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08-15-2007, 07:23 PM   #1
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Pentax SMC FA 400 F/5.6 IF ED

I have found little info on this lens. Only one review in the forum so far. Does anyone have experience with it or know someone that has sample images. I think it can get one for around $1500. Is this a good price? I guess its the AF version...
thanks in advance.

08-15-2007, 08:11 PM   #2
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Although its a star lens, it seems rather expensive to be paying $1.5K for a 400mm at a slow aperture of f5.6.

You'd probably be better off getting a Sigma EX 100-300mm f4. But then again you have a bigma already. Maybe an ultra wide will do you better. Say the Sigma EX 10-20 or the Pentax DA 12-24.
08-15-2007, 08:44 PM   #3
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I had a Pentax FA 400 f5.6 at one time and thought is was a pretty good lens. I used it for birds and other wildlife. Go to the Pentax Photo Gallery website. Check down at the equipment section and you can find images taken with this lens. It's pretty good but that price seems a little high. I paid less that $1200 for mine several years ago. Hope that helps
08-15-2007, 09:38 PM   #4
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I've got this lens and have used it extensively with and without a tamron 1.4x teleconverter. If you want to see samples, my bird gallery on flickr is completely done with this lens and in some instances, with the teleconverter.

Here's one sample with minimal cropping and no teleconverter:


The gallery is here: Local birds - a photoset on Flickr

The gallery shows some decent examples of the lens' sharpness, and a lot of these images are cropped severly.

Hope this helps.

08-16-2007, 03:35 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by FotoPete Quote
Although its a star lens, it seems rather expensive to be paying $1.5K for a 400mm at a slow aperture of f5.6.

You'd probably be better off getting a Sigma EX 100-300mm f4. But then again you have a bigma already. Maybe an ultra wide will do you better. Say the Sigma EX 10-20 or the Pentax DA 12-24.

I was looking for something long and relatively affordable in Pentax glass. I'd like to try working on images for the new Pentax gallery but if I understand the rules correctly, only images with Pentax glass is allowed....sadly, long glass is a bit scarce right now...or more expensive than a car!
08-16-2007, 03:42 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Andrew Faires Quote
I've got this lens and have used it extensively with and without a tamron 1.4x teleconverter. If you want to see samples, my bird gallery on flickr is completely done with this lens and in some instances, with the teleconverter.

The gallery is here: Local birds - a photoset on Flickr

The gallery shows some decent examples of the lens' sharpness, and a lot of these images are cropped severly.

Hope this helps.
Thanks Andrew.....these are excellent images...helps to decide. I wanted to be able to contribute to the Pentax Gallery where I feel I do some of my better work which is birding and nature...but I read that I will need Pentax lenses in order to submit work. I only have the Bigma right now and cannot afford the $7-8K for the 600.
08-16-2007, 06:16 AM   #7
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Andrew-- Excellent bird gallery. Makes me really mad at myself for ever selling my FA400. That was several years ago when I thought I just had to switch to C***n. Now I am back with Pentax again. Would love to have a 400mm again. Maybe just wait and see what they announce this fall.
08-16-2007, 06:35 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by PaulAndAPentax Quote
Thanks Andrew.....these are excellent images...helps to decide. I wanted to be able to contribute to the Pentax Gallery where I feel I do some of my better work which is birding and nature...but I read that I will need Pentax lenses in order to submit work. I only have the Bigma right now and cannot afford the $7-8K for the 600.
Thanks, Paul.

I'd love to get my hands on the 600 f/4, but I don't think my wife would let me live if I got one

If you can find the FA* 400, I don't think you'd regret it......it's just the 'finding' part thats difficult right now.

QuoteOriginally posted by kent vinyard Quote
Andrew-- Excellent bird gallery. Makes me really mad at myself for ever selling my FA400. That was several years ago when I thought I just had to switch to C***n. Now I am back with Pentax again. Would love to have a 400mm again. Maybe just wait and see what they announce this fall.
Thanks, Kent.

I was lucky to get my 400mm.....it was discontinued when I was looking to get one. Fortunately, Pentax Canada had one tucked away.

08-16-2007, 07:01 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Andrew Faires Quote
I'd love to get my hands on the 600 f/4, but I don't think my wife would let me live if I got one

Now, see...you're looking at this all wrong! There's a bird photographer here in Oklahoma who used this method to justify buying his long lenses: He explained to his wife that her brother had spent $20,000 on a bass boat that he only takes out once or twice a year. In that context, spending $8000 or so on a really good long lens that will be used every week isn't such a bad expenditure.
08-16-2007, 07:29 AM   #10
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I like the logic TaoMaas. Truth be told, I could see getting a longer lens in the next 5-10 years with her blessings as she knows I'd use it. Kids and mortgage come first though.....and if I play my cards right now, I'll have a brain surgeon and a rocket scientist for children who could get their loving and supportive father a really nice christmas gift
08-16-2007, 09:53 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Andrew Faires Quote
I like the logic TaoMaas. Truth be told, I could see getting a longer lens in the next 5-10 years with her blessings as she knows I'd use it. Kids and mortgage come first though.....and if I play my cards right now, I'll have a brain surgeon and a rocket scientist for children who could get their loving and supportive father a really nice christmas gift
Ah...a retirement plan outside the stock market!

You have one of those money managers at home too, huh? My wife wants me to start signing contracts because I keep saying "oh, I just need this one more lens...." about every three months! And I am just a newbie to this stuff! She buys tons of jewelry supplies (more than my stuff so far) but justifies it by making some money when she sells some of the jewelry. I am not ready to start selling images or services yet, needing more experience which is hard to explain!

I found the 400 advertised for $1450 but whether they actually have one in stock is another question...
08-16-2007, 10:44 AM   #12
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Fortunately, when it came to getting my first digital SLR, I was able to bribe her slightly.....luckily my wife's fondness for rings impared her financial judgement on that one
08-16-2007, 11:03 AM   #13
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I'm not so sure if I could justify spending $1500 on a lens as a means of getting into the Pentax Gallery, as cool as it is to be featured there that's a lot of cash to roll out when you've already got the Bigma that should give you decent shots.

I'd say stick it out with the Bigma, build up your portfolio of shots and obtain more experience in the field with it. If you find once you're ready to start selling images or offering services then maybe look into dropping the extra $$$ on a faster prime or checking out what the new DA 300mm f4 has to offer you
08-16-2007, 12:11 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by smcclelland Quote
I'm not so sure if I could justify spending $1500 on a lens as a means of getting into the Pentax Gallery, as cool as it is to be featured there that's a lot of cash to roll out when you've already got the Bigma that should give you decent shots.

I'd say stick it out with the Bigma, build up your portfolio of shots and obtain more experience in the field with it. If you find once you're ready to start selling images or offering services then maybe look into dropping the extra $$$ on a faster prime or checking out what the new DA 300mm f4 has to offer you
Ah, the voice of reason......
08-16-2007, 12:25 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by PaulAndAPentax Quote
Ah, the voice of reason......
Re-reading that, I sound like my wife... creepy. Maybe it's because I've been talking about buying a Bigma for next weeks Grand Prix of Mosport after just purchasing an FA 135mm f2.8 this week... amazing how significant others rub off on us eh?
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