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SMC Pentax A* 200mm F2.8 ED Review RSS Feed

SMC Pentax A* 200mm F2.8 ED

Sharpness 
 9.8
Aberrations 
 9.0
Bokeh 
 9.2
Handling 
 9.6
Value 
 9.8
Reviews Views Date of last review
7 68,738 Wed September 30, 2020
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $692.33 9.86
SMC Pentax A* 200mm F2.8 ED

SMC Pentax A* 200mm F2.8 ED
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SMC Pentax A* 200mm F2.8 ED
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Description:
The SMC Pentax A* 200mm F2.8 employs the finest of Pentax optical engineering, including extra-low dispersion elements. It can deliver exceptional photos, is relatively compact, and features a built-in hood.



SMC Pentax-A* 200mm F2.8 ED
© www.pentaxforums.com, sharable with attribution
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
Check camera compatibility
Max. Aperture
F2.8
Min. Aperture
F32
Focusing
Manual
Min. Focus
180 cm
Max. Magnification
0.14x
Filter Size
77 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 HF-185 (initially)
Soft case S90-160 (later)
Lens Cap
Plastic clip-on
Coating
SMC
Weather Sealing
No
Other Features
Diam x Length
91 x 138 mm
Weight
850 g
Production Years
1984 to 1998
Engraved Name
smc PENTAX-A* 1:2.8 200mm ED
Product Code
24130 (initially), 24135 (later)
Reviews
User reviews
Notes
Two ED elements.
Features:
Manual FocusBuilt-in HoodAperture RingAutomatic ApertureFull-Frame SupportDiscontinued
Price History:



Add Review of SMC Pentax A* 200mm F2.8 ED
Author:
Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-7 of 7
Junior Member

Registered: July, 2020
Posts: 47
Lens Review Date: September 30, 2020 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $454.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: build; sharpness; f/2.8; aperture priority; built-in lens hood
Cons: aperture ring just a bit small and awkward against the camera body
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: K10D, K-3 II   

I find that this lens is excellent, confirming what other reviewers have also stated here. I'm surprised that there has not been a review of this lens in over 9 years, as lots of these lenses have been available on Ebay. My astrophotography tests have this lens passing with flying colors in terms of sharpness and chromatic aberration. I find this A* 200-mm f/2.8 lens to be quite sharp even wide open at f/2.8. Because the optics are so sharp, I get excellent results also with my Pentax Rear Converter-A 2X-S, which also allows me to use aperture priority with the lens effectively 400-mm f/5.6. The focusing band is excellent -- good feel and fairly easy to focus sharply (aided by the 270-degree rotation of the focusing ring from infinity to closest focus). The aperture ring is solid and has a good feel, also; it has a not-too-narrow band for turning with fat fingers, and you can turn it from the side or below (though it is right up against the camera) with its 360-degree ring -- and, of course, you can use aperture priority with the aperture ring set to "A". The exterior diameter at the lens (meaning around the extendable lens hood) is 95 mm, which is the diameter you'd need to allow for an exterior-placing solar filter (i.e., it is larger than the diameter specified in the table above); the actual objective-lens diameter is about 70 mm (just as with the 300-mm f/4 and the 400-mm f/5.6 A* lenses, interestingly).

The built-in lens hood is a huge plus and was a fabulous design in the pre-F series of Pentax lenses. And this lens is very attractive and feels really solid and well-built. The lens is large and heavy, with its large-aperture f/2.8 glass, so I find that it really needs a tripod (though it can surely be used hand-held in brightly lit environments, and indeed my tests of bokeh were made of flowers in our garden while hand-held). But this lens' large size and heavy weight is to be expected (with its solid build and large, fast glass) and thus cannot be listed as a "con" realistically (and yes, it's not autofocus, but you shouldn't be judging this lens on what all manufactured lenses lacked at that time in history). My listed price paid includes shipping and tax, as always in my reviews.

Below are photos of this A* 200-mm f/2.8 lens on my camera, one showing the built-in hood extended and one showing it retracted (the latter showing a UV filter over the front lens), along with a photo showing the relative sizes of various Pentax smc telephoto lenses (left to right, [K] 200-mm f/2.5, A* 200-mm f/2.8, A* 300-mm f/4):



   
Veteran Member

Registered: April, 2010
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Posts: 805

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: June 14, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $850.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Build, IQ, Colour, Contrast, and ease of focus. Sharp+
Cons: None
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10   

Superb lens, just get one however you can, and use it!

Very sharp from F2.8, extraordinarily sharp from F4 onwards.
Great bokeh.
Typical "A" lens colour and rendition. Super contrast.

As good, if not better than the current DA* 200 lens!
   
Senior Member

Registered: October, 2009
Location: ita/swiss
Posts: 267

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 21, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $700.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Compact, superb build,, great color / contrast and extremely very sharp
Cons: no AF, but is not a problem
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10   

Please compact, well built, is also quick to seek the perfect focus.
Very defined and beautiful colors, I bought the FA * 200mm, because I wanted to AF, but I must say that I almost am sorry.
FA * is the same, only with AF more, but if AF does not fall where you want, you have to do by hand.
I paid half of this lens is 200mm FA * I must say that is worth all the money paid.
   
PEG Moderator

Registered: August, 2008
Location: Hielands o' Scootlund
Posts: 49,922

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 29, 2008 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $650.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Wow, razor sharp even wide open
Cons: Not found any yet
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10   

I only just recently acquired this lens second-hand, after searching the globe for many months. I admit that I'm lucky enough to own several other "green star" lenses; hence I feel I can offer an unbiased opinion of this lens.

I wonít give any technical jargon or performance figures, because Iím not qualified to do that. What I will do, is tell you as working photographer how I find this lens through every day use (Iím old school and still use manual focus, I like the way it feels and the level of control I still have).

To say I'm blown away with the resulting images would be a huge understatement. I cover many musical events that are dark (ish) with mixed fast changing lighting set ups, this lens delivers even wide open.

It allows tight head and shoulder shots from front stage pits and when used with K10D, it can be hand held (with SR on) @ 1/30 s f/2.8 ISO 1600, still getting razor sharp results. Stopped down (lighting permitting) it just gets better still.

Fast becoming a favourite lens, not a bad accolade considering the company it keeps in my Crumpler (85mm 1.4 & 135mm 1.8 to name but two).
   
Veteran Member

Registered: November, 2006
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 593

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: January 14, 2007 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Image and build quality
Cons: Nnone
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 9   

I did have this lens and it was a real beauty. Superb image quality across all aspects, sharpness, bokeh and colour rendition. Build quality without peer and manual focusing was a joy.
   
Pentaxian

Registered: October, 2006
Location: Chicago suburb, IL, USA
Posts: 1,535

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: January 11, 2007 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $400.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: very sharp wide open, superb build, great color/contrast
Cons: none, unless you require AF

Very sharp at f2.8, and it just gets better from there. CA and PF are well controlled by the ED element. A great tele to use with a good Teleconverter for some extra reach.

At a little under 2 lbs, it's a little heavy -- you have to expect that from a fast telephoto len -- but it balances well on either a DS or K10.

Build quality is absolutely first rate, as you would expect of an A*. For some reason, I really like the rubber bumper ring on the built in hood, which is very convenient.

Great lens -- couldn't recommend it more highly.
   
Administrator
Site Webmaster

Registered: September, 2006
Location: Arizona
Posts: 49,596

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: January 9, 2007 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $1,100.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Compact, fast, and extremely sharp
Cons: A bit too heavy for its short length

The A* 200mm is sharp wide-open, and it also possesses great color rendition. It delivers truly amazing photos- they're always crisp and clear.

Here are two unedited tele shots that simply say it all.







The lens can be hand-held, but it is a bit too heavy for its short physical length, making it harder to hold than most other teles.
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