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06-14-2011, 02:18 PM   #1
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DA* 200 Questions

Hi:

I purchased a DA* 200 and have a few questions for those who have it or have experience with it.

I am using a k5.

First, and this is a bit nitpicky I know, but the rubber gasket/hood protector on the edge of the lens hood slips off rather easily, almost as if someone forgot to glue it in place. If it falls off it is more of an annoyance as not having it does not affect anything. It is kind of like buying a new car and having the leather or cloth steering wheel cover come loose and easily fall off. Taking it off does not prevent you from steering, but it is an odd annoyance.

I spoke with B&H (where I bought it) and they were very nice. They suggested I call Pentax and if Pentax said to return everything, since they cannot just take the hood back, then they would be happy to do that and send me a new lens (with a new hood). I spoke with Pentax, also very nice, and they suggested sending everything back for an exchange—though seeming overkill, it would be faster, though I always can send in the hood and have it replaced by Pentax, but that would take longer. Pentax cautioned me about using a glue or adhesive since it could leak on to the lens.

Secondly and most importantly, I am a bit concerned that the lens seems a bit too soft until f/5.6. I know pictures, pictures, please. I will post some this weekend after I have a chance to shoot at my son’s Little League games. I have the DA* 300 and am pleased with it and am getting experienced with getting some pretty sharp photos, generally with the use of a monopod. I also am trying to take into account shooting at f/2.8 (with the DA* 200) as opposed to f/4 or f/4.5 (with the DA* 300), as the depth of field will be shallower. I have used the DA* 200 at my son’s games and he is at least 50 feet away, up to about 100 feet.

Does anyone have experience with how the DA* 300 and DA*200 compare optically in real world terms. Photozone has reviewed both and both lenses have been reviewed by many users on this forum, but just wondering about any additional insight.

Thanks in advance for your help.

06-14-2011, 03:27 PM   #2
hcc
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I would not comment directly on either lens since I have only the FA*300mm f4.5.

But there is recent thread at DPReview.com (Pentax SLR Forum) entitled 'Montreux Volley Masters 2011' with superb VB photographs taken with the DA*200mm. The results are really nice and impressive. It may be worth to look at these for comparison.
06-14-2011, 03:35 PM   #3
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Have you done a proper lens alignment with your DA*200 on the K-5 ?
I have the DA*200 and DA*300 and both lenses needed alignment on the K-5.
You may use one drop with superglue to fix the rubber to your lens hood when it is not mounted on the lens.

Trygve
06-14-2011, 04:03 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Caddis Quote
Have you done a proper lens alignment with your DA*200 on the K-5 ?
This is my recommendation. I have the DA* 200mm and mine is sharp as can be. There could always be the possibility that you have a soft copy, which sending it back for replacement would fix that.
My rubber ring doesn't come off. Well, I haven't tried pulling it off, but it's very tight. You could glue it, but then again if it were me, I'd send it back and get a replacement.

06-14-2011, 05:33 PM   #5
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I have the same problem with my DA* 300 hood which is the same as the DA* 200. I little drop of glue could certainly help. My DA* 200 is really sharp at f2.8 and just fantastic at f5.6. I suggest you use the individual lens corrections on your K5 first. If it is still not good, then send it back with the hood.
06-14-2011, 07:36 PM   #6
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Rubber on lens hood - mine is firmly in place, although I suppose I could remove it if I really put some elbow grease into it.

Sharpness - I initiall had some misgivings about the wide-open performance of my copy, which later proved to be a backfocussing issue. DoF is extremely thin at 200mm/F2.8, but can be used to great effect once the AF is "sighted-in". Wide open, with accurate focus, this lens has respectable sharpness, but this improves slightly upon stopping down to F3.5. I see no difference in resolution between F3.5 and F8 on my copy. Where this lens really shines is its handling (handholdable, and very easy to bring the optics to bear on your subject) and outstanding contrast between F3.5 and up; contrast at wider apertures is on par with other first-tier lenses, but gets into another league stopped down slightly.

One quick tip that really helped me with this lens - When focussed at 30 feet to infinity, the AF response on this lens is faster than the SR spool-up time (on my K10D, at least). So, if your shutter speed is below 1/400 or so, make a conscious effort to watch for the SR ready indicator in the viewfinder before you fire the shutter. This will eliminate any blurring due to movement of the SR assembly (including the sensor).

Best of luck with this lens! It's definitely capable of taking great photos.
06-14-2011, 07:46 PM   #7
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At f-2.8, the DOF is so narrow on the 200 that even the slightest front-focus/back-focus problem can seem exaggerated. Plus, I find AF unreliable with it on cluttered scenes. AF can't read your mind, so recheck your shots to see if the focus point isn't somewhere in the frame that you didn't intend it. I've had these kinds of problems, and use MF most of the time with it, but my 200 has never, ever been "soft." It is sharp wide open, and stopped down it is amazing.
06-14-2011, 11:49 PM   #8
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The hood rubber should be difficult to remove, at least my FA*200/2.8 does. Together with soft results, it should be exchanged w/o hesitation.

06-15-2011, 01:42 AM   #9
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Hi:

Thank you for all of your replies. I will speak with B&H today.

I have been going through pictures of my son at Little League and there does appear to be some back focusing. I can see that he is fairly soft, but the grass and sand behind him, and this gets more significant getting close to and eventually at 2.8, is in (much better) focus than my son. And, this is consistent. Having said that, none of the images from 2.8 to to 4.0 are particularly sharp.

I will speak with B&H and figure out what to do.

Thanks again.
06-15-2011, 12:02 PM   #10
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What surprised me is that my DA*'s AF is considerably faster than my Sigma's HSM AF. And the DA* has quite a bit longer focus throw.
06-17-2011, 06:12 PM   #11
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Hi:

I decided to exchange the lens for a new DA* 200. I purchased from B&H and they have been great. I should have my new copy next week.

Though I have been known to jump to conclusions about lenses, I feel comfortable that there was something "not right" about the DA* 200 I had. I had shot quite a bit this summer with my DA* 50-135 and DA* 300 and the DA* 200 just was not cutting it. Even at f4 it wwas not as sharp as the other two at f4 (and I mean that the in focus portion was not as sharp).

Anyway, I am looking forward to the new lens.

Thanks so much again for your suggestions.
06-18-2011, 07:07 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ubuntu_user Quote
This is my recommendation. I have the DA* 200mm and mine is sharp as can be. There could always be the possibility that you have a soft copy, which sending it back for replacement would fix that.
My rubber ring doesn't come off. Well, I haven't tried pulling it off, but it's very tight. You could glue it, but then again if it were me, I'd send it back and get a replacement.
Same here, and mine focuses really fast.
06-18-2011, 07:29 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by hcc Quote
I would not comment directly on either lens since I have only the FA*300mm f4.5.

But there is recent thread at DPReview.com (Pentax SLR Forum) entitled 'Montreux Volley Masters 2011' with superb VB photographs taken with the DA*200mm. The results are really nice and impressive. It may be worth to look at these for comparison.
I looked it up, but first found a set made with D3s and that really rocks. Then again, that camera is expensive.
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