What does SMC Pentax even mean?
The SMC stands for Super Multi Coating which is basically a chemical coating which scientists developed to combat the undesirable effects of light refraction effects. This means that you’ll get considerably less ghosting and flaring if you point this lens directly at the sun.
SMC was patented and first applied in 1971 and Pentax claims that SMC is “a remarkable seven-layer lens coating process that cuts the reflection ratio down to just 0.2% per lens surface. The result is a dramatic improvement in both color fidelity and brightness and the elimination of flare and ghost images.”
What does Pentax-M mean?
It offers full 35 mm frame coverage, made out of metal, extremely solid and well constructed, great mechanical feel, no electronic components and generally smaller and lighter than the original K-Mount series.
If you want to know more details about Pentax lenses history and designations There is an excellent website that explains and shows virtually all the Pentax K-mount history and designations here.
How I came upon the SMC Pentax 28mm F/2.8
I needed a wide angle because any micro 4/3 comes with a x2 crop factor so I needed something as wide as possible. I usually search through antique stores and that is where I found it and in quite a minty condition. The store owner was a photography enthusiast in his youth so it made for a nice chat while I was browsing. I payed $40 US which is not bad but I’m sure you can find it cheaper. To me what mattered a lot was the fact that the lens was stored nicely it was very clean optically (no fungus, no oily aperture blades) and physically (having no bumps and no scratches at all).
Who is this lens for?
Enthusiast photographers will love this lens because of its beautiful design. Handling is a joy but it’s not that sharp for modern digital standards. If you’re passionate about old film lenses the is a great lens to collect and to enjoy playing it on your modern cameras.
If you like to take your time to carefully frame, compose, manual focus and then take the shot, this is a great lens to have.
If you’re into videography this lens is superb and more than capable of rendering more than enough sharpness and resolution on a digital camera plus it’s small and very affordable. Be sure to remember that if you’re using it for video you might want to buy in the Pentax line as well for different focal lengths. The reason being each camera manufacturer has different ways of designing and implementing how its lenses render color and for video work same color rendition on your lenses is a must.
I haven’t tryed it on a full frame camera yet but I’m confident to say you wouldn’t want to shoot landscapes with the Pentax 28 2.8 because it’s just not going to be that sharp.
Superb design – it’s a beautiful lens, it’s small almost pancake like and it looks the part and for me that’s important too because it adds to the feeling and the mood when taking photos.
Great for street photography.
Build quality is great, except for the focus ring rubber everything is made of metal and has a great feel to it
Smooth focus racking so this would be great for video enthusiasts
It would make a great macro lens if you reverse it and mount it to your camera.
Not razor sharp but decently sharp for photos. A little tweaking in post and you get from decent to quite nice.
It doesn’t create a unique look that will make you scream aha! I know what lens took this picture but the results are different from a digital lens. At least that’s what I found during my initial tests on an Olympus E-PM2 micro 4/3 camera.
No autofocus dooh! You might think this is not a big deal but if this is your first experience with old lenses you’ll need some time to get used to the experience. I for one found manual focus refreshing but if you want to capture split second decisive moments you’re going to need a lot of practice. Many modern cameras offer focus peaking nowadays but the Olympus E-PM2 doesn’t have it so I used this trick here to help me focus better.
Although it is a wide angle on a full frame camera it’s not going to be good for shooting landscapes but great for street photography.
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