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06-05-2017, 12:52 AM   #1
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F* / FA* 300 4.5 - price check?

Question for the Pentax hive-mind: where are prices at these days for either of these lenses? I landed a FA* version on the local craigslist and I want to know how well I did (I didn't have much time to research prices, so I went with a gut feeling). It came as part of a set, so the final net cost to me will depend on how much I can sell the other items for (a clean PZ-1 and a very nice FA 50/1.4).

The lens is in very nice cosmetic shape, with only a few marks on the hood. Glass is perfect. It did not come with a box or soft case, it was just the lens, hood, and caps. Even if I paid a bit over market value it was worth it to me to be able to inspect the lens in person.

Has anyone noticed what one of these (or the F* version) has sold for here recently?

Thanks in advance!

06-05-2017, 12:57 AM - 1 Like   #2
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You will get some solid indicative prices at:
SMC Pentax-FA* 300mm F4.5 ED [IF] Reviews - FA Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

Pricing my vary depending if the hood is included or not.

This is an excellent FF lens. Some do prefer it over the newer DA*300mm because it is lighted and more easily handheld.

Hope that the info may help.
06-05-2017, 01:01 AM - 1 Like   #3
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I think the new price of the DA* 300mm should be a general upper bound for the price of this lens. I really wouldn't pick the FA* over the DA* for image quality or handling, but there are collectors that will greatly value it it, and if it's close to pristine shape, you may be able to score a nice premium on it.

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06-05-2017, 01:10 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by hcc Quote
You will get some solid indicative prices at:
SMC Pentax-FA* 300mm F4.5 ED [IF] Reviews - FA Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

Pricing my vary depending if the hood is included or not.

This is an excellent FF lens. Some do prefer it over the newer DA*300mm because it is lighted and more easily handheld.

Hope that the info may help.
Thanks - I did look there, but the most recent review is from 2014 (pre- K1). I wondered if prices had shifted since then.

QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
I think the new price of the DA* 300mm should be a general upper bound for the price of this lens. I really wouldn't pick the FA* over the DA* for image quality or handling, but there are collectors that will greatly value it it, and if it's close to pristine shape, you may be able to score a nice premium on it.
Is the DA* version full-frame compatible? I guess I can go dig up that thread that tested the DA lenses on FF to see if it was tested. If we go by DA* pricing that would put the FA* upper bound at around $1000, then, I guess. If that's the case then I think I did pretty well, actually. I'm not planning to sell it though - just the PZ-1 and the FA 50/1.4 it came with.

Edit: I see from the DA*300 review page that it is officially FF compatible.

06-05-2017, 01:31 AM - 1 Like   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by gabriel_bc Quote
Is the DA* version full-frame compatible? I guess I can go dig up that thread that tested the DA lenses on FF to see if it was tested. If we go by DA* pricing that would put the FA* upper bound at around $1000, then, I guess. If that's the case then I think I did pretty well, actually. I'm not planning to sell it though - just the PZ-1 and the FA 50/1.4 it came with. Edit: I see from the DA*300 review page that it is officially FF compatible.
Yup, and the optics are very similar to those of the FA*, with the addition of quick shift, which is the highlight IMO.

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06-05-2017, 04:10 AM - 1 Like   #6
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Pros for the F/FA*300 over the DA*300:
- Lighter weight
- More compact
- Reliabiity of screwdrive AF
- Can be used with a wider range of converters (at lower cost, but focal length won't be correctly recorded in EXIF or for SR)
- Apreture ring

Pros for the DA*300:
- f4 v f4.5
- Quieter AF
- Some users say SDM AF is more accurate
- Convertible to screwdrive if SDM fails
- QS (the F*/FA* have an MF clutch which isn't too bad for that generation)
- WR
- Newer coatings?
- Pairs well with the DA 1.4 TC, with correct reporting of FL for EXIF and SR (but TC is not FF)
- Doesn't scratch as easily
- Supported for in-body correction of jpgs
- For users of DxO OpticsPro, modules for this lens are available (but not for the F*/FA*) [Would be a plus for me as a DxO user.]

A wash:
- Same optical formula Edit: thanks to @Leekil for pointing out this error; F*/FA* have the same optical formula (9 elements in 7 groups), but the DA* is different (8 elements in 6 groups)
- No limiter on any of them (?)
- Tripod foot with the F* and DA*; aftermarket ones cheap for the FA*
- Excellent hoods on each. F* slides out rather than reverse-mount.
- Filter size difference: 67mm v 77mm. Depends on what other lenses you have. 77mm works with the DA 12-24 for example. 67mm filter might be a little cheaper.

I got my FA*300 last year for the equivalent of about $US630 [Edit: corrected for the exchange rate at the time]. I thought it was a good deal. It works well with my Kenko 1.5x pz TC (about $US150)..

Strangely I felt less hesitant about buying a 20+ year old lens than a used DA*, because of concern about SDM.

Theoretically the DA* should work with a Tamron or Kenko pz TC, but those who have tried it seem to say they don't pair well. If you buy a DA*300 you need to budget the extra $$$ for a DA TC, and that makes it a considerably more expensive package IMO.

Last edited by Des; 06-05-2017 at 03:21 PM.
06-05-2017, 05:32 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Des Quote
I got my FA*300 last year for the equivalent of about $US600. I thought it was a good deal. It works well with my Kenko 1.5x pz TC (about $US150)..

Strangely I felt less hesitant about buying a 20+ year old lens than a used DA*, because of concern about SDM.

Theoretically the DA* should work with a Tamron or Kenko pz TC, but those who have tried it seem to say they don't pair well. If you buy a DA*300 you need to budget the extra $$$ for a DA TC, and that makes it a considerably more expensive package IMO.
Thanks for your thoughts.

I already have the Pentax 1.7 AF converter, so that's not an issue for me. The reviews seem to say it pairs well with the FA*300.

I prefer a lens with an aperture ring, so I can use it on older film bodies in Av mode.

It looks like I did well on price - it will likely be under $400 Cdn net to me once I sell off the other items. I was concerned that prices had dropped in recent years, but it seems they have not.
06-05-2017, 09:02 AM   #8
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I have an f* for sale, with foot. PM me if interested.

06-05-2017, 10:10 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Des Quote
A wash:
- Same optical formula
The DA* and the FA*/F* do *not* have the same optical formula.
06-05-2017, 03:23 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by leekil Quote
The DA* and the FA*/F* do *not* have the same optical formula.
Thanks for pointing this out. I have corrected the post. The DA* has 8 elements in 6 groups; the F/FA* have 9 elements in 7 groups (including an ED element)

---------- Post added 06-06-17 at 08:36 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by gabriel_bc Quote
Thanks for your thoughts.

I already have the Pentax 1.7 AF converter, so that's not an issue for me. The reviews seem to say it pairs well with the FA*300.

I prefer a lens with an aperture ring, so I can use it on older film bodies in Av mode.

It looks like I did well on price - it will likely be under $400 Cdn net to me once I sell off the other items. I was concerned that prices had dropped in recent years, but it seems they have not.
The 1.7x TC would cost 1.5 stops I guess? So you would get the equivalent of 510mm f7.1 or f8, at half the weight of the Bigma or the DFA 150-450.

Adam is right that the price of the DA*300 should set a ceiling for the F*/FA*. But it's hard to say what the going price is here, because none of these lenses comes up for sale secondhand in Australia very often. My rough and ready calculation would be that a DA*300 second hand should be no more than three-quarters of the new price, and the F*/FA* should be a bit cheaper than that.
06-05-2017, 04:03 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by gabriel_bc Quote
It looks like I did well on price - it will likely be under $400 Cdn net to me once I sell off the other items.
I would have thought that's in the 'buy buy buy' price range, even if you don't need or want it.
06-05-2017, 04:43 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by BrianR Quote
I would have thought that's in the 'buy buy buy' price range, even if you don't need or want it.
Depends on what the other items to be sold off (a PZ-1 and an FA 50 f1.4) will fetch. But even for a purchase without warranty, something under $US700 for a F* or FA*300 would seem like a good deal to me.
06-05-2017, 04:56 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Des Quote
The 1.7x TC would cost 1.5 stops I guess? So you would get the equivalent of 510mm f7.1 or f8, at half the weight of the Bigma or the DFA 150-450.

Adam is right that the price of the DA*300 should set a ceiling for the F*/FA*. But it's hard to say what the going price is here, because none of these lenses comes up for sale secondhand in Australia very often. My rough and ready calculation would be that a DA*300 second hand should be no more than three-quarters of the new price, and the F*/FA* should be a bit cheaper than that.
That would place the FA* at around $600-700 USD then, I guess. Seems reasonable.

QuoteOriginally posted by BrianR Quote
I would have thought that's in the 'buy buy buy' price range, even if you don't need or want it.
I thought so as well, but given the time frame, I just didn't have time to do my homework that thoroughly. So it was a bit of a gamble, but I was pretty sure it was a good gamble. If it says FA* on it chances are there's a market for it... that much I knew. I was just worried that the price level had tanked since the advent of the DA*300/4.

I also wanted more reach than my current F70-210 for kid's concerts, so I was willing to pay a bit over market if need be, for the ability to inspect in person. I also greatly prefer an aperture ring for use on my K2DMD, so I was willing to pay a bit over for that feature as well.

So, what do the PZ-1 and the FA 50/1.4 go for used these days? Both are really clean. The PZ-1 even has an intact base plate, which is commonly cracked.

I also have a Z1-p that I picked up a while back that I'll be listing as well (also clean, with intact base). The PZ1-p / Z1-p seems to command a slightly higher price given it's slightly preferable features (MLU with the timer, etc). $100 for the Z1-p and around $80 for the PZ-1 or thereabouts?

Last edited by gabriel_bc; 06-05-2017 at 05:05 PM.
06-05-2017, 08:06 PM - 1 Like   #14
Des
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QuoteOriginally posted by gabriel_bc Quote
So, what do the PZ-1 and the FA 50/1.4 go for used these days?
You can get a rough idea by searching in the PF forum showing items for sale. If you do an advanced search, include a search for sold items. To narrow the search, I'd suggest looking for the exact phrase "PZ-1" or "FA 50 f1.4", and searching only in the first post of each thread. The search can be confined to a time period - e.g. since 1 January 2016.

These results are not definitive, because the final price accepted by the seller might be less than the last price for which the item was listed. But it will give you a general idea.

Here's someone asking $US150 for an FA 50 f1.4: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/24-photographic-equipment-sale/346348-sa...f-2-8-a16.html

There's probably a way to search ebay for items sold too, but I'm not sure how you go about that.

Last edited by Des; 06-05-2017 at 10:17 PM.
06-05-2017, 08:36 PM   #15
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I bought a new left over stock FA* 300mm some years ago at a good price from a dealer going out of business. The lens had already been discontinued, with no new replacement appearing until the DA* version several years later! I like that it has the aperture ring which is essential for full operation on some of my film bodies, like the MZ-S. I soon afterward bought a DA* 200mm f/2.8 and a DA* 50-135mm f/2.8 both of which I like very much. I have found, however, that the screw drive AF performance of the FA* 300mm is definitely faster than, and every bit as accurate as the SDM on the DA* lenses, on both my K-5IIs and my new KP camera bodies. It doesn't have the quick-shift MF feature, but that is of no consequence, since it has a MF/AF switch right on the lens where you hold it for instant access. Beyond that, it only lacks WR. The FA* 300mm was given a top rating by Photozone testing, and the DA* version was well-regarded also.
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