Pentax SMC DA 50mm f/1.8 - Review / Test - Sample Images & Verdict
Lens Reviews - Pentax

Sample Images

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Make PENTAX
Model PENTAX K-5 II
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 50.0mm
Aperture: f/2.8
Exposure 1/640s
Make PENTAX
Model PENTAX K-5 II
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 50.0mm
Aperture: f/6.3
Exposure 1/250s
Make PENTAX
Model PENTAX K-5 II
ISO Speed 400
Focal Length 50.0mm
Aperture: f/8.0
Exposure 1/800s
Make PENTAX
Model PENTAX K-5 II
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 50.0mm
Aperture: f/8.0
Exposure 1/250s
Make PENTAX
Model PENTAX K-5 II
ISO Speed 100
Focal Length 50.0mm
Aperture: f/8.0
Exposure 1/250s
Make PENTAX
Model PENTAX K-5 II
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 50.0mm
Aperture: f/9.0
Exposure 1/200s
Make PENTAX
Model PENTAX K-5 II
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 50.0mm
Aperture: f/9.0
Exposure 1/200s
Make PENTAX
Model PENTAX K-5 II
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 50.0mm
Aperture: f/9.0
Exposure 1/200s
Make PENTAX
Model PENTAX K-5 II
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 50.0mm
Aperture: f/1.8
Exposure 1/640s
Make PENTAX
Model PENTAX K-5 II
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 50.0mm
Aperture: f/1.8
Exposure 1/5000s

Verdict

Affordable 50mm lenses are probably the most underestimated species among all lenses. Some may ask how much you can possibly expect from a lens that costs just 120EUR/US$ ? The answer is actually quite predicable - you can expect a lot. The Pentax SMC DA 50mm f/1.8 follows the usual pattern. At fully open aperture, the quality is reasonably high with a sharp center and somewhat soft borders/corners. The level of contrast is also somewhat reduced at this setting - you may call it "dreamy" - and there's a bit bit of vignetting. From a real world perspective that's still Okay for your typical shallow depth-of-field images such as portraits. Stopping down to f/2.8 solves all these issues thus images are already sharp. Between f/4 and f/5.6 the quality is almost as good as it gets. The negligible amount of lateral CAs also contributes to the sharpness perception. The quality of the bokeh could be a little better - it can look smeared in the focus transition zone. However, out-of-focus highlights are nicely rendered. Bokeh fringing can be fairly obvious in critical scenes though.

While the low price tag may not show up in terms of optical performance, you can feel it when it comes to the mechanical execution. This doesn't mean that the build quality is bad but you have to live with a plastic mount and an outdated AF system. A drive-screw operated AF is a bit of an anachronism in the year 2017. Of course, it works just fine but it is noisy and not overly fast.

Fact remains, however, that you will be hard pressed to find a lens with a better value for our bucks out there.

Optical Quality:    
Mechanical Quality:
Price/Performance:
      
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