The new lightweight smc Pentax-DA 40mm f/2.8 XS strives to be a versatile weapon in a photographer’s arsenal of lenses. But the dainty lens, weighing only 51 grams and measuring a slim 9mm in thickness, needs a little more beef – at least that’s what DxOMark determined after putting the lens’ optics through our rigorous tests.
World renowned industrial designer Marc Newson threw his name and his imagination behind one of Pentax’s latest lenses. Newson’s twist on the exterior of the smc Pentax-DA 40mm f/2.8 XS lens has given it the appearance of a black poker chip.
But Pentax’s gamble with the XS redesign didn’t extend to the optics found inside its new lens. That was our conclusion during our DxOMark testing, where we discovered there was just a marginal improvement in the XS from its eight-year-old predecessor – the smc Pentax DA 40mm f/2.8 Limited.
The ultra-compact and circular XS lens, weighing a dainty 51 grams and measuring a slim 9mm in thickness, scored only 12 points in our DxOMark scale (see below for full score results) when tested using the Pentax K-5, a 16.3-megapixel digital SLR.
Despite its weak score, the lens succeeded at:
The Pentax-DA 40mm f/2.8 XS struggled with:
The XS lens scored only one-point higher than its predecessor. This is disappointing when you consider Pentax had about eight years to improve the shortcomings of the smc Pentax DA 40mm f/2.8 Limited.
When comparing image and optics quality against the Limited, the XS was tested as having slightly better brightness – improving about 0.2 T-stop over its older sibling.
Additional strengths of the XS over the Limited include:
The one weakness of the XS compared to the Limited is its resolution.