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03-25-2010, 05:18 PM   #1
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SMC Pentax-A Zoom 70-210mm f4

Is this lens any good?

03-25-2010, 05:28 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by timstone Quote
Is this lens any good?
Here are some user reviews: Pentax Lens Review and Specification Database - 70-210mm F4

Some like it quite a bit, some not quite so much. I used mine yesterday in a rough shoot-out with several ~200 primes and ~70-200 zooms. I weeded-out four other lenses, to be Sold Down The River. This one is a keeper, but just barely. Maybe mine is just sub-par. That happens. Hey, it only cost me US$9 on eBay!
03-26-2010, 06:31 AM   #3
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The SMC A veriety is a great lens, with great sharpness and contrast and can be used fully open. Just beware, that there is also the "Takumar A" version available on ebay. This has inferior coatings.

I still use my SMC-A 70-210, when my Sigma 70-200/2.8 is too big and heavy, while air travelling for instance. Mechanics are great and I love the one-touch zoom much better than the nowadays usual 2-touch zooms, though ofcourse AF offsets the inconvenience of two rings to a degree.

Ben
03-26-2010, 07:15 AM   #4
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It is my favorite longish tele. My copy is quite sharp throuought the zoom range, great contrast, has very good bokeh and as an added bonus it has a close focus feature at 70mm. I got rid of my second copy of the DA 50-200 after using the "A" 70-210 for two hours. My only criticism of the lens is that the barrel rotates during focusing making polarizing filter use a bit of a pain. That and it's not a small or light lens.

NaCl(I lurves my "A" 70-210)H2O

03-26-2010, 10:51 AM   #5
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A wonderful portrait lens.
03-26-2010, 11:04 AM   #6
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Hi timstone,

I'll go along with the fans of this lens. I have quite a few premium quality lenses that cover 200mm or close, and the A 70-210 will always stay in the collection. It may not be quite in the same class as my A*200/2.8, Tamron SP 180/2.5 and SP 80-200/2.8 Adaptall 2s, Tokina 80-200/2.8 AT-X AF Pro, and Sigma Ex 180/3.5 Macro, but it's size, speed, and optical quality are easily above average for a consumer zoom at the price this lens usually commands. The lens is very common, and usually there are at least a couple being offered on ebay. For anything under $100 (of course, the more under, the better), in VG condition or better, I think they're a great deal.

Scott
03-26-2010, 09:14 PM   #7
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I picked up an SMC-A 70-210/f4 for $30 on Craig's List. It was kinda fun and has decent IQ, but now that I have the big Tamron, the poor little Pentax sits on the shelf. I will say this though, mine has significant zoom creep, supposedly fairly common with this model. I've seen the same thing at KEH for $75-100 depending on condition. I don't use it anymore but for the price I paid there's also no reason to get rid of it!
03-27-2010, 04:37 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by NeverSatisfied Quote
I picked up an SMC-A 70-210/f4 for $30 on Craig's List. It was kinda fun and has decent IQ, but now that I have the big Tamron, the poor little Pentax sits on the shelf. I will say this though, mine has significant zoom creep, supposedly fairly common with this model. I've seen the same thing at KEH for $75-100 depending on condition. I don't use it anymore but for the price I paid there's also no reason to get rid of it!
The zoom creep on the A 70-210 can easily be remedied. There are tiny screws under the rubbering on the one-touch ring, which you simply tighten. You just turn over the rubber for roughly 1cm or 2cm on the rim (no need to remove it completely) and you'll find the screws easily. It#s some time, that I have done that, so I can't remember whether they are located near the front or back of the ring...

Ben

03-27-2010, 04:05 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ben_Edict Quote
The zoom creep on the A 70-210 can easily be remedied. There are tiny screws under the rubbering on the one-touch ring, which you simply tighten. You just turn over the rubber for roughly 1cm or 2cm on the rim (no need to remove it completely) and you'll find the screws easily. It#s some time, that I have done that, so I can't remember whether they are located near the front or back of the ring...
They're on the back (lens mount) side. There are four screws in an aluminum ring.
03-27-2010, 05:08 PM   #10
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I had one and liked it, but it had a bad case of the fungus (it was the lens that taught me what fungus looks like). Well built, and it has a "macro" function for close focusing.
03-27-2010, 05:42 PM   #11
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I've seen this lens at a local pawn shop for under 50 bucks. It could be fungified though.
03-27-2010, 05:54 PM   #12
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this is an excellent lens. I have been using this lens for years, and can certainly recommend it. even wide open at f4 its sharp enough for most people and once you get used to the 'one touch' zoom/focus it is actually quite easy to use. the built in lens hood is a good feature and does help. for some it can be a bit heavy, but I think it provides a nice balance during use. purple fringing can happen easily when shooting wide open with strong backlight but this is a digital problem, not a lens problem. as others have mentioned, this lens can be prone to 'zoom creep', but during normal use, this really isn't a problem, and I wouldn't put too much weight on it for your decision. I mostly use m42 screw mount lenses, but this lens will always remain among my Kmounts and one of my most used lenses. if you can get one for under one hundred dollars, then you got a great lens at a great price. out of all of the manual focus pentax zoom lenses, this one really is among if not the best pentax ever made.
03-27-2010, 08:53 PM   #13
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My goal was to get a 60-250 or the Sigma 70-200, but it wasn't going to be a financial reality for at least 2 years. So I was on the lens review portion of this site digging around and learning about the different mounts (A, F, FA, etc.) and reading reviews when I saw this lens. I decided to get over the whole lens creep thing; I figured it wouldn't be an issue unless I'm shooting straight up or down.

To my surprise I found an ex+ condition one on-line and ordered it for $225 CDN. It's more than what most people pay but it's been worth every penny to me: there's absolutely zero lens creep on my copy and the IQ is fantastic at f/8, and pretty decent at f/5.6. It takes practice to not accidentally bump the ring out of focus, but every lens has its learning curve.

So if you're in a situation where you can live with f/4 and AF, then save yourself at least $800 and buy a lens like this that has only marginally lower IQ than the ones I mentioned above. It's one of the few remaining bargains that I'm aware of in the A, F, and FA mounts for constant-aperture zooms. And unless you're making enough money with your photography or plan to someday, you're foolish to spend more than $1K on a lens anyhow, IMO.
03-28-2010, 02:13 AM   #14
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I have this lens on loan from a friend's father. I haven't used it often but the colours are excellent and it is sharp stopped down, I did a quick and very unscientific comparison with my 50-135mm and the differences weren't much at all.

QuoteOriginally posted by Ben_Edict Quote
The zoom creep on the A 70-210 can easily be remedied. There are tiny screws under the rubbering on the one-touch ring, which you simply tighten. You just turn over the rubber for roughly 1cm or 2cm on the rim (no need to remove it completely) and you'll find the screws easily. It#s some time, that I have done that, so I can't remember whether they are located near the front or back of the ring...

Ben
QuoteOriginally posted by Just1MoreDave Quote
They're on the back (lens mount) side. There are four screws in an aluminum ring.
Thanks a lot for this info - will try this tomorrow
03-28-2010, 01:02 PM   #15
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One thing I'm fuzzy about: when using SR with a manual push-pull ~70-200 zoom (and maybe especially fixed-aperture glass like this) does one enter 200mm, or the value of the FL used prior to each specific shot?

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