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SMC Pentax-M 28mm F3.5

Reviews Views Date of last review
36 140,697 Mon December 19, 2016
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $63.19 8.83
SMC Pentax-M 28mm F3.5

SMC Pentax-M 28mm F3.5
SMC Pentax-M 28mm F3.5

The slower of the two M variants, it succeeded the original K 28mm lens.

SMC Pentax-M 28mm F3.5
Image Format
Full-frame / 35mm film
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
Yes (no A setting)
Automatic, 5 blades
6 elements, 6 groups
Mount Variant
Max. Aperture
Min. Aperture
Min. Focus
30 cm
Max. Magnification
Filter Size
49 mm
Internal Focus
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 55 ° / 46 °
Full frame: 75 ° / 65 °
PH-S49 (28/35mm)
Dedicated hard case
Lens Cap
Plastic clip-on
Weather Sealing
Other Features
Diam x Length
63 x 31.5 mm
180 g
Production Years
1977 to 1985
Engraved Name
smc PENTAX-M 1:3.5 28mm
Product Code
Manual FocusAperture RingFull-Frame SupportDiscontinued
Price History:

Add Review of SMC Pentax-M 28mm F3.5
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Registered: July, 2014
Location: Nagoya
Posts: 562
Lens Review Date: December 19, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $80.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Usual solid M series, nice colours
Cons: Bokeh (it's a 28mm, colour me amazed), doesn't stand up to latest sensors

Not much remains to be said about this lens - it's a good 28mm, nice colours and the build is typical fantastic M series. On film it does a great job at the classic 28mm focal length and I have no complaints. On digital, it's a little more complex. On the older K-m this lens is a stunner and it's a combo I use often - something about the old but colourful 10mp sensor and this bright little lens just makes them a perfect match. Put it on the 20mp K-S2, however, and things start to fall apart - zoom in and even at f8 images look noticeably unsharp everywhere except from the centre, even with the APS-C crop. That is hardly a valid criticism, however - this lens was designed the best part of 40 years before the K-S2 came out, so unless Pentax's designers were particularly forward thinking, they certainly didn't do a bad job.

Thus, I recommend this lens, but with certain caveats - namely, if you're using a newer 20mp+ digital camera, you may want to look elsewhere in this focal length. But for the film users, and those (like me) who like to pair their classic glass with an older digital body, this lens will be a valuable addition to your arsenal.
New Member

Registered: February, 2016
Location: lake constance
Posts: 1

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 12, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $50.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: build, sharpness, light weight, color
Cons: none
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10   

The Pentax M 3,5/28mm is a great lens for landscape and trips because of the advanced angle.
I always enjoy the neutral colors and in architecture photography i love that straight lines keep straight. The build is perfect as you know it from the "K" lenses.
Pick it, if you can - for low costs. I bought mine for ca. 50$, like new!

Registered: April, 2009
Location: Madrid, Spain
Posts: 4,117

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 19, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $60.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Small, light-weight, very sharp
Cons: Slow, lacks 3D quality to results

This lens is very good, especially if simple sharpness is what is required. Build quality is typically superb for the M series. It's extremely sharp even wide open. Colour and contrast are very good but not excellent.

If you're into more normal focal lengths for landscape photography or you simply want a lens which is compact & very sharp wide open, then this is ideal. On a DSLR this means you can use it in A mode and not worry that your photos won't be sharp because you didn't stop down.

I have compared this lens to various other similar models.
  • Compared to M 28/2.8 (mark I). The f/3.5 version is sharper with much better colour and contrast
  • Compared to M 28/2.8 (mark II - optically identical to the A series lens). The f/3.5 is still sharper but no longer wins in colour and contrast - the f/2.8 is superior in these regards. I think the f/2.8 has more distortion though.
  • Compared to K 28/3.5. The K version is optically superior. It's just as sharp and has better colour and contrast and is capable of giving a 3D quality to photos, which the M version isn't. However, the K is much bigger and heavier.

In the end I sold this lens and kept the K version for sheer IQ and the f/2.8 mark II for a smaller/lighter/faster version. I found that the images from the K version didn't need to be post-processed to give them some life and vibrancy in the same way as those from the M version. If you want a single lens though that's light, small and sharp wide open then the f/3.5 version is the best compromise available in the old manual 28mm lenses.

Some samples:

New Member

Registered: October, 2015
Posts: 2
Lens Review Date: October 19, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $54.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: sharpness, little Chromatic Aberration, size
Cons: distortion,poor bokeh
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 4    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: A7s   

This is an excellent Landscape lens and I feel that many of the issues in other reviews here are down to either a bad adapter or damaged lens preventing focus to infinity.

I have both the Pentax-k 28mm f3.5 and CZ Distagon 28mm f2.8 to compare it to, and it holds it's own against both of them.

Stepped down, it offers excellent corner to corner sharpness and great colour and contrast. It has less CA than any other 28mm that I have ever seen and is much better than both the Distagon and Pentax-k in that respect.

The bokeh is obviously not too great with 5 blades, but this lens is not really about shallow depth of field anyway.

The only criticism that I have is that there is some distortion, which isn't noticeable for most landscape use, but may be a problem when shooting buildings etc.
New Member

Registered: May, 2013
Location: Jakarta
Posts: 2
Lens Review Date: May 23, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $30.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: build, color rendering, excellent for landscaping photo
Cons: bad bokeh
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 6    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K5, A7   

lucky i bought this lens in cheap price from ebay auction, this lens has excellent pentax color rendering, really like this for landscaping photography, it can produced very good detail of image

here are of my samples shoots on my flickr:
Senior Member

Registered: April, 2013
Location: St. Louis, MO
Posts: 113
Lens Review Date: May 19, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $59.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: sharpness, color, x-factor, build quality, feel
Cons: bokeh not great
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 6    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-01   

I give it an overall 10 even in spite of the meh bokeh. I guess I'd give it a 9.5, but that's not an option. I don't expect this type of lens to be a bokeh monster, so with that in mind, this lens is really quite stellar when used appropriately.

The color is gorgeous. The sharpness is as good as one could want from a lens. The feel and build quality of these M's is legendary. The coatings are wonderful. It's not a fast one at f3.5, but I'm not using this as a fast, low-light lens. On my K-01 with focus peaking, it's quite easy to nail focus.

So with speed and bokeh aside, excellent sharpness clearly proven, what really makes this an exciting lens for me is the look of it, this x-factor. It just does something special, something vibrant and lifelike, an indescribable dimensionality that's very appealing to me.

Perhaps the best $59 I ever spent on a lens.

New Member

Registered: March, 2014
Posts: 1
Lens Review Date: January 14, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 7 

Pros: Very sharp center
Cons: Needs to be stopped down for good edge sharpness
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 7    Handling: 9    Value: 8    Camera Used: Sony A7   

At f/3.5, the lens is very sharp in the center, with poor edges and corners (FF). Stopped down to f/5.6 the center becomes extremely sharp with improved edges, but the corners remain soft until f/8.

The lens has some visible distortion. CA is not a problem.

Handling is on par with most M primes, sturdy metal construction with smooth focusing. No wobbling or play whatsoever.
New Member

Registered: November, 2014
Posts: 2
Lens Review Date: November 27, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $55.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Small. Very sharp. Cheap.
Cons: Had bad copy
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: Fuji X-e1   

Cant get over how sharp this lens is. Rarely come up on ebay but If you can find one I would say buy it. Makes a great standard manual lens on my DSLR.

Had an infinity problem with a copy I recently bought off ebay. This lens is very well regarded and I was bitterly disappointed with the results I got with any subject more than 10 feet away. Not sure if it had been dropped or previouly badly serviced although it looked prestine. Nearly consigned to the back of the cupboard but with nothing to loose I partially dismantled it and actually removed the stop screw. That focus stop click may have gone and the focus ring turns / slips against the barrel past infinity focus a little but this mini gem has now become one of my favourite lens.

Registered: March, 2007
Location: So Cal
Posts: 2,080

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: September 20, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $45.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Flat field, clean all the way across on a full frame sensor, minimal CA, sharp
Cons: dark corners on full frame, five aperture blades can make for ugly bokeh in certain situations.
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 3    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: Sony a7R 36mp full frame   

i've mounted nearly a dozen legacy 28mm primes on the sony a7r, and the smc pentax-m 28mm f/3.5 is the best i've seen so far for stopped-down landscape shots.

you'll have to download a 21mb image comparison to see the differences:

SMC Pentax-M 28mm f/3.5 lens test

what's surprising is how clean the sides are on ff... the pentax k3 will have higher pixel density than the a7r, but i bet that the center of this glass can resolve it.

~f/10 appears to be the best compromise on the a7r.
New Member

Registered: February, 2014
Posts: 7
Lens Review Date: February 22, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 8 

Pros: Handling, sharpness, contrast, build quality
Cons: Could be faster, bokeh could be nicer
Sharpness: 8    Bokeh: 6    Handling: 10    Camera Used: ME   

Just borrowed this for a few rolls, so can't comment on price / value.

Handles like the other lenses in this line: very nice.
The copy I had wasn't as super-smooth as the 50mm f1.7 for example, but still a joy to use.

It's sharp, at least stopped down a bit, and as others said - the images "pop" -
the lens delivers nice contrasty and rather vivid images.
Very nice.
Inactive Account

Registered: November, 2013
Posts: 9
Lens Review Date: November 26, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: N/A 

Pros: Takes the "Oscar" for my best lens in my collection
Cons: None
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K5. K10D   

Takes prize place in my vast collection of manual vintage pentax lenses
I have 3 of these beauties .
Even the one I have that has some scratches on the lens pushes out stonkinly good sharp images.

So so so sharp after f8
Don't expect bokeh with this lens it just does "sharp"
Better than the 28mm Super Takumar
Need to be a little careful with metering for best results .
Seems to be better on the older sensor of the K10 for crisp landscapes than the CMOS sensor on the K5

I LOVE THIS LENS and worth the extra pennies second hand. I picked mine up for 70

For some strange reason I slapped this on my Canon 30D it hits the sweet spot so good that I have one on the canon all the time . better than any canon lens I have seen even the L lenses .

A MUST have buy. Don't hesitate to buy one if you want sharp images this wins hands down.
New Member

Registered: August, 2013
Posts: 2
Lens Review Date: August 5, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $106.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: small, incredible sharp, build quality, colors
Cons: slow
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K20d and K5   

I bought this Lens from a seller on ebay. I must admit it wasn't cheap, but boy it is worth every penny. I use it mainly on my K5 as a small and leight Lens (almost like a limited) for landscape work, which produces astonishing sharp results even wide open.

Other than the majority of reviews, my copy of the SMC M 28 3.5 is all up to my K 28 3.5 and even outperforms it from f3.5 to f5.6.
Even more astonishing is the fact that it beats the Tamron 17-50 f2.8 in all aperture settings! (both focused via Live-View). The only strange thing is its color rendition. During day it produces rich colors full of contrast, but somehow during night or dawn, everything gets a strange blueish rendering which can hardly be compensated by post processing.

Distortion is quite low in its sweet spot (APS-C). It might be an issue on full-frame or film, but i never tested it.

Lens flare seems to be well controlled, however with open aperture contrast is strongly reduced when taking pictures directed towards the sun. Stopped down to f8 the problem is gone.
In terms of Bokeh i say its a 9, simply because you can not expect a f3.5 Lens produce creamy background like a 50 1.2. On the otherhand, for f3.5 it is not nervous.

All in all: comparing its size and sharpness it is the perfect carry-around lens during day time, when more than f3.5 isn't needed anyway. Said that, I will never sell this lens, that's for sure!
Veteran Member

Registered: November, 2012
Posts: 948
Lens Review Date: June 18, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $45.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp, great Pentax colors, light and small
Cons: Slow
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: KX   

I got a mint copy of this lens.

Unfortunately, initially, it wouldn't focus to infinity. A thread here in this forum taught me how to correct the lens.

This lens has also taught me that basic axiom to never judge a lens without a tripod.

I knew that the FOV is good, but at first, I was very disappointed with its resolution and its general softness. Then I tried mounting it on a tripod, and presto! this lens, I discovered, is a keeper.

It's a slow lens, handheld, it will be difficult to get a sharp image especially under artificial lighting, but give it enough light, and it shows its true Pentax colors.

I just love this quirky little beast.
Junior Member

Registered: August, 2012
Posts: 33
Lens Review Date: March 9, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $90.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Build quality, saturated colours(!)
Cons: Resolution, sharpness
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 5    Handling: 9    Value: 9    Camera Used: Pentax K-30   

This is the kind of lens that you either love or hate. I love it despite it's very serious flaws.

Things I love about it:
  • As others have mentioned the colours are crazy! It just wants to paint the world bluish purple! It loves the sky and clouds, and just pops them out of the picture
  • It's built like a tank. My lens has seen its share of abuse but still works flawlessly.
  • Field of view on APS-C. It's pretty much a normal lens on digital

Things that drive me nuts about it
  • The resolution is simply not good enough for hi res shots. In particular items on the horizon become smudgy and treetops become grass. This is a real shame since otherwise this would be the perfect landscape lens. As it is, you're better of using it for shots taken at 1-15 meter distance.
  • No A-mode. Ok, ok, I knew this when I got it, but still it's pretty "slow" to use unless you know how to set the correct exposure everytime (I can't be bothered). I prefer the A-series lenses.

Would I recommend it? Without a question, yes. It's cheap, it makes for some seriously interesting shots and is very usable when you take its "special features" into account. That said, I ended up selling this gem and got the A-series 28mm F2.8 as a replacement, simply because of it's much superior resolution.

Some examples here:
Inactive Account

Registered: August, 2011
Posts: 59

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: February 8, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $70.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Unique color rendering (see review)
Cons: Depends on user's subjective preferences (see review)
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 6    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: Pentax K-5   

First of all, I should say that this lens is not for everyone. If you are looking for a lens which excels in 'normal' areas such as resolution and sharpness, this lens is probably not what you want. In all the standard aspects of lens performance, this lens is solid, but not outstanding.

Instead, the main attraction of this lens is its unique rendering characteristics. Whether it is pleasing to you depends very much on subjective taste. With this note firmly in mind, let's get into the details:

I bought this lens a month ago. I intended it to be my main "wide-normal" lens on the K-5, pairing it with my 21 Limited as my streetscape lenses. My initial observations were:

-Build quality is excellent. It is made completely of metal, just like the other M series lenses. There is no palpable slop or looseness anywhere. The focus ring is as smooth as oiled silk, and well damped. I thought my A 35-105 f/3.5 was well built, but these M series lenses are on another level of quality entirely.

-The lens is very compact, about the same size and weight as a 21 Limited.

-Sharp at all apertures, including wide open. Slight corner softness wide open, disappears by f/4. I have no hesitation at all in using this lens wide open.

-Resolution slightly lower but contrast somewhat higher than the A 50mm f/1.7. This lens cannot compete in resolution with any of the 50mm f/1.4 or f/1.7 lenses, neither can it compete with the Limiteds. But it is good enough. If you don't pixel-peep, however, the lens has enough contrast to give a subjective 'feel' of sharpness.

-It seems this lens was corrected for focus distances closer than infinity, because resolution at infinity (in landscape photos, for instance) is not great. At closer ranges (in street photography, for instance), resolution is visibly better. If you are primarily a landscape photographer, this might not be the best lens for you.

-Hardly visible CA in the corners, will not be a problem in prints up to 20" wide. I actually thought it had no CA at all, until I pixel peeped in the extreme corners.

-Very slight barrel distortion, not bothersome in daily use, unless you are an architectural photographer. It has less barrel distortion than the 21 Limited.

-Bokeh tends to be busy and does not much improve on stopping down.

So far, it would seem like this lens is middle-of-the-road, neither excellent nor bad.
But this lens truly grabbed my attention in one way: its very distinctive color rendering. The lens seems to have an affinity for blue/purple colors, and renders them with a luminous richness and depth I have not seen with any other lens. Also, in "tree branches against the sky" situations, this lens has a strong tendency towards blue replacement. This is not purple fringing, it looks very different from purple fringing or CA. What happens is that thin objects contrasted against a bright background ("branches against the sky") appear to take on a subtle bluish tint. Blue replacement is normally undesirable, but with this lens, I found that I liked it. It enhances the rendering of blue tones and imparts what I felt was a filmlike look to images.

Incidentally, the landscape photographer Greg Nyquist has observed that the predecessor of this lens, the "K" 28mm f/3.5, has the same gorgeous rendering of blue tones:

(Non working link removed)

Granted, the "M" version, which I have, is not quite at the same level as the "K" in resolution or contrast. But it shares the same distinctive rendering characteristics. (I actually wanted the "K" version, but could not find one within my budget, at least, not yet. The "M is good enough though.)

The color rendering of this lens instantly distinguishes its images from those made with my other lenses. Because of this, I consider it an asset and one of my favorite lenses. However, this is very much a subjective preference.
Thus, my ultimate advice to anyone considering this lens is: try it, you might like it. If you don't, you can always sell it. The adventure of trying is half the fun!
Add Review of SMC Pentax-M 28mm F3.5

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