* Indoor, portraits, sports, wedding photos, landscape, wildlife
Lately we’ve seen a couple of impressively performing budget tele zooms like the Nikkor AF-S 55-200mm f/4-5.6 IF-ED VR but, unfortunately, the Pentax SMC-DA 50-200mm f/4-5.6 ED is not in this league. The resolution characteristic of the lens is rather mediocre – the image borders at 200mm and more so at 50mm are very soft at large aperture settings. For portraits or close-ups this is a lesser problem because the borders are usually a non-issue here but for long distance images you better stop down to f/8 or better f/11 to get decent results. On the plus side the bokeh (out-of-focus blur) is pretty nice (for a slow-speed lens) and CAs as well as distortions are quite well controlled. The level of vignetting is fairly high at wide-open aperture although not a big issue beyond. The build quality of this extremely compact lens is pretty decent. All-in-all you should prefer the Pentax DA 55-300mm f/4-5.6 ED instead.
Despite its small size and low weight, this lens performs more than adequately. The focal range is ideal as a second lens on the cropped sensors of the cameras that it is designed for. (*istDxx range) Autofocus is perhaps a little dated and often has a last tiny jerk to acquire its final lock but is accurate once it is there. Pentax have done well to achieve such pleasing performance in such a small package for what is a very reasonable price.
In summary, the positive points of the Pentax SMC 50-200mm f/4-5.6 DA ED lens are:
- Lightweight and compact
- Consistent optical quality throughout range
- Good value for money
The negative points are:
- Chromatic aberrations under some conditions
- Autofocus a little frustrating at times
- Manual focus ring small and rotates during AF