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Pentax Lens Review Database » Film Era Pentax K-Mount Lenses » F Prime Lenses
SMC Pentax-F 135mm F2.8 [IF] Review RSS Feed

SMC Pentax-F 135mm F2.8 [IF]

Reviews Views Date of last review
16 101,289 Sun February 14, 2021
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $319.44 9.56
SMC Pentax-F 135mm F2.8 [IF]

SMC Pentax-F 135mm F2.8 [IF]
SMC Pentax-F 135mm F2.8 [IF]

This fast short-telephoto lens features internal focusing (IF) and a built-in hood.

SMC Pentax-F 135mm F2.8 IF
©, sharable with attribution
Image Format
Full-frame / 35mm film
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
Yes (A setting)
Automatic, 9 blades
8 elements, 7 groups
Mount Variant
Check camera compatibility
Max. Aperture
Min. Aperture
AF (screwdrive)
Min. Focus
70 cm
Max. Magnification
Filter Size
52 mm
Internal Focus
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 12 ° / 10 °
Full frame: 18 ° / 15 °
Built-in, slide out
Lens Cap
Weather Sealing
Other Features
Diam x Length
68 x 80 mm (2.7 x 3.2 in.)
395 g (14 oz.)
Production Years
1987 to 1991
Engraved Name
smc PENTAX-F 1:2.8 135mm [IF]
Product Code
User reviews
Screwdrive AutofocusInternal FocusingBuilt-in HoodAperture RingAutomatic ApertureFull-Frame SupportDiscontinued
Price History:

Add Review of SMC Pentax-F 135mm F2.8 [IF]
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Site Supporter

Registered: October, 2008
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Posts: 7,717

4 users found this helpful
Review Date: February 14, 2021 Recommended | Price: $230.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Minimum focusing distance. Good build, optics and a nice sized lens.
Cons: Manual focusing.
Camera Used: Pentax K-Mount film bodies   

The F135/2.8 was released in 1987 and was Pentax’s first auto-focus 135mm prime. The F135/2.8 was available for sale alongside the older manual focus A135/2.8 (discontinued in 1989). The F135/2.8 remained in production until 1991, when it was replaced by the optically similar FA version.

The F135/2.8 has good optics even wide open, as well as a nice bokeh. So, no complaints here.

Focal Length:
The 135mm focal length is my favorite most used telephoto prime and was one of the “big three” primes that everyone had in their kit back in the film days. I’ve owned a 135mm prime since 1975 and use it for everything including close-up flower shots, portraits/statues, wildlife, building detail work & landscapes. Pentax killed off the 135mm prime in 2000 as faster and better zooms were made available and the introduction of the *istD cropped digital camera in 2003 made the focal length redundant. That’s a shame as it’s one of the most versatile of the short telephoto focal lengths on full frame.

For an auto-focus lens the build of the F135/2.8 is very good. It’s physically the same size as the FA version and has the same optical formula, but the F135/2.8 weighs 20 grams more. So, you know the F135/2.8 has more metal in it than the FA135/2.8 version.

The F135/2.8 is a nicely sized lens and does not weight too much, so it’s camera bag friendly. It’s also a well-balanced lens that will work on any sized camera that I own.

The F135/2.8 features “Internal Focusing” (IF), so this adds to its great overall handling. However, the manual focusing ring on the F135/2.8 is terrible and the biggest negative of this lens. I don’t do AF, so having just a tiny little focusing ring is a disappointment and makes this lens hard to manually focus.

The F135/2.8 has a minimum focusing distance of 0.7 meters, which is superb and is the best feature of this lens. You can get really nice and close to your subject, so this is a big plus.

The F135/2.8 has a 52mm filter ring and has a built-in lens hood. This is a nice feature, but the hood is a bit small when compared to the hoods of my other 135mm lenses that use clip-on or screw-in detached hoods. The F135/2.8 came with the S80-120 soft case.

F/2.8 is an average speed for a 135mm prime, Pentax had faster and slower versions, so this is a good compromise.

The F135/2.8 vs my other 135mm telephoto primes:
I also own the A*135/1.8, K135/2.5, K135/3.5 and the Super Takumar 135/3.5, this is how I rate the five against each other:

Optics/Bokeh: A*135/1.8, K135/2.5, F135/2.8, K135/3.5, Takumar 135/3.5
Speed: A*135/1.8, K135/2.5, F135/2.8, K135/3.5 & Takumar 135/3.5 tie
Minimum Focusing Distance: F135/2.8, A*135/1.8, K135/2.5 & K135/3.5 & Takumar 135/3.5 tie
Build: Takumar 135/3.5, A*135/1.8 & K135/2.5 & K135/3.5 tie, F135/2.8
Handling: K135/2.5 & F135/2.8 & K135/3.5 & Takumar 135/3.5 tie, A*135/1.8
Manual Focusing: A*135/1.8 & K135/2.5 & K135/3.5 & Takumar 135/3.5 tie, F135/2.8
Value: K135/2.5, K135/3.5 & Takumar 135/3.5 tie, F135/2.8, A*135/1.8

I would rank/rate them in this order: 1) A*135/1.8 – “Pentax Hall of Fame” 10, 2) K135/2.5 – 10, 3) F135/2.8 – 9, 4) K135/3.5 – 8, 5) Takumar 135/3.5 - 8.

I found my F135/2.8 in the used/consignment section of a local camera store when I was picking up some film, so naturally I had to rescue it and add it to my collection! It’s another superb Pentax 135mm prime and except for its manual focusing ranks up there with the best. Since Pentax does not have a newer version of the 135mm prime for its FF K-1 DSLR shooters, these old film 135mm primes will have to carry the banner. If you shoot FF then you need to try a 135mm prime like the F135/2.8, to see how versatile it is. For cropped shooters the 135mm focal length’s versatility is lost, so your loss.

I bought my F135/2.8 at a local camera store and got a good price of $300CDN, with a 30-day guarantee. The lens was in EXC+ condition and works perfectly, I purchased the case separately.

Sample shots taken with the F135/2.8. Photos are medium resolution scans from original slides and negatives. All shots were taken in Vancouver, Canada.

Camera: MZ-S Film: Kodak Ektachrome 100 ISO: 100

Camera: LX2000 Film: Ilford HP5 Plus ISO: 400

Camera: Z-1p Film: Kodak Pro Image 100 ISO: 100
Veteran Member

Registered: October, 2006
Location: Belgium
Posts: 476

2 users found this helpful
Review Date: April 11, 2020 Recommended | Price: $200.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharpness, Bokeh, AF,Handling
Cons: LoCa (Longitudal CA)
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 8    Camera Used: K-1, K-3   

After a long quest for this lens that I intend to use for concerts and stuff, I finally managed to locate one on When it arrived, it was in an ugly state, to the point I was concerned if it would be usable. My concerns quickly vanished when the first results appeared on the computer: it is a stellar performer. This copy shows a minor decentering to the left side, but it is minor and only visible @ f/2.8 (and only then when you pixelpeep.)

- Handling is great: compact and massive, but not too heavy, this lens balances well with both my K-1 and K-3. The integrated lens hood, while on the short side (like all integrated lens hoods) seems to be very effective in blocking stray lights. Although I read the other reviews about AF, it was a very nice surprise altogether: Autofocus is super precise and very fast. The screw-drive is audible but not annoyingly so. A very nice touch is the minimum focusing distance of 70cm, which enables semi macros up to 1:4 that is very usable and doesn't exhibit any sharpness degrading. Well done! The only minor side is the very small focussing ring (representative to the area in which it was launched.)
- This lens is bitingly sharp at the centre from f/2.8 all the way up to f/16 (have not yet been able to use it beyond that.) The edges are a bit softer but already very good at f/2.8 (and really excellent from f/5.6 on), the extreme corners are acceptably sharp wide open and become very good @ f/5.6. Contrast is always very good. All in all, there is no stopping you using this lens wide open (maybe only when shooting landscapes); the sweet spot is about f/5.6 - f/11, where this lens really shines and can compete with the best lenses out there. In any case, if the images don't turn out sharp, chances are that you are more to blame than the lens. It is really that good.
- Another really nice surprise is bokeh, which is buttery smooth wide open or stopped down.
- Distortion is unnoticeable, you will hardly ever see any pincushion distortion.
- The Achilles heel (also already noticed by others) is CA. Purple fringing will appear rather frequently in the edges and corners, especially at subjects with hard contrast. This is due to LoCa (Longitudinal Chromatic Abberation) which manifests itself in purple/green edges on ie. branches against the sky and is hard to get rid off in post. It gets better when stopped down to f/8-f/11, but even in these circumstances, it will still be noticeable.

All in all, I am very impressed with this lens and if it weren't for the CA, I would give it a ten without any consideration. If Pentax would update this lens (HD coatings, weather sealing, internal AF motor), I would buy it in a heartbeat. Very happy with this copy!
Senior Member

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

4 users found this helpful
Review Date: May 3, 2019 Recommended | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharpness and colours
Cons: noisy focus and focus ring
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-5 II   

Great sharpness, beautiful colors and a nice bokeh.
Some purple aberrations in situations of a lot of contrast, but that are compensated with their virtues.
It is also very usable, with a very moderate weight and measures.
A very recommended lens, really good.

New Member

Registered: April, 2015
Posts: 2
Review Date: May 28, 2015 Recommended | Rating: 10 

Pros: Fast Lens, Sharpness
Cons: Noisy AF
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-5   

Stumbled across this lens and used the feedback of this forum to purchase this lens. Love the focal length and IQ for portraits even wide open at F2.8. To me, not an everyday lens but, I can see me using for specific events.

Registered: July, 2013
Location: At a Starbucks, most likely!
Posts: 123

5 users found this helpful
Review Date: July 22, 2014 Recommended | Rating: 10 

Pros: IQ, AF, Close Focus, Metal Construction, Size
Cons: CA, noisy AF.
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 9    Camera Used: Pentax K-5iis   

I'm a huge Pentax F series fan, over the years i've collected some nice F-series primes. I've had always wanted the 135mm f2.8 and after a year of unproductive auction attempts I finally won one. I bought this lens in rough condition, I knew I'd never sell it, front element has scratches, marks and few chips but you wouldn't notice such issues from the amazing images it produces.. This lens arrived the same day as my much awaited and obscenely expensive Sigma EX DG 300mm f2.8. It took both lenses for an outing and although i shot with the sigma for over an hour on the way to my car i decided to give the Pentax a chance. I started with some flowers and i was amazed at the creamy, macro like bokeh it produced. Taking some pictures of Mallard ducks i noticed I was getting amazingly sharp pictures. The lens nails focus with its aggressive, loud screw drive operation. Although i expected the Sigma 300mm f2.8 to be the outstanding performer, the little Pentax performed flawlessly stealing the Sigma's thunder.

Autofocus on the Pentax was far more reliable then on the Sigma. CA was an issue on bright spots such as water droplets even at smaller apertures.

One reviewer complained about size and weight, but considering that this lens is as long (but marginally heavier) as the 18-55mm kit lens and doesn't extent i could not think of a better walk around short telephoto. People are intimidated when they see the Sigma EX 300mm f2.8, but the 135mm is so unassuming that I found it easier to take candid pictures without being overly noticed. I like the reach of the 135mm on a crop sensor, and with the K-5iis i can crop and still get good results,

The close focus distance is also very convenient. You can shoot portraits wide open from a couple of feet away with amazing bokeh and subject sepraration. This is a speed/bokeh monster without equal. This lens will stay by my side and when my Pentax DSLR is gone I'll still keep it as a souvenir. If Pentax were to make a modern version of this lens with HD coating and better CA control i'll buy it in a heartbeat. Highly Recommended 10/10

Buying advice: These lenses are sturdy, all metal construction. Dont be dismayed by scratches and small imperfections. As long as the optics are moderately clean this little gem will outlast your DSLR.

Flickr set:
Veteran Member

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

4 users found this helpful
Review Date: May 4, 2014 Recommended | Rating: 10 

Pros: Stunning sharpness fast and accurate AF Brilliant colours
Cons: rarity perhaps CA but PP sorts that out fast
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K30   

This is a rare beauty.

I managed to stumble across one for I price that I cannot share. If I did it would cause a riot

The reach is simply amazing on a cropped sensor (200mm). Add a 1.5X teleconverter and you get even more reach with almost NO IQ loss (Kenko Teleconverter 1.5X DG - another rare beauty).

It is on the heavy side but I like that. Balances well with the camera and actually improves handling.

Colours are very fine indeed. Contrast is excellent. Sharpness compelling. A little CA but that disappears the moment you wave Photoshop near it

I'll let the photos exhibit the genius this lens is

New Member

Registered: February, 2013
Posts: 3
Review Date: February 10, 2013 Recommended | Price: $270.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Autofocus, bokeh and sharpness at f2.8, manufacturing
Cons: Aberrations, vignetting at wider apertures
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K5   

Excellent 135mm, focal length is really interesting for the portrait.
The results are truly amazing at f/2.8 although under certain conditions chromatic aberrations are present. Past f/4 is really impeccable and sharpness is amazing. The construction of the lens is magic, metal is really something other than plastic !
But the pictures speak louder than words ...

Bokeh at f2.8

Sharpness at f4

More examples here
Veteran Member

Registered: December, 2009
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 309
Review Date: August 28, 2012 Recommended | Price: $550.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Size, sharpness colors, generally good bokeh
Cons: Bad PF at wider apertures
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 8    Camera Used: Pentax K-r   

I haven't had this lens too long but figured I can contribute some here.

First, the one main negative of this lens is purple fringing. Pretty much at f/2.8-4.5 if you have branches, fence posts, any other thin object in front of a bright sky, you're gonna get PF. I haven't really come up with a successful way to fully remove this in post. I have successfully fixed some less-pronounced PF in other parts of images.

Now, the good: this lens is really great at medium distance portraits where your subject is close enough that you're not approaching infinity. Then it's nice and sharp but gives you good separation from background. These were all at f/4 (and hey, no fringing!)

Other aspects: it's pretty much all metal best I can tell. Has a nice little built-in hood that slides out. AF is quick without much hunting. It's not nearly as loud as my F 70-210/4-5.6 but it's louder than my small primes (DA35/2.4 & FA50/1.4) which I suppose is to be expected since the focus group on this lens probably weighs more. MF is kind of loose and the focus ring isn't very big but this is common for (perhaps too) many AF lenses.
Senior Member

Registered: February, 2011
Posts: 274
Review Date: July 24, 2012 Recommended | Price: $545.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: fast and accurate focus, build quality, f/2.8, great image quality
Cons: none (slightly noisy focus does not bother me at all)
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-5   

I have been looking for an excellent lens for the portrait photography. I have tried Sigma 85mm f/1.4, but its inconsistent auto focus made me return the lens. I know that 135mm on crop camera would be a little long for portrait, but to me it is not a real problem, I may step back several meters. But instead, I would have nicer bokeh with this focal length.
I am so amazed at its fast auto focus. It is as fast as my Sigma 50mm HSM prime. And the most important thing here is that it focus very accurately.
So far I am very happy with its performance. It was lucky that I got this lens from ebay for only about $545, great deal.

taken with SMC f 135mm by ngnhuhiep, on Flickr

HIEP4864 by ngnhuhiep, on Flickr

HIEP4866 copy by ngnhuhiep, on Flickr

HIEP4939 by ngnhuhiep, on Flickr

HIEP4943 copy by ngnhuhiep, on Flickr

HIEP4961 copy by ngnhuhiep, on Flickr
Veteran Member

Registered: December, 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 351

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: May 8, 2011 Recommended | Rating: 10 

Pros: quick AF, IQ, DOF control, build quality, internal focus
Cons: small amount of PF

This is simply an amazing lens. Super compact, auto focus is as quick as many say, build quality is excellent. The internal focus is nice, as the lens always stays the same size. It's a lot of fun to shoot with, and I've gotten many images I love with it in a short time.

New Member

Registered: June, 2010
Location: pisa
Posts: 3
Review Date: June 9, 2010 Recommended | Price: $400.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: sharp, build, price

Very solid, quick but noisy af. For me, comparable at limited or star lens at a fraction price. One word: amazing
Veteran Member

Registered: September, 2007
Location: Dayton, Ohio
Posts: 2,978

2 users found this helpful
Review Date: September 7, 2009 Recommended | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, smooth bokeh and fast AF
Cons: Slightly noisy AF, PF

IMO this lens is comparable to my FA limiteds, the FA77 and the FA43, except the pixie dust of the limiteds. Also, it is not as fast as them. I'll just post some images.

New Member

Registered: July, 2008
Location: Queensland Australia
Posts: 8
Review Date: August 26, 2008 Recommended | Rating: 9 

Pros: f2.8, contrasty and sparp
Cons: large and heavy

Another I saved from the dumpster at work. I have used it in all sorts of situations where I thought 135mm would be too long but the f2.8 makes it worth carting around.
Senior Member

Registered: December, 2007
Location: Denmark
Posts: 146
Review Date: August 25, 2008 Recommended | Price: $200.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: IQ, build, focus speed
Cons: none

This is a wonderful lens. I use it wide open with no hesitation, it is sharp and contrasty. I have had the lens for almost a year, and have still not seen CA/PF, not even at 2.8.

AF is very fast and precise, but a bit noisy. The lens is built like a tank, all metal exept for the focus ring.

The only reason for not giving it a 10 is that OOF highlights could be rendered slightly better/smoother.

I believe it is optically identical to the FA version, so this review goes for that one too.
New Member

Registered: November, 2007
Location: Sewickley PA 15143
Posts: 1
Review Date: January 3, 2008 Recommended | Price: $280.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: All Metal, Internal Focusing
Cons: just a tad loud when focusing

I found this lens on ebay and took the plunge. a Mostly metal, solid feeling lens that focuses quickly, sharply, abeit a bit loudly. Very please with the lens
Add Review of SMC Pentax-F 135mm F2.8 [IF]

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