Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
04-16-2016, 01:35 AM - 4 Likes   #1
Site Supporter
Site Supporter




Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Melbourne
Photos: Albums
Posts: 273
Build Quality & AF - DFA* 70-200mm f2.8 (vs FA* 80-200mm f2.8 & DA* 60-250mm f4)

As I have recently accepted delivery of my new 'HD Pentax D-FA* 70-200mm f2.8 ED DC AW' lens, I thought that I would write some first impressions from the first week with the lens, and discuss some preliminary findings comparing it against the 'SMC Pentax FA* 80-200mm f2.8 ED [IF]' and the 'SMC Pentax DA* 60-250mm f4 ED [IF] SDM'. With that mouthful out of the way, lets begin.


Build Quality:
As covered in my previous thread comparing the FA* 80-200mm against the DA* 60-250mm (https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/10-pentax-slr-lens-discussion/315001-buil...-80-200-a.html), I believe the construction of each of those lenses are equal, though decisively different from each other. The D-FA* 70-200mm lens on the other hand, is on a completely different level. The build quality of the new lens is virtually impeccable, with the single point of fault being the tripod foot design.

Though the foot itself is sturdy and looks to be fit for professional use (unlike those on the FA* & DA*), it does sit a little to close to the handgrip of the camera. With the foot rotated 90 degrees to the right, the camera is unusable. Fortunately, Ricoh has finally figured out how to design tripod foot's for it's lenses. The balance when place with or without camera attached does not effect the balance of the foot, and the foot is large enough to be used as a carry handle. The DA* tripod foot, is in my opinion adequate but not perfect, and the foot of the FA* is inadequate due to its size and placement, though on a tripod all foot works reliably.

Aside from that, the lens is immaculate in its design, with Ricoh opting to go with aluminium for the overall design of the lens, unlike the polycarbonate shells of the DA* 60-250. The zoom and focus rings deserve mention also. When it comes to manual focusing, the lens does (in my sample), make a slight noise, but is otherwise incredibly smooth as all high end Pentax telephotos are, the degree of travel is approximately 110 degrees (vs the FA*'s 110 degrees & the DA* 70 degrees). The room ring is also incredibly smooth and suffers no zoom creep (Unlike the DA* 60-250mm), and is weighted well. I have yet to decide whether I will miss the 'Power Zoom' of the FA*, but I suspect that I will, for I find it a fun and useful addition to what is obviously a pro level zoom.

When it comes to weight, the D-FA* and the FA* are within close margins, though the improved design of the D-FA* does aid in it's use handheld. The DA* on the other hand is a lens which one can use all day without fatigue. It is simply in another weight category in comparison to the other two behemoths. Handhold all the lenses can be done, though both of the 2.8 zooms will require much better technique in order to handle at the same level as the DA* 60-250.


Now, the last thing worth mention is that the D-FA* is a monster of a lens, both in weight and in volume. The photo below proves it, it is simply gigantic, even in comparison to the already huge FA* lens. With the attached hood, the lens is almost as good at gaining attention as that of the silver FA*, though not quite as many questions have been asked about it thus far.


AF:
The AF comparison between the three lenses is a simple one. The D-FA* is superior in all ways to the FA* and DA*. That said, there are some things to quickly cover. Though the FA* lens is screw driven and the DA* is powered by SDM, if choosing between these two lenses in regards to AF, I would always chose the FA* lens. It is simply a day and night difference between the two lenses, and paired with a modern body (K-3 up), there is simply no good reason to go with the DA* lens, as long as the noise of the FA* is of no concern.


Between the FA* and the D-FA*, the AF speed is much more comparable. The difference between the two lenses can be summed up in three points. First, the AF on the D-FA* does not hesitate, and when it focuses, there are no micro adjustments attempted by the camera, whereas depending on lighting and subject matter, the body will attempt micro adjustments with the FA*, taking up valuable time. Secondly, the DC motor in the D-FA* lens (and this is only a first impression, YMMV) seems to be much more confident in AF-C mode, and seems to stick with the subject much more than the FA* lens, though it is no slouch in this department (in Pentax terms). Third but not least, the AF limiter is invaluable, and can significantly speed up AF acquisition, shortening the focusing throw of the lens.


That concludes my short overview of the Build Quality and AF of the new D-FA* lens, I hope you enjoyed the read! (Ps, sorry about the horrible pictures, but does anyone know how to embed the photos directly into the post?)

Attached Images
View Picture EXIF
PENTAX K-3 II  Photo 
View Picture EXIF
PENTAX K-3 II  Photo 
04-16-2016, 04:31 AM   #2
Pentaxian
FantasticMrFox's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Munich
Posts: 2,325
Thanks, very nice comparison. Especially glad to hear the lens does not make micro-adjustments during focussing (all of mine do) and sticks to the subject better in AF.C.

There's light at the end of the tunnel that is Pentax AF.C
04-16-2016, 05:08 AM   #3
Moderator
Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter
Sandy Hancock's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Adelaide Hills, South Australia
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 9,416
I have also had my DFA*70-200 for a little over a week, and agree with Joshua on nearly all counts.

Personally, I like the tripod foot. It detaches easily, attaches securely, and has a clever rotating mechanism which clicks into a soft detente at each 90 turn.

AF is excellent - miles faster than my DA*50-135, and much less hesitant than my Sigma 70-200/2.8 HSM was.
Build and handling are immaculate.

One thing he hasn't mentioned is the image quality, which is absurdly good. Sharp wide open (to the edges of APS-C at least) at short and long ends, and the least chromatic aberration of any lens I own. I have started a DFA* club thread HERE with some initial images.

Despite its size and weight I am deeply impressed.
04-16-2016, 05:29 AM   #4
Site Supporter
Site Supporter




Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Melbourne
Photos: Albums
Posts: 273
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by Sandy Hancock Quote
I have also had my DFA*70-200 for a little over a week, and agree with Joshua on nearly all counts. Personally, I like the tripod foot. It detaches easily, attaches securely, and has a clever rotating mechanism which clicks into a soft detente at each 90 turn. AF is excellent - miles faster than my DA*50-135, and much less hesitant than my Sigma 70-200/2.8 HSM was.Build and handling are immaculate. One thing he hasn't mentioned is the image quality, which is absurdly good. Sharp wide open (to the edges of APS-C at least) at short and long ends, and the least chromatic aberration of any lens I own. I have started a DFA* club thread HERE with some initial images. Despite its size and weight I am deeply impressed.


Part of my reluctance on assessing the image quality of the lens is that it's such a hard thing to put your thumb on. On all technical fronts, I feel that the lens will perform incredibly well, especially in regards to sharpness and optical aberrations (the lens seems to be at least equal to my Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 Art in that regard). On the more subjective front though, I find that the bokeh on the lens is very good, but I'll have to do a more through assessment against the FA* 80-200mm f2.8 to decide which has better bokeh.


In comparison to the FA* 80-200mm f2.8, I find that they are equals in centre sharpness open wide between 80-135mm, but the FA* lacks the digital bite of the D-FA* lens. That said, I feel this does warrant further investigation.


Also Sandy, I've got plenty of family living in Adelaide Hills (Aberfoyle Park, Blackwood, Blair etc). Next time I'm down, maybe we could have a D-FA* off!

06-26-2016, 07:22 AM   #5
Senior Member




Join Date: May 2013
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 113
very good review, I am in doubt whether grab a fa * 80,200 if tude put a picture between the two would be wonderful. thanks
06-26-2016, 03:14 PM - 1 Like   #6
Forum Member
phat_bog's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Paris
Posts: 80
No / niet / nein / non

QuoteOriginally posted by Joshua A Quote
As I have recently accepted delivery of my new 'HD Pentax D-FA* 70-200mm f2.8 ED DC AW' lens, I thought that I would write some first impressions from the first week with the lens, and discuss some preliminary findings comparing it against the 'SMC Pentax FA* 80-200mm f2.8 ED [IF]' and the 'SMC Pentax DA* 60-250mm f4 ED [IF] SDM'. With that mouthful out of the way, lets begin.
Hello, thanks for the comparison, but i disagree on ABSOLUTELY DISAGREE on EVERYTHING when it comes to compare the DFA* and the FA*

1) the FA* body and design conception is superior to the DFA* . why?
i) the zoom ring in not in the front, but at the back, right near the camera. That's where the photographer's hands are closer.
and also, maybe not important for everyone: if you fix the lens hood of the DFA* backwards, try to use the zoom. oh no! impossible. on the FA* you can.
ii) the tripod foot is all tiny and super solid and maneouvrable. Just look how the FA* stays good with it's collar in the dedicated Pentax pouch S120-230.
iii) the hood. i think it's obvious come on ! the DFA* 's is more solid?!
iv) the older design of the FA* makes the FA* a lovely lens to be used handheld. The powerzoom is a helper here. As is the large focus ring that you can swing in a sec from AF to M. Where's the improvement with the DFA* honestly? looking for a AF/M tiny button on the side is an improvement?

2) autofocus on the FA* is top notch quality and is perfect. why?
i)I use all my lenses intensively (really intensively), no screw driven AF ever failed. I sometimes check if the AF needs to be recalibrated. Never had one FA* lens that needed recalibration.
ii) it's blazing fast. I don't think that birds today fly faster than birds 10 years ago, nor rugby players run considerably faster on the field. AF tracking in continous mode is a beauty to use with the FA*. The K5, K3II and K1 all did and do an amazing good job at it (while you keep it pretty centered at least)
iii) there's no focus limiter on the FA*. because there's no need, because it's no macro lens. DFA* is no macro lens either.

Honestly there's no major improvement over the FA*. The old FA* stands in front. Not only in front of the DFA*, but many other 70/80-200mm 2.8.

This doesn't mean it's not a good lens especially considering WR (but on this point too, the old FA* withstands a lot of bad weather treatement, which is normal for a lens of this class & price). So if you enjoy the DFA* i'm happy for you Cheers !

Last edited by phat_bog; 06-26-2016 at 04:10 PM.
06-26-2016, 03:58 PM - 1 Like   #7
Pentaxian




Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Romania
Posts: 13,560
Someone likes his FA* too much
For now, just one correction: SDM failures are absolutely impossible with the D FA*.
06-26-2016, 04:08 PM   #8
Forum Member
phat_bog's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Paris
Posts: 80
QuoteOriginally posted by Kunzite Quote
Someone likes his FA* too much
For now, just one correction: SDM failures are absolutely impossible with the D FA*.
LOLZ yep my bad was replying seconds before to an email regarding 24-70 WR vs a FA* 28-70mm that i'm selling on ebay, had sdm in my head. i'll edit right away. thanks

06-26-2016, 04:14 PM   #9
Pentaxian




Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Romania
Posts: 13,560
Well, the 24-70's "SDM" is actually Tamron's USD, for better or worse. But it's definitely not the DA* 16-50 and 50-135's SDM.
Anyway, nice that the older lens is working well for you; I have a 60-250, and can't help thinking I was a bit uninspired that I bought it instead of the 300mm.
06-26-2016, 04:48 PM   #10
Forum Member
phat_bog's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Paris
Posts: 80
QuoteOriginally posted by Kunzite Quote
I have a 60-250, and can't help thinking I was a bit uninspired that I bought it instead of the 300mm.
Why?
The 60-250mm seems impressive on FF, when i look at the low vignetting under 80mm and the bluffing IQ. outstanding IQ.
I find this 60-250mm F4 more interesting then the new 70-200mm.

It's a great value/price, and it's really portable, lighter and space saving. And you have extra throw to 250mm.

And f2.8 vs F4 constant aperture... well, a Canon L glass 70-200mm F4 USM... the amazing Sony 70-200mm F4 G on a A7R... these lenses are highly valued.
06-26-2016, 11:31 PM   #11
Pentaxian




Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Romania
Posts: 13,560
It's not exactly a FF lens... not without some surgery.
06-26-2016, 11:42 PM   #12
Moderator
Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter
Sandy Hancock's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Adelaide Hills, South Australia
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 9,416
QuoteOriginally posted by Joshua A Quote
Also Sandy, I've got plenty of family living in Adelaide Hills (Aberfoyle Park, Blackwood, Blair etc). Next time I'm down, maybe we could have a D-FA* off!
I only just saw this post. You have a deal
06-27-2016, 04:41 AM   #13
Site Supporter
Site Supporter




Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Melbourne
Photos: Albums
Posts: 273
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by phat_bog Quote
Hello, thanks for the comparison, but i disagree on ABSOLUTELY DISAGREE on EVERYTHING when it comes to compare the DFA* and the FA*

1) the FA* body and design conception is superior to the DFA* . why?
i) the zoom ring in not in the front, but at the back, right near the camera. That's where the photographer's hands are closer.
and also, maybe not important for everyone: if you fix the lens hood of the DFA* backwards, try to use the zoom. oh no! impossible. on the FA* you can.
ii) the tripod foot is all tiny and super solid and maneouvrable. Just look how the FA* stays good with it's collar in the dedicated Pentax pouch S120-230.
iii) the hood. i think it's obvious come on ! the DFA* 's is more solid?!
iv) the older design of the FA* makes the FA* a lovely lens to be used handheld. The powerzoom is a helper here. As is the large focus ring that you can swing in a sec from AF to M. Where's the improvement with the DFA* honestly? looking for a AF/M tiny button on the side is an improvement?

2) autofocus on the FA* is top notch quality and is perfect. why?
i)I use all my lenses intensively (really intensively), no screw driven AF ever failed. I sometimes check if the AF needs to be recalibrated. Never had one FA* lens that needed recalibration.
ii) it's blazing fast. I don't think that birds today fly faster than birds 10 years ago, nor rugby players run considerably faster on the field. AF tracking in continous mode is a beauty to use with the FA*. The K5, K3II and K1 all did and do an amazing good job at it (while you keep it pretty centered at least)
iii) there's no focus limiter on the FA*. because there's no need, because it's no macro lens. DFA* is no macro lens either.

Honestly there's no major improvement over the FA*. The old FA* stands in front. Not only in front of the DFA*, but many other 70/80-200mm 2.8.
This doesn't mean it's not a good lens especially considering WR (but on this point too, the old FA* withstands a lot of bad weather treatement, which is normal for a lens of this class & price). So if you enjoy the DFA* i'm happy for you Cheers !
Well now I have used both D-FA* and the FA* extensively in the field, I find myself in a better position to compare these two lenses. I will point by point respond to you as to keep my comments neat and tidy.

1) The D-FA* and FA* are equal in ergonomics, but the D-FA* is a better designed lens.
i) As the D-FA* is a more weighty lens, the zoom ring placement makes more sense. It allows you to keep the center of gravity where you want it to be, and on the topic of having a reversed lens hood, it simply never happens for me, the lens is always kept attached to my Peak Design strap in shooting position.
ii) The tripod foot or the FA* is of worse design than the D-FA*, expecially for actual tripod use. In addition, my FA* tripod has developed a wiggle within the year I have been using it. On the otherhand, the D-FA* has stayed rock solid for the last three months, and I expect it do continue, another point in the D-FA*'s caught.
iii) On the topic of lens hoods, neither lens requires the hood really, as both lenses are incredibly flare resistant. In my experience, both hoods are great, but the D-FA* is easier to mount, whereas the FA* has the lovely flocking and rubber front that I adore.
iv) I don't have a preferrance for ergonomic between the two lenses, as I love the PZ of the FA*, whereas I love the dampened feel of the D-FA* focus and zoom rings. Additionally, as I use back button AF, there's virtually no difference between the MF focusing in use.

2) The autofocus of the K-1 & K-3 is excellent. The FA* matches very well with these bodies. But the D-FA* is vastly superior.
i) I can't comment on this, I haven't been shooting long enough to have a good opinion.
ii) The AF of the D-FA* is straight out better. Less hunting, less noise, less hesitation. Not that the FA* is bad, but the D-FA* is definitely a step up.
iii) I rarely need the limiter in the field, but I like that its always there when I do know it.

The FA* is a fantastic lens no doubt, but the twenty years of design definitely shows in comparison. The D-FA is optically vastly superior, and if you can afford it and don't mind the extra weight, it is the better lens IMHO. That said, the FA* is still a fantastic lens, and easily recomendable.

---------- Post added 06-27-16 at 09:14 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Sandy Hancock Quote
I only just saw this post. You have a deal
Whilst not a D-FA* lens, the Tamron SP 300mm f2.8 AF I've added to my stable will be out to play also. I'll let you know when I'm down and we can have a field day!!!
06-27-2016, 06:19 AM   #14
Site Supporter
Site Supporter
noelpolar's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Goolwa, SA
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 3,994
QuoteOriginally posted by Joshua A Quote


---------- Post added 06-27-16 at 09:14 PM ----------



Whilst not a D-FA* lens, the Tamron SP 300mm f2.8 AF I've added to my stable will be out to play also. I'll let you know when I'm down and we can have a field day!!!
At Goolwa.....?

(has the DFA 70-200 been "de-bulldusted" yet?
06-27-2016, 06:44 AM   #15
Forum Member
phat_bog's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Paris
Posts: 80
QuoteOriginally posted by Joshua A Quote
The FA* is a fantastic lens no doubt, but the twenty years of design definitely shows in comparison. The D-FA is optically vastly superior, and if you can afford it and don't mind the extra weight, it is the better lens IMHO. That said, the FA* is still a fantastic lens, and easily recomendable.
FA* vs DFA* il for me like comparing a an old Porsche 911 vs the more recents Porsche Boxster.

They're both great looking and you can do all the things you want them to do on the road,
But the design, durability, power and beauty of conduct of the old 911 will never be matched by a Boxster.
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
af, build, d-fa*, da*, design, dfa*, fa*, field, foot, front, ii, k-mount, lens, lenses, pentax, pentax lens, porsche, slr lens, vs
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
70-200mm f2.8 vs 60-250mm f4.0 reknelb Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 10 09-24-2015 08:25 AM
Tamron 70-200mm F2.8 Di LD Macro VS SMC Pentax-DA* 60-250mm F4 ED [IF] SDM WVRICK Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 39 01-22-2014 05:46 PM
Sigma 70-200mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM vs Pentax FA* 80-200mm F2.8? vectrln Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 5 07-27-2011 07:41 AM
For Sale - Sold: Tokina 80-200mm f2.8 AT-X Pro (AF) & Tamron SP17-50mm f2.8 XR greasemonkey Sold Items 6 06-02-2010 07:34 AM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 07:27 PM. | See also: NikonForums.com, CanonForums.com part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top