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Pentax DA 70mm F2.4 Limited - camera lenses (Telephoto, SLR, 6/5, Pentax KAF, Black)
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- Quick Shift Focus System for rapid switching between Autofocus and MF
- Small, light, Telephoto Lens, ideal for portrait photography
- SP-based Coating Superior Lens Coating protects against pollution of the lens
- Box contents: front cap, rear cap, pouch
- Elements groups 6, 9
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The smc PENTAX-DA 70mm F2.4 Limited lens, designed for exclusive use with PENTAX digital SLR cameras, features an ultra-thin pancake design and fixed focal length, medium-telephoto optics. With its medium-telephoto perspective, this lens is ideal for many different applications, including portraiture and landscape. Its high-performance optics not only assures outstanding image quality, but also provides distinctive visual clarity. The materials used for this lens have been carefully selected for excellent handling and usability. Thanks to PENTAX's advanced manufacturing technology, this new lens is designed to be extremely thin and lightweight, assuring go-anywhere portability for great photography.
Bag included: Yes
Closest focusing distance: 0.7 m
Colour of product: Black
Component for: SLR
Diagonal angle of view (max): 68°
Diagonal angle of view (min): 68°
Diameter: 6.3 cm
Filter size: 4.9 cm
Fixed focal length: 7 cm
Length: 2.6 cm
Lens mount interface: Pentax KAF
Lens structure (elements/groups): 6/5
Lens type: Telephoto
Maximum aperture number: 22
Minimum aperture number: 2.4
Weight: 130 g
Top Customer Reviews
So I'll start with the fuss. Pentax has two "premium" ranges of lenses, the Limited range and the * range (such as FA* and DA*). The latter range is aimed at working professionals who need top quality zooms and longer-length fast telephoto primes. The Limited range fills the other end of the spectrum for people who want the very best optical performance in shorter and wide angle telephoto lenses. These lenses are compact (some are tiny, such as the 40mm F2.8), and are manufactured to the highest possible standards. They are wonderfully constructed out of metal, and are hand-assembled to ensure the best quality finish.
So, why bother? Well, prime lenses such as these offer the best optical quality available, with absolutely no compromises, and your photographs will reap the benefits of that immediately. The apparent drawback of not being able to zoom is easily solved by, without wishing to sound glib, moving away from or towards your subject, and I actually prefer having a fixed length to work with, as it is easier to visualise the picture in advance.
And the quality? Simply stunning. Colours are rendered quite gorgeously, with lovely bokeh. Contrast is a revelation compared to cheaper lenses, and the focal length of 70mm (equivalent to about 105mm on an old 35mm camera) makes it ideal for portrait work. I've not had this lens long, but I've been blown away by the results.
Quite simply, you won't get a better portrait prime lens for the Pentax system (unless you're in the market for the 77mm F1.8, that is...) You'll love it.
Perfect optically and mechanically.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Having a "short tele" focal length (equivalent to 105mm FOV in 35mm format) with a sub f/2.8 aperture in such a small package is remarkable. Focal length itself is a personal choice for the task at hand so I don't suggest the 70 is better or worse than any other. That is your decision. I have always favored this focal length because it isolates subjects and flattens backgrounds. For wide work I use the Pentax 21mm DA limited that has most of the same positive attributes of this lens at a wider perspective.
The dedicated screw-on metal hood is fantastic. Although it effectively doubles the length of the lens even in its retracted position, I leave it on as it provides obvious glare protection as well as keeping precipitation and stray fingers away from the front element. You can put a filter between the lens and the hood. The included metal slip on cap only fits the hood and normal pinch caps cannot attach to the hood. If you skip the hood you will need a standard 49mm pinch cap for mounting lens (or filter) directly.
One hack I have tried is this sequence: lens + filter + 49-52mm step ring + 52mm cap
I like this since it reduces the overall size a bit and gives me a clean mount for my 52mm ExpoDisc and other filters. Step rings are cheap so give it a try if the hood is just too long for your purposes.
The only real negative to this lens is the close focus distance of 70cm. But that is the price you pay for any pancake style lens. To improve the near focus limit this lens would have to increase in physical length considerably. So no complaint here as I am more than happy to have the smallest physical size possible. If you want macro potential, get a dedicated macro lens.
One thing I wonder about is if Pentax could have actually made this lens even smaller by going to a standard and more than adequate f/2.8 aperture? Again, no complaint here about the extra half stop Pentax gave me since it surely helps the auto focus work better and makes low light shooting even easier.
Given the choices to obtain this focal length I see the options this way:
Pentax SMCP-DA 50-200mm f/4-5.6 ED WR
* Pro: water resistance and zoom flexibility
* Con: slow f/4.5 aperture when zoomed to 70mm, less than stellar image quality below f/8
Pentax SMCP-DA 50-135mm f/2.8 ED (IF) SDM
* Pro: zoom flexibility, stellar images at all apertures
* Con: very big and heavy
Pentax SMCP-FA 77mm f/1.8 Limited
* Pro: fast f/1.8 aperture, full 35mm frame coverage if you want to use with film body or possible future full frame digital K
* Con: physically bigger and heavier than the DA 70mm
My priority is a small package with the best possible image quality so the little DA 70 wins.
Like most of the pancake lenses, the bokeh is not as smooth as the equivalent focal length full-size lens, but it's not objectionable by any means, and can vary quite a bit depending on the distance from the subject to the background.
The detail this lens can pull out with the K20D is just astonishing. Yes, the closest you can focus is not that close compared to a full size lens, but if you've got 12MP+ sensor it won't matter, because you can just crop to your heart's content.
Like the other DA Limited lenses I have (the 21 and the 35 macro), the color balance is a little on the cool side, with highly contrasty and saturated colors. The lens isn't adding saturation of course, it's just letting it all through. And it's not adding contrast, but it just captures as wide a range as your sensor will allow, with all the gradations in between. I have not had any issues with lens flare.
The pull-out hood is neat, and personally I like the press-on cap, though others don't. With the hood and cap attached the length does grow maybe 50% beyond what you see in the picture here, but if using the lens "naked" then it is small and unobtrusive, perfect for candids.
The DA 70 has an all metal build and quite tight construction. It includes "quick shift" which allows the tweaking of focus without putting the camera into manual mode. I also has a screw on hood, that I leave on all of the time. I put away the metal lens cap, since I have a paranoia about losing it. A 43 mm lens cap seems to fit perfectly in the end of the hood: Fotodiox Inner pinch Lens Cap, 43mm.
As far as shooting with this lens, it is a joy. Even with the lens hood, it is tiny, which makes hand holding shots much easier. In street shooting situation it is non threatening as well. Colors are nice, contrast sharp. In particular, it seems to be about the perfect portrait lens, with excellent central sharpness, even wide open.
I looked at the FA 77 limited as well, but couldn't afford the extra cost.
The only negative with the DA 70 is that it lacks close focus ability. On the other hand, if you look at the size differential between it and say, the Sigma 70mm which does have macro ability, it is considerable.
All in all, it is an excellent lens that I highly recommend.
Edit: Several years after writing this review, I purchased an FA 77. For the most part, the reason for the upgrade was that I wanted a lens with a faster aperture. You can read my FA 77 limited review, if you have a desire to read a more in depth comparison. I would just say that both lenses have strengths and weaknesses and it depends on your shooting style as to which you should choose.
The lens is small and light and surprisingly feels great when mounted on camera, the quick shift focusing ring is something I wish the older Fa limited lenses had so you can manual focus at anytime.
Af speed is fast, this is the fastest Pentax lens I had used until the DA 40mm limited and now newer sdm/hsm lenses, yes it is a little noisy but not so bad, it focuses with zest and lets you know it. I did have to adjust the AF on the K20D to fix a bit of front focusing with this lens but I think they are all like that on the K20D, once adjusted it is very accurate from 2ft to infinity with very little hunting.
But the lens does have it's real faults, first the close focus I wish was better, not macro but say to 1ft min distance, it does also purple ca at big apertures, not alot but just enough that you can see it, still much better than the FA 77mm in that regard. It handles flare well but has some ghosting, again not so bad but it is there. The last wish was that this was an F2 or better but F2.4 is just enough to get those shallow dof blown away bokeh shots, just.
So it's not a perfect lens but for it's price its a real bargain for how it performs and how well made it is, if your a prime shooter and need a short tele I think this is your best bet, even over the FA 77mm ( unless you really need the shallower dof/ faster aperture or are using it manual focus only ). This is one of Pentax's real "L" glass beating lenses, I have Nikon D300 and canon 5D owners jaws drop at the sharpness and clarity ( micro contrast ) of this lens, Only the Canon 85mm and 135mm L ( the 100mm to but they stopped making that one ) lenses are as good IQ wise.