Pentax 50mm f/2.8 SMC D FA Macro

The Pentax 50mm f/2.8 SMC D FA Macro is lightweight lens that transforms into a 75mm f/2.8 in traditional film terms.

Pentax 50mm f/2.8 SMC D FA Macro

Pentax 50mm f/2.8 SMC D FA Macro

Pentax has two macro lenses in its current range and the smaller brother to the smc-DFA 100mm f/2.8 is this smc-DFA 50mm f/2.8. Featuring a construction of 8 glass elements in 7 groups, it’s a light 265g and, hardly surprisingly for a lens that weighs this little, it has a predominantly plastic finish. Attached to a Pentax D-SLR like the K-5 we tested it with, it transforms into a 75mm f/2.8 in traditional film terms and features a minimum focus distance of 19.5cm.

The focus ring is of a reasonable size and offers masses of grip with plenty of rubberised grooves. Just behind this is a reproduction ratio guide that spans from 1:25 to 1:1. To the right of this there’s a clamp switch to lock the focus in one position, but we found it slightly awkward to use and would have preferred it on the opposite side. With no motor to reduce the whir and buzzes of the autofocus mechanism it’s quite noisy and, although the front element extends a long way from the lens when shooting at 1:1 – 4.5cm to be exact – it does have a well-weighted focusing ring for manual adjustment.

Unfortunately, the asking price of £394 is pretty steep for a lens that isn’t as refined as its rivals.

Specification

This review was first published in the February 2011 issue of Digital Photo - download back issues here.