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06-24-2010, 03:54 AM   #1
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K200 F4, M200 F4 or A200 F4

Hello,

This question might have been asked a zillion time, but I couldn't find any answer or thread on that subject matter.

That is: which cheap manual 200mm would you recommend?
I'd rather K-mount, Pentax, rather rare exotic ones, without a reliable coating...

Basically, when looking at the review DB, those who have a A version enjoy it, those have the more easy to find M version enjoy it, while the K gets even more praises... But how do they really compare? Are there any major difference (beyond the obvious advantage of the A setting, and the fact the K one is bigger)?

If you know a thread about this, or where I can get good answers, feel free to re-direct me

Thx in advance

06-24-2010, 04:09 AM   #2
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I can't comment on the other two since I only have the 'A'.
Saying that, an 'A' in AV mode is a joy to use. I prefer to work from aperture first. Then I only need to occasionally adjust ISO to keep my shutter speeds up. Then it's just a matter of; focus/shoot, focus/shoot, focus/shoot...
06-24-2010, 04:14 AM   #3
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i bought a M 200 f4 here for about 70 bucks and i got some very good results. i think it's a great deal for that price.
06-24-2010, 05:06 AM   #4
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Thx for the answers!
In fact from I can see here and there:
- K version is bigger/heavier, costs a little bit more than the M
- A version allows for Av, will be more expensive and rarer than the M

So in fact if they are all equivalent in terms of IQ (I'm not too much into pixel-peeping...), I might go for the cheapest & easiest to find & carry around (M version), unless I can locate a good deal on a A one

I have a very limited use of a 200mm - so don't want to spend a lot, and don't want a big lens I won't bring with me... (this rules out some tempting lenses, like the CZJ 180 or 200 F2.8)...

Do you have any important issues with flare or ACs/fringing with your A or M copies?

06-24-2010, 05:08 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by eljaco Quote
Hello,
I'd rather K-mount, Pentax, rather rare exotic ones, without a reliable coating...
If you want unique, pass on teh above and look for a takumar preset F3.5.

it has an 18 blade aperture, is very sharp, and has unique bokeh compared to newer lenses.

Look in the Takumar club thread for shots taken with it
06-24-2010, 05:12 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
If you want unique, pass on teh above and look for a takumar preset F3.5
I'll check, thanks! Need to check the lens DB too.
But I guess it's even harder to find, and maybe a bit more expensive because of the uniqueness?

Edit: I checked the DB. If this is the one, then it seems even bigger/heavier, with no smc and a focus distance of 2.5m... mmm...

The pics I have found look nice though

Last edited by eljaco; 06-24-2010 at 05:38 AM.
06-24-2010, 06:42 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by eljaco Quote
I'll check, thanks! Need to check the lens DB too.
But I guess it's even harder to find, and maybe a bit more expensive because of the uniqueness?

Edit: I checked the DB. If this is the one, then it seems even bigger/heavier, with no smc and a focus distance of 2.5m... mmm...

The pics I have found look nice though
It is a beast of a lens, but actually does not feel that heavy on the camera.

If you looked at the reviews you will see that I am one of the people who own one.

Yes the minimum focusing distance can be a problem for some artistic shots, and can even be a bit of a problem with photographing small birds, but I cannot say much else negative about the lens, it is a very very steady performer. You should try it for casual portraits or candid photos, since it gives you a working distance that gets you out of the face of the subject.

I am planning (along with about 1000 other things) to do a side by side with my Vivitar series 1 70-210 F3.5 (version 1) Just to see how it stacks up. I might also include my Sigma AOP 70-200F2.8 in this comparison to see what changes in image have taken place over about 50 years of lens development

Remember, the Tak was designed in the late 1950's, the first series 1 in the late 1970's and the Sigma APO at around 2000
06-24-2010, 07:56 AM   #8
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That sounds good indeed.
My concern about the size was that I had (and sold) a Komine A70-210 2.8-4 & a Tokina 80-400 which did not see much use mostly because that was too much for me to carry around - they both did not fit into my bag!
(I tend to travel light with my Ltd & My Viv S1 105. Just trying to add a 200mm for light use).
But your compare will indeed be interesting if you have any time for this!
(And that said: the Tak 3.5 never - I don't remember seeing one on Ebay this side of the Atlantic... Maybe it's easier to find in the US...).

06-24-2010, 08:00 AM   #9
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You won't go far wrong with any of the three lenses you mention. Certainly the A setting would make the A 200/4 the most convenient of the group. In terms of IQ differences would be negligable between these lenses but the SMC Pentax K 200/4 would have the edge in build quality. The build quality of the Tak suggested by Lowell would be in a class by itself.

If you have a liking for the 200mm focal length and feel the need for speed might I suggest the K 200/2.5. It is rare and more expensive than the others but it remains the fastest 200mm ever made by Pentax. I also have the M 200/4 and I can state from extensive use the K 200/2.5 is superior in every way to the M 200/4. I suspect the 200/2.5 would have a significant edge over the K 200/4 and A series versions as well.

Tom G

Last edited by 8540tomg; 06-26-2010 at 02:46 PM. Reason: typo
06-24-2010, 08:40 AM   #10
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Go for the A version, most covenient, but it performs a bit worse than the other two.
06-24-2010, 09:50 AM   #11
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k200 f2.5 looks good, but I don't think I'll be able to secure the budget for this one (not counting the size & rarity ). Unless i can find the rare deal!

I might go for the A version then - if I can find one at a good price. Even M version are not that easy to find in France, so I'll look across Europe

Thanks all for taking the time to consider my query!
06-24-2010, 01:03 PM   #12
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FWIW, even the M version isn't particularly small or light except compared to *other* 200mm primes, and it isn't enough optically better than my DA50-200 (although it is of course a stop faster) to be worth taking with me in preference to the zoom very often.

Last edited by Marc Sabatella; 06-24-2010 at 11:33 PM.
06-24-2010, 01:48 PM   #13
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I have 3 versions of Pentax 200 mm lens. Takumar 200 f3,5; SMC Takumar 200 f4 and SMC Penax M200. My experience with these lenses are as follows: M version is slightly shorter than the other two (eg 185 mm). It has the best coating and very useful built in hood. SMC Takumar is very nice lens, slightly better than the M200 but larger and no built in hood. Takumar 200 f3,5 is the best of all. The disadvantage is poor coating and that is the biggest and heaviest of all.
06-25-2010, 06:00 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
FWIW, even the M version isn't particularly small or light except compared to *other* 200mm primes, and it isn't enough optically better than my DA50-200 (although it is of course a stop faster) to be worth taking with me in preference to the zoom very often.
I use to have the DA50-200. Sold it along my K200D to fund my K-7. I've never been convinced by that lens, even looking at my pics now.
As for the size, yes of course - but compared to a Tokina 80-400 (which is small for a 80-400 lens...) or a A70-210 f2.8-4, a M or A200 f4 should fit better in my bag As for IQ, I hope it'll be a tad better than the DA at 200mm? Or should I reconsider and look for a DA50-200, a F70-210 or any similar and cheapo zooms?

dfujevec - thx for the comments!
Size does matter a lot to me, as much as budget as of now. Even if I had money to burn on a FA*/DA*200, or a 70-200 f2.8 or 100-300 f4, i wouldn't buy those because I would simply not carry those around...
06-25-2010, 08:45 AM   #15
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Might be a tad better than the DA50-200 in some respects (sharpness in extreme corners, maybe, or CA), but I've pixel peeped and am unconvinced. If further testing and pixel peeping were to show the does 200 actually win, I have to believe it's going to be by too small a margin to make up for the larger size, lack of AF, and lack of the 50-199 range in order for me to prefer it to the DA50-200 overall. Of course, I apparently have a "good" copy of the zoom.

The main advantages of the M200/4 are the extra stop and the very nice manual focus ring. Both of which actually come in handy for BIF photography as well as concerts in venues large enough to require 200mm don't miss. And the M200/4 plays much nicer with my Kenko 1.5X TC than the DA50-200 does - it's actually the only lens I own where the TC performs better (slightly, and only when stopped down a bit) than simply cropping.
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