Tuesday, August 21, 2007

DA* 50-135mm f/2.8 SDM Review Part 1

We have all anxiously been waiting for the Pentax SDM lenses. The first of the series, the SMC Pentax-DA* 50-135mm f/2.8 SDM lens has arrived. This is the first of several parts dealing with various aspects of the lens. Part 1 deals with the appearance of the new lens.

DA* 50-135

Many of you remember the old * lenses of days gone by. These included the M*, A*, F*, and FA* lenses. These were the best of the available lenses in their class. While the color scheme of the A* lenses was a black lens with a green band, the later FA* lenses carried a silver and black theme. We now have a new DA* theme of black with gold highlights.

DA* 50-135

Besides the SMC Pentax DA* badge on the side of the lens barrel, the band around the front part of the lens barrel is also gold.

DA* 50-135

As for size, the SMC Pentax-DA* 50-135mm f/2.8 SDM lens is much smaller than both the SMC Pentax-FA* 80-200mm f/2.8 and Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM lenses. While only the DA* 50-135mm f/2.8 SDM and Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM lenses are pictured, the FA* 80-200mm f/2.8 lens is only slightly smaller than the Canon lens.

DA* 50-135

Obviously, it is expected that the DA* 50-135mm f/2.8 SDM lens would be smaller by virtue of its focal length being different than the longer telephoto 70-200mm range. This might be a disadvantage for some but it also very much fits with the Pentax philosophy of small and compact. Although this new lens is not small, it is very small for its capabilities. Those that need the extra reach of a 200mm focal length will be happy to see the SMC Pentax-DA* 200mm f/2.8 SDM lens on the horizon with a scheduled shipping timeframe of September.

I find it quite interesting that Pentax is matching the former equivalent focal lengths of lenses designed for the 36mm by 24mm frame size. Unlike Canon, Pentax does not offer a 36mm by 24mm digital SLR and therefore does not have to worry about providing lenses that work for both the APS-C digital format and the "Full Frame" digital format. Like Pentax, Nikon does not currently have a "Full Frame" digital SLR although one may be on the horizon. Nikon has stayed with the 70-200mm and 80-200mm focal lengths.

In part 2 of this review, we will gain some more insights into the SMC Pentax-DA* 50-135mm f/2.8 SDM lens and its new capabilities. The most interesting new feature seems to be the inclusions of SDM. Look for part 2 coming soon.

No comments: