focusing distance, bokeh ca be harsh and sharpness fall down a bit, still good to be a normla. F 2.8 could be not the best, considering it's a prime lens, but it so sharp and contrasted than it can be use wide open almost in every situation, except night o dark scene. Macro is 1:2 and seems to be otpimized for "flat" objects, like paper or painting o leaf and so on... as a 50mm semi-macro is intended to be used (100mm macro are more suitable for nature close up like bug, flowers, exc.). The focus ring is obviuously very pogressive and can be a little slow to be used in fast action photos like reportage or street, it has still a "macro speed" even at medium distance. The front lens are very backwarded, it's like to have an hood, so you don't need one. Construction is good, not as a K or a M prime but very good. I'd use it as an all around normal prime on film.
   
Site Supporter

Registered: January, 2008
Location: ON
Posts: 40

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 21, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $265.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: IQ, Compactness, Recessed front lens
Cons: none
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 9    Camera Used: K5   

I paid too much for this on eBay

However, this lens is a joy to use. It is sharp, gives great colour and bokeh, and focuses nicely.

Because the front lens is deeply recessed, I never bother with a hood, which adds to its compactness versus other 50s.
   
Senior Member

Registered: April, 2013
Location: St. Louis, MO
Posts: 114

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: August 30, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $150.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: sharp, color, contrast, handling, macro, "A"
Cons: none
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-01   

This is an absolutely stunning lens, just astounding. Being a macro, the bulk of the focus range is centered around the near range, and from 5' to infinity is a very short rotation of the barrel. So while it handles like a macro in that respect, I find this lens to be just fantastic for any range. For a walk-around 50mm, it's ideal. Maybe too sharp for general portraiture though in that it would show too much skin detail. The color is Pentax-perfect. The contrast is strong and natural and realistic. Needs no hood because of the deeply recessed elements, macro-style. Handling is silky smooth and responsive, compact, light. Aberrations are virtually nonexistent to my eyes. F2.8 is generally fast enough. It's very sharp at f2.8 too, but above f4, it'll slice your eyeballs. What a sleeper, or maybe it's just very rare and I got very lucky in finding it. Incredible lens. Oh, and the bokeh is beautiful. If you like detail, sharpness, gorgeous color and contrast, smooth and warm bokeh, and the ability to do good macro... Wow...


B
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