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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 
 8.3
Reviews Views Date of last review
135 431,262 Sun September 30, 2018
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
94% of reviewers $817.15 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
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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
$729 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
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 135
Site Supporter

Registered: July, 2011
Location: Melbourne
Posts: 156

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: September 30, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $1,150.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: smooth bokeh in a compact lens
Cons: price

Well I used this lens for the September Single in challenge for the month of September 2018. I started off the month playing with this 50-135 2.8 hoping to finally see why people like it so much. After a month of shooting with it I have gained a respect for it. The photos taken at 2.8 seem to have a special quality about them, the way it handles areas of out of focus is very pleasing with a nice transition from in focus to smooth bokeh. The speed of autofocus and lack of hunting for focus worked well with my style of shooting. The size and balance with the K3 worked well and the lack of bulk made the combination easy to take with me each day. When I examined the photos closely I was unable to fault the sharpness of the lens other than due to using too slow a shutter speed leading to some softness from me rather than the lens. I can now see why it has such a great following. The silent lens focusing worked well for me and compared to the older screw drive mechanism, I found it very effective. The large zoom and focusing rings were easy to use and turn in the "correct" pentax way. Examples taken with this lens can be found in the following album
https://flic.kr/s/aHskDUwvhF
I highly recommend this classic lens
   
Site Supporter

Registered: January, 2016
Posts: 118

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: August 19, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: takes photos like a prime
Cons: slow AF
New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-3   

This lens makes gorgeous pictures. On a crop sensor, it's the coveted 70-200 focal range. I use mine for all my portrait work and the photos are always lovely. But in a quick movement or needed candid sometimes it won't autofocus in time. The AF is just slow. My SDM still works but I still might convert it to screwdrive. I originally wanted it for work where I needed quiet autofocus (weddings and the like) but I end up doing manual focus in those instances anyway, so at least screwdrive would give me some speed. This lens is easy to use, not overly heavy and takes photos like a prime. Even with fears of SDM failure, I recommend.

   
Pentaxian

Registered: December, 2013
Posts: 467

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: July 23, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $610.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, fast, versatile, IQ
Cons: Big, heavy, slow AF
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 9    Value: 8    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-30, KP   

This zoom lens excelent IQ. Near to primes. The zoom range is very versatile for portraits and from 70mm the F2.8 aperture gives sufficient background blur. The bokeh is excelent in the full zoom range. The build quality also very good, the zoom and focus rings are smooth, maybe the best I ever used on an AF zoom lens. The hood is bigger than what I would like, but the lens works well without it. In general I like the small primes, but this lens worst it. The AF is the only weak point of this lens, it's slow and occasionally I had acccuracy problems also. Overal this lens is the best zoom I ever used.

Here are some images:
IMG170422_0004 by Benjámin Czétényi, on Flickr

IMG170414_0056 by Benjámin Czétényi, on Flickr

IMG170603_0284 by Benjámin Czétényi, on Flickr

IMG170603_0190 by Benjámin Czétényi, on Flickr

IMG170603_0202 by Benjámin Czétényi, on Flickr

IMG170611_0002 by Benjámin Czétényi, on Flickr

IMG170923_0079 by Benjámin Czétényi, on Flickr

IMG170923_0029 by Benjámin Czétényi, on Flickr
   
Site Supporter

Registered: October, 2006
Location: North Face of Mount Shasta
Posts: 120
Lens Review Date: March 14, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $600.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp and Sharper, Internal Focus and Zoom, Build Quality, Good Contrast and Color Rendition
Cons: SDM ... need I say more ...
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K3   

Just 2 weeks after purchasing this lens from another PF member, the SDM quit on me. So be it ... the member I purchased it from was a very honest individual about the condition when I purchased it and I had no intention of backing out of the deal.
I eventually converted it to screwdrive and have loved the lens every since. It's one of those lenses that just make you a better photographer and I don't regret my purchase for one moment. This lens is the bomb and one of the best that Pentax has ever produced. I love mine and if you ever have the opportunity to pick one up, whether new or used, do it!!





   
Forum Member

Registered: December, 2012
Location: Warsaw
Posts: 73

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: November 18, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: IQ
Cons: SDM failure.

   
Site Supporter

Registered: April, 2016
Posts: 393

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: January 7, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $500.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharpness wide open, beautiful rendering, smooth bokeh.
Cons: SDM unit prone to failure
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: Pentax K-3   

This is probably the best APS-C lens that Pentax have ever made. Nothing else comes close in providing the utility or quality that this lens provides. The colour, sharpness and bokeh are amazing. Like one reviewer put it, this lens makes a mediocre snapper look like a great one.

I've had five copies of this lens, all used. Three out of five have had SDM issues but all of these were easily fixed by opening up the lens and massaging the motor. Tutorials can be readily found for this procedure.

The copy that I now use exhibited a squealing motor as well as sluggish response to autofocus so I converted it to screwdrive using my K100d. Again, a procedure that is well documented. Autofocus is now much more responsive.

In all, this is the one lens I'd pick if I could only have one. It's equivalent to 70-200 on full frame so it's really not wide at all, but the images produced are out of this world. Ignore the autofocus issues. Screwdrive is worth the extra tiny bit of noise if your SDM motor dies. This lens is THAT good.
   
Senior Member

Registered: August, 2011
Location: San Diego
Posts: 178

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 15, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $999.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Great image quality
Cons: Auto Focus (died)
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 6    Handling: 8    Value: 8    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K5IIs; K3   

I bought the lens in 2013. I also got a 3 year extended warranty due to all of the reports I read here about the auto-focus failing. With a month to go on the warranty, the auto-focus failed.
   
New Member

Registered: August, 2010
Location: San Diego, CA, USA
Posts: 11

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: September 7, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $965.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharpness, color
Cons: Heavy
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 9    Value: 9    New or Used: New   

It's been a spectacularly good experience owning this lens over the last 6 years. It never ceases to amaze me. Nothing makes me look like a good photographer more than this lens. Incredibly sharp and the colors never need to be corrected. The 3-D effect is something hard to find in a lens, but this one excels at it. Pixie Dust galore. I can't say enough good things about this lens!
   
New Member

Registered: June, 2010
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 18

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: July 15, 2016 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: $800.00 | Rating: 3 

 
Pros: Beautiful, clear shots of stationary objects, when it doesn't backfocus
Cons: Not for use with objects or people in motion, especially in unfavorable lighting
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 1    Handling: 7    Value: 1    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-50, K200D   

When it takes focuses, it frequently takes gorgeous shots and, in some lighting situations, it is the only lens I have that will take nice shots. However, that depends greatly on whether it will focus. People talk about sports shooting, as if that's the only type of action which can befuddle a camera. I tried to shoot a talent show tonight with stage lighting. If people weren't moving, it could be coerced into focusing and taking some nice enough shots. But, if anyone in the frame was moving at all, the AF would not work at all. I missed a lot of shots watching the lens hunt. I should have gone to manual much sooner, although, given the lighting, that wasn't easy either. It was very frustrating. In fact, by the end of the night, I was almost ready to throw over Pentax completely. Awful AF is really the only problem with the lens, but, unfortunately, it has the power to render its strengths useless. If you plan to buy this lens, plan on using manual focus a lot.
Update: the SDM motor never worked well and eventually died completely. I had a Forum member fix it by overriding the silent, non-focus system for just $30. At first, it worked fine. Using it to shoot a church service on Sunday, after less than an hour, the AF quick completely. It did come back later, but I expect much more.
Unless you always manually focus or don't mind a lot of frustration, find something else.
   
Junior Member

Registered: June, 2012
Posts: 47

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: June 28, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $400.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Good for indoor events
Cons: Stay away from this lens built prior to 2012 SDM failure
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 5    Handling: 6    Value: 7    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K5   

People are selling off DA* lens because of the release of K1. So price dropped quite a bit. But use caution before you buy an used copy. SDM failure rate was high before 2012 redesign. Check the SN and compare with the forum's database to determine the manufacture date.

Otherwise this is a good lens on APS-C for wedding and alike. Not suit for sports because of the slow AF and reach limits.

Also it's quite heavy at 1.5lbs. You don't want to carry it all day unless you have to use it to make money.
   
Veteran Member

Registered: April, 2012
Location: Montreal
Posts: 372
Lens Review Date: May 27, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $1,200.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: high quality image and build, constant F4
Cons: Bad autofocus - since the first year, I have to exercise the focus because its very weak when I start shooting, and doesn't get much better after use.
Autofocus: 4    New or Used: New    Camera Used: 5 years   

This is a well built, high quality lens that gives great results. However, its autofocus has been a disappointment. After the first year, the focuser would appear to not work at all initially until I exercised it for a while - i.e. focus far, focus near. Its still working and hits the mark but its quite annoying to have to "warm it up" before using.
   
Veteran Member

Registered: August, 2013
Posts: 731

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: May 26, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $500.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp, Contrast, Color, WR
Cons: SDM :(, Weight

I find that the lens produces very pleasing images. I almost exclusively use this lens for portrait work, but it would be suitable for may photo applications. The entire focal range is pleasing for portrait work and opens up my creativity in ways other lenses do not. I feel the perspective found in 50-135mm makes my photos stand out. In the world today where everyone has a camera, I am happy to use this lens to make my photos pop and give me an edge.

It may seem obvious, but being able to adjust from 50mm (75mm equivalent) to 135mm (202.5mm equivalent) is very useful when out on location. I also use the 17-50mm lens but I seem to be picking this lens up more and more.

One serious downside... The SDM (AF motor) fails In almost every lens, including mine. Before it completely failed, I converted it to SDM and made a tutorial on how to get that done. If you have some patience and determination, you can get it done. Many users report enjoying the Screw Drive better than SDM. I agree with them, the lens performs much better. AFspeed is better and it doesn't seem to hunt as much. https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/10-pentax-slr-lens-discussion/321757-how-...ive-video.html

Weight/Size: Look, it is big and heavy, but that is what you get in a versatile lens. If you want light and portable, go with primes. For me, I use this lens when I am working and getting paid for my images. I think its usefulness out weighs its weight literally..

Conclusion: With the used price of this lens going down, the opportunity to convert to SDM, and the outstanding IQ it easy to recommend this lens. Keep in mind, the motor can and will likely fail on you, but converting to Screw Drive will save the day.


   
New Member

Registered: April, 2015
Posts: 10

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 13, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $150.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Image quality, Out of focus areas, build quality, internal zooming
Cons: AF a bit on slow but enough for me so far
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 10    Value: 8    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K3 and K3 II   

I found a great deal for this lens when buying a K3 II for my partner, after all done I have paid 150 euros for the lens new!!! I wanted to buy it for a long time but I was not willing to pay what it costs new nowadays.

I don't have the lens for a very long but so far I have been impressed with the image quality at all focal lengths from wide open! The autofocus is a bit slow but I use it mainly for landscapes or wildlife scenes where I don't need tracking or extremely fast focus, so for me it has been working ok! However I have been shooting it for less than a month therefore I can't say to much about it. But for now I would recommend this lens to anyone looking for something on this range. I will update the review in the near future.

happy shooting.
   
Site Supporter

Registered: January, 2016
Location: Tampa Florida
Posts: 287
Lens Review Date: March 13, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $450.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Internal zoom. Silent focus. Sharpness. Constant f2.8
Cons: None
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 9    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-S2   

Amazing lens. Image quality is wonderful. I love the internal zoom (no telescoping zoom) I feel like it's less intimidating to people if they don't see part of the lens extending towards them. It's my go to lens. I keep it on my camera body when not in use as some believe that sdm issues are from being left off of the camera body for long periods of time.
   
Senior Member

Registered: November, 2009
Location: Denver, Colorado
Posts: 209
Lens Review Date: December 24, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $800.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Build quality and size
Cons:
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-3, K-5IIs   

I always favored 70-200mm focal length in 35mm film and find myself often shooting in the 70mm to 100mm range on my APC cameras. The 50-135mm give the same overall FOV on the APS-C sensor as the 70-200mm on full frame yet in a smaller, lighter package. As with all other " * " (star) lenses the build quality is phenomenal. Complete weather sealing makes this great for outdoor work in all conditions. Yes, this lens is a hand-full. But it is well balanced on the K bodies and completely manageable for hand held work even in low light.
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