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02-24-2011, 09:32 AM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by macTak Quote
Well, I think you'll see many people offering alternatives to the A200/4 simply because they don't have a copy of it (it's not one of the more common lenses, actually).
that is a good point.

People will recommend what they have, and I am as guilty as the rest in that way.

As for the A position, it can be useful to have, especially since 200mm is still a nice lens for portraits outdoors, and the A setting would let you use flash, as well as slightly improved metering, AND all the exposure modes.

02-24-2011, 09:40 AM   #17
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My M 200 cost me $14.63 last year (the amount of cash i had in my pocket i made an offer at a junk shop) YMMV
patience and hunting around crammed dirty junk shops pays off for me

from the M200 all on the K10d








02-24-2011, 07:36 PM   #18
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Okay, here are a couple of sample pictures with the A200 from my testing (i.e. not good work, but should give you a sense of the lens performance). All straight RAW develops from the defaults in Lightroom. The first is at f4.5, the next at f9.5, and the final is wide open. Perhaps I had a bit to much exposure on these, but they are still good for viewing at 100% to gauge sharpness, etc.



02-24-2011, 08:02 PM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by Canada_Rockies Quote
Keep an eye open for the SMC-A 70-210 f/4. It's not a bad lens at all, and is not terribly popular. I've seen good condition ones in the $100 or less range.
I agree that the A 70-210/4 is a very good bet. It was my most-used lens for about 15. years. I did careful a/b comparisons with a first generation AF Nikon 80-200 2.8 when that lens first came out. I found that the Pentax matched it in sharpness and had better flare control. If I remember correctly the 70-210 wide open was as sharp as the Nikon at f/4. Very nice with a DSLR.

The M and K 200s are both good. I have both and use them occasionally. I find the 70-210 equally good and more convenient.

The Vivitar Series 1 200/3.0 is a very fine lens if you can find one. I bought one new in the late seventies for shooting hockey, and still have it in my fast lens kit.

02-24-2011, 08:08 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by dj_saunter Quote
I'm pretty set on the Pentax-A 200mm f/4 lens but want to know if you have any other suggestions.

Key reasons I want the prime are low cost, and low weight/size.

Also, has anyone ever compared the Pentax-A 200mm f/4 and the Pentax-M 200mm f/4?
I had the K200/4 and I wasn't very impressed with it. My main concern about Pentax manual lenses is purple fringing, as evidenced in Stone Gs squirrel shot (check branches on left side).

The Jupiter 21M is indeed very nice, but is also large and heavy.

Vivitar also put out a bunch of 200mm lenses and they're probably pretty good and cheaper than a Pentax. I now have a 250/4.5 and I'm pretty impressed with it. The following is almost a 100% crop - the falcon was perched on top of a tree:



For low cost and weight you may also want to consider a more modern plastic zoom, like the DA 55-300. Or the FA 100-300/4.7-5.8 if the DA doesn't fit in your budget.
02-25-2011, 04:19 PM   #21
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Here are two more images with the A200/4 at f4. Quite a good performance, in my opinion.



02-25-2011, 05:16 PM   #22
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Of the three lenses I own in the 200mm range (S.T. 200/4; A70-210/4; Vivitar 200/3.5) in my opinion the best one, and the one I use most is the Vivitar. Its biggest drawback is that the coating is not up to SMC standard so it is low in contrast at larger apertures, not brutally low but visibly low compared to the Pentax A. The reason I use it is that it is sharper at comparable apertures than the A70-210 and that it generally feels nicer to use.

Both the Viv.200/3.5 and the A70-210 can be had quite cheap and I don't think you'll be disappointed with either, the Pentax A does sport a reasonably close focus (1:4 I think) so if you are at all interested in trying some macro stuff I'd say it's a good choice.

Now for the lens that I drool over in that range, the Voigtländer APO Lanthar 180/4, must be some kind of magic because I have not been able to find any bad pics taken with it. Does come at a price though...
02-26-2011, 06:59 PM   #23
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That 180mm Voigtlander is really nice, and it's also on the top of my list of dream lenses right now.

But until I find one, I am taking over ownership of macTak's 200mm Pentax-A f4

Thanks everyone, for all the great recommendations.

And big thanks to macTak for helping me get what I was looking for.

The great thing about Pentax and manual lenses is that we have all of these options available at great prices, and they all have IS.

02-27-2011, 11:12 AM   #24
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The only problem I have with the M and A 200/4 is that they are so prone to purple fringing in harsh light.

Below is an example. The hat is dark blue, not violet.

Crop:
02-27-2011, 12:20 PM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by blende8 Quote
The only problem I have with the M and A 200/4 is that they are so prone to purple fringing in harsh light.

Below is an example. The hat is dark blue, not violet.
My concern too. Is that sample from the M or from the A?
02-27-2011, 12:25 PM   #26
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That was the M, but the A was the same. I sold both.
I now have the DA200, which is better.
02-27-2011, 12:30 PM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by blende8 Quote
The only problem I have with the M and A 200/4 is that they are so prone to purple fringing in harsh light.

Below is an example. The hat is dark blue, not violet.
That looks more like Lateral CA to me (magenta/blue-green) than purple fringing. I'd except PF on a brighter, more reflective highlight than the hat (such as water). That's not to say that you don't have other pictures with your lens that have PF, of course.
02-27-2011, 01:45 PM   #28
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Whatever you call it. It's something I didn't like.
02-27-2011, 02:12 PM   #29
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if your using a dslr, go with something like the sears 135mm 2.8 for $10. ends up being 202.5mm

pixel peep it here
http://img43.imageshack.us/img43/4650/sears13528.jpg
02-28-2011, 01:04 AM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by Prox-iee Quote
if your using a dslr, go with something like the sears 135mm 2.8 for $10. ends up being 202.5mm
Sorry, but a 135mm lens "ends up being" a 135mm lens no matter what camera it is on. A smaller frame (film or sensor) sees a smaller ('cropped') portion of the image circle projected by the lens, but the lens remains the same.

Also, Sears sold lenses from various makers over the decades. Most Sears 135mm and other prime lenses are quite good, including some made by Asahi/Pentax. Sears prices have been rising lately as more folks discover just *how* good. I have one older M42 Sears 135/2.8 that I'm quite happy with, but a newer PK 'macro' version had more purple fringing than I liked, so I sold it. The buyer was very happy with its sharpness however. K-Mart's FOCAL brand are often from the same lensmakers as Sears and are also good deals, but Sears had a greater variety of lenses.
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