HD Pentax-DA 70mm F2.4 Limited review

The HD Pentax-DA 70mm F2.4 Limited is basically a pancake telephoto for APS-C Pentax DSLRs. Which is odd

HD Pentax-DA 70mm F2.4 Limited review
(Image: © Rod Lawton)

Digital Camera World Verdict

How can a 70mm lens be this small? Indeed, half of the HD Pentax-DA 70mm F2.4 Limited's length is taken up by a detachable retracting lenshood, so it's smaller even than our pictures suggest. It even has quite a respectable maximum aperture of f/2.4. Only two things go against it: one it's that it's an APS-C lens with an effective focal length of 105mm, which is pretty long as a compact walkaround lens; the other is that it has no AF motor of its own, so it's driven by the crude mechanical AF drive in Pentax camera bodies.


  • +

    Exceptionally small for its focal length

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    F/2.4 maximum aperture

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    Decent optical quality


  • -

    Noisy body-driven AF

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    Do you need a pancake telephoto?

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The HD Pentax-DA 70mm F2.4 is a very odd lens in all sorts of ways. It looks like a retro analog lens, but it lacks an aperture ring and is very much a digital re-imagining of a ‘classic’ lens. The focal length sounds more appropriate for a full-frame camera, but in fact this is an APS-C lens. And it has the dimensions of a pancake lens, but the effective focal length (105mm) of a short telephoto. 

Even the maximum aperture is odd, which at f/2.4 is neither fast nor slow. It’s impressive for a lens this small to be so fast, but at the same time, it’s far from ‘fast’ by modern standards.

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Rod Lawton

Rod is an independent photography journalist and editor, and a long-standing Digital Camera World contributor, having previously worked as DCW's Group Reviews editor. Before that he has been technique editor on N-Photo, Head of Testing for the photography division and Camera Channel editor on TechRadar, as well as contributing to many other publications. He has been writing about photography technique, photo editing and digital cameras since they first appeared, and before that began his career writing about film photography. He has used and reviewed practically every interchangeable lens camera launched in the past 20 years, from entry-level DSLRs to medium format cameras, together with lenses, tripods, gimbals, light meters, camera bags and more. Rod has his own camera gear blog at fotovolo.com but also writes about photo-editing applications and techniques at lifeafterphotoshop.com