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SMC Pentax 55mm F1.8 Review RSS Feed

SMC Pentax 55mm F1.8

Sharpness 
 9.2
Aberrations 
 8.7
Bokeh 
 8.7
Handling 
 9.4
Value 
 9.5
Reviews Views Date of last review
76 274,096 Mon August 23, 2021
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
97% of reviewers $51.45 9.40
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 76
New Member

Registered: September, 2020
Location: Derbyshire
Posts: 3
Lens Review Date: August 23, 2021 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $30.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Easy to handle, minimum distortion, very well built, sharper than the M 50mm 1.7
Cons: None that I can think off TBH.
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 9    Value: 9    Camera Used: KX   

I had one of these on my first KX, using film of course and not digital.

It was more than big enough to fit on that beast. It cost me 30 quid in the early 2000s.

Focussing on my copy was lovely - smooth and damped and easy. Very well built.

The light gathering potential of the glass certainly helped on the KX focusing screen.

Bokeh - as ever with the Pentax lenses, they weren't big on aperture leaves , so bokeh could be wiry.

But even wide open, this 1.8 lens was sharper than the follow-on M50mm 1.7, and also gave great colour with out filters. In mixed lighting, exposure was also very balanced - you can see this to extremes in other lenses, but not this one. The contrast is very controlled and can render subtle changes in light reflectance and colour gradation very evenly. I cannot remember seeing any evidence of distortion.

This lens had a good way of seeing what the human eye saw in my view. And there was a 'crispness' to the image too that was rather special.

It is a pity that if they are suffering the balsam separation problems discussed below.

If you can get a nice one without that problem, go for it I say.

Recommended.
   
Pentaxian

Registered: February, 2011
Location: Southern Finland
Posts: 411
Lens Review Date: April 18, 2021 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $25.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp, focus throw good for manual use, focal length good for portraits in APS-C
Cons: a bit soft wide open
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-5, K-1   

I got my copy of 1,8/55 a few years ago 2nd hand at a very low price. Not in mint condition (e.g. the focus scale indicator is loose, rotating almost freely, but luckily the focusing itself works ok) but optically without visible problems. I did not use this much with APS-C bodies, as I am not very keen on manual focusing. But interestingly, with K-1 this seems to be a lot more fun. The optics of this lens is good and the lens renders a film era kind of nostalgy in the photos. Focus throw is long enough to make manual focusing rather easy, compared to e.g. M and A 50 mm lenses.
   
New Member

Registered: October, 2020
Location: Leiden
Posts: 2
Lens Review Date: November 1, 2020 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: image/build quality
Cons: nothing i can think of
Sharpness: 9    Handling: 10    Camera Used: K5   

The Pentax engineers did a great job making those old lenses work on a modern dslr. The only thing that's a pity is that the aperture value is not written to the exif info, but i can imagine that would be a little bit difficult without any electronic contacts on the lens.
If you have a pentax dslr and you can get this lens, take it, it will be worth your while.
See also all the comments from the other reviewers in this section.

   
Forum Member

Registered: December, 2009
Posts: 94

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 23, 2020 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $45.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: something special
Cons:
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-1   

This lens is special to me, something in the rendering, or contrast, i can't really pinpoint it.

My copy is mint and flawless. Handling is incredible.


   
New Member

Registered: February, 2019
Posts: 12
Lens Review Date: February 9, 2020 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: N/A | Rating: 8 

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

Getting old now - by 2020 - so you may find distortion and haze in that connected rear element. The K series lenses often have glued-together rear glass elements. These gradually break down and apart over the years. It's called "balsam separation" and some people confuse it with "fungus" in these lenses. Sadly, it cannot be cleaned up and it will soft focus your images. Better to get an M Series 50mm f1.7 and - if you like plastic lenses - the A Series equivalent.

Because my previously owned two f1.8 lenses had this rear element separation issue, I will never touch one of these again. Glue has an age-mechanic limitation that means if the same glue is used in all lenses, it'll all start to go to a cloudy mess in all of these lenses.

Otherwise a really nice lens with real and accurate looking sharpish 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.
   
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.
   
Forum Member

Registered: June, 2013
Location: Utrecht
Posts: 85

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

2 users 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: 1,277

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: 13

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
   
Senior Member

Registered: September, 2013
Posts: 283

2 users 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
   
Pentaxian

Registered: November, 2014
Posts: 361

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.
Add Review of SMC Pentax 55mm F1.8



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