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SMC Pentax-DA L 18-50mm F4-5.6 DC WR RE Review RSS Feed

SMC Pentax-DA L 18-50mm F4-5.6 DC WR RE

Sharpness 
 8.1
Aberrations 
 8.3
Bokeh 
 8.1
Autofocus 
 9.4
Handling 
 8.4
Value 
 9.1
Reviews Views Date of last review
8 24,978 Sun January 22, 2017
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $112.56 8.88
SMC Pentax-DA L 18-50mm F4-5.6 DC WR RE

SMC Pentax-DA L 18-50mm F4-5.6 DC WR RE
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SMC Pentax-DA L 18-50mm F4-5.6 DC WR RE
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Description:
The smc PENTAX-DA L 18-50mm F4-5.6 DC WR RE kit lens launched in February 2015 was a welcome addition to the selection of kit lenses for the APS-C format due to its built-in autofocus motor for silent autofocusing. Focusing manually with the focusing ring engages the AF motor, which takes care of the focusing. This implies that this lens cannot be used on DSLRs without lens power contacts (K100D and older).

As a first for Pentax this standard zoom lens is retractable for easy storage and portability. When retracted it measures but 41 mm in length. The lens is weather resistant making it useable in dusty environments or in light rain when paired with a whether-resistant Pentax DSLR.

The lens features super-low dispersion glass elements and aspherical elements for improved image quality.

This lens is only sold as a part of a camera/lens kit, and it has an HD coated counter part that is sold separately.

SMC Pentax-DA L 18-50mm F4-5.6 DC WR RE
Image Format
APS-C
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
No
Diaphragm
Automatic, 7 blades (rounded)
Optics
11 elements, 8 groups
Mount Variant
KAF3
Max. Aperture
F4-5.6
Min. Aperture
F22-32
Focusing
AF (in-lens motor)
DC
Quick-shift
Yes
Min. Focus
30 cm
Max. Magnification
0.23x
Filter Size
58 mm
Internal Focus
No
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 76-31.5 ° / 67-27 °
Hood
PH-RBJ58
Case
S80-80
Lens Cap
O-LC58
Coating
SMC,SP
Weather Sealing
Yes (WR)
Other Features
Retractable,Focus by Wire
Diam x Length
71 x 41 mm (2.8 x 1.6 in.)
Weight
158 g (5.6 oz.)
Production Years
2015 to Present
Engraved Name
smc PENTAX-DA L 1:4-5.6 18-55mm DC WR RE
Notes
Not compatible with K100D and older.
Plastic mount.
Retractable.
One aspherical element, one ED element.
Features:
Supersonic AutofocusQuick ShiftWeather SealedAutomatic ApertureAPS-C Digital Only
Purchase: Buy the SMC Pentax-DA L 18-50mm F4-5.6 DC WR RE
In-Depth Review: Read our SMC Pentax-DA L 18-50mm F4-5.6 DC WR RE in-depth review!



Add Review of SMC Pentax-DA L 18-50mm F4-5.6 DC WR RE Buy the SMC Pentax-DA L 18-50mm F4-5.6 DC WR RE
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Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-8 of 8
Site Supporter

Registered: August, 2016
Location: Irvine, CA
Posts: 75
Lens Review Date: January 22, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $120.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: compact, DC focus, sharp (when calibrated), weathersealed
Cons: typical slow kit lens, lose 5mm on long end compared to 18-55
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-3, K-S2   

I needed a compact, weather-sealed 'pedestrian' zoom that would accompany us on our first snow day to the mountains, and the 18-50 was the perfect lens when combined with the K-S2.

It's not that flimsy; I've used other retractable lenses (m4/3 kit zooms) and the 18-50 lens is quite secure. The button to release the zoom mechanism is a bit annoying though, since it falls readily at-hand and is easily accidentally-pressed, but other than this slight annoyance, handling is decent.

I hate the fact that it has threads for the hood, but buying the hood separately is a pretty steep cost...and you still don't get the cap! So, I found a cheap 58mm clip-on style petal hood that works great. I may find another clip-on hood and see if I can do some Dremel magic to adapt it on the bayonet.

For a compact and weather-sealed zoom lens, this is an amazing bargain. It's sharp within expectations and the color output is nicely saturated - just the way I like it. It focuses quickly and quietly, the latter is a tremendous advantage compared to screw-drive lenses.

Downside - obviously not as sharp as my DA 40/2.8 Limited or my Sigma 50/2.8 macro...both of which are exceedingly sharp, but again, manage your expectations accordingly.

For my needs, this lens fits the bill...though I have frequently been tempted with getting a constant-aperture zoom...but I sure don't want to deal with the size of that zoom (hello, 16-50, you 1.5 pound monster).

Sample pictures using the K-S2 and 18-50 below (SOOC jpeg, reversal film filter):





Sample picture with K-3 and 18-50 below (slightly edited with Rawtherapee):



   
Forum Member

Registered: February, 2014
Location: Warsaw
Posts: 67
Lens Review Date: November 27, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $140.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Small, very light, resonably sharp, silent focusing, WR, cheap
Cons: weak construction, slow
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-70   

For its price lens is good, light, small and relatively sharp also wide open (but still slow).
From my initial tests it looked like this lens might been sharper then my favourite Pentax F 35-70.
Further tests reviled that it is sadly not as sharp but close. (DAL is sometimes sharper wide open) Auto focus is silent reasonably fast but not super accurate ( Pentax AF).
Small, light and cheap. Great lens to carry with you in case of emergency i.e. bad weather conditions
Limitations are obvious, it is rather slow and doesn't seem to be very rugged, auto focus is average some photos are clearly not in focus, sharpness is OK.

Stating that it is super sharp is not true but it is decently sharp and very sharp as for cheap kit. Lens can produce very good images and is worth buying especially instead of old kit which is bigger less sharp gives more aberrations and have slower and louder AF.









   
Pentaxian

Registered: July, 2014
Location: Nagoya
Posts: 568
Lens Review Date: September 2, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $80.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Small, light, silent focusing, WR, cheap
Cons: Some CA at 18mm, not the fastest
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 8    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-S2   

It should tell you a lot that I replaced the 18-135 I got as a kit with my K-S2 with this lens. The 18-135 was not worth the large amount of money I paid for it - terrible CA and edge and corner performance, heavy and unbalanced on the K-S2.

This lens is better in every regard optically, and is much lighter too. The only point at which I've found the kind of fringing that annoyed me on the 18-135 at every focal length is at 18mm on very high contrast edges, and it's been very easy to correct using ACR. The focusing is silent and fast, and the WR is very nice to have too.
Overall rendering and sharpness won't set the world alight but it is good, particularly for the price. Distortion is present at wide angles but is easy to correct in software.

The handling is ok, although I'm rather undecided about the retractable barrel. The compactness is great, and makes the camera easy to pop in a bag when you want to take it out. Extended, it is pretty solid - I haven't noticed any barrel wobble. The retraction itself is a little clumsy though - the turn is a little too far for one twist of the wrist, and it sometimes binds a little on the retraction if you don't release the button as soon as you're past the 18mm mark. I also worry that I might smack the small, exposed extended end on something.

Overall, I like this lens quite a lot. It certainly makes a better kit than the 18-135 - save yourself the money with this one and buy a second, better lens for longer focal lengths.
   
New Member

Registered: January, 2014
Posts: 6
Lens Review Date: August 12, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $82.78 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: small in size, built-in motor, quiet focusing, rather cheap prize
Cons: no for the prize
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-30   

What an awesome kit lens. It's portable and well made. The noise is almost zero(compared with those screw driven lenses). I use it as a wide angle lens only, so I'm not sure about the 35mm and 50mm parts, but I'm very satisfied with the 18mm part. The fact is all other wide angle lenses are far more expensive than this one, no matter prime or zoom.

My copy seems to backfocus somewhat on my K-30, so may be I'm not able to release its full power, but in my case, the Chromatic Aberration is kind of severe, rather visible at the edge between high contrast zones. Apart from that, I would say the sharpness can be better, but I'm comparing it with da35/2.4. When stand among other 18-55 lenses, there's no problem at all.

So, after all I would definitely recommend this lens, if you can get it at a reasonable price. Please look at pictures for real performance.
   
Site Supporter

Registered: January, 2013
Location: Shawnee, KS
Posts: 1,450
Lens Review Date: March 4, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Lightweight, quickshift, WR, sharp, nice zoom range
Cons: Fiddly to retract, slow aperture

I got this lens brand new, bundled with my Stone Gray K-S2, from B&H. It took me a long time to get around to using the lens extensively, partially because I prefer manual focus lenses, and partially because I've been conditioned to think that "kit lens" is a bad word and there's nothing good that can come out of them. Clearly that's wrong.

I really really love how lightweight the lens is. Yeah, I like a nice heavy metal lens as much as the next gal, but I have a lot of heavy metal lenses and using this plastic-constructed lens for my (more or less) month-long experiment was a real joy. I had no issues with the quality of the materials, not even the plastic mount. (Don't be afraid!)

There's no getting around it: Yes, the retraction is a bit of a hassle. But it does make the lens extremely compact. I did not have any issues with the retraction mechanism at all - it ain't rocket science - but it was another step that had to be taken before I could make an exposure.

The quick-shift focus is cool and handy, and I wish I had it on my only other auto-focus lens, the DA 50/1.8. Auto-focus on the 18-50 seemed fast and accurate enough for me, although I did have one instance of it struggling in low light. However, switching to MF and using live view was simple and very effective. The auto-focus is SIGNIFICANTLY more quiet than I remember from my past experience with AF lenses. Very impressive! I didn't have any issues with front- or back-focusing that I noticed.

The zoom range is pretty much ideal for me. More and more I realize that I like wide angle lenses, and I loved the FoV at 18mm, and 50mm got me as close as I ever needed to be.

At 18mm, the eddges were a little soft and slightly muddy, but it was a mild defect. There was some CA/fringing in all high-contrast situations, but Lightroom cured those ills easily and it was never a problem.

There was a pretty significant amount of distortion at 18mm, but if you thought there wouldn't be, then I don't know what to tell you... Distortion correction took away most of it in Lightroom, but there were some images that I couldn't totally remove the "bulge" from. I got over it.

My main gripe with the lens is that f/4 is pretty dang slow. It's forgivable at 18mm, because I like DoF, but by the time you zoom to 50mm and are stuck with f/5.6 you might be feelin' blue (like I was). But, for the convenience of the zoom range, the lightweight build and the very decent IQ it produces, I was able to overlook the slow aperture MOST of the time.

I think it's a pretty poor lens for indoor shots and dim lighting, but as a casual daytime walk around, especially when you're going to be carrying your camera all day and weight is an issue, it's hard to beat. I'm glad I took the time to get to know it a little better.

Here's my Flickr Album with images from the DAL 18-50/4-5.6 DC WR RE: CLICK HERE
   
Junior Member

Registered: November, 2008
Location: Winsum, the Netherlands
Posts: 28
Lens Review Date: February 3, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: light, retractable, sharp,compact, Quiet Focus, DC
Cons: weak construction, no lenshood supplied, Wobbly, stucking retraction mechanism
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 5    Value: 7    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-S2   

I have the SMC version kit lens . It has the same optical quality as the HD version. Only the coating of the HD version is better.
The optics are good, although I don't see a spectacular difference versus the 18 - 55 II lens.

I like the lens AF wise. It has a silent DC motor. Its build is compact. It focuses very fast.

But what i don't like : the construction of this lens (may be just the one I have ?) is very wobbly. When I push the button to get the lens to full extend than it only works well when the lens is oriented horizontally. When you point it down it will nearly refuse to get out.
Also the inner tube is not fitted very firm in the outer tube. When yoy change the zoom position you see the whole scene in the viewfinder moves a bit sidewise. It looks as if the constuction seeks his real route to move first. It repositions and than the view is clear.

I wonder if other users lenses have the same behaviour. I compared it with my 18 - 55 II lens. This type has not the strange behaviour . No wobbling and seeking position when you zoom in or out.

I would like the others users to test this and give some reviews about this specific point. So give your feedback !

I also don't like the absence of a (cheap plasitic) hood supplied with the kit version.
   
Veteran Member

Registered: July, 2013
Posts: 351
Lens Review Date: October 23, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $140.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: extremely fast AF, lightweight, compact, QuickShift, retractable, wide-angle
Cons: none so far, 18-50 is 18-50... :)
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-3   

I bought the lens for a a bargain from a user that jumped ship to m43ds.

First i have to say that he didn't send the hood with it. So i can not say how it would perform with the original pentax hood on.

When used in harsh light and at 18mm, pictures tend to get a bit soft from the stray light... i guess the hood would do very good compensation here.

Stopping down 2-3 steps helps you out here.

I would not like to use it on its extremes(18 or 50mm) wide open, but the same applies to every other lens IMHO.

Overall i got to say, it performs like a charm. With this lens mounted on a K-3 in green mode, you feel like having the fastest and best Point'n'Shoot ever in your Hands.

The lens is light and the lens is fast when it comes to AF. Just a few days ago i tried a canon, and compared its SDM AF, to our Screw-Drive with a very fast lens on, and i had to admit the Canon was way faster...(But hey, no wonder. Screw-Drive though F:2.8)
BUT WITH THIS LENS the PENTAX K - 3 BEATS the sh.. out of Canons DSLRs... its just like you could just push the shutter release button. No wait... Aim, press ... Voila!

i was blown away. Really!
Yes it may feel cheap. maybe the construction didnt cost that much, it doesnt feel massive like DA* lenses or maybe a fat'n'fast Tokina would, but man this is indeed a performer.



only minus on this plastic sister is distortion due to the construction... but it is not that bad.
BANG for the BUCK? ----> 99,9% I give it: all thumbs up.
Use a hood!
   
New Member

Registered: March, 2012
Posts: 6

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: August 26, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: lightweight, inexpensive, zoom range, weather sealed
Cons: clunky operation, plasticky, no lens hood included
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 7    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: KS-2   

I recently purchased a KS-2 with the 18-50 DA-L WR DC included as part of the kit. I am a modestly experienced Pentax owner (first camera was a K100D Super in 2007) but wanted the lens for its compactness, zoom, light weight, and WR qualities. I specify a price of ~$60 as this was the difference between the kit and a body only version. I consider this an excellent value.

I preface this review by saying that I am a casual photographer. I take pictures for fun and my own personal enjoyment and collection. I am not a professional and while I do a bit of pixel peeping, my expectations are generally fairly modest. I tend to prioritize sharpness and colour rendition over other features. I am not interested in post-processing so 100% of my pictures are straight OOTC JPG. Given the level of my expertise and expectations, you may want to scale your own scoring of the lens accordingly. I.e., if you are very exacting, then you should probably revise my scores down.

With that out of the way, on to the review, with a few sample pictures of some flowers. Flowers are generally a good test for what I'm interested in since I can check focusing, sharpness, colour, and to some extent, bokeh. They are not great for wide shot performance so I didn't do a very good or thorough evaluation of the wide angle performance.











Sharpness

I am quite pleased with the sharpness of these photos. I did some serious pixel peeping on these images and I was definitely satisfied with the detail in the images. The bee image is a good example. I know the composition is poor but it was mostly taken to check how detailed the bee was among complicated surrounding objects. Borders of all the different flower parts look quite distinct to my eye. Overall, very happy.

Aberrations

I didn't test wide angle in these images but went out later to shoot some walls and other angular objects. Performance is about what I expect and what other more comprehensive reviews have reported. That is, good not great for distortions. I am generally satisfied and it suits my purposes fine. In other words, nothing that really offends my sensibilities.

I did not see too much purple fringing but then again, conditions were probably not such to generate too much of that kind of problem.

Bokeh

Bokeh is a particularly subjective evaluation and to my untrained eye, I admit to not being great at distinguishing "harsh" bokeh from "pleasing" bokeh. To me, I suppose the question is "is the bokeh distracting or not?" Looking at photo 4 and 5 in particular, I am pretty happy with that. Given that those were taken at f/5.6 (smallest aperture at 50mm) it's satisfactory.

Autofocus

I was very pleased with the autofocus. Admittedly it's nearly perfect conditions, since it was bright and sunny with very distinct colours, but I found the AF very fast and near silent. I have a few screw drive AF lenses still so hearing the slightest hum from the DC motor was certainly a nice change to wrrrrr...wrrrr...thunk. Thinking back, I was actually super pleased with how quick it was. I'd find a subject, compose it, and then bzz...ding...snap in seconds. For reference, I consider the old Sigma 70-300 the absolute worst in AF speed and sound.

Handling

Handling is one area that I was pretty disappointed in. I had been warned about this in other reviews but I found the lock and zoom mechanism very clunky to use. The lens in fully collapsed mode needs to be unlocked with a button while you rotate the ring counter-clockwise. Once it hits 18mm then it freely rotates between 18-50. You cannot collapse the lens (past 18) until you push the button again. I found out though that on my copy at least, if you are holding the button down while you rotate clockwise past 18mm towards closed, the mechanism sort of seizes up. I was quite alarmed at first to notice that it didn't seem to retract. I much later found out that (on my copy) you need to push the button to get past 18, release it, and then it will collapse without issue. In other words, don't keep the button depressed as you collapse the barrel. I found all this quite cumbersome and annoying. I get that it's a property of the design but I didn't like it.

Also, while it is very lightweight, it feels very flimsy and plasticky. There is a slight wobble in the focal length ring and definitely in the focus ring, which feels particularly loose. While I am very much an AF person anyway, this wobbliness really deters me from doing any manual focusing. I guess I am spoiled by the smoothness of my DA 15 and DA 100 WR Macro.

Value

Despite my concerns about handling, overall I would rate this lens very highly for value, especially given that I paid about $60 for it. I think I'd probably be a lot more hesitant at $299 for the HD version, but even at up to $150 I think I'd be pretty satisfied. For what it does and for the weather sealing (will need it in humid SE Asia in a few months), I think it's very nice indeed. I am disappointed the lens hood was not included though.

Overall

Overall, I am very happy with this lens. When I need to travel or have weather sealing, it will be my go to lens on my KS-2. It will also have a home on my K-01 for sure (even more compact). But without a doubt, if size and weight aren't an issue, I'll probably be using my Sigma 24-70 instead. That being said, for my purposes this lens is terrific.
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