Pentax (lens)

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Pentax SMC FA 31mm F1.8 Limited

Pentax DA and DA* lenses are the current lens line for Pentax digital SLR cameras. They use the Pentax KAF(And its variants, KAF2 and KAF3) Mount. All of these lenses have an autofocus feature, either operated from the camera body or from an internal SDM motor. Pentax compatible lenses are also made by third-party companies.

History[edit]

Takumar lenses were primarily supplied with Pentax cameras through the 1950s and 1960s using the M42 (Pentax) Screwmount. Pentax began supplying lenses under the Pentax name in the early 1970s, using a bayonet (K) mount. In addition to the 35mm line, Pentax added professional 645 and 67 format cameras to its lineup. Pentax has designed its digital SLR cameras to be compatible with any Pentax K mount and M42 screwmount (with a Pentax adapter) ever made, thus providing countless lens possibilities. 35mm and 645 lenses optimized for digital cameras are currently in production.

Controls and features[edit]

Ruber-sealing on the back of the DA 50-200mm 1-4-5.6 ED WR (red, right) compared to the non-WR version of the lens (left).

Unlike many manufacturers, Pentax provides "shake reduction" (SR) functionality within the camera, instead of inside each lens to be purchased. This is advantageous as any lens can be used with full SR functionality, and the lenses are more economical to manufacture as they do not require any shake reduction equipment inside.

Another feature which sets Pentax lenses apart from other manufacturers is that many of their top tier lenses, such as their camera bodies, are weather-sealed, allowing for their continued use in poor weather and wet locations. Pentax currently provides weather-sealed premium lenses up 300mm, and reportedly[citation needed] by special order, the FA*600mm. The largest lens produced by Pentax was the Reflex 2000mm, with non-mirrored lenses available up to the A* 1200mm. As with most manufacturers, telephotos of this range are no longer in production. Pentax provided premium focal lengths well beyond 1200mm, such as their 3800mm through the Pentax telescope division.

Mounts[edit]

Main article: Pentax K mount

  • M37(Asahiflex only)
  • M42(All Other Pre-K Mount 35mm Bodies, e.g. the Pentax Spotmatic)
  • Pentax K

Lens designations[edit]

Pentax SMC M 50mm f2

Below is a list of K-Mount Lens Lines produced by Pentax.[1]

K lenses[edit]

The first generation of Pentax K-mount lenses. Officially not referred to a K series lenses, they usually are given this designation to distinguish them from later K-mount lenses (such as the M, A, F, FA and DA series). These were exclusively manual focus lenses with no electronic features. The name of each lens started with "SMC", for example SMC Pentax 28mm F3.5, where SMC stands for Super-Multi-Coated, the lens coating introduced in the early 1970s at the end of the M42-mount era.

M lenses[edit]

The M series of lenses followed on from the earlier K series lenses. As with the earlier lenses, these were manual K-mount lenses without any electronic features. They behave just like the K series but are generally smaller in size, to match the more compact bodies of the same era, e.g. the Pentax MX and the Pentax ME Super.

A lenses[edit]

Another K-mount lens, the A series of lenses saw the introduction of "automatic" aperture settings. The lenses had an aperture ring (unlike the later DA series), and thus the aperture could be set manually, but they also had an "A" mode, which allowed the camera to control the aperture automatically.

F lenses[edit]

The F series were the first autofocus lenses (excluding the rare SMC Pentax-AF 35-70mm F2.8, made only for the ME-F camera). The autofocus is of screw-drive type, still supported by all Pentax DSLRs. They featured an aperture ring, which allowed the aperture to be controlled manually. Thus F lenses are able to be used on older cameras which do not support automatic setting of the aperture, such as the Pentax K1000.

FA lenses[edit]

Pentax SMC FA 35mm f2

These lenses are designed with use for full-frame film SLR cameras. As with the F series, they feature an aperture ring providing compatibility with older camera bodies. Autofocus is like the F series of screw-drive type. The FA* lenses are professional grade lenses and the FA Limited lenses are all metal high quality primes.

FA-J lenses[edit]

These were largely identical to the FA series of lenses, but lacked the aperture ring. As a result they are not fully compatible with some older manual focus cameras, as there was no method of setting the aperture other than through the camera body.

D-FA lenses[edit]

These lenses are coated with glazes that make the lenses more suitable for digital cameras. However, they also support older 35mm camera formats, as they provide "full frame" coverage. They may or may not have an Aperture ring, limiting their usage on non-electronic cameras.

The D-FA 100 WR was co-developed with Tokina.[2]

DA lenses[edit]

The DA lenses were designed specifically for the Pentax digital cameras incorporating an APS-C digital sensor. As the APS-C sensor has a smaller surface area than 35mm film, these lenses are not generally considered to be compatible with older cameras. They also lack an aperture ring, limiting their use on cameras that do not support automatic aperture settings.

Some lenses of this product line were co-developed with Tokina. Examples include the DA 12-24 and the DA 10-17 Fisheye.[3]

DA-L lenses[edit]

Similar to the DA series, these are smaller and lighter lenses than the DA models, but have a plastic (as opposed to steel) mount and lack the quick-shift focusing system of their heavier siblings. They are only sold in kits with entry-level bodies.

DA* lenses[edit]

Pentax DA* 16-50mm f2.8 alongside the smaller Pentax DA 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 lens

The DA* lenses are designed for use with Pentax digital SLR cameras. DA* lenses have higher quality optics than the DA series and typically have the distinction of being weather sealed to match the weather sealed capabilities of the Pentax K10D, K200D, K20D, K-7, K-5, K-30, K-50, K-5ii/K-5iis, and K-3 DSLR camera bodies. The DA* lenses are more expensive and generally feature improved light transmission and larger aperture openings for better low light performance. Some DA* lenses also feature both body driven screw drive focusing and the Pentax SDM (Supersonic Drive Motor) lens based focus mechanism.

Some lenses of this product line were co-developed with Tokina. Examples include the DA* 16-50 and DA* 50-135.

DA Limited lenses[edit]

These are high quality prime lenses with the lens housing made of nicely crafted metal. Also, they usually have a wider maximum aperture compared to zooms but narrower as compared to other prime lenses. This is a compromise as DA Limited lenses are usually made to be much more compact than other primes lenses. As of August 2013 the DA Limited lenses were upgraded with Pentax new HD coating, replacing the previous SMC coating.[4] The new HD lenses are also available in both silver and black, as opposed to only black.

The DA 35/2.8 Macro was co-developed with Tokina[5]

Lens variations[edit]

Series Prime Lenses Zoom Lenses
K series 34 7
M series 22 8
A series 28 11
F series 9 11
FA series 22 20
FA J series - 3
D FA series 3 -
DA series 17 16
DA XS series 1 -
DA L series - 5

Supersonic Drive Motor (SDM)[edit]

The Pentax-developed SDM autofocus systems, with SDM standing for "Supersonic Drive Motor", departs from the previous Pentax system which utilizes a screw-drive autofocus motor inside the camera body. Instead, SDM lenses incorporate an autofocus micro-motor as part of the lens itself. All current production Pentax Digital SLR bodies are compatible with SDM lenses. However the DA* 55mm, DA 17-70mm and DA 18-135mm lenses are not compabile with some older Pentax digital SLR's such as the K110D, first version K100D and earlier models (The K100D Super is compatible, provided it has up to date firmware). .[6]

The SDM mechanism is claimed to provide smoother and quieter focusing.[7] The first Pentax cameras to support SDM lens were the K10D (firmware 1.30 or later) and K100D Super. These and subsequent Pentax DSLR bodies support both SDM and in-camera screw-driven AF.

Camera compatibility[edit]

Pentax claims that all their auto-focus cameras are backward compatible with K-mount lenses dating back as far as 1975 without need for an adapter. However, the camera cannot read the set f-stop of K and M series lenses and must stop-down momentarily to meter (Due to their digital cameras having a "Crippled K-Mount"). All Pentax and Samsung D-Xenogon lenses are interchangeable since Samsung adopted K-mount on their GX camera bodies.[8] The Samsung GX-10 and GX-20 are the only two models compatible with SDM lenses. Pentax KAF3 Lenses do not have screw driven autofocus, and are also not fully compatible with some early production digital SLRs.

List of lenses in production[edit]

Below is a list of lenses in production as of May 20, 2013.

SMC Pentax-DA 10-17mm F3.5-4.5 Fish-Eye ED [IF]

SMC Pentax-D FA 100mm F2.8 Macro WR

SMC Pentax-DA 12-24mm F4 ED AL [IF]

SMC Pentax-DA 14mm F2.8 ED [IF]

HD Pentax-DA 15mm F4 ED AL Limited

SMC Pentax-DA* 16-50mm F2.8 ED AL [IF] SDM

SMC Pentax-DA 17-70mm F4 AL [IF] SDM

SMC Pentax-DA 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 ED AL [IF] DC WR

SMC Pentax-DA L 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 AL

SMC Pentax-DA 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 AL WR

SMC Pentax-DA 18-270 F3.5-6.3 ED SDM

SMC Pentax-DA* 200mm F2.8 ED [IF] SDM

HD Pentax-DA 21mm F3.2 Limited

SMC Pentax-DA* 300mm F4 ED [IF] SDM

SMC Pentax-FA 31mm F1.8 AL Limited

SMC Pentax-FA 35mm F2 AL

SMC Pentax-DA 35mm F2.4 AL

HD Pentax-DA 35mm F2.8 Limited Macro

HD Pentax-DA 40mm F2.8 Limited

SMC Pentax-DA 40mm F2.8 XS

SMC Pentax-FA 43mm F1.9 Limited

SMC Pentax-DA* 50-135mm F2.8 ED [IF] SDM

SMC Pentax-DA L 50-200mm F4-5.6 ED

SMC Pentax-DA 50-200mm F4-5.6 ED WR

SMC Pentax-FA 50mm F1.4

SMC Pentax-DA 50mm F1.8

SMC Pentax-D FA 50mm F2.8 Macro

SMC Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED

SMC Pentax-DA L 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED

SMC Pentax-DA* 55mm F1.4 SDM

HD Pentax-DA 560mm F5.6 ED AW

SMC Pentax-DA* 60-250mm F4 ED [IF] SDM

HD Pentax-DA 70mm F2.4 Limited

SMC Pentax-FA 77mm F1.8 Limited

[9]

List of some out of production later generation Pentax lenses[edit]

Lens Aperture Type
16-45mm F4.0 DA
18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 DA
18-55mm II f/3.5-5.6 DA
18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 DA
20-35mm f/4 FA
28-80mm f/3.5-5.6 FA J
28-105mm f/3.2-4.5 FA
50-200mm f/4-5.6 DA
75-300mm f/4.5-5.8 FA J
100mm Macro f/2.8 D FA
600mm f/4 FA*

References[edit]

Resources[edit]