In an earlier post (See: A couple of Pentax autofocus SLRs) I mentioned that I had acquired a couple of inexpensive Pentax AF SLRs with lenses. The bodies were pretty much dead on arrival, but it seemed to me that the lenses were in working condition.

I was right: both of the lenses work fine. This is the first of them. I’m unable to comment on the lenses autofocus performance as I used it on a Sony NEX 5N where only manual focus was possible. Maybe in the future I’ll try it out on my one and only Pentax AF film body

It’s a typical superzoom lens. It has a useful range (28-200mm), although less useful than it might be on a crop sensor where it becomes a 35mm equivalent of around 42-300mm. You gain on the tele end, but pretty much lose all wide-angle capabilities.

It’s a bit ‘plasticky’, but nonetheless feels solid and well made. It’s fairly small and light for this kind of lens. The zoom lens on mine was a little stiff, but not too bad. With use it will probably loosen up. There’s something about the manual focus ring that I like though. I don’t know why.

Image quality if pretty much what you’d expect from a lens of this type. It’s fairly soft wide open (particularly so at the long end) but improves when you stop down and by f8 it’s OK. The lens tends to flare quite a lot when pointed towards a light source so a lens hood it definitely in order. The lens originally came with a hood, but my second hand copy didn’t include it. There’s a lot of chromatic aberration and both pincushion and barrel distortion at various points of the zoom range. Contrast seemed a little low and the colors seemed a little muted. Most of the above can easily be corrected in post production however. I shoot everything in RAW so I have to edit my pictures in any case.

Providing your expectations are not too high this is a decent enough lens. Of course to pack such a long zoom range into such a small, lightweight package requires significant compromises. What you gain in terms of convenience and ease of use you lose in terms of image quality. If you can accept these compromises then you’ll probably like this lens. If you can’t then you certainly won’t.

For me I quite like it. I spend quite a lot of my time walking the dog in the woods around where I live. For these walks I much prefer to have a single superzoom lens than to have to carry around a multitude of single focal length or shorter zoom lenses.

Below a picture shot using this lens of a lily in our garden.

For more pictures taken with this lens see:

Taken with a Sony A77 II and Tamron A18 AF 18-250mm f3.5-6.3.

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