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SMC Pentax-FA 24-90mm F3.5-4.5 AL [IF] Review RSS Feed

SMC Pentax-FA 24-90mm F3.5-4.5 AL [IF]

Reviews Views Date of last review
23 112,286 Sun December 30, 2018
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
91% of reviewers $364.63 8.00
SMC Pentax-FA 24-90mm F3.5-4.5 AL [IF]

The SMC Pentax FA 24-90mm lens was launched in 2001 and discontinued shortly after the launch of the digital *ist D. It is a lightweight consumer walkaround zoom designed for film cameras and it works well on APS-C cameras.

SMC Pentax-FA 24-90mm F3.5-4.5 AL[IF]
©, sharable with attribution
Image Format
Full-frame / 35mm film
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
Yes (A setting)
Automatic, 8 blades
13 elements, 11 groups
Mount Variant
Check camera compatibility
Max. Aperture
Min. Aperture
AF (screwdrive)
Min. Focus
50 cm
Max. Magnification
Filter Size
67 mm
Internal Focus
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 62-18 ° / 53-15 °
Full frame: 84-27 ° / 74-23 °
PH-RBE 67mm
Lens Cap
Plastic clip-on
Weather Sealing
Other Features
Diam x Length
72 x 74.5 mm (2.8 x 2.9 in.)
355 g (12.5 oz.)
Production Years
2001 to 2004
Launch Price
$400 USD
Engraved Name
smc PENTAX-FA 13.5-4.5 24- 90mm AL[IF]
Product Code
User reviews
Two aspherical elements.
Screwdrive AutofocusInternal FocusingAperture RingAutomatic ApertureFull-Frame SupportDiscontinued
Sample Photos: View Sample Photos
Price History:

Add Review of SMC Pentax-FA 24-90mm F3.5-4.5 AL [IF]
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Junior Member

Registered: June, 2018
Location: Lapu Lapu City, Mactan Island, Cebu Province
Posts: 39
Lens Review Date: December 30, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 8 

Pros: Color rendering is great, high center sharpness, low flare, fast AF, good mass balance for light cameras
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 9    Camera Used: K20D   

At the moment, this is my favorite lens for walking around and night shot on high ISO. I got it for my full frame PZ1p film camera before I switched to the K20D. Even though it's only an F3.5 lense, it's quite adequate for night shots on my K20D if I compensate by using higher ISO's and RAW. Color saturation and accuracy seem to be quite good. Even if I set the wrong WB, everything can be recovered in the computer.

I am impressed with center sharpness at F4.5 to F11, even at night. I've gotten some very sharp faces of people at 100 feet in low light. I don't really notice edge falloff, since I usually crop my shots afterwards.

It's a great (more than "good") general purpose lense for travel and hiking. Reasonably light weight, but massive enough to help steady the camera. As for limitation, it's FOV is noticeably narrower on my APS-C than on my FF. But, it is what it is, and I've learned to live with it.
Junior Member

Registered: January, 2018
Posts: 46
Lens Review Date: October 28, 2018 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: $180.00 | Rating: 6 

Pros: price
Cons: ugly vignetting, some lack of contrast
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 7    Value: 8    Camera Used: K-1   

This was a rather cheap eBay purchase which I though would fill the gap I had of general walk-around lens for FF.

Not sure if my copy is faulty or if they all are the same, but I basically gave up because of very ugly and asymmetric vignetting I was experiencing with this lens. This is visible in the upper left hand corner of my sample image.

Other than that, the lens also suffers from lack of contrast and sharpness and has some notable zoom creep. All of this would still have been acceptable if not for the vignetting.

Not all the images I took with this lens were bad. Admittedly, I mostly used this lens in extreme conditions (backlight etc). Still, my experience from this lens is rather bad and I haven't really used it recently.

New Member

Registered: May, 2017
Posts: 2

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: June 11, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $200.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Lightweight
Cons: it´s not 24-90 but it seems 26?-80!!!!
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 8    Camera Used: K1   

I edited my previous review.

I have a 24mm prime now and it seems that at 24 mm this lens is not as wide as the prime, more between 26mm and 28mm.
I also see some minor vignetting (in the whole zoom range) up to f7.1, it is gone at 8.0 as you can see in the photo.
I upgraded my score due to my experience.

The photo is taken in Sicily 24mm f 7.1

Still a great walk around lens and one of the best in its range.

This lens I bought at E-bay for €156,- including shipping (approx. $200,- at the time). I bought this in anticipation of buying a K1. The lens is quite rare.

I did not rate it very high as I have to little experience with the lens But I think sharpness wil be OK. On my K20 it´s sharper than the kitlens (18-55 WR), so it should do well on my K1, and it does as far as I know.

Recently had to make photo´s at the end of the day (iso 1200 to 3200) full opening, still decent shots (not critical though).
Shots (jpeg) taken on 35 mm 1/125 fullopening f5.0 at iso 1000 to 3200 than the noise is seems the limiter.

Remarkeble good flare control, comparable to my pentax A 70-210 f4.0 (wich is far, far better than the FA 70-210 f4.0-5.6 and the pentax A 50mm 1.7).
It´s a very lightweight lens and I hope the build quality is ok, it comes nowere near the Old ManualFocus lenses in that departement.

It handles very well.

Comparing it to my other lenses I found it to be to short in the tele range. As far as I can see after testing (short distance) it maximum focal length is 80mm not 90mm.

Very good for walk around and hollidays, glad I bought it.

If I know more I wil update or repost.
New Member

Registered: February, 2009
Location: Seattle
Posts: 19

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 24, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 9 

Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 9   

FA24-90mm is an affordable zoom lens for full frame camera

Bokeh at F4

Sharp at F11
Senior Member

Registered: February, 2013
Location: Houston TX
Posts: 265

5 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: May 17, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 9 

Pros: Image quality light weight
Cons: meh mechanically
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 9   

The advent of the K-1 changes everything in Pentax photography. Reviews of all of the Pentax lenses really need to be redone in light of the full frame power of that camera. Putting a film lens on the K-1 does not make the lens suddenly look bad; the K-1 allows the lens to fully show everything it can do. Color 35mm film - at its finest - could only resolve about 50 line pairs per millimeter. That method of measuring resolution fell into disuse when digital camera appeared because - up until sensors reached about 9 megapixels - 35mm color film could simply out resolve digital cameras, and the digital industry hid that fact by changing to lines per picture height - so that film and digital couldn't be compared easily.

With the advent of the K-1 - Pentax has a camera which can capture a theoretical maximum of about 110 lp/mm. In other words about twice what the finest 35mm color film could resolve. More to the point the low noise, color accuracy, and wide dynamic range of the K-1 also far exceed the best of color film. The result: simply more accurate pictures than could ever be produced with color film. The job of any lens is to provide the sensor (either film or digital) with information to be captured.

The FA 24-90mm f3.5-4.5 lens exceeded the performance capability of any 35mm color film as a sensor; it provided higher resolution, more dynamic range, and more accurate color than any color film could record. It still exceeds any known digital sensor in terms of its dynamic range, color accuracy, and added noise; only in resolution does it fall behind the capabilities of the K-1. Nevertheless its resolution is very good, and more than enough for the vast majority of photographic tasks; who cares about the resolution of a blue sky or being able to see every microscopic pore on a model's face from 30 feet away? I would not use this zoom lens for pixel scanned product photography - but for 95% of photographic purposes this a fine light weight high optical quality lens which covers a very useful range of focal lengths. For those who can't afford the new 24-70 f2.8 lens - this is a good alternative - with the extra reach of the lens making up for its well documented mechanical short comings. (If you encounter excessive vignetting at 24mm on the FA lens try removing the tulip hood - it cut down on that substantially with my K1.)

Think the FA 24-90 can't be a good portrait lens on a K-1? I think Madison here would disagree with you.
Veteran Member

Registered: December, 2013
Location: Boston
Posts: 1,289

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: February 17, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $220.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: decent on crop format
Cons: will probably not be satisfying for full frame
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 6    Bokeh: 6    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 6    Value: 7    Camera Used: K-3 II   

A nearly ideal lens for travel -- lightweight with good range. Turns out the 36-135mm "equivalent" range on crop sensor is rather useful, especially for portraits and details. Stopped down it performs well as expected. Wide open it has that "old film look" that is just right for portraits. My hope is that Pentax will update this lens and eventually bring it back for the FF digital, as it offers something a little wider and faster than the upcoming 28-105mm.

P.S. I feel that the ratings on this (and most other websites) are somewhat exaggerated. My "7" is likely similar to someone else's "9" as I am comparing this lens to all other lenses I have ever used, including primes.
Senior Member

Registered: February, 2014
Posts: 133

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: January 26, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $499.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: sharp @ 24mm, 90mm is decent
Cons: soft between 50~90mm, plastic feeling
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 5    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 7    Value: 9   

This is probably one of my first zoom lens on the Pentax system. I was juggling between 28-105 or 20-35 back then. I believed 28-105 the magnification ratio was a little too high for my taste, yet it's only 28mm. As for 20-35, it was the price that drove me away.

This lens aside from the plastic feeling, not fitting with manual focus too well, the optical resolution is decent compare to other manufactures. The reason I had gone with 24-90 instead of Contax N 24-85 was the weight and size. 24-90 is extremely light for a 67mm thread lens.

I've used this lens on MZ-3 for ages till I enrolled to digital. It had been in the closet for ages till Sony A7 came to rescue. Mainly the FOV on this lens is just not attractive to Pentax DSLR (APS-C crop) like many other film lenses. My bad habit after moved up to prime lenses, I almost never got a chance to take out this zoom lens ever again till recently.

I've been trying to sell it on ebay for a few times, but no one seems to care about this lens. I figured, if I can't get rid of it, might as well use it. So I began to pack it in the camera bag to fill up the gap of my 24mm on full frame. This lens will shine on full frame and no others.

At 24mm, lens is quite soft around corners like rest of others. Center is sharp but not "prime sharp". However, it's decent for travel and daily uses. Thank god for the ghostless SMC just like 31, 43, 77 Ltd. The color rendering is pleasing, flare is well controlled, the image quality is probably as good as you can pick on as a small aperture zoom lens.

You can still see a tiny bit of vignetting when pointing into sky at large aperture, but it's not too bad.

At 24mm, the distortion is well controlled as well. A con side of this lens is the color rendering. On the film it was crazy good!! However, it became tasteless compare to the new DA zooms. I have to boost up a little on the saturation to make this lens shine again.

This lens is best at 24mm around aperture F8~F11. Image will become too soft around F3.5 or F16 on the both extremes.

At 90mm, although soft on image, but it's still fairly usable on F8~F11. It renders beautifully with details and layers of colors.

I would recommend this lens to people who likes to travel, pack light. very usable and almost no distortion on 24 and 90. Whatever between although usable but image quality is just not going to get you at desire sharp level. I am not going to commenting on the building quality because it feels flimsy at best, it's probably worst construction compare to 18-55 kit lenses. However, on a Full Frame camera, this lens' 24mm really gives an edge compare to other manufactures would've offer.

The only wish was to have this lens, slightly larger aperture on Limited building quality. It would probably if not equals, but might as well tops the current DA 20-40 limited in my opinion.

Registered: February, 2010
Location: Northern Michigan
Posts: 4,472

6 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: June 30, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $380.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Beautiful colors + 3D rendering, very good resolution
Cons: Corners at the wide end, reduced resolution at the long end
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 7    Value: 9   

Optically, this lens is capable of great things. It has some flaws and inconsistencies, but at its very best, it is better than any zoom lens I have ever used, and as good as all but the very best primes. The best I've gotten from this lens is better than the best I've gotten from the DA 10-17, the DA 12-24 and the DA 16-45. The lens does have some issues at the long and short end of its focal range. At the wide end, it suffers from field curvature and reduced resolution, as illustrated in the following image-set, taken at 24mm at f8:

100% center crop:

100% corner crop:

The issue is not as bad as one finds with some of the other variable aperture standard FA zoom lenses, but it's still not optimal. In practical application, I haven't found it too much of a problem. When corner resolution is critical at 24mm, I switch to the DA 16-45. The issue of corner resolution improves quite dramatically as one zooms away from the wide end. Corners are adequate by 35mm and excellent in the middle of the zoom. The lens does appear to lose a little bit of resolution at the long end. This loss of resolution is sometimes compounded by focusing inaccuracies that afflict the zoom at longer focal lengths. This lens does not come with quick shift, so if you want to re-autofocus, the only way is to hold your hand in front of the lens to reengage the AF system, and then have at it.

I bought this lens to use exclusively as a landscape lens. This means I've hardly ever used it wide-open. On the few occasions I have, I've noticed significantly reduced resolution at the wide end: so much so I would describe the results as "dreamy." It's better at longer focal lengths; but wide open is not really where this lens shines. Stop it down to f8, however, and this lens, in the middle of its range, can hold it's own with all but the best primes. While it may not be sharper than my M 50/1.7, it produces more beautiful images, with stunning color and a tactile, 3D-like rendering. It has become my favorite and most used zoom lens. I bought it for a trip to the northern Rockies (i.e., Glacier NP, Yellowstone, and Grand Tetons NP), and it performed splendidly. Even though it's not a perfect, flawless lens throughout its zoom range, I can't rate it any less than a ten. It may be the best variable aperture lens Pentax has ever made. It really is that good.

So what gives with the mediocre rating? How can this lens score lower than the DA 18-55, the F 35-70, and the FA 28-105 PZ, all lenses inferior to this one? It appears mostly to stem from build quality issues, combined with the high price of the lens (relative to those other lenses). Build quality issues have perhaps been exaggerated by other reviewers, but they do exist. I would say that the overall build quality, at least in terms of how the lens is put together, is fairly decent. The DA 16-45 really isn't any better, for example. The main difference is Pentax decided not to glue metal strips on the outside of this lens, thus revealing the extent to which it is made out of plastic. But the DA 16-45, except for the metal strips, is just as plasticky. The real build quality issue has to do with the zoom mechanism, which is on the flimsy side. My copy of the lens was used, so a less used or new copy might be better; but the zoom is rather loose, with no dampening between 24mm and 35mm. There's a bit more tension after 35mm, but it's not great, and zoom creep is a very real issue with the lens. The lens is internal focusing, and like other Pentax internal focusing zooms (such as the DA 12-24), there is no dampening on the focus ring. This, combined with the zoom mechanism, is what gives the lens a flimsy feel. The FA 24-90 does not, as far as I know, have a reputation for spontaneously falling apart (as does, for example, the FA 28-70 f4).

The lens does feature some chromatic aberrations issues at the wide end; yet I haven't run into anything yet that isn't easily disposed of in Lightroom. As a landscape lens, it is capable of producing stunning images. Despite the wide overlap in focal ranges, it makes an excellent companion zoom to the DA 16-45 for landscape work. It has really solved a lot of problems for me in the 35mm to 90mm range, where I find I need the versatility of a zoom.

At 52mm, f11:

100% crop:

At 90mm, f8:

100% crop:

Veteran Member

Registered: June, 2008
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 2,162

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 17, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $250.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Great range, reasonably fast, decent size, nice IQ, fast focus
Cons: A little heavy, hood is big, not quite "prime" quality images
Sharpness: 9    Bokeh: 6    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 8    Value: 9    Camera Used: K20d, K5   

As Ole said, this is a great "all-purpose" lens. 24mm on the wide end is much more practical than 28mm or 35mm, and allows for good shooting indoors or in somewhat tight quarters. Its the equivalent of what a 35-135mm was on film, with more reach than the more common F and FA mid-range zooms. Aperture speed is decently fast while size remains fairly compact. It is a bit heavy for its size, but balances nicely. The close focus distance is not remarkable in either way. the hood is big, but it does help. I've put a stop down ring on mine to 58mm, and even with a UV filter it does not vignette. This is my go to travel zoom, paired with a fast prime (FA43) and sometimes an extreme wide angle option if headed somewhere particularly scenic (A16 FE). I looked for one for a long time, and lucked into a demo copy being sold as new at half price on Amazon. Definitely worth having!

Registered: January, 2012
Location: Tokyo
Posts: 1,755

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

Pros: Optical quality, practical range, balances well on a DSLR
Cons: Build quality (looseness when zooming)
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 9    Camera Used: K20D   

I was considering getting the Tamron 28-75 or the Pentax 17-70, when I happened to see this in a used camera shop here in Tokyo. At $200 (cheap because the hood was missing), this lens was a good purchase. It has replaced the kit zoom as my walk-around lens. At any equivalent focal length it is faster and of course you get more reach. Since nobody has mentioned it yet, here are the max. apertures: 3.5 at 24-30mm, 4.0 at 30-53mm, 4.5 at 53-90mm.

Contrast is fantastic and it seems to be acceptably sharp all over. I don't notice much of a decline in sharpness beyond 70mm, as some reviewers have mentioned. Distortion is not a problem at the wide end, but there is some fringing with high contrast areas at the edge of the frame at 24mm. Despite not having the hood, flare is well controlled. It produces a string of yellowish circles and crescents, which are quite noticeable but don't destroy the contrast of the overall scene. Bokeh is usually OK, but I have noticed some messiness, especially with details which are just off the area in focus. When there is greater separation between subject and background, it's fine.

Buid quality is probably the weak point but it doesn't feel like it's going to fall apart. I can see why anyone familiar with DA* lenses would complain about build quality, though, because it's rather plasticky, with a loose zoom ring - basically par for the course with the FA series. Forget about manual focus; that ring's horrible. Fortunately, on my copy, the barrel doesn't wobble or creep out when pointing down. What's nice is the size and weight. It feels perfectly balanced on my K20D. Focusing is fast and it seems to produce a bit less noise than other screw drive lenses I have tried.

It looks like the main difficulty with this lens is getting hold of a good copy. It must be quite a rare lens because I've only seen it available that one time. If you can find a good copy for $300, I think it's well worth the money. A couple of sample images:

Site Supporter

Registered: February, 2009
Location: Indianapolis
Posts: 415

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: December 4, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 8 

Pros: Well built great range
Cons: Flash shadow if use hood and pop-up flash.

This is a fun lens. I bought this lens MANY years ago. I used to own the 24mm K f2.8 version as well, but when I got the ‘A’ version I sold it. Both lenses have wonderful manual focus feel, and I have been quite happy with the lens wide open, This used to be my regular travel lens because it is so small and light, it only weighs a touch over 200g. I tried the 24mm f2 FA which is an incredible lens, but that lens is so heavy that I decided to stick with this A version.
It is hard to say a lot of negative things about the lens. No, its not autofocus and its not as sharp wide open as the 28mm f2 FA. But then the lens is not all that expensive (or wasn't) when I got it around 2000). There is a clip on hood that you might be able to find (part PH-S52). Honestly, I rarely used the thing. The is also a leather lens case you can get for the lens, the part number on that is HA-90. Flare is well controlled in this lens.
The lens has five aperture blades and can close focus to about 25mm. As is typical of excellent Pentax primes there is very little light fall-off on my lens and I see no noticeable distortion. The lens has nine elements in eight groups.
I think what was noted by others is that this lens has become hard to find. This is one of those fun to have lenses, that works equally well on a film or a digital body. On a digital body it is a respectable 35mm lens.
So in review it’s an excellent lens to add to your lens bag, provided you can actually find one on the used market.
24-90mm f3.5-90mm
This was a lens I happened to bump into Fry’s Department store was literally giving away this lens, only $100. I thought I would get it and sell it because I had the focal range well represented with the Pentax version II 28-205mm f3.2-4.5 FA, Pentax 28-70mm f4 FA, and Tokina AT-X f2.8 24-40mm. I was wrong. I really took to this lens. Both of my other lenses had mechanical issues and when I had them sent out I started to use this lens. Once I started using this lens I never returned to the other lenses.
First of all, being very superficial about this, this lens looks good. It has a solid feel. I personally don’t like to use the word ‘professional’ when I talk about any of my equipment, but it feels great and you know when you are using it you are using one great lens.
I know when the lens first came out there were ‘issues’ and reading through the other reviews I have no doubt that these issues were genuine. It seems that there where some manufacturing problems when the lens was first produced, I’m not sure what they were. I can say though the manufacturing issues were resolved in the later productions and the result was one wonderful lens.
At 24-90mm (35mm -135mm digital equilivant) the extra width is appreciated. I use the lens all the time chasing my daughter, and she is fast! It is the heaviest of my lenses in this range, but at 355g grams I don’t have all that much to complain about. The lens is quite sharp.
I personally do not see any serious distortion with this lens. The lens includes two aspherical lens elements and anomalous low-dispersion glass element. It has an excellent minimum focus of just 0.5 meters and makes an excellent portrait lens.
The lens comes with a tulip shaped hood that has one of Pentax’s useful windows that slide out so you can use a circular polarizer.
All in all an outstanding ‘walk about lens.
Veteran Member

Registered: March, 2008
Location: Israel
Posts: 932

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 13, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $250.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: range, image quality
Cons: very poor build

Bought it second hand. Initially I thought it was ok but in fact it had mechanical defect. Towards the infinity the picture would jerk sideways and my K10D would fail to bring it to focus in 8 out 10 cases. Pentax Israel failed to fix it and so it was sent to European service center where it wasn't fixed as well. Returned it to the seller. Focusing manually wasn't a problem, but IQ wasn't impressive either.

Given my rather poor experience with this lens younger brother (FA 28-105/3.2-4.5) leads me to believe that both these lenses may have some kind of mechanical issue.

Update: I bought another copy of this lens from PDML. This one is much better. Except somewhat wobbly construction, everything else is actually quite fine - the image quality is good, AF works reasonably well, the ergonomics are convenient - it is a good lens. Based on my second experience I'd changing the data that accompanies the review.

I would recommend this lens with reservations to that end that checking whether AF works properly would be in order prior to committing your money.
Site Supporter

Registered: December, 2008
Location: NJ, USA
Posts: 402

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: December 29, 2008 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $340.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: excellent range, works with built in flash at FL, good optics
Cons: Can get soft long, Build quality less than stellar

I bought this lens to compliment my DA 16-45. Since it works with the built in flash and the range is very useful for interior work and portraits, it makes a good walkabout lens. It is also lightweight. As a result, it is the lens that is on my camera the most, although I do not use it for more demanding work.

Compared to the two DAs I own (DA 16-45 and DA*50-135), the color is not as dramatic nor is the contrast as good. It can be as sharp as the 16-45 if stopped down to around f8. And it is very sharp at most apertures around 50. AF good.

Utility 9.5
Sharpness 8.5
Contrast 7.5
Build quality 7
Senior Member

Registered: August, 2007
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 233
Lens Review Date: November 26, 2008 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 8 

Pros: Great Range. Good Balance. Fast Focus. Reasonably fast on short end. Nice saturated "Pentax" colors.
Cons: Manual focus difficult because of short throw of focus ring. Bokeh not so great.

This is a full-frame lens covering one of the most useful ranges. It goes from a super wide angle to a medium telephoto. Even on a cropped digital sensor, it goes from a standard wide angle to a standard telephoto (36-135mm effective). It makes a great walk around lens.

Focal length aside, it features excellent image quality throughout its zoom range. Its lens elements include two aspherical elements and an ED element as well as ghostless coatings. This lens is reasonably sharp and flare resistant. You can make it flare, but it isn't generally noticable during normal use.

It has Internal Focusing (IF) so the front of the lens does not turn when focusing (for polarizer use) and the lens does not lengthen (except when zooming when it lengthens a lot). Focusing is very fast and the zoom ring is comfortably damped. Manual focus is difficult on this lens.

Concerning build quality, many people have remarked that this lens has a bit of a tendancy to have barrel wobble (which does not affect image quality, but does affect comfort of use). I have check my sample and it has no discernable wobble when fully extended. The lens is very compact and the weight balances a K10D perfectly. The included hood is a special oval shaped hood that I haven't seen on any other Pentax lens. The hood mounts backwards on the lens for storage, but is rather bulky.

I was particularly interested in this lens at the 24mm end because it is only a 1/2 stop slower than most 24mm prime lenses. This lens does not disappoint. At f4.5, it is already quite sharp, and it is completely usable even at f3.5. I have used at least 4 other 24mm prime lenses and this zoom compares favorably (probably just about a 1/2 stop behind in image quality). On this forum, the rating for this lens is rather low because one guy apparently got a lemon a long time ago and gave it a "2". If you look carefully, everyone else is quite happy with their copy.

It is an excellent replacement for the kit lens especially if you crave a bit more on the long end.
Veteran Member

Registered: December, 2007
Location: Prague
Posts: 1,199
Lens Review Date: September 16, 2008 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $300.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Very useful on both film and digital
Cons: Feels cheap in hand (light)
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 9   

I've already reviewed this lens for czech Pentax club, testing images in the link:
(Non working link removed)

I bought this beauty second hand and I'm very happy with it. Taking sharp pictures all the time, focusing fast and precisely.
I was not impressed with build quality initially, but then again it is lightweight and I'm not planning to hammer nails with it. It practically replaced my 18-55 kit lens on my K10D. Only when I need to go wide I reach for kit lens or film body .
Add Review of SMC Pentax-FA 24-90mm F3.5-4.5 AL [IF]

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