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05-25-2008, 09:25 AM   #1
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AF lens build quality?

I'm used to the solid construction and smooth operation of Pentax manual focus lenses.
The AF lenses I have handled seem cheap and almost toy-like in comparison.

I recently purchased a ZX-5n and might try an AF lens, if I can find something I like.
Reviews I have read are usually quite specific about optical performance,
but far less so about feel, ergonomics and construction quality.

In this regard how do the FA 35/2.0 and the FA 50/1.4 lenses compare?
In general how do F series fixed focal length lenses compare to FA?
Are any of the F or FA wide angle to short tele zooms well-made?

Or are my expectations just too high, and all AF lenses are plastic junk by nature?


05-25-2008, 09:34 AM   #2
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As far as I know, most of the non-telephoto F and FA lenses are plastic. I like the built quality of the F lenses better althought I had the impression that the FA autofocused a little bit faster.
05-25-2008, 09:36 AM   #3
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Nothing really compares to Takumar construction, in my mind. That said, the FA 50 1.4 does have a metal interior barrel and seems well made, even if the outside plastic does not feel great. If you want all-metal build quality you could always go for the more expensive Limited lenses.
05-25-2008, 09:47 AM   #4
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I have the F*300 and I can assure you it isn't plastic. ;-) But then I guess you can't call that a wide angle or short tele zoom I guess. I don't mind a lens that is made out of plastic if it delivers, it makes it lighter and I'm not sure the material of the lens (except the glass) really has much bearing on the performance. And if you are looking for a 35mm prime, I can whole heartedly recommend the DA35 ltd, well made and the performance rocks!

05-25-2008, 10:01 AM   #5
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One thing to remember is that early pentax AF lenses were not internal focusing lenses.

As a result they do feel "cheap" to a certain extent because they do use a lot of plastic and the front gropup is very loose, all to keep the drag on the focusing drive to a minimum.

Internal focusing lenses , even plastic ones, have a more substantial feel to them
05-25-2008, 10:06 AM   #6
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There are way too many full frame lenses around to answer you specifically about each and everyone. Generalizing, the FA* and Limited lenses are of excellent build quality. Many F and FA lenses are, too. And then some are too plasticy, like the FA 28-90.

From own experience I consider the FA 20/2.8, FA 50/1.4 and FA 135/2.8 well constructed, and the FA 100/2.8 Macro is built as a tank. Their F counterparts are probably equally good. The F 70-210/4-5.6 is a solid lens as well.

You may want to check the lens review database where some reviews mention build quality.

Pentax Lens Review Database - Main Index
05-28-2008, 05:13 PM   #7
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FWIW I have purchased the following lenses:

SMC Pentax-F 50mm f/1.7
SMC Pentax-F 35-70 f/3.5-4.5


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