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06-24-2012, 05:15 AM   #1
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Pentax 645 A150mm F/3.5 or FA 200mm with 645D?

I have found some comments (good) about the FA 150mm and 645D but haven't been able to find any about the A version of the lens when used with the 645D.
Does anyone use this combination, and if so how do they find it please?
I was initially considering a 200m FA lens, but it seems to be the case of get a good copy and it's great, otherwise not so. The only copy I can find is in the far east so if I buy it I'm pretty well stuck with it, so am reluctant to buy, even though it's from a seller I've bought well from before.
Then I've seen a 150mm A lens at a shop I'll be near enough to call into in a week's time, so am wondering whether it's a good alternative.
I don't mind manual focus, but already have an FA 120mm macro, so 150mm is a bit close focal length wise. However on the plus side it's a bit lighter than the 200mm and probably easier to focus.
I'm in the UK and the price of the FA 200mm lens would work out at about 80% more than the A 150mm lens.
The 200mm lens is assembled in Vietnam, so presumably less than four years old.
The use will be primarily landscape but with some natural light portraits.
Thanks for any feedback.

06-24-2012, 07:13 AM   #2
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I use both the A150 and the A200. Both are very good lenses, though my copy of the 200 is slightly more contrasty. Having said that I almost always carry the 150 because it's much smaller and lighter than the 200. The 150 is also a very good portrait lens, whereas the 200 is generally too long for portraiture. In the States good used copies of these lens can be had for less that $200. I love the build quality and feel of these older manual focus lenses--they were built to last. There are samples of each lens on my flickr site.

Pentax 645D - a set on Flickr

Keith
06-24-2012, 08:17 AM   #3
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If you already have the 120mm macro, I doubt the 150mm is going to be very different. On the 645D, the FA 150mm has a great reputation, but the A 150mm is a different optical formula--some like it, some don't. I think the 200mm would be a better choice for you.
06-24-2012, 10:26 AM - 1 Like   #4
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the FA 150/2.8 is nice but it's alot softer and less contras tier than the A 120/4.. the 150/2.8 is also very portable and handles well with the 645D..

A 120/4 at 4

FA 150/2.8 at 2.8


06-24-2012, 11:57 AM   #5
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On Diglloyd's paid site (he is very good at evaluating and testing equipment), he had this to say about the A200 (and I quote him):
Conclusions

Providing you focus it carefully, the Pentax-A 200mm f/4 offers very consistent sharpness across the frame at f/4, reaching optimal performance at f/5.6. Given its compact size, this is definitely a lens worth having for the 645D.
I have one and also a 15oA. I like them both.
Dave in NJ
06-24-2012, 01:30 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Yamanobori Quote
If you already have the 120mm macro, I doubt the 150mm is going to be very different. On the 645D, the FA 150mm has a great reputation, but the A 150mm is a different optical formula--some like it, some don't. I think the 200mm would be a better choice for you.

Hi,

I can only speak for the FA 150 and FA 200mm lenses on the 645D, having tested quite a # of samples of each. I found these two lenses couldn't be more different except for their similar focal lengths.The FA 150 has a beautiful roundness with a fairly sharp central core wide open, absolutely lovely for portraits and excellent bokeh. Stopped down further, sharpness picks up but never harsh or clinically sharp. It draws lovely for a medium format lens and is amazingly light weight.

In contrast, no sample of the FA 200 at f4 sharpness wise was impressive, especiallly when examining crops. It picks up at f5.6 and then again at f8 when excellent sharpness can be optained. It exhibits far greater contrast that the FA 150 and it's bokeh is nothing to write home about. It's a decent to very good "all rounder", when stopped down some but doesn"t have any special characteristic that stands out. Decently compact and of moderate speed. I can"t speak for the A 150 which is of a different optical formular, but between the FA 150 f2.8 and FA 200mm f4, in my opion it's no contest. I have found the FA 150mm more versitile and better .performing lens. Both have a good amount of sample to sample variation, so these comments are predicated on good samples of each.

Dave (DandA)
06-24-2012, 03:06 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by DandA Quote
Hi,

I can only speak for the FA 150 and FA 200mm lenses on the 645D, having tested quite a # of samples of each. I found these two lenses couldn't be more different except for their similar focal lengths.The FA 150 has a beautiful roundness with a fairly sharp central core wide open, absolutely lovely for portraits and excellent bokeh. Stopped down further, sharpness picks up but never harsh or clinically sharp. It draws lovely for a medium format lens and is amazingly light weight.

In contrast, no sample of the FA 200 at f4 sharpness wise was impressive, especiallly when examining crops. It picks up at f5.6 and then again at f8 when excellent sharpness can be optained. It exhibits far greater contrast that the FA 150 and it's bokeh is nothing to write home about. It's a decent to very good "all rounder", when stopped down some but doesn"t have any special characteristic that stands out. Decently compact and of moderate speed. I can"t speak for the A 150 which is of a different optical formular, but between the FA 150 f2.8 and FA 200mm f4, in my opion it's no contest. I have found the FA 150mm more versitile and better .performing lens. Both have a good amount of sample to sample variation, so these comments are predicated on good samples of each.

Dave (DandA)
??? Dave, I am not looking for a lens, the OP is. Are you actually saying that since the OP already has the 120mm Macro, a similar focal length lens, 150mm in this case, for landscape photography is going to be a better choice than a lens with a greater difference in focal length? Personally, I see no point in carrying a 120mm and 150mm in my bag. My recommendation stands.
06-25-2012, 01:57 AM   #8
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Original Poster
Thanks

Thanks everyone for their replies and advice.
Firstly the two lenses I can get may hands on ar the A 150mm and FA 200mm. I can't find an FA 150mm for sale in the UK.
Secondly from what I can tell from your comments and other comments around is that the A 150mm is a very nice lens, and compact also BUT is very similar to the 120mm in focal length, so probably not as useful to have both.
Thirdly the FA 200mm is a more useful focal length as I already have the FA 120mm, but by accounts image quality generally is not outstanding compared to either the A or FA 150mm lenses.
I had read the DigLloyd comments on the FA 200mm and focusing, and I have also found that I need to concentrate hard when focusing with the 645D, but as long as I concentrate I don't have a problem. I find this good practice anyway as it reminds me to look at the edges and pick up on unwanted 'things' creeping into the composition. The viewfinder is great and I don't miss Liveview in this respect (having previously used a Canon 5D II and tilt and shift lens, focusing with Liveview and a Hoodman loupe, I find the 645D and focusing is a lot easier). I have just noticed that when DigLloyd was experimenting focusing with a loupe he had an A 150m lens, but makes no further mention of it and how it fared unfortunately.
There is also price. The A 150mm I've located is at 199 in the UK, the FA 200mm is at 320 plus import duties and VAT (so around 420 overall). I have located another one in the UK which didn't get a bid on eBay at 200, but not sure what it would sell for. I'm also concerned about buying a 200mm privately without the option of returning if it isn't a good sample.
Out of interest can anyone give an indication of what's a reasonable price to pay for an FA 200m lens in the UK please?
Thanks again for advice

06-25-2012, 06:44 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Yamanobori Quote
??? Dave, I am not looking for a lens, the OP is. Are you actually saying that since the OP already has the 120mm Macro, a similar focal length lens, 150mm in this case, for landscape photography is going to be a better choice than a lens with a greater difference in focal length? Personally, I see no point in carrying a 120mm and 150mm in my bag. My recommendation stands.
Yamanobori, I realize that you're not looking for the lens (that's obvious) and just because I quoted your post as reference doesn't mean I suggested that. If you took the time to read carefully, you will see I carefully avoided passing judgment on your recommendation but for some reason your responses (here and in a previous post of mine) seem to come across as somewhat abrasive. Others have implied the same thing in other past posts of yours both in their posted responses to you and even in messages I received regarding this notion. Its like you often seem to look for fault in what people post, especially if it at all relates to something you posted. Maybe you're oversensitive. I'm not referring to a difference of opinion such on a lens, simply something you find to criticize or pick on. It not the 1st time I've experienced this nor others and when brought to your attention, you then reply to this notion as though you're perplexed. That's why most all pro's and some others have left another well known photo website...due to individuals who seem to delight in picking and finding fault with what others post and many just tired of dealing with it. It's not always what you say, but how you say it. Some people delight in pushing buttons and then stand back to see what kind of response they get. That sort of stuff gets tiresome.

If you read my post carefully, I was simply quoting your statement and adding my own thoughts and comments based on using and testing quite a few samples of the two lenses I mentioned. It contributes to info about the two focal lengths of 645 lenses the OP asked about although in the case of the 150mm, I referenced my comments on the FA 150, not the A 150 and delineated that fact since I do not have any experience with the A 150. Don't worry, I read that he was interested in using the lenses for landscape use...I can read! When one is deciding between two lenses and someone offers their experience and alternatives, it provides food for thought to the OP. Whether they find it useful or not, is up to them.

Maybe its best that you don't respond to my posts. I partially overlooked this the 1st time you did this a number of days ago on one of my posts and made sure my response was clear (and firm) but didn't mention this issue, but enough is enough! This forum as well as others is for simply sharing and providing info in a helpful and informative way. Differences of opinion is great and helps everyone learn, but there is a right way and wrong way to express it!

*** Recent Addition----> Back to the Newmoon's questions. Based on my experiences with different samples of the FA 120, the FA 150 and FA 200, each has it's own strengths (and some have weaknesses) and I personally could make a case of using each for specific and often dedicated uses. The FA 120 macro is exceptional, very sharp and has high contrast and microcontrast from wide open to stopped down and one of Pentax's best and sharpest 645 lenses. Maybe not the lens I'd pick for portrait work nor having the best bokeh, but a very strong performing lens in this focal length for almost everything else. The FA 150 has lovely bokeh, and a soft but well defined central sharpness wide open. It's presents an image thats lower in contrast than the FA 120 thats ideal for portrait work, delicate landscapes and flowers. Stopping down it does improve in sharpness but still presents a delicate but lovely image in the way it draws. The FA 200 is more of an all around lens. Not particulary impressive wide open in sharpness (if you examine crops) and better at f5.6 Bokeh is just OK, and has general contrast more like the FA 120 than the FA 150 but exhibits lower microcontrast (that the FA 120). Stopped down to f8 and beyond, sharpness approaches excellent and is a fairly neutral lens without much of a signature nor much character but most definitely competent, especially if you don't need a fast lens. As an aside, how the A 150 compares to the FA 150, I honestly can't say. There was fairly significant sample to sample variation with the FA 150 and FA 200 lenses but almost none with the FA 120 macro. I suspect Pentax in the film days was very careful to calibrate the FA 120 macro at the factory, since it was a macro lens that had to perform well across it's very wide focusing range and particular attention to this was addressed in all samples of this given lens. With regards to having both the FA 120 and FA 150 in one's bag at the same time, my own personal opinion is this: Their focal lengths are of course extremely similar but both their character, capabilities and the way they draw an image couldn't be more different and the resulting images captured with each often have a very different look (and feel). In my opinion, it's not about having them in ones bag at the same time, but choosing which one to take on a given day or trip, depending what the photographers shooting objective is. If someone had to choose to own only one, that would be a very subjective decision.

Dave (DandA)

Last edited by DandA; 06-25-2012 at 08:51 AM.
06-25-2012, 07:06 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by acarlay Quote
the FA 150/2.8 is nice but it's alot softer and less contras tier than the A 120/4.. the 150/2.8 is also very portable and handles well with the 645D..

A 120/4 at 4

FA 150/2.8 at 2.8
Lovely portrait images with the FA 150 Acarlay! They are also excellent representitive examples of the look and feel of the FA 150 f2.8, espcially for this type of work.

Dave (DandA)
06-25-2012, 03:42 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by gurtch Quote
On Diglloyd's paid site (he is very good at evaluating and testing equipment), he had this to say about the A200
Hi Dave, but the A and FA version are not identical in formula. Does DigiLloyd also have the FA tested? I did find some comments on shutterbug when the lens was first released (see The Pentax 645N<br>Expanding The Telephoto Lens Line Up | Shutterbug):
The 200mm lens was also a redesign from the helical focusing SMC A lens mount to an internal focusing mount on the FA lens, and from a four-element lens to a six-element lens. Closest focus for the newer lens is 4.9 ft rather than the 6.6 ft of the earlier lens. The maximum aperture remains unchanged, and the filter size remains at 58mm. The minimum aperture of f/32 might come in handy at times.

In use, the 200mm FA lens was just as impressive as the 150mm FA lens. The pictures were sharp and brilliant at all apertures. The convenient size and weight of the lens, along with the speedy autofocus operation, made rapid and accurate photography possible. I used this in much the same way I use a 135mm lens on a 35mm camera, although this 645 lens has a wider angle of view. I wouldn't use this lens in a tight space, like a busy city street; but where there is a little elbow room, this can be a useful lens to tighten the composition. Of course, depth of field can get to be a problem with lenses of 200mm or so. I would tend to use an ISO 400 film if I were using the 200mm lens often, whereas, with the 150mm lens, I would be confident in using an ISO 200 film.

A lab test of the resolutions of the two new FA lenses and the earlier 150mm f/3.5 show that these are outstanding medium format lenses. Both of the FA lenses performed better at wider apertures than did the f/3.5, but at apertures of f/5.6 to f/22, these lenses all have comparable performance. I was impressed to see how excellently all of these lenses maintained high resolution out to the edges. This is a great set of lenses. The superb results, particularly at wider apertures, are evidence of excellent lenses and excellent autofocusing.
06-25-2012, 07:45 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Smolk Quote
Hi Dave, but the A and FA version are not identical in formula. Does DigiLloyd also have the FA tested? I did find some comments on shutterbug when the lens was first released (see The Pentax 645N<br>Expanding The Telephoto Lens Line Up | Shutterbug):
The 200mm lens was also a redesign from the helical focusing SMC A lens mount to an internal focusing mount on the FA lens, and from a four-element lens to a six-element lens. Closest focus for the newer lens is 4.9 ft rather than the 6.6 ft of the earlier lens. The maximum aperture remains unchanged, and the filter size remains at 58mm. The minimum aperture of f/32 might come in handy at times.

In use, the 200mm FA lens was just as impressive as the 150mm FA lens. The pictures were sharp and brilliant at all apertures. The convenient size and weight of the lens, along with the speedy autofocus operation, made rapid and accurate photography possible. I used this in much the same way I use a 135mm lens on a 35mm camera, although this 645 lens has a wider angle of view. I wouldn't use this lens in a tight space, like a busy city street; but where there is a little elbow room, this can be a useful lens to tighten the composition. Of course, depth of field can get to be a problem with lenses of 200mm or so. I would tend to use an ISO 400 film if I were using the 200mm lens often, whereas, with the 150mm lens, I would be confident in using an ISO 200 film.

A lab test of the resolutions of the two new FA lenses and the earlier 150mm f/3.5 show that these are outstanding medium format lenses. Both of the FA lenses performed better at wider apertures than did the f/3.5, but at apertures of f/5.6 to f/22, these lenses all have comparable performance. I was impressed to see how excellently all of these lenses maintained high resolution out to the edges. This is a great set of lenses. The superb results, particularly at wider apertures, are evidence of excellent lenses and excellent autofocusing.
Hi Smolk,

Thanks for your excellent feedback regarding these Pentax 645 lenses! I may be mistaken, but am I correct to assume your comments and observations reflect use of these lenses on a Pentax 645 body and film? If so, my observations are solely on a 645D body as I stated a number of times, so comaprison of results may be different. Not only because the film body using the entire image circle of the lens as opposed to the crop of the 645D, but lenses often present differently when used with a digital sensor vs. film. I've observed this many times when comparing images on both mediums. I realize and mentioned previously that the A 150mm and FA 150mm have a diffferent optical deign and therefore when comparing the two, this must also be noted. At beyond f5.6 and smaller apertures that FA 150 and FA 200 have similar sharpness charateristics as you pointed out, but draw an image entirely different in my opinion and it's almost always easy to distuingish which lens is responsible for the images they result in. As far as other differences, I noted them in detail in my few previous postings in this thread and also in my previosu posting of comprehensive lens tests of the 645 lenses on the 645D. I also agree with you completely, that many of the Pentax 645 lenses are simply superb performers, especially considering their price points.

Dave (DandA)
06-26-2012, 05:16 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by DandA Quote
Lovely portrait images with the FA 150 Acarlay! They are also excellent representitive examples of the look and feel of the FA 150 f2.8, espcially for this type of work.

Dave (DandA)
thanks Dave.. i'm actually new here and have just discovered the 645D!
06-26-2012, 05:22 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by acarlay Quote
thanks Dave.. i'm actually new here and have just discovered the 645D!
Well of course a big welcome! Well some really great images of yours from the FA 150mm f2.8 as a great introduction. What I liked a lot about your portaits with this lens (besides the portraits themselves) is that your images show precisely many of the characteristics that make the FA 150mm f2.8 so appealing and aslo characteristics unique to that lens. You can see the core central sharpness in the face (eyes), yet the contrast and color rendition is delicate and attractive. Nicely done.

Dave (DandA)
06-26-2012, 05:35 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by DandA Quote
I may be mistaken, but am I correct to assume your comments and observations reflect use of these lenses on a Pentax 645 body and film?
Yes indeed, these comments only apply to film, on the 645N, not to the 645D. I cannot comment on the D. But I thought it was fair to point out that the A and FA are not identical and so I dug up a quote from my database.
They may well perform differently, since the 35A and FA do that on the D as well, apparently. That's why I wondered whether DigiLloyd had anything to say on the FA version vs the A of the 200mm.
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