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SMC Pentax-DA* 50-135mm F2.8 ED [IF] SDM Review RSS Feed

SMC Pentax-DA* 50-135mm F2.8 ED [IF] SDM

Sharpness 
 9.4
Aberrations 
 9.0
Bokeh 
 9.2
Autofocus 
 7.0
Handling 
 9.0
Value 
 8.4
Reviews Views Date of last review
152 505,455 Fri May 28, 2021
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
94% of reviewers $797.23 9.02
SMC Pentax-DA* 50-135mm F2.8 ED [IF] SDM

SMC Pentax-DA* 50-135mm F2.8 ED [IF] SDM
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SMC Pentax-DA* 50-135mm F2.8 ED [IF] SDM
supersize

Description:
Like all current DA lenses, the SMC Pentax DA* 50-135mm is designed only for Pentax APS-C DSLR cameras. It was announced in late February, 2007. It auto-focuses with an SDM ultrasonic motor on the K10D (firmware 1.30) and newer cameras. On older cameras the lens will auto-focus with the 'screw drive' mechanism.

SMC Pentax-DA* 50-135mm F2.8 ED [IF]
© www.pentaxforums.com, sharable with attribution
Image Format
APS-C
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
No
Diaphragm
Automatic, 9 blades
Optics
18 elements, 14 groups
Mount Variant
KAF2
Check camera compatibility
Max. Aperture
F2.8
Min. Aperture
F22
Focusing
AF (in-lens motor or screwdrive)
SDM
Quick-shift
Yes
Min. Focus
100 cm
Max. Magnification
0.17x
Filter Size
67 mm
Internal Focus
Yes
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 31.5-11.9 ° / 27-10 °
Hood
PH-RBK 67 mm
Case
S90-160
Lens Cap
O-LC67
Coating
SMC,SP
Weather Sealing
Yes (AW)
Other Features
AF/MF Switch,Internal Zoom
Diam x Length
77 x 136 mm (3 x 5.4 in.)
Weight
685 g (24.2 oz.)
w/ Hood: +80g
Production Years
2007 to present (in production)
Pricing
$1046 USD current price
Engraved Name
smc PENTAX-DA* 1:2.8 50-135mm ED [IF] SDM
Product Code
21660
Reviews
User reviews
In-depth review
Unofficial Full-Frame Compatibility Tests by Pentax Forums
★☆☆ Usable with reservations at select F-stop/focal length combinations
Show details
Notes
Internal zoom.
Three ED elements.

Features:
Screwdrive AutofocusSupersonic AutofocusQuick ShiftWeather SealedInternal FocusingInternal ZoomingAutomatic ApertureAPS-C Digital Only
Purchase: Buy the SMC Pentax-DA* 50-135mm F2.8 ED [IF] SDM
In-Depth Review: Read our SMC Pentax-DA* 50-135mm F2.8 ED [IF] SDM in-depth review!
Sample Photos: View Sample Photos



Add Review of SMC Pentax-DA* 50-135mm F2.8 ED [IF] SDM Buy the SMC Pentax-DA* 50-135mm F2.8 ED [IF] SDM
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Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-15 of 152
New Member

Registered: March, 2020
Posts: 24

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: May 28, 2021 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharpness, Color Rendition, Silent AF
Cons: Slow AF in Live View, a bit soft at F2.8
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: Pentax KP, Olympus EM1II   

This is one of my favorite lenses and the one that i put first in my backpack.

https://flic.kr/p/2knVCEh
https://flic.kr/p/2knUM1M
https://flic.kr/p/2jFuG84
https://flic.kr/p/2k4eTER
   
Junior Member

Registered: January, 2020
Location: Wrocław
Posts: 28

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: May 4, 2021 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $400.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: sharpness, WR, bokeh, IF, IZ, silent AF
Cons: slow AF in LV
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: KP   

I use smc DA*50-135/2.8 for 6 months with my Pentax KP. It is amazing in every way, from 3.5 is as sharp as DFA100 macro... It gives extraordinary unique, warm color, out-of-the-world contrast with object isolation and super pleasant bokeh thanks to its 9 aperture blades. It also handles very well in poor lighting conditions. AF in LV is a joke, but through OVF it is not bad. It is my best pal during hiking trips and trekking in autumn and winter.


   
Site Supporter

Registered: May, 2016
Location: Bristol, Tennessee
Posts: 185

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: January 4, 2021 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $405.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: well built, compact, nice bokeh
Cons: auto focus issues, soft wide open
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 9    Value: 8    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K3   

This lens is sturdy and well built, yet compact enough to take with you for when you need a bit more reach. This is a great lens for portraits. I have used it mostly for portrait sessions or as my long lens before I obtained my DA* 60-250 F4. I had a DA 55-300 before I had the DA* 50-135, and I almost always preferred a cropped picture from the DA* 50-135 over an uncropped DA 55-300, so much so that I stopped carrying the DA 55-300, unless I knew I was going to be at the extreme end. On the other hand, I can't say I'd leave the house ever with just this lens unless I was only doing portraits, because I'm almost always wanting a bit wider shot than it can provide. So if you're doing portraits, this is a great choice. If you're doing anything else, it's a great second lens.
   
Pentaxian

Registered: November, 2013
Location: Barcelona
Posts: 576

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 4, 2020 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $450.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Quality Image, decent AF, non heavy at all. Images pop up
Cons: AF is quite slow for sports. SDM usually fails
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 10    Value: 9    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K3, K5, K3II   

I bought my copy knowing the SDM motor was broken.
So following a tutorial I have converted it to screwdrive mount.

I don't care much as I use to use my lenses for motorsport.

This lens is great. The image quality is fantastic and the bokeh even at F4 is delicious.
Yet, for my taste, my likes and the use I give it to its a bit too slow in the AF. I have shoot motorsports with it and can do the work, the range is fantastic in apsc (70-200mm equivalent) and its not heavy at all. But that AF is not the best. My Sigma 100-300mm f4 beats it every day, and I wonder if the Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 would beat it easily every other day also.

Yet it creates delicious images when doing portraits

_IMG6969 by Daniel Gonzalez Aguilera, en Flickr

_IMG6964 by Daniel Gonzalez Aguilera, en Flickr

IMGP6516 by Daniel Gonzalez Aguilera, en Flickr

It does work well in low light environments

_IMG5980 by Daniel Gonzalez Aguilera, en Flickr

_IMG6048 by Daniel Gonzalez Aguilera, en Flickr

IMGP6575 by Daniel Gonzalez Aguilera, en Flickr

And for motorsport purposes if you are close enough to action, you get good results. (my copy has even been champagne sprayed into)

_IMG2015 by Daniel Gonzalez Aguilera, en Flickr

_IMG1678 by Daniel Gonzalez Aguilera, en Flickr

_IMG0473 by Daniel Gonzalez Aguilera, en Flickr

_IMG0347 by Daniel Gonzalez Aguilera, en Flickr

_IMG0327 by Daniel Gonzalez Aguilera, en Flickr

_IMG0435 by Daniel Gonzalez Aguilera, en Flickr

_IMG0235 by Daniel Gonzalez Aguilera, en Flickr

IMGP6558 by Daniel Gonzalez Aguilera, en Flickr

It is also a Grid Killer, shoots thru glass in the cars as a knife in butter. Smooth and silent, but precise.

IMGP6634 by Daniel Gonzalez Aguilera, en Flickr


_IMG2898 by Daniel Gonzalez Aguilera, en Flickr

IMGP6744 by Daniel Gonzalez Aguilera, en Flickr

_IMG2958 by Daniel Gonzalez Aguilera, en Flickr

_IMG3016 by Daniel Gonzalez Aguilera, en Flickr

_IMG3048 by Daniel Gonzalez Aguilera, en Flickr

Update 2021:

I have been using this lens also for some more time and for some more races and it just works. It is NOT the fastests AF lens, but you can always pre-focus it and shoot in MF.

_IMG9343 by Daniel Gonzalez Aguilera, en Flickr

_IMG7487 by Daniel Gonzalez Aguilera, en Flickr

_IMG5501 by Daniel Gonzalez Aguilera, en Flickr
_IMG5768 by Daniel Gonzalez Aguilera, en Flickr

_IMG5875 by Daniel Gonzalez Aguilera, en Flickr

_IMG9865 by Daniel Gonzalez Aguilera, en Flickr

_IMG1802 by Daniel Gonzalez Aguilera, en Flickr

_IMG7908 by Daniel Gonzalez Aguilera, en Flickr

_IMG0410 by Daniel Gonzalez Aguilera, en Flickr

_IMG9887 by Daniel Gonzalez Aguilera, en Flickr



The best part for motorsport is that it is quite a compact lens so it is not intrusive to anybody having a chat, or working.
Yet as I said before I doubt wheter a Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 would work better for me.

This is a lens that is no wonder if you can carry it around as its light weight, no issue to add it in the backpack for a weekend with the 2 cameras, flash/es, long lens short lens, laptop and so on.
   
New Member

Registered: January, 2020
Posts: 5

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: May 8, 2020 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $257.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Beauty lens , Sharp
Cons: Af
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 8    Value: 9    New or Used: Used   





   
Site Supporter

Registered: January, 2013
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Posts: 3,159

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 15, 2020 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $850.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Optical qualities, Size, Focal length range, 'all weather'
Cons: Autofocus (see below)
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 9    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-3 II, K-5 II   

The Pentax DA* 50-135 was one of the first lenses that I bought in late-2011 after getting my new K-7, and it has been one of my most-used lenses. As a lens that I rarely leave at home, it easily receives c.a.mís 4.5-star Gold rating of Highly Recommended!

The optical qualities are excellent. The lens is sharp across the field, with very good performance even in the corners at most settings. While the lens is usable wide open across the focal length range, Iíve noticed a slight softness at f/2.8 compared to other commonly-used apertures, especially at the longer end. However, Iíve never had a concern about distortion, vignetting, or aberrations, and the colours, contrast, and overall rendering are superb. In particular, the bokeh is typically pleasing at wide apertures.

At a mass of just under 700 grams, I find this lens to be comfortable to carry and handle. It is significantly smaller and lighter than my Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 HSM Ė which illustrates a strong benefit of the APS-C format. Itís a versatile lens that pairs nicely with my DA 20-40mm Limited. The lens has proven itself in a variety of shooting environments, including trail hikes, cityscapes, concerts, and portraits.

Autofocus
My copy was afflicted by autofocus issues four times during 2012-2013, during the height of many user reports of ĎSDM failureí. Warranty work included two new motors, cleaning, adjustments, calibration, and ďgearing and clutch cam ringĒ repair. On the fifth instance, the AF seized again and the lens could not be focused manually. At that point, I converted the lens to Ďscrewdriveí mode, and it has worked flawlessly ever since.

I have conducted a rigorous AF Fine Adjustment (AFFA) calibration, assessing the settings at 50, 90, and 135mm; at focus distances of at least 30 x focal length; and variably focusing from the minimum focus distance and infinity positions. I found that the optimal AFFA setting varied according to focal length and focus direction; the optimal setting that gives the sharpest autofocus at all focal lengths is AFFA = +3 when focused from the near position. So, I simply preset the focus to the near side of the subject before each shot, which is an extra step but not a big deal. Note, however, that the AFFA is a function of both the lens and the camera acting together, so this issue may not be entirely a fault of the lens itself. This detail Ė and the SDM issue Ė is reflected in my lower rating of Ď7í for AF.

The AF accuracy is typically spot-on and the shot-to-shot focus consistency is very good. I tend to take pictures mainly of static subjects, and I find that the autofocus is sufficiently quick and assured on my K-3 II. I donít find that the screwdrive movement is annoyingly noisy, but itís certainly more noticeable than the nearly-silent SDM mode. On the other hand, the screwdrive focus action is somewhat faster than the SDM, and it works.

- Craig







   
New Member

Registered: November, 2018
Posts: 1
Lens Review Date: February 19, 2020 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $400.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: sharp from 3.5; reasonable size and weight
Cons: slow autofocus; a bit soft at 2.8
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 8    Value: 9    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-70   

Decent size and weight, well balanced on my K-70. Good sharpness from f3.5 but a bit soft wide open at 2.8. Autofocus is a bit slow but OK to use as portrait lens. Like many other users reported, my copy does not work well with the HD 1.4x teleconverter (rather soft until f6.3).
   
Pentaxian

Registered: November, 2014
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 1,666

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: January 10, 2020 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $400.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Rendering; focal range; sharpness
Cons: autofocus

This was my first 'pro' level lens, and WOW is it a good lens! I had been using my HD DA 55-300 as an event lens, as it runs (if I remember correctly) around an f/4-4.5 for a good portion of its range. I found myself needing the extra stop of light indoors, and so I sprung for this lens. I was at first concerned, coming from the 55-300, that this zoom range would be restricting. This has not proved to be an issue in the least! It is a very versatile range with good quality.

I got it used with a failed SDM and had it converted by our good 'ol local Pentax Forums convertor, and now it runs great on screwdrive. It has a weird thing still that at 90mm it will back/front focus horribly - so I learned to avoid that focal length for autofocus. The focus isn't great, and I find it difficult to trust at f/2.8. Especially at 135mm, which isn't quite as sharp as the other focal lengths, it is easy to miss the focus by a hair. So I generally shoot at f/4, but f/2.8 is indoors doable with care, a monopod helps.

The rendition and colors are fantastic, so is the sharpness. It is a great lens. I've started taking this and the DA21 limited as a simple fairly compact two lens combo for events, and it works out really nicely. It has proven leagues above the HD DA 55-300, but there are still some impediments that I deal with for the low price I got it for.
   
Senior Member

Registered: June, 2018
Posts: 129

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: January 8, 2020 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Useful zoom range, good IQ
Cons: Iíll be upset if the autofocus packs up.
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 7    Value: 8    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K3ii   

I had the Sigma 50-150mm f2.8 but it wouldnít work properly on my K3ii so I replaced it with this. Iím very pleased I did. Both are sharp but I much prefer the colours on this and I like that it is weather sealed too. Itís large but not unwieldy and autofocus is only slightly slower than I would like. It could be sharper wide open but itís much better from f4.
   
Pentaxian

Registered: September, 2017
Location: New York
Posts: 1,176

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: November 29, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $650.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharpness, Color, contrast, build quality, overall image quality, silent focusing, lack of CA, lack of PF, bokeh
Cons: Focusing speed
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: Pentax K-3II   

I hold this lens in very high regard and I don't take my camera gear anywhere without packing this lens too. It's possibly my most used lens. While I can't say it's the sharpest, it's definitely very sharp. The colors produced are fantastic and need barely any touching in post. Bokeh can seem a bit busy in certain circumstances but otherwise is very nice as well. Autofocus is definitely kind of slow but it also has a very long focus throw. If the throw was shorter, autofocus would definitely be faster. That said, the lens acquires lock quickly and is very quiet. I only hear a very low squeak when starting.

All told, it is the one lens I absolutely love using and the one I do not want to do without. If Pentax ever upgrades the lens while keeping the IQ the same, I will definitely be purchasing it.
   
Junior Member

Registered: May, 2012
Posts: 30
Lens Review Date: October 2, 2019 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: $2,500.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: muy afilado. punto dulce... 90mm - f4
Cons: motor de enfoque se pego temprano
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 3    Handling: 8    Value: 5    New or Used: New    Camera Used: k20 -k5   

a pesar de que lo utilizo en MF ya que se pego el motor de enfoque ,lo comprarŪa nuevamente por su calidad de imagen excepcional
   
Site Supporter

Registered: May, 2010
Location: WA
Posts: 175

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 1, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $455.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: SHARP
Cons: Some report AF issues

I rented this lens in 2015 for a weekend trip to a race track. I needed a lens with moderate range, great image quality, and decent low light performance. My previous lens were good kit lens, the 18-135mm and the 55-300mm.

This lens surpassed all of my expectations.

Image Quality is fantastic. Great colors, excellent contrast, and sharp photos. I was amazed to see my test shot of a race car 500 feet away come out sharp. The lens rarely came off the camera the rest of the weekend. I came away with larger amount of sharp photos than I had previously done. The autofocus was great, weight was fine for hand shooting.

By the end of the year, I made sure to purchase my own copy. It has since been my go to lens, more so than my Tameron 70-200 F2.8.

My only complaint is that it stops at 135mm.








   
Site Supporter

Registered: March, 2016
Location: Pietermaritzburg
Posts: 408

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: July 28, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $400.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, great bokeh, great IQ
Cons: Slow(ish) autofocus
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K20D, Kx, K3   

This is by far the best lens Iíve ever owned. Itís fast and sharp, with a beautiful bokeh. I bought this together with my K20D, second-hand for $700! At the time I didnít really know what * series lenses were, but found out pretty quickly!

From flowers to wildlife to landscapes, this is a versatile lens. It has macro like sharpness at the closest focal distance, and yet will give good IQ at longer ranges too. Because of this you can crop fairly tightly and still get a good photo. I've used it with the 1.4x rear converter, but it seems to soften the image slightly?

The fact that the barrel doesnít extend when zooming or focusing makes it impervious to dust, drizzle and snow. Although itís not what youíd call light, I prefer the solid, well-constructed feel of the lens, and the weight makes it well balanced to boot.

In conclusion, all I can say is that if I was forced to sell off all my gear, this would be the last to go.



Roadside Flowers




Goodyear Eagles




Spotted Eagle Owl
   
Senior Member

Registered: November, 2017
Location: Sydney, NSW
Posts: 114
Lens Review Date: July 5, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $300.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: all weather, internal zoom, internal focus, parfocal zoom lens
Cons: inconsistent and slow auto-focus
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 6    Handling: 10    Value: 9    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: Pentax KP   

I bought this lens secondhand. It is mainly used for landscape as well as indoor/outdoor events. Occasionally, I will use it for portraiture.

Overall, the lens delivers great optical performance. Its sharpness is good wide-open and great from f/3.5 to f/8 throughout the zoom range. I cannot remember any issue with CA using this lens. Further, it produces the smooth and pleasing out of focus area.

In term of lens construction and handling, the lens is well-built. Its zoom ring is in an adequate size for my hand. The focus ring offers a large area to grip on when a manual focus is needed, which requires about 135 degrees of turn to change from its minimum focusing distance at 1m to infinity or vice versa. This long focus throw allows a high degree of accurancy when focus manually. The AF switch on the lens allows catch-in-focus. I have not yet brought the lens through any harsh condition, but it can withstand light rain many times without any issue.

The only problem I find in this lens is its auto-focus. Although silent in sound, its auto-focus is slow and somewhat inconsistent (especially in case of a contrast-based auto-focus in live view). If the lens has not been used for a very long time, it may need a bit of warm-up period, where an auto-focus is slower than usual, before it can operate at the normal speed. Sometimes, auto-focus with this lens does not give an accurate result. Also, the lens may miss the focus from time to time, which is really annoying. When the auto-focus is hit, however, it can deliver great results.

To mitigate the misfocus issue, I would recommend zooming all the way in first in order to acquire focus. Then you may zoom out and compose the image. From my own experience, I believe this lens is a parfocal zoom lens, i.e., the focus distance does not change when the zoom ring is rotated and the focal length is changed.
   
New Member

Registered: February, 2010
Location: Roma
Posts: 1
Lens Review Date: March 22, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $780.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Color, sharpness, bokeh
Cons: No FF, SDM life
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K20D, K3, KS2, K1   

I bought it in Greek new @ less than 800$, it was a great deal !

But...before end the warranty autofous stop operation first time, it was repair in France free of charging, after 5 years broken again and spent around 300Ä

Great lens for portrait, color and saturation are magic, autofocus is slow but (when is working) is very precise (so in my country is called the Sloth)
I love short tele, so in APS-C for me over 100 mm is too much for portrait, but good to get photo in sports in small field or sometime in landscape where chromatic aberration are well controlled !

For reason eplained above I prefer the FA 77/1.8 Limited to it, but the Sloth is more versatile, aboslute best in CA, wheather sealed well balance when is monted on K3 for example.

I tested with K1, but as you know is useable in FF @ 135 mm over f/8, even do in crop mode for portrait is still valid, is the right range in full frame, it's a shame we don't use it in FF mode, for those reason I decide to sell it.

Best lens for APS-C!
Add Review of SMC Pentax-DA* 50-135mm F2.8 ED [IF] SDM Buy the SMC Pentax-DA* 50-135mm F2.8 ED [IF] SDM



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