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06-06-2007, 07:22 AM   #1
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Location: Chappaqua, NY
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Zoom build quality

In responding to another thread, I started thinking about the relative build quality of Pentax zooms, and thought maybe sharing experiences might be helpful to some. Following are some comments about zooms I own in rough order of increasing build quality:

DA18-55 f/3.5-5.6: The cheapest-feeling lens I own. Won't give you hives, but has rather light and cheap-feeling focus ring. If it felt a little better in use, I might be more likely to bring it on certain occaisions due to its compact size and light weight. On a related side note, I can't believe how poor the Canon 18-55 feels and looks, especially the crappy knurled manual focus front element tube.

FA80-320 f/4.5-5.6: Perhaps due to lens age and weight, I find this one rather cumbersome--zoom action is kind of sticky so body tends to start to rotate while adjusting zoom.

Tamron 28-105 f/4-5.6: Build-quality-wise, not great in any particular respect but competent overall.

DA50-200 f/4-5.6: A step better. Zoom and focus are improved. Relatively little wobble of front element

DA16-45 f/4: Main body feels substantial (partially from additional weight), and zoom and focus are good. Front element wobbles a bit. From an ergonomic perspective, I find focus ring a little hard to reach with the longer barrel, wish focus ring was a little bigger.

FA24-90 f/3.5-4.5: Nice zoom action, little wobble. Focus ring feels decent enough but focus path is very short, probably less than 1/4 turn. Materials-wise dull in appearance when compared to DA lenses but feels good in use. Has internal focus. Not applicable here but FA zooms I've tried have pretty nice (light & positive) aperture ring action.

FA28-70 f/4: Nicely put together. Similar in size to 18-55, but feels more solid and uses decent materials in similar style to FA primes like FA28, 35 and 50. Minor complaint about design more than build quality is that front element rotates when focussing.

DA12-24 f/4: Of this batch, this one is the most solid. No complaints at all.


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action, element, f/4, f/4-5.6, fa, focus, front, k-mount, light, pentax lens, quality, slr lens, weight
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