The Best Pentax DSLR Lenses That I Will Personally Pick.

Welcome back!

This is the 4th article in this series about me sharing what are the lenses from the various manufacturers that I will pick & use on a personal basis. The last article was about the Olympus-Zuiko Lenses that I will buy for an Olympus system. Today, I am going to pick my lenses from the Pentax DSLR Lens line-up. *Surprised.

You are reminded once again that this is NOT a ”buying guide” or a technical review of each lenses. You can easily find those all over the internet. However, I am sharing based on personal experience, usability and how well these lenses compliment your work.

My Pick for Best Pentax Zoom lens (General Lens).

This is the lens that I will probably bring it everywhere I go, for commercial shoot or leisure walkabouts.

My Pick, the SMC PENTAX DA Star 16-50mm F2.8 ED/AL (IF) SDM or nothing. Listed under the highest grade “DA*” series, these lenses are top-of-the-lines optics. Built solid and weather proofed, the lens well-thought design is elegant & purposeful. Using both Aspherical (03) & ED (02) elements, this lens produces high contrast photos & unsurpassed sharpness even when compared to its own counterparts within the stable. Featuring a ultra wide angle to standard angle, this lens can be used a big variety of genre. The bright apeture of constant F2.8 make this lens a fast performer and beautiful bokeh is guaranteed. From Landscape to portrait, this lens is all you need. Focusing runs on supersonic drive motor (SDM) which gives the lens a fast, accurate and quiet focus, this lens is also pretty light to carry everywhere at only a mere 565gm. Though the price of this lens is a little on the high side, looking at the specs, I will say it is well worth every dollar in your wallet. This is a must get for all Pentax Professionals.

Some Quick Information:
SMC PENTAX DA Star 16-50mm F2.8 ED/AL (IF) SDM
Format: APS-C with a corresponding 1.5X increase cropped factor.
Focal Range: Ultra Wide Angle to Standard 16mm-50mm or 24mm-75mm on 35mm formats.
Filter Diameter: 77mm
Supplied with Box: Instruction, Lens Pouch & Lens Hood PH-RBK 77mm.
Suggested Alternative Lens: SMC Pentax DA 16-45MM F4.0 ED AL

My Pick for Best Pentax Telephoto Zoom lens (Telephoto Lens).
This is the lens that I will use for portraiture work, short range wildlife shots & street photography

SMC PENTAX DA Star 50-135mm F2.8 ED (IF) SDM will be my pick. This is the “70-200mm” of Pentax (75-202.5mm on 35mm format) and DA Star (DA*) series lens, in short, this is a premium lens by Pentax. Expected of all DA* lenses, this lens is weather-proofed, solid built and the best “buddy” lens to SMC PENTAX DA Star 16-50mm F2.8 ED/AL (IF) SDM! Bright constant apeture of F2.8 promises performance for portraits, events or even wildlife. Hard ware aside, this lens (by far) is also the sharpest telephoto zoom in the whole of Pentax’s medium to telelphoto zoom range. It uses the same Supersonic focusing motor as the 16-50mm – (better known as SDM in Pentax language) that are fast, quiet and highly accurate. Even the weight of 685gm is light when compared to the competition! If you already have the 16-50mm, this the lens that you must have. 

Some Quick Information:
SMC PENTAX DA Star 50-135mm F2.8 ED (IF) SDM
Format: APS-C with a corresponding 1.5X increase cropped factor.
Focal Range: Ultra Wide Angle to Standard 50mm-135mm or 75mm-202.5mm on 35mm formats.
Filter Diameter: 67mm
Supplied with Box: Instruction, Lens Pouch & Lens Hood PH-RBK 67mm. (Tripod Ring NOT Included)
Suggested Alternative Lens: SMC Pentax DA 50-200mm F4-5.6 ED WR

My Pick for Best Pentax Standard lens (Prime Lens).
This is the lens that I will use for a wide variety of applications when zooming is not everything.

 My pick for this category has to be the SMC PENTAX DA 40mm F2.8 Limited. This little “Pancake” weights only 90 gm and it is compactly designed. This is one crazy little lens that offers the photographer sharpness, high optical quality and well put together except that this is not weather proofed. 🙁 Look at it as the Novelty Pentax Lens and you will enjoy the additional (sometimes unwanted) attention from other photographers. This lens is good for portraits and mild close ups, at F2.8 on a 9 blades apeture, the bokeh should be interesting. 

Some Quick Information:
SMC PENTAX DA 40mm F2.8 Limited
Format: M43, with a corresponding 2X increase.
Format: APS-C with a corresponding 1.5X increase cropped factor.
Focal Range: Standard 40mm or 60mm on 35mm formats.
Filter Diameter: 49mm
Supplied with Box: Instruction, Lens Pouch & Lens Hood MH-RC 49mm.
Suggested Alternative Lens: SMC Pentax DA 35MM F2.4 AL

The above 3 Pentax lenses are the lenses that I will buy if I can ONLY have just 3 lenses for a Pentax system. The selected lenses above are not your buying guide, but instead, what I will want to have in my camera bag. 
Pentax remained strong among the “ruling brands” to the likes of Canon, Nikon & Sony and still continues to produce
wonderful products that retains it’s followers and attracting more young users to the brand by introducing interesting models, editions to offer more options for photographers. Just look at the K-X & its replacement model K-R, isn’t that telling you something? Start saving for DA* lense please.

The above reviews/statement/ findings/ comparisons/ claims are solely personal views consolidated, compiled & based on personal surveys, usage experience, feedbacks from fellow users. This article is NOT PAID by the Brand owner and this article is presented as a reading reference from 1st person point of view.

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16 Responses to The Best Pentax DSLR Lenses That I Will Personally Pick.

  1. Very nicely done article! I would agree that these are prime optics for the Pentax user, however I must decide on 1 wide or mid zoom to accompany the DA 15 Limited, and 50-200

  2. Hi Steven, the 16-50mm will be a good lens to add to your range.

    • Greetings! Thank you for the advice! While I agree that the DA* 16-50 is a superb zoom, since I already use the also good DA 16-45, I opted for the prime DA* 55mm f/1.4 for it’s low-light capability, as well as it’s reputed high sharpness. The DA 70mm f/2.4 Limited is also extremely sharp!

  3. Update: Thanks to your comments and the review, I decided to get the DA* 16-50, primarily because of it’s sharpness and WR properties. It will be interesting comparing it to the DA 16-45. Regards,

  4. Steven – Have fun!

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  6. claudio says:

    Hi ,

    Thanks for your advises..did you actually try the lenses?

    I own the DA* 50-135 SDM , and the DA 40mm,

    If I can add my own opinion , I like the lenses , both nice colours , sharp , and contrast , but I would not say the SDM motor is fast and’s quite slow and disappointing..but other than that great lens 🙂

  7. Sridhar says:

    I am new to DSLR, I intend to buy Pentax K-50 being WR, I thought to buy 18-135mm Pentax lens WR to carry only one lens. Is this sufficient for general photography? Any prime lens 50mm is required as I heard it is good for low light.

    Appreciate if any one respond.


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  9. Jana says:

    I own a Pentax K10D. Really love this camera but it does issues with low-light pictures. Have done some research and also am presently taking a photography class where the instructor thinks that I need start shooting completely in Manual mode and change some other settings. He also thinks that adding another lens, such as the DA 16-50, would also help. I was considering upgrading to the Pentax K50 just for better quality with low-light pics and also for the video capability. The instructor thinks that with the exception of the video issue, that I can completely fix my lighting concerns and that I should invest in the lens rather than purchase another body. Do you have an opinion? Thank you so much!

  10. Carey says:

    No-one has mentioned anything in the ultra-wide angle range here yet. Perhaps because Pentax, disappoints in this area. There’s only really the 12-24 which compares favourably with the old Tokina 12-24, and the Sigma 12-24 available on other mounts. It’s not a patch on the Nikkor 14-24 or even the Tokina 11-16.

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