Pentax has added to its premium quality ‘Star’ lens range with a new ultra-wideangle zoom for its APS-C cameras.
The HD Pentax-DA* 11-18mm F2.8 ED DC AW is designed to offer high resolution and high contrast without any blurring at the edges, and to accommodate the high resolution capture of digital cameras of the future.
The 11-18mm zoom range corresponds to around 17-27mm in full frame 35mm terms, so it’s not the widest-angle lens you can get for APS-C Pentax cameras. The Sigma 8-16mm, for example, goes far wider at 12-24mm equivalent.
But what the Pentax lens does have is a constant f/2.8 maximum aperture, which should make it especially useful in low light, given that Pentax DSLR bodies have in-body image stabilisation. It might be of particular interest to astrophotographers, given that some Pentax bodies have a star-tracking AstroTracer mode.
The HD Pentax-DA* 11-18mm F2.8 ED DC AW has an interesting adaptation for use in cold conditions, too, with a space for a small heating device and a metallic frame to conduct heat into the lens. This is designed to prevent condensation as outside temperatures fall.
There’s also a Focus Clamp to lock the focus in a specific position, which sounds like a useful feature for street photographers who like to use zone focusing for fast, reflexive shooting.
All this sophistication doesn’t come cheap. This is a lot of money to pay for some relatively ordinary optical specifications, especially in the the ASP-C camera market, especially when you consider you can get the Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 lens in a Pentax mount for £1,000/$1,000 less.
At least Pentax is cleaning up its lens range, though. There was a time when the Pentax lens range was a mix-up of multiple old and new lens designs, overlapping focal ranges and noisy consumer lenses mixed in with newer high-quality optics. Pentax insiders probably understood all this very clearly, but to outsiders it was a bit of a mess.
Available: February 2019
More information: HD PENTAX-DA★11-18mmF2.8ED DC AW – K-Mount Lenses – RICOH IMAGING EUROPE S.A.S