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08-13-2018, 01:58 PM   #1
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Pentax FA 28-200mm f/3.8-5.6

This is an old kit lens that came with my MZ-7 film camera. I always found it too soft for my liking but having a strict budget at the time, it was the best I could afford. When I bought my K-7, it came with the excellent DA18-55mm WR so the FA 28-200mm stayed on the shelf. Recently I gave the K-7 to my daughter with the 28-200 and another lens. She brought them both camping last week so I played around with the 28-200 a bit.

Almost straight out of the camera; at least no sharpening done.

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08-13-2018, 02:19 PM - 1 Like   #2
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I have two copies of that lens, and it's one of my most used lenses simply because it covers such a wide range of focal lengths with a simple twist not requiring a lens change. I use it for non-demanding applications since, as you mentioned, it's not the sharpest kid on the block, and it has considerable CA in the corners, but it is a useful lens.

Early on, the small cam which adjusts aperture froze up, but that succumbed to a simple fix (drop of oil) and never occurred again. I also had an issue with the zoom link coming lose and restricting the zoom recently, but with a fairly simple breakdown I was able to fix that problem also, and the lens has been working full speed since.

Aside from it's lack of critical sharpness and slow speed, it's a good lens to have in one's arsenal.
08-13-2018, 06:13 PM - 1 Like   #3
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To me that lens is the closest thing to the 18-135 that exists for Pentax full frame. If I win the K-1 that is on my short list to buy as a walkabout lens. My dad had one which we sold off with another camera and I thought it wasn't bad despite being only average in some ways.
08-14-2018, 12:49 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bob 256 Quote
I have two copies of that lens, and it's one of my most used lenses simply because it covers such a wide range of focal lengths with a simple twist not requiring a lens change. I use it for non-demanding applications since, as you mentioned, it's not the sharpest kid on the block, and it has considerable CA in the corners, but it is a useful lens.

Early on, the small cam which adjusts aperture froze up, but that succumbed to a simple fix (drop of oil) and never occurred again. I also had an issue with the zoom link coming lose and restricting the zoom recently, but with a fairly simple breakdown I was able to fix that problem also, and the lens has been working full speed since.

Aside from it's lack of critical sharpness and slow speed, it's a good lens to have in one's arsenal.
Shooting with this on an APS-C camera sure helps a little with the corner problems and being able to crank up the ISO certainly helps too. Back in the film days, shooting with low ISO film at 200mm could sometimes be a challenge in lower light.

This was shot with the same lens back in the day on 100 Fuji slide film of some ilk.

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08-14-2018, 12:14 PM   #5
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This lens indeed offers a nice zoom range, but the K-1 deserves something better. Being a 2nd generation 28-200 Zoom (optically identical to the Tamron model 171D) it really shows its age. It is quite soft especially on the long end and it misses that crispyness and detail that other Pentax lenses show.

Nevertheless, there is a quite economical and surprisingly good solution for super-zoom demand on the K-1: The "Tamron AF Aspherical XR Di LD (IF) 28-300mm 1:3.5-6.3 Macro", Model A061. With a little patience in can be found in the 100 US$ range. Just make sure you really get a model A061, as the other variants are not as good as this latest iteration that is available for K-Mount.
08-14-2018, 12:28 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by UMC Quote
This lens indeed offers a nice zoom range, but the K-1 deserves something better. Being a 2nd generation 28-200 Zoom (optically identical to the Tamron model 171D) it really shows its age. It is quite soft especially on the long end and it misses that crispyness and detail that other Pentax lenses show.

Nevertheless, there is a quite economical and surprisingly good solution for super-zoom demand on the K-1: The "Tamron AF Aspherical XR Di LD (IF) 28-300mm 1:3.5-6.3 Macro", Model A061. With a little patience in can be found in the 100 US$ range. Just make sure you really get a model A061, as the other variants are not as good as this latest iteration that is available for K-Mount.
That lens doesn't appear to show up in the Tamron section that I can see. That's very interesting info. How can you tell them apart?

On ebay I found a few 28-300's with A061 model numbers but I'm not sure that is what you mean.
08-14-2018, 12:43 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
... That's very interesting info. How can you tell them apart?

On ebay I found a few 28-300's with A061 model numbers but I'm not sure that is what you mean.
Tamron (just like Sigma) keeps on revising their lenses and designs every once in a while. Luckily Tamron assigns model numbers which get printed or stickered somewhere on the lens. In the 28-300 case I know of the following variants (from oldest to newest):
  • [185D] Tamron AF Aspherical LD (IF) 28-300mm 1:3.5-6.3 Macro
  • [285D] Tamron AF Aspherical LD (IF) 28-300mm 1:3.5-6.3 Macro
  • [A06] (a) Tamron AF Aspherical XR LD (IF) 28-300mm 1:3.5-6.3 Macro
  • [A06] (b) Tamron AF Aspherical XR Di LD (IF) 28-300mm 1:3.5-6.3 Macro
  • [A061] Tamron AF Aspherical XR Di LD (IF) 28-300mm 1:3.5-6.3 Macro
So if the one on Ebay says "A061" it is the perfectly right version.

One side-note FWIW: The A06 variant exists with 2 different inscriptions, apparently because it was on the market, when Tamron started to "empower" their newer designs with the "Di" sign to demonstrate that this design was made especially for digital cameras.
08-17-2018, 05:22 AM   #8
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As much as this is a versatile lens, I will never use it again. It is just not crisp enough for me and I guess I am not keen on having to be aware of using a sweet-spot. For me, the lens usually bolted on to my K-3ii is the well-respected DA16-85 (it recently replaced my well-love and well used DA18-55 which I still have but always wished was a tad wider and a tad longer). If I think longer shots are in the cards for the day, I carry a second lens. For now this is a very crisp M75-150 but one day, if I can save my loonies (dollars in canuck-talk), it will become a FA* 70-200. I did play around with my brother's DA 55-300 which I was quite happy with, but for my kind of shooting, it it too long and not wide enough.

Anyway, It was interesting trying this lens out again but I cannot see any reason to use it on my APS camera. Now if I win the K-1, I just may steal it back from my daughter until I can afford something a little newer

08-17-2018, 08:20 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by CharLac Quote
As much as this is a versatile lens, I will never use it again. It is just not crisp enough for me and I guess I am not keen on having to be aware of using a sweet-spot. For me, the lens usually bolted on to my K-3ii is the well-respected DA16-85 (it recently replaced my well-love and well used DA18-55 which I still have but always wished was a tad wider and a tad longer). If I think longer shots are in the cards for the day, I carry a second lens. For now this is a very crisp M75-150 but one day, if I can save my loonies (dollars in canuck-talk), it will become a FA* 70-200. I did play around with my brother's DA 55-300 which I was quite happy with, but for my kind of shooting, it it too long and not wide enough.

Anyway, It was interesting trying this lens out again but I cannot see any reason to use it on my APS camera. Now if I win the K-1, I just may steal it back from my daughter until I can afford something a little newer
The FA* is an 80-200, do you mean the DFA* 70-200?

Also confused how the 55-300 is not wide enough if the 70-200 would work.
08-17-2018, 08:40 AM   #10
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HD Pentax-D FA* 70-200mm F2.8 ED DC AW Reviews - D FA Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

As far as the 55-300, for my kind of shooting, it would not replace my 16-85 as a walk-around. My brother used it as his walk-around lens but I would rather stick with the 16-85 most of the time and carry something like the 75-150 or the 70-200 if I think I might need a longer lens here and there.

Sorry for the confusion.

Last edited by CharLac; 08-17-2018 at 08:46 AM.
08-17-2018, 08:53 AM - 1 Like   #11
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The D FA* 70-200/2.8 isn't a "if I think I might need a longer lens here and there" kind of lens. The D FA 70-200/4 might be, when it is finally released. Which probably won't be until 2020, it was supposed to be spring 2019, but the DA* 11-18/2.8 was pushed back from spring 2018 to 2019...
08-17-2018, 08:59 AM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by CharLac Quote
HD Pentax-D FA* 70-200mm F2.8 ED DC AW Reviews - D FA Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

As far as the 55-300, for my kind of shooting, it would not replace my 16-85 as a walk-around. My brother used it as his walk-around lens but I would rather stick with the 16-85 most of the time and carry something like the 75-150 or the 70-200 if I think I might need a longer lens here and there.

Sorry for the confusion.
The 55-300 lens is pretty light, but the 50-200 is even lighter as a "maybe I need longer than 85mm" lens.
08-17-2018, 10:40 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
The D FA* 70-200/2.8 isn't a "if I think I might need a longer lens here and there" kind of lens. The D FA 70-200/4 might be, when it is finally released. Which probably won't be until 2020, it was supposed to be spring 2019, but the DA* 11-18/2.8 was pushed back from spring 2018 to 2019...
I do not use a longer lens that often but when I do, I want something crisp and fast. I'd rather not take the longer shot if the image is going to be soft. The M75-150 does the trick for now but when I replace it, I want a step up, not sideways or down. And maybe the D FA 70-200/4 will be that lens but we'll see. And yes, I realize the D FA* 70-200/2.8 is hefty but again, I would rather have a heavier backpack than a crummy picture.
08-17-2018, 10:45 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by CharLac Quote
I do not use a longer lens that often but when I do, I want something crisp and fast. I'd rather not take the longer shot if the image is going to be soft. The M75-150 does the trick for now but when I replace it, I want a step up, not sideways or down. And maybe the D FA 70-200/4 will be that lens but we'll see. And yes, I realize the D FA* 70-200/2.8 is hefty but again, I would rather have a heavier backpack than a crummy picture.

In that case consider a prime like the DA* 200 or DA* 300 - they are lighter and offer very sharp results that can be cropped and they are FF compatible.
DA* 200 plus 1.4x TC on crop is a very flexible option. 200 f/2.8, 280 f/4.
08-17-2018, 10:58 AM - 1 Like   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by CharLac Quote
I do not use a longer lens that often but when I do, I want something crisp and fast. I'd rather not take the longer shot if the image is going to be soft. The M75-150 does the trick for now but when I replace it, I want a step up, not sideways or down. And maybe the D FA 70-200/4 will be that lens but we'll see. And yes, I realize the D FA* 70-200/2.8 is hefty but again, I would rather have a heavier backpack than a crummy picture.
A stronger man than me then...I bought a 55-300 just to avoid carrying the 150-500 when birding isn't my primary goal. And the 70-200/2.8 weighs more...

My 'light' kit is the Sigma 10-20, Pentax 18-135 & 55-300.
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