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

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

Sharpness 
 6.9
Aberrations 
 7.0
Bokeh 
 6.6
Autofocus 
 7.6
Handling 
 8.2
Value 
 8.7
Reviews Views Date of last review
89 123,713 Thu December 21, 2017
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
94% of reviewers $62.66 7.40
SMC Pentax-DA 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 AL
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Description:
The DA 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 is the original Pentax DSLR kit lens.

In 2008, an upgraded version badged "SMC Pentax-DA 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 AL II" replaced this model, featuring improvements in image quality.

SMC Pentax-DA 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 AL
Image Format
APS-C
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
No
Diaphragm
Automatic, 6 blades
Optics
12 elements, 9 groups
Mount Variant
KAF
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-RBA 52 mm
Case
S80-120
Lens Cap
O-LC52
Coating
SMC
Weather Sealing
No
Other Features
Diam x Length
68 x 67.5 mm (2.7 x 2.7 in.)
Weight
225 g (7.9 oz.)
Production Years
2004 to 2008
Engraved Name
smc PENTAX-DA 1:3.5-5.6 18-55mm AL
Product Code
21547
Notes
One aspherical element
Variants
Replaced by version II in 2008 with different optics
Features:
Screwdrive AutofocusQuick ShiftAutomatic ApertureAPS-C Digital OnlyDiscontinued
Sample Photos: View Sample Photos
Price History:



Add Review of SMC Pentax-DA 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 AL
Author:
Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-15 of 89
New Member

Registered: February, 2017
Posts: 1
Lens Review Date: December 21, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Cheap, light, and good results.
Cons: Not always sharp if you don't use focus peaking and stay around the middle app settings.
Sharpness: 6    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 9    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K50   

I'm not going to rate this lens low, it's a bargain and has given me great photos. There has, however, been the odd occasion where the edges were too soft but I couldn't see it until I got home and downloaded on screen. I have to concentrate and rely on manual with "focus peaking", rather than autofocus.
   
Veteran Member

Registered: May, 2008
Location: London, UK
Posts: 489
Lens Review Date: November 22, 2017 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: N/A | Rating: 5 

 
Pros: It's cheap!
Cons: I've got an original 18-135 and that's an all round better performer
Sharpness: 6    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 6    Autofocus: 6    Handling: 6    Value: 5    New or Used: New    Camera Used: Samsung G10D   

Used my original one supplied with the G10D for a few things very early on - and it's been in the cupboard ever since
Edited Dec 2017: 18-135 now replaced by an old 17-70 F2.8-F4.5 Sigma for about 100$ US - even better!
   
Site Supporter

Registered: November, 2015
Location: Cornpatch, Iowa
Posts: 164
Lens Review Date: April 1, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 8 

 
Pros:
Cons:
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 7    Value: 10    New or Used: New   

I think this lens gets a worse rap than it deserves. If it were weatherproof, I'd give it much higher marks, because I'd take it along hiking and wouldn't care if I smacked it around, because it's so inexpensive and takes pictures that are above mid-grade.

Overall it's a nifty little lens. I got mine for "free" as an extra inducement to pay a little more than I wanted for a used K-S2. I was sitting in my lens bag for months until I picked it up yesterday and started playing with it.

DP Review rates it pretty highly for sharpness (if you keep it at f/5.6 to f/11) and avoid 55mm. Its close focus distance is less than 10 inches. CA is less than some other Pentax zooms (my 18-135, for instance). My copy is very sharp.

I don't know if I'll keep it, as I have the 18-135 and other lenses in this range already, but it is not the worst kit lens I've ever seen. It came with a hood (I keep all my lenses hooded—no "protective" filters to muddle up the pictures in this household) and it's got a metal mount.

Autofocus is reasonably accurate, but noisy (it's a Pentax lens, after all!). The quick shift is a nice feature and the lens balances well on my K-50 and K-S2 bodies.

   
Pentaxian

Registered: July, 2014
Location: Nagoya
Posts: 577
Lens Review Date: August 31, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $50.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Cheap, light, IQ not bad
Cons: Won't set the world alight, but you wouldn't expect it to
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 8    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-7, K100D, K-S2   

For what it is, this lens is good. It's inexpensive, light and it produces nice images with good colours. If you pixel peep it won't astound you, it vignettes a little, and it feels a bit cheap compared to some other Pentax lenses (it is cheap, however).

Good things about the green-striped DA version are quick-shift focusing and supplied hood which does a good job.

There's not a huge amount to say about this lens really, except that it does what it's supposed to in a competent way. If you've got it it makes a useful walk around lens, especially if you want a light package. Don't spend more than £30/$50.
   
Senior Member

Registered: October, 2007
Location: Thach, Alabama
Posts: 169
Lens Review Date: February 28, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: light weight, inexpensive, good focal range
Cons: need to work with it to get it's best
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K10D, KX, K7   

This one came with my K10D when I bought it new. This for about 2 years was the only lens I had for that camera. It worked really well. I learned so much while using this lens. I have to say it is still these many years later one of my favorites. Wide angle to normal to short tele this one functions well. I go on walkabout with this 18-55, my Sigma 50-500 and an F series 50mm f/1.7 and these cover the focal range from 18mm to 500mm and the 50 1.7 acts as my macro.

Below is a photo of my Granddaughter Regan taken with this lens. I almost threw it away till I ran it thru Photo Shop. You see the results this lens can give you. I will not sell or stop using this one for a long long time.

   
Site Supporter

Registered: July, 2012
Posts: 4,610
Lens Review Date: September 10, 2015 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: N/A | Rating: 4 

 
Pros: Lightweight, quick auto focus.
Cons: Very difficult to work with. Not sharp at all.
Sharpness: 3    Aberrations: 3    Bokeh: 1    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 3    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: Pentax k100d Super   

I have been a loyal Pentaxian for nearly 40 years and I can honestly say this is the first negative review I have posted for a Pentax product. I do not understand how the focus can appear razor sharp and the image as sharp as a ball bearing. This is just not a good lens regardless of how the user attempts to manipulate its settings. My old Takumar F 70~210mm lens and my Pentax-A 50mm 1.7 far out shine this technological marvel that for whatever reason Pentax decided to punish its loyal customers. Unless a photographer can live with mediocre or sub-mediocre
results, don't buy it.

Thanks for reading,

Tonytee
   
Pentaxian

Registered: August, 2012
Posts: 453
Lens Review Date: August 15, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Inexpensive, surprisingly capable
Cons: Nothing that's a deal killer
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: *istDL, Samsung 1XGL, K2000, K100D   

I've had two of these lenses. One was a Schneider Kreutznach branded version that came bundled with a Samsung 1XGL, which I passed on to my girlfriend. The Pentax version came bundled with my first DSLR, an *ist DL, which met an untimely end. The lens now has a semi-permanent place on my K100D. I saw no functional differences between the two lenses. I've taken some nice photos with both lenses and as a hobbyist with previous professional experience, it's quite adequate for my needs and sometimes exceeds my expectations.

UPDATE (19 Sept 2016)—I've now acquired a third copy of this lens, attached to the front of a K10D. I picked up the camera and lens for $74, which seems like a pretty good deal to me. I can't tell any difference between it and the other one I still have and it's a good enough lens to warrant having a duplicate copy. The second lens now more or less lives on my K30 but it moves around a lot.
   
Pentaxian

Registered: February, 2015
Posts: 3,784
Lens Review Date: April 6, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Light weight, cheap, focal range
Cons: Image quality when used with high resolution sensors
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K200D   

The 18-55 was my first lens, I made a number of nice photos with it. The WR version could be a cheap weather resistance alternative for landscape, general photograph when pro image quality is not needed. Actually, if no large prints are done, and to display photos even on large display, the image quality is good enough; and the WR version is cheap and light weight. This lens was good enough until the 16Mpixel CMOS sensor came out.

Pros:
- size
- weight
- very cheap for what it can do.
- good IQ with 6Mpixels,10Mpixel and 12Mpixels bodies
- decently sharp at 35mm (middle of the zoom range) and f8.
- it's a Pentax, so in-camera lens corrections work

Cons:
- it's not the top IQ, especially for high res sensors
- not internal focusing
- best used at f8, not so fast but ok in day light

Would I recommend this lens? It depends: if you are using it with a K10,K200,Kr,Kx, I'd say why not. If you are using a K20D,K7,K5,K30,K50,K500,K3,K-S2, I'd say that you won't get the benefit from the better sensor.
   
Forum Member

Registered: February, 2014
Location: Warsaw
Posts: 71
Lens Review Date: October 4, 2014 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: N/A | Rating: 3 

 
Pros: "wide" angle of view
Cons: Plastic mount, super soft, image quality
Sharpness: 3    Aberrations: 6    Bokeh: 6    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 7    Value: 2    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-500   

I got this lens with my K-500 but I haven’t used it much since last weekend when encouraged by lack of any other "wide" angle lens I decided to give it a try.

And I am super disappointed, lens is awful!

I rated it 3 and I am not exaggerating it is sooooooooo bad... I just lost a lots of respect to Pentax when I tried this lens it is just so bad I cant imagine any one would want to give it for free not to mention to sell it.

To prove how bad it is below 100% crop
centre of the image


corner of the image (not the corner itself just slightly aside from centre)


This is one of my better pictures taken with this lens, when there is slightly less light lens gives even worse IQ.

At f7-8 and 18mm only centre of image is not super soft rest of picture is very soft and ugly pictures are literally useless and can be compared at best to quality of pictures taken by smartphone...
Seriously I can’t say anything good about it.
   
Junior Member

Registered: January, 2011
Posts: 45
Lens Review Date: February 6, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Good enough, shows good result as a kit lens
Cons: loud AF
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: kx, k7   

It is bundled with my Kx.

It is free, but usable.
AF speed is OK, but noisy.Faster my Sigma HSM lens to catch a focus.
Build quality is OK for a kit lens which bundled for free.

I used often when shooting landscape and group shots. Widest angle has f3.5, OK for the speed.

I suggest keep this kit lens for wide angle and buy expensive lense that has f2.8 for other purpose.

Makes vignetting, but you can fix it by using incamera vignette fixing module or using photoshop.
   
Junior Member

Registered: October, 2013
Location: Blacktown
Posts: 34
Lens Review Date: January 27, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Free with K-5, can be made to use as macro if reverse mounted
Cons: Not very sharp, Low light performance not very good.
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 6    Bokeh: 5    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 9    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-5   

This lens is a good inclusion to the K-5 purchase. It has 18-55 range which takes care of wide angle needs and portrait needs easily. The Weight is not too bad either. The Lens feels plasticky but performs well for most amateur photography needs. If you don't have one...I will not suggest to buy one but if you can find it below $30, it's not a bad lens for a street photography enthusiast.

Some photos I took with this lens are as follows:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/65615102@N00/sets/72157636863268855/
   
Senior Member

Registered: May, 2013
Location: BC
Posts: 138
Lens Review Date: November 2, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $30.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: metal lens mount, non-rotating front element, price/value ratio
Cons: focus hunts (but could be camera issue)
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 6    Bokeh: 6    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 8    Value: 9    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K100D   

excellent price/value ratio.
Not the sharpest lens out there but for a kit lens it does great.
Like all kit lens, they are great on a bright day but performs poor on indoor low-light situations.
Focus tends to hunt at times but you can quickly do manual focus adjustment without without flicking the af/mf switch.
with that being said Don't let the cons turn you off this lens.
   
Veteran Member

Registered: September, 2013
Posts: 306
Lens Review Date: September 22, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Colors, contrast, works nicely
Cons: F5.6 in longend, not constant aperture
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K100d   

Not bad lens at all, sharpness in long end sometimes not so good but ok lens
   
New Member

Registered: January, 2012
Posts: 15
Lens Review Date: June 20, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $60.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Price, Build quality, general use
Cons: Sharpness & Resolution
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 9    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K10D   

Very good for general purpose.
Only 1 claim is lack of sharpness, but acceptable for this price and other adventage.
   
Junior Member

Registered: June, 2012
Location: Prague, Czech Republic
Posts: 36
Lens Review Date: May 28, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: N/A 

 
Pros:
Cons:
New or Used: New   

For a kit lens, having metal bayonet mount, not rotating front element, superb coatings, quick shift focus, bayonet type hood with filter window and proper focussing ring is something worth mentioning:-) Sharpness and max. aperture may be not the best, but it's a kit lens you can use even for more serious work...
Add Review of SMC Pentax-DA 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 AL



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