Pentax SMC DA* 55mm f/1.4 SDM

Last updated (28 August’10):
– Review by SLRGear

The Pentax SMC DA* 55mm f/1.4 SDM features 55mm at focal length with maximum aperture of f/4. The lens construction has 9 elements in 8 groups and has diagonal angle of view at 28.6 degrees. Closest focusing distance at 17.76 inches(0.45m) and has a filter size of 58mm. The Pentax SMC DA* 55mm f/1.4 SDM lens weighs 13.2 oz. (375g) and it measures 2.8 inches in diameter and 2.6 inches long.

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆ | Latest Price Info

Expert Reviews

Pentax SMC DA* 55mm f/1.4 SDM Reviews

SLRGear reviews the Pentax SMC DA* 55mm f/1.4 SDM and writes;
“The 55mm ƒ/1.4 is one of the sharper Pentax lenses we’ve had the opportunity to test. One of the hallmarks of this lens is its wide ƒ/1.4 maximum aperture; happily, sharpness performance at this setting is very good, just about 2 blur units across the frame. Pentax’s SDM focus system is both fast and quiet; the lens takes about a second to do a full rack through its focus range..”
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Lenstip reviews the Pentax SMC DA* 55mm f/1.4 SDM and writes;
“The degree of correction of chromatic aberration definitely benefits the new Pentax. With DA* the defect is harmless with maximum aperture range and increases when stopping down. Its maximum level of 0.13% is reached for the range of aperture between f/5.6 and f/22.”
rating: N/A

SLRLensreview reviews the Pentax SMC DA* 55mm f/1.4 SDM and writes;
“Pentax smc DA^ 55mm f/1.4 SDM is a pretty solid permer overall. There are some caveats that you should consider, such as the (usual) lower resolution and contrast at wider apertures, color fringing and some vignetting.”
rating: N/A

Photozone reviews the Pentax SMC DA* 55mm f/1.4 SDM and writes;
“The SMC-DA* 55mm f/1.4 SDM is a rather typical representative of the standard lens species – it is capable of delivering ultra-sharp results when stopped down a little but it’s also fairly soft at very large aperture settings. Distortions and lateral CAs are not field-relevant. There may be a hint of vignetting visible at f/1.4 but generally there’s no reason to worry about this out there as well. The biggest differentiator of the lens is probably the high quality of the bokeh which is often a problem in most of the elderly 50s out there.”
Rating: ★★★☆☆

User Opinions

Pentax SMC DA* 55mm f/1.4 SDM User Reviews

So quiet!! | Rating: ★★★★★
“I was blown away by how incredibly quiet the motor of this lens is. Of course, I am a Pentax fan and love their products. This one is no exception. The depth of field range is outstanding. Finally, a lens that will allow me to explore the endless possibilities of depth of field. There is an incredible difference between the standard 5.6 f-stop commonly offered on a standard lens and 1.4 that this lens offers. Well worth the price.” – by C. Fine

Pentax 55mm Prime | Rating: ★★★★★
“I currently own an all-Pentax system, including a K200D body with all the other SMC DA* lenses except the 200mm. My intention in buying the 55mm was to have a razor-sharp lens for candid and formal portrait photography. I’ve shot close to a hundred pictures with this wonderful lens over the course of the past couple of weeks, and it’s ability to capture images in low light is awesome at f/1.4, but not quite as sharp as when set to f/2.0. It has marvelously creamy bokeh in the low f-stop range, including a truly magical ability to capture shading and colors not perceived by the human eye.” – by Cy Gilbert

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Pentax SMC DA* 55mm f/1.4 SDM Sample Photos

Pentax SMC DA* 55mm f/1.4 SDM Sample Photos @
Pentax SMC DA* 55mm f/1.4 SDM Sample Photos @
Pentax SMC DA* 55mm f/1.4 SDM Sample Photos @
Pentax SMC DA* 55mm f/1.4 SDM Sample Photos @

Features & Specifications

Pentax SMC DA* 55mm f/1.4 SDM Specifications

Boasting such features as super-low-dispersion optical elements, extra-low-dispersion (ED) optical elements, and Pentax original lens coatings, the Pentax DA* 55mm f/1.4 lens delivers crisp high-contrast images even at the edges. The lens is outfitted with a water- and dust-resistant seal for reliable operation in inclement conditions, along with a Pentax Quick-Shift Focus system that allows you to instantly switch between auto and manual focus. The objective lens surface, meanwhile, is treated with Pentax original (Super Protect) SP coating, a special fluorine compound that’s applied through a vapor-deposition process to create a surface that effectively repels dust, water, and grease. The combination of special lens coatings, ideal curvature, and superior positioning of optical elements optimizes a host of digital imaging characteristics while effectively minimizing flare and ghosting. Other features include an Aero Bright coating for maximum light transmission, rounded diaphragm blades that create a more circular aperture, a fast f/1.4 aperture for outstanding depth-of-field control, and a 1.48-foot minimum focusing distance. An ideal lens for portraits, still life, or low-light photography, this Pentax 55mm lens carries a one-year warranty.


* The smc Pentax DA Star 55mm F1.4 SDM is a prime standard lens that is ideal for portrait, still-life, or low light photography.
* Its fast F1.4 aperture offers outstanding depth of field control, and its rounded diaphragm blades create a more circular aperture for smooth, beautiful bokeh at large aperture settings.
* Adding the Pentax Aero Bright coating on internal lens elements offers ultra high refraction index for improved light transmission with minimal ghosting and flaring.
* The tightly sealed, weather-resistant and dust-resistant construction enhances durability for use in both rainy and dusty conditions, making the DA Star 55mm F1.4 SDM lens a perfect companion for the weather-resistant Pentax DSLR bodies.
* The Pentax-original Quick-Shift Focus System allows instant switching from autofocus to manual focus operation.
* The Pentax-original SP (Super Protect) coating repels dust, water and grease to keep your lens clean and your image quality at its peak.
* The SDM focus system incorporated in this lens results in a smoother, quieter autofocusing operation using a built-in supersonic motor.
* The focal length is equivalent to 84.5mm in the 35mm format

What’s in the Box:

* Pentax DA Star 55mm F1.4 SDM Lens
* Lens Hood – PH-RBH 58mm
* Lens Cap – O-LC58 58mm
* Rear Lens Cap
* Lens Soft Case – S90-100


* Focal length: 55mm
* Maximum aperture: f/1.4
* Minimum aperture: f/22
* Lens construction: 9 elements in 8 groups
* Angle of view: 28.6 degrees (with Pentax DSLR)
* Number of diaphragm blades: 9 (rounded)
* Minimum focusing distance: 1.48 feet
* Maximum magnification: 0.173x
* Filter diameter: 58mm
* Diaphragm control: Fully automatic
* Hood: PH-RBH
* Mount: Pentax
* Objective cap: O-LC58
* Case: S90-100
* Dimensions: 2.8 inches in diameter and 2.6 inches long
* Weight: 13.2 ounces
* Warranty: 1 year

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