Pentax SMC-DA 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL - Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews - Pentax

Review by Klaus Schroiff, published April 2007


The Pentax DA 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL is one of the kit zoom lenses currently sold combined with the K10D or the Pentax budget DSLRs. It is a DA series lens so it is dedicated to the APS-C format with a reduced image circle. Its field-of-view is equivalent to 27.5-84mm in the 35mm format.

Kit zooms tend to be pretty crappy beings but Pentax has actually done a comparatively good job here. Naturally the outer construction is based on lots of plastics but its quality is quite fine with relatively tight gap tolerances and there's even a metal mount. Unlike most kit lenses from other manufacturers the DA 18-55mm AL does also features a usable, dedicated focus ring. Both the zoom and focus ring operate quite smooth. As you can see above the lens extends a little bit towards the extreme ends of the zoom range. The front element does not rotate so using a polarizer is no problem.

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 surprisingly accurate on the K10D. Thanks to a "Quick-Shift Focus System" manual focusing is instantly possible once the AF has achieved focus - this works very well and noiseless (unlike Sony's DMF system for instance).

Equiv. focal length27-82.5 mm (full format equivalent)
Equiv. aperturef/5.3-f/8.4 (full format equivalent, in terms of depth-of-field)
Optical construction12 elements in 9 groups inc. 1 aspherical element
Number of aperture blades6
min. focus distance0.25 m (max. magnification ratio 1:3)
Dimensions68 x 68 mm
Weight225 g
Filter size52 mm (non-rotating)
Hoodpetal shaped (supplied)
Other features-

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