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Bell & Howell 28mm, f2.8

Reviews Views Date of last review
3 4,020 Fri January 12, 2018
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $13.33 7.33
Bell & Howell 28mm, f2.8

A 28mm prime lens. Aperture has 6 blades, aperture range is from f2.8 up to f22. Minimum focusing distance is 0.3m. Metal construction. Filter size is 49mm.

Probably made by osawa pace skodadriver review - Osawa 28mm listed here.
Mount Type: M42 Screwmount
Price History:

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Senior Member

Registered: August, 2009
Location: Broomfield, Colorado
Posts: 107
Lens Review Date: January 12, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $10.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: PK mount, solid build, smooth focus, useful DOF scale
Cons: prefer A-mount for DSLR
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 9    Value: 9    Camera Used: K5 II   

Bell & Howell 28mm F/2.8 Wide Angle Lens
Made in Japan
Mount: PK version
Focus ring: 180 degrees rotational throw, moderately firm and smooth
Aperture ring: 1/2 stop detent "clicks" except full stops at F2.8 and F22
Lens Hood: black threaded (49mm) hard plastic hood, no labeling

Lens has a nice solid, well built feel not unlike Pentax M-series lenses, while this lens has a more shiny looking chrome finish for the base mount region!

Photos of the lens with cap and hood are shown below.

Example landscape moderate closeup, f/5.6
B&W Winter Waves of Texture
Loyal Site Supporter

Registered: May, 2015
Location: Hampshire
Posts: 797
Lens Review Date: July 15, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $10.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Cheap, build quality seems robust
Cons: Not as sharp as I would like
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 7    Value: 8    Camera Used: K-5   

I bought this lens at auction. It has the M42 mount and a stop down A/M facility so it is easy to use in AV.
It came with a little brochure so I will add some details;
Model 280B
Construction 7-7
Max dia 61mm
Overall length 51.5mm
Weight 240 gms
The back of the brochure has;

So it looks like this might be lens made by Osawa, it's labelled made in Japan. Osawa has a similar 28mm F2.8 in the misc. lens list on the forum. There seems to be evidence that Bell & Howell was a brand name owned by Osawa in other threads on some older Pentax forum Q's & A's.

I have yet to be wowed by any of the 28mm lenses I have bought. The one that might have been my favourite was the PETRI 28mm F2 but it had a lot of glow around any white in an image at wider apertures. It was probably my sharpest 28mm at smaller apertures.

I sold this Petri as well as my -A 28mm F2.8, my -M (2nd version) 28mm F2.8 and an old Tamron Adaptall (I forget which one but it was 28mm F2.8) as I was not very impressed with the images they provided when using the lenses at the indicated Hyperfocal distances to enable focus to infinity at F8 or F11 when walking around.
I do wonder if these markings are not too accurate sometimes but things that should be well within focus do not appear to be any sharper than the 18-55mm kit lens. Closer up things are a quite a lot better regarding sharpness.

This Bell & Howell is no better than the lenses I have sold on. Perhaps not quite as good and like the Petri has some glow at wider apertures. So it will go sometime too.

But I do recommend it if you get it at the price I did.

If you have to have a 28mm F2.8 manual lens, check out some 3rd party ones too, (Vivitar can be as good as Pentax I believe!) and can be found relatively cheap so not too much of a waste if you don't like them
I have kept my close focus Komine made Vivitar 28mm F2.8 as it has a -A mount, is no worse for distant images than the Pentax-A but is closer focussing and also my Sigma wide angle 28mm F2.8.
I have also kept my 1st version Pentax-M 28mm F2.8 for reasons that escape me.

I have trouble appreciating a fixed length 28mm lens, it's probably just me, maybe they require some post processing to bring out their images better.
New Member

Registered: March, 2016
Posts: 11
Lens Review Date: April 20, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $20.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Cheap, infinity focus starts from 4m
Cons: Loss of contrast when shooting against a light source
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 8    Value: 9    Camera Used: Pentax K-x, Sony a5000   

So this is the lens I'm talking about

Surprisingly there seems to be almost no information available in the internet about this lens . I was looking for a 28mm prime, fount this in ebay and decided to give it a try reglardless of quite lacking information bout this lens.

Size wise it's the same size as Pentax-A 50mm f1.7 and is slightly heavier. Focus distance is from 0.3m and infinity starts at 4m. Wide open it's relatively soft. When stopped down it ofcource improves but at that point one would have to question the wisdom of going for that kind of prime lens over the kit zooms which almost always cover this focal distance and are only 1 stop darker normally at 28mm.

I would say it is marginally sharper than three zooms I have which cover that focal range, however, the Pentax 18-55mm kit zoom is pretty close so unless one already has this lens it might not be worth it.

So some comparison shots I did (zoomed in crops for pixel peeping).
Against the kit zoom at 28mm

Against the pentax 28 - 90mm zoom (which is the worst lens I own in my opinion)

And against Tamron 28-200mm zoom at 28mm.

I'll add that if the conditions are right it can produce decent images. One should just avoid shooting against the light sources as the loss of contrast can be then dramatic. Not always but sometimes.
Wide open at f2.8

Stopped down to .. mm f5.6? If I remeber correct.

A cat under good light conditions

And some plants
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