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02-06-2019, 05:59 AM   #1
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Selection Dilemma: Pentax SMC FA 645 200mm f4 OR MC Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnar 180mm f2.8

Hello friends,

There is a big gap in my lens collection. I own the excellent DFA 90mm f2.8 and also the FA 400mm f2.8 for my Pentax 645Z, but nothing in between.

I am planning to buy a lens at about 180 to 200 mm, essentially for portraiture and maybe a bit of wildlife photography. I also own the Pentax Rear Converter 2X.

I would be thankful for advice on which one of the two lenses should I think of buying - Pentax SMC FA 645 200mm f4 OR MC Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnar 180mm f2.8. I understand that the Zeiss Jena is a manual focus lens, but I do not have any issue with it particularly for portraits.

02-06-2019, 02:19 PM   #2
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I have no experience with the 645 series lenses but I have a Sonnar 180mm f2.8 which (as the reviews indicate) is quite sharp but probably no sharper than the FA 200mm f4. But the Sonnar at 1350g is twice the weight of the Pentax. This could be an issue if it is hand held. On the other hand, on my measurements, the Sonnar is actually about f2.5 at its widest.
02-06-2019, 03:45 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by leonine Quote
Hello friends,

There is a big gap in my lens collection. I own the excellent DFA 90mm f2.8 and also the FA 400mm f2.8 for my Pentax 645Z, but nothing in between.

I am planning to buy a lens at about 180 to 200 mm, essentially for portraiture and maybe a bit of wildlife photography. I also own the Pentax Rear Converter 2X.

I would be thankful for advice on which one of the two lenses should I think of buying - Pentax SMC FA 645 200mm f4 OR MC Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnar 180mm f2.8. I understand that the Zeiss Jena is a manual focus lens, but I do not have any issue with it particularly for portraits.
I just purchased the SMC FA 645 200mm f/4 for my 645Z and have only had a quick play around with it, and for $180 AU (cheap as chips), itís beautifulÖ. Iíve not had a good close look at the files yet, but even at f/4 the files looked pretty damn sharp in the centre, with very nice background blurÖ I also shot it at f/8 and you can see it improves sharpens even more.
Personally for the price, itís a fantastic lensÖ.

Canít help you with the Zeiss lensÖ.. but highly recommend this 200mm f/4...
02-07-2019, 07:34 AM   #4
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Thank you Timotis77 and PJ1 :-)

02-07-2019, 05:44 PM   #5
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I second that. The 200mm for is a great lens for the price. Light weight and sharp.
02-07-2019, 06:18 PM   #6
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[url="https://www.pentaxforums.com/gallery/index.php?n=57047"]
QuoteOriginally posted by leonine Quote
Thank you Timotis77 and PJ1 :-)
Heres a quick shot I took yesterday with the 200mm F/4..... Again, for the price, weight.... Its hard to go past...

02-07-2019, 06:45 PM   #7
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The FA 645 150/2.8 might be another consideration. I'd suggest the focal length is already on the long side for portraiture on the 645Z.



02-08-2019, 08:32 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Timotis77 Quote
[url="https://www.pentaxforums.com/gallery/index.php?n=57047"]

Heres a quick shot I took yesterday with the 200mm F/4..... Again, for the price, weight.... Its hard to go past...
Yes for the price it is really tempting. I am looking at a few options for Mint lenses on EBay at around USD 250-275.

And the A-Type 200mm mint condition is at about USD 60.
Just that I am somehow not very sure if the manual focus lens would be ok for my purpose. I am not really looking at taking action shots of a sprinting Cheetah or a bird in flight. Just want to photograph animals relaxing in their habitat :-)

The Carl Zeiss Jena in good condition is approx USD 250-300 being manual focus.

All said and done, it is very difficult not to think of the Pentax A 200mm for my purpose.

---------- Post added 02-08-19 at 08:43 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Sandy Hancock Quote
The FA 645 150/2.8 might be another consideration. I'd suggest the focal length is already on the long side for portraiture on the 645Z.


Hi,

Yes the FA 150/2.8 would be more apt for portraits compared to the FA 200/4 and that too with advantage of an extra f-stop. I also reckon that the bokeh of 150mm at f2.8 may be more pleasing than that of 200mm at f4. Am I right here?

Anyway, I feel that the 200mm would be comparatively better for wildlife than the 150mm, while not being any less than the 150mm for portraits (except maybe the bokeh part). Hence the 200mm might be a more optimal overall choice than the 150mm - unless the 150mm is intrinsically much better than the 200mm in respect of sharpness, contrast, aberrations etc. Itís a pity that not much comparative information is available on these lenses on the internet.

02-09-2019, 12:10 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by leonine Quote
Yes for the price it is really tempting. I am looking at a few options for Mint lenses on EBay at around USD 250-275.

And the A-Type 200mm mint condition is at about USD 60.
Just that I am somehow not very sure if the manual focus lens would be ok for my purpose. I am not really looking at taking action shots of a sprinting Cheetah or a bird in flight. Just want to photograph animals relaxing in their habitat :-)

The Carl Zeiss Jena in good condition is approx USD 250-300 being manual focus.

All said and done, it is very difficult not to think of the Pentax A 200mm for my purpose.

---------- Post added 02-08-19 at 08:43 AM ----------



Hi,

Yes the FA 150/2.8 would be more apt for portraits compared to the FA 200/4 and that too with advantage of an extra f-stop. I also reckon that the bokeh of 150mm at f2.8 may be more pleasing than that of 200mm at f4. Am I right here?

Anyway, I feel that the 200mm would be comparatively better for wildlife than the 150mm, while not being any less than the 150mm for portraits (except maybe the bokeh part). Hence the 200mm might be a more optimal overall choice than the 150mm - unless the 150mm is intrinsically much better than the 200mm in respect of sharpness, contrast, aberrations etc. Itís a pity that not much comparative information is available on these lenses on the internet.

Agree with this post, the 150mm is also a great option, I guess also thinking even a little shorter, the 120mm macro is also rated higher for for sharpness and its bokeh rendering is great also. So many options.
Defiantly the cheap option would be the A version of the 200mm, but I'm not sure how this stacks up to the FA version. From the two reviews done on this pentax site both reviewers say it lacks sharpness and shows some CA. I saw some great deals on the FA 200mm on ebay, most from Japan (where i got mine)....
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