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03-15-2008, 12:53 AM   #1
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Pentax FA 28-70 f/4

Hi,

I was wondering if any of the forum members own or have owned this lens. While I hope to buy a fast f/2.8 lens in this range when finances permit, I'm curious as to what the performance of this lens is. Surely a constant f/4 aperture must be an attractive reason to buy this lens, if available. I'm hoping this will complement my DA 16-45 and DA 50-200 favorites right now.

What are your thoughts on this? Bojidar's site mentions a "rotating front element" which I'm not quite sure of. Also, how would the price of this lens be right now?

Thanks for your advise.

03-15-2008, 02:15 PM   #2
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I don't know about this lens, but I just picked up a used Tamron 28-75 /2.8 for $320 shipped and it's fantastic. Nice weight, sharp and fast. The coatings are supposedly for digital, the lens will work for APS-C and film.
03-15-2008, 04:09 PM   #3
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I dont think this lens would add any benefit to your set up as it currently is. The 16-45 and 50-200 match each other quite nicely with no (real) gap between their focule lengths. Only reason to get the 28-70 would be if you dont use the 16 end very often and find you want a little further than the 45 without switching. Also I believe there are some reviews in the database and I believe it doesnt perform as well your 16-45 does across common focule lengths.

Thanks
03-15-2008, 07:39 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by macopajuice Quote
I was wondering if any of the forum members own or have owned this lens.
I have one. It's a great lens. Image quality is good over the whole range, even wide open, and the lens is very compact. It has typical FA construction: not outstanding, but good enough. One caveat though: many samples of this lens had a defect that made the cemented lens elements separate after some time, causing a perceptible loss of sharpness. I would suggest you buy this lens from a reputable seller (Keh.com has it regularly, just make sure you don't buy one in "ugly" condition, as it would certainly suffer from the dreaded lens separation syndrome). If you buy from eBay, ask for a money back guaranty. A sample in good shape should cost about $50-100, depending where you get it from.

Cheers!

Abbazz

03-16-2008, 09:20 AM   #5
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I got this lense just before a recent trip to Moab, UT, and I like it quite a bit. The range covers what I use most often, and was light and cheap enough that I wasn't afraid to take it into tight spaces while hiking or up on a cliff face climbing. The front element does rotate, but this only matters if you're using a polarizer or a graduated ND filter. All in all, a great little lense. I got mine in EX condition from keh for about 100 dollars.
That being said:
If you're looking for a 'one lense' solution for taking around town, I think it would be a good solution providing it fits the range you use most often, and don't need the 2.8 of the tamron. If you want to supplement or replace the lenses you have now though, you won't gain much, if anything. Maybe half a stop on some focal lengths. I'd go for either the tamron version, or a fixed 50 for the speed.
Quick example of the lense from Arches National Park.
03-16-2008, 09:59 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by macopajuice Quote

What are your thoughts on this? Bojidar's site mentions a "rotating front element" which I'm not quite sure of. Also, how would the price of this lens be right now?

Thanks for your advise.
do not play that lottery... FA 28-70/4 AL is very prone to back/rear element separation
03-16-2008, 11:38 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by deejjjaaaa Quote
do not play that lottery... FA 28-70/4 AL is very prone to back/rear element separation
Fortunately it is very easy to spot: separated elements look partially or fully "fogged" (as if there is some condensation between elements). If optical path is clear no worries. My copy is fine.

To the OP: in terms of optical quality I would say it is on par with DA 18-55: solid and very useful but do not expect $500 zoom quality from it. For $100 or less it is a good one to have and the range is quite useful for most situations.
03-16-2008, 06:47 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ivan Glisin Quote
Fortunately it is very easy to spot
Unfortunately it is very easy to buy one perfectly fine today and getting the issue
tomorrow even if you are not touching it in between... that is what PDML people say... so that is a lottery... it is not the situation when if it did not happen in 5 years than it will not happen a day latter... certainly you can take a risk for say $50...

03-17-2008, 01:14 AM   #9
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deejjjaaaa, I'm wondering if you've actually tried this lens.

I had two copies of the FA 28-70mm f/4 that I got used. Not one them had any issues optically. It is a very light and compact lens that gives very good images.

03-17-2008, 06:32 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by creampuff Quote
deejjjaaaa, I'm wondering if you've actually tried this lens.
you are not getting the point, are you ? lens is fine until the separation and there
is nothing that you can do to prevent it... and there is no way to tell if the lens that you
have will get it tomorrow while it is perfect today... that is the problem... so my point
is - if you can get it cheap - go get it... but I 'd not pay a $100 something that KEH for example is asking for them... they are cheap for a reason... and I am not saying that 100% of lenses
will die... but it is well known manufacturing defect for those lenses... period... and you
can post 1000 nice pictures that will not change the reality
03-17-2008, 07:02 AM   #11
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Pentax FA 28-70 f/4

Thanks to all who have replied to my thread. There are obviously mixed feelings about this lens, caused by questionable build quality on one hand, and cheap but okay image quality on the other.

My reason for even entertaining the idea of this lens is to bridge the gap b/w my 16-45 and 50-200. I find the 16-45 lacking in the long end, and the 50-200 lacking in the wide end. The price is of course a plus.

That being said, I can hardly find any seller of this lens.. only two so far (in ebay and clubsnap) and I'm not sure why. I will try to look for this locally try it out first before deciding.

Thanks again! If you have more links to sample pics of this lens, I'd appreciate it.
03-17-2008, 07:04 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by macopajuice Quote
If you have more links to sample pics of this lens, I'd appreciate it.
go to pbase.com - there you can search by lens
03-17-2008, 08:07 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by deejjjaaaa Quote
you are not getting the point, are you ? lens is fine until the separation and there
is nothing that you can do to prevent it... and there is no way to tell if the lens that you
have will get it tomorrow while it is perfect today... that is the problem... so my point
is - if you can get it cheap - go get it... but I 'd not pay a $100 something that KEH for example is asking for them... they are cheap for a reason... and I am not saying that 100% of lenses
will die... but it is well known manufacturing defect for those lenses... period... and you
can post 1000 nice pictures that will not change the reality
Simply put, it appears you've never actually owned or used this lens first hand, and it seems like you're regurgitating info that was posted on the internet relating to this lens. It's a pretty sweeping genaralisation when you say that it is "Well known manufacturing defect"

I've read some some of the comments posted online with regards to this lens and initially had my reservations. Well the tech staff of my local Pentax agent that I have spoken to have not encountered problems out of the ordinary with this particular lens. My own shots have proven that this lens is capable of very good images.

Last edited by creampuff; 03-17-2008 at 08:15 AM. Reason: spelling
03-17-2008, 08:48 AM   #14
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I used to have this lens like many others. Mine didn't suffer from the dreaded lens separation at all. It was superb as an outdoor lens or when using with ample lighting. I used to use it on my K100D with the Sigma EF500DG Super and it produced brilliant photos. It was very good at f4 and marvelous stop down 2-3 stops. As long as you can find a good copy of this lens it's well worth it. I regretted selling the lens so I ended up replacing it with the Tamron 28-75 f2.8 which I find to be a very good lens, even better (sshhh don't tell Pentax).

Last edited by jmeelo; 03-17-2008 at 08:49 AM. Reason: gramatical errors
03-17-2008, 09:50 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by jmeelo Quote
I used to have this lens like many others. Mine didn't suffer from the dreaded lens separation at all. It was superb as an outdoor lens or when using with ample lighting. I used to use it on my K100D with the Sigma EF500DG Super and it produced brilliant photos. It was very good at f4 and marvelous stop down 2-3 stops. As long as you can find a good copy of this lens it's well worth it. I regretted selling the lens so I ended up replacing it with the Tamron 28-75 f2.8 which I find to be a very good lens, even better (sshhh don't tell Pentax).
The above is my experience. Have a look at what is said about it here:

Stan's Pentax Photography

On the whole very complimentary. I use mine a lot outdoors and find it quite nice. Only complaint is that I'd like to use it more... ie: under lower light conditions. That's why I will be buying a Tamron. The only reason I have not pulled the trigger on that is QC issues... hmm... gee...

I have seen someone mention that he'd had two of these go bad on him. He cited "haze" and though it had to do with cold/humidity. Sounds consistent with what has been said here. Well known issue? I don't know. I researched this lens a lot at the time, I do not recall seeing anything about separation. On the other hand, it ** is ** mentioned here:

Pentax Forum: Good 28-xx mm zoom for Pentax - photo.net

I think I'll keep mine - given the price paid, ac couple of years later it doesn't owe me much, and as a knock-around it is really quite nice.

woof
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