Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
02-04-2018, 04:17 AM   #1
Seeker of Knowledge
Loyal Site Supporter
aslyfox's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Topeka, Kansas
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 12,832
Pentax * lenses do they live up to the reputation and why

I recently asked about the reputation of the Pentax " Limited " series - the limiteds do they live up to the reputation and why

Read more at: the limiteds do they live up to the reputation and why - Page 10 - PentaxForums.com

now I am curious about the reputation of the Pentax * series

SMC Pentax-DA* 55mm F1.4 SDM

SMC Pentax-DA* 200mm F2.8 ED [IF] SDM

SMC Pentax-DA* 300mm F4 ED [IF] SDM

SMC Pentax-DA* 16-50mm F2.8 ED AL [IF] SDM

SMC Pentax-DA* 50-135mm F2.8 ED [IF] SDM

SMC Pentax-DA* 60-250mm F4 ED [IF] SDM

HD Pentax-D FA* 50mm F1.4 SDM AW

HD Pentax-D FA* 70-200mm F2.8 ED DC AW

SMC Pentax-FA* 24mm F2 AL [IF]

SMC Pentax-FA* 85mm F1.4 [IF]

SMC Pentax-FA* 200mm F2.8 ED [IF]

SMC Pentax-FA* 200mm F4 Macro ED [IF]

SMC Pentax-FA* 300mm F2.8 ED [IF]

SMC Pentax-FA* 300mm F4.5 ED [IF]

SMC Pentax-FA* 400mm F5.6 ED [IF]

SMC Pentax-FA* 600mm F4 ED [IF]

SMC Pentax-FA* 28-70mm F2.8 AL

SMC Pentax-FA* 80-200mm F2.8 ED [IF]

SMC Pentax-FA* 250-600mm F5.6 ED [IF]

SMC Pentax-F* 300mm F4.5 ED [IF]

SMC Pentax-F* 600mm F4 ED [IF]

SMC Pentax-F* 250-600mm F5.6 ED [IF]

SMC Pentax A* 85mm F1.4

SMC Pentax-A* 135mm F1.8

SMC Pentax A* 200mm F2.8 ED

SMC Pentax-A* 200mm F4 Macro ED

SMC Pentax-A* 300mm F2.8 ED [IF]

SMC Pentax-A* 300mm F4

SMC Pentax-A* 400mm F2.8 ED [IF]

SMC Pentax-A* 600mm F5.6 ED [IF]

SMC Pentax-A* 1200mm F8 ED [IF]

SMC Pentax-M* 300mm F4

according to what I have read:

" * A star symbol denotes a lens being part of Pentax's top of the line (sometimes called "professional") lenses. They are usually larger lenses with fast apertures, all-weather protection and superior optical performances. "


Read more at: HD Pentax-D FA* 70-200mm F2.8 ED DC AW Review - Specifications | PentaxForums.com Reviews



is the difference between a * lens and a non * lens real, puffery or what

is it optical or physical construction or what

are there non * lens that share the factors that make the * lens so " special " and if so, which ones??

thanks for helping me ( and others ) gain knowledge about Pentax lenses


Last edited by aslyfox; 02-04-2018 at 12:20 PM. Reason: Added A * series, added M * lens
02-04-2018, 04:52 AM   #2
Senior Moderator
Loyal Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter
BigMackCam's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: North-East England
Posts: 11,883
I only have one * lens, Allen... the DA*60-250 f/4. Build quality is towards the top end for this class of lens, I'd say. Optically, it's superb even wide open. And the AW resistance seems to do its job very well, as mine has been used in very wet conditions (though I've been careful to wipe it down frequently).

The SDM AF motors in the DA* series have been problematic, though, and I think that has damaged the reputation of these otherwise excellent lenses. I've had no problems with mine thus far, but I won't be entirely surprised if and when it happens When it does, I'll pay to have it properly serviced, as it's one of my favourite lenses.
02-04-2018, 05:10 AM   #3
Seeker of Knowledge
Loyal Site Supporter
aslyfox's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Topeka, Kansas
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 12,832
Original Poster
thanks for the response

I, too, only have one, the HD Pentax-D FA* 70-200mm F2.8 ED DC AW and I have been very pleased with it and had no problems

I have the " big guy " as well the HD Pentax-D FA 150-450mm F4.5-5.6 ED DC AW, and I have read, but I am not sure where, that although not a * lens officially, it is one in fact

can any one confirm that ???

_______________________________

" DC, PLM or SDM: Lenses with the DC, PLM or SDM designation feature a built-in autofocus motor. Newer cameras (K100D Super, K10D, and later) will take advantage of this motor and not use the screw-drive mechanism.

Some DA lenses are DC/SDM-Only (KAF3 mount), such as the smc PENTAX-DA* 55mm F1.4 SDM prime lens and smc PENTAX-DA 17-70mm F4 zoom lens. These lenses lack the traditional screw drive autofocus coupler and will therefore only autofocus on the K10D, K100D Super, and newer Pentax cameras.

DA lenses with the PLM motor (KAF4 mount) has no provision for screw drive autofocus. They also have no mechanical linkage for stopping down the aperture and can therefore only be used on cameras supporting electronic aperture stop down (K-50/K-S1/K-S2/K-3/K-3 II/K-1 with firmware update, or newer). " -

http://www.mosphotos.com/PentaxLensesExplained.html

Last edited by aslyfox; 02-04-2018 at 05:16 AM.
02-04-2018, 05:55 AM - 2 Likes   #4
Loyal Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter
Scorpio71GR's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Michigan
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 4,407
QuoteOriginally posted by Aslyfox Quote
I have the " big guy " as well the HD Pentax-D FA 150-450mm F4.5-5.6 ED DC AW, and I have read, but I am not sure where, that although not a * lens officially, it is one in fact

can any one confirm that ???
The DFA 150-450 is not a Star lens since it does not have a fixed constant aperture. All * lenses have fixedconstant apertures.


Last edited by Scorpio71GR; 02-04-2018 at 09:40 AM.
02-04-2018, 06:13 AM   #5
Site Supporter
Site Supporter




Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Gladys, Virginia
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 19,446
I own (or have owned) the DA *16-50, DA *50-135, DA *200 and DA *55 as well as the DFA *70-200. I guess I would say that the biggest knock on the DA * lenses is the SDM motors. They are pretty slow and particularly in the case of the 16-50 and 50-135, not very reliable. The 16-50 is a decent lens, not a great one. Sharp stopped down to f4, quite a bit of fringing wide open. 50-135 is excellent, even wide open -- just a real pleasure to use it, basically an APS-C version of the DFA *70-200. A bit slower to auto focus though. DA *200 was sharp at f4 -- compared to the DFA *70-200, slower to auto focus and with a lot more purple fringing. DA *55 is a really nice lens, but probably slowest to auto focus of the bunch. I really enjoy it on APS-C and it feels like a different lens on full frame, although it works pretty well there too.

It is really hard to make blanket statements about the star lenses though. They tend to have faster apertures (no variable apertures), have weather sealing, and in lens motors. As to how good they are optically, it just depends on the lens. Some are top end and others are good, but not great. They still often are the best options for Pentaxians if they want fast apertures and weather sealing.

I don't want to seem too down on them -- I have been pleased with all of my lenses over time. I just want to be honest that they could be improved if Pentax wanted to do so.
02-04-2018, 06:20 AM   #6
Loyal Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter
Scorpio71GR's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Michigan
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 4,407
I have used over the years, A*, F*, and DA* lenses. I will say that there is difference from those and non star lenses. Build quality is higher and IQ is better. For me the biggest advantage is being able to shoot a lens wide open at its largest aperture. This of course means you need a good copy. Currently I have the 16-50, 50-135, 60-250, and the DA*55. All of the lenses are still running on their original SDM motors. The DA*55 however needs to woke up when put on the camera. Once it starts to autofocus it works fine. I compared my 16-50 against my 18-135 and the center sharpness of the 16-50 blew away the 18-135 at all comparable apetures and focal lengths. This of course was at the pixel level. My 60-250 is what I call my, can't fail lens. It probably my best all around lens.

Unfortunately the DA* line has suffered terribly from SDM issues. This is something that can never be ignored. Early on even I was unwilling to purchase one. I still feel the issue was never truely addressed. The newer motors do seem more reliable but the damage has already been done. The autofocus on all of my star lenses is far from stellar. The 50-135 is like focusing through molasses. However for what I do that is not an issue. It is one of the sharpest lenses I own.

Every lens you buy will be a comprise. Your have to decide if the comprise is worth it for you. If buy a new Star lens from a reputable seller these days you should be in good hands. If you buy one from some unknown Ebay seller good luck. Who knows how long it has been sitting on a shelf. As for used ones, just beware the motor could fail at anytime. If it is a 16-50 or 50-135 it can be converted to screwdrive. For all others you either replace the motor or focus manually.

*I stand corrected, it seems the DA*200 and DA*300 can be converted. That is good to know.

Last edited by Scorpio71GR; 02-04-2018 at 09:37 AM.
02-04-2018, 06:36 AM   #7
Seeker of Knowledge
Loyal Site Supporter
aslyfox's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Topeka, Kansas
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 12,832
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by Scorpio71GR Quote
The DFA 150-450 is not a Star lens since it does not have a fixed aperture. All * lenses have fixed apertures.
QuoteOriginally posted by mcgregni Quote
I think we all know what you mean, but isn't it more correctly a "constant" aperture lens?
Fixed to me means something like those mirror lenses that only do F8.
that is how I took the comment

regardless of how much or how little you extend the zoom, the F stop noted is achievable as opposed to a variable focal length zoom where the f stop changes as you use the zoom that is to say my * 70-200mm zoom F 2.8 can be used at F 2.8 at all focal lengths if wanted

that clears up the issue without any doubt


thanks to both of you

_____________________

QuoteOriginally posted by Scorpio71GR Quote
I have used over the years, A*, F*, and DA* lenses. . . . .
oops I missed the A * lens,

A* lenses have been added to initial post

Last edited by aslyfox; 02-04-2018 at 07:19 AM.
02-04-2018, 06:48 AM - 1 Like   #8
Pentaxian
mcgregni's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Surrey, England
Posts: 2,586
QuoteOriginally posted by Scorpio71GR Quote
The DFA 150-450 is not a Star lens since it does not have a fixed aperture. All * lenses have fixed apertures.
I think we all know what you mean, but isn't it more correctly a "constant" aperture lens?
Fixed to me means something like those mirror lenses that only do F8.

02-04-2018, 06:58 AM   #9
Loyal Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter




Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Maryland
Posts: 397
I only have the 80-200 FA* and 28-70 FA* but they are superb lenses mechanically and optically. Bought them new in the 90s and they are still on my K-1 today. I think that speaks volumes.
02-04-2018, 07:31 AM   #10
Seeker of Knowledge
Loyal Site Supporter
aslyfox's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Topeka, Kansas
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 12,832
Original Poster
if your lens has SDM failure, outside of the warranty period, does anyone know who it can be sent to and the approximate cost of repair?

what about a conversion to screw drive, pros and cons, who does it and cost

______________________

I found this

DIY SDM repair! - Page 14 - PentaxForums.com

and this

DIY SDM repair v1.0

but as Harry Callahan notes:

A man's GOT to know his limitations.

no way am I going to try that myself
02-04-2018, 07:37 AM   #11
Pentaxian




Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Ontario
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 3,209
I've never used his services, but screw drive conversions by UncleVanya: SDM to Screwdrive Conversions - PentaxForums.com


I only have the DA*300mm. I don't have much to compare it to in that focal length (an m42 300mm and the green ring DA55-300mm), but it's a solid, relatively compact, optically terrific thing. The AF is pretty slow on my k5iis, but if I don't like the look of something in a photo I took with it, it's pretty much guaranteed to be my fault and not the lens. Equipment that's better than me - what more could I want?
02-04-2018, 09:15 AM - 3 Likes   #12
Loyal Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter
UncleVanya's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2014
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 15,025
First I am lucky to stand on the shoulders of Giants. I didn't discover the conversion process all I did is have the time to do it and the willingness to offer it as a service. I have converted every lens in the DA* lineup that can be converted (16-50, 50-135, 200, 300) and I've collaborated with others trying to find a solution for the 60-250 (no joy yet). These lenses all have a great feel to their build and the owners have really kept them pristine for the most part. Converted they are as reliable as any other screw drive lens. I've had two 16-50 lenses that wouldn't convert. Both wouldn't focus in manual focus mode. I had another 16-50 recently with a bent aperture lever that prevented it from opening wider than f4. (Easily fixed btw). The rest of the lenses all have made full "recoveries".

As for optical and mechanical properties... Most are exceptional.

I have owned many * lenses of all types:

A* 85 f1.4 (from new, sold due to my eyesight and inability to reliable manual focus the lens as I got older - replaced with the FA 77 LTD). This is one of the sharpest lenses I have ever used. It genuinely was a joy to hold. I've rarely seen it's equal.

FA* 80-200. (Sold) @DCSHOOTER did a complete CLA on this for me before I sold it. I bought it fully intending to sell it. After the CLA I used it for some shots and I was blown away. A bit heavy for my taste, but fantastic. At 200mm it rivaled my DA* 200 prime with less purple fringing and similar if not superior sharpness.

I still own many * lenses:

FA* 300 - also CLA'd by Dcshooter. Superb compact 300mm. The lack of a tripod ring is a blessing in disguise as it is light enough to handhold and compact enough to be a joy to do so with.

DA* 60-250 - sharp enough to cut yourself on the images. SDM has been reliable, my copy came from a Pentax salesman after he used it for a few years. Lovely optically and mechanically, a little slow to focus but accurate and sure. With the HD DA 1.4x converter it still outperforms my DA 55-300 at least in test shots made at 100'.

DA* 200 - also purchased from a Pentax sales rep. Great f2.8 lens, but a bit of purple fringing in high contrast shots. Couples well with teleconverters - even stacked. Light and still well built this is a very good lens, overshadowed a bit by the by the 300 and the 60-250/50-135 which do not purple fringe or do so rarely.

DA* 50-135 - a masterpiece of a lens. Simple one of the finest portrait zooms available for APSC. It is also a lovely all around moderate telephoto zoom. Lightweight, optically superior, and a delightful lens to use. BTW my copy was purchased with non working SDM but a wake-up done on it worked and it has never failed since.

DA* 16-50 - my copy was found in need of SDM conversion. Once converted it has been about staple lens for lower light situations however it is a little bit bulky for my taste based on focal length. Also the sharpness wide open isn't as impressive as the other * lenses I've used.

I have also used but not owned the A* 300 f4 and A* 200 f2.8 as well as shot briefly an FA* 250-600. These lenses didn't disappoint either.

Now having said all of this, I will say the cheaper lenses aren't far far far behind optically. There are subtle benefits (optically and mechanically) and not so subtle ones (aperture) to these * lenses.
02-04-2018, 09:29 AM   #13
Loyal Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter




Join Date: May 2016
Location: East Coast
Posts: 1,721
QuoteOriginally posted by Aslyfox Quote
if your lens has SDM failure, outside of the warranty period, does anyone know who it can be sent to and the approximate cost of repair?
Precision Camera is the factory authorized repair center in the U.S. They do flat rate repairs for most items, and I believe the lens motor is covered under the flat rate service. I have had several lenses repaired by Precision, but none for SDM failure. My three SDM motors are running just fine (16-50, 50-135, 60-250)

Ricoh Imaging Americas Corporation - Service & Repair

Using the above link and checking for the DA* 16-50, it shows a flat rate of $212.50.

For whatever it's worth (which is what you paid - nothing), I would say from reading other threads over the past several years, the 16-50 seems most likely to have SDM issues, but you don't hear much about the 50-135 or 60-250 having failures. Would be interesting if people with more experience could chime in with which lens they have hands-on had a failure, and maybe keep it to people who purchased the lens new so we don't double count the same failure. I purchased my 16-50 and 50-135 new in 2016, so I'm hopeful they have updated motors and will never be an issue. In general, I'd agree with what has already been said about the * lenses having superior IQ, and very nice construction and weather sealing. I will say I think the 16-50 has a lot of variation in copies. I actually went through two exchanges, e.g. kept the third one, but it's great. The first two copies were decentered and the IQ wide open was so-so - which I blame on the decentering. The final keeper is well centered and even wide open, the IQ is very good, and of course stopping down just a bit does improve it. I'd say by the time it's stopped down to whatever aperture a competing non * zoom starts at, it is well ahead in IQ. And as has been noted, while slow on AF speed, the 50-135 and 60-250 are just great lenses optically, throughout the zoom range, and from wide open too. I'd say the 50-135 really shines. It's easy to overlook it when you've got the 60-250 or a 55-300 because of the shorter range, but that's a mistake. It really is a gem.

Last edited by clickclick; 02-04-2018 at 09:41 AM.
02-04-2018, 09:34 AM   #14
Loyal Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter
Scorpio71GR's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Michigan
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 4,407
Yes I meant constant apeture. I should have waited till I finished my first cup of coffee .

QuoteQuote:
I have converted every lens in the DA* lineup that can be converted (16-50, 50-135, 200, 300) and I've collaborated with others trying to find a solution for the 60-250 (no joy yet).
I did not know the 200 or 300 could be converted. That is good to know.
02-04-2018, 09:51 AM   #15
Loyal Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter




Join Date: May 2016
Location: East Coast
Posts: 1,721
QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
I have converted every lens in the DA* lineup
Which lenses do see the most of failing? The missing thing though is how many of each one are out there to get a percentage of failures for each model. Have I heard about the 16-50 the most because there are just more out there to fail?
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!
k-mount, lens, lenses, limiteds, pentax, pentax lens, reputation, series, slr lens
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
the limiteds do they live up to the reputation and why aslyfox Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 246 03-30-2019 05:02 AM
300mm f/4 lenses....how do they stack up 'real world' Bob L Pentax Medium Format 9 02-28-2017 04:57 AM
What do they mean when they say Shake Reduction adds4 stops of performance? normhead Pentax DSLR Discussion 36 02-23-2017 12:11 AM
Who do they think they can sell the 560mm to ??? Luin Gor Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 13 10-05-2012 01:41 AM
Why do they make some Lenses White?? coreyhkh Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 41 06-01-2012 09:09 AM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 12:18 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