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Kalimar 18-28mm f4-4.5 MC, Auto, Zoom

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2 13,654 Fri December 14, 2018
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $109.50 8.00
Kalimar 18-28mm f4-4.5 MC, Auto, Zoom

Can be found under many different banners. This version is made in Korea. Has the "A" aperture setting. 72mm filter. KR mount requires removal of Ricoh pin.
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Senior Member

Registered: November, 2018
Posts: 175
Lens Review Date: December 14, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $99.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Price, build quality, very cheap way to go wide on FF or film
Cons: Dark viewfinder image, vignetting wide open
Sharpness: 6    Aberrations: 5    Bokeh: 5    Handling: 6    Value: 8    Camera Used: Z1p, P30T   

Pentax P30T, Centon 18-28mm F4-4.5, Fuji Velvia.
The shot was taken wide open and hand-held and was cropped to panoramic format to remove all the vignetting at the corners.

This was a review I wrote for quite a few years back.

My version of this lens was a Centon 18-28mm F4.0-4.5 in Pentax KA mount, but it's also sold under the Phoenix,Vivitar and Sirius brand names.

About the same length as a standard 28-80 zoom lens, but a bit narrower this metal shelled lens is constructed quite well considering its price. Its weight of 0.49kg is not too intrusive, although it does require 72mm filters to fit its protuding filter ring.

I've had the lens for a couple of years, during which its gone through a couple of periods of heavy use - without any wear or tear being visible as yet.

Any 11 group 14 element design sold as cheaply as this lens is will entail compromises. Bearing that in mind performance is reasonable, although flare and image falloff can be a problem. Its claimed that the maximum aperture is F4-4.5,but I'm unconvinced as the viewfinder image seems a lot duller than with other lenses I own with equivalent maximum apertures. Fortunately focusing with such wide angles doesn't really need to be all that exact an art.

Stopping down to F8 or F11 will produce the best results - using it wide open is a recipe for soft, dark corners in the resultant image.

A straightforward two-touch zoom, with reasonably wide focus and zoom rings,and a well weighted aperture ring, this lens has good handling characteristics,only being let down by the rather murky viewfinder image. No depth of field or infra-red index are marked however (a common zoom lens problem), which is a little annoying, especially as a lenses of this focal length do lend themselves to use of hyper-focal distances.

Mostly the Centon has been used on a Pentax P30T body, loaded with Fuji Velvia( which is not exactly noted for exposure latitude), where it has provided correct exposures under a wide range of circumstances. Coupled with a Pentax Z1p,shooting Fuji Provia slide and Fuji Reala print film has also provided acceptable results, without necessitating the use of exposure bracketing so far. I didn't have a DSLR back in those days so can't comment on how it'd work with those, although being PKA mount I wouldn't expect problems.

I paid 99 poumds Sterling (160 USD) in 1996 for this lens (from Jessops in the UK). As there are no close competitors currently in the market I feel this is good value. In the US I've seen the lens in its Vivitar incarnation for asl ittle as 139.95 USD.

I bought this as a introduction to use wide angles - to see if I liked the results and to find out whether I would be justified in spending more on a better quality replacement. For that purpose it has been an excellent choice, and some of my favourite images to date have been taken with this lens. I eventually replaced it with the much more expensive Tokina ATX-Pro 20-35mm F2.8, after which I sold the Centon (although I now wish I'd have kept it as it was a decent enough lens).
Loyal Site Supporter

Registered: March, 2012
Location: Rochester, NY
Posts: 3,665
Lens Review Date: July 11, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $120.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp with nice color.
Cons: None for the price.
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 9   

I am giving this lens a 9. I have had it for almost 20 years. Mine is under the brand name Polar and I got it on a whim at Kimpo Airport in Seoul. I think I paid something like $120 for it brand new.

Not expecting much I was pleasantly surprised at the results. Pictures were sharp and the color was nice and vibrant. What is strange is that the whole front element assembly wobbles but it doesn't seem to affect image quality. For the price I am very happy with it.
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