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SMC Pentax-DA* 55mm F1.4 SDM Review RSS Feed

SMC Pentax-DA* 55mm F1.4 SDM

Sharpness 
 9.8
Aberrations 
 8.9
Bokeh 
 9.7
Autofocus 
 7.8
Handling 
 9.4
Value 
 8.8
Reviews Views Date of last review
70 303,348 Tue August 25, 2020
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
97% of reviewers $598.95 9.17
SMC Pentax-DA* 55mm F1.4 SDM

SMC Pentax-DA* 55mm F1.4 SDM
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SMC Pentax-DA* 55mm F1.4 SDM
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SMC Pentax-DA* 55mm F1.4 SDM
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Description:
The DA* 55mm lens features weather-sealing and SDM auto-focus. This lens does not provide 'screw drive' autofocus. The lens will thus be manual-focus only on older DSLR bodies (*istD series, K100D, K110D).

SMC Pentax-DA* 55mm F1.4 SDM
© www.pentaxforums.com, sharable with attribution
Image Format
APS-C
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
No
Diaphragm
Automatic, 9 blades (rounded)
Optics
9 elements, 8 groups
Mount Variant
KAF3
Check camera compatibility
Max. Aperture
F1.4
Min. Aperture
F22
Focusing
AF (in-lens motor)
SDM
Quick-shift
Yes
Min. Focus
45 cm
Max. Magnification
0.17x
Filter Size
58 mm
Internal Focus
No
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 29 ° / 25 °
Hood
PH-RBH 58 mm
Case
S90-100
Lens Cap
O-LC58
Coating
SMC,SP
Weather Sealing
Yes (AW)
Other Features
AF/MF Switch
Diam x Length
70.5 x 66 mm (2.8 x 2.6 in.)
Weight
375 g (13.2 oz.)
Production Years
2008 to present (in production)
Pricing
$496 USD current price
Engraved Name
smc PENTAX-DA* 1:1.4 55mm SDM
Product Code
21790
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
One ED glass element.
No autofocus on older bodies (*istD series, K100D, K110D, and film).

Features:
Supersonic AutofocusQuick ShiftWeather SealedInternal FocusingAutomatic ApertureAPS-C Digital Only
Purchase: Buy the SMC Pentax-DA* 55mm F1.4 SDM
In-Depth Review: Read our SMC Pentax-DA* 55mm F1.4 SDM in-depth review!
Sample Photos: View Sample Photos



Add Review of SMC Pentax-DA* 55mm F1.4 SDM Buy the SMC Pentax-DA* 55mm F1.4 SDM
Author:
Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 31-45 of 70
Junior Member

Registered: February, 2009
Posts: 38
Lens Review Date: January 30, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharpness even wide open
Cons: "Squealing Dim-witted Motor", price when new
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 6    Handling: 8    Value: 8    New or Used: New   

There's only one thing, which makes it impossible to give this lens a 10, period.

It is a Pentax "trademark" squealing, hesitant and dim-witted autofocus. Just try it out side-to-side with Sigma's 50/1,4.
   
Pentaxian

Registered: January, 2007
Location: Warsaw
Posts: 338

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: December 2, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $700.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Great bokeh, contrast and colour rendition
Cons: Price, slow AF
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 8    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K20D, K5   

Great portrait lens with excellent color rendition, bokeh and sharpness. Lens hood is big, robust and has hole which allows rotate polarized filter.

Lens is very good for longer distances, gives very good contrast at strong daylight.

For some time I used FA50/1.4, A50/1.3, K50/1.2, DA*55/1.4 and Leica 50/2. Finally I decided to stay with A50/1.2 and DA*55/1.

DA*55 as portrait lens

and landscape lens:


More samples here
   
Senior Member

Registered: March, 2010
Location: Svealand
Posts: 172
Lens Review Date: October 14, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $550.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Silent, WR, sharp, bokeh
Cons: Some chromatic abberations, bokeh
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: Pentax K-5   

Don't have much to add to all the other reviews. But I do go against the Pentaxians who says it's a big lens and I say it's not big or heavy, it's in fact smaller than I expected and I like the size of the DA* 55mm.

The bokeh mostly is very smooth and nice but it can sometimes be busy so I have it booth as a negative and a positive.
   
Pentaxian

Registered: October, 2010
Posts: 4,938

5 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: September 1, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $550.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: good size, good quality, and stellar images!
Cons: Little purple firing
New or Used: New   

Well lot have been said about this lens, I dont have many things to add for those.

SOmething about focus speed, it is not blazing fast, but it is still fast enough. Great quality overal and details in shots are just couple levels above from for example SMC M 50/1.4 or my beloved Helios 44 M. SO easy to shoot, great results even not professional like me. For me this is luxury item, which I will use a lot. I used it also with my *ist DS and it works only in MF. It was easy to do, quite fast also. No problem at all.Well I have good eyes, but still.

Sometimes I did fail in metering light. After PP I was amazed that how much details and colours did survive. Must be because of this lens, if it was my other lenses, like M 50, it would have been ruined. So all in all this is great lens, well worth the prize IMO. Only negative could be that purple firing,but it is so little and extremes only, with fast lens this is normal and it is less that many other lenses. It is also easy to fix in PP.

I say, if you have been thinking of having this, and you have money, go for it!
There have been superb examples from this lens before me, but I still put some, that I did on my Single in August 2012 with this lens.

Day 31, by repaap, on Flickr

Day 31 extra. by repaap, on Flickr

Day 29 by repaap, on Flickr

Day 19, terrible woman workshop... by repaap, on Flickr

Day 2, portraits by repaap, on Flickr
   
Site Supporter

Registered: March, 2011
Location: Virginia
Posts: 2,846

4 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 22, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $500.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Extremely sharp, great bokeh, accurate focus, weather resistant
Cons: Chromatic abberations at largest apertures, cost, weight
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: Pentax K-r   

I've had this lens for a couple months now. It was purchased used and I got a very nice deal on it. Initially, I was concerned about SDM problems as well as previously mentioned back/front-focus issues. However, so far, this lens has been the most accurate focusing lens I own and (knock wood!) the SDM is working fine!

Before I get to image quality, I want to mention the feel of the lens in actual use. I am not normally a fan of heavy, large lenses. This one is pretty heavy and large, at least compared to most Pentax primes. I definitely feel it around my neck, but it is not so heavy to be a burden. However, with the included hood it is a pretty long lens.

The build quality is very nice. It's plastic, but does not feel at all cheap. The quick shift focus works great and the feel of the manual focus ring is very nice and smooth. The SDM is not silent but still very quiet. At first, I thought it wasn't working it was so quiet! As I mentioned, I find this lens to be remarkably accurate when using auto focus. Considering I have been shooting quite a bit at large apertures, I'm often surprised and pleased by how many keepers I get with this lens compared to some of my others.

As for image quality, I find it nearly impeccable! It has a very special rendering that I liken a lot to my FA 77 Limited. It's the sharpest non-macro lens I own. The contrast is superb, although it is not crazy about shooting into the light in certain situations. Color is warm and well saturated.

I find the bokeh to be very pleasing in almost all occasions. At f/1.4-1.8, it can be a little nervous, depending on the background. However, once you hit f/2 and above, it is almost always nice and creamy.

On the downside, the lens produces a fair bit of chromatic aberration wide open and up to about f/2.2. It can be corrected in post, but it's something you'll have to deal with.

All in all, I have found that the DA*55 has become my "go to" lens. I reach for it more often than any other lens because I just love the results! I heartily recommend it, but would suggest you get it from a trusted source since there have been issues with focusing on some of these units.

I'm attaching a few sample images. Thanks for reading.

f/1.8

periwinkle bokeh - Explored by loco's photos, on Flickr

f/2

daffodil light by loco's photos, on Flickr

f/2

pink dogwood bokeh by loco's photos, on Flickr

f/2.5

Kings and their horses by loco's photos, on Flickr

f/4.5

"What's that up there?" by loco's photos, on Flickr

f/7.1

onion on chair by loco's photos, on Flickr
   
Senior Member

Registered: January, 2012
Posts: 216

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 9, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $639.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: color,bokeh,sharp
Cons: autofocus
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 6    Handling: 10    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: k-5   

fantastic lens!!!!!!!!!!!!
Great performer, 3-d effect,real color !!!
magic bokeh!!!!!!!!!!
FA 31, FA43 or DA55SDM, FA77, D FA100mmMACRO --------- Mast have!!!!!!!
Stupid autofocus-- real bad work SDM. Perfect for manual work!!! 6mm deth perspective-Fantastic!!!!!

Sharp from 1.8 ,from 2.0 sharp as blade!! From F1.4 to F1.6 aceptable sharp
Need autofocus adjasting in camera body ( k-5) if not you will have 3mm front or back focus -it is catastrophi for this lens!!!
   
Veteran Member

Registered: April, 2011
Location: San Diego
Posts: 883

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 29, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $650.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: build, sharp at 1.7+, fast
Cons: flare, soft at 1.4, focus speed

If I were to only have one lens, this would be it. In fact, I have gone several months of this and last year with only this lens

Its soft wide open at f1.4, but once you stop down anywhere past that, its nice and sharp, mindblowingly so at f4-8

it does like to flare quite a bit, although the effect can be cool for natural light portraits. Its awfully annoying for studio portraits though.

CA at larger apertures is noticeable. stop down past 2.8 and its pretty much gone.

build is nice and solid, exactly what you'd expect from a * lens. I've dropped mine a few times already and its still going like a champ.

AF can be slow at times. Its adequate for portraits and whatnot, but I wouldn't rely on it for sports or concert shooting.

Overall, its an amazing natural light portrait lens, which is why it'll always find a spot either in my bag or on my camera (most likely the latter)
   
New Member

Registered: January, 2012
Posts: 1
Lens Review Date: February 24, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $750.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: sharpness, contrast, bokeh, colors, SDM, build quality
Cons: slow autofocus, price
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 8    New or Used: New   

Excellent portrait lens, very sharp when stopped-down a bit. Nice bokeh and contrast. Feels somewhat soft at f1.4. Autofocus could be faster.

   
Pentaxian

Registered: July, 2011
Posts: 1,760

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: February 12, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $639.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: size, performance, features
Cons: not perfect yet
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K5   

Nicely made lens. f/1.4 is usable for portraits, althouth sharpness improves visibly at f/2. Lens flare is a problem, even at f/2.2... I think flare is more of a problem than sharpness wide open.
SDM focus is great, not extremely fast (don't bother), but very silent. Much quieter than classic AF. AF in really low light is completely off - even though the K5 confirms focus.

I sold my FA77 for this lens as 77mm feels too long for my kind of portraiture and the AF was way too noisy. You cannot go unnoticed using the AF on that lens.

What could be better. Lens hood is OK, but could be build in. Performance is better than for older FA lenses at f/1.4 but not great compared to other lenses in this class. This lens needs a 22 mm (+/-) twin!
   
Banned

Registered: January, 2009
Posts: 9,674
Lens Review Date: January 8, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $689.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: This a very nice sharp lens that offers great colours.
Cons: slow AF, could be better wide-open, I do worry about SDM, needs a big correction for FF in camera.
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 10    Value: 9    New or Used: New   

Great lens for portrait. I made with this lens some of my best pictures.
   
Veteran Member

Registered: July, 2011
Location: Delaware
Posts: 344
Lens Review Date: January 8, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $600.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharpness, contrast, f/1.4
Cons: None, really. Maybe price.
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 9    New or Used: New   

This is the lens I leave on my K-5 when it's in the bag. It's my go-to prime. Sharp, great bokeh and good color rendition. It's a tad expensive, but that's to be expected.
   
Senior Member

Registered: January, 2009
Location: Lund, Sweden
Posts: 237
Lens Review Date: December 15, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: weather resistance, quiet AF, smooth boké, sharp
Cons: AF might be a bit slow if you're shooting very fast moving sport
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 9    New or Used: Used   

Currently my favorite Pentax lens. Very good build quality. Excellent boké thanks to rounded aperture blades. Very quiet and precise focusing. Great image quality. What is there not to like?
   
Lens Review Date: November 15, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $650.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Low light, clarity, WR, bokeh
Cons: Cost, service
Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New   

I am learning about the average review here on lenses. The cost makes a huge difference. This an expensive lens that is worth every penny. Light-weight, clean, beautiful bokeh, quiet, weather resistant. We need this quality of a lens in 21, 35, and 40, all with WR.
   
Veteran Member

Registered: November, 2009
Location: Brisbane
Posts: 3,561

19 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 17, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, Bokeh, Accurate AF, Silent
Cons:
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 9    New or Used: New   

Ive had this lens for a few months now, and straight out the box and onto the camera I could tell that I was going to like this lens alot.

This lens is so accurate, it gets focus lock first time, everytime, and doesnt even hunt, even in almost darkness! Silent focusing is a nice welcome too.
It may not be the fastest focus speed but its no slouch ethier.

Very sharp from wide open and just keeps on getting shrper as you stop down, also has excellent contrast with very smooth OOF.
It is excellent for subject isolation. Subjects are rendered with a strong 3D effect.

f/1.4


f/1.8


Slow AF? Had no problem locking on this at f/2-



f/1.4-


f/1.6-


f/1.4-


f/1.4-


f/1.8-


f/1.4-


and heres a crop from the same shot for the peepers, watch out you dont cut yourself!

f/1.4

f/2.5


f/1.4


f/2


f/2


f/3.5


f/1.4


and a crop of above shot to keep the peepers happy (f/1.4)


f/1.4


Handles water no problems!-
   
New Member

Registered: May, 2011
Location: Leeds
Posts: 17

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: September 30, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $930.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Razor sharp, f/1.4, bokeh, build, quiet
Cons: Focus could be faster
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 8    New or Used: New   

I've owned this lens for a few months now and it's certainly the best lens I've had the pleasure of using.

The 'fast fifty' focal length works for me on APSC and I've previously owned the M 50mm 1.7, A 50mm 1.7 and FA 50mm 1.4...this lens is a step up in quality.

For me f2 is the sweet spot, combining a thin DOF with razor sharp in-focus areas. Bokeh can be busy wide open but again seems to peak at f2. This is the first lens I've used that doesn't require any sharpening in PP when you nail the shot.

Focusing is very quiet, if a little slow, but crucially it's accurate which is immensely helpful at wider apertures.

Weather sealing is a nice bonus, particularly when paired with a matching body, and for me the physical dimensions are just right although I could understand somebody used to the Ltd range finding it fairly cumbersome.

Overall then this is a fantastic lens and although I certainly haven't used enough glass to definitively say it's one of Pentax's best I suspect it's up there with the big hitters.
Add Review of SMC Pentax-DA* 55mm F1.4 SDM Buy the SMC Pentax-DA* 55mm F1.4 SDM



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