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SMC Pentax-FA* 24mm F2 AL [IF] Review RSS Feed

SMC Pentax-FA* 24mm F2 AL [IF]

Sharpness 
 9.1
Aberrations 
 8.3
Bokeh 
 9.0
Autofocus 
 9.3
Handling 
 8.9
Value 
 8.9
Reviews Views Date of last review
37 131,636 Tue February 28, 2017
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $504.93 9.30
SMC Pentax-FA* 24mm F2 AL [IF]

SMC Pentax-FA* 24mm F2 AL [IF]
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SMC Pentax-FA* 24mm F2 AL [IF]
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SMC Pentax-FA* 24mm F2 AL [IF]
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Description:
This is the fastest 24mm prime lens made by Pentax.

SMC Pentax-FA* 24mm F2 AL[IF]
Image Format
Full-frame / 35mm film
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
Yes (A setting)
Diaphragm
Automatic, 8 blades
Optics
11 elements, 9 groups
Mount Variant
KAF
Max. Aperture
F2
Min. Aperture
F22
Focusing
AF (screwdrive)
Quick-shift
No
Min. Focus
30 cm
Max. Magnification
0.12x
Filter Size
67 mm
Internal Focus
Yes
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 62 ° / 53 °
Full frame: 84 ° / 74 °
Hood
PH-RBB67
Case
S90-100
Lens Cap
Coating
SMC
Weather Sealing
No
Other Features
Push-pull AF/MF Focusing Ring
Diam x Length
72.5 x 65.5 mm
Weight
405 g
Production Years
1991 to 2004
Engraved Name
smc PENTAX-FA* 1:2 24mm IF & AL
Product Code
22630
Notes
One aspherical element, one ED element
Features:
Screwdrive AutofocusInternal FocusingAperture RingAutomatic ApertureFull-Frame SupportDiscontinued
Sample Photos: View Sample Photos
Price History:



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Site Supporter

Registered: February, 2012
Location: Adelaide Hills, South Australia
Posts: 5,807

4 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: February 28, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $400.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Pixie dust
Cons: Measurebators will hate it
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 8    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-1   

This lens was reputedly designed by Jun Hirakawa, and built as one of a series of no-compromise pro lenses of the late film era. It has some pretty impressive stablemates in the 28-70, 80-200 and 250-600 zooms, and joins a set of other primes of almost mythical status like the 85/1.4, 200/4 macro, 300/2.8 and 600/4 as well as the more standard 200/2.8, 300/4.5 and 400/5.6. It remains (I think) the fastest sub-30mm lens Pentax has ever produced.

I am no position to compare it to the other FA* lenses, as I only briefly had the FA*85 (I still can't believe I returned it before I had the chance to use it on the K-1), and have never even seen the others in the flesh, but many consider it to be the weakest of the series. I can sort of see why.

Optically, it is a bit soft, or at least slightly glowy wide open, especially if the light is contrasty, and the corners don't match the centre until about f/5.6. It can produce some pretty nasty purple fringing towards the edges, but it has always been easily cleaned up with a click or two in Lightroom. It doesn't focus as close as I'd like. My two modern DFA zooms both out resolve it and have better corner sharpness at f/2.8, and it lies between the zooms with regard to barrel distortion - the DFA15-30 @ 24 being the best and the DFA24-70 @ 24 being the worst (but still not terrible). Flare resistance was better than I expected given the expanse of flat glass at the front.

Physically, it is a solid lump of glass and metal, and takes 67mm filters, so it's not just a lens to leave in the bag for the hell of it. Like all the FA8 lenses, the hood is a bit funky; the bayonet works completely differently from the newer DA and DFA lens hoods, and the plastic finish scratches very easily - good luck finding one in mint condition. The manual focus clutch is cool, but a little clunky. AF is quick and accurate on my K-1.

I went into using it daily in a Single In challenge, fully expecting to decide on selling it at the end of the month. But I won't.

Although I can get empirically better images with the zooms, this is a really enjoyable lens to use, and there is something about many of the images that I warm to. Maybe it's the Hirakawa pixie dust, I don't know.

Look HERE for a bunch of shots on the K-1, and HERE for a set shot a while back on crop.
   
Forum Member

Registered: June, 2016
Location: Paris
Posts: 80

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: June 30, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $800.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: IF, size, IQ, aperture, built,
Cons: hood
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-1   

Bought this lens in mint condition from a pentax fan & collector after testing it.
It had a lot of bad reviews and when i could finally start using it, i didn't understand why.
I once had a big old sigma ex dg 24mm 1.8, on APS-C, and it was a cool OK lens before it dissapeared with my bag in a train.

The Pentax FA* 24mm 2 is in another league. On full frame it is completely superior to the sigma on aps-c in terms of sharpness.
This lens is one of the reasons i didn't buy the pricy ltd 31mm 1.8. Because this wide angle is as sharp.
And AF is tremendously fast. And i'm in love with it's bokeh, it empasizes the subject in a lovely particular way.
Yes, there's fringing , CA, wide open. So? what other lens doesn't wide open ?
Yes, you can't shoot a perfect landscape with super sharp borders wide open. And it's great central sharpness will always look sharper than the borders at f4.
But well focused, subjects in corners at f2 are not blurry, nor unsharp. They have an OK sharpness even considering a 36MP sensor.

Shooting with this kind of wide angle requires of course much more skill and time to aprehend than a 50mm .
Not only there's much more pixel data for pixel peepers, but the compositions are larger, and more difficult to acknowledge.

A 35mm takes time to tame well. For this one, double the time. Once you've tamed it you'll appreciate it. Don't always trust testers like photozone.de that have the lens for a little while. Better trust the guys that designed and constructed the lens +20 years ago, and the number of pro shooters that used it.
   
New Member

Registered: April, 2016
Posts: 18

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: May 15, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $300.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Sharp enough, extremely fast AF, bokeh, build quality
Cons: Soft wide open, CA, focus clutch, 8-blade aperture, kind of ugly
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 6    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 6    Value: 8    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: Pentax K-3   

I had always wondered about this lens, but having read mostly negative comments about it, I didn't think it was worth the $450-500 price tag I see it go for. When I saw it for $300, though, I thought I'd snatch it up, play with it a bit, and resell it after a few days.

Nope — I'm keeping this one. Especially now that I have my K-1. I own a similarly-spec'd (yet much more widely praised) FA 31 that sits right next to the FA★ 24 in my camera bag, but for some reason, I keep reaching for this lens instead.

First, build quality. For some reason, FA★ lenses always looked really cheap and plasticy in photos to me. They are not. This thing is built like a tank. I wouldn't be concerned at all if I drove over this lens with my car. It's heavy, but more in a heavy-duty kind of way. It's not at all awkward to handle, and weighs half as much as some of my Sigma primes. Everyone knows the silver paint on these FA★ lenses scratches off really bad — luckily, as a result, no one expects them to hold up, so even really scratched up lenses tend to hold their value on eBay. Scratch away!

I think this lens is quite ugly, but in a really great way. It's very loud, visually. People notice and ask. It has a freakin' picture of the optical design on the side of the lens. How cool is that?

This lens is definitely a product of the 90s, though. No weather-sealing, no SDM autofocus, and no quick-shift autofocus. Instead, you get a clunky push-pull clutch that switches between AF and MF (better than the FA lenses, whose focus rings spin around when autofocusing), and when in manual-focus mode, it doesn't tell the body not to drive the AF motor, so if you want AF-confirm, you'll have to turn your body to MF, and disengage the AF clutch on this lens.

Then again, the autofocus on this thing is *fast* — maybe the fastest of any lens I've ever used. There's no hunting — when you press the AF button on your body, the lens just slams into position immediately. Why aren't all lenses like this? (*cough cough* Sigma 85/1.4, are you listening?)

OK, image quality: this lens is widely admonished for its softness and CA, but I found that it's quite sharp in the center — maybe only slightly softer than the FA 31. It does have some CA, but that's what gives the lens its rendering quality, too, so it's a bit of a double-edged sword.

My 24-megapixel K-3 stresses the lens out a bit, resolution-wise, but on my much lower-pixel-density K-1, this lens is a champ.

If you think f/2 is suddenly going to get you amazingly-shallow DoF on every picture you take, guess again. DoF differences between this lens and a f/2.8 zoom are minuscule under normal wide-angle shooting conditions. While aperture contributes to DoF, isolating your subject from the background is best done by moving your subject very close to the lens. This guy has an MFD of 30 cm, which is noticeably shorter than the Sigma 30's 40 cm MFD. I have some pictures to illustrate this below.

I really use the lens in two different modes, f/2 and f/8. At f/2, fill the frame with your subject to get some lovely bokeh in the background. Or, stop down to f/8, and get razor sharp images, corner-to-corner. There's really no other useful apertures on this lens — stopping down to f/2.8 or f/4.0 doesn't really improve sharpness anywhere in the frame, so you're just throwing away light. Stopping down more than f/8 is going to start softening up your photos through diffraction. Seriously, f/2, and f/8 — done.

I own a Sigma 30/1.4 and the FA 31, and I can tell you that the 24mm FOV is noticeably wider than either of these two lenses, and is quite useful.

Full-Frame:
Both of these were shot wide-open to demonstrate the DoF you get in different scenarios:



APS-C:
This was shot at f/8 to demonstrate overall sharpness:


These two were shot at f/2.0 to demonstrate DoF on APS-C:

   
Site Supporter

Registered: October, 2008
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Posts: 5,379

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: December 7, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $462.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp, fast and great handling.
Cons: Looks a bit cheap and scratches easily.
New or Used: Used    Camera Used: Pentax film bodies (K1000, KM, KX, K2, K2DMD, MX, LX, Super A, P50)   

The FA*24/2 was released in 1991 and remained in production until 2004. It was the last 24mm prime that Pentax has produced and the only one with Auto-Focus.

Optics:
Excellent optics! The FA*24/2 is the sharpest from f/5.6 to f/11 and it’s decent in the corners as well. The aspherical lens “AL” element helps control aberrations and the lens also uses internal “IF” focusing.

Focal Length:
I only shoot film and this ultra wide angle focal length is perfect for landscape/city street shooting. I find that I’m taking a 20-24mm lens more often now when I travel, than the old “traditional” wide angle 28mm FL. The 28mm focal length is just not wide enough for shooting in close quarter city streets and the 24mm FL is much more flexible in tight spaces.

Build:
The build of the FA*24/2 is not bad, but it’s not as good as any K/M Series lens I own. The biggest problem with the FA*24/2 is the silver paint used on the lens and hood. It’s prone to scratching and makes the lens look cheap. This and taking in account the general overall design, makes the FA*24/2 a somewhat “ugly” looking lens.

Usage/Handling:
The FA*24/2 is a nicely sized well balanced lens that is easy to handle. I have no issues manually focusing the FA*24/2 or using the aperture ring. The distance scale on the FA*24/2 is in a plastic window, it’s acceptable but not great. The focus ring on the FA*24/2 pushes up for auto focus (the words “AUTO FOCUS” will appear below the focus ring) and down for manual focusing. (“AUTO FOCUS” will disappear). Note it is possible when manually focusing to focus past the infinity mark, this is normal for the FA24/2 and not an issue. I don't own an camera that supports Auto Focus, so I can't comment on that.

The FA*24/2 has a very wide 67mm filter ring and uses an outside mounting bayonet hood, so using a polarizing filter is not an issue on film. However the PH-RBB67 hood does not have a cutout window to move the polarizer, so it’s a bit tricky to turn. The FA*24/2 uses the S90-100 soft lens case, which will fit the lens and reversed hood.

Speed:
F/2.0 is very fast for an ultra wide angle lens and it makes the FA*24/2 the fastest ultra-wide angle lens (24mm or less) ever made by Pentax.

The FA*24/2 vs my other 24mm ultra wide primes:
I also own the K24/3.5 and the K24/2.8 and all three lenses have great optics, with a slight edge in center sharpness to the K24/2.8 & FA*24/2. The FA*24/2 is a bit better in the corners with less distortion than the two K Series lenses and is also faster. However I have a soft spot for the older Takumar designed K24/3.5 and love the images it produces, so it would be my favorite. Out of the three the FA*24/2 has the worst build/finish and is the least attractive looking.

Here is a picture of the Pentax 24mm primes with their OEM hoods for size comparison. (FA*24/2, K24/3.5 & K24/2.8)
Note the missing A24/2.8 is the exact same size as the K24/2.8 and uses the same lens hood.



Overall you can’t go wrong with any one of these three 24mm lenses. I rated the two K Series 24mm lenses a 9 and will give the FA*24/2 a 9.5, rounded down to a 9. I would have given the FA*24/2 a perfect 10 if it was better built/finished and was not so cheap looking.

Summary:
I really like the FA*24/2 for an ultra wide angel lens when I travel, it’s a nice size and fast for all lighting conditions. Overall a great wide lens on film!

Price:
I bought my FA*24/2 from an online camera store and paid $462.00. It was in excellent + condition and came with the PH-RBB67 hood and S90-100 soft lens case.

Sample shots taken with the FA*24/2. Photos are medium resolution scans from original negatives. Both shots were taken in Vancouver.


Camera: Super Program Film: CineStill 50 ISO: 50




Camera: LX Film: Fuji Acros 100 ISO: 100

   
Pentaxian

Registered: November, 2013
Posts: 4,750
Lens Review Date: September 2, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $413.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: 3D pop, sharp closed down
Cons: soft a f/2 and f/2.8
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 8    Value: 9    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K3   

Preliminary review (on a K3)

I got this lense a few day ago, and as for all lenses I buy, I check it extensively. I'll update later to give a long term feelling.

Sharpness
If you look at the pictures full screen (my case full HD, 22"), f/2 is a bit soft on center, visibly soft on borders. f/2.8 make the center ok and starting with f/4 the picture look good. At f/8 the picture is really, really sharp, corners to corners.

If you zoom in, f/2 will look even softer but the conclusion are the same. f/4 quite good already, but that f/8 that give you the best performance; it look sharp a 100% on corners at that setting.

Is it an really an issue? I don't know, in practice you use f/2 or f/2.8 for bokeh or for low light. For the first case, border performance isn't key and for the second one, you are not going to expect ultimate sharpness at 1600-3200 isos anyway and you gain 1.3 stop compared to DA21 and 1 stop compared to an f/2.8 zoom.


Rendering
The lense is able to make an uninterresting subject to pop and that quite an interresting feature to me. That one of the reason to buy it.


Handling

In term of handling and finish the look is sure dated. The build quality is excelent. The lense is small, arround the size of a kit lense, so not big at all. It look quite bigger of course with the hood. I don't like this hood.

The lense overall is smaller in reality than the pictures might make you think. It feel quite heavy, more dense than heavy in reality so that's not an issue at all in the field.

Temporary conclusion
Overall is a quite decent lense, a bit big compared to ltds and the finish is dated. I would have liked a hood in the spirit of ltds in particular. The rendering looks interresting and the sharpness is truly great at f/8 and that what we ask from a wide angle. I'll want to check more what f/2 bring to me in low light conditions or in term of bokeh.
   
New Member

Registered: January, 2012
Posts: 12
Lens Review Date: August 5, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $650.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharpness/contrast, Color rendition, construction
Cons: hood is hard to use
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: k5   

I had a great opportunity to buy this lens NOS and after reading some ambiguous reviews I almost didn't do it. I bought it after all, and it was a great decision, this is by far my best lens.

AF is very very fast and accurate with my k5, manual/af ring is also very useful.

The lens is sharp and with great contrast at all appertures, corners are great from 2.4 and best at 6.7. At f2 its very also very sharp, even in full format on my LX.

I use it for architecture photos and now it is my most used lens. I would recommend it to anyone. Maybe there are some bad copies around, photozone might had a bad one also.

Construction is FA*, like FA*85. All metal, solid, professional, tight construction.
   
Loyal Site Supporter

Registered: August, 2010
Location: zurich
Posts: 408

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: June 17, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $560.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Nice Lens, sharp, good rendering
Cons: CA but easy to control
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 8    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-7, K-5, K-3   

read more at: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/10-pentax-slr-lens-discussion/297744-fa-2...a-20-35-a.html

i love that lens.

yep the hood is a bit flimsy especially compared to the FA20-35...
and yes its silver finish, but its silver...:-) looks just great on a silver body...:-)

taken with A* 200 mm F4 Macro
   
New Member

Registered: September, 2013
Posts: 2
Lens Review Date: May 25, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $390.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: colours, contrast, sharpness
Cons: handling the hood, silver colour easy to scrach
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 7    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-5, ME Super   

(updated after more than one year of use)

I dare to say that my copy of FA*24 is a really good one and it is my most often used lens so far now. I am giving overall 10 for quality of images and full-frame look I can achieve with it. I love the angle of view at APS DSLR especially for street photo and also for landscapes. Thanks to low aperture it is great for indoor shots too. Together with 55-300 is the essential part of my travel photo kit. It focuses fast and preciously even with somewhat infamous focusing system of K-5. Sharpness is fine especially in the centre and improves when stepped down. Aberration might be strongly pronounced at the edges sometime but the edges need post process anyway because of distortion so no big deal for me.

My biggest complain is the hood - I always struggle to fit the hood to the right position. That is why the handling is only 7. The silver paint can be scratched quite easily if not handled with utmost care. Also, I would prefer the lens weights less but I cannot have everything (then I take DA15/4 instead).

If you could get the lens for decent price than do not hesitate and go for it because nobody knows if either Pentax or third-party manufacturer produce better 24 mm lens anytime soon.
   
New Member

Registered: September, 2014
Posts: 2

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: September 15, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $450.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp at 2.8 to 22 Color Pentax
Cons: Soft at f2
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: Samsung NX30   

Super Sharp at f2.8 to f22, Soft at f2 color Pentax. Tested vs Canon FD 24mm f2. Canon win at f2 lost in the rest . Photo exemple never use PP



   
Site Supporter

Registered: November, 2010
Location: California
Posts: 2,060
Lens Review Date: August 22, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $699.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Great focus, fast, exceptional color, contrast, and mystic
Cons: Not the sharpest knife in the drawer, especially wide open, but it does not matter. It is the most fullfining lens. The photos have character, well, if they are well taken!!
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-3   

My grade is 9.5, but I give the benefit of the doubt, just because the special quality that the photos taken with this lens have. It is a mix of color, contrast, that creates an effect that you have to have in a good photo. On a K3 or K5, it provides an equivalent 35mm lens view, perfect for many uses. If I want sharpness wide open across the frame, I will use my Pentax K 28/2. But this one will also give me the chance to use it with flash on group of peoples.


Update Nov. 8/2014:


24mmf2-SacramentoRiver13-1 by Palenquero, on Flickr


24mmf2-Oroville6-1 by Palenquero, on Flickr


24mmf2-SacramentoRiver3-1 by Palenquero, on Flickr


24mmf2-SacramentoBridge4-1 by Palenquero, on Flickr


24mmf2-SacramentoBridge1-1 by Palenquero, on Flickr

Update: Sept 1, 2014

I upgraded this lens to 10. It is a true FA*, I never use a wide-angle lens wide open, but this one I use it for portraits and close up, and it works. I am happy with every single shot I have taken. I forgot to tell about the Manual Focus, it is wonderful.


corinthianBC-1 by Palenquero, on Flickr


corinthianBC3-1 by Palenquero, on Flickr




corinthianBC4-1 by Palenquero, on Flickr




PentaxFA*24mmf2-TrainStation5-1 by Palenquero, on Flickr

PentaxFA*24mmf2-Neighborhood1-1 by Palenquero, on Flickr



Comparing the Pentax FA 24mm f2 on a Pentax K-3 for a result of about 36mm shot equivalente in FF with the Zeiss 35mm f2 on a FF Leica M9 for a result of 35 mm. Let's see it:

PentaxFA24mmf2-DonH1 by Palenquero, on Flickr

LeicaM9-Zeiss35mmf2-DonH3-1 by Palenquero, on Flickr

One More:

PentaxFA24mmf2-Fuente-1 by Palenquero, on Flickr

LeicaM9-Zeiss35mmf2-Fuente-1 by Palenquero, on Flickr
   
Site Supporter

Registered: February, 2012
Location: Southeastern Connecticut
Posts: 684
Lens Review Date: August 1, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Lyrical
Cons: Not sure
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 8    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-5   

I decided to buy this lens when I was looking at its reviews and saw the photos that Cambo posted, especially the boat image. Many of the reviewers seemed wonder-struck and I can see why.

I haven't really give a great deal of attention yet to things like autofocus, aberrations and handling. I've only had it a little while.

There are many sharper lenses that render highly realistic, very prosaic images. The images from this lens, though, are lyrical and somewhat poetic.

I've seen some reviews talk about certain lenses having "pixie dust." I'm not quite sure what that looks like, but I suspect it might apply to the evocative quality of the images that come from this lens.

   
Site Supporter

Registered: July, 2012
Location: Ceadir-Lunga
Posts: 78

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 20, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $730.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, plastic, color, contrast! Gorgeous bokeh! Fast autofocus!
Cons: No cons!
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-3 K-5 K-01   

Incredible, amazing and beautiful!
On K-3 Silver looks like a bomb!
Must have!
   
Forum Member

Registered: March, 2011
Location: Ontario
Posts: 54

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 13, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $495.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Almost everythihg.....
Cons: Not really any
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: Many   

I am surprised at some of the reviews, especially WRT aberrations. I've not really found any myself that would be out of the normal for a lens of this FL, aperture and build. It would have informative if those that rated it at 5 or 6 could have given some explanation of what they meant. My guess is that they likely do not know what an aberrations is.

Others dinged for being large and heavy. Well, it's a pro class lens. They are usually well constructed with all metal components and large pieces of glass. Being a user of "C" and "N" pro equipment over my life, I can assure you that their pro class lenses are right in there with the Pentax stuff as far as weight and size goes. It's just not possible to do the job right any other way.

If 10 means it's as good as the best, then it should be rated as such, not against some non-existent ideal. If you want something smaller and lighter and cheaper, buy a cheap plastic lens.

In that light then, this lens rates an overall 9.5+. No doubt about it.
   
Senior Member

Registered: November, 2012
Location: London
Posts: 157

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 16, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $650.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp, quick af, fast, bokeh
Cons: Not cheap (in UK)
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K5iis   

Note : This lens cost £450 ($675) because I live in the UK. In the US it seems to sell for around $450

Sharpness : Sharp in the centers at f2. Corners are good at f3.5. Great overall sharpness till f8.

Abberations : Nothing you wouldn't expect from a WA prime. No significant faults.

Bokeh : Smooth at f2-2.8, good till f4

AF : VERY quick. Reliable screwdrive.

Handling : Quite small, smaller than it looks. MF has a shorter throw than I would have liked.

Value : Could be cheaper, but offers nice sharpness for a reasonable price
   
Senior Member

Registered: February, 2011
Posts: 118
Lens Review Date: October 20, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $400.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: center sharpness, contrast
Cons: soft wide open
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 7    New or Used: Used   

Very interesting lens, you either love it or hate it.

A bit soft wide open , but softness goes away quickly after F4.

The interesting aspect is that this lens produces very Sharp center portion but softens very quickly away from image center. This is true for almost all aperture I tried. In this regard, this characteristic is also experienced in sigma 30 1.4 DC, an apsc lens.

On apsc this less of a problem, some may concur. Only given an 8 due to this issue.
Add Review of SMC Pentax-FA* 24mm F2 AL [IF]



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