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SMC Pentax-DA 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 AL WR Review RSS Feed

SMC Pentax-DA 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 AL WR

Sharpness 
 7.3
Aberrations 
 7.6
Bokeh 
 7.1
Autofocus 
 8.1
Handling 
 8.8
Value 
 8.9
Reviews Views Date of last review
94 279,292 Tue April 23, 2019
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
86% of reviewers $117.22 7.79
SMC Pentax-DA 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 AL WR

SMC Pentax-DA 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 AL WR
supersize
SMC Pentax-DA 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 AL WR
supersize
SMC Pentax-DA 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 AL WR
supersize
SMC Pentax-DA 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 AL WR
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Description:
This is the new weather-sealed version of the Pentax kit lens which started shipping with the K-7 bundle. It is optically identical to the SMC Pentax-DA 18-55mm AL II.

SMC Pentax-DA 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 AL WR
© www.pentaxforums.com, sharable with attribution
Image Format
APS-C
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
No
Diaphragm
Automatic, 6 blades
Optics
11 elements, 8 groups
Mount Variant
KAF
Check camera compatibility
Max. Aperture
F3.5-5.6
Min. Aperture
F22-38
Focusing
AF (screwdrive)
Quick-shift
Yes
Min. Focus
25 cm
Max. Magnification
0.34x
Filter Size
52 mm
Internal Focus
No
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 76-29 ° / 67-25 °
Hood
PH-RBC 52 mm
Case
S80-120
Lens Cap
O-LC52
Coating
SMC,SP
Weather Sealing
Yes
Other Features
Diam x Length
68 x 67.5 mm (2.7 x 2.7 in.)
Weight
230 g (8.1 oz.)
Production Years
2009 to present (in production)
Pricing
$182 USD current price
Engraved Name
smc PENTAX-DA 1:3.5-5.6 18-55mm WR
Product Code
21880
Reviews
User reviews
In-depth review
Unofficial Full-Frame Compatibility Tests by Pentax Forums
★★☆ Full coverage at some F-stop and focal length combinations
Show details
Notes
Weather resistant version of the smc PENTAX-DA 18- 55mm F3.5-5.6 AL II lens.
One aspherical element, one ED element.

Features:
Screwdrive AutofocusQuick ShiftWeather SealedAutomatic ApertureAPS-C Digital Only
Purchase: Buy the SMC Pentax-DA 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 AL WR
In-Depth Review: Read our SMC Pentax-DA 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 AL WR in-depth review!
Sample Photos: View Sample Photos



Add Review of SMC Pentax-DA 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 AL WR Buy the SMC Pentax-DA 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 AL WR
Author:
Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-15 of 94
Site Supporter

Registered: January, 2019
Location: Geelong, Australia
Posts: 79
Lens Review Date: April 23, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $142.24 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Small, light weight, weather resistant.
Cons: Slightly slow autofocus, bokeh.

So I have owned the "SMC Pentax-DA L 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 AL" for quite some time as a kit lens (I actually own 3 of them) and I decided to buy the lens for its weather resistance and the fact that it gets a better rating on this forum.
I guess because I have been so disappointed with the original kit lens I let the newer WR version just sit virtually unused since I bought it.
Today I spent most of the day taking pics with the new lens and I have been pleasantly surprised with the difference in clarity and sharpness of pics.
I will be using this lens more often now as it does the job much better.
   
New Member

Registered: April, 2018
Posts: 3
Lens Review Date: August 16, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $50.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: light, weather sealing, good picture quality
Cons: you have to close down to F8 to get really good quality
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: Pentax K-5   

Overall a good performer. For those who think that old primes are better, you might be disappointed. I compared it with the A 28mm and the F50mm Macro at F8. It was much better than the 28mm but then of course the 50mm macro was better than the 18-55. But at F8 and landscape there wasn't that much difference and only because I was able to compare the results directly I saw the advantage of the 50mm prime. I had to do a +3 micro adjustment for the AF on my K-5 - but that was a general thing on my camera and not because of the lenses.

I haven't tried it in harsh conditions yet - somehow I'm scared to walk in the rain with my camera
   
Pentaxian

Registered: December, 2013
Posts: 487

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: July 7, 2018 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: N/A | Rating: 6 

 
Pros: WR, flare resistant
Cons: Not too sharp, slow lens
Sharpness: 6    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 6    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-30   

I got this lens with my first camera and I changed it to a Tamron 18-200 half year later. After getting the superzoom I used this lens only because it's WR. The WR ness is very usful, don't sell it before getting another WR lens with normal FoV!
I don not recommend this lens to invest in, except if you need a WR lens and this is the only one fits your budget. In this case get it! It's not too sharp and the zoom range doesen't go narrow enough. (Also not wide enough...) Altough this lens is a good option in a kit to start with and on a rainy day, it saves your camera!
This lens has better image quality than the Tamron 18-200, but the aperture is slower.

There are situations where the WR was essential. Here are some images:
IMG150708_0502 by Benjámin Czétényi, on Flickr

IMG150829_0073 by Benjámin Czétényi, on Flickr

IMG140813_59 by Benjámin Czétényi, on Flickr

IMG0141_141001 by Benjámin Czétényi, on Flickr

IMG140721_68 by Benjámin Czétényi, on Flickr

IMGP7397 by Benjámin Czétényi, on Flickr

IMG0117_150228 by Benjámin Czétényi, on Flickr

IMGP0238 by Benjámin Czétényi, on Flickr

IMGP0773 by Benjámin Czétényi, on Flickr
   
New Member

Registered: August, 2017
Posts: 1
Lens Review Date: April 26, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $120.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: mostly plastic but with metal mount, good handling, very useful focal range
Cons: Two ends (18 and 55) are weak by maximum aperture
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 9    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K5   

I'm not a pro photographer and I don't pretend to be one. I needed a wide lens in all weather conditions and the weather resistant feature is the primary reason I purchased this lens. The price was right as well. The camera body is a Pentax K-5. Autofocus works well and is accurate but could be faster. Images are sharp and rich in color. Distortion is evident but only slight in my opinion. Slight chromatic aberration is visible at either end of the range. Both the distortion and the aberration are easily edited in Photoshop or Lightroom. The DA 18-55mm is a great landscape lens. It has quickly become my favorite lens very usefull at this focal range.
   
Pentaxian

Registered: April, 2009
Location: Madrid, Spain
Posts: 5,753
Lens Review Date: November 22, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $80.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Small, light, WR, good overall IQ when stopped down
Cons: Soft wide open at 55mm, variable max aperture
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 9    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K200D, K3   

The humble Pentax kit 18-55mm used to be known as the best of the 18-55mm kits when compared to those from Canon, Nikon, Sony etc but I don't know if that's still the case in 2017 as I've heard other brands have upped their game. Still, it provides a good starter option and the WR means it's useful to keep around even after you've progressed to optically superior lenses. Try getting a WR lens for this price from any of the other manufacturers.

I previously owned the mark II (same optical performance) but upgraded to the WR version for my honeymoon in Cambodia and Vietnam and was very glad I did. I have likewise been glad on other rainy days, especially in Japan when for a couple of days of my trip there it rained non-stop all day long and I barely used any other lenses.

The 18-55mm is decent enough, with it's biggest weakness being sharpness wide open, especially at 55mm. I reserve the kit lens almost exclusively for use when it's raining or there's risk of rain and almost always use it in Av or TAv mode at f/8, letting the camera adjust the shutter speed and the sensitivity as necessary. This gets me decently sharp shots albeit without the larger apertures, faster shutter speeds and lower ISOs I'm used to with other lenses. This is my only WR lens at this time and though I aim to get an 18-135 or 16-85 some day, the 18-55 will do in the meantime.

Build quality is very good for the price. Despite being much lighter, it feels more durable than my Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8.

All-in-all I'm satisfied with the IQ from the lens. Sharpness is decent at f/8, contrast is good and I find that I get especially good greens from it, though that may be due to the appearance of foliage on the overcast, rainy days that I use this lens. I don't use it often but I'm usually pleased with the results when I do, as I often forget that this lens is very capable within it's limitations. For what it costs, there's no doubt it's worth having and keeping around.

Some sample shots.


Wet leaves
by Jonathan MacDonald, on Flickr


IMGP9900a
by Jonathan MacDonald, on Flickr


IMGP8989a
by Jonathan MacDonald, on Flickr


2017-11-10_05-45-13
by Jonathan MacDonald, on Flickr


IMGP9907a
by Jonathan MacDonald, on Flickr
   
Site Supporter

Registered: December, 2014
Location: Colorado
Posts: 434
Lens Review Date: September 6, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $70.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: WR, light, inexpensive, good image quality in 24-40mm range
Cons: Two ends (18 and 55) are weak
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 6    Autofocus: 6    Handling: 8    Value: 8    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-5ii   

In 24-40mm range, this lens is very good and deserves a sharpness grade of 8. However, at the 18mm and 55mm ends, image quality is weak and I can only give a grade of 6. Average is 7. But, for this low price, I'd still recommend it if you want to keep a light and inexpensive APS-C zoom in your pack just for the rainy days ...
   
Junior Member

Registered: December, 2009
Posts: 25

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: January 21, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $53.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Build, looks, WR, price
Cons: none
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-50   

I found a new one for 50€. Ι needed a WR lens for my K-50 body. I've been using the SMC DA L 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL with my K-x for the last 6 years. The WR is a much better lens than the DAL version. Optical is better from my DAL lens with stronger contrast and a bit sharper. It is true that if one has used a really sharp prime, e.g the DA 35mm F2.4 AL, will be disappointed by the results from this zoom. This lens is perfect for my needs, it looks good and the focusing scale is very useful for "zone focusing" with MF. I set it to 24mm, 1/400 and f8 in TAv mode with auto ISO and do most of my street photography without the need to raise the camera to eye level. Results are quite impressive with very few missed moments. I keep the 35mm in jacket's pocket for subjects that require better IQ, e.g. buildings and urban landscapes. The 50-55 mm range, at f6.3 covers my everyday needs for a portrait lens and the minimum focusing distance is useful for simple closeups. I really like this lens, I liked and used the DAL version, so this is an improvement with only 50€.
I definitely recommend this lens.






Pentax K-50 & Pentax-DA 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 WR at f/8 vs Sigma AF 50mm f/2.8 EX DG macro at f/8
K-50 on a tripod both lenses at f/8 the WR at 55mm and its closest focusing distance, natural light, Macro at 50mm and from the same distance as the 18-55mm WR shot

can you spot the difference?
camera on a tripod, RC used, same natural light/conditions

--
edit March 2017
I put a 9 on sharpness, I never expected this kind of image quality from this lens. It must be one of the most underrated kit lenses.





--
flickr album: [~ https://www.flickr.com/photos/foivosloxias/albums/72157677894889322 ]
   
New Member

Registered: September, 2016
Posts: 3
Lens Review Date: October 3, 2016 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: $50.00 | Rating: 6 

 
Pros: WR
Cons: Dull rendering. Plastic feel.
Sharpness: 6    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 5    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 6    Value: 7    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-30   

It's an ok kit lens and it's main selling point, which was also why I for while didn't want to let it go, is the weather sealing. I guess this lens holds up well if you don't shoot raw and let the in camera jpeg engine add punch and color to your pictures. It's classes below the 16-45 f4, which I can compare it directly to. Sharpness is good stopped down. Its main drawback IMO is it's extremely lack lustre rendering. Images I've shot with this lens come out plain dull, it's hard to put your finger on what the problem is - contrast, sharpness, color balance and so forth is all ok - but pics lack the more life like 3D rendering I get with the 16-45 or the "pixie dust" of the pentax-A 35-105 f3.5. Sold it for $40 and haven't missed it since.
   
New Member

Registered: June, 2014
Location: Sydney
Posts: 11
Lens Review Date: August 31, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Weather-resistant, light, focusses well in a variety of lighting conditions
Cons: Some softness at wide apertures
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 6    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: Pentax K-7   

Despite having a number of specialised and highly-regarded lenses in my kit bag, this seems to be the one that i go for 90% of the time. Results are generally very good with good colour balance and sharpness (from f5.6 up). The sample photo was taken during one of the lesser-known installations during the 'Vivid' festival held here in Sydney (in this case, 2014). Note that no post-processing was performed to this photo other than some cropping to remove distractions in one of the corners of the shot. No sharpening, curve adjustment, etc. whatsoever was performed so this is for all practical purposes a jpeg straight out of the camera. I used the camera's aperture-priority setting for this photo with (I believe) matrix metering (the various shades and colours that you see on the mirror tiles on the left-side wall and the blue hues on the wall to the right are shown as reproduced by the camera during a single 30 second exposure).
   
Junior Member

Registered: June, 2015
Location: Százhalombatta, Hungary
Posts: 37
Lens Review Date: August 26, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $65.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Good for beginners, weather-sealing, build quality, has some nice moments and even looks good.
Cons: Distortion at the wide-angle end, some chromatic aberrations near 18mm in high contrast situations, not very sharp
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 6    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 7    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: Pentax K10D   

I got the white colored DA L version of this lens as my very first lens along with my K10D. (I bought both used, hence the unusual combination)
I wanted a weather-sealed lens for my weather-sealed camera, so that I could be shooting in all conditions, should I desire so. I thought and I still think that this is a nice lens for that purpose and a great first lens for the first-timer. However once you try anything sharper, it will not be so desirable anymore. Once I got my manual Auto Chinon MC 50mm f1.4, I was blown away by it's sharpness and detail, not to mention BOKEH and I no longer used this kit lens. Mine has a plastic mount, is missing the distance scale and is not quick-shift. I also had to grab a hood on Ebay, since I didn't get one with it. (It's a perfect quality copy though, even comes with a PENTAX lettering)
Autofocusing is relatively quick with it, in good light. In low contrast and low light, it tends to hunt, from end to end... as do most PENTAX lenses. Since it is screw driven, it's a bit loud, but nothing too bad, unless it starts hunting.

All in all, it does what it was designed for: a starter lens for the beginner. Don't expect professional quality with it and you won't be disappointed.

One of my best shots with this:
Roman Bridge in Százhalombatta, Hungary | 500px
   
Forum Member

Registered: September, 2013
Posts: 62
Lens Review Date: August 6, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $56.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: WR, lightweight, not expensive
Cons: not to high resolution wide open
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 9    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-30   

this lens are similar to regular DA 18-55, but WR - dust and weather resistant.

it is mean, that You can use it than raining or in dust environment without doubt.

the lens perform better at f/6.3-8.
at 55 mm/5.6 it has to low resolution, also as 18 mm/3.5.
better resolution at 35 mm/6.3 or f/8.

for the price 56 USD used it is perfect for not to friendly environment.
   
New Member

Registered: November, 2014
Posts: 3

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: July 12, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $80.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: WR
Cons:
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 9    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-30   

Its simple: I select this lens for outdoors when I'm expecting the conditions it is designed to handle: If it's raining, snowing, or just when the weather may deteriorate. If I plan to go down a cave, or take a trip in a canoe, etc. etc. In other words, I select this one and I don't worry about my gear, and can just enjoy the event. The results are perhaps sometimes not quite as good as with better lenses, but I'm usually not paying so much attention to the photography, and just shooting "blind" on full auto. In practice the photos have value because of the location, not as fine art, but I'm usually quite happy with the IQ as well.

Down a cave :



On a rainy hillside:

   
Senior Member

Registered: October, 2015
Location: Washington
Posts: 267
Lens Review Date: March 4, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Nicely built, WR, light, nice colors, inexpensive
Cons: none for the price
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-50   

Got this lens with my K-50. It is fairly soft at the ends of the focus range, but anything between 24-45mm with aperture around f/8.0 it is pretty sharp. Not as sharp
as a prime lens.



K-50, ISO 160, 23mm, f/8, 1/320



K-50, ISO 3200, 35mm, f/9, 1/50

The lens is worth every penny. Great for outdoors since is WR.
   
New Member

Registered: February, 2013
Posts: 2
Lens Review Date: February 29, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $125.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Price, seal, ect
Cons: Non yet
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-30   

   
Forum Member

Registered: October, 2013
Posts: 94

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: November 18, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $100.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: WR, colours, close focus at 55mm, build quality, price
Cons: None at the price
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K30   

I've updated this review for a second time as I'm on my third copy and I've been using it for some time now on my K30. I'm surprised at the low score this lens has averaged, because it's miles better than any similar budget 18-55 offering from Canon, Nikon or Sony.

My first copy was dismal but turned out to have been damaged in the post. The second copy was much, much better. Then I got a third copy which proved to be even (slightly) better than the second.

The only thing that information is good for, is demonstrating how poor our postal service is, and how variable Pentax build quality is on their mass-produced, budget lenses. Not happy with your new lens? Send it back and ask for another.

At the price this lens is going for now, it's a steal. Buy it. There is nothing better at this price, and in many ways this lens out-performs pretty much anything you can get for under Ł400. The build quality is not up to the standards of the 1950s but better than any other "kit" lens I've come across (of any make).

Compared to my 35mm f/2.4, this lens blows it away. That 35mm really is a cheap and nasty piece of kit. For portraits and family groups, unless you're a pro, this lens is all you need. It needs a fair bit of light but (to make another comparison) the 35mm f/2.4 is utterly useless unless stopped down at least to f/5.6 anyway. AF on this lens is 100 times better than on the 35mm f/2.4.

I've used it for some product photography - nothing special - but it gave me a chance to see how good the AF is. Even when using the off-centre AF points, it's very quick and very accurate. Anybody who says different doesn't know how to hold a camera, or should buy a tripod.

It's not the best for landscapes, with some CA and distortion. Nor does it resolve mid-range-distance detail well. But the colours and contrast are very nice IMO. I'd always prefer a prime for landscapes and cityscapes, but this is more versatile of course. Most problems can be corrected in-camera or with PS.

Given the price (it can be got new on ebay for about Ł70 now) I have no hesitation in recommending this lens for casual togs and as a general walk-around. It's by far the best budget 18-55 Pentax have made, and they make the best budget lenses around.
Add Review of SMC Pentax-DA 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 AL WR Buy the SMC Pentax-DA 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 AL WR



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