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12-15-2009, 01:24 PM   #1
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A* 200/2.8 or FA* 200/2.8

So as you may have gathered from the subject I'm debating a telephoto lens.

I've been wanting to pick up the A* for a while, but I'm beginning to think that with the amount of wildlife and sport I enjoy shooting that the Auto Focus might be worth the extra expense.

They have a different optical formula and I've seen lovely shots from both.

Could anyone who has had experience with either or preferably both of these let me know any personal preferences between the two.

Is there anything that would make me get one over the other?

12-15-2009, 01:56 PM   #2
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out of curiosity, why not the DA* 200mm?
12-15-2009, 02:00 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by yeatzee Quote
out of curiosity, why not the DA* 200mm?
On that front. $$ and the ability to use on old film cameras
12-15-2009, 02:23 PM   #4
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fair enough.

In that case, in my experience it is much much harder to MF a telephoto for a sharp image (well sharp where you want it ). Because of this, if it were me I'd grap the FA*.

(keep in mind this is coming from the guy that would rather use a MF lens over AF any day of the year..... just for focal lengths under 200mm )

12-15-2009, 02:27 PM   #5
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You should also consider the K200/2.5, the fastest 200mm that Pentax has made.
It was designed for film cameras and is built like a tank. Its optical design is close to the A200/2.8.

Phil.
12-15-2009, 02:48 PM   #6
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Thanks people.

I just received my K3 screen for my K10 and I'm loving the MF which is really why I'm considering the A* rather than FA*

I'd like to have the A contacts to minimize the need to 'green button it' when not shooting wide open, but I'll look up the K200/2.5.

So i suppose I'm more wondering about optical quality between the two lenses. I'm sure they are both great.

How good is the FA autofocus?
12-15-2009, 05:24 PM   #7
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I usually prefer A-series lenses to all others, and coveted the A* 200 for some time. However, I found the FA* for a really good price (cheaper than I've ever seen the A*) and took the plunge. I use it in MF mode 90% of the time, but it is nice to be able to swap it over to AF when necessary. The MF is pretty well-dampened and nice to use. The advantages (to me) of the FA* are that it is Internal Focusing, focuses down to 1.2m, and probably has slightly better optical quality, though I'm sure that's debateable. I personally think the A* is the better looking lens, it's probably more rare, and I don't really care for the silver finish of the FA*. I guess you can't really go wrong with either lens.
12-16-2009, 07:53 PM   #8
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Thanks for the comments hapo.

I like you have a feeling the A* might have a better build quality and I agree it is a better looking lens.

I'm hoping to find the FA* for a good price? May I ask what you picked yours up for and how long ago?

12-17-2009, 03:19 AM   #9
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I've used both, but the A* still gets my vote, here's what I said about it on the 28th October 2008 on the Lens review section of this site.

"I only just recently acquired this lens second-hand, after searching the globe for many months. I admit that I'm lucky enough to own several other "green star" lenses; hence I feel I can offer an unbiased opinion of this lens.

I wonít give any technical jargon or performance figures, because Iím not qualified to do that. What I will do, is tell you as working photographer how I find this lens through every day use (Iím old school and still use manual focus, I like the way it feels and the level of control I still have).

To say I'm blown away with the resulting images would be a huge understatement. I cover many musical events that are dark (ish) with mixed fast changing lighting set ups, this lens delivers even wide open.

It allows tight head and shoulder shots from front stage pits and when used with K10D, it can be hand held (with SR on) @ 1/30 s f/2.8 ISO 1600, still getting razor sharp results. Stopped down (lighting permitting) it just gets better still.

Fast becoming a favourite lens, not a bad accolade considering the company it keeps in my Crumpler (85mm 1.4 & 135mm 1.8 to name but two)."


My comments still apply today, some 14 months on, allbeit used now on K20D's not K10D's


12-17-2009, 04:47 AM   #10
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I agree with kerrowdown on not overlooking the possibilities of manual focus 200mm lenses. Iím sure the A* 200/2.8 is a great lens. I have the K 200/2.5 and while it lacks the A setting it too delivers great images in low light situations and is just a little bit faster. It is relatively rare but can be had for less than the A* 200. My favourite manual focus lens and worth your consideration.

Tom G
12-17-2009, 12:28 PM   #11
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I also have the A 200/4, which definitely having lower optical quality than the FA* does have the advantage of being half the weight and about half the size... it's not a bad lens, all things considered, and I do take it when I don't want to lug around the FA*.
12-17-2009, 01:23 PM   #12
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Fa* 200/2.8 pricing dropped to the floor due to Da* 200 capability. Surpringly Da* 200 has almost no fringeing in real life application. I have never used A* 200/2.8 but I doubt all three versions have much difference optically.

I still recalled my Fa* 200mm f2.8 fringeing more in harsh light setting and its silver metallic paint prone to wear and tear. Lucky I sold it befor it got worse.
12-17-2009, 01:57 PM   #13
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Wow,

More responses. Cheers everyone.


Kerrydown, I read your review when I first started contemplating a fast 200 and it did have me thinking that I should go for the A*.

Right now I'm planning to have one or the other by the time the Winter Olympics comes around. We've got tickets to a bunch of the events and which I'm really looking forward to.

Roentarre. Interesting you mention the fringeing in harsh light. Would that include snow and ice? Getting my exposures right is going to be a good test.

I wonder if I should be looking at a Sigma as an option as well?
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