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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.


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!
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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Original Poster
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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