Pentax 02 Standard Zoom Lens review

The Pentax 02 Standard Zoom Lens is the basic kit zoom included with the compact Q10 camera, but it isn't that sharp when zoomed all the way in.
Photo of Pentax 02 Standard Zoom Lens

The Pentax 02 Standard Zoom Lens ($299.95 direct) is the lens you’ll get if you buy the Pentax Q10 camera—but if you bought into that camera system with the original Q, which was bundled with the 01 Standard Prime Lens (47mm equivalent), you may be considering this as a complementary zoom.

The lens has a 3x zoom range, covering a native 5-15mm angle, which translates into a 27-83mm field of view in terms of traditional 35mm photography. The maximum aperture is f/2.8 at its widest setting, which dwindles to f/4.5 as you zoom all the way in, and it uses 40.5mm filters. The lens itself is 1.9 by 1.9 inches (HD) in size and weighs about 3.4 ounces. It can focus on objects as close as 11.8 inches at any focal range. The lens has a built-in neutral density filter, so you can shoot at lower shutter speeds in very bright light, and its leaf shutter can sync with an external flash at speeds of up to 1/2,000-second.

I used Imatest to check the sharpness of the lens when paired with the Q10. At 5mm f/2.8 it is extremely sharp, recording 2,019 lines per picture height—better than the 1,800 lines we use to define a sharp image. Zooming to 10mm f/3.5 reduces the score to 1,565 lines—although you can coax a bit more resolution out of the lens by dropping the aperture to f/5.6, a setting at which it hits 1,738 lines. The lens is quite soft at 15mm f/4.5—it only manages 1,381 lines there, and that figure only increases to 1,428 lines at f/5.6. If you shoot JPG, distortion isn’t an issue—the camera corrects for it—but there is some noticeable barrel distortion at the widest setting if you shoot in Raw mode; this is easily corrected in Lightroom.

If you’re in the market for a standard zoom lens for your Q camera, the 02 Standard Zoom is the only game in town. It’s not a perfect lens by any means—it’s very sharp at its widest angle, but image quality suffers as you zoom in. The 01 Standard Prime is sharper, smaller, has a faster maximum aperture, and is set to sell for only $200 when Pentax puts it on the market in January—but it doesn’t zoom. Usually you can improve the sharpness of a lens by narrowing its aperture, but the Q’s small sensor starts to rob images of sharpness due to diffraction as you do—so we don’t recommend using that lens at a setting narrower than f/5.6. At $300 on its own the asking price is a bit too high, especially considering that it’s bundled with the Q10 in a kit that is priced at only $600. 

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The Pentax 02 Standard Zoom Lens is the basic kit zoom included with the compact Q10 camera, but it isn't the best performing lens.
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