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SMC Pentax-F 100-300mm F4.5-5.6 Review RSS Feed

SMC Pentax-F 100-300mm F4.5-5.6

Sharpness 
 7.4
Aberrations 
 6.7
Bokeh 
 7.7
Autofocus 
 7.1
Handling 
 6.9
Value 
 8.3
Reviews Views Date of last review
19 91,968 Fri November 27, 2015
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
89% of reviewers $85.50 7.26
SMC Pentax-F 100-300mm F4.5-5.6
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Description:
The Pentax F 100-300mm autofocus zoom lens was succeeded by an FA version that added power zoom support.



SMC Pentax-F 100-300mm F4.5-5.6
© www.pentaxforums.com, sharable with attribution
Image Format
Full-frame / 35mm film
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
Yes (A setting)
Diaphragm
Automatic, 9 blades
Optics
12 elements, 8 groups
Mount Variant
KAF
Check camera compatibility
Max. Aperture
F4.5-5.6
Min. Aperture
F32-38
Focusing
AF (screwdrive)
Quick-shift
No
Min. Focus
150 cm
Max. Magnification
0.25x
Filter Size
58 mm
Internal Focus
No
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 16-5.5 ° / 14-4.6 °
Full frame: 24-8.2 ° / 20-6.9 °
Hood
RH-A58
Case
Lens Cap
Plastic clip-on
Coating
SMC
Weather Sealing
No
Other Features
Diam x Length
72 x 155 mm (2.8 x 6.1 in.)
Weight
605 g (21.3 oz.)
Production Years
1996 to 1998
Engraved Name
smc PENTAX-F 100-300mm f/4.5-5.6
Product Code
27931
Reviews
User reviews
Features:
Screwdrive AutofocusAperture RingAutomatic ApertureFull-Frame SupportDiscontinued
Sample Photos: View Sample Photos
Price History:



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Site Supporter

Registered: November, 2012
Location: North Wales
Posts: 1,760
Lens Review Date: November 27, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $50.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Solid construction (metal under the flimsy plastic externals), internal zooming, aperture ring, long focus throw (=better than average MF for an AF lens), decent resolution 100-200mm, value.
Cons: Fringing/coma wide open, long focus throw (slow AF, hunting), soft wide open 300mm, zoom movement too light can creep or easily nudged, no hood bayonet or dedicated hood.
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 6    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 8    Camera Used: K5, samsung NX20   

I acquired both my DAL 55-300mm and this lens opportunistically cheaply, but this lens was still less than a third of the price of the DAL. So in terms of bang for buck this is already a winner. Previous reviewers have noted most of the obvious points re structure and handling and I don't have much to add. It's no surprise that it is larger and 180g heavier than the DAL being designed for a full frame image circle (reviewer pericombobulation below remarks it's not "crop factor" but crop factor is due to the size of the camera sensor relative to 35mm film, not the lens, these two lenses will have the same field of view at matching focal lengths on any and every camera they are mounted on!). But for me it's not so big and heavy, I used it on my compact mirrorless NX20 tripod mounted and it was front heavy of course but not so much that I would strongly protest about the absence of a tripod mount (unlike eg the 870g Tamron adaptall 60-300mm 23A fully extended to 300mm - TM essential). I will mention the aperture ring though, that's a plus for me over the DAL, makes the lens more versatile and I can use it on my mirrorless cameras, even if only for testing purposes (yes I can mount the DAL too but only with a diy jamming of the aperture lever can it work at anything other than the entirely unhelpful f22, standard cheap PK-NX adapters don't hold the aperture open).

At 300mm the DAL is almost as long as the F 100-300mm, reflecting it's very different design, extending dramatically with zoom, while the F doesn't extend at all.

Like pericombobulation I have compared this lens side by side with the DAL 55-300mm. Unlike him however my results favour the DAL. Test pics Samsung NX20, mf by eye with 7x evf magnification, jpg's.

At 100mm purpling and halo/coma was very evident wide open, where the sunlight was reflecting off eg whitewashed buildings. There was fringing on the skyline as well, in the form of a seepage of purpling into the dark edge. Stopping down ameliorated the CA but it was still discernible at f8 on the skyline at 200% on screen. Resolution was actually broadly quite close to that of the DAL at ~ 90mm f4 (I set at ~100mm but pic is evidently at a slightly shorter focal length, obviously the samsung doesn't record actual focal length) , and pretty consistent, I didn't notice great improvement stopping down. IQ was also consistent across the frame on the APSC cameras used (in fact distinctly more so than the DAL which was a bit softer right edge). Colours and contrast put out by the NX's internal jpg processing were similar. Results at 135mm showed slightly better resolution but were mostly similar, and I wouldn't say the 100-300mm has any significant IQ fall off going right to its 100mm zoom range limit.
If it wasn't for the CA issues the F would actually be competitive with the DAL at 100mm. Comparing the crops between the DAL and F is slightly misleading because the sun went behind a cloud, reducing the contrast on the foliage and the glare off the buildings to the detriment of the former and improvement of the latter, but the impression that the F has resolved most things pretty much as well as the DAL is correct.



Full size 1:1 crops.


Results at 300mm showed the F as much softer than the DAL, the F would only start being competitive with the DAL once stopped well down. Some reviewers have suggested that the performance drops noticeably zooming towards 300mm, however I didn't notice that resolution significantly improved backing off from 300mm to ~250mm, maybe a touch. I would simply concur that resolution at the long end just isn't that good; CA however is much improved over the results at 100mm . Wide open was particularly soft, much softer relatively than wide open at the other end of the zoom range. I was only happy with bird test pics results when stopped down, all the wide open shots were disappointing for me.



Full size 1:1 crops.


Overall I would have to say the IQ just doesn't quite do it for me, specifically at the 300mm end, not with a DAL 55-300mm in hand. I would like to ask pericombobulation whether he used just AF or checked things with MF and eg live view. It is possible that he has a particularly good F 100-300mm/poor DAL 55-300mm. But in any case if you're looking for a cheap x-300mm zoom option this can do (if you get a good one, reviews of SMC-F series lenses suggest inherent variability).
A pigeon at 300mm f10, samsung NX20.



And this tit with my K5 @ f8, 1/250.

   
Junior Member

Registered: November, 2014
Posts: 33

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: September 8, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $50.00 | Rating: 6 

 
Pros: handling, colors, looks
Cons: softness, noisy
Sharpness: 6    Aberrations: 5    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 4    Handling: 7    Value: 8    Camera Used: K-5ii   

History of me and SMC Pentax F 100-300mm is a history of love from the first sight. Unfortunately, as it often is with that kind of love, it wasn't a happy one.
LOOKS
Long, solid tube, with that understated grey color of the F series. I like that it has an internal zooming.
HANDLING
It's soooo noisy... Oh God! It sounds like some kind of robot. It would be a great duet with SFXn body. AF throw is about 270*. Its good for precision but it makes the AF slower. And it hunts. Materials used to made this lens are good.
PICTURE QUALITY
It's on the SOFT side. I used it not much as I found myself in no need for such a long lens. Especially after I bought SMC Pentax-M 135mm 3.5. Mostly it takes soft pictures, but not always, and that's strange. I don't know, maybe it's some kind of a internal build quality issues. I don't get it. I tested it alongside a M135mm 3.5 at f8 and it was worse. Color is good as always with Pentax. Due to its 9 blade diaphragm it has a nice bokeh. Abberations are still visible at f8.
WHY YOU SHOULD BUY THIS LENS
It's reasonably cheap. For everyday snapping IT WILL DO. And maybe even 1 in a 1000 photos will be super sharp.
OVERALL
NOT HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, BUT IT WILL DO AND YOU CAN ALWAYS USE IT FOR SELF DEFENCE
   
Pentaxian

Registered: September, 2013
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 808

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 5, 2015 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: $35.00 | Rating: 6 

 
Pros: It can throw some light onto a camera sensor
Cons: Not too sharp, CA, low contrast, big, noisy, heavy, plasticky build
Sharpness: 6    Aberrations: 6    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 6    Handling: 6    Value: 6    Camera Used: K30   

This lens is rather large and heavy. The good news is that it zooms internally so it never gets longer. The bad news is that it's not very sharp until stopped down to f10-f13, and is never sharp when focused at infinity no matter what f stop you select (as another reviewer mentioned). It lacks contrast, has plenty of chromatic aberrations (CA) with aperture wide open. The CA lessens when you stop down but never seems to go away entirely even with a hood. It is made in Japan, yet it doesn't feel like a quality made lens. It focuses very noisily and will hunt for focus a lot in poor light, but at least they gave it a wide manual focus ring (as if they expected you to need to use it). I bought it for wildlife, but it all came down to the fact that I have a smaller, lighter, 200mm lens that delivers better results at 200mm with cropping than this lens can do at 300mm, so it had to go. I bought it for cheap and pretty much gave it away for cheap, because it just isn't really anything special. Since it is so average I will be generous and give it an overall rating of 6, because if you try really hard, you can still get decent photos after some heavy post processing in photoshop and if you are shooting at subjects near you. It could be ok if you just needed a cheap outdoor portrait lens to use every now and then and if you can get it for as cheap as I did, but overall, this is a lens I would skip. (Using this lens will definitely teach you to become a better photographer and photo editer though!)

Here is the best I could do with it, and I had to get real close to these vultures and hummingbirds for them to be sharp enough. I removed a lot of CA in photoshop and had to boost contrast and saturation quite a bit:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/adudenamedjosh/16084480865/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/adudenamedjosh/15898715047/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/adudenamedjosh/16083773172/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/adudenamedjosh/15897055578/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/adudenamedjosh/15897202680/
   
New Member

Registered: February, 2012
Posts: 15

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: February 9, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $40.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Well made, good detail across the frame, works well with a teleconverter
Cons: Bulky, purple fringing
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: Samsung GX20, Pentax K-x   

Can a man have too many x-300mm consumer zooms? I took this (another LBA e-Bay purchase) down to a park with squirrels and a duckpond along with a Sigma 70-300mm f4-5.6 DG, a Pentax FA 80-320 f4.5-5.6, and a Pentax FA 100-300 f4.7-5.8, in an attempt to find out.

The screw autofocus spooked the wild-life when it was close up, so most shots were taken at 200mm or more.

I used a hood on all shots.

All the lenses took some nice pictures.

The Sigma scored because:
  • It is faster shorter, and goes shorter, to 70mm
  • It is the most compact stowed, and has a useful, reversible bayonet hood
  • It has as a bonus, a useful macro mode
The FA 100-300 f4.7-5.8 produced the subjectively best looking shots at 300mm, I think because it displayed the best contrast and least fringing. It is also the lightest, and the only one with a plastic mount.

I don't think I can usefully distinguish between the sharpness of any of them based on this exercise; it mostly seemed to depend on what was precisely in focus. They are all sharp enough for my purposes at all focal lengths.

At the long end, the FA 80-320mm f4.5-5.6 displayed the most fringing. Up to 250mm I struggle to distinguish between pictures taken with this lens, and the Sigma.

The F 100-300mm doesn't show fringing in the plane of focus, but it becomes pronounced either side of the plane of focus.

The Sigma doesn't show much fringing, but more than the FA 100-300mm f4.7-5.8.

So, what's unique about the F 100-300mm f4.5-5.6?

Like the Sigma, and the FA 80-320mm f4.5-5.6, the F 100-300 f4.5-5.6 is f4.5 to 200mm. But unlike with the Sigma, the Teleplus 2x Pz-AF teleconverter will work fairly reliably beyond this, up to 250mm, and since the lens seems to be parfocal, you can switch to manual focus and zoom further in, preserving sharp focus.

I took some shots with the Teleplus at 500mm and compared them with the same view shot with a Samyang 500mm f6.3 mirror lens.

The Teleconverter magnifies the fringing, whilst the mirror lens has no fringing at all. There is more detail in the Samyang image, but importantly there is more detail in the Teleconverter + F 100-300mm f4.5-5.6 image than there is in a crop of any image taken without a teleconverter with any of these lenses.

The F 100-300mm f4.5-5.6 bokeh is good at shorter focal lengths, aided no doubt by the 9 aperture blades, but can be somewhat disfigured by purple fringing at 250mm plus.

At the long end, the F 100-300mm f4.5-5.6 may have an edge in the corners.

The F 100-300mm f4.5-5.6 is the longest of these lenses stowed, but it fits in my camera bag, so that isn't a problem for me. It doesn't change length when you zoom.

The rotating front element is an inconvenience with polarising filters.

The F 100-300mm manual focus is nicer than that of the FA lenses, and on a par with the Sigma.

So in conclusion:
  • The FA 80-320mm is too similar to the Sigma for me to own both - but it wasn't mine anyway. It goes back in to my daughter's camera bag
  • The Sigma is the most flexible, and will probably continue to get the most use
  • The FA 100-300mm performs best at 300mm, and it is the lightest
  • The F 100-300mm performs reasonably and gives me autofocus to 500mm with my £20 teleconverter.
If I'm not careful I'll take to lugging around all three.

UPDATE. I've picked up a second one of these, in a bundle with a working MZ50, and an F 35-80 f4-5.6, for £11. That's $17.26 at today's exchange rate. It's got to be worth more than that. My second copy looks mint, and its controls, particularly the zoom, are much smoother than on my original copy. When I focus manually with the aid of a magnifier, the images are indistinguishable from those taken with my first copy. However, it appears the autofocus seems to be less accurate with this second copy. I failed to improve matters using the autofocus fine adjustment feature. The focus errors seem not to be systematic. Something to watch out for, I guess, since some owners complain this lens isn't sharp, whilst others, myself included, find that it is. If it has missed focus at 250-300mm, there'll be lots of purple fringing on the intended target.
   
Forum Member

Registered: February, 2014
Location: Warsaw
Posts: 76

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 17, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $75.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Cheap, sharp when stopped down, solid build
Cons: size, soft full open, purple fringing
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 6    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 6    Value: 7    Camera Used: k-x   

First thing you can notice it is its size, specifically length which makes it unhandy.
Lens feels solid build but at the price of mass which is quite high but not much more than other 300mm zooms.
As for IQ my lens suffered from huge lack of sharpness in corners and noticeable purple fringing.
At full zoom I was able to make really good sharp pictures after stepping down to F13 but mainly of close objects from 5 to 15 m like birds on trees, decent quality pictures of high contrast, not moving objects laying further then 50m.
But failed miserably to take pictures of flying aircrafts. Camera had huge problems with focusing on plane no matter in which mode. Pictures were almost always very soft. I managed to take sharper pictures with much more details with my Pentax F 80-200mm lens at 200mm F8-10.
As far as I know it might depend from camera to camera and even it doesn’t work for me it might work well with other cameras.


So from my experience I can recommend it only if you can check it before buying or if it is cheap and, mainly to close shots of wild nature in very good light.


Some pictures at 300mm F13






300mm F11
   
Senior Member

Registered: January, 2012
Posts: 101

5 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 22, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $65.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharpness, price, contrast
Cons: Length
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 9    Camera Used: K-r   

This is a very nice alternative for those who are looking for a zoom lens that will reach 300mm but don't want to spend over $200 on the DA-L 55-300. I ran numerous tests of both lenses side by side and this lens (SMC Pentax-F 100-300mm F4.5-5.6) actually beat the DA-L 55-300 in about 60% of the tests. My semi-scientific test was thus: Same subjects shot with both lenses and the same focal lengths and apertures, tripod mounted, all shot as JPEGs. All images were cropped to 100% in Photoshop Elements and compared side-by-side. I enlisted my wife and kids to "vote" on each shot after having given them a brief explanation of sharpness, CA, bokeh, etc. We generally all agreed that this lens beat the DA-L about 60% of the time. A few other notes we made:

1) Obviously the DA-L covers a wider range of focal lengths, so we could not compare the 55-100mm range.

2) Wide open at 300mm, the DA-L is sharper and has less CA than this lens. As you begin to stop down, however, things change pretty quickly. At F/8 the F is already significantly sharper than the DA-L and it stays that way through the rest of the aperture range. CA improves quickly as well.

3) At 200mm the F beats the DA-L at all apertures in terms of sharpness. There is some CA, but it's not noticeable unless you go pixel peeping and it can probably be removed pretty easily in post processing.

4) At 100mm the DA-L is slightly sharper, but I mean slightly. You'd be hard pressed to tell the difference between these two lenses at 100mm.

5) Both lenses exhibit pretty much exactly the same color rendition and contrast. Bokeh seems to be about the same as well.

6) This is NOT a crop-factor lens. I thought it was (which was why I purchased it - I wanted a little extra reach for birding). But 300mm on this lens is exactly the same as 300mm on the DA-L. This could be bad or good, depending on your perspective.

7) When at rest (ie, not zoomed out), the F is longer than the DA-L. But the F does not get any longer when it zooms. Fully zoomed out, the DA-L is longer.

8) The AF mechanism is a little louder than the DA-L, but I find AF performance and accuracy to be every bit as good as the DA-L.

9) The F is a very solidly built lens and has a metal mount, whereas the DA-L is plastic. The F is a bit heavier, for better or worse.

In the end, I'm not going to keep both lenses but I can't decide which one I want to sell. IQ wise, the F edges out the DA-L and when you consider that the DA-L is about 4X the cost, the F seems like the obvious choice. The F does not cover the 55-100 range, but I have other plans to cover that range with different lenses anyway. I guess the only thing I have against the F is that is longer and somewhat harder to fit in my camera bag. Which one to keep, which one to sell? Decisions, decisions!
   
Site Supporter

Registered: October, 2012
Location: Vancouver
Posts: 1,194
Lens Review Date: December 8, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $100.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Decently sharp when stopped down, solid build, cheap, autofocus
Cons: HUUUGE, kind of unbalanced, purple fringing, AF is loud
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 5    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 6    Value: 8    Camera Used: Pentax K30   

The Pentax F 100-300 F4.5-5.6 is quite a beastly lens.

First, the good:

- Decently sharp when stopped down. There are sharper lenses out there, but this lens can get the job done.
- Solid build of mostly metal. In a collision with an object, I would not be overly concerned about this lens taking damage (I would be more concerned about the other object taking damage).
- Cheap. I got mine second-hand for $100. I've seen them floating around for a bit lower.
- Solid weight makes hand-held shots okay. At just over 600 grams, it's not super heavy, but it's heavy enough that hand-held shots at the extreme range are doable, because the weight makes it not as jittery.
- Autofocus is good. It's quite fast, even going from one end to the other. I'm not sure how much of this can be attributed to the lens or my camera (I have a K30), but I've caught people in motion relatively easily.


Now, the bad:

- HUUUGE. This lens does not collapse in any way, so make sure you have space in your camera bag for it. When walking around with it attached to your camera, be careful about collisions with other objects, or you might damage them (the lens will probably be fine).
- Unbalanced. Somewhat related to the previous point. Lots of weight is concentrated towards the front half of the lens, making it awkward to hold and walk around with. Also, when using a tripod, this lens will cause your camera to sag down a lot. Make sure your tripod setup is strong before mounting your camera with this lens on it.
- Purple fringing. Really evident in certain situations. This can be corrected quite easily with some minor post-processing, but it's worth mentioning in case you are a jpg-straight-from-the-camera kind of shooter.
- Autofocus is loud. It sounds like a buzz-saw.

Overall:

For the price, and in the right situation, this lens is fine. I've had fun with it, and it has its charm. It gets better overall reviews than the other budget autofocus zooms from Sigma and Tamron in its focal and price range, so I would look to this before those 3rd party offerings (if you can find this lens, as it doesn't pop up too often).

This lens would be good for casual local wildlife photography and outdoor sporting events in good light. This lens would not be good for any sort of multi-day trek.

So if you need a budget tele zoom for casual use and you find this for a good price, why not give it a try.
   
Veteran Member

Registered: February, 2012
Location: Albuquerque, NM
Posts: 441
Lens Review Date: October 21, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $79.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Cheap, IF,
Cons: PF, soft at 300mm
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 6    Value: 8    Camera Used: K5.K7,K10D   

Got this lens at 79 at KEH.
As a 100 to 300mm, it is somehow interesting that it uses IF.
However, the PF and the CA are some main issues.
100-250 mm pretty good. 250-300---just to say i'm glad it has this option here, but I won't use it.
--------UPDATES:
Selling this lens for its weight and poor performance at 300mm.
   
Forum Member

Registered: August, 2011
Location: Slovenia
Posts: 73

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: September 28, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $150.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: good IQ, internal zooming, sturdy construction, fast AF
Cons: a bit soft at 300mm, no damping on focus and zoom rings,
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 7    Value: 9   

I use this lens as my main lens for wildlife. Not the best lens out there, but since I shoot mainly reptiles and amphibians, that means mostly in good light and during the day, for that this lens is just fine.

Sharpness is quite good up to about 250mm, but is still ok at 300mm. At 200mm it's considerably sharper compared to another budget zoom, the DA 50-200.
AF speed kinda surprised me, on K-7 is very snappy and fast, but it tends to hunt in low light (frankly, which zoom doesn't?).
There are some CA under certain conditions, but nothing serious or unrepairable with PP.

Some shots:



All-in-all, a very good low cost lens, tough and sturdy, with good IQ, and so far the best out of the budget zooms I've used so far (DA 50-200, Tamron 70-300, Sigma 18-200).
   
New Member

Registered: April, 2011
Posts: 2

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 10, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $110.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Low cost, good build quality.
Cons: Noisy and slow AF.

I purchased this lens last year to get longer reach than my DA 50-200.
I have been pleasantly surprised with the images it produces on my K20. It can be used at 100mm as a long portrait lens and is sharp until around 270mm, there is some softness at the long end.
This lens would probably be too heavy for some although it suits me; be warned, however, that its length demands a large kit bag!
My copy was certainly good value at the price I paid (£69), I have seen some being sold at up to £150. I can recommend this lens as an economical alternative to the DA 55-300 if you don't mind the weight and the noisy AF.
   
New Member

Registered: October, 2010
Location: bronx
Posts: 6
Lens Review Date: December 17, 2010 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: $50.00 | Rating: 5 

 
Pros: light weight, low cost
Cons: EXTREME PF

I purchase a cosmetically perfect copy of this lens on ebay.

The lens was immacualate. like new.

But the pf purple fringing was horrible.

I shot 50 pics at 300mm. None were very sharp.

I sold it the next day and bought the DA L 55-300mm
   
Junior Member

Registered: October, 2010
Location: California
Posts: 31

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: December 3, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $40.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: sharp, build quality, cheap
Cons: size, weight
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 6    Handling: 7    Value: 10   

Build quality wise, the lens feels sturdy, and could probably be used to hit stuff with, although probably not hard stuff as that would probably misalign some of the lenses somehow. The focus ring turns pretty smoothly, and is far from the zoom ring almost 2" or 4cm, which makes it friendly for people who like to accidentally turn the focusing ring instead of the zoom ring. There is a display for focusing distance in ft and meters like on most older lenses which shows between 5 - 50ft (1.5 - 15m) and infinity. When turning the focus ring the filter ring rotates, which can be annoying when using polarizers, and the lens extends 1/2" or 0.7cm. There is no mount for a lens hood. There is an aperature ring as is also common on older lenses with settings for values from 4.5 to 32 and then Auto (camera based).

As this lens was designed for Film cameras, it supports full frame sensors, and thus likely doesn't cause vignetting on them.

On the K100D, the autofocus is slower than the pentax kit lenses such as the DAL 18-55 and 50-200.
There doesnt seem to be any zoom creep.

Also, as other people have stated it doesn't increase in size when zooming. This contributes largely to the problem of hiking, as the lens always protrudes from the camera by 6.5" or 17cm almost twice the length of lenses that extend making it more likely to knock against stuff. (The lens is ~7.2" 18cm when not connected to a camera)

This lens takes beautiful pictures, but due to its size and weight I'm not sure how useful it would be for hiking and such, as there are newer lenses out that weigh less as well as having greater ranges such as the pentax dal 55-300 425g, da 55-300 440g (both 4.4" long), or the sigma & tamron variants of the 70-300 (450-500g) (4.7" and 5.6" long respectively), although being more expensive as with the pentax lenses or worse image quality with the tamron/sigma variants.

Pictures from my other telephoto lens, the pentax dal 50-200, seem marginally less awesome than from the 100-300 but the 50-200 is much more portable and thus more easily brought for hiking. the 50-200mm isn't quite long enough for some bird shots though.

since pictures are worth a thousand words :S,
some pics taken with the F 100-300mm lens
(not working atm because of flickr free limit)

(Non working link removed)
   
Inactive Account

Registered: October, 2009
Location: Western Oregon
Posts: 7

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 12, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $75.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Does not extend when zooming. Sharpness and clarity are good on my K20D
Cons: No lens hood. Af hunts under certain conditions

This is a great lens for the price. This is my lens of choice when shooting wildlife, my kid's sporting events, etc.
Although this lens is not water and dust resistant like my SMC Pentax-DA 50-200mm F4-5.6 ED WR lens, it's results have more clarity and sharpness at the long end.
Untill pentax comes out with the SMC Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED (WR), i will stick with this lens for it's reach.
As for the complaints of AF hunting in low light, that is not an issue with me. I manually focus about 1/3 of the time anyway.
   
Junior Member

Registered: June, 2009
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 41

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: June 9, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $60.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Long reach on Digital bodies. Very affordable for 300mm, AF is fast in bright light
Cons: Slow at longer ranges, not as useful a range as the DA 55-300, bulkier too

I bought this locally for very cheap. Has some large specs of dust inside, but otherwise works perfect. I wanted the DA55-300, but for less than 1/3 the price, I found this lens and I think it will do me just fine. Shots seem very sharp, even at 300mm (f8). Focus is very fast at shorter ranges, but sometimes takes a little longer at the longest zoom. Still fast enough for most uses though. Unless you are shooting in bright light, you will need to tripod this baby for the longer ranges. It is not fast enough.
Here is a hand held shot, full zoom, minimal PP.
   
Senior Member

Registered: March, 2009
Location: Gouda, Netherlands
Posts: 168
Lens Review Date: March 12, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $80.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Internal zoom, good build,easy zoom
Cons: rotating frontlens, much CA, hunting autofocus when low light.

I like this lens because I got much for less money. It's sharp from 100 to 300, but with a little bit higher aperture like 6.7-8.0. I think this lens is the best budget lens to get when a 300 1:4 is to expensive. Other aspects are mentioned above.
Add Review of SMC Pentax-F 100-300mm F4.5-5.6



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