PENTAX, THE LOST GRANDFATHER
Pentax has a long history, a history even longer than Canon. Strangely though, as prominent as Pentax may be, it was never more popular than Canon or Nikon. Long story short, Pentax is related to “everything optics”. Pentax started from producing spectacle lens, to optical instruments for the military, scopes, binoculars, cameras, and even medical equipment.
Pentax has been like sort of a lost grandfather over the years, being moved from company to company. Somehow, it has survived despite being a Frankenstein of many companies. The movements, however has put Pentax behind in the race for camera dominance.
Will Pentax rise from the ashes? That, is not the point of this guide. This guide is all about Pentax and the abbreviations. As for that question, I shall keep my fingers crossed.
Pentax probably has 2 prominent mount systems now.
- K-Mount : Used on all their SLR and DSLR K-series camera bodies.
- Q-Mount : Used on their mirrorless cameras.
I shall not go deep into the rest of the mounts, but know that Pentax has a long line of mounts in history.
- 6×7 Mount
- 645 Mount
- 110 Mount
Welcome to memory lane. This is a list of lens designations for the K-Mount lens.
- K Lenses : The first generation of K-mount lens, that is totally manual and not a hint of electronics. They are not officially called K-lenses, but people like to call this so.
- M Lenses : The second generation, which, is still manual. But with a little improvement in terms of size and quality.
- A Lenses : The dawn of the electronic era, where “automatic aperture” actually works.
- F Lenses : Lens with auto-focus.
- FA Lenses : Lens for SLR cameras, with automatic aperture and auto-focus.
- FA * Lenses : That is FA with a star. The top of the cream lenses for the FA lenses.
- FA-J Lenses : The more advanced FA lenses, which does not have a manual aperture ring.
- DA Lenses : Designed for the Pentax APS-C crop sensor digital cameras. Yep, I am guessing the “D” to mean digital. Not compatible on the older film cameras.
- DA * Lenses : DA lenses with a star. The top grade DA lenses.
- D FA Lenses : Lenses that are designed for use on digital cameras, but will also work on the older film cameras.
- DAL Lenses : The cheaper and lighter version of DA lenses.
Internal focus (IF) : Focusing is done by moving inner lens group. No parts on the outside move.
Autofocus (AF) : Not manual focus. What else?
Super Direct-drive Motor (SDM) : Pentax’s auto-focus motor.
Extra-low Dispersion (ED) : Glass that is supposedly superior, reduces chromatic aberration and flaring.
Aspherical lens (AL) : Shape of the lens. Read on Wikipedia if you want…
Super Multi Coating (SMC) : A layer of lens coating to reduce chromatic aberration and flaring.
Ghostless Coating (GC) : There will not be paranormal activity in your photos. As the name implies, this coating eliminates lens ghosting.
Super Protect Coating (SP) : Supposedly makes your lens scratch and water resistant.
Aero Bright Coating (ABC) : Seemingly the Pentax’s best coating in terms of optics. Not as durable as Super Protect though.
HD Coating : Well, the latest lens coating that is “better than all before”.
Weather Resistant (WR) : A weather sealed lens. Note, will probably survive the rain, but not underwater.