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06-22-2015, 07:12 PM   #1
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Pentax 200 F4 FA on film?

Not a lot of discussion on this lens
It's more affordable than the 150 2.8 for me and I happen to like a little more compression for my portraits

How does it do in resolution and sharpness?
Ming Thein didn't like it on the 645Z but I'm using film


06-22-2015, 07:58 PM   #2
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I didn't get that many photos with it on film, but it seemed fine when I used it. On the 645Z the pixel level sharpness and contrast was a bit disappointing.

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06-23-2015, 10:49 AM   #3

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As alternatives to the 200 FA are the 165LS and 200 Pentax for the 67. Both are the same optical design type and both are proven on film. Adapter required of course.
06-23-2015, 01:58 PM   #4
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No idea on film

On the Z it's fantastic for landscape work. No issues at all and certainly nothing that can't be tweaked in post.

06-23-2015, 07:09 PM   #5
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Hi! I had both the FA 150 and 200 on film. I did like the 150 more, but the 200 was not bad at all, and certainly far more affordable. It's not shattering sharp - nor is the 150 although slightly better. I had a hard time deciding which one had to go (at the time I also had the A 120mm, which really is sharp, and the LS 135mm, so I was spoilt for choice). In the end, I would suggest that your preferred focal length should decide.
Just a thing: the A 200mm is a different optical design.
06-23-2015, 10:34 PM   #6
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I like my 200FA and it is one of my sharpest FA lenses. I initially thought it wasn't, and that was during 645D and film years, likely either a result of missed focus or camera shake. I also have an older 200A which is really not that great. On my 645Z, the 200FA shines, because it is so easy to just crank up with ISO. It is so inexpensive, I never took it serious. Glad I pulled it once more out of the drawer! As you know, there is a lot of sample variation among Pentax lenses of that time, and you may not have the best sample. I recently did some portraits with it, and the amount of detail was just shocking. I remembered seeing somewhere a comment that the FA version used ED glass and that it was just not labeled as such. Don't know whether that's true, but that would explain it. Makes for very nice portraits with somewhat of a telephoto effect.
06-24-2015, 11:39 AM   #7
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The only lens I have for the 645 right now is a borrowed Hasselblad 80 Planar sitting on an adapter and I'm not focusing well enough on it
Also, the split screen is hard to find
06-25-2015, 12:26 AM   #8

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I also have an older 200A which is really not that great. On my 645Z, the 200FA shines, because it is so easy to just crank up with ISO.

I found the same with the 400mmFA, almost useless on a D but amazing on a Z..........

06-27-2015, 06:56 AM - 1 Like   #9
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I own the 200 FA and the 150 FA and used it with the 645D and now with the 645 Z

My 200 FA is a really great lens and worth much more than it has cost. I would not hesitate to recommend it. Whenever somebody is complaining about the 200 FA it is either a bad copy or the calibration is just wrong or the shutter speed is to slow. You can use this lens without tripod, but to achieve best results you shoud have at least 1/500 shutter speed.

If this lens works on a Z it will work on film at least as well.

Compared to my 150FA it is a bit less sharp and a bit more "flat", the 150 FA is definitly a bit sharper has a better three deminsional feeling, but it is also 50 mil shorter

Color fringing is an issue with both lenses, you have to stop down a bit.

Best results with the 150FA start at 6.3 or 7.1. The 200FA gets better unitl you reach about f-stop 11

Used on tripods both lenses show signs of shutter vibrations (even when you use MLU) in the usual critical ranges. You either use a grey filter or increase the iso (not with film of course), This is true even if you have a very solid tripod/head coimbination. It is much worse with the D as with the Z. I used both lenses with longer exposures for night shots and the results are very, very, very sharp.

I discuss the 200 and the 150 a bit in these two blogs:

NATURBILDPORTAL: Falkland Islands, Austral Summer 2015 (go to examples pentax)
NATURBILDPORTAL: Summer and Autumn 2014 (go to marmots)

I hope this helps
06-30-2015, 02:55 PM   #10
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I was hoping to use this for handheld portraits with ISO400 and 800 Portra
07-07-2015, 07:44 AM - 1 Like   #11
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I owned the 200 645A, the 200 645 FA and the new version of the 67 200/4.
The 200/4 FA is VERY good IF used for portrait work, this means at the typical portrait distance. For landscape photography (distant objects) it is soft and has to be stopped down quite heavily to get acceptable results. The 645Ais a bit vice versa. Better for Landscape, really sharp atttt f/5.6 and more, even not bad wide open. But it is weaker for objects closer to the lens. The 67 200/4 is even a bit better for landscape, but the difference is small, is best seen when adding a converter, haven't tried it on close distances yet.
All applied to the 645D, as film has less harsh resolution requirements, it should be even better for portrait work. I sold my 200/4 645A and kept the FA as a dedicated portrait lens and the 67 200/4 for landscape.
07-08-2015, 12:55 PM   #12
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Hi Don,

I appreciate your insights. They do match my experiences in hindsight. I was not much impressed with the 200mm A and FA, until, as I said, I recently took some portraits with the FA, which were frighteningly sharp, which made me change my mind. Now you are saying that the FA is very good at portrait distances but not at infinity, and that explains it. I currently live in two places, and the 645D and Z is not handy and I can't test it, but your info certainly explains what I found.


07-09-2015, 01:38 PM   #13
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I own the 200mm FA, used it twice and won't use it again professionally. It's soft and has bad CA. Maybe I have a bad copy. The 80-160 FA leaves it for dead. Rob
07-27-2015, 11:32 AM   #14
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So I've been playing around with it- contrast through the viewfinder seems a tad low compared to my Hasselblad 80- guess I'll see how the portraits come out

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