This was a test of the Pentax DAL 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 lens on the Pentax K-m dSLR body. It's the economic kit lens that is sold together with this body.
In general, this is a good lens if you understand and avoid it's shortcomings and stay in the 18-35mm range (more below). It's probably Pentax's best small wideangle lens and offers great bang-for-the-buck.
The selection of shots here show a range parameters at various focal-lengths and f/stops. Most of the shots are paired, with a one parameter change between each shot. You will have to comb the EXIF data until I can get my notes in for each shot, but I think it will be apparent.
All shots were converted from RAW to JPEG and have had zero post-processing applied, except that Zenfolio resizes them.
In general, this lens is:
- good at 18mm wide-open
- very good at 18mm at f/8
- very good at 26mm wide-open
- poor at 40~55mm wide-open and at distances
- still a bit soft at 55mm at f/8 but renders
- useful at 55mm at close-distances
The lens tends to underexpose a bit on automatic settings. Best results with +0.5 to +1.0 exposure compensation. In some instances, +2.0 was tried for that bright Japanese-style which smooths and whitens skin-tones, it worked in some shots but can go awry quickly.
It was a cloudy overcast day, so I think the auto white-balance did a pretty good job until the fill-flash was used and then it got a bit off-colour.
© David Anthony