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04-18-2012, 12:47 AM   #1
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Zoom Lens for SLR w/Autofocus

Recently got my hands on a ZX-5. I'm hoping that shooting with film will help me improve. It also seems like it could be a lot of fun.

I really want to get a telephoto zoom lens for the camera, but don't know what to get. I have a DA 55-300, but I know that won't work well on a full frame camera, so I'd like to get something a little older.

I'm looking for a lens that will fit this criteria:

1) 2.8 constant.
2) Professional quality.
3) Less than a hundred bucks.

Just kidding. I'm sure some people were ready to yell at me. I know there's no such thing (unless you get really lucky).

Here's the real criteria:

1) Telephoto Zoom (something around 70mm-300mm but I could settle for around 200mm if the quality is much better)
2) Around a hundred (Might be able to go a little higher)
3) Autofocus (Not 100 percent necessary, but would be nice. I'd rather sacrifice autofocus for quality if needed).
4) Something I would not regret buying. (Probably most important.)

I've been looking into the Pentax FA 100-300 & the FA 80-320 but the reviews don't seem to be too promising. Is there another series that would be better? Should I look into another brand?

I hope you guys can give me some direction.

Thanks.

04-18-2012, 01:59 AM   #2
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Inexpensive Tele Zoom?

Hello Reivax,
The best medium tele zoom I've tried in the range you're looking for is the SMC Pentax FA 100-300mm f/4.7-5.8, (only the silver version). I see these go regularly on eBay for around $100.00.
Mine works fine for a budget zoom, fairly sharp, decent IQ and fast (but noisy) AF in good light.
The review here;
SMC Pentax-FA 100-300mm F4.7-5.8 Reviews - FA Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database
It's rated several points higher than any of the other similar-range zooms, @ 8.87.
It was my go-to medium-tele zoom until I scored a used Tokina AT-X 80-200mm f/2.8.
The FA is light (almost too light), has a plastic bayonet which has never given me any problem, and does hunt a bit in low light, because of the slow maximum aperture. But with ISO 400 (or higher) film you should be OK.
Just make sure you get the silver one!
Ron
04-18-2012, 08:32 AM   #3
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I agree with Ron. IMHO the two best buys in AF zooms are the F35-70 for around US$50 and the FA100-300 (silver) or around US$100. If AF isn't required, look for an A70-200/4 for maybe US$75, or a Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm, either the f/3.5 version 1 (Kiron) or the f/2.8-4 version 3 (Komine), around the same price. (I just bought a Version 3 for US$35 shipped.) For even less, like probably under US$25, the Samyang-made zooms labeled as Sears or Albinar, either 80-200mm or 70-210mm, marked as f/4 or f/3.9, are decent lenses. All these are FF, MF, and available in PK. Good luck!
04-18-2012, 06:05 PM   #4
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Thanks guys. I'm going to start looking for an FA 100-300. I haven't really been able to find a good deal on one. Everything I see seems to be really marked up. I guess I can be patient. I will also be on the look out for some of those manual lenses that were recommended by RioRico. Those also seem nice.

04-18-2012, 06:19 PM   #5
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I briefly had a copy of the silver FA 100-300 and found it a bit too soft for my tastes (perhaps it was a bad copy). Replaced it with an F 70-210, which has the reputation as being the sharpest of the Pentax variable aperture telephoto zooms for film cameras. I got a copy for $115 on ebay and it proved a considerable improvement on my copy of the FA 100-300. Modern Photography ran some tests on the lens and found it sharper, at 70mm, than the M 85/2, as sharp at 135mm as the A 135/2.8 (and nearly as sharp as the M 135/3.5), and nearly as sharp, at 200mm, as the M 200/4.
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