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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
130 384,085 Sat January 7, 2017
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
95% of reviewers $818.00 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]
Image Format
APS-C
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
No
Diaphragm
Automatic, 9 blades
Optics
18 elements, 14 groups
Mount Variant
KAF2
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
765 g (24.2 oz.)
Production Years
2007 to Present
Pricing
$874 USD current price
Engraved Name
smc PENTAX-DA* 1:2.8 50-135mm ED [IF] SDM
Product Code
21660
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 31-45 of 130
Pentaxian

Registered: November, 2009
Posts: 4,571
Lens Review Date: November 9, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $950.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Sharp, great range
Cons: Slow AF, SDM prone to failure
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 1    Handling: 7    Value: 5    New or Used: New   

Terrific IQ spoiled somewhat by slow AF and somewhat more by SDM failure.
   
Junior Member

Registered: March, 2010
Location: Vilnius
Posts: 35
Lens Review Date: October 22, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $740.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: sharp from f2.8. Versatile portrait range
Cons: slow AF
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 8    Value: 8    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-x, K20D, K5   

This lens was made for portraits. Sharpness, bokeh - it has all you want for shooting portraits.

But AF is slowest of all lenses with SDM so it's not for action shoots (not for photographing kids too - they are moving all the time). If you want a zoom lens with this range for action too - you should consider Sigma 50-150mm f2.8 HSM, it's faster.
   
Junior Member

Registered: October, 2011
Posts: 25
Lens Review Date: August 25, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: shrapness, size, built quality
Cons: slow af (for me it doesn't matter)
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: k7   

Now I have this lens a year. Since I had it, I took 95% of my pics with this lens. I don't want to miss it.
The sharpness is amazing. Sometimes there are some CA that can't be fixed with PS. But this is rear.
I really like the 1 meter close focus distance.
And yes the Af is slow, but for a landscape photographer it doesn't matter.
   
New Member

Registered: July, 2012
Location: Perth, Australia
Posts: 17
Lens Review Date: August 24, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $650.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Sharp, solid, nice bokeh
Cons: tricky AF??
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 8    Value: 8    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: Kx   

Purchased a mint used item and the results were fantastic, when the AF hit the spot.
I had issues with my Kx jamming and the AF seems to be very fidgety..........but when it locked on in the right spot, was superb.
Possibly the AF issues remain with the Kx?? Handling and quality of this lens is superb and the colour, sharpness and bokeh are very good.

Adendum: Fitted to my new K5IIs still exhibited some AF jamming, mainly in closer and non contrast subjects, but Oh how sharp....this is a must have lens.
   
New Member

Registered: January, 2008
Location: Boerne, TX
Posts: 12
Lens Review Date: July 25, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 3 

 
Pros:
Cons:
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 2    Handling: 9    Value: 5    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-5,K-7   

I have had 2 motors go out and the third is about dead.
   
New Member

Registered: June, 2012
Location: Beijing, China
Posts: 7
Lens Review Date: July 24, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $680.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharpness, Colour rendition, Quality
Cons: Lens hood far to big
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: Pentax K5   

I bought this lens to travel in Asia where the weather is Humid and rain.. SO far I tested the lens in Sichuan province in the forest to shot panda: Rain and humidity did not affect at all the camera and the lense (the big lens hood in the end turn out to be a really good protection for the lens from the rain drop, but still is to big for any other situation).
The SDM is so silent that you could barely ear that, but still is a bit slow from one end to the other. Colour rendition is superb as well as sharpness, I realized that even for far subject I used this lens and crop instead of my DA 55-300 (that is a good lens), the results where just better in therm of quality..the picture they just have something pleasant.

I also used the lens during a rowing race with my Tsinghua University team, water and humidity everywhere not an issue...the camera and the lens also went for a Champagne shower during the celebration, again everything work perfectly: the WR really do his job!
   
Senior Member

Registered: January, 2011
Posts: 293
Lens Review Date: June 4, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $750.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: WR, sharpness, contrast, ergonomics, bokeh
Cons: AF isn't Canon fast
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K5   

This lens is a 9.5.

I wish the AF was faster. Someone from the Canikon AF engineering divisions needs to be cherry picked by Pentax. Other than that, what's not to like? (unless you had SDM issues, which I didn't)

I didn't own this lens for a long time, mainly because I eventually wound my way to a 60-250 for the extra telephoto reach, and primes for everything else. My shooting needs and budget dictated I couldn't own both, or I would have.

The 50-135 is the perfect apsc version of the full-frame 70-200/2.8. Yet it weighs half as much, uses smaller filters, and also costs half as much. Isn't this one of the great benefits of the cropped sensor system? Here is a prime (er, zoom) example of that. All you might miss is the depth of field latitude of a larger frame.

Here's another very Pentaxian type thing. It's unique. Other than the Sigma (bigger, no WR, probably lower long-term value) nobody else is making a lens like this. Not Canikony. At all. It's a reason alone to use Pentax. If they'd get their SDM and general AF business sorted out, there would be very little to complain about.

I didn't find a shot at any length where I felt bad about the sharpness or clarity of the images, even at the long end. The colour is great, the flare and aberrations are well handled. I'd say it isn't super contrasty, and depending on your taste that's a plus or minus. I liked it. The images had a real smoothness to them that didn't feel overly "digital". So for me, that's a big plus.

Inner focussing, quiet focussing, accurate focussing, just not lightning fast focussing. But within Pentax, it's about as good as it gets.

Relative to its class of lenses, this is actually quite a small and light lens, very hand-holdable. Heck it's lighter and smaller than the big full-frame 24-70/2.8 lenses? Almost shorter too!

I found mine used here on the forum and it was a good purchase. Picking up a black Friday sale would also make it great value. Retail prices a tougher sell these days (and who knows when it'll change again), but still a high value lens.

Top notch in every way, optically, mechanically and ergonomically. Re-reading my review, I'm tempted to go pick one up again if shooting needs and budgets allow.

Don't hesitate to get one if you think the focal length and aperture speed is what you want.
   
Junior Member

Registered: August, 2012
Posts: 33
Lens Review Date: May 29, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Small, sharp, light, nice contrast, smooth bokeh
Cons: Sharpness past 100mm wide open
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 9    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-30   

Firstly, my review is based on a repaired and beaten up unit with a deep cut in the front element. I bought this used for next to nothing because the previous owner said it "had been used in a warzone" and had been repaired at least once. My lens also has a deep cut in the front element which the previous owner thought made the lens worthless.

Well the good news for me atleast, is that the cut does not show in up any of the pics I've taken, despite what the previous owner warned me about. I can happily say I got it for a bargain for 340€

Despite all the things that's been said about the slow and unreliable autofocus, this particular war hero has never had any problems. Focusing is fast, silent and reliable.

The bokeh is creamy wide open and center sharpness is nice all the way to 100mm, after which it starts to deteriorate. It's still very acceptable, but stopping down to f4-5.6 at 135mm is adviceable when possible.

The colors have a nice, balanced contrast and I usually don't have to fool around with the curves too much in post, a rare treat for me who's used to using "boring" A-series lenses.

I can't honestly think of anything wrong with this lens, in particular when taking in to account how ridiculously little I paid for it. If you end up with a good copy like I did I think it's well worth the $1000 asking price. It's a brilliant piece of kit.

Some examples:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/apaasi/8621917651/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/apaasi/8595500851/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/apaasi/8763567886/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/apaasi/8763568448/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/apaasi/8762441045/
   
Banned

Registered: May, 2011
Location: Pittsburgh,PA
Posts: 321
Lens Review Date: May 24, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $890.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: weather sealed. Excellent image quality.
Cons: slower AF compared to my Sigma lenses, but for portrait it's ok
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K5   

Excellent piece of glass. No complain at all beside slow AF which for my use is fine.


Galaxy by dr_romix, on Flickr
   
New Member

Registered: May, 2012
Posts: 3
Lens Review Date: February 23, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $1,000.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: built quality, weather sealing, image quality (sharpness, bokeh)
Cons: slow autofocus
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 3    Handling: 8    Value: 6    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-7   

I bought this lens more than 2 years ago and used it mostly indoors shooting portraits, but made a few times also use of the weather sealing.

From the shootings with this lens I got very pleasing results image quality wise. The sharpness and the bokeh is excellent for a zoom lens. The built quality and the handling is also very good, with the exception of the focus ring, which is a bit too strongly damped in my opinion. The weather sealing is also a great bonus.

The only problem is the autofocus with this otherwise really great lens. It was from the beginning very slow, much slower than the screw drive of my other lenses. In the meantime the SDM decided to work only part time and finally died completely.

Conclusion - this lens has a great build and image quality - but has a flawed AF. Without the flawed SDM the lens would have gotten a straight 10.
   
Site Supporter

Registered: February, 2012
Location: Adelaide Hills, South Australia
Posts: 5,433
Lens Review Date: January 19, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $750.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: The definitive bagful of primes, compact, WR
Cons: Still looking
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-5 IIs   

It took me some time to get this lens, as I have been a happy owner of a Sigma 70-200/2.8 for some time. The Black Friday deals last November changed that, and all I can say is wow!

Compared to the full frame 70-200's, this lens is *tiny*. The image quality is simply extraordinary and it feels and handles like a fully professional lens. The AF is not super quick but it is accurate and secure.

I can not fault it.

I have subsequently use this lens for a month in June 2013. Here was my summary:

It's a bit much to carry around as a daily lens, but it is much smaller and lighter than my Sigma 70-200 and the image quality is stellar by comparison: sharp from f/2.8 at all focal lengths, and downright scary from f/5.6. Sure, the focus is not super-quick, but it almost never missed its mark. The weather resistance certainly came in handy on a few occasions.

One of its most impressive features to me was its almost complete lack of colour fringing on contrasty situations. I quite deliberately took a few of my daily shots against the sky to try to elicit this, and failed miserably. The bokeh is almost always delightful as well.

On the downside, there is still a nagging doubt about the SDM. A couple of times this month it needed "waking up" before it came out to play, but once warmed up it didn't miss a beat. I wish I had kept my K10D so I had the option of nobbling it back to screw-drive for complete peace of mind
   
Veteran Member

Registered: June, 2011
Location: Near Sydney, NSW
Posts: 331
Lens Review Date: December 19, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $920.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Perfect range, f2.8, a joy to use (explained in text) ridiculously good IQ
Cons: If I had to say something it'd be that it's as serious as a CanNikon 70-200 but looks less serious (but often that's a pro as well)
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-5   

Everyone has said how sharp and brilliant this lens is - and in fact it's the only one that when it arrived, I felt truly lived up to everything said about it.
But what really makes this one worth the money is the FEEL. The zoom range just gliiiides, and the focus is very easy to get absolute perfect even with manual - the ring is just perfectly damped I guess. This autofocus on my K5 is perfect as far as I can tell, with no adjustment - but I have had heaps of printable shots from MF as well (where certain things didn't allow AF).

The SDM isn't nearly as slow as everyone suggests. Apart from my Sigma 10-20 with HSM (which it's hard to tell when it's out of focus anyway because it's so wide) - anyway apart from that, it's my fastest focussing lens. OK on a K-x, K-r... not HEAPS fast, but K-5 / K-7 it's darn fast... I would LOVE to see it on a K-5ii.

Anyway, you should get this if you can afford it.
   
Site Supporter

Registered: October, 2012
Location: Oregon, USA
Posts: 33
Lens Review Date: October 31, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $950.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, fast focus, 2.8 across full range, weather seals, silence
Cons: The hood sometimes gets in the way when reversed, Weight (but that is expected)
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K10D, K-5   

This is the favorite of all of the lenses I have owned. It took a while to eclipse my old Canon 70-210, but it did. This lens is fast, sharp, quick to focus, and was worth every penny.

The (large) hood works great in keeping stray light out, the weather sealing holds up in downpours, and f2.8 across the full range is great.

I have an early model, ordering it from B+H on a pre-order before the release date. I have had no issues with the lens or the SDM system.
   
New Member

Registered: October, 2012
Posts: 24
Lens Review Date: October 18, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $1,400.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Everything BUT (see con)
Cons: The Sigma 50-150 goes a touch further and is sharper at the long end
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-7 and K-5   

This lens is nuts - just seeeeriously sharp, contrasty and colourful, as well as as a joy to USE (as in, zoom and focus are so perfectly weighted, lens balances beautifully - I just love everything).
Two cons which aren't really cons of the lens, but of life:
The Sigma 50-150 which is basically unavailable now, isn't as good from 50-120, but steps up a bit from there. But then again it's not weather sealed, it's bigger, and like I said, it's not available.
The other is Pentax's pricing has gone mental - and in order to get this for less than $1600 I had to get it used (only very slightly used) but still that's a bit silly.

Anyway, I'll say what everyone else has - a brilliant, amazing lens.
   
Senior Member

Registered: January, 2012
Posts: 208

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 11, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $870.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: al perfect
Cons: no
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: k5   

faaaaaantastic les with perfect sharpnes
i check marcket about year for good copy of this lens
SMD work super
sharp in all distance at f2.8

http://www.penta-club.ru/forum/index.php?app=core&module=attach§ion=attach&a...tach_id=177467
http://www.penta-club.ru/forum/index.php?app=core&module=attach§ion=attach&a...tach_id=177468

http://www.penta-club.ru/forum/uploads/post-17857-0-51979800-1349928424_thumb.jpg
http://www.penta-club.ru/forum/uploads/post-17857-0-85507100-1349928441_thumb.jpg
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