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

SMC Pentax-F 100mm F2.8 Macro

Reviews Views Date of last review
13 99,720 Sat April 10, 2021
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $253.62 9.62
SMC Pentax-F 100mm F2.8 Macro

SMC Pentax-F 100mm F2.8 Macro
SMC Pentax-F 100mm F2.8 Macro

This was the first in a series of 100mm autofocus macro lenses from Pentax. The subsequent versions (FA, D FA) have the same optical formula. The optics are seated that far from the front that no separate lens hood is required.

SMC Pentax-F 100mm F2.8 Macro
©, sharable with attribution
Image Format
Full-frame / 35mm film
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
Yes (A setting)
Automatic, 8 blades
9 elements, 8 groups
Mount Variant
Check camera compatibility
Max. Aperture
Min. Aperture
AF (screwdrive)
Min. Focus
31 cm
Max. Magnification
Filter Size
58 mm
Internal Focus
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 16 ° / 14 °
Full frame: 24 ° / 20 °
Lens Cap
Weather Sealing
Other Features
Focus Range Limiter
Diam x Length
74 x 104 mm (2.9 x 4.1 in.)
590 g (20.9 oz.)
Production Years
1987 to 1991
Engraved Name
smc PENTAX-F 1:2.8 100mm MACRO
Product Code
User reviews
Screwdrive AutofocusAperture RingAutomatic ApertureFull-Frame SupportDiscontinued
Sample Photos: View Sample Photos
Price History:

Add Review of SMC Pentax-F 100mm F2.8 Macro
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Site Supporter

Registered: October, 2008
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Posts: 7,620
Lens Review Date: April 10, 2021 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $275.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Excellent optics & build. 1.0x magnification.
Cons: Poor manual focusing.
Camera Used: Pentax K-Mount film bodies   

The F100/2.8 Macro was released in 1987 and was a direct replacement for the A100/2.8 Macro. The F100/2.8 Macro remained in production until 1991 and was replaced by the optically identical FA100/2.8 Macro. The F100/2.8 is the first Pentax auto-focus 100mm macro.

Stellar optics! The F100/2.8 Macro also features Fixed Rear Element Extension (FREE). The nine elements in eight groups, is the same optical formula Pentax uses today in the D FA version of this macro lens.

Focal Length:
The 100mm focal length allows for a decent working distance when doing macro work, so itís a lot better than the shorter 50mm version. Though doing 1.0x magnification in the field, handheld, is still not easy. I find most of my shots are around .25x to .5x magnification, when Iím shooting handheld outdoors. This is also a great focal length for portrait, landscape or detail work.

The F100/2.8 Macro is a well-built lens almost on par with any older Takumar/K/M series lens that I own. Excellent for an auto-focus lens!

The F100/2.8 Macro is on the big side, but still usable hand-held. The big issue is that the manual focus ring is too small and in the wrong location, so when balancing the lens hand-held you tend to accidentally touch the ring just when tripping the shutter. Auto-focus is something Iíll never use on this lens and the focus limiter is also located it a spot where a larger focusing ring should be. The F100/2.8 Macroís distance/magnification scale is OK, considering itís an AF lens. Overall, the handling is on the clunky side for a 100mm macro lens when hand-holding and manual focusing. Using the F100/2.8 on a tripod improves things somewhat and for me thatís the best way to use it.

The F100/2.8 Macro has a 58mm filter ring and requires no hood, due to the deeply recessed front element. The F100/2.8 Macro came with the S80-160 soft case.

F/2.8 is now the standard for Pentax Macro lenses, so itís fast enough for most lighting situations.

The F100/2.8 Macro has 1.0x magnification, which is a must have for me in the 100mm macro focal length. The higher magnification is something I use regularly with this lens and almost never on a 50mm macro

The F100/2.8 Macro vs my other 100mm macro lenses:
I also own the K100/4 & A100/2.8 macro, this is how I rate the three against each other:

Optics: All three have different optical formulas, but are equally sharp, so a three-way tie.
Speed: F100/2.8 & A100/2.8 are the fastest and the K100/4 is the slowest.
Magnification: The F100/2.8 & A100/2.8 have 1.0x magnification. The K100/4 only has 0.5x magnification.
Minimum Focusing Distance: F100/2.8 & A100/2.8 are tied, K100/4 comes in last.
Build: The K100/4 & A100/2.8 are slightly better and the F100/2.8 is just behind.
Handling: The K100/4 & A100/2.8 are tied for the best, the F100/2.8 comes in last because of its poor manual focusing.
Value: The K100/4 is the best value for what I paid for it, the F100/2.8 comes in second and the A100/2.8 is on the pricey side due to it being a rare lens.

Overall, it comes down to poor manual focusing on the F100/2.8 from giving it a perfect 10. I rated the A100/2.8 Macro a 10, the K100/4 Macro a 9 and will give the F100/2.8 Macro a 9.5, rounded down to a 9.

The F100/2.8 Macro is another great Pentax macro lens; itís extremely sharp, has 1.0x magnification and is well built. However in Pentaxís mad rush to get the F Series auto-focus lenses & SF Series cameras out in 1987 so they could "keep up with the Joneses", they seem to have forgotten manual focusing might still be used by some people. As a result the A100/2.8 Macro is a better all-purpose lens for hand-holding or travelling with, but on a tripod both lenses are pretty well equal.

I bought my F100/2.8 Macro on Forum and itís in EXC+ condition, I paid $275USD.

Sample shots taken with the F100/2.8 Macro. Photos are medium resolution scans from original slides and negatives.

Camera: Z-1p Film: Kodak Ektachrome 100 ISO: 100

Camera: Z-1p Film: Kodak Ektachrome 100 ISO: 100

Camera: LX2000 Film: Kodak Portra 400 ISO: 400

Camera: LX2000 Film: Kodak Portra 400 ISO: 400

Camera: KX Film: Ilford FP4 Plus ISO: 125
New Member

Registered: December, 2020
Posts: 1
Lens Review Date: December 6, 2020 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 9 

Pros: sharp, colors (subjective), F-Lens quality
Cons: heavy, like all F-Lenses pretty ugly, focus ring, some aberrations
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 7    Value: 8    Camera Used: K-70   

Disclaimer: I did only use this lens for about an hour.

Besides the 28mm and the 70-210 this is my third F-Lens now.
Got it for around 9000Yen(80$?) with dirt and heavy fungus in it. First lens I ever cleaned, took me a whole day but now I got me a real (1:1) macro lens. Clean and in good shape you might have to pay around 300$ for it (Autumn/Winter 2020).
Wonít take it on most of my hikes though, because of what I read and saw, it really seems to be week to humidity.

It really feels very heavy and sturdy in my hands. I can feel the build-quality in my hands.
Focus Limiter comes in handy and the ability to manually focus too. (The newer 100mm 2.8 is AF only afaik).
For my untrained eye it might be the sharpest of the F-Lenses I own.

What I donít like about it is that
1) I might be too afraid to take it out in the bad weather
2) the Aperture-Ring feels so plastic-y. However, to be fair, every M, A or F-Lens post-Takumar seems to have a lack of quality there. The ring is not smooth and feels cheap, though, you might just set it on Auto and control it through the camera and donít worry about it.

I actually wanted to sell it after cleaning to make some money but it seems like I will take my time to think about it.

Some test shots, all straight out of camera:

Junior Member

Registered: March, 2015
Posts: 41
Lens Review Date: April 18, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $200.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very sharp
Cons: Weight
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Camera Used: k30   

Amazing lens! Not so easy to find but if you grab it! AF is not really useful.
I will raccomend it!
Senior Member

Registered: May, 2017
Location: VallŤs Occidental
Posts: 139

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 7, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 10 

Pros: Colours, IQ and sharpness
Cons: Focusing ring and focus noisy
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 9    Camera Used: K-5II   

It's probably the best lens I have. I am a lover of the Pentax F series.

Some of my photos posted here:
Veteran Member

Registered: February, 2012
Location: Fredericton, New Brunswick
Posts: 632
Lens Review Date: September 30, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $0.35 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, Well Built, Has Focus Limiter
Cons: Out of Production
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-5   

Stellar build quality, AF speed is more than tolerable and sharpness is insane. Will likely upload some sample shots at a later date.
Site Supporter

Registered: July, 2012
Posts: 928

8 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 25, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 10 

Pros: Vivid Colours, sharpness and a good all-rounder, not just macros
Cons: Heavy, narrow focus ring
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-3   

The F 100mm f2.8 Macro lies somewhere in the middle of a run of exceptional 100mm Macro lenses from the Super Multi-Coated Macro Takumar 100mm f4 to the latest D FA 100mm 2.8 Macro WR. They are all sharp lenses, with excellent reputations, so what, if anything, distinguishes the F-series version from the others?

Having read the reviews and seen the photos, I think one word (spelt in different ways) sums up the USP of this particular lens: Colour. It delivers vibrant and dynamic colours for the camera's sensor - something shared with other F-series lenses that have a very loyal following among users. And that's why I purchased one, after a long search. Plus the fact that a second hand F 100mm Macro is currently cheaper than a new D FA, and is a relatively rare lens that should hold its value.

Below is one of the first photos I took with the lens - the giant lily. From the start it was clear this really is a special lens in terms of colour rendering. It's good not just for macros, flying bugs and butterflies, but also landscapes and portraits. Someone wrote to ask me if the lens suffers from PF like their D FA 100mm. I've never tried the D FA, but my F 100mm is not too bad at PF. In bright, over exposed close ups, bees antenna can turn purple (for instance), and wide open and at longer distances the lens does some "fill ins" of bright pin-lights with modest purple. But nothing like my purple monsters - the K 135/2.5 or Tamron zoom macro.

The lens is super-sharp. However, I'd have to say that the lens is not as easy to use nor as convenient for ultra-close-ups as a 50 macro, and possibly does not have the epic close-up sharpness of my Macro Takumar 50/4 preset. The 100mm's dof at 2.8 is stupidly narrow, and it's not always appropriate to stop down to get better dof control - because the strong well defined background/colours can swamp the image.

The AF is useful, and easy and very fast when it locks onto the right object. But it's noisy and while the focus limiter is good for long distance, it is far less effective for macros. It takes time to get used to the ridiculously small focus ring.

The F 100mm is a big beast - heavy and bulky. Also, it's not weather sealed, and as a result, some F 100mm have fungus (something to watch out for) - from being used outside in damp conditions I guess.

One piece of advice: you should work out why and how you'll use the lens before buying it, and look at the alternatives, not just at 100mm. Having used both a 50mm Macro and 100mm Macro for a month each on a Single In challenge, the much smaller and lighter Takumar 50mm is the one that will travel with me more often on Macro shoots, and I personally prefer 50mm for very close up shots. The F 100mm will see more service as a specialist macro lens where extra reach is key; for portraits and visits to colourful gardens/events, as a walk-around long I remain strong enough to lug it around.

Overall, it's a superb piece of optical engineering.

Here's a link to my photos from the F 100 Macro on Flickr.

Site Supporter

Registered: December, 2011
Location: Bronx NY
Posts: 340

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: November 30, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 10 

Pros: IQ, autofocus
Cons: narrow focus ring, weight
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 9    Camera Used: k-5   

I've had the F, FA, and DFA versions of the 100mm macro. Whereas the FA was a bit lighter and made of plastic, there is a weight to the F that surprised me (maybe because it's made of metal... don't let the grey color fool you, this is a hefty metal beast). It feels solid when mounted on my k-5.

It's the same optical formula as the FA, and produces spectacular results, though the colors tend to be a bit more dynamic. It has the same focus limiter as the FA, though it doesn't have the clamp (not that I ever knew what to do with the FA's clamp anyway). I'm not sure about the exact optical formula of the DFA version, but I couldn't tell a difference regarding sharpness, CA, vignetting, etc. It was so good I eventually traded the DFA version, sold the FA and kept the F.

The most impressive part of this lens has been the decisive nature of the autofocus. It locks without searching, and when it locks, it locks faster than any other lens I've ever had.

All in all, a pretty amazing lens that, if you have a chance to buy at a reasonable price, you should. It delivers great macro results that are equivalent to many of the more modern lenses.
Senior Member

Registered: February, 2011
Posts: 274

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: August 23, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 10 

Pros: sharp, build quality, great IQ, good feeling to hold
Cons: small focusing ring
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-5   

I owner D-FA 100mm WR before but I sold it. But recently I find myself more interested in Macro, so I need real Macro lens.
This lens has AF performance much faster than DFA lens. I have no complaint on its IQ. Some one may say this lens is heavy. It depends. I own Tamron 70-200mm F2.8, so this lens's weight is just nothing to me. I feel very comfortable to hold this F 100mm lens in hand.

Here is some test shots that I wish to share.

HIEP5041 copy by ngnhuhiep, on Flickr

HIEP5048 copy by ngnhuhiep, on Flickr
Senior Member

Registered: February, 2011
Posts: 118
Lens Review Date: June 24, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $500.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: sharpness, rendering, build quality
Cons: very rare
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-5   

This is a rare lens compared to the FA and DFA versions. Maybe that's why the reviews are scant.

Difficult to find one in excellent condition due to its age and rarity. Older F lenses tend to be popular due to subjective preferences; i.e. amount "pixie dust" , color of coating (deeper purple), and perhaps material composition of optics.

The lens has a unique rendering quality to it, different from modern digital lenses.
Forum Member

Registered: September, 2011
Location: Colestin, OR
Posts: 79
Lens Review Date: April 28, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $200.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Very sharp, very solid
Cons: heavy
Sharpness: 9    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 6    Handling: 8    Value: 9    Camera Used: K10,20,5   

This is a very nice long lens, super-sharp, very solid. The narrow focus ring doesn't bother me. I bought mine used in a camera shop in Tokyo for less than $200.
Inactive Account

Registered: February, 2011
Location: Bretagne
Posts: 3
Lens Review Date: February 7, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 9 

Pros: Well built, aperture, macro
Cons: Noisy autofocus !

Good resolution even wide-opened, the contrast is very good. Pictures taken with are really beautiful.
The range of the focus can be limited from 0,306m to 0,7m for macro, and limited from 0,7 to infinite to be used as a standard tele-objective lens.
Negative points : The focus is very noisy, and it hardly focus a point in dark conditions. That's why I rate a 9 and not a 10.
Forum Member

Registered: June, 2007
Location: MalmŲ, Sweden
Posts: 93
Lens Review Date: August 18, 2007 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $300.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: The IQ
Cons: The narrow focus ring

This lens produces beutiful pictures. There is three things with this lens that I would like to see improved...the narrow focus ring, the lack of focus limiter and the weigth. But of these onle the narrow focus ring is a real problem. If you can find one of these pick it up.
New Member

Registered: September, 2006
Location: Dallas, TX, USA
Posts: 21

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 8, 2007 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $300.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Well constructed lens that takes amazingly clear macro pictures and is very easy to use on any K mount SLR
Cons: It is H E A V Y

For a long time, I have be juryrigging my kit to take individual flower photos. When I saw this lens on clearance, I snapped it up.

None of my previous shots come anywhere near the clarity of what this lens produces. I should have bought it when it first came out.

Larry in Dallas
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