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04-19-2013, 05:01 PM   #1
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Pentax FA 80-320mm f1:4.5-5.6-Pretty Impressed!

This week I've been playing with and "oldie" zoom, the FA 80-320mm. I have used the DA 55-300mm a lot, but with all the full frame rumors going around, I thought it'd be fun to add a long zoom to my set of full frame lenses--the FA 31mm Ltd, FA 35mm f/2, FA 50mm f/1.4 and the FA 28-90mm.

I have to say initially I'm super impressed with this lens. It's at least as sharp as the DA 55-300mm. It feels very, very solid with a metal mount, very well damped controls. I've tested it informally against the DA-L 55-300mm at 100, 200, and max zoom and at every FL the old FA seems better. Sharper, better color saturation, overall more of a "pop" in the image.

I don't have good samples but I might go ahead and post a few comparisons.

This lens is commonly available for about USD 125-175, and I think a good copy of it is a bargain.

04-19-2013, 05:12 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by lawsonstone Quote
This week I've been playing with and "oldie" zoom, the FA 80-320mm. I have used the DA 55-300mm a lot, but with all the full frame rumors going around, I thought it'd be fun to add a long zoom to my set of full frame lenses--the FA 31mm Ltd, FA 35mm f/2, FA 50mm f/1.4 and the FA 28-90mm.

I have to say initially I'm super impressed with this lens. It's at least as sharp as the DA 55-300mm. It feels very, very solid with a metal mount, very well damped controls. I've tested it informally against the DA-L 55-300mm at 100, 200, and max zoom and at every FL the old FA seems better. Sharper, better color saturation, overall more of a "pop" in the image.

I don't have good samples but I might go ahead and post a few comparisons.

This lens is commonly available for about USD 125-175, and I think a good copy of it is a bargain.
It's definitely the nice lens, but isn't the AF tragically slow at the long end? That was my impression at least!

Adam
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04-19-2013, 06:28 PM   #3
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We-e-ell... I had a silver and a black one. I used the black one since I'd been using it forever, and the silver one sat unused. I waited ... and I waited ... and I waited some more until eventually Pentax released the 60-250mm which I bought and then sold the two 80-320mm's.

What I can say about this lens:
For me it was great. Used it at airshows and it worked well for me. I eventually realised that its sweet spot was really f6.7-f8 and FL no longer than 260mm. In fact taking a picture at 260mm and cropping it would yield superior results to an image at 320mm. I got some really really sharp and contrasty images from it with surprisingly little CA. Here are a couple of images I took with it on the K10D.


















04-19-2013, 07:20 PM   #4
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Where did you get those shots? That is a neat bird. We had one on our lake a number of years ago, it would fly over our home on it's approach to landing at the end of the day.

04-19-2013, 07:24 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by derekkite Quote
Where did you get those shots? That is a neat bird. We had one on our lake a number of years ago, it would fly over our home on it's approach to landing at the end of the day.
Hey Derek from a fellow Nelsonite, from years ago Those shots are in Vancouver's Burrard Inlet Harbour the latter ones close to the Vancouver seabus.
04-19-2013, 07:37 PM   #6
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Yeah, Vancouver Harbour. You can see one of the "Fast Ferries" in the background there of the last shot. I typed something innocuous but deleted it because this is not a thread for political discussion.

What I really like about the second last shot is all the detail of the North Shore in the background... the cars... the buildings... the trees... the traffic lights... even some people. I feel as if I could get off my chair and get closer "into" the image.

Derek, this is probably the exact same aircraft you saw. It's called a Martin JRM Mars of which they built 7. Four ended up as flying tankers with one destroyed in Typhoon Freda while in Victoria, BC, one crashed due to a faulty water drop mechanism leaving the aircraft unable to clear a mountain, and these two based at Sproat Lake, Port Alberni, BC. The second one, however, has been repainted and is due to be delivered to the US Navy aircraft museum in Pensacola, FL.
04-19-2013, 07:46 PM   #7
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KC those are great contrasty pics and the detail is better than I would have thought. Is this the only telephoto zoom you have?
04-19-2013, 08:12 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by richardwong Quote
KC those are great contrasty pics and the detail is better than I would have thought. Is this the only telephoto zoom you have?
That lens worked well for me when I had it. I only passed it along when I got the most excellent DA* 60-250mm. And that is now the only telephoto zoom lens I own.

04-19-2013, 09:29 PM   #9
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That plane sure looks the part. Reminds me a bit of some of Hughes' aircraft.
04-19-2013, 09:32 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by kcmadr Quote
That lens worked well for me when I had it. I only passed it along when I got the most excellent DA* 60-250mm. And that is now the only telephoto zoom lens I own.
The 60-250mm is definitely many steps forward but surprisingly this lens took the Mars photos really well.
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