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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Compatibility of DA Lenses on Full Frame

In the course of studying the possibility of a Full Frame Pentax DSLR system and how ready the current Pentax lens system (i.e., the DA lineup) would be, I have done an extensive research to find out most of the relevant information in the Internet that have been there so far, as well as to do some tests on my own, all of which are summarised as below:-

DA PrimeCompatible? (Yes/No)Reason for No
DA 14/2.8NoDark Circle, Sample Shot Here
DA 15/4 LimitedNoDark Circle
DA 21/3.2 LimitedNoDark Circle
DA 35/2.4Yes, Sample Shots Here and Here (Mine)-
DA 35/2.8 MacroNoHeavy Vignetting
DA 40/2.8 LimitedYes-
DA 40/2.8 XSYes, Sample Shots Here and Here (Mine)
DA 50/1.8Yes, Samples Here
DA* 55/1.4Yes-
DA 70/2.4 LimitedYes, Sample Shots Here and Here (Mine)-
DA* 200/2.8Yes, Sample Shots Here-
DA* 300/4Yes, Sample Shot Here-
DA 560/5.6No, Sample Shots HereHeavy Vignetting at F5.6

DA ZoomCompatible? (Yes/No)Reason for No
DA 10-17/3.5-4.5NoDark Circle to Heavy Vignetting from 10 to 14mm
DA 12-24/4NoDark Circle to Heavy Vignetting from 12 to 16mm
DA 16-45/4NoDark Circle to Heavy Vignetting from 16 to 20mm
DA* 16-50/2.8NoDark Circle for the Whole Zoom Range, Sample Shots Here
DA 17-70/4NoDark Circle for the Whole Zoom Range
DA 18-55/3.5-5.6NoDark Circle to Heavy Vignetting from 18 to 28mm, see Sample Shots Here
DA 18-250/3.5-6.3NoDark Circle for the Whole Zoom Range
DA* 50-135/2.8NoHeavy Vignetting from 50 to 100mm
DA 50-200/4-5.6NoDark Circle for the Whole Zoom Range
DA 55-300/4-5.8NoDark Circle or Vignetting Below 200mm
DA* 60-250/4NoHeavy Vignetting from 85 to 250mm, see Sample Shots Here

So, there are five primes and one zoom that can be "used". And, not any of the wider DA lenses can be used. But it seems that Pentax has lately decided that their new DA lenses should be made to be Full Frame compatible as the latest DA zoom, the DA 55-300, has shown to be usable on Full Frame. The newer DA* 60-250, unlike other DA tele zooms, has an image circle covers Full Frame also, although the vignetting is serious from 135mm and onwards.

As Pentax has stopped updating their DA lens roadmap since March, it also seems that some important lens lineup revisions are in progress. I hope that they are actually planning for the Full Frame, from all signs that can be seen so far (and also this unconfirmed "leaked" lens roadmap as well).

Nevertheless, do note that when it is "compatible" it just means there is no dark circle nor heavy/obvious vignetting. However, whether the image quality at the image corners are yet acceptable to good would be somehow subjective as using a DA lens on Full Frame is surely not officially tested and guaranteed (at least up to this moment).

Original References (Now More Reference Links are Added/Quoted in the Above):-

http://forum.xitek.com/showthread.php?threadid=489970 (Simplified Chinese)

http://www.dchome.net/viewthread.php?tid=733914 (Simplified Chinese)
http://info.xitek.com/product/200906/12-20723.html (Simplified Chinese)




Disclaimer: Not all the data contained in the above reference links are totally verified by myself and thus there is no guarantee of any after all !

My advice is to be more conservative for those reports in the above links that there is not any sample photo to support the claims, e.g., when both xitek reports tell that the DA 18-55 has no vignetting and is usable starting from 23mm, my own actual shooting test shows that at 28mm, there is still obvious vignetting, which is clearly shown in my sample photos posted. All in all, I am afraid those "testers" were either using a DA lens on a film body but *just* looking through the viewfinder to verify before they told (but they'd forgot that the finders are mostly not 100% in coverage!) or that they were shooting negative and just viewed the final prints (which are not 100% coverage neither) and then came up with their conclusions too early! :-o :-(

[First Posted: October 17, 2009; Last Updated: February 17, 2013]



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