Pentax 18-55mm Mk II Lens Review

Pentax 18-55mm Mk II Lens Review

This is the standard kit lens that comes with the Pentax K200D digital SLR camera. On first glance it looks better made than most of the kit lenses I’ve seen from other manufacturers and it certainly feels good to hold and use. The zoom range is just 3:1 and for this reason, little in the way of image quality compromise has had to be made in its design. This lens is designed for use on Pentax cameras with a sensor size of 23.5mm by 15.7mm. The equivalent focal length in the 35mm format is 27mm to 82.5mm.

The Pentax 18-55mm Mk II lens is not as compact or as light as other standard zooms I’ve used, but it is neat, it looks good and it takes great pictures. The focusing is fast and accurate too and uses the Pentax “quick shift focus system” for manual focus override. This facility is great if used in conjunction with the OK button when it has been set to enable auto focus. You get a cool manual / auto focus operation that leaves the half press of the shutter to do just the metering. It’s innovative user friendly systems like this that make the end user experience so rewarding when taking pictures.

I lit this shot with a strip light softbox and you can see Manchester through the glass in the background. I took this picture at a 20mm lens setting, ISO 100, f/16 and at 1/125th second exposure.

This 100% crop shows just how much detail this 18-55 lens pulls in. Fabrics are difficult to render and this lens does a pretty good job delivering good resolution especially on the silk tie.

Pentax have used aspherical elements in the construction of the Mk II version of this 18-55mm lens to compensate for chromatic aberration, and my first tests have shown that although there is the slightest hint of chromatic abberation at the edges in high contrast areas, it is far from objectionable and can be ignored. The picture sharpness was also good right into the corners of my pictures at all settings. The 18-55mm lens from Pentax is very strong optically and deserves its place with the Pentax K200D camera.

The lens also sports the Pentax SP (super protect) coating that utilises nano-technology to repel dust and dirt and it certainly makes removing finger prints an easy task. The lens coating also serves to reduce light scatter in the lens causing flare.

The lens has been designed to partner the Pentax 55-300mm f/4-5.8 ED that utilises ED glass elements to reduce the ghosting and low contrast flare effects found in some telephoto lenses. The two lenses together with a Pentax K200D make a great shooting kit.

Best bits of the Pentax 18-55mm Mk II:

  • Good build quality
  • High resolving power
  • Good control of chromatic aberration

Worst bits of the Pentax 18-55mm Mk II:

  • Small maximum aperture

If I needed a good quality standard lens for a Pentax at a sub £150 price point, this would be my number one choice. It is a good overall performer without compromise.

Pentax 18-55mm Rating:

 9/10 value
 8/10 build quality
 8/10 image quality
 8/10 handling

Overall:Overall 8 out of 10

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