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09-28-2015, 08:34 AM   #1
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SMC Pentax 67 300/4

I have recently acquired a SMC Pentax 67 300/4 lens, even though I have read many mixed reviews and user experiences. So far I have only shot a few frames of slide film with the 300mm, and I am not able to make any judgement based on these. I have also fitted the lens to my Pentax K5, and the images did not look too bad at all compared to my Pentax FA* 300/4.5, but that only proves the centre of the lens is quite good. My plan is to use the 300/4 for some time and see if I like this field of view, I know I could upgrade to the 300 EDIF or maybe the SMC Pentax 200/4 + 1.4x rear converter in the future, but both of these options are much more expensive. The main usage for the 300/4 will be landscapes and moon/astro photography.

I would be interested in hearing other Pentax 67 users' experience with the SMC Pentax 67 300/4. Is it as bad as some people have reported?

09-28-2015, 09:10 AM - 1 Like   #2
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It's not that the 67 300/4 has terrible optics, it's just that the lens really could use a tripod mount for proper support.

Phil.
09-28-2015, 09:30 AM   #3
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A friend had that lens for his Pentax 6x7. He couldn't get a sharp shot to save his life. The lens is a bit too heavy to be cantilevered off a camera body IMHO. But I really think there was something wrong with lens but I dunno. I avoided it and got the M* 300/4 instead. Now that lenses is really good but touchy to shoot on a 6x7 compared to the shorter focal lengths.
09-28-2015, 12:09 PM   #4
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Hmmm...I have a great copy of that lens. Just don't use it a lot.

09-28-2015, 12:22 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by gofour3 Quote
It's not that the 67 300/4 has terrible optics, it's just that the lens really could use a tripod mount for proper support.

Phil.
I have read many of your reviews of Pentax 67 lenses in the review section here on this forum, with great interest. I will keep in mind the point about the missing tripod mount, and your remarks about the optics.

---------- Post added 09-28-15 at 01:28 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by blackcloudbrew Quote
Hmmm...I have a great copy of that lens. Just don't use it a lot.
Hopefully my version of this lens is good also, I hope to use it regularly in the near future. The reason for me asking the question in this thread, is that I have read quite a lot of negative reviews of the 300/4, and I would like to get a more balanced view of what to expect from the lens.
09-29-2015, 04:06 PM   #6
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Actually, if this lens had a tripod mount, it would not be too bad. As it is, one cannot use shutter speeds between 1/2 and 1/60 second. This lens is very affected by the shutter. It is rare to have CA with this lens, only wide open in high contrast situations have I ever seen it. It is corrected for 3 colors, which is evident from its cross section. The main optical difference between the ED version and the older 300 is the lack of CA wide open with the EDIF. The EDIF has better contrast and color rendition too. The DOF scale on the older version is the most inaccurate of any P67 lens I have used. The 200 Pentax with 1.4X is sharper than the old 300. However, the old 300 at f/8 at infinity is quite sharp. Using it for landscapes is a real challenge. For portraits handheld it does well.
09-30-2015, 08:27 AM   #7
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Thank you desertscape for very comprehensive and most helpful advice! When reading your third last sentence about sharpness at f8 at infinity, I am wondering how much one can stop the lens down, to achieve depth of field suitable for landscape, and still not lose sharpness? Can the lens be stopped down to for instance f16 - f22, and still maintain sharpness, or is there a real decline in sharpness after f8?

Last edited by bjolester; 09-30-2015 at 10:32 AM.
09-30-2015, 10:49 AM   #8
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Diffraction is not a real problem with this lens (on film), even at f/22. Only at f/45 will you notice it a bit. However, using the DOF scale settings as seen on the barrel, you will find them off. You have to set it a couple of stops more conservative than shown on the scale.

09-30-2015, 02:21 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by desertscape Quote
Diffraction is not a real problem with this lens (on film), even at f/22. Only at f/45 will you notice it a bit. However, using the DOF scale settings as seen on the barrel, you will find them off. You have to set it a couple of stops more conservative than shown on the scale.
Thank you! I will keep the issue with the DOF scale in mind when using the lens.

I am planning to look for a video camera tripod head that has could provide support for both the camera and 300/4 lens. Something like the Manfrotto 293 tele lens support, but with slightly more load capacity.
10-10-2015, 11:07 PM   #10
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I know that there are differing reviews for the 6x7 300mm lens but, I don't think there is a bad one . mine is sharp. I use a manfroto lens support with either a monopod or tripod.
10-11-2015, 12:02 AM   #11
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I have the second version. I am not using it anymode since I baught the 300/4* 645. The 67 300 was sharp on the 645 from aboutn f/6.7 on (the stop between 5.6 and 8). It was possible to get sharp imigaes at any shutter time when using the MUP function of the camera and self timer. Without any additional lens support for the tripod. The tripod is a gitzo Systematic series 3 carbon.
Once I got the 300/4*, I switched to that one. On the one hand because it is more compact, on the other hand because it also works fine using the 1.4x and even the 2x converter. The 67 300/4 was not suitable for converters on the 645D, became soft, even when stopped down.
10-12-2015, 07:18 AM   #12
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I am not quite sure which version of it i have, probably one of the older versions.
It seems a very nice lens overall, it is not a lens i use a lot and I do not think i have ever shot a roll of colour film with it, thus i am unable to comment on its colour qualities.
That said, my copy seems sharp pretty much from f4, but better from f5.6 and with a pleasant contrast quality, I just rarely shoot that long lenses on 67.
11-09-2015, 12:25 PM   #13
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At the beginning of October I went for a hike in a mountainous region near where I live, and brought with me the Pentax 67ii with the 55-100/4.5 and SMC 300/4 lenses. Here is a shot with the SMC 300/4 on Kodak Porta 400, handheld at f16, scanned on an Epson V750 at 2400ppi.
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11-09-2015, 12:57 PM   #14
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Since the contrast of the 300 is not the best, using a higher contrast film helps. It likes Velvia 50 for landscape work.
11-09-2015, 02:51 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by desertscape Quote
Since the contrast of the 300 is not the best, using a higher contrast film helps. It likes Velvia 50 for landscape work.
I realized there was a slight blue cast on my images above. I have tried to remedy the colour cast problem, and also added some more micro contrast. Based on this first outing with the SMC 300/4 I feel resolution, colour and contrast is quite good, taking into consideration the flatbed scanner and handheld camera. The image obviously looks much better in full quality tiff on my Mac monitor, than the minute jpeg file below. I am also quite surprised with how sharp the lens is. I focused on the mountain range in this photo, to check how good resolution is at infinity. I understand your suggestion about Velvia 50, but using this film puts the lens into the midst of the problem area: There is no tripod mount, the lens induces shutter shake between 1/30-1/2 second (if I remember correctly) and Velvia 50 needs slow shutter speeds. At least with 400ASA films you can hand hold the lens in daylight conditions and go with faster shutter speeds.
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Last edited by bjolester; 11-09-2015 at 03:45 PM.
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