Pentax 70mm f/2.4 HD Limited review: a compact portrait prime with retro looks, solid performance

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posted Friday, April 4, 2014 at 10:35 AM EST

 
 

Pentax fans look sharp: we've taken the first of a handful of their new HD-coated, retro-styled Limited-series lenses through our battery of tests, and we've just published our full Pentax 70mm f/2.4 Limited DA HD review.

We recently published a story by our news editor and avid Pentax fan Mike Tomkins detailing the improvements to Pentax's new HD Limited series of lenses. These new lenses do away with the Super Multi Coating seen on the older Limited-series lenses in favor of a new HD ("High Definitition") coating, which Pentax claims can better control ghosting and flares as well as improved color balance. As Mike found out in side-by-side comparison, the new coating seems to do the trick quite nicely by reducing lens flare plus provinding a boost to contrast and saturation.

 
smc PENTAX DA 21mm F3.2 AL Limited
Note strong lens flare at left, and in front of left building.

 
HD PENTAX DA 21mm F3.2 AL Limited
Ugly lens flare is mostly gone, and contrast / saturation at left are improved somewhat.

Aside from the new coatings, the construction and optical formula for the Pentax 70mm HD Limited lens remains altogether unchanged from the previous non-HD model -- Pentax 70mm f/2.4 Limited SMC DA -- although Pentax has tweaked the aperture diaphragm for a rounder shape, which should make for more pleasing bokeh. Cosmetically speaking, things are not drastically different from the older model, with the new version sporting a red ring as opposed to a green one.

Results-wise, the new Pentax 70mm f/2.4 Limited DA HD lens performed very well, with excellent sharpness and well-controlled vignetting and distortion. The autofocus systems also performed very well being nice and fast, however, the old-style screw-drive AF motor is a bit on the noisy side. 

Jump on over to SLRgear to read our full Pentax 70mm f/2.4 Limited DA HD lens review to see our test results and read our current verdict, which are based on RAW file output.

The Pentax 70mm f/2.4 Limited DA HD ships with front and rear caps, lens hood and a soft case and is currently available in either black or silver with a retail price around $746.95:

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In the meantime, check out some sample photos shot by our senior lens technician Rob Murray. You can view more sample photos, plus download the full-resolution files, over at our Flickr page.

 
Pentax K-5: 70mm, f/6.3, 1/160s, ISO 100

 
Pentax K-5: 70mm, f/6.3, 1/160s, ISO 100

 
Pentax K-5: 70mm, f/6.3, 1/400s, ISO 100