Pentax SMC DA* 55mm f/1.4 SDM - Review / Test Report - Sample Images & Verdict
Lens Reviews - Pentax

Sample Images

Here're some sample images taken with the K200D and RAW-converted via RawTherapee. All images kindly provided by Claus Durst!

Click on a thumbnail to view the original file (opens in a separate window). Please note that the originals are FULL SIZE samples (=several megabytes) thus requiring a significant amount of bandwidth so please take care of the limited resources here.

Make PENTAX
Model PENTAX K200D
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 55.0mm
Aperture: f/2.8
Exposure 1/350s
Make PENTAX
Model PENTAX K200D
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 55.0mm
Aperture: f/1.4
Exposure 1/1500s
Make PENTAX
Model PENTAX K200D
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 55.0mm
Aperture: f/5.6
Exposure 1/350s
Make PENTAX
Model PENTAX K200D
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 55.0mm
Aperture: f/2.8
Exposure 1/4000s
Make PENTAX
Model PENTAX K200D
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 55.0mm
Aperture: f/2.8
Exposure 1/125s
Make PENTAX
Model PENTAX K200D
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 55.0mm
Aperture: f/4.0
Exposure 1/750s

Verdict

The SMC-DA* 55mm f/1.4 SDM is a rather typical representative of the standard lens species - it is capable of delivering ultra-sharp results when stopped down a little but it's also fairly soft at very large aperture settings. Distortions and lateral CAs are not field-relevant. There may be a hint of vignetting visible at f/1.4 but generally there's no reason to worry about this out there as well. The biggest differentiator of the lens is probably the high quality of the bokeh which is often a problem in most of the elderly 50s out there. Unfortunately bokeh fringing (colored focus halos) remains a problem but, to be fair, this is a general issue in this lens class. The build quality of the Pentax lens is very high and in line to the professional DA* standards. The new Supersonic Dynamic Motor (SDM) AF is certainly a very welcome addition thanks to its lower noise level although it's not exceedingly fast. The question of the day is naturally whether the sum of all these qualities is worth the very high price tag. Well, this is tricky. Optically the DA* 55mm f/1.4 is not all THAT different from other lenses in this lens class. The mechanical qualities are certainly worth a couple more bucks but generally we do believe that it's quite overpriced by say 150EUS/US$. Alternatively you may also have a look at the Pentax SMC FA 43mm f/1.9 Ltd.

Optical Quality:
Mechanical Quality:
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