Pentax K-5 and DA 18-55mm

Sonny against segments of the Berlin Wall in Christchurch
Sonny against segments of the Berlin Wall in Christchurch

It must quite a few years ago since I last shot with my 9-year-old Pentax K-5 and the kit lens, a SMC Pentax DA 18-55 f/3.5-5.6 AL WR (to give it its proper name…). I tend to just shoot with a “compact” Fujifilm X100T these days, as I love the Fujifilm colours and rangefinder styling, and even when I do shoot with the Pentax K-5, the lenses that I stick on them tend to be prime lenses (having also own the optically excellent SMC Pentax FA 31/1.8, 50/1.4 and 77/1.8 lenses).

An upcoming trip to Europe got me thinking about shooting with zoom lenses again, instead of the fixed-lens Fujifilm X100T which had been my go-to travel camera over the years. Today, I thought I’ll try to get reacquainted with this fancy new zoom lens wizardry.

Now, I know that the kit zoom lenses (I also own the SMC Pentax DA 50-200 f/4-5.6 ED WR) aren’t the sharpest tools in the catalogue, but are they decent enough for travel photography? I hope to make some test shots and determine that. Here are some shallow depth-of-field shots with close-focus at f/5.6.

Here’s some wider depth-of-field shots, with medium-focus at f/5.6.

And here’s a single low-light shot in a dimly-lit museum.

These shots were taken with the shorter, more travel-friendly 18-55mm lens. I don’t think they turn out too badly, certainly better than what any of my cellphones can capture.