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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)....
03-23-2019, 11:12 AM   #10
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645 A 200 mm VS FA 200 mm




I have both the 645 A 200 mm and the FA 200 mm f/4. The A 200 mm has 4 elements in 4 groups and has low contrast and poor resolution. By contrast, the FA 200 mm (with 6 elements in 5 groups) is a wonderful lens. I use it for landscapes on a 645Z with marvelous results. The A 200 is dirt-cheap and frankly not worth the bother. Both images taken with the FA 200 mm.



Last edited by RICHARD L.; 03-23-2019 at 11:26 AM. Reason: Adding a picture
04-01-2019, 12:47 PM   #11
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I have been using the Sonnar on K1. If I were in your situation, I would choose Pentax own lineage - all the stuff with adapters, manual focus, manual metering ... Not worth the effort if not specifically looking for the look Sonnar provides.

I.e. if you need to ask, then go FA.
04-01-2019, 04:12 PM   #12
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I have the 150 and 200 lenses

Both FA's. I think the 150 is better all around. But the 200 is really a steal used---but so is the 150!
04-04-2019, 11:09 PM   #13
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Thanks everyone. I finally picked up the Pentax A645 150mm f/3.5 and FA* 645 300mm f4 ED (IF). That completes the lens suite. I decided to stick to the DFA 90mm f2.8 for portraits and use the 150mm A-lens for occasions when I need that focal length for portraits.
11-21-2019, 10:23 AM   #14
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I have both of the lenses you mention - 645 FA 200mm and CZJ 180mm f/2.8 and the FA 200mm f/4 is a quite sharp and very light. The problem I have with the CZJ 180mm are the adapters for P6 lenses onto Pentax 645 bodies. Of the ones I have purchased from Europe, one came apart very easily (needed to take the lens to a local repair shop (lucky me there is a great repair shop in downtown DC) to remove the remaining P6 adapter from the lens. Upon examining the other adapter, it appears there might be similar issues with it - the material quite thin compared to OEM Pentax 67 - 645 adapters. Not sure if the thinness is due to constraints with adapting P6 lenses and maintaining infinity focus or just using inexpensive material, but it is really thin and having a much heavier CZJ 180mm f/2.8 lens mated to your 645 series camera via this adapter makes me worry.

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.
11-26-2019, 09:06 PM   #15
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I took a few pics of my son using the A 150mm f/3.5. It is very sharp, lightweight and a joy to use. And I got it in near mint condition at about USD 80 or so. One can't ask for more from life.
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