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06-22-2018, 10:13 AM   #1
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300mm F4 FA

Any issues/comments on the older used versions of this lens....do the new/newer ones have better coatings, AF performance, etc etc?? Thks, Ian

06-22-2018, 10:28 AM   #2
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The FA* and F* 300mm is F4.5, while the the DA* is F4 (and has SDM instead of screw AF).

I have the F*4.5 and it is a remarkable lens, light weight, fast focusing, extremely sharp and pleasant rendering.

The DA* is a different design than the F* and FA*, with 8 elements in 6 groups instead of 9 elements in 7 groups. It is full frame compatible according to Ricoh, but I've never used it.

I find the build of the F*/FA* lenses superior to the DA*, and I don't particularly trust the SDM. I suspect someone here has shot all versions and can better advise.
06-22-2018, 10:38 AM   #3
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The lack of a tripod mount of the FA 300mm F4.5 is a slight annoyance, but there are accessories that can get around that.

Still, I'd generally recommend the DA* variant just because the coatings are better, the AF is silent, and you get quick shift. I totally take that feature for granted until I pick up one of my film-era lenses and realize the added hassle The fact that it is readily available and comes with a warranty doesn't hurt, either.

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06-22-2018, 10:46 AM   #4
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The problem I had with e FA and F variants which I looked for for years was the price. The cheapest i found was about $700 US. I found a demo model of the DA* for about $700 US. basically new with full warranty. I've had my DA* 60-250 for about 6 years with not a whisper of a problem with the SDM. My 200 is newer, but I don't think either of these lenses was in the stores when the weaker SDM lenses were released. The only problem i see with SDM is it's relatively slow, and it doesn't matter how good Pentax AF gets in the future, their speed isn't going to increase. The lens motor is slow. It doesn't matter what the camera does. Before my DA 55-300 PLM, the fastest focusing lenses I had were Tamron screw drive lenses.

06-22-2018, 11:07 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by BostonUKshooter Quote
Any issues/comments on the older used versions of this lens....do the new/newer ones have better coatings, AF performance, etc etc?? Thks, Ian
Thanks all...to be clear I am meaning the 645 300mm F4 FA*, as this is the MF part of the forum...
06-22-2018, 10:31 PM   #6
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I can't speak for those you mentioned, ian, but if you don't need AF, the 67 M*300/4 is a marvelous piece of glass. I can say enough about it in that range.
06-23-2018, 06:05 PM   #7
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I own the Pentax-F 300mm F4.5 ED, and I'm very satisfied, despite being a lens of the film period, does not seem to suffer much, I think the optical scheme is identical to the FA 300mm f/4,
but it has in addition the tripod foot, and it is inner or internal focus, has the ED elements "extra low dispersion", built-in hood and a fast system for the transition from manual focus to automatic focus very smart,
all this makes it quite fast even in critical conditions. I strongly recommend it, my copy as well as perfectly centered is like new and I paid relatively low for the value.
06-24-2018, 01:14 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by maw Quote
I own the Pentax-F 300mm F4.5 ED.....
.....You've strayed into the medium format garden.....the lenses being discussed are the 645 versions.

06-24-2018, 07:04 AM - 1 Like   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by mikeSF Quote
I can't speak for those you mentioned, ian, but if you don't need AF, the 67 M*300/4 is a marvelous piece of glass. I can say enough about it in that range.
Thks Mike - I had one and it delivered excellent image quality, but I found the lack of AF on occasions frustrating, hence the idea of switching to the 645 FA version...there are some available on the web in the $700-900 range (and the older A for $500, but same lack of AF issue)….
06-24-2018, 04:23 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bob L Quote
.....You've strayed into the medium format garden.....the lenses being discussed are the 645 versions.
Yes, I realised later that the thread was oriented to the 645 or medium size, but note that others also have fallen into the trap, read the previous posts.
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