Pentax SMC DA 10-17mm f/3.5-4.5 ED[IF] Fisheye - Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews - Pentax

Review by Klaus Schroiff, published May 2007

Special thanks to Rüdiger Neumann for providing this lens for testing!


Pentax always had a love affair with fisheye lenses and they were also the first to design a full format fisheye zoom lens. The current Pentax SMC DA 10-17mm f/3.5-4.5 ED[IF] Fisheye is the latest incarnation dedicated for Pentax APS-C DSLRs. This lens is also available as a Tokina incarnation for Canon and Nikon users. The full frame (APS-C) fisheye has a field-of-view ranging from 180 degrees (diagonal) at 10mm to 100 degrees at 17mm.

Traditionally fisheyes are often used for aerial-, underwater- and some kind of indoor photography. Due to the uncorrected extreme field-of-view the fisheye perspective can produce some oooohs and aaahs from your audience but it shouldn´t be used too often in presentations because the effect of awe-inspiring vistas fades rapidly. Besides it isn´t exactly easy to achieve a good composition. It is worth to note that you can now generate a distortion-corrected image by using distortion correction tools (e.g PTLens) so you can combine the best of both worlds (fisheye and corrected ultra-wides) if you're willing to invest some post-processing efforts.

The build quality of the lens is very decent thanks to a combination of metal and good quality plastic parts assembled with very tight tolerances (no wobbling). Both the zoom and focus ring operate quite smooth and slightly damped. The lens extends a few millimeters at 10mm and 17mm and the shortest length is reached at about 12mm. Regarding its extreme field-of-view it is impossible to mount any filters. A newly developed SP (Super Protective) coating made of a special fluoride compound has been applied to the front element making it easier to clean and more resistant against water and fingerprints.

The lens has no internal AF motor and relies on a slotted drive screw operated by the camera. As a result AF operation will generate a moderate degree of noise. The AF speed is extremely fast and accurate on the K10D. Thanks to a "Quick-Shift Focus System" manual focusing is instantly possible once the AF has achieved focus.

Equiv. focal length15-25.5 mm (full format equivalent)
Equiv. aperturef/5.3-f/6.8 (full format equivalent, in terms of depth-of-field)
Optical construction10 elements in 8 groups inc. ED elements
Number of aperture blades6
min. focus distance0.14 m (max. magnification ratio 1:2.5 @ 17mm)
Dimensions68 x 72 mm
Weight320 g
Filter size-
Hoodbuilt-in, petal shaped
Other features-

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