Best lenses for your Pentax K-50: Pentax lens overview

By Kevin Carter - Thursday August 22 2013

Lens Recommendations
Introduction | Pentax K-50 Best Prime | Pentax K-50 Best Zoom | Best Portrait lens | Best Standard zoom | Best Super-zoom
Best lenses for your Pentax K-50: Pentax lens overview

Announced in June this year, the K-50 is an accessibly priced environmentally sealed DSLR featuring a built-in stabilization and a 16-MPix APS-C size CMOS sensor. As Pentax has yet to introduce a full-frame DSLR to the range the K-50, like others before it, can benefit from one of the largest lens ranges designed for the smaller APS-C sensor. The result is an appealing and unsurpassed range of compact and highly portable primes and zooms. We have analyzed the optical properties of 28 different models in total from Pentax as well as third-party makers, mounted on the new K-50, to help you in your selection either when buying new for the first time or when simply choosing which lens to take with you on your next shoot.

At $699 body only, the K-50 replaces last year’s unconventionally styled K-30 but besides the return to a more familiar body design and many similar features such as six frames per-second continuous shooting and a top shutter speed of 1/6000th sec it adds an upgraded image processor and doubles sensor sensitivity of the K-30 to ISO 51,200. It’s a very likable camera and as we’ve shown in our past report, the K-50 is an excellent performer, achieving a DxOMark Sensor score of 79 points overall; just ahead the firm’s APS-C Ricoh GR, and only a couple of points behind the top-of-the-range Pentax K-5 II models. Our DxOMark lens scores take into account the sensor performance of the camera, especially the results from the Color Depth test and Dynamic range. Noise also affects the testing as one of the many criteria of the lens scores is based on the sharpness in low light levels (see here).

Database Overview

We’ve tested the K-50 with 28 lens models, ranging in focal length from 10mm (equivalent to 15mm in full-frame 35mm angle of view) with the Tamron SP 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 Di II LD Aspherical IF up to 300mm (450mm equivalent) using the premium Pentax smc DA Star 300mm F4 ED (IF) SDM lens.

Admittedly, one or two lenses are full-frame types such as the new Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art-series and older Tamron SP AF 28-75mm f/2.8 XR (42-113mm equivalent) model, but the majority are APS-C types made by Pentax. While it’s debatable whether models like that are wholly suitable for APS-C cameras the lenses are available in Pentax mount and, therefore, entirely reasonable to compare the optical performance.

Please note that we’ve not yet had the opportunity to analyze the Pentax 31mm f/1.8, 43mm f/1.9, 77mm f/1.8 Limited models or the 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 and 60-250mm f/4.0 zooms, however we will be publishing the data on these important models in the future and will update the findings of this overview.”

For more information about the sensor check our Pentax K-50 sensor review

Pentax K-50 Best Prime

Pentax K-50 Best Zoom

Best Portrait lens

Best Standard zoom

Best Super-zoom