Pentax DA 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL II Lens for Pentax and Samsung Digital SLR Cameras
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36 of 37 found the following review helpful:
Pentax DA 18-55 AL II for a Pentax Pro May 07, 2008
By James Rahrig
I'm a former pro photographer for a newspaper & now freelance my skills for special events & corporate needs. The original kit lens was quite good for general use and serves well for newspaper shots, but not up to pro standards for high resolution work. Enter the AL II designed for the newly introduced high resolution Pentax K20D:
The new AL II has improved the resolution across the entire focal range, from corner to corner. Border softening is dramatically reduced, and the original lens vignetting is all but eliminated. Pentax has made a very good kit lens noticably better.
17 of 17 found the following review helpful:
Nice improvement May 17, 2008
By Bill A. Farley
"seeing the world"
This lense is a nice improvement over the original 18-55MM. You have about a 1 F-stop change in light transmission. The edges are much clearer. This is the best kit lense by far compared to any competitor.
14 of 14 found the following review helpful:
Surprisingly good optics for a value-priced lens Jun 14, 2008
A noticeable improvement over the first edition of this lens. Lightweight and small and the optics stand up to the much higher priced lenses. I recommend this lens to anyone interested in a great lightweight walk-around zoom.
16 of 17 found the following review helpful:
Solid Upgrade to the Pentax Kit Lens May 22, 2009
By Aldo R. Perez
I got the Pentax K2000 Camera that comes with the cheap version of the Pentax DA 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL. I say cheap because it uses the same glass but with a cheaper construction. Plastic mount, no lens hood and no "Quick-Shift Focus System".
Pentax DA 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL II upgrades in the following areas:
1) Better overall construction, metal mount
2) Hood is included
3) "Quick-Shift Focus System" and focus measurements on the focus ring
4) Less Vignetting compared to Pentax DA 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL
5) Sharper on center and boders compared to the Pentax DA 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL on my Pentax K2000
In this version II of the lens it is very similar to the old Pentax 16-45mm f/4.0 SMC PDA ED AL lens in image quality.
Problems is still has
1) Has the very same Distortions as the Pentax DA L 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL common to zoom lenses.
2) Same speed (f/ stops) across the lens
3) Same 18 - 55mm short zoom range
So the question becomes, is it worth the money? I got it for $90.00 so to me it was a decent price and a decent upgrade.
The question you have to ask yourself if weather you would be better served by some of the new standard zoom lenses that go from 18-200 mm and have the same lens speed when at the same focal length as the Pentax DA 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL II. They will cost more, be heavier but could do dual duty as a zoom lens in adition to standard lens.
I gave it only 4 stars because the larger 3.5 aperture is still too small for low light pictures and the zoom range too short to get really close to anything you would consider far away.
In the end I find the Pentax DA 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL II a good buy. It is small, light and is nice to walk around. What it does it does well, it just might not do enough for some.
Update: After careful comparison between the Pentax DA L 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL and Pentax DA 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL II Lens the difference between to two seems bigger.
at 18mm F/3.5: The Pentax DA 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL II has more contrast, sharpness, especially on the corners, but it is still soft. At F/5.6 both lenses improve in sharpness but the Pentax DA 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL II stays ahead. At F/8 both are almost equally sharp at center but the The Pentax DA 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL II still has sharper corners. The The Pentax DA 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL II clearly has less Vignetting at all apertures at 18mm.
at 35mm F/4.5: The Pentax DA 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL II has more contrast, sharpness, especially on the corners. At F/5.6 both lenses improve in sharpness but the Pentax DA 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL II stays ahead. At F/8 the The Pentax DA 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL II is almost in a virtual tie with the Pentax DA 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL, the closest I find both lenses to each other and the sweet spot for both lenses. The The Pentax DA 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL II clearly has less Vignetting at F/4.5-6.3 apertures at 35mm.
at 55mm F/5.6.5: The Pentax L DA 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL is soft. On the other hand the the Pentax DA 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL II is sharper and has a nicer bokeh (out-of-focus blur). At F/8 the The Pentax DA 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL II clearly has a sharper and brighter image. The The Pentax DA 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL II clearly has less corner Vignetting at all apertures at 55mm.
From my testing it is clear the Pentax DA 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL II is the superior lens.
8 of 8 found the following review helpful:
OK, not great Oct 13, 2009
By Rc Novice
I got this lens in a kit w/ a K20D body (excellent overall camera). After looking at the positive reviews here I had to do a double-take, to see if we were talking about the same lens (we were) and the next question was, if, as some reviewers noted, this is an improvement over a previous model, I don't think I'd want to use the original.
Don't get me wrong, the lens is not bad. Construction quality is good and it works well with the K20D. The biggest problem I have with it is at short focal distances 18-24mm I can clearly see (and I am not a pro by any stretch of the definition) the problems with image quality:
1) Distortion (images start looking fish-eyed)
3) Chromatic aberration
Now, there are two pieces of good news: (1) these effects almost completely disappear at 24mm and up (2) at shorter focal distances raw processing software can deal with these problems to some extent (I use Bibble, YMMV). At 24+mm this lense is EXCELLENT and overall a good value. So the drawback is that now any time I take a picture with it I have to weigh the advantage of a wider angle vs. the guaranteed distortion and other problems I will have to deal with in post-processing.
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