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10-08-2011, 06:58 AM   #1
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FA*28-70 - first impressions

So it's been a week I've had the opportunity to use my newest toy.

I wasn't sure what to think of it before purchase. I've seen some terrific pictures but some horrific too. Some say it's a gold, some say it's worse than Tamron 28-75/2.8 and you have to pay much more for it. All a agree it's a brick of a lens.
I figured with 7 weeks to pay my credit card, I'd have enough time to decide on this one...

First of all, it came in touch worse condition than I expected given the rating but the price was right. But I won't name the shop I bought it from as until now my experience with them has been 100% and after this it stands at 99%. I don't have hood and availability of the original is 0 (please don't post links to ebay sellers selling original hoods for 130 or so LoL) and the only hood that fits is PH-RBK77 (DA*200/300) which is out of stock just about anywhere in UK and when owner of one shop with direct links to Pentax UK called to see if he could order one for me he was told it'll take 3-4 weeks... we'll see as I'm determined to get some hood for this

Anyway, enough of chit chat.

Physically very impressive lens. Very well put together with only limited wobble on inner barrel, and some little play in zoom ring. Finish is nice but as with other FA*s easy to scratch.
Opics?
Well, some would have you believe it's unusable wide open, especially above 50/60mm,
I think, at 28mm this lens is nothing short of superb even wide open. Sharp across the frame. It easily gives run for money to FA*24 for sharpness from f4 and doesn't lag too much at f2.8. It's contrast levels and colour rendering is VERY similar to the FA*24. Simply great IMO. All this holds true up to 60mm. Pass this, the lens softens up a bit but still remains perfectly usable, even though vignetting gets heavier. Biggest problem is AF which gets quite unreliable on longer focal lengths and 70/2.8 with MFD of 45cm is not very forgiving. Having said that, so far I'm happy with it...very happy.
Power zoom is rather nice feature. Auto retract is great, and the PZ is much faster than me zooming the lens. And as icing on the cake the lens performs AF while doing PZ too! Great!

enough talking here is few shots
Sorry for the subjects, I haven't had chance to take this one on any proper photo walk yet.

28mm @2.8 ISO500 K-7


and 100% crop:


35mm @2.8 ISO500 K-7


70mm @2.8 ISO800 (pushed +1ev in PP) K-7


and 100% crop:


and few casual shots:










Regards
P

10-08-2011, 07:10 AM   #2
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Thanks for the link

Nice shots, looks like a keeper ! Sounds like your pretty happy with it too then?
10-08-2011, 07:15 AM   #3
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The FA* 28-70 has become my favorite lens, I use it for more than 80% of my images. To get optimal contrast and reduce flare you do need a hood I'd speculate - I have never use mine without one.
10-08-2011, 07:44 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ole Quote
The FA* 28-70 has become my favorite lens, I use it for more than 80% of my images. To get optimal contrast and reduce flare you do need a hood I'd speculate - I have never use mine without one.
Thanks Ole,

I agree on the hood.As he contrast does take a hit without it. I'll be getting one soon

10-08-2011, 09:38 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by TOUGEFC Quote
Thanks for the link

Nice shots, looks like a keeper ! Sounds like your pretty happy with it too then?
It does look like keeper indeed, just needs hood
IQ is good. Not as good as DA*55 but I wouldn't expect that. I think at 50mm and below the IQ is pretty much on par with FA*24 with very few differences. Above 50 it falls of so 55 beats it easily but it's still very usable. Besides if I will want the shallow DOF with top rendering I will always reach for 55. But as a high quality do it all walkaround zoom this is an excellent option IMO...
10-08-2011, 09:27 PM   #6
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I agree with your findings, I moved up from a Tamron A09 to the FA* 28-70.

I did a series of tests and find that the FA* is sharp as at the wider end, MUCH sharper than the A09. But the Tamron has it beaten at the 70mm end fair and square, up until f5.6 the A09 had a noticable lead over the FA*. But neither the lens are stella at long end wide open anyway. Guess that's why I have a DA* 60-250 for complementing it.

It is a BEAST to lug around, my copy was in almost perfect condition and I am more aware I may damage it than any other lens in my collection. The front element also rotates which is rather annoying, and the front element is very sallow set in the barrel so this is the ONLY lens I use a protector filter with (I still take the filter off if I have the time for a shot).

CA and purple fringe is not a big issue, I only notice a tiny red/blue CA at the wide end, past 35mm it's non existant. Flare control is also outstanding.

I dearly wish a modern day re-imagination of this lens, get rid of the PZ motor and use a SDM/ring drive. This lens is far better than the DA* 16-50, but the Tamron A09, at 1/4, maybe 1/3 the price, is more of a serious contender.
10-08-2011, 09:29 PM   #7
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P.S> The hood is GIGANTIC, I feel almost embarrassed putting the hood on when shooting.

I don't often use the hood with this lens when out shooting. I try to avoid flare spot.

I understand the importance of a lens hood, it's just the importance is a little less, well important for my needs when take into consideration the weight and size of my gear pack (being most a travel photographer). I know, I am a bit silly for getting a FA*, which is counter productive to what I just said, but it was a deal I couldn't refuse and god knows when another one may come my way in as good condition...

Last edited by Katsura; 10-08-2011 at 09:39 PM.
10-09-2011, 04:12 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Katsura Quote
P.S> The hood is GIGANTIC, I feel almost embarrassed putting the hood on when shooting.

I don't often use the hood with this lens when out shooting. I try to avoid flare spot.

I understand the importance of a lens hood, it's just the importance is a little less, well important for my needs when take into consideration the weight and size of my gear pack (being most a travel photographer). I know, I am a bit silly for getting a FA*, which is counter productive to what I just said, but it was a deal I couldn't refuse and god knows when another one may come my way in as good condition...
Why the embarressment,Im proud to own a FA*28-70 and a FA*80-200. I took both these and a sigma 10-20 and a SMC 100 macro to the US for six weeks. I got some fantastic shots. Worth theire WEIGHT in gold.
John

10-09-2011, 04:42 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by campdog Quote
Why the embarressment,Im proud to own a FA*28-70 and a FA*80-200. I took both these and a sigma 10-20 and a SMC 100 macro to the US for six weeks. I got some fantastic shots. Worth theire WEIGHT in gold.
John
Some human subjects are intimidated by large lens, and hood doesn't help. It also attract unwanted attention in street shooting.
If a compact or range finder can suit most of my shooting needs I'd gladly swap for the less conspicious camera. But alas there is none (yet).
10-09-2011, 11:19 AM   #10
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Embarassed? No reason to feel so.
I'm planning to stick on oversized DA*200 hood on my 28-70. It's going to make the combo look like I had 50-135 on just touch fatter. I'm quite looking forward to it especially as my K-7 is black, lens is silver/black and hood will be black! Sweet
10-09-2011, 11:21 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Katsura Quote
P.S> The hood is GIGANTIC, I feel almost embarrassed putting the hood on when shooting.
.....
If that's the case, I'll gladly take the hood off you
10-09-2011, 11:23 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by axl Quote
Embarassed? No reason to feel so.
I'm planning to stick on oversized DA*200 hood on my 28-70. It's going to make the combo look like I had 50-135 on just touch fatter. I'm quite looking forward to it especially as my K-7 is black, lens is silver/black and hood will be black! Sweet
It will look something like this

(nice shots BTW, glad to see you're enjoying your new toy so far )

10-09-2011, 11:27 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Katsura Quote
..... Guess that's why I have a DA* 60-250 for complementing it.

....
Thanks for the observations. As matter of fact I haven't noticed neither CAs nor PF yet. Which is always a good sign.

And as for quote above. I'm beggining to think thad DA*50-135 would be nice pair with this one...

But shhhh, don't tell my Mrs
10-09-2011, 04:54 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by axl Quote
If that's the case, I'll gladly take the hood off you
No chance mate Mostly because my copy is as close to new condition as they come, not a single scratch on the hood. I like to keep them as a pair LOL!

But yeah, I'm the kind of person that's always a bit self concious when shooting using giant lens. I'm not a professional photographer. (Maybe I am the antitype to some users who like to show off their big 32x lens on their bridge camera? LOL)
10-09-2011, 06:09 PM   #15
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If you like this lens wide open, try it at f11 or f16 for landscape or other deep dof situations...it's really good. Or try it with a person in the foreground to one side and an extensive mid to long distance subject or line leading away from the person--again at tight f stop for deep dof. I"ve had many shots published that I set up purposely to exploit the great sharpness at deep dof.
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