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SMC Pentax-A 200mm F4 Review RSS Feed

SMC Pentax-A 200mm F4

Sharpness 
 8.3
Aberrations 
 8.4
Bokeh 
 8.4
Handling 
 9.0
Value 
 9.1
Reviews Views Date of last review
13 46,329 Sat February 13, 2016
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
85% of reviewers $116.45 8.08
SMC Pentax-A 200mm F4
supersize


Description:
This lens is similar to the M version; it only weighs 405 grams.



SMC Pentax-A 200mm F4
Image Format
Full-frame / 35mm film
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
Yes (A setting)
Diaphragm
Automatic, 8 blades
Optics
6 elements, 6 groups
Mount Variant
KA
Max. Aperture
F4
Min. Aperture
F32
Focusing
Manual
Min. Focus
190 cm
Max. Magnification
0.14x
Filter Size
52 mm
Internal Focus
No
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 8.1 ° / 6.9 °
Full frame: 12 ° / 10 °
Hood
Built-in, slide out
Case
Hard case HB-152
Lens Cap
Plastic clip-on
Coating
SMC
Weather Sealing
No
Other Features
Diam x Length
64 x 111 mm
Weight
405 g
Production Years
1984 to 1989
Engraved Name
smc PENTAX-A 1:4 200mm
Product Code
24297
Features:
Manual FocusBuilt-in HoodAperture RingAutomatic ApertureFull-Frame SupportDiscontinued
Price History:



Add Review of SMC Pentax-A 200mm F4
Author:
Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-13 of 13
New Member

Registered: November, 2015
Posts: 7
Lens Review Date: February 13, 2016 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: $60.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Light, compact, well built, cheap on second hand market
Cons: Not that sharp, some CA, far minimum focusing distance
Sharpness: 6    Aberrations: 6    Bokeh: 6    Handling: 9    Value: 8    Camera Used: Kr   

This lens was an overall disappointment.
When I came across a cheap one I gave it a try, although I knew from the reviews here I shouldn't expect an exeptional quality. The IQ was poor at full aperture due to lack of contrast, and was just OK by f/8. Some CA was clearly visible in highlight areas. The minimum distance was too far for flowers and insects. Overall, the images weren't better than those given by my tamron 19AH zoom at 200 mm.
The only positive points were the weight and handling which made it a nice walkaround lens.
I finally sold it for the price I had paid for it, and went for Pentax- A 135 mm f 2.8 instead, with a better overall IQ which compensates for the shorter range.

If you can find it for cheap, it may be worth trying it, but don't invest too much....A pity Pentax hasn't given us a better alternative to the very rare and pricey 200 * macro.
   
Pentaxian

Registered: August, 2008
Location: Worcestershire, UK
Posts: 306

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: January 12, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $140.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharpness, lightweight, colours
Cons: Slightly soft at Max Aperture, poor minimum focus distance
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 9    Camera Used: K5iis   

I owned an A*200/2.8 for a while and it was a stunning lens! After I sold it I hankered after the focal length again but didn't want the bulk and weight of the A* so found a copy of the A200/4.0 and popped it into the collection. In Autumn last year we spent a few days in Leckford (UK) and I took this lens along to see how it would produce (with no great expectations) - well a few days later it reached the status of "Solid Performer" for me.

The minimum focusing distance is too long - I'm not expecting Macro from it but it really doesn't do "close focus"!
It is slightly soft at f4 some of the time, improves significantly at f5.6 and by f8 it is absolutely superb. So if you accept this lens is an f8, mid/long range telephoto you won't find much better.

I'm really pleased with the colours that this lens reproduces - I know a lot of people don't subscribe to the "Pentax Colours" club and think it's nonsense, but for me certain lenses do fall into this category and this is one of them

I've used the K and M equivalent lengths and found the M a bit disappointing, the K a step up from the M, but the A is significantly better in my eyes.

Here are a few images from that trip, followed by a close-up with an extension tube added...









   
New Member

Registered: October, 2011
Posts: 5

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: February 16, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $90.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Lots of reach, Sharp from F/5.6 onwards, killer at F/8, Good build quality & IQ
Cons: Heavy, soft below F/5.6, near focus on digital... 9 feet
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 8    Camera Used: Pentax K-r   

Solidly built lens, probably a little too long for portraiture, tripod useful indoors. Soft at F/4, but not at centre, picks up by /5.6. Reasonably smooth bokeh.

Bought for shooting bands in day time from distance over the summer. Reach on APS-C is INSANE, downside is near focus is also impossible inside 9ft.
   
Junior Member

Registered: January, 2013
Location: Texas
Posts: 32
Lens Review Date: January 5, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Lightweight, Telescopic hood, build quality
Cons: Good but not great sharpness
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10   

This lense is very nice to use: lightweight, has a telescopic hood, well build, very smooth focusing. It is fully usable at full aperture, but the sharpness, good, is never very crisp.

Update: the 'good but not great' sharpness was due to my approximate focusing. When I have the time, I use now the LCD screen with a 5x magnification to focus, and the results are outstanding, already at full aperture, the maximum is reached at f/5.6.
   
Senior Member

Registered: August, 2012
Posts: 100
Lens Review Date: October 7, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $101.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Cost, size, build, sharpness, colors.
Cons: CA in hard contrast areas, built-in hood.
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-5   

This is my first lens review.

I purchased the A200/4 after reading the reviews here and finding one in MINT condition for what I thought was an excellent price. I find the lens to be much better than its going price used would indicate.

Sharpness - I find the lens to be fairly sharp wide open, better at f5.6, and really good at f8.

Aberrations - None that I could see, I assume it to be fairly well corrected being a prime.

Bokeh - I think my examples below show decent bokeh. In the bird photo at f8 there were numerous small twigs behind that don't lend themselves to nice smooth bokeh. The flowers I think show a pretty pleasing rendering even for f5.6.

Handling - I like the size, weight, and feel on the K-5. My shooting with a 200mm lens will almost always be on a tripod but I think the lens feels quite nice in the hand.

Value - Given the images I've seen come out of it from my first outing I'd have to say the value is OUTSTANDING.

My cons...

1) Yep, some CA in HARD contrast areas. In the same shoot as the below I snapped some Canada geese...even at f8 there was noticeable purple fringing at the white/black feather junctions on the necks and on water droplets hard back lit by the sun. But, that's fixable in post and really reasonable for a $100 lens that can produce these results.

2) I find that the sliding hood isn't deep enough. I'll likely pick up a deeper aftermarket hood.

I look forward to shooting with it next spring when dragon/damsel/butterfly season starts again. My usual apertures are f8-f16 and the lens should shine in that role AND be nice and light for quick handling. If you need 200mm on a budget I don't know how one could go wrong with this lens given the price I see them for occasionally.

Pics...straight OOC, just resized by SmugMug

1/640, f8, ISO400, K-5




1/2000, f5.6, ISO400, K-5

   
Site Supporter

Registered: November, 2010
Location: California
Posts: 2,076

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: July 6, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $200.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, good contrast, easy to use in the field, has "A"
Cons: None so far, or maybe it could be f2.8 :)
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K5 and Kx   

I bought this lens after having owned the M200/4 despite some of the reviews here. I found this lens to be wonderful and useful. The addition of the A is really good because it saves a step in the shooting process. I still have my M and do not regreat it. I use this lens for candid portraits, but lately, I have been using if for everything. Here are some samples:



Pentax-A 200mmf4-Moth-1 by Palenquero, on Flickr


Pentax-A 200mmf4-GavilanColorao-1 by Palenquero, on Flickr


Pentax-A 200mmf4-GavilanColorao2-1 by Palenquero, on Flickr


Pentax-A 200mmf4-LookTheGuyWithTheCameraAgain1-1 by Palenquero, on Flickr


Pentax-A-200mmf4-Colibri1-1 by Palenquero, on Flickr




Leslie Lowe by Palenquero, on Flickr
   
New Member

Registered: March, 2011
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 15

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 16, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $50.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Quality build and focusing feel, built in sliding hood
Cons: Heavy for handheld

I'm definitely an amateur photographer, and only have experience with maybe 7 or 8 lenses total. But I picked this lens up used, in crisp condition (still had the gold passed sticker on the lens hood) for 50 bucks. I have found this lens to be great for the money in the following situations.

- Street photography
- Candid portraiture in open spaces
- Handheld nature photography
- Landscapes

I love the tight cropping this lens produces. For some reason classic, metal prime lenses seem to impress me far more with their overall build quality than anything.
   
Veteran Member

Registered: May, 2007
Location: Singapore
Posts: 3,955
Lens Review Date: September 9, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $80.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Nice color rendition, Sharp even wide open, Build quality
Cons: Min focusing distance could be shorter

This is a sleeper of a lens. Maybe overshadowed by the A* 200mm f/2.5, A* 200mm f/4 Macro and the A 70-210mm f/4 zoom.

I've found the lens sharp even wide open, though stopping down does show better image sharpness. Lens is well built, not too heavy but well balanced. Not quite easy to find but well worth getting because having the A setting on the aperture ring is very useful.

About the only negatives are the 1.9m minimum focusing distance and slight color fringing. A good choice if you can't afford a bigger and more expensive tele.
   
Senior Member

Registered: December, 2008
Location: Oxford, UK
Posts: 276
Lens Review Date: April 21, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $100.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp, good IQ, good bokeh
Cons: Usually one stop low on my K20
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 9   

I recently got this as part of a three piece set at an auction, so the $100 is one third of the lot price. My lens is in very good condition as it seems the previous owner was a collector.
I find it very usable and that it gives good results. The only major problem I find is that if I have to remember to add a stop or two to get the results I'm looking for. Pentax Photo Browser is more than enough to do any PP needed for minor color corrections when needed, so no huge problems there. I haven't yet had any CA problems as others seem to have had. I look forward to using this lens for airshows.



Recently used this lens to capture some horse jumping. Worked great, bumped my rating to a 9. The attached pic was taken with an "ist DL" at F8, ISO 200, 1/750. PP'd to bump exposure with small color correction and small amount of sharpening. I had better pictures, but this is the only one without a face. I didn't want to post an individual pic without a release.

(Non working link removed)

Another pic from an airshow. ISO 100, f 9.5, 1/500
   
Inactive Account

Registered: July, 2008
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Posts: 1,104
Lens Review Date: March 20, 2010 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: N/A | Rating: 4 

 
Pros: small/light for a 200mm prime, built-in len hood
Cons: fringing, fringing, fringing

If you want to see rainbow fringing get a M or A 200mm f/4.

At f/4, 4.5 and 5.6 you see red, green and purple fringing, sometimes all in the same photo. I've tried two M & one A series lens on the K200D and K-x and get the same results every time. Needless to say my confidence in the M or A 200mm is zero. 2 days after I bought it I took the A 200mm f/4 back and exchanged it for something else.

On the build side of things this lens is excellent; a very smooth focus and built-in hood.

Sorry for the low rating but, after 3 poor copies, it's lucky to get a 4 overall.
   
Site Supporter

Registered: February, 2009
Location: Indianapolis
Posts: 226
Lens Review Date: February 20, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $130.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Fairly lightweight
Cons: Not very close focusing

It was a nice lens, but ultimately I sold it because it didn't focus close enough for MY needs.
   
Junior Member

Registered: August, 2007
Location: Bournemouth, England
Posts: 36
Lens Review Date: August 29, 2007 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $130.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: IQ, nice contrast, build quality
Cons: Nothing of real note

A really nice lens in most situations, and nearly on a par with my SMC M 50 1.7. The only issue I have had was a disappointing set of of images from a trip to the coast (in fact I live on the coast), but this may have been a white balance issue instead. Will need to revisit and shoot again.

The lens has the usual old Pentax build quality, and the focusing in particular is a delight to use. On my K100D it is a useful 300mm, and I find handholding it very easy, no doubt helped by SR! I recently took a picture of a Willow Warbler in a reed bed from some distance, and when I cropped it to obtain a decent size image the quality was really good. I'm not entirely sure what Bokeh is, but I think it is very good on this lens.

This is my most used lens and one which delivers really good images most of the time, and which was a real snip when I brought it.
   
Senior Member

Registered: April, 2007
Location: gisborne
Posts: 112
Lens Review Date: April 9, 2007 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $200.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Lightweight, sharp, contrast, Pentax colours
Cons: purple fringing, no weatherproofing

Nice smooth operator, sharp from f4 on, focus seems to snap into place. This lense has bad chromatic abberation when taking shots that involve waves on the istd. Being equivalent to 300mm on the istd, a bit long for handholding.
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