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03-12-2015, 12:10 PM   #1
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Pentax FA135 2.8 vs. F135 2.8

I'm just wondering which of the following lenses is better:

Pentax FA135 2.8 or Pentax F135 2.8.

Are there any differences at all? Both seem to share quite a lot of features.

So is it about as broad as it's long or are there any issues one can/should consider when offered both lenses?


Last edited by zeitlos; 03-12-2015 at 02:14 PM.
03-12-2015, 12:17 PM - 1 Like   #2
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The optical formulas are very different.

The FA is an internal-focusing lens with 8 elements in 7 groups. The A shares an optical formula with the Takumar Bayonet 135/2.5, 4 elements in 4 groups. That being said, I think the A 135 is superior to the Takumar just because it has SMC. The A suffered a bad reputation during the film era, but I think it is great on APS-C digital.
03-12-2015, 12:24 PM   #3
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Thanks for the quick reply! Lots of valuable information!

Does this mean if offered both, you would go for the A135 instead of the FA135? Reflecting on your statement (“great on APS-C“) I'm not sure what the conclusion should be.

I've been offered both so I have to make a decision. Both in mint condition.
03-12-2015, 12:30 PM   #4
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If offered both at anywhere near the same price I would go for the FA. But the FA is usually twice as much as the A. I got mine with an A 28/2.8, A 50/1.7, Super Program and a flash for around what the 135 should have cost, so my opinion may reflect that.

03-12-2015, 12:31 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
… I think the A 135 is superior to the Takumar just because it has SMC.
My copy of the Takumar is SMC. Having said that, given the AE facility of the A, and given that its build is probably just as good, I wouldn't mind owning one, too.

The SMC Takumar design was also a 6-element one.
03-12-2015, 12:33 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by RobA_Oz Quote
My copy of the Takumar is SMC. Having said that, given the AE facility of the A, and given that its build is probably just as good, I wouldn't mind owning one, too.
A Takumar bayonet with SMC?
03-12-2015, 12:35 PM   #7
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Okay, I have to be precise. I was offered the FA 135 2.8 two weeks ago for 275,- (it's like new, original packaging, manual etc.) and immediately bought it. Haven't had much time to try it so far.... Now I've got the chance to buy the A135 2.8 for the same price.

Since I do not know which one is better if it comes to image quality (bokeh, contrast, sharpness etc.), I'm inclined to buy the A135, too. But in case the FA 135 is superior anyway, I don't have to waste any more thoughts on the other lens.

Still I'm not really sure, which one is better (for what reason)...
03-12-2015, 12:36 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
A Takumar bayonet with SMC?
Sorry. I overlooked the bayonet reference. You are correct, of course.

03-12-2015, 12:47 PM   #9
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I'm sorry, I've made a mistake too!

It's not FA135 2.8 vs. A135... it's vs. F135 2.8

So, same question, just different lens!

Sorry if I caused you any inconveniences.
03-12-2015, 12:49 PM - 1 Like   #10
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The FA f2.8 135mm has serious PF at wide apertures. The trade-off is the portability of a 200mm-eq. f2.8 in the bag, and the fact that lenses like the DA* 50-135 have their own issues at f2.8, while being much larger, with a much larger hood as opposed to the very convenient pull-out hood on the FA 135.

---------- Post added 03-12-15 at 03:52 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by zeitlos Quote
I'm sorry, I've made a mistake too!

It's not FA135 2.8 vs. A135... it's vs. F135 2.8

So, same question, just different lens! .
In that case, they are optically the same lens . . .

Last edited by Marktax; 03-12-2015 at 01:36 PM.
03-12-2015, 01:29 PM - 1 Like   #11
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The F has a plastic focus ring, the FA has a rubber one that is wider. The F has more metal and heavier parts (20g heavier). The F body is rubberized in part, the FA body is smooth. Manual focus on the F is usually not as easy as on the FA due to less dampening on the focus ring. The F lenses tend to seem more solid and better built to me than the run of the mill FA lenses (not the Limited one's obviously).

Lens coatings over time may change, no way to know if they make a difference.

Personally they are nearly identical and I think if you love it and you want another one - get it. But why do you want two?

https://www.pentaxforums.com/lensreviews/SMC-Pentax-FA-135mm-F2.8-Lens.html
https://www.pentaxforums.com/lensreviews/SMC-Pentax-F-135mm-F2.8-Lens.html
03-12-2015, 01:43 PM   #12
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Acutally I'm getting ready for FF. Since I know that F(A) 135 lenses are rather rare I just want to make sure having the best solution possible. Okay, will find out, bought it even though they seem to be almost identical. The better one will stay. (If prices for FF-lenses will rise, it might even make sense to keep it for a while).

Thanks for your help!

Last edited by zeitlos; 03-12-2015 at 02:00 PM.
03-12-2015, 02:10 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by zeitlos Quote
Okay, I have to be precise. I was offered the FA 135 2.8 two weeks ago for 275,- (it's like new, original packaging, manual etc.) and immediately bought it. Haven't had much time to try it so far.... Now I've got the chance to buy the A135 2.8 for the same price.

Since I do not know which one is better if it comes to image quality (bokeh, contrast, sharpness etc.), I'm inclined to buy the A135, too. But in case the FA 135 is superior anyway, I don't have to waste any more thoughts on the other lens.

Still I'm not really sure, which one is better (for what reason)...
Seems high for the A135, 2.8. My near mint copy was $185 (now retired and sold in favor of the A100 non macro).
03-12-2015, 02:13 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by waterfall Quote
Seems high for the A135, 2.8. My near mint copy was $185 (now retired and sold in favor of the A100 non macro).
He said A but meant F. So the title is right not the first post. FA vs. F not FA vs. A.
03-12-2015, 03:08 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
He said A but meant F. So the title is right not the first post. FA vs. F not FA vs. A.
OP's second post specifically referenced an offer to buy an A135. My reply was to his post with quoted price.

OP specifically mentioned a quoted price for an A135 in his third post.

OP changed reference to F135 in fourth post. Gets confusing and difficult to offer informed replies.

Last edited by waterfall; 03-12-2015 at 03:14 PM. Reason: Read all of OP's posts
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