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SMC Pentax-F 50mm F2.8 Macro Review RSS Feed

SMC Pentax-F 50mm F2.8 Macro

Reviews Views Date of last review
14 87,626 Tue August 30, 2022
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $284.27 9.62
SMC Pentax-F 50mm F2.8 Macro

This was the first 50mm autofocus macro lens made by Pentax. The optics are seated that far from the front that no separate lens hood is required.

SMC Pentax-F 50mm F2.8 Macro
©, sharable with attribution
Image Format
Full-frame / 35mm film
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
Yes (A setting)
Automatic, 8 blades
8 elements, 7 groups
Mount Variant
Check camera compatibility
Max. Aperture
Min. Aperture
AF (screwdrive)
Min. Focus
19 cm
Max. Magnification
Filter Size
52 mm
Internal Focus
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 32 ° / 27 °
Full frame: 47 ° / 40 °
RH-RA 52mm
Lens Cap
Weather Sealing
Other Features
Diam x Length
68 x 70 mm (2.7 x 2.8 in.)
385 g (13.6 oz.)
Production Years
1988 to 1990
Engraved Name
smc PENTAX-F 1:2.8 50mm MACRO
Product Code
User reviews
Screwdrive AutofocusAperture RingAutomatic ApertureFull-Frame SupportDiscontinued
Price History:

Add Review of SMC Pentax-F 50mm F2.8 Macro
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Site Supporter

Registered: February, 2017
Posts: 1,863

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: August 30, 2022 Recommended | Rating: N/A 

Pros: IQ, build, versatility, handling, value for money
Cons: Bulk
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 7    Value: 10    Camera Used: K1 11   

My new to me F 50mm f2.8 arrived today. Wow! What a lens! If you can't take a well exposed, sharp image with this lens at any aperture you should be going back to school. Even wide open it is acceptably sharp. Stop it down to f4 or smaller it sharp across the frame. There are some minor CA's at the wider apertures in high contrast areas, but they are only noticeable if you are looking for them. Colour rendition is typically Pentax - ie great. Bokeh looks just fine to me but I am not a bokeh freak so you will just have to take my word for it.
Handling wise this is a hefty lens for a 50mm. It is heavy and bulky. Not at all discreet. This may justifiably worry some. So if you are one who likes to use his/her K1 for street photography (why would you?) look elsewhere. It does balance quite well on the K1 body though and I have no trouble with the narrow focus ring when I want to use MF. I thought long and hard about whether to get this or an FA or the D FA 50mm f2.8. I chose the F because it saves about £100 over the newer D FA version and Its intended use is studio and landscape work on a tripod, so the newer more compact model's size advantage is not required by me. The single point AF seems sharp and snappy and is accurate. I would not want to rely on it for continuous tracking though! But this is typical of many Pentax lenses and not just the legacy ones. The build quality is as good as you can get for an AF lens. So no complaints there.
As a macro lens it is not ideal as the focal length is too short for FF use, though I think it would do quite well on APSC. I will have to give it a go on my K3 at some point. For flowers, still life, studio and landscape use though this is a great lens.
If you don't mind the bulk, i can highly recommend one.


Registered: May, 2016
Posts: 3,713
Review Date: July 4, 2021 Recommended | Price: $165.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: sharp, build
Cons: dated look, 52mm threads
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-1 II   

Had this lens for a short time. Image quality is great and nothing less: sharpness, bokeh, colors are all very nice. Build quality is surprisingly solid for a plastic exterior. There's a small amount of bokeh fringing but not bothersome. Took a couple points off from autofocus in comparison to the newer DFA 50 macro because it's noisier and there's no quick shift. Handling is good, but I took points off for the tiny focus ring (not a problem, more a preference), and the 52mm filter threads which are again different from most other small primes that use 49mm.
Site Supporter

Registered: October, 2008
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Posts: 7,962

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: March 14, 2021 Recommended | Price: $400.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Excellent optics & build.
Cons: Big & clunky handling and poor manual focusing.
Camera Used: Pentax K-Mount film bodies   

The F50/2.8 Macro was released in 1988 and was a direct replacement for the A50/2.8 Macro. The F50/2.8 Macro remained in production until 1990 and was replaced by the optically identical FA50/2.8 Macro. The F50/2.8 is the first Pentax auto-focus 50mm macro that has 1.0x magnification.

Steller optics! The F50/2.8 Macro also features floating lens elements. The eight elements in seven groups, is the same optical formula Pentax uses today in the D FA version of this macro lens.

Focal Length:
The 50mm focal length does not allow for much (miniscule is more like it) of a working distance when doing higher magnification macro work. I find this focal length much better for close-up work outdoors or just as a slower standard prime. Indoors when you can control the environment and maneuver the subject, then the 50mm focal length is OK. Itís good for copy or still life work, using a copy stand or tripod. For me this is what the 50mm macro is best suited and was originally designed for.

The F50/2.8 Macro is a well-built lens almost on par with any older Takumar/K/M series lens that I own.

If this was a 135mm prime Iíd say the handling of the F50/2.8 Macro is great, but itís not and itís way too big & heavy for a 50mm lens. The manual focus ring is also too small and in the wrong location, so itís not a joy to focus. Auto-focus is something Iíll never use on this lens, so it just adds unnecessary weight to an already heavy lens. The F50/2.8 Macro has an average distance/magnification scale as well, which is nowhere as good as the older manual focus Pentax 50mm Macro lenses. Overall a big clunky lens that I would never use as an all-purpose 50mm lens.

The F50/2.8 Macro has a 52mm filter ring and requires no hood, due to the deeply recessed front element. The F50/2.8 Macro came with the S80-120 soft case.

F/2.8 is now the standard for Pentax Macro lenses, so itís fast enough for most lighting situations.

The F50/2.8 Macro has 1.0x magnification and is the first Pentax 50mm Macro to feature that since the mid 1960ís. A 1.0x magnification 50mm macro may be a positive for some people, but not for me. In the field Iíd never use this lens for 1.0x magnification, due to the extremely close working distance. (A 100mm macro is a way better option) So for me itís better to have a smaller/lighter 0.5x magnification 50mm macro thatís easier to carry or pack. (Just add the #3 Auto Extension tube for higher 1.0x magnification if you ever needed it.)

The F50/2.8 Macro vs my other 50mm macro lenses:
I also own the K50/4 & A50/2.8 macro, this is how I rate the three against each other:

Optics: All three have different optical formulas, but are equally sharp, so a tie.
Speed: F50/2.8 & A50/2.8 are the fastest and the K50/4 is the slowest.
Magnification: The F50/2.8 is the only one with 1.0x magnification. The K50/4 and the A50/2.8 have 0.5x magnification.
Minimum Focusing Distance: F50/2.8, K50/4, A50/2.8.
Build: The K50/4 is the best and the F50/2.8 & A50/2.8 are tied for second.
Handling: The K50/4 & A50/2.8 are the best by far, the F50/2.8 comes in a distant third place.
Manual Focusing: The K50/4 & A50/2.8 are the best by far, the F50/2.8 comes in a distant third place.

Overall, it comes down to handling, for me the F50/2.8 Macro is just too big and heavy, with poor manual focusing. I rated the A50/2.8 Macro a perfect 10, the K50/4 Macro a 9.5 and will give the F50/2.8 Macro a 9.

The F50/2.8 Macro is another great Pentax macro lens; itís extremely sharp, has 1.0x magnification and is well built. However, itís not my choice as a good all-purpose 50mm Macro, like the A50/2.8 is. I can see myself using the F50/2.8 Macro at home on a tripod, but Iíd rarely use it outdoors and never travel with it

I bought my F50/2.8 Macro on eBay and it is NOS (New old stock). I paid $400USD and the case is included in the box.

Sample shots taken with the F50/2.8 Macro. Photos are medium resolution scans from original slides and negatives.

Camera: LX Film: Kodak Ektachrome 100 ISO: 100

Camera: LX Film: Kodak Ektachrome 100 ISO: 100

Camera: LX Film: Kodak Pro Image 100 ISO: 100

Camera: LX Film: Kodak Pro Image 100 ISO: 100

Camera: KX Film: Ilford FP4 Plus ISO: 125

Camera: MZ-S Film: Kodak Ektachrome 100 ISO: 100
Senior Member

Registered: May, 2017
Location: VallŤs Occidental
Posts: 139
Review Date: May 3, 2019 Recommended | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharpness and colors
Cons: Focus ring and AF noise

Good colors of the F series and great sharpness.

It is a very good macro, perfect for flowering photography and also very good for portrait. For micro fauna photography I prefer his brother the F100 f2.8, but for static elements this one is perfect.

A great macro lens, really good!

Veteran Member

Registered: September, 2010
Location: Somewhere in the Southern US
Posts: 12,285

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: March 15, 2019 Recommended | Price: $50.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: S-H-A-R-P with nearly no distorition edge to edge
Cons: Largeish and slower AF
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-5iis   

This lens came as a surprise in an auction. I was bidding on a K100D (wanted to see the CCD images myself) that I knew had a nice telephoto with it and another unnamed largish lens. Got the K100D and telephoto for what I consider a steal ($50) and this lens was the one attached to the camera when I opened the box!

First, I have 11 Pentax 50ish lenses (4 AF and 7MF) and this is the sharpest of the bunch (the M50/4 Macro would be #2). It's the largest of the 50ish lenses (not as large as the new DFA50 - which is huge) but it weighs 385g while the M50s weigh in at 165g.

In addition to being sharp the front element is deeply recessed thereby protecting the glass from both damage and lateral light sources like a hood. AF is not terribly fast but its a macro lens.

Best surprise included in a camera purchase ever!
Junior Member

Registered: February, 2013
Posts: 47

2 users found this helpful
Review Date: April 29, 2015 Recommended | Price: $307.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Extremely Sharp
Cons: None
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Camera Used: Pentax K3    Sample Photos:   

Extremely sharp!Even at f/2.8. I do not think any other lens can be sharper than this one! Great contrast... A perfect lens for portraits.Actually you can use it for nearly every occasion.Highly recommended.

Inactive Account

Registered: March, 2014
Posts: 8

2 users found this helpful
Review Date: June 14, 2014 Recommended | Price: $380.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: When used correctly it is perfect in every way!
Cons: It's only a 50mm
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K3   

I was fortunate to purchase this lens on ebay as a new never been used lens. It was sitting in the post office waiting for me to pay the customs fees while my camera and 200mm M lens were stolen. As a result I replaced the stolen k20 with the k-3. This is the first lens I used on the k3. I took a walk around the Prince of Wales Hotel peninsula and took all kinds of photos of landscapes, drift wood and macros in early evening on an overcast day. The pictures that I took with this combination were a pleasure to see. I have never seen such consistency and accuracy in focusing, and to this day this is the most reliable of all the lenses that I have.

I wasn't planning on purchasing another Macro lens especially a 50mm but when I saw this one come up for sale I thought I would give it a try. It is a real treat to use. In a way I wish all my lenses were as unforgiving or accurate as this one. The contrast is exceptional, the color rendering beautiful and nicely rewards creative experimentation. Every picture thoughtfully composed is pleasingly rewarded. I am happy I pressed the shutter release button on the k3 when this lens is on it.

This lens does not apologize at all that it is a 50mm focal length neither does it apologize for not being a f1.2, or an f1.4, or an f1.7, or an f1.8 or an f2. Of course it is somewhat limited since it is an f2.8 but used correctly produces pictures that are second to none. It achieves clarity that the other lenses can only dream of. With higher ISO low light will work too if the camera can focus in low light.

One sunny afternoon I walked up to Cameron falls with the K3 mounted with this only to find a few photographers there with their big fancy Canons and there monster telephoto lenses that need a crane to carry. What were they taking pictures of? Well a pair of Harlequin ducks. Well my little K3 and 50mm lens snapped right into action and low and behold I now have some very beautiful images of this pair of ducks taken with this fantastic little lens.

Ooops should have brought the Pentax A 200mm Macro ED. Oh well here's what I got.

Am I happy with this lens? You bet I am. I don't always use this lens as I have other focal lengths that are more useful in bringing wildlife and wildflowers closer, but when I do use it I am never disappointed and am glad to have it in my macro arsenal for which I have found a use for that the other focal lengths are not as useful. I'll be keeping this lens.
New Member

Registered: December, 2010
Location: Porto
Posts: 11

4 users found this helpful
Review Date: May 2, 2014 Recommended | Price: $250.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharpness, Bokeh, Build Quality
Cons: focus ring could be bigger...
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-x, K-30   

I recently traded this lens for the big sister F-100 2.8. And Iím pleased that the 100 behaves in a similar way.
The only reason I traded it was because I had to many 50ís and not much above that focal length.

This is beyond sharpness itself, even at f 2.8. The bookeh is one of the softest you can get.

Once you grab it you will fell that that thing is mostly metal and glass ó really built like a tank!
Auto focus is surprisingly fast and accurate, even with its long focus throw.

Works well as a "normal" lens, with the con of being bigger and heavier than a 50 1.7 or 1.4.

This was one of the first pictures taken with it, even my dog behaves nicely when this lens was around.
(taken with the k-x, iso 1600, 2.8)

Another plus of this lens is that it might as well be the most beautiful lens of the F-Series:
New Member

Registered: August, 2013
Posts: 11

2 users found this helpful
Review Date: January 28, 2014 Recommended | Price: $300.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: everything
Cons: nothing
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: Kr   

I am happy to be the sixth to write a review about this lens, I'm a happy owner of this lens.

I just can't give this lens less than a 10 for 2 reasons : first, the 5 persons before me gave a ten. Second, it really deserves a ten!!

Absolute sharpness at 2.8 at the center, in the corners, everywhere; excellent contrast, excellent CA, excellent bokeh, pefect IQ.

This lens is a perfect macro performer, easy to use, the AF is reliable and the lens can be used in any other situation since it is a fantastic 50mm.

I'm using it with a Kr and I just can't imagine what it would be with a Full Frame DSLR, maybe someday!
Senior Member

Registered: February, 2011
Posts: 118

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: October 18, 2011 Recommended | Price: $450.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: sharpness, bokeh, contrasty, handling
Cons: none
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10   

One of the sharpest lens Pentax ever made.
I sold my DA 35 F2.8 Macro shortly after I bought this lens.

Extremely sharp from wide open, as photodo test results can attest to that. It gets even sharper stopped down.
It is shorter than 100 macro, but more versatile for taking restaurant pictures or product shots.

If you are looking for a lens that takes extremely sharp pictures with great bokeh and excellent contrast, this is the lens to get.
Senior Member

Registered: July, 2010
Location: MD
Posts: 170

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: July 14, 2011 Recommended | Price: $325.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: razor sharp, beautiful bokeh..
Cons: ring for manual focus is a little small

I got a used copy from ebay. This is the sharpest lens I own. I have the tamron 28-75, FA50 1.4 and a ltd. Nothing comes close to this lens for sharpness. I think the FA 50mm f2.8 shares exactly the same optical formula as F 50mm f2.8. If you see one, don't let it go.
Veteran Member

Registered: April, 2008
Location: USA
Posts: 1,901

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: August 22, 2010 Recommended | Price: $300.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Very sharp, great build, fast auto-focus
Cons: n/a

I would probalby give this lens a 10 if not for the small focusing ring which seems to be typical of F-series lenses. Most macro is done in manual focus so its important to have a larger grip ( for me anyway). I have to add though the auto-focus is very fast.
When it comes to IQ, I don't think you'll find a sharper lens. It also displays good contrast and colors.
Photodo rated this a 4.6 if that means anything. That puts it in the top rating as other macro lenses go along with the Tokina 90mm 2.5.
All in all it's just a fantastic lens in all aspects. Will double as a great portrait lens and a relatively fast 50.
It's also pretty much a rare find. I see the FA quite fequently but have only seen a couple F-series in the last few year up for sale.

Forum Member

Registered: November, 2007
Location: Toowoomba, Australia
Posts: 50

3 users found this helpful
Review Date: December 29, 2007 Recommended | Price: $200.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Extreemely Sharp even to the borders.
Cons: Fine focus means slow focus but it is a macro.

This is the sharpest lens I own and it has depth in it's rendering typical of high quality pentax lenses. I am always on the lookout for a better macro but can't find one. DFA 100 comes close but IMO It's just not quite as sharp. Haven't tried the DFA 50 as yet.


Registered: August, 2007
Location: Apiary, Oregon
Posts: 1,181

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: September 1, 2007 Recommended | Rating: 8 

Pros: Does what it's asked
Cons: nothing bad to say

I have a lot of Pentax lenses, but I think this is the only F series that I have. I simply do not know have F lenses are different from FA. It was manufactured from 1988 to 1990 and is believed to be optically identical to the FA series lens which replaced it. It has a fairly standard 49mm filter thread on the front so it requires a 52/49 adapter to work with my ringlight flash---the AF080C.

It has an excellent optical quality reputation, and if I want to carry a fixed focal length prime---I often carry this one.

This is a good lens to have---even with the current digital equipment.
Add Review of SMC Pentax-F 50mm F2.8 Macro

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