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07-28-2019, 04:04 PM   #1
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Pentax-FA 100mm SMC f/3.5 Macro

I was hoping to get some opinions about the Pentax-FA 100mm SMC f/3.5 Macro lens. Are there any current users of this lens?

07-28-2019, 04:41 PM - 1 Like   #2
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Not current but I had one for some time. It is a much less expensive 100mm macro than the various f/2.8 versions. I believe I read on this forum someplace that it was not made by Pentax but actually a "rebadge" of another brand. Sorry I don't remember the details and I could be wrong.

That said, I remember it to be a handy little lens with quite good image quality. The downside is the all plastic construction and generally lower quality build. But the optics seemed first rate. It is reviewed quite favorably by other users in the database. If I was looking for a budget 100mm macro I would not hesitate to buy one if the price is in the $150+ range.

Keep in mind the only advantage of this lens is the price. So if cost is not your primary focus then also consider the 100mm f/2.8 macros.
07-28-2019, 04:46 PM - 2 Likes   #3
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it is a Cosina - rebadge; you can find the same optics in a MF version with the Cosina/Vivitar/Promaster badges on them...
07-28-2019, 05:06 PM - 1 Like   #4
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I have one branded as Phoenix. Only 1:2 but very sharp. 1:1 with a diopter. Cream in a yogurt cup. Very noisy AF. Lightroom reports it as a Pentax FA in EXIF

07-28-2019, 05:07 PM - 2 Likes   #5
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I think the main consideration is that it's a 1:2 macro, rather than a 1:1 macro like the F2.8 version. It also uses a simpler optical design. Plenty of reviews here:

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

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07-28-2019, 05:24 PM - 1 Like   #6
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This was my 1st prime lens and at first hated it because it was a purple fringer. But upon learning how to use it, it became my favorite macro and portrait lens. Sadly, my copy had developed signs of rear fungus which I read was a common occurrence specially in tropical climates. Yes, it was originally made by Cosina and rebadged by Pentax but with Pentax lens coating. If you can source a good copy, don't hesitate on getting one.



07-28-2019, 05:44 PM - 1 Like   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by mannyquinto Quote
This was my 1st prime lens and at first hated it because it was a purple fringer. But upon learning how to use it, it became my favorite macro and portrait lens. Sadly, my copy had developed signs of rear fungus which I read was a common occurrence specially in tropical climates. Yes, it was originally made by Cosina and rebadged by Pentax but with Pentax lens coating. If you can source a good copy, don't hesitate on getting one.


Thanks, this was the type of information I was hoping to obtain in this thread. Your photos look great, thanks for posting them.

---------- Post added 07-28-19 at 05:45 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
Not current but I had one for some time. It is a much less expensive 100mm macro than the various f/2.8 versions. I believe I read on this forum someplace that it was not made by Pentax but actually a "rebadge" of another brand. Sorry I don't remember the details and I could be wrong.

That said, I remember it to be a handy little lens with quite good image quality. The downside is the all plastic construction and generally lower quality build. But the optics seemed first rate. It is reviewed quite favorably by other users in the database. If I was looking for a budget 100mm macro I would not hesitate to buy one if the price is in the $150+ range.

Keep in mind the only advantage of this lens is the price. So if cost is not your primary focus then also consider the 100mm f/2.8 macros.
I just landed a nice copy of the 2.8 in the 180.00 range., but this lens was in the running, seen one in mint condition for 135.00. Thanks for the reply.

---------- Post added 07-28-19 at 05:48 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
I think the main consideration is that it's a 1:2 macro, rather than a 1:1 macro like the F2.8 version. It also uses a simpler optical design. Plenty of reviews here:

SMC Pentax-FA 100mm F3.5 Macro Reviews - FA Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database
Thanks Adam. The first thing I did was look at our lens page and read a few reviews. I started the thread to get some further info on this lens.

---------- Post added 07-28-19 at 05:49 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
I have one branded as Phoenix. Only 1:2 but very sharp. 1:1 with a diopter. Cream in a yogurt cup. Very noisy AF. Lightroom reports it as a Pentax FA in EXIF
Thanks for the reply.
07-29-2019, 08:48 AM - 1 Like   #8
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I owned this lens (mine was AF and Cosina branded), it was my first macro lens.

It reaches 1:2 alone, and 1:1 using the provided diopter. The diopter quality is good: it is an achromatic one.
The image quality is not in par with the quality delivered by a true macro lens (Pentax 100mm/2.8, Tamron 90mm/2.8, Sigma 105mm/2.8 etc.) but it is a bargain if you can cope with the noisy AF, the cheap-looking plastics and the long focus throw.
On top of that, the working distance is quite interesting: about 13cm.

More info here: Cosina ( Vivitar etc) 100mm F3.5 MC Makro Lens Reviews - Cosina Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database

07-29-2019, 02:04 PM - 2 Likes   #9
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Here is a table that lists the different versions of this lens:

MF Version:


Cosina (the original maker of this lens):
  • Cosina 100mm 1:3.5 MC Macro (flat rubber with grooves)

Phoenix
  • Phoenix 100mm 1:3.5 Macro (regular rubber with knobs)
  • Phoenix 100mm 1:3.5 Macro (flat rubber with grooves)

Promaster
  • Promaster Spectrum 7 100mm 1:3.5 MC Macro (flat rubber with grooves)

Soligor
  • MC Soligor Macro 100mm 1:3.5 (flat rubber with grooves)

Vivitar
  • Vivitar 100mm 1:3.5 MC Macro (flat rubber with grooves)
  • Vivitar 100mm 1:3.5 MC Macro (flat rubber with wider grooves and inscription on front end of the rubber)


AF Version:

Cosina (the original maker of this lens):
  • Cosina 100mm 1:3.5 MC Macro AF (Version with inscription "Macro" on the barrel)
  • Cosina 100mm 1:3.5 MC Macro AF (Version with inscription "AF Macro" on the barrel)

Pentax
  • smc Pentax-FA 1:3.5 100mm -Macro-

Phoenix
  • Phoenix 100mm 1:3.5 Macro AF

Promaster
  • Promaster Spectrum 7 100mm 1:3.5 MC Macro

Soligor
  • MC Soligor AF Macro 100mm 1:3.5

Tokina
  • Tokina AF 100mm 1:3.5

Vivitar
  • Vivitar 100mm 1:3.5 MC Auto Focus Macro

Voigtländer
  • Voigtländer Macro-Dynar 100mm 1:3.5 VMV

A few comments:
Over the years Pentax had several budget lenses that were said not to be made in the Asahi factories but by Cosina or even Samyang.
A real surprise for me was the Tokina labeled version - one 3rd party lens maker rebadging another 3rd party lens maker's lens.

Last edited by UMC; 07-29-2019 at 02:10 PM.
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