The Kit Lens


Been spending a lot of time on here!
May 29, 2008
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I'm still impressed with the new SMC DA L 18-50 DC WR RE kit lens that I reluctantly acquired in a bundle with my GREAT K-S2. However, I've come to use it as it's the only WR lens I have- for a kit zoom, it really performs! Sharp edge to edge. An example- off-hand shot on the K-S2, 50mm, f5.6 wide open, ISO 400:
Based on what I read on dPreview, the Pentax 18-55 kit zoom is the world's shortest zoom lens for a d-slr, measuring just 41mm in its collapsed state! Collapsible Pentax-DA 18-50mm F4-5.6 DC WR RE claims title of world's shortest zoom This is one of the most expensive kit-range zooms that I know of, so it ought to be a good performer. Several years ago, I recall that dPreview reviewed the old "standard" Pentax kit zoom, and they said it was the best-built kit lens they had ever tested...not cheap and flimsy-feeling like Nikon and Canon kit zooms so often are.
Here's one with the same combo, about a 50% crop, 50mm f5.6, that I took yesterday. Note lack of fringing (backlit).

Pentax makes great glass for sure. I loved my 50mm m1.7 on my K1000, I am giving it away. I worked it hard and its still ticking. A girl I know has that lens, KS2, and the 200mm zoom. Her photos are flipping sharp like yours. I am trying to get her back on this site.

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Coming up three years with my K S2. The retractable kit lens on mine never approached the performance that yours shows here, well acceptable a lot of the time but too hit and miss for my liking. The retractable feature became increasingly difficult to operate and leaving it extended left it vulnerable so a sideways biff dislodged the front group mounting enough to compromise the focus. Perhaps I was unlucky enough to get a bad copy. Replacement at the moment isn't an option. A good rummage in my assorted box of thrift store finds and gifted cameras / lenses came up with a workable compromise, 28mm f2.8 Kitstar (remember Kits Cameras?) of unknown manufacture, surprisingly sharp with good colour, a SMC Pentax A 50mm 1.7 which needs no elaboration on quality, and a KA mount Tokina SD 70 - 210, 4-5.6, bit slow and soft at the long end but good enough up to 170mm or so.
Really like that K S2 though.

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