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SMC Pentax-A* 200mm F4 Macro ED

Reviews Views Date of last review
12 76,121 Mon July 22, 2019
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $1,538.82 10.00
SMC Pentax-A* 200mm F4 Macro ED

This is the manual-focus version of Pentax's 200mm macro.

SMC Pentax-A* 200mm F4 Macro ED
©, sharable with attribution
Image Format
Full-frame / 35mm film
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
Yes (A setting)
Automatic, 8 blades
10 elements, 9 groups
Mount Variant
Check camera compatibility
Max. Aperture
Min. Aperture
Min. Focus
55 cm
Max. Magnification
Filter Size
58 mm
Internal Focus
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 8.1 ° / 6.9 °
Full frame: 12 ° / 10 °
Built-in, slide out
Hard case HF-185B
Lens Cap
Plastic clip-on
Weather Sealing
Other Features
Tripod Mount
Diam x Length
71 x 145 mm
895 g
Production Years
1984 to 2000
Engraved Name
smc PENTAX-A* MACRO 1:4 200mm ED
Product Code
User reviews
One ED element.
Manual FocusBuilt-in HoodAperture RingAutomatic ApertureFull-Frame SupportDiscontinued
Price History:

Add Review of SMC Pentax-A* 200mm F4 Macro ED
Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-12 of 12
Loyal Site Supporter

Registered: August, 2010
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 41,145

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: July 22, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $750.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: outstanding IQ
Cons: a modern DSLR cannot be rotated to vertical unless a short extension tube is added

Marco lenses are generally excellent for IQ, bokeh, etc., but even in this extremely high quality, competitive field, the 200mm macro is a stand out. I have owned and used numerous macros (50mm f4 preset Takumar; 90 mm Series 1 Vivitar; pre-set and auto versions of the 100mm f4 bellows; 125mm f2.5 Voigtlander; 90mm f2.5 Tokina; 50mm f2.8 SMCA; 35mm f2.8 DA; 100mm f2.8 Pentax DA) and the 200mm has an edge over all of them for IQ. It is the near-perfect lens for insect photography in the field, bettered perhaps only by the FA 200mm f4 with internal focusing which would keep the lens balanced on a tripod when close-focusing. One problem is that modern DSLRs all have an overhanging prism/flash above the lens mount. This strikes either one of the two knobs on the tripod collar and prevents the camera from being rotated to vertical. This can be corrected by mounting the lens via a short extension tube that has electric contacts and aperture connection (I use the shortest tube from a Kenko auto set).

My copy has tolerated being mounted on many camera bodies: Ricoh XRM, LX, PZ 10;ZX 5n, *ist; K20, K5, K3, K1.
Site Supporter

Registered: January, 2012
Posts: 101
Lens Review Date: December 16, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $1,650.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Versatile Focal Length, Macro, Bokeh, color, sharpness
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K1   

I bought this lens because of the 10 rating on the, had to know what a 10 rated lens was like. I bought on eBay after many attempts to find one. Very hard to come by.

At first impression, I felt it was too much lens for me. I couldn’t nail the focus, and struggled with exposures, too narrow DOF... I thought the lens was probably great, but not the user.

Yet, I couldn’t take it off my camera. I was drawn to it. The sharpness, the colors the versatility. I just kept practicing, and practicing. I have a zillion pictures of household boring subjects (coffee cups, pens, books, plants, doilies) as I tried and tried. I never had to work so hard to learn how to handle a lens.

Absolutely love it now. I know what I need to do to get the shot I want. I love the focal length for so many situations. And finally, I own a macro that doesn’t leave me wishing I had a different version.

I have the A*85mm and *135mm, the M*300mm...and this has completed my * collection. (Famous last words!).

If you’re an amateur like me, willing to pay the price and learn the feel of this lens, you’ll never regret buying it.
New Member

Registered: December, 2014
Posts: 16

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: July 21, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $2,300.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: 200mm, Bokeh, compact + ligthweight
Cons: Tripod mount
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 7    Value: 9    Camera Used: K-1; K-5IIs   

Surprisingly small for a 200mm macro. Not a lot larger than a 100mm.
Nothing to complain about the image quality. Excellent sharpness and good controlled aberrations even fully open. Bokeh and colours are very good, too. Wish it would have 9 aperture blades.

Now the negative aspects:
Handling on the K-1 is very bad because you can´t switch the tripod mount to vertical orientation... it collides with the huge protuding prism. The screw on the right side of the mount is very near the cameragrip and don´t leave much space for the fingers. Even my small fingers...
Very frustrating to work with that issues.

A larger focus throw would be nice for better focusing at close distance. It´s already easy, but could be better.

A little bit overpriced...

I´ve only used that lens for macro work. So I have no experience how it performs on longer distances.
Output is outstanding, but the usage is sometimes not a joy.

It performs outstanding with the Rear Converter A 1.4x-L, too. Even fully open absolutely pleasing image quality. This is my tool to eliminate the mentioned negative things with the tripod mount.

Pictures are in my album:

Registered: June, 2013
Location: Newcastle
Posts: 1,954

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: September 9, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $2,000.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Vivid colours, sharp wide open and stopped down, excellent working distance, wonderful focusing helicoid
Cons: tiny little bit of fringing - can be removed in PP with some effort

This lens is an amazing piece of engineering. It is an excellent macro (1:1) as others have raved about. It provides fantastic working distance for those tricky subjects such as spiders, particularly jumping spiders. Colours are superb, natural but with a nice vibrant lift. Sharpness is there from wide open with DOF not too punishing like 50mm lenses can be. Best of all, this lens can be stopped down a loooong way without diffraction damaging IQ.

I have also used this lens for distant portraits. Surprisingly, the lens gives a wonderful 3D effect owing to the narrower FoV and simply stunning OoF Bokeh. The 200mm allows for subject isolation in crowded spaces giving the impression of intimacy when it is not really there. I used this feature to great effect by snapping candid portraits without the subject knowing.

IQ loss is almost negligible when used with a quality teleconverter turning the lens into a 300mm. I would like to try the Pentax AF teleconverter to see what is offers.

Focusing on subjects at medium to long distances is very easy through tiny finger tip twists of the focusing helicoid, while macro subjects are dealt with through effortless yet pronounced focusing adjustments giving a sense of control - although movements are never overly involved (some adjustments on other lenses can take an uncomfortably long time to adjust when close focusing). The tripod mount is perfectly designed as a focusing aid when hand held shooting. The mount sits nicely in the palm of my hand while I toggle the focusing helicoid with gentle fingertip control.

There is some fringing evident and when it emerges can take some effort to remove in PPing. Not overly distracting but noticeable. Perhaps the only negative. I have market it down in that regard.

The lens costs a lot of money and is a very serious investment. Not having the benefit of testing the lens prior to purchase was a significant barrier to making a $2000 investment - BUT - I took the leap of faith and glad I did. This lens will be with me till the end, then, hopefully, enjoyed by my children. It is heir loom quality - no doubt about that.
Junior Member

Registered: November, 2013
Posts: 40
Lens Review Date: May 4, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $2,258.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: very sharp (in the focal plane), lovely color rendering, best bokeh of any Pentax lens I've used (including medium format), fairly small, and good balance with tripod mount
Cons: A little tricky to use the mount; cost
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 9    Camera Used: Pentax K3   

I'm usually more active with medium format, but I do a lot of excursion hiking where hauling around a 645 and several lenses is just a bit too much to lug around for 10 miles. The 200mm A macro is one of those things you read about and shake your head at the prices they usually go for- but given my experience with 645 120 mm macro and 67 100mm macro's, I suspected this might be one of the best lenses for Pentax 35mm. I don't think I'm going to be disappointed in that regard, though I believe it will take some time and practice to get the best out of it. Using it as a conventional telephoto is possible, but focus at infinity is more tricky than for a conventional tele. Initial results are very, very pleasing.

One thing I find essential at my level or lack of skill to getting good focus is using Live View with magnification on the K3- this can make all the difference in the world in getting the part of the image you want in sharpest focus. I also have a K7, and it would be much harder to use effectively on that camera, which to my recollection lacks Live View.

For any good camera system, the lenses are the biggest part of the investment, and a wise person invests for the future. In this case, I think it's ironic that I continue my investment for the future (coming full frame Pentax 35mm someday!) by buying older film era prime lenses almost exclusively (DA* 16-50mm being the exception).

While expensive, if you're looking for a long macro, and you can find one in an acceptable condition to price ratio, there doesn't seem to be any alternative to this excellent lens, except it's even more rare FA successor.
Forum Member

Registered: March, 2011
Location: Ontario
Posts: 89
Lens Review Date: March 21, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $1,600.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Insanely sharp! Great working distance. Extremely well made.
Cons: None
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: Many   

This is the best 200mm MF macro lens ever made. What else is there to say?
New Member

Registered: August, 2010
Posts: 3

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 22, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 10 

Pros: very sharp , superb build, great color/contrast
Cons: Lenshood to short for crop
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: k-5   

Perfect image quality !!
Perfect build quality !!
Very stable and variable tripod mount !
Not only can be used in the macro range !
Just look at my shots:
Site Supporter

Registered: September, 2007
Location: Alberta, Canada
Posts: 61
Lens Review Date: August 18, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $1,070.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, contrast, smooth bokeh (macro & close-focus), relatively small size, colour rendition, build quality
Cons: Hard to find (who would want to part with this?), Can be very expensive on the used market, No weather sealing
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 9   

I was lucky to find this lens used for a relatively good price and wow, am I ever glad I bought it. This lens coupled with the K5 camera is simply outstanding! It is my favourite camera/lens combination. The lens is tack sharp wide open at f/4 with great contrast and beautiful colour rendition. There are no CA's or purple fringing at high contrast borders or specular highlights that I can see.
Site Supporter

Registered: February, 2009
Location: Indianapolis
Posts: 319
Lens Review Date: February 20, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $800.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: beautiful macro, best I ever owned, tripod mount
Cons: heavy

This was my standard nature macro lens on film cameras. Admittedly I use it less now with digital. Mine had an accident and now the focusing is a bit stiff and the color doesn't stay on. Still it remains one of my favorite lenses. Worked wonderfully also with the 1.4X-S Pentax TC.

Registered: February, 2008
Location: MT
Posts: 1,279
Lens Review Date: March 2, 2008 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $999.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: sharpness, color rendition, small size, low tripod collar,
Cons: pricey

Optical quality beyond comment. You couldn't wish for better. Color and sharpness really pop. Images are so sexy that some could call them "porn" regardless of content. Functionality deserves praise--small, only 58mm filter, with compact "low rise" tripod collar...lens hood built-in slider type so nothing to fumble with or lose. 1.4XL teleconverter is a "matched" quality item giving 1.4x lifesize image magnification with very little change in image quality. Rubber rimmed lens hood allows for "touching the glass" aquarium work. This is a lens that not only produces stunning images, it's a great working item.
Veteran Member

Registered: October, 2006
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 11,794
Lens Review Date: January 28, 2008 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $2,200.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, high contrast, vivid colour, amazing resolving power
Cons: f4 is a tad too dark

This lens is just an incredible lens. Fantastic build, reliable image rendering ability. I hardly need to adjust colour and ocntrast as it is already saturated when the images are taken.

The only problem is that k10d has to be negatively compensated by 2 stops when this lens was used. Not sure why. It just happened like that.

My sample shots of this lens is shown here

A* 200mm f4 macro shots
Inactive Account

Registered: November, 2006
Location: Italy
Posts: 46
Lens Review Date: April 30, 2007 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $1,300.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Outstanding optical quality; macro 1:1.
Cons: None.

I think this is the best 200mm Macro ever made, not only from Pentax: this optical quality is outstanding. Sharp until can be a macro lens: I cannot think to sharper lens.
Mechanical quality excellent, MF is smooth and without defect.
A piece of art.
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