D FA 150-450mm Full Size Sample Photos

The latest super-tele zoom designed for full frame

By PF Staff in Hands-On Tests on May 31, 2015
D FA 150-450mm Full Size Sample Photos

We have finally had the chance to evaluate the long-awaited and recently launched HD Pentax-D FA 150-450mm F4.5-5.6 ED DC WR lens courtesy of Adorama, who currently have the lens in stock and ready to ship in the US.  The lens started shipping in mid-May.

The 150-450mm is a formidable lens.  Weighing in at over 2 kilograms, it might just take you by surprise when you first pick it up.  But it also delivers impressive reach and has been designed to fully support the upcoming Pentax full frame DSLR.

In this post we will be presenting a series of sample photos alongside out-of-camera JPEG and DNG files.  We will soon follow up with a complete first impressions review of the lens.  Our traditional in-depth review will be pushed back until late 2015 or early 2016, depending on the availability of the full frame camera that will enable us to test the entirety of the 150-450mm's image circle.

So, how does the 150-450mm fare in the field?  To find out, we took it and a Pentax K-3 for a hand-held shoot at the zoo.

Pentax K-3 | 450mm | 1/2000s | F11 | ISO 800 (Original: JPG, DNG)

We were immediately impressed by the high degree of reach that this lens offers.  If you've been needing more magnification than the DA* 60-250mm or DA* 300mm could offer, this lens will almost certainly satisfy your cravings.  While at the zoo, we had no complaints as far as reach went.

The 450mm zoom setting already did an excellent job of isolating the bird shown above, which was located just over 50 meters away from the camera.  But if we take things to the next level and look at a 100% crop of the image, even more details are revealed:

100% crop

This was shot hand-held with nothing but the K-3's Shake Reduction system to stabilize the sensor.

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Further samples follow for your enjoyment.  Click on any thumbnail for a larger web-friendly version of each photo, or download the out-of-camera JPEG or DNG RAW files by clicking the corresponding links.  Note that the out-of-camera JPEGs were processed with all lens corrections enabled and shadow/highlight corrections set to auto.  The web-friendly photos were developed from RAW and processed in Photoshop.  All but the two flower photos were shot hand-held at a distance of 10m to 60m.


150mm | 1/1500s | F8 | ISO 800
(Full size: JPG, DNG)

450mm | 1/2000s | F11 | ISO 800
(Full size: JPG, DNG)

450mm | 1/350s | F9.5 | ISO 800
(Full size: JPG, DNG)

450mm | 1/500s | F5.6 | ISO 800
(Full size: JPG, DNG)
(F6.7: JPG, DNG)
(F8: JPG, DNG)

290mm | 1/3000s | F5.6 | ISO 800
(Full size: JPG, DNG)

190mm | 1/8000s | F4.5 | ISO 800
(Full size: JPG, DNG)

410mm | 1/350s | F8 | ISO 400
(Full size: JPG, DNG)

250mm | 1/750s | F5.6 | ISO 200
(Full size: JPG, DNG)

360mm | 1/2000s | F5.6 | ISO 400
(Full size: JPG, DNG)

450mm | 1/1000s | F8 | ISO 400
(Full size: JPG, DNG)

450mm | 1/180s | F6.7 | ISO 100
(Full size: JPG, DNG)

450mm | 1/250s | F8 | ISO 100
(Full size: JPG, DNG)

Based on these photos and additional controlled tests, from an optical point of view, the 150-450mm appears to be a stellar performer.  On APS-C, both vignetting and geometric distortion were a non-issue for us. We were particularly impressed with how this lens minimized purple fringing near contrasty edges, which can surely be attributed to the multitude of ED and Super ED elements being employed. The lens produced razor-sharp images at all apertures tested, with the exception of wide-open toward the long end of the zoom range.  At the 450mm zoom setting, wide-open shots remain quite usable overall; however, we hand to stop down to at least F6.7 for optimal sharpness at the pixel level, to get rid of glowing edges, and to boost contrast.  Closer to 150mm, F5.6 performs much better. The 150-450's weakest link could be its bokeh, which we consider to be good but not eye-opening with busy backgrounds.

Stay tuned for our full first impressions review to learn more about the 150-450mm's handling, autofocus, and build quality.  This post will also include additional test photos.

If you'd like to get your hands on the 150-450mm, pick up a copy from Adorama if you're in the US or SRS Microsystems if you're in the EU.  Both stores have the lens in stock as of the writing of this post.

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