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SMC Pentax-D FA 100mm F2.8 Macro Review RSS Feed

SMC Pentax-D FA 100mm F2.8 Macro

Sharpness 
 9.6
Aberrations 
 8.3
Bokeh 
 9.3
Autofocus 
 7.0
Handling 
 7.9
Value 
 9.1
Reviews Views Date of last review
38 124,950 Tue May 29, 2018
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $423.71 8.97
SMC Pentax-D FA 100mm F2.8 Macro

SMC Pentax-D FA 100mm F2.8 Macro
supersize
SMC Pentax-D FA 100mm F2.8 Macro
supersize

Description:
This lens features a clamp and 1:1 macro magnification. Optically it is the same as the predecessor, the smc Pentax-FA 100mm F2.8 Macro, and optically also the same as the Weather Resistant successor.

SMC Pentax-D FA 100mm F2.8 Macro
© 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
9 elements, 8 groups
Mount Variant
KAF
Check camera compatibility
Max. Aperture
F2.8
Min. Aperture
F32
Focusing
AF (screwdrive)
Quick-shift
Yes
Min. Focus
30 cm
Max. Magnification
1x
Filter Size
49 mm
Internal Focus
No
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 16 ° / 14 °
Full frame: 24 ° / 20 °
Hood
PH-RBB 49mm
Case
S80-120
Lens Cap
Lens Cap F 49mm
Coating
SMC
Weather Sealing
No
Other Features
Focus Clamp
Diam x Length
67.5 x 80.5 mm (2.7 x 3.2 in.)
Weight
345 g (12.2 oz.)
w/ Hood: +38g
Production Years
2004 to 2009
Launch Price
$565 USD
Engraved Name
smc PENTAX-D FA 1:2.8 100mm -MACRO-
Reviews
User reviews
Features:
Screwdrive AutofocusQuick ShiftAperture RingAutomatic ApertureFull-Frame SupportDiscontinued
Purchase: Buy the SMC Pentax-D FA 100mm F2.8 Macro
Sample Photos: View Sample Photos



Add Review of SMC Pentax-D FA 100mm F2.8 Macro Buy the SMC Pentax-D FA 100mm F2.8 Macro
Author:
Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-15 of 38
Pentaxian

Registered: October, 2012
Location: SF Bay Area
Posts: 1,361
Lens Review Date: May 29, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $217.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Exceedingly sharp, aperture ring, quick AF, lights, compact, great focus-to-out-of-focus transition, gorgeously soft blurry areas
Cons: Bizarre lens hood
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-1, K-3, MZ-S, K2DMD   

This has quickly become one of my three go-to lenses for my K-1. Paired with the 31mm FA Limited and 77mm FA Limited, this is part of a trio that can accomplish basically any need.















The photos should speak volumes about the lens' sharpness, color transmission, clarity, and image quality. This is a fantastic lens that's light, compact, and a great performer. It has one really weird aspect which is the lens hood. It mounts onto the lens body but the focusing element protrudes. So the closer your focus, the less effect that the lens hood has. But the advantage of that is the the hood always protects the front element and it won't bump into whatever you're photographing because this lens has a LOT of movement.

Overall, one of my top three lenses for Pentax, probably one of the five best that I've ever used ever.
   
Site Supporter

Registered: November, 2009
Location: SASKATCHEWAN
Posts: 28
Lens Review Date: December 27, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $500.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Very clear.
Cons: Hunts auto focus sometimes
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 8    Value: 8    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K5ll   

Should have waited for the newer version
   
Junior Member

Registered: January, 2013
Location: Texas
Posts: 32
Lens Review Date: April 28, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharpness!!! ; Light weight
Cons: Built quality
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: Pentax K30   

Ultra-sharp lens, Very Good from center to corners at full aperture, Excellent above!
Low distortion, low vignetting, low flare, very good colors.
It is also very light, good for my shoulders!
What I don't like is the built quality, especially the focusing: it is 'lose'.
   
New Member

Registered: October, 2015
Posts: 1
Lens Review Date: October 21, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $460.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: sharp, bokeh
Cons: autofocus
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 8    Value: 9    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: k5   

great lens, love the minimum focusing distance (12") . solid, but light lens only real complaint is the auto focus. It is loud and can hunt when focusing in close, bu a great lens over all, absolutely recommend this for anyone who does macro.
   
New Member

Registered: December, 2007
Location: Tallinn
Posts: 22
Lens Review Date: February 21, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $220.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Light, good IQ.
Cons: Closeup range focus hunting, slow focus.
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 5    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: Pentax K-3   

I find it very good lens for the first 1:1 macro lens. Closeup AF is ridiculously hunting, but I use manual focus or set clamp on. 1:1 focus is best to be used on a macro rail to help focusing anyway, because even 1mm is notable distance.

Lens barrell extends beyond own lens hood in the 1:1 macro mode, so it is useless for a macro closeups.

With clamp on lens switches to MF with focus locked signal sent to the camera body (at least on my K-3), so that you decide whether you ready or not.

CA is obvious full open at F/2.8 but reduces as you stop down the lens even down from F/3.2. It is light and beautiful lens to use. Lack of the focus limiter is a shame but successor of this lens doesn't have clamp switch neither.
   
Forum Member

Registered: March, 2010
Location: Queensland
Posts: 86
Lens Review Date: June 8, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $350.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Sharp
Cons: focus range
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 6    Handling: 8    Value: 8    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: Pentax K5   

Great macro lens, worth having in the kit. The focusing is slow and the focus range wasn't as close as anticipated.
   
New Member

Registered: June, 2011
Posts: 15
Lens Review Date: April 25, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: sharpness,bokeh
Cons: build quality, auto focus.

For the price of this lens I did expect a bit better build quality it feels light and cheap and a bit wobbly and it just is not a one off as I have had 2 of these.When I mount a ring flash on this lens the focus barrel sometImes does not want to move which is probably down to the clutch on the quick shift and this is in manual focus mode which is what I used it in 90%of the time.
Autofocus is just noisy. On the plus side it can produce superb images with a little patience.I have since sold both of these and I am back to using my old Tamron 90mm f2.8 72b which gives just as good images and just feels better to use.
   
Pentaxian

Registered: September, 2013
Location: Toronto
Posts: 1,605
Lens Review Date: January 24, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $257.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros:
Cons: Build quality, noisy AF, soft wide-open, purple fringing
Aberrations: 4    Autofocus: 6    Handling: 4    Value: 8    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-30   

It's a good lens, and I certainly enjoy it. Light, nice focal length, true macro, quickshift.

That said, it's not 100% perfect: the lightness comes at expense of build quality -- it certainly feels less solid than other lenses in Pentax's lineup, and you'll want that hood in order to protect the front element when you're doing macro work. The AF is noisy, which seems to be a problem with many of Pentax's macro lenses, and has a habit of hunting when you're close to the subject. (It's quite quick at longer distances, however.)

Verdict? I like it, and get it if you can find it for a nice price. But I'd still gladly swap it for the older FA model in a heartbeat.
   
Forum Member

Registered: August, 2010
Location: Edinburgh
Posts: 91
Lens Review Date: December 19, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $425.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Sharpness, full frame, colours, manual focus
Cons: Purple fringing, plastic feel, slow autofocus and lack of limiter
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 8    Value: 9    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: Pentax k-5, Canon 7D, Pentax K1000   

Image quality

At f2.8 I think the image has a certain softness to it Ė which looks flattering for portrait shots but when you want absolute sharpness 2.8 is a bit lacking.


By f4 sharpness is great, and remains good up to f11, then I can see it tail off again.


The background is pleasantly rendered Ė though this lens has not got rounded aperture blades like its weather resistant successor the Pentax DFA f2.8 100mm Macro. This doesnít bother me, as the background bokeh is still very nice and smooth otherwise, and I quite like bright spots appearing as straight edged octagons.



Lovely, vibrant and accurate colour rendition, a big improvement on the cool colours of the macro lens I used to use, the Pentax-A 100mm f4 Macro.



I feel that using this lens in the 1 metre + range isnít quite as impressive in terms of sharpness, which is fair enough as it is a macro lens.

Build

Fine, nothing special. The lens is plastic, and feels a little flimsy compared to the metal lenses I am used to. The focus has slight rubberyness to it that doesnít feel quite as perfectly machined as my older macro lens.


Retaining a manual aperture ring is a great plus point for me, as I use it on older Pentax SLRs with an adapter on Canon cameras, and with extension tubes. You need an aperture ring for this.

Important points

Chromatic aberrations (purple fringing) are very bad at f2.8, very noticeable in real life situations, very evident on highlight edges.
The lens does not have a focus limiter (a switch to tell the lens not to focus in a certain range if you only wish to focus for a close up, or only wish to focus far away) and combined with screw drive autofocus, this can be frustrating as it noisily whirs through the range, which takes several seconds. Quick shift (full time manual override of focus) goes some way to help with this as when the lens misses focus I can override it instantly, but it can still be annoying and has made me miss 'the moment' on several occasions.


The lens does have a focus clamp, which I am not impressed with. It adds a little friction to the focus ring, which is supposed to help with fine focusing. I donít need it, and as the focus doesnít creep when I point it down it serves no purpose. Most if the time I ignore the clamp.


Itís little and light and has a small 49mm filter thread, which is good.

-

This lens is good value as it has been superseded by the Pentax D-FA 100mm WR Macro, so can be bought for a good price second hand.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kevinthebarbarian/11244442933/
ISO 1250, 1/8000s, f6.3

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kevinthebarbarian/10687870664/
ISO 500, 1/125s, f4
   
New Member

Registered: October, 2008
Posts: 1
Lens Review Date: February 8, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $360.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp, good contrast
Cons: Build quality not as good as my other Pentax lenses
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 6    Handling: 7    Value: 8    New or Used: New    Camera Used: GX-20, K-30   

A very sharp lens (from f4 up, 2.8 is certainnly softer on mine).
The focal length isn't one I turn to often but it can serve well in non-macro situations, particularly if you want to stand back from the family and observe more.
Contrast is good and very rarely needs increasing in post.

The clamp function is wasted on me, a focus range limiter would have been better (particularly when it decides to go the wrong way through the range, I should probably use MF more).
Also the focus ring will turn past the end 'stops', whether this is damaging I don't know but certainly is strange.

At the price I bought this it is a must have.
   
Veteran Member

Registered: February, 2008
Location: Hawkesbury
Posts: 443

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 12, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $550.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp in mid-aperture range, good handling
Cons: Relatively poor wide open or stopped down
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 8    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K20d   

When I first started using this lens I was disappointed by the look of images I was making. I was seeing lots of purple and green fringing and images just did not look that sharp. Then I discovered that keeping the lens at an aperture of around F5.6 to F11 made a big difference. Sharpness is fantastic in this range and the bokeh is good largely due to minimising chromatic aberrations.
The wide open performance for macro is very disappointing, particularly when compared with the Tamron 90mm which is very good right from the start and pushes back the envelope when stopped down also. Possibly this lens is sharper than the Tamron at around F8. However the handling of this lens was much better than the Tamron, despite the absence of a focus limiter. The lens feels solid enough and if you like to use your cameras built in flash, then you can do so with the confidence that the lens won't shade your subject.
   
Forum Member

Registered: November, 2009
Location: Israel
Posts: 55
Lens Review Date: February 16, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Very sharp. Can be used for portrets too.
Cons: Purple fringing is a problem.
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 7    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-X,K-5   

Positive:
Very, very very sharp. Very good bokeh. Not heavy. Apperture can be set on body of the lens.
Can be used for portraits too.
Negative:
Build quality is so-so. On my lens i can turn focus ring even after it reached the real limit and when the lens is at minimum focus distance the lens wobbles - not a real problem but does not feel right. Focus is pretty slow.
Conclusion:
Excellent sharpness + 1:1 magnification + 100mm focal length = excellent macro lens. If it was built like new WR 100mm but still had the aperture controls this could be perfect macro lens.
   
Banned

Registered: May, 2011
Location: Earth
Posts: 10
Lens Review Date: October 8, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $325.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: aperture ring, big rubber focusing ring, IQ no less than DFA WR, ready for FF
Cons: plastic, don't buy for the AF capability...
New or Used: Used   

I currently have three macro lens setups. The DFA 100mm, DFA 100mm WR, & a vivi 2x macro focusing ring with a 50 1.4 mounted to compare it to the DFA.

DFA and DFA WR. IQ is eqaul to my eye. Focusing is easier with the ring on the DFA.
The real big advantage of the DFA to some may be it has a aperture ring and the WR does not. For the used price I paid the DFA is way more bang for the buck. Since the only advantage of the WR is WR. Plastics on DFA could be a negative for some. Typical Macro AF could use a limiter. Only comment when comparing this lens to my vivi setup, save for a mid to high end macro prime if you want execlent results.
   
Site Supporter

Registered: August, 2007
Location: new jersey
Posts: 110
Lens Review Date: July 30, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $400.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Fast to focus very sharp
Cons: none
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 6    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 5    Handling: 6    Value: 10    New or Used: New   

I keep this on my 20d all the time with a PENTAX AF 160FC Auto Macro Ring Flash on it.

   
Loyal Site Supporter

Registered: July, 2008
Location: Detroit
Posts: 3,491
Lens Review Date: April 14, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $370.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: sharp, sturdy, light weight
Cons: none

I bought this lens used just before the price increase.
I've never been sorry.
This has to be one of the most versatile lenses ever made in this length.
Always sharp, great contrast and color.
Perfect for macro and anything else you would use this FL for.
The only thing that annoys me from time to time is the focus lock, which I sometimes engage by accident, and then wonder why it won't focus.
My silliness, not the lenses.
It would work fine on a focus rail. I just have to get one of those to get full use of this gem.
If you can find one for a reasonable price......buy it!
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