Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
01-09-2010, 10:07 PM   #1
Senior Member




Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 113
Need advice: Pentax SMCP-FA 135mm f/2.8 vs smc PENTAX DA Star 50-135mm F2.8 ED

Hello everyone,
I'm looking into purchasing a 135mm prime. I had wanted the smc Pentax-M 135mm f2.5, but they run kinda high. I love the images this lens can produce, but I figure that if I pay that much for a lens, I might as well get one with AF (Pentax SMCP-FA 135mm f/2.8 IF Lens). However, since the SMCP-FA 135mm is rather rare and can only be had used, I also contemplated buying the DA Star 50-135.

Which lens is the sharpest wide open and which one produces the best bokeh? Which lens would you buy and why? Thanks for your input.


Last edited by bladerunner0427; 01-09-2010 at 11:53 PM.
01-09-2010, 10:54 PM   #2
Veteran Member
creampuff's Avatar

Join Date: May 2007
Location: Singapore
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 3,955
I sold my DA* 50-135mm for the FA 135mm. Both do provide excellent sharpness and have their respective merits. Surprisingly in spite of having more lens elements, the DA* zoom has slightly snappier contrast which I feel is due to the lens coating but the FA has a punchier color rendition. Obviously the zoom is more versatile in terms of angle of view and SDM focusing is silent but it is nevertheless a way bigger and heavier lens to carry around.

The FA 135mm has lightning fast AF and toting the smaller lens is far easier to pack and carry around, the primary reason why I got it. I believe the old manual focus 135mm f/2.5 is sharper at the wider apertures, but it definitely beats the A 135mm f/2.8 and M 135mm f/3.5 lenses optically. The advantage of the razor quick AF is something to behold that the old manual focus lenses would find a hard act to follow. A great lens for outdoor portraits.

Pentax buddies shot with the K-7 and FA 135mm f/2.8 straight from the camera at a recent Pentax Singapore outing (exif is intact). The K-7's exposure accuracy and WB control is just superb.



01-09-2010, 11:28 PM   #3
Veteran Member
Pentaxor's Avatar

Join Date: May 2009
Location: Vancouver, B.C.
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 6,513
QuoteOriginally posted by creampuff Quote
I sold my DA* 50-135mm for the FA 135mm. Both do provide excellent sharpness and have their respective merits. Surprisingly in spite of having more lens elements, the DA* zoom has slightly snappier contrast which I feel is due to the lens coating but the FA has a punchier color rendition. Obviously the zoom is more versatile in terms of angle of view and SDM focusing is silent but it is nevertheless a way bigger and heavier lens to carry around.

The FA 135mm has lightning fast AF and toting the smaller lens is far easier to pack and carry around, the primary reason why I got it. I believe the old manual focus 135mm f/2.5 is sharper at the wider apertures, but it definitely beats the A 135mm f/2.8 and M 135mm f/3.5 lenses optically. The advantage of the razor quick AF is something to behold that the old manual focus lenses would find a hard act to follow. A great lens for outdoor portraits.

Pentax buddies shot with the K-7 and FA 135mm f/2.8 straight from the camera at a recent Pentax Singapore outing (exif is intact). The K-7's exposure accuracy and WB control is just superb.




Denis, are there local shops there that still sell these lenses?
01-10-2010, 12:11 AM   #4
Senior Member




Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 113
Original Poster
Thanks for the advice Denis. Though the smc K 135mm is a bit faster @ f2.5, I think I would rather have the AF. I hate to miss shots because I'm not quick enough at manual focus. Does the DA produce the same bokeh at 135mm as the FA?

01-10-2010, 03:28 AM   #5
Veteran Member
blende8's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Bremen, Germany
Photos: Albums
Posts: 1,484
I sold my FA135 for the DA50-135.
I found the FA135 optically very good, but builtwise it is cheap, a bit rattly.
AF was fast, MF difficult.
The DA is much better built, optically as good and more versatile.
01-10-2010, 10:22 AM   #6
Senior Member




Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 113
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by blende8 Quote
I sold my FA135 for the DA50-135.
I found the FA135 optically very good, but builtwise it is cheap, a bit rattly.
AF was fast, MF difficult.
The DA is much better built, optically as good and more versatile.
I've read that the FA135 has a loose focus ring and some PF. I guess I'll be saving up for the DA. Thanks for your input.
01-10-2010, 10:27 AM   #7
ogl
Pentaxian
ogl's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Siberia
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 7,254
QuoteOriginally posted by blende8 Quote
I sold my FA135 for the DA50-135.
I found the FA135 optically very good, but builtwise it is cheap, a bit rattly.
AF was fast, MF difficult.
The DA is much better built, optically as good and more versatile.
FA135 is good build and very light.
The body is from metal.

DA* is MUCH better built? I can't say it.
FA has also better bokeh that DA*.
01-10-2010, 10:29 AM   #8
ogl
Pentaxian
ogl's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Siberia
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 7,254
QuoteOriginally posted by bladerunner0427 Quote
I've read that the FA135 has a loose focus ring and some PF. I guess I'll be saving up for the DA. Thanks for your input.
PF - yes. Rather high wide-opened and lower at closed apertures.
DA* has PF too.

01-10-2010, 11:53 AM   #9
Senior Member




Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 113
Original Poster
So which is better at 135mm? FA or DA?
01-10-2010, 02:57 PM   #10
Veteran Member
blende8's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Bremen, Germany
Photos: Albums
Posts: 1,484
QuoteOriginally posted by bladerunner0427 Quote
So which is better at 135mm? FA or DA?
Better what? Resolution?
Both resolve better than the sensor of the K20.
The DA is sealed, has SDM, quick shift, and is better built. Definitely.
01-10-2010, 04:04 PM   #11
Site Supporter
bigjojo's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Oppede 25 milles S-E Avignon
Posts: 23
Je pense qu'a 135mm le FA est meilleur. Pesonnellement j'ai des doutes sur la longevité du SDM. Quinze ans de fonctionnement et le FA est comme neuf. Comment sera le SDM du DA dans 15 ans ?
01-10-2010, 04:56 PM - 1 Like   #12
Veteran Member
creampuff's Avatar

Join Date: May 2007
Location: Singapore
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 3,955
Pentaxor, there are sadly no FA 135mm lenses readily available on the used market where I am. Not so easy to find but I got mine from China. This is why I wish Pentax would roll out an all new modern version both in f/1.8 and f/2.8 maximum aperture, preferably with WR.

As to the respective arguments about build quality, it really depends on the condition of the lens you have. For the out of production FA 135mm, the only copies circulating now would be used. Being an AF lens, the focus ring if used manually isn't as well damped and the focusing cam can sound scratchy like many FA lenses. In this respect the DA* lenses do have the edge but I won't consider the FA 135mm's build quality to be cheap or inferior, just different. About the only thing I don't like about it is the built-in plastic hood. It may have been fine during the film era but on digital it is just too short. Mine was stuck as the internal O-ring to click into place when extended was dislodged and was sent back to Japan for service. Came back perfect.

There is a lot to like about the FA 135mm. It is very compact and being an internal focus design, the lens barrel does not extend when focusing and it just beats the DA*'s SDM in terms of speed, probably one of the fastest AF lens Pentax ever made. Of course the DA*'s noiseless SDM will have the edge in situations like concerts where you don't want to disturb others but it is big enough lens to get noticed, unlike the smaller FA which is ideal for street shooting and outdoor portraits.

Like other FA lenses, PF is there at wider apertures but not terribly serious, this issue is also evident on the DA*. Flare is well handled on the FA 135mm in spite of the short hood but veiling flare is more an issue with the DA* 50-135mm. I think if one uses the FA or DA* lenses in bright light there is little to choose from but for shots at night with small pointed lights sources, being a prime, I feel the FA has the edge. Bokeh wise both are nice but this is rather subjective an issue and depends a lot on the background.

01-10-2010, 11:00 PM   #13
Veteran Member
Pentaxor's Avatar

Join Date: May 2009
Location: Vancouver, B.C.
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 6,513
QuoteOriginally posted by blende8 Quote
Better what? Resolution?
Both resolve better than the sensor of the K20.
The DA is sealed, has SDM, quick shift, and is better built. Definitely.
DA* as being the better built is arguable. the FA has a metal body construct that makes it a tank and thus doesn't make it cheap, inferior or less better than the DA* in anyway. the only clear advantage of the DA* is it's WR feature. SDM and quickshift are nice features but doesn't give a real advantage against the FA if we are talking about built.

eventhough the DA* is flexible for being a zoom, I would still prefer the FA135/2.8 until such time that they make those SDM's worth the money.

Last edited by Pentaxor; 01-10-2010 at 11:07 PM.
01-11-2010, 02:47 AM   #14
Veteran Member
blende8's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Bremen, Germany
Photos: Albums
Posts: 1,484
I agree about the SDM.
It's silent that is nice, but else ... well rather slow and prone to defects.

Regarding built: I agree that the tubus of the FA is good, but the focus ring is a joke, really. It is rattling and almost unusable. Also the shaft focussing is unusually loud with this lens, but very fast.

I use the DA mostly for portrait work inside. SDM is very nice for this.

Pentax should give us a new 135mm lens, yes.
01-11-2010, 05:32 AM   #15
Loyal Site Supporter
dadipentak's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Baltimore, Maryland
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 10,409
If you want the versatility, have the money and you're willing to take a gamble on SDM, go with the DA* zoom. If you want a compact 135mm with fast and accurate AF & stellar IQ, get the FA.

I opted for a Sigma 70-200mm for versatility but go to the FA 135mm when I'm after candid portraits.
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
135mm, da, f/2.8, k-mount, lens, pentax, pentax lens, slr lens, smc, smcp-fa, star
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
For Sale - Sold: SMC PENTAX DA STAR 50-135mm F2.8 ED [IF] SDM Venturi Sold Items 11 09-21-2009 09:19 PM
For Sale - Sold: smc PENTAX DA Star 50-135mm F2.8 ED (IF) SDM ragtop Sold Items 4 07-13-2009 08:59 PM
For Sale - Sold: Pentax 50-135mm SMCP-DA* 50-135mm f/2.8 ED IF SDM mmzymxf Sold Items 1 10-28-2008 01:01 PM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 06:12 AM. | See also: NikonForums.com, CanonForums.com part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top