Pentax SMC DA* 60-250mm f/4 ED [IF] SDM - Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews - Pentax

Lens kindly provided by Falk Lumo!

Introduction

The Pentax SMC-DA* 60-250mm f/4 ED [IF] SDM is a member of the professional grade DA* lineup. Its field-of-view is equivalent to about 92-383mm on a full format DSLR so it's obviously a lens which is primarily targeting sports and nature photography. The constant max. aperture (f/4) allows comparatively fast shutter speeds whereas its effective depth-of-field capabilities resemble a f/5.6 full format lens. A shallow depth-of-field remains possible but you either need a comparatively long focal length and/or a close focus distance in order to produce a decent background/foreground blur (aka bokeh). At around 1250EUR/US$ it is not exactly a cheap lens but this pricing is rather typical for a lens in this class - see e.g. the Olympus 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 ED (four-thirds) or the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 USM L IS (full format).

Typical for a DA*lens the build quality is nothing short of excellent. The dust- and weather-sealed lens body is based on a tightly assembled combination of metal and (few) high quality plastic parts. The focus ring operates very smooth and slightly dampened. The zoom ring has a tiny bit of a variable friction along the range but it's still very well implemented. Similar to its competitors the lens extends when zooming towards the long end of the range. The tested sample showed no sign of zoom creeping during the test phase. The front element does not rotate so using a polarizer remains easily possible. The Pentax lens may be a tad smaller and slightly more light-weight than a similar full format lens but it's still quite a sight especially when mounting the supplied flower-shaped lens hood. Typical for recently introduced Pentax lenses it features a SP coating on the front element to repel dust, water and grease. The build-in tripod mount is stable and easy to turn.

Just like its Canon and Nikon counterparts the Pentax' "Supersonic Dynamic" (SDM) takes advantage of ultrasonic waves to drive AF operations. The AF speed is relatively high although not substantially faster than a conventional screw-driven AF lens. If you listen hard you may notice a high frequency noise during operations but this is really not relevant in real world situations. Full time manual focusing, Pentax calls it "Quick Shift", is available in one-shot AF mode.

Specifications
Equiv. focal length90-375 mm (full format equivalent)
Equiv. aperturef/6 (full format equivalent, in terms of depth-of-field)
Optical construction15 elements in 13 groups inc. 2 ED elements
Number of aperture blades9 (circular)
min. focus distance1.1 m (max. magnification ratio ~1:6.7)
Dimensions168 x 82 mm
Weight1040 g (lens only) - 1230 g (lens, tripod mount + hood)
Filter size67 mm (non-rotating)
Hoodsupplied, petal-shaped
Other featuresSDM, Quick-Shift, weather sealing, tripod mount




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