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SMC Pentax 55mm F1.8

Sharpness 
 9.2
Aberrations 
 8.7
Bokeh 
 8.8
Handling 
 9.4
Value 
 9.5
Reviews Views Date of last review
72 250,345 Sun February 9, 2020
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
97% of reviewers $52.61 9.37
SMC Pentax 55mm F1.8

SMC Pentax 55mm F1.8
supersize
SMC Pentax 55mm F1.8
supersize

Description:
The SMC Pentax 55mm F1.8 is the faster version of the 55mm Pentax bayonet lens, unique to the K series.



SMC Pentax 55mm F1.8
© www.pentaxforums.com, sharable with attribution
Image Format
Full-frame / 35mm film
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
Yes (no A setting)
Diaphragm
Automatic, 6 blades
Optics
6 elements, 5 groups
Mount Variant
K
Check camera compatibility
Max. Aperture
F1.8
Min. Aperture
F22
Focusing
Manual
Min. Focus
45 cm
Max. Magnification
0.17x
Filter Size
52 mm
Internal Focus
No
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 29 ° / 25 °
Full frame: 43 ° / 36 °
Hood
PH-R52
Case
Dedicated hard case
Lens Cap
Plastic clip-on
Coating
SMC
Weather Sealing
No
Other Features
Diam x Length
63 x 39 mm
Weight
221 g
Production Years
1975 to 1977
Engraved Name
SMC PENTAX 1:1.8/55
Product Code
20747
Reviews
User reviews
Features:
Manual FocusAperture RingFull-Frame SupportDiscontinued
Price History:



Add Review of SMC Pentax 55mm F1.8
Author:
Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-15 of 72
New Member

Registered: February, 2019
Posts: 12
Lens Review Date: February 9, 2020 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: N/A | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Feels nice
Cons: Images no better than M series 50mm f1.7
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 8    Camera Used: Various   

Getting old now - by 2020 - and you may find distortion and haze in that connected rear element. I think it's glued in as there is a seam and inside there is what is called "separation" as glue does not last forever. Better to get an M Series 50mm f1.7 and - if you like plastic lenses - the A Series equivalent.

Otherwise a really nice lens with real and accurate looking sharp quality pictures. Who cares if you don't get a "digital age" sharpness at f1.8? Do you take that many photos at f1.8? What most people who say such things never explain is if their lens has filth and muck around the edges of the glass. Strip, clean that off, and the wide-open f1.8 image is not that bad at all.

Because my f2 55 lens and my previously owned two f1.8 lenses all have/had this rear element separation issue, I will never touch one of these again. Glue has a age-mechanic limitation that means if the same glue is used in all lenses, it'll all start to go through a similar range of time.
   
New Member

Registered: June, 2018
Posts: 2
Lens Review Date: September 26, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $40.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Well built, sharp, good contrast, good bokeh
Cons: Some aberrations at bright apertures
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: MX, X-T3   

I liked this lens when I had it. Wide open sharpness is only OK, contrast is low, and there's spherical aberration. This makes for a vintage look that some really like and it even draws some vintage-looking bokeh. Once it's stopped down to f/4 it's very sharp across the frame, rather impressive. The contrast and center sharpness don't ever match that of the Pentax-M 50mm f/1.7 though. Build quality and handling is excellent as it usually is with the 1st gen K lenses. All in all an excellent lens.
   
Site Supporter

Registered: June, 2013
Location: Utrecht
Posts: 35

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: August 8, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $20.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Build quality, equal sharp over the frame, no aberations
Cons: Bit less micro contrast compared with M1.7 & M1.4
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K2 to K1ii   

Very good performer from corner to corner. Wide open it is a bit soft. You only need to boost levels/contrast a bit in post for brilliant pictures. Long throw for focusing, it goes very precise. Build to last forever.

I got this as kit lens together with my 2nd hand K2 20 years ago. For both I paid 75,-.

See also https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/10-pentax-slr-lens-discussion/390869-som...-compared.html





Original test report 1975

   
New Member

Registered: April, 2019
Location: Dublin
Posts: 4

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 19, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $35.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Very impressive quality for portraits, easy to focus, relatively cheap.
Cons: n/a
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10   

Have got it just couple of months ago specifically for my new Fuji X-E3. Main purpose was to shoot portraits as I had previous experience with other ~50mm Pentax lenses and love them a lot. Can't really choose which ones I love more: Helios 44-2, Konica AR 50mm f/1.7 or my Pentax lenses (Pentax-M and Pentax-A 50mm f/1.7 and the latest one, Pentax SMC 55mm f/1.8). They all are great, easy to disassemble and clean, and unique in their own way.

Never tried any scientific tests as don't care about 'razor sharpness' - it is not important for my shooting requirements or preferences. I do care more about how easy to focus, handling and of course - my personal impression regarding imaging quality.


Here I have one photo as an example. May be someone will find it useful in the same way I found many reviews on this website. Thanks everyone for sharing their experience!

Day light, wide opened - f/1.8, camera Fuji X-E3, ACROS film simulation. No further postprocessing.
   
Site Supporter

Registered: February, 2017
Posts: 640

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: January 17, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Overall general performance. K build quality and colour
Cons: None unless you want more automation
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 8    Camera Used: K3, several film bodies   

This is my first K lens. It came packaged with a KX film camera. On film cameras it behaves as all standard lenses should - sharp, good contrast. light and good for many uses. I also prefer the slightly longer FL on film over the more normal 50mm.
Where I find this lens excels though is on my K3. Provided you nail focus (not so easy as the viewfinder screen is not as good as on an old film body), you will get all the sharpness and contrast you need...... but the colours! Ooooh they are gorgeous! The build quality and handling is second to none, provided you do not mind the lack of automation.
This lens has ended up costing me quite a bit of money as it has encouraged me to acquire more K glass - 50mm f4 macro, 135mm f2.5 - and the construction and handling (and those colours) across the K range is there on these lenses too. I am thinking about the K 30mm f2.8 now for my collection!
Highly recommended for both film and digital
   
New Member

Registered: August, 2018
Posts: 8

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: November 23, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $30.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Color rendition, flare resistance, quite fast, pleasant bokeh when fully open, sharp, little chromatic aberration, mechanica quality
Cons: requires stop-down metering, or fully open on automatic
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: Pentax KP   

I have been using this lens for many years now, first on my LX, now on digital. It is quite heavy, but I love the look and feel of old glass. The colors are beautiful to me, and even fully open I am very fond of the rendition. I do not mind it is not tack sharp fully open, I am not expecting this. But when stopped down it gets very sharp, sharp enough for my needs at least . The bokeh is old school, so not really blurry, the number of diafragm blades is only six after all and they are straight.

The lens is built like a tank and has an unusually long focus throw, which can be advantageous for accurate close focusing. Or annoying when you want to go from close focus to infinity or vice versa . But focusing is still smooth after all these years.

I don't know current prices, but at the time it was an absolute bargain.


Picture taken fully open against the sunlight.

   
New Member

Registered: June, 2017
Posts: 2

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: November 24, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 10 

 
Pros:
Cons:
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: PENTAX K-3 II   

ND16
Exposure Time 1/60
ISO Equivalent 800
https://flic.kr/p/2h4YrjN



ND16
Exposure Time 1/160
ISO Equivalent 400
https://flic.kr/p/2h4XExN





Exposure Time 1/5000s (0.0002)
ISO Equivalent 100
White Balance Auto
   
New Member

Registered: January, 2014
Posts: 15

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: September 12, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 7 

 
Pros:
Cons:
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 5    Bokeh: 5    Handling: 8    Value: 8    Camera Used: K-5   

Nice build and pretty sharp too when you nail the focus.












   
Junior Member

Registered: December, 2009
Posts: 25

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: June 2, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: excellent colors, fast, looks, built
Cons: none
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 10   

Just received one today. Portraits at f1.8-f2.8 are awesome. Colors of sky and flowers are superb. This lens is a bargain.
On K-50


--
f1.8

--
f 1.8 - 1/160 - ISO100 +2EV
SOOC JPG NO PP
foivosloxias June 2017

--
f 2.8 - 1/250 - ISO100
SOOC JPG NO PP
foivosloxias June 2017

--
f 1.8 - 1/200 - ISO1000
SOOC JPG NO PP
foivosloxias August 2017
--
[f 1.8 - 1/60 - ISO1000]
foivosloxias August 2017

--
[f 1.8 - 1/50 - ISO1000]
foivosloxias August 2017

--
[f 2.8 - 1/80 - ISO400]
foivosloxias August 2017
   
Site Supporter

Registered: September, 2013
Posts: 272

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: November 17, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $75.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: colors are beautiful, well built, lovely bokeh
Cons: I haven't had good luck with skin tones in portraits, could be my editing
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 8    Camera Used: K-3   

My favorite lens for flowers or colorful still lifes. Love the rendering. Smooth focusing and sturdy build. As of now I prefer it over the A 50 1.4, but I've spent more time with the K 55 1.8.

IMGP0622 by Brady Burmeister, on Flickr

IMGP1936 by Brady Burmeister, on Flickr

IMGP2070 by Brady Burmeister, on Flickr
   
Forum Member

Registered: November, 2014
Posts: 95

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: June 8, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $35.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, RUGGED, smooth focus
Cons: Manual focus
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 10   

I bought this lens off Craigslist and the sharpness and bokeh are awesome for the price so long as you are willing to use manual focus.

It is VERY rugged - I had a heart stopping moment where this lens and my K50 accidentally dropped about 4 feet to a thinly carpeted concrete floor. It landed on the filter thread rim of the lens bending it inward ... but everything still works perfectly well (on the K50 too)!

I bent the filter threads back out and was able to coax a lens hood onto it before taking this shot with my KS2 at f5.6 ISO400 at 1/500sec.



I've ordered a set of extension tubes but wondering if I really need them when a tight crop gets this...



Wish I could shoot this on Av mode, but stop down Manual isn't a bad alternative to get an image stabilized lens.
   
Pentaxian

Registered: September, 2013
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 991

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: December 13, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $52.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp, small size, good build quality, smooth focus
Cons: Stop down metering
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 9    Camera Used: K30   

This lens is sharp enough and very usable wide open as long as you nail the focus. This was a critical attribute this lens needed to have in order to stay in my camera bag. I bought mine as a bargain lens from KEH and with shipping came out to about $52. It has some dust in it but it doesn't affect the picture quality, and it has a little finish loss in some places that gives it some character. As far as value goes for the condition mine is in and the quality of the photos it produces, I would rate it a 9/10. The focusing is very smooth and I am able to focus it quickly enough to still get great results. I do use a viewfinder magnifier. I took this photo today with this lens, shot wide open, with some post processing done in photoshop:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/adudenamedjosh/15987737986/in/photostream/
I was able to focus it quickly and accurately enough to get more in focus shots than I thought I would. Might I add it is not easy to get a close up of a chicken at f1.8 when they only want to run around and dig for worms!

Here is another one wide open at f1.8: https://www.flickr.com/photos/adudenamedjosh/15772880500/in/photostream/

And a shot with the sun near the edge of the frame, also wide open and no post processing at all: https://www.flickr.com/photos/adudenamedjosh/15960149475/in/photostream/
I slightly missed focus on the gate handle, the focus point is actually to the left on the fence.

These were all taken around f4, and shows how sharp this lens gets when stopped down:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/adudenamedjosh/15917463590/in/photostream/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/adudenamedjosh/15956568940/in/photostream/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/adudenamedjosh/15934377176/in/photostream/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/adudenamedjosh/15521528564/in/photostream/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/adudenamedjosh/16141966391/in/photostream/

The biggest con for me is not being able to use auto iso with this lens, due to having to push the green button and perform stop down metering. Another con is that when stopped down 1-4 clicks from wide open, the bokeh becomes a circular saw shaped pattern instead of perfectly rounded circles when having out of focus lights in the background at night. For this reason I had to drop the lens' bokeh rating. Wide open, though, this isn't a problem and I think the bokeh is great. I bought this lens to use wide open anyways, and it can be focused very accurately with my K30's "catch in focus" mode activated. All in all it's a nice sharp manual focus lens that has a lot of character, and is worth picking up if you are willing to work with its limitations.
   
Veteran Member

Registered: August, 2013
Posts: 1,457

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: November 8, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $39.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Price , sharpness , color rendition
Cons: None
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: K30   

Absolutely amazing resolution on the the K30 for my portrait lens on M mode.
My first photos stopped down blew my mind with such high resolution.
Color is rich and saturated , bokeh very pleasing.
You simply cant go wrong on this one !
I didn't know what to expect with this lens, but it exceeds ALL my hopes.
APS-C in combination with the SMC Pentax 55mm/1.8 really works !
   
New Member

Registered: March, 2014
Location: lamia , greece
Posts: 13

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: July 1, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: nice build , 1.8 is great bokeh
Cons:
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: pentax k-30   

superb quality not easy 2 use but great pictures.
This one with 2 other mmore lens got them from my father when i used i dident expect to be worth carrying on backback. but i really dont see any use not having him on permant attach.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/123834668@N02/14482788762/ this pic taken with this lens on f1.8 / 2 sec / iso 100 on indoor. all the pictures with the sewing mascine + the flower is with this lence. great image quality.

JUST amazing for portait. BW !
check
https://www.flickr.com/photos/123834668@N02/15833423776/in/photostream/lightbox/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/123834668@N02/14970857444/in/photostream/lightbox/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/123834668@N02/15224275802/in/photostream/lightbox/

Top quality lens extreme sarp even on 1.8 blows on f.8
   
Forum Member

Registered: December, 2012
Location: Warsaw
Posts: 83

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: May 25, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $55.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Very sharp, fast, creamy bokeh, build quality, feel, looks goood on modern DSLR's, on APS sensor makes a dream @85mm f/1,8 lens (actually 55x1,5=@82,5mm). On top of it its cheap and widely available.
Cons: ....... could be SMC-A...... and AF..... and.....NAH!!!!

Absolutely brilliant lens that due to its wide availability is still ridiculously cheap. Build quality, handling feel is just second to none SMC-K/ Takumar type. The look of K-type lenses on modern DSLR's (which are the size of K-type SLR's) is so goood - after you try them SMC-M lenses, in comparison look to small and funny (with all regard to their optical quality).

As for the IQ - check Yoshihiko Takinami resolution charts to see that you will never ever need to check it again. Just go and use it!!!

The lens is tack-sharp!!! At f/1,8-2 equals theSMC-K 50mm f/1,2.

http://www.takinami.com/yoshihiko/photo/lens_test/pentax_normal.html

As I already wrote - on crop sensor this lens makes an amazing equivalent to: 85mm f/1,8 dream portrait glass!!!
It is actually 82,5mm, but as with real 85mm you can go all day and never be tired of using it. Finding great pictures is so fun and easy!!!

I highly recommend this lens to anyone, who is not afraid of a manual glass.

P.S.: If you want to have a more flexible version - buy a SMC Takumar 55mm f/2 or f/1,8. At P or A - you will have a TTL (working aperture) real time metering that doesn't require the use of a GREEN BUTTON.

Do remember that f/2 and f/1,8 seems to be actually identical lenses with only difference in aperture ring clicks placement. You can set a f/2 lens one click beyond f/2....... so. Buy any of them.
Add Review of SMC Pentax 55mm F1.8



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