Pentax has a tradition of producing particularly small prime lenses, and its ‘Limited’ range of digital-only DA models are exceptional even by the company’s own standards. The DA 40mm f2.8 Limited lens, announced in December 2004, measures just 15mm thick, justifiably earning its nickname of a ‘pancake’ lens. Mount this on a Pentax DSLR and you’ll have a seriously small and light combination offering a near-standard equivalent focal length of 60mm.
The latest model in the Limited range is the DA 70mm f2.4, announced in September 2006. With an equivalent focal length of 105mm when mounted on a Pentax DSLR, the DA 70mm offers short telephoto capabilities that are ideal for portraiture and cropped landscape shots. While not quite as slim as the DA 40mm model, the DA 70mm is still extremely compact at a mere 26mm thick. It’s pictured here with its supplied lens hood attached.
The highly compact nature of these lenses offers a unique prospect to Pentax DSLR owners and in this review we’ll compare their optical and physical performance using a Pentax K10D body. Since many people will use them as standard lenses we’ve also compared their quality against the Pentax DA 18-55mm kit lens; while this is a budget model, it’s one of the better kit lenses available, so certainly worthy of comparison.
As such this article serves both as a review of the Limited lenses and a small group test of standard lens options for potential Pentax DSLR owners. While we’ve tested all three lenses on the K10D, they’ll also fit any Pentax DSLR, including the K110D, K100D, *istDL and *istDS.
So to discover if there’s any compromises in such compact optics, or whether small really is beautiful, read our full report of the Pentax DA 40mm and 70mm Limited lenses. And as always our review is accompanied by a video tour, demonstrating the design, features and coverage of both lenses.
The Pentax DA 40mm f2.8 Limited lens tested had a serial number of 0007921, while the DA 70mm f2.4 Limited had a serial number of 0003685. We tested each lens using a Pentax K10D running the latest firmware version 1.1 released on January 23 2007. Following our convention of using default factory and best quality JPEG settings to test camera bodies unless otherwise stated, the K10D was set to JPEG 10M *** mode and sRGB colour space, with Auto White Balance, Multi Segment metering, Natural Image Tone, and Sharpness, Contrast and Saturation set to their zero positions.