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03-04-2019, 12:58 PM   #1
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FA 100mm f3.5 or D-FA 100mm f2.8 (non WR)?

Has anyone compared these two lenses? Iím looking for a short tele prime for my MZ-S, and these are the only Pentax branded lenses in my budget. My requirements:

- short tele (longer than 50, shorter than 135)
- full frame (this is going on a film camera.)
- aperture ring (a must!)
- autofocus (I have manual focus lenses that meet the above criteria, so not Iím looking for an AF lens.)
- portable (the smaller the better, I already have an F 100/2.8 macro which is a beast.)

The 77 limited would be nice, but I canít afford it. All the Pentax 85s are expensive too (and I wouldnít want the Ďsoftí lens.) Most of the 2.8 macros are either too large (F and FA) or no aperture ring (the WR.)

So that narrows me down to these twoóthe FA 3.5 lens, or the first, pre-WR DFA 2.8 lens. Reviews on both state that they are sharp, but they also complain about build quality on both. The 3.5 is a little smaller, but is also slower and limited to 1:2 (I donít expect to use this as a true macro, so thatís not that big a deal.) The 2.8 is also more expensive by a noticeable amount. (Based on an initial survey of eBay prices.)

Does anyone have experience with both lenses? Which did you prefer? Do you have experience using either of these as a general purpose lens (i.e. not for macro photography)?

Right now Iím using my DA 70 limited, which works, but I canít set the aperture, and have to use the camera in shutter priority.

03-04-2019, 01:15 PM   #2
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If you already have the the F100 2.8 I don't know if these options will offer much more. That being said the 2.8 is better IMO.
03-04-2019, 01:30 PM   #3
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Tamron 52E perhaps?

Tamron SP AF 90mm F/2.5 Macro 1:2 (52EP) Lens Reviews - Tamron Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database
03-04-2019, 01:45 PM   #4
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The Tamron SP Di AF 90mm 1:2.8 Macro 1:1 is also worth considering, and is still available new if you want. Its a lovely lens.

03-04-2019, 02:05 PM   #5
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I had a 100mm f3.5, in fact it was not Pentax branded but Cosina.
This lens has been sold under many different brands, it is called "cream in a yoghurt cup".
It was my first macro lens. In reality it reaches 1:2 alone, and 1:1 with a specific close-up.
It is "all plastic", looks cheap and the AF is very noisy. It is not a beautiful lens.



It is a rather good macro lens (in terms of image general sharpness) but definitly not it the same league than DFA 100mm F2.8, Sigma 105mm F2.8, Tamron 90mm F2.8, Sigma 180mm F3.5, Irix 150mm F2.8, etc. Even the old Tamron 90mm F2.5 (adaptall mount) is way better.
03-04-2019, 03:56 PM   #6
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The 52E is basically the Adaptall 90 f2.5 in an AF wrapper sans Adaptall mount swapping. The little I've used my 52B I've liked and this seems even better for AF cameras. The lens database here lists it as being 86.5mm long which I think hits the size requirements laid out. They're not expensive on the used market and not exceedingly rare. It is 11mm shorter than the listed length for the later 90mm f2.8 Tamron's.
03-04-2019, 04:26 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by sergysergy Quote
If you already have the the F100 2.8 I don't know if these options will offer much more. That being said the 2.8 is better IMO.
I'm specifically looking for less--a smaller more manageable lens to lug around.

Many of the other lenses mentioned are also larger than these two Pentax lenses. Interesting about the 3.5--I didn't know it was a Cosina lens. Is there any brand they didn't OEM for?

I'm a bit spoiled with my MX and manual focus glass. I don't expect an arsenal of AF lenses to be that small, but I'd like to be able to carry around the MZ-S and 3-5 primes in a small bag. Right now I have the F 28/2.8 and F 50/1.4 or 1.7 (the 1.4 has issues with auto aperture). I'm hoping that the new HD 35/2 will push down prices on the older SMC version. But those lenses are all nice and compact. My F 100/2.8 is a beautiful lens but it weighs 590g versus 345g for the D-FA 100/2.8, and 220g for the FA 100/3.5. Honestly the FA 77/1.8 would be perfect for what I want, if I could find one under $300 (which I can't, of course.)
03-04-2019, 04:55 PM   #8
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DFA 100 mm f/2.8 (non WR) is an awesome lens. Good at all distances.



03-04-2019, 05:27 PM   #9
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if you go to the in depth review of the D FA 100mm F2.8 WR, you will find a discussion about that lens and the other 3 - D FA 100mm F2.8 Macro lens, which in turn had inherited the optical design from the well-respected FA 100mm F2.8 and F 100mm F2.8 macro lenses

Pentax-D FA 100mm F2.8 WR Macro Review - Introduction | PentaxForums.com Reviews

Pentax-D FA 100mm F2.8 WR Macro Review
Specifications
The lens covers the full 24x36mm format, not just APS-C. The aperture blades are rounded, delivering a smoother bokeh which is important for a macro lens. However, unlike its predecessor, it has no aperture ring.

The optical design is the tried-and-proven formula of the previous generation D FA 100mm F2.8 Macro lens, which in turn had inherited the optical design from the well-respected FA 100mm F2.8 and F 100mm F2.8 macro lenses introduced in 1991 and 1987, respectively. None of these earlier lenses had rounded aperture blades.


Read more at: Pentax-D FA 100mm F2.8 WR Macro Review - Specifications | PentaxForums.com Reviews

_______________

so, no WR and straight aperture blades for older F2.8 lenses

______________________________________________

D FA 100mm F2.8 Macro lens
This lens features a clamp and 1:1 macro magnification. Optically it is the same as the predecessor, the smc Pentax-FA 100mm F2.8 Macro, and optically also the same as the Weather Resistant successor.

Diam x Length
67.5 x 80.5 mm (2.7 x 3.2 in.)
Weight
345 g (12.2 oz.)
w/ Hood: +38g


Read more at: SMC Pentax-D FA 100mm F2.8 Macro Reviews - D FA Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

_________________________________________________________

the FA 100mm F2.8 Macro

Description:
The SMC Pentax-FA 100mm F2.8 Macro is a high-quality macro lens designed to be well above the SMC Pentax-FA 100mm F3.5 macro in image quality. It features a clamp and a focus limiter. The optics are seated that far from the front that no separate lens hood is required.

Optically this lens is identical to its F-series predecessor and the D FA-series successors.

Diam x Length
74 x 104 mm (2.9 x 4.1 in.)
Weight
600 g (21.1 oz.)

Read more at: SMC Pentax-FA 100mm F2.8 Macro Reviews - FA Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database


_________________________________________

FA 100mm f3.5 Macro

Description:
This is the slower of the two FA 100mm macro lenses.

Diam x Length
68 x 72 mm (2.7 x 2.8 in.)
Weight
220 g (7.8 oz.)


Read more at: SMC Pentax-FA 100mm F3.5 Macro Reviews - FA Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

it is possible that there were advances made in the SMC coatings as well

Last edited by aslyfox; 03-04-2019 at 05:50 PM.
03-05-2019, 02:46 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by aslyfox Quote
FA 100mm f3.5 Macro

Description:
This is the slower of the two FA 100mm macro lenses.

Diam x Length
68 x 72 mm (2.7 x 2.8 in.)
Weight
220 g (7.8 oz.)
Just to clarify, as tryphon4 already mentioned it. This is the cosina lens disguised as pentax, i.e. with pentax electronics and SMC coating. And as tryphon4 mentioned, it is not on par with all the other 90/100 mm autofocus macros, but not a bad lens at all.
03-05-2019, 03:29 AM   #11
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to see good examples of what some folks achieve with their macro lenses:


*Macro* lens club - PentaxForums.com

hint, a good macro is good for macro and other things as well.
03-05-2019, 08:10 AM   #12
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It's really unfortunate that Pentax didn't make F or FA versions of some of the compact M and A lenses around this focal length. Like the M 120 f2.8 in an F wrapper. Or the 85 f2. Both really useful focal lengths and relatively compact.
03-05-2019, 09:10 AM   #13
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The FA 100/3.5 is probably the smallest, lightest and cheapest lens that meets your requirements. Its build quality is very low, and it's fairly vulnerable to debris getting in the plastic-on-plastic focus assembly. A DA 18-55 feels like a Limited lens in comparison. Optical quality is good.

I have a Tamron 52E, and it's very good, metal barrel too. I used it a lot for your purposes, an AF short tele. It has a focus limiter switch, so for general use you can limit its close focus to ~22 inches. Filter size is 52mm. I've always liked it. It does have the same problem that the other Tamron 52 Adaptalls have, an occasional purple spot in the center of the frame at f11 or smaller. This is mostly a digital SLR problem because of the flat rear element and flat sensor. I think it only shows up with a bright background and dark center - the lens is terrible at product shots of a lens in a light tent. See the reiews for the 52BB to see what that's like. Also it's harder to get to 1:1 magnification. I bought a Tamron 90/2.8 272 which solves the purple spot and 1:1, but is somewhat bulkier. The 52E isn't really a small lens except next to other macros. Now I have the classic "which to sell" problem.
03-05-2019, 09:21 AM   #14
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I have a M85/2 on my MX which is much maligned, but is quite nice for what it is and what it costs. My MX walk-around kit is usually M28/3.5, M50/1.7, and M85/2, and it fits in a tiny bag. I can usually throw in the M40/2.8 as well since its so small.

I'm leaning towards the DFA100/2.8. It's not as small as the 3.5 but the speed would be a useful bump, and its still almost half the weight of my F100/2.8. Unless of course a great deal comes up on a 3.5 and I can't help my self.

Both lenses have drawn comments of being cheaply built. And of course, next to a M or K lens, everything feels cheaply built. I have the FA24-90 on the MZ-S which draws the same criticism, but really isn't that bad. Are either of these lenses worse? Has anyone encountered actual problems caused by the build quality?
03-08-2019, 05:52 PM   #15
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Thanks again for everyone’s input. I was leaning towards the 2.8, but a really cheap 3.5 came up for less than $100, so I figured I’d try that. It’s not quite throwaway money, but compared to the $250 that is the cheapest I could find the 2.8, I’ll give it a go.
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