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12-05-2007, 01:04 PM   #1
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Pentax SMCP-FA 28-105mm f/3.2-4.5 AL (IF)

What's the story with this lens? Most of the resellers have it listed but all have it as unavailable. I like that focal range, and at a little more than $200, it would be quite affordable, course, you can't buy one. Seems like an affordable alternative to the Tamaron 18-250, which is overkill for me. Just doesn't seem to much to chose from in the normal to moderate zoom area, at least with my budget. Anyone know whether it has been discontinued or should I start looking in the secondary market. Thanks, Charlie

12-05-2007, 01:23 PM   #2
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It was only produced for a short time right at the end of the film era (as I like to call it). Might be a bit rare. I have not encountered one, or seen the results from one, so I can't speak to it's quality.
12-05-2007, 01:52 PM   #3
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I have one of these lenses. I bought it new a while ago from Henry's on eBay. They were selling them regularly a couple months ago, but I haven't seen one for a while now. I haven't seen these selling for new anywhere else, so I would start looking for used ones.

It's actually a pretty nice lens. It distorts quite a bit at 28mm, but it's still useable. I like the color and contrast that come off this lens too.

The 58mm filter is annoying for me because all of my other lenses are 49mm, 52mm, and 77mm.
12-05-2007, 04:23 PM   #4
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It would compliment your other 58mm lenses, if you're stuck in a 58mm world - that's about it. I've read nothing stellar about the performance, hardly anything about the performance at all really.. Sorry I couldn't be more help but, unless you can get it for real cheap, look into a different lens maybe?

Just an FYI - if you're not hung up on AF, there's a couple Viv's out there that are f3.8 or so and tack sharp within this zoom range, give or take a few mm's.. And a lot cheaper too. I'm not sure the color and contrast matches that of the Pentax SMC lenses but, they're real nice nontheless. And, an added bonus, you can grab one with close-focusing which is huge IMO.. A lot of value in CF..

12-05-2007, 06:22 PM   #5
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For some reason, B&H likes to list lenses twice, with two different prices and two different availabilities. It looks like they have it in -- I was thinking about picking one up as well.

Pentax | Zoom W/A-Telephoto SMCP-FA 28-105mm f/4-5.6 IF | 27678
12-05-2007, 07:59 PM   #6
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Finn, the lens you linked to is the non-powerzoom f/4-5.6 version of the lens, which is made by Tamron.
12-05-2007, 09:39 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by igowerf Quote
Finn, the lens you linked to is the non-powerzoom f/4-5.6 version of the lens, which is made by Tamron.
Right you are. I stand corrected.
12-05-2007, 10:58 PM   #8
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I just saw this lens on ebay, used. Still had a few days on it and was still cheap. Seller was albert-one.

12-05-2007, 11:02 PM   #9
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I have this lens, I got it about 5 months ago at my local and it was in their for sale cabinet, I picked it up for 22,000 yen ($198 USD).

I think it's a pretty decent walk around lens and seems to perform will in most everyday situations.

Check out this set I took while in Malaysia.

One problem I have had is that the barrel is a little loose, so when using a polarizer and a lens hood while shooting down, the barrel drops unless I hold it.
12-05-2007, 11:39 PM   #10
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To clear up the recent (FA) geneology of the short zooms:

In the FA era there was the 28-70/F4 zoom, well regarded but there are reports of separating elements over time. There was the 24-90/F3.5-4.5 IF & AL, a highly regarded zoom that was mated to the MZ-S in the advertising brochures. A 28-90/F-I-can't-remember was also offered.

In the 28-105 family there was the 28-105/F4-5.6 non-powerzoom, the 28-105/F4-5.6 powerzoom (a well thought of lens). The pedigree cumulated with the production of the 28-105/F3.2-4.5 IF & AL, produced in silver and black; it is smaller, lighter and regarded as having the best optical quality of all the 28-105 lenses.

In this taxa the best regarded are the 24-90/3.5-4.5 and the 28-105/3.2-4.5. The 24-90 is bigger and originally cost 2.5 times the 28-105/3.2-4.5. It seems to be viewed as better than the 28-105/3.2-4.5 but not by much. The 28-105 powerzoom is also well regarded.

The 28-105/3.2-4.5 is an excellent lens, with great sharpness, contrast and colors. It's what I have always thought of as the "quiet overachiever". It's diminuitive size & light weight, great optics, and internal focus capability means it's my most often used zoom lens (especially for landscapes/hiking where speed isn't an issue, but size & weight are). It never complains, it doesn't get noticed by other photogs because it's small, it's not expensive. It just delivers over & over again without any fuss. And you could have gotten this lens for just over $200 from B&H a couple years ago, talk about punching above it's weight class.

If you search on PDML and DP Review you will find a ton of comments, overwhelmingly positive, about the 28-105/3.2-4.5. Stan's Pentax site also has a bunch of comments, I think. I own both the 28-105/3.2-4.5 and the 24-90. The 24-90 is bigger and quite frankly, from normal field usage, I can't really see much difference between the 2 so I end up mostly using the 28-105.

Bear in mind these lenses are slower than the new DA* F2.8 zooms and they are not constant aperture, so I don't want to get into a discussion comparing whether they are "better" than the DA* zooms. It's up to you to decide if you need the faster speed, which comes with correspondingly higher price tags and bigger bulk.

FYI there are brick & mortar stores in Canada that still have the 28-105/3.2-4.5.

[EDIT] I forgot to mention the famous FA*28-70/F2.8. Like other F2.8 zooms it's big & expensive. It doesn't internal focus.

Last edited by tranq78; 12-06-2007 at 11:13 AM. Reason: typo
12-06-2007, 09:10 AM   #11
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Thanks for everyone's help. I see the one on ebay and I think I will bid on it. There are actually numerous 28-105's for sale, haven't had time to sort through them, but one quick question, what is the difference between a power zoom and a regular zoom. Actually, I guess my question should be what the heck is a power zoom? ch
12-06-2007, 09:13 AM   #12
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And another question, I don't understand constant aperture? Thanks, ch
12-06-2007, 10:46 AM   #13
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Constant aperture

QuoteOriginally posted by Crescent City Quote
And another question, I don't understand constant aperture? Thanks, ch
Constant aperture means that the minimum aperture remains constant thru the entire zoom range. For instance the 35-105 F3.5 has a consistant minimum aperture of 3.5 all the way from 35MM to 105MM. Variable aperture is like the lens you were asking about. Minimum aperture varied from f3.2 at 28mm to f4.5 at 105mm.

NaCl(hope that helps)H2O
12-06-2007, 11:18 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Crescent City Quote
Thanks for everyone's help. I see the one on ebay and I think I will bid on it. There are actually numerous 28-105's for sale, haven't had time to sort through them, but one quick question, what is the difference between a power zoom and a regular zoom. Actually, I guess my question should be what the heck is a power zoom? ch
Powerzoom was a function available to the high end film cameras like MZ-S and PZ-1P. Instead of manually turning the zoom ring there was a motor that used the battery from the camera body to zoom in/out with the touch of a button. You can't use this feature with the current d-SLR's cameras so a powerzoom lens will function just like an ordinary manual zoom lens.

You can't really go too wrong with the 28-105/4-5.6 (Pentax version) or 28-105/3.2-4.5.
12-06-2007, 11:43 AM   #15
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Thanks to you both for the replies. ch
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