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SMC Pentax-F 70-210mm F4-5.6 Review RSS Feed

SMC Pentax-F 70-210mm F4-5.6

Sharpness 
 8.5
Aberrations 
 7.9
Bokeh 
 8.6
Autofocus 
 7.8
Handling 
 7.7
Value 
 9.6
Reviews Views Date of last review
46 222,576 Sun January 20, 2019
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
98% of reviewers $90.95 8.49
SMC Pentax-F 70-210mm F4-5.6
supersize


Description:
The Pentax-F 70-210mm is a compact but solidly built lens with a 49mm filter diameter. However, it has variable aperture, unlike its A-series predecessor. It has no dedicated macro setting but even then it reaches a respectable 0.25x magnification at the long end. This lens is an extraordinary good value.



SMC Pentax-F 70-210mm F4-5.6
© 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
13 elements, 9 groups
Mount Variant
KAF
Check camera compatibility
Max. Aperture
F4-5.6
Min. Aperture
F32-45
Focusing
AF (screwdrive)
Quick-shift
No
Min. Focus
110 cm
Max. Magnification
0.25x
Filter Size
49 mm
Internal Focus
No
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 23-7.9 ° / 19-6.5 °
Full frame: 34-12 ° / 29-9.8 °
Hood
RH-RB 49mm
Case
S80-160
Lens Cap
Plastic clip-on
Coating
SMC
Weather Sealing
No
Other Features
Rotating Front Element
Diam x Length
71 x 99 mm (2.8 x 3.9 in.)
Weight
555 g (19.6 oz.)
Production Years
1987 to 1991
Engraved Name
smc PENTAX-F ZOOM 1: 4-5.6 70-210mm
Product Code
27357
Reviews
User reviews
Features:
Screwdrive AutofocusAperture RingAutomatic ApertureFull-Frame SupportDiscontinued
Price History:



Add Review of SMC Pentax-F 70-210mm F4-5.6
Author:
Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-15 of 46
Pentaxian

Registered: June, 2007
Location: Near Algonquin Park
Posts: 33,664

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: January 20, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $30.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Compact, lightweight for it's range. acceptable performance
Cons: Noisey and clunky focus, aberrations

I was inspired to go out an snap a few more F 70-210 images using the K-1.

Not bad in the long end but not spectacular. As is typical of this type of lens, as the barrel goes longer the lens gets less sharp.
2018-F-70-210-210mm-woodpile by Norm Head, on Flickr

Nothing wrong with it at 70mm
2018-F-70-210-70mm-woodpile by Norm Head, on Flickr

2018-F-70-210-cabin by Norm Head, on Flickr

The out of focus areas aren't the smoothest, but it is 8.
2018-F-70-210-chickadee-3 by Norm Head, on Flickr

2018-F-70-210-chickadee-2 by Norm Head, on Flickr

This one near the closest focusing distance... really, not bad at all.
2018-F-70-210-chickadee-1 by Norm Head, on Flickr

It is noisey and when it locks focus it will almost break your wrist with a loud "ka thunk", but if you're looking for a budget lens it's one of the best. I doubt you'll find a better FF telephoto for the price.
   
Forum Member

Registered: September, 2011
Location: sunpic.lt
Posts: 82

10 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: June 9, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $100.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: price, size, weight, filter thread
Cons: Focus is a bit noisy, especially dramatic with AFC
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: K1   

I would save the words and let pictures speak for themselves. The only thing I could add is - this is very underestimated legacy lens, something similar to canon 70-200 F4 L.



















   
New Member

Registered: January, 2017
Posts: 1
Lens Review Date: March 8, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $30.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: FF compatible, decent image quality at low cost
Cons: Noisy AF (when it hunts)
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: Pentax K-5, Pentax K-1   

While saving money for a DFA* 70-200 F2.8 in the near future, I'm using this Pentax-F 70-210 lens on my K1 as a temporary low cost solution.
It serves as a kind of 'filling the gap lens' for my beloved FF prime lenses (FA 50 1.4 and FA* 200 2.8).

For a Pentax-F lens produced in the 35mm film era about 25-30 years ago, the image quality is very decent.
Considering the price ($30) I paid for it, I'm more than happy with it.

Here are examples taken a while back with my K5:

Taken at 135mm, F8.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/65545813@N07/32386742064/in/photostream/

Taken at 210mm, F10.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/65545813@N07/33181056981/in/photostream/

Taken at 210mm, F10. Bokeh is quite nice too.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/65545813@N07/33230976555/in/photostream/

For me, the main thing I don't like about this lens is its rotating front element (while focusing) which make the use of a CP filter impossible.

I bought this lens as part of 3 lenses listed below, paid 110 for the lot, worth every cent to me!

SMC Pentax-K 85mm F1.8
SMC Pentax-F 24-50mm F4
SMC Pentax-F 70-210mm F4-5.6

Therefore, the estimated price of $30 for the Pentax-F 70-210mm.
($40 for the Pentax-F 24-50mm and $50 for the Pentax-K 85mm)
   
Veteran Member

Registered: October, 2014
Location: Washington
Posts: 2,177
Lens Review Date: December 31, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $55.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Range, Color, Sharpness
Cons: Slow aperture
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 9    Camera Used: K5 and K3   

When photographing a shooting event I used to carry a Tamron 80-200 f2.8. I bought this little gem and ended up selling my Tamron. In bright light it does everything I want it to. Here are some samples shot straight to .jpg.

IMGP2718 by teamrimfire, on Flickr
K3, f/8, 1/125 sec, ISO 100, -.3 step, 155mm

IMGP2748 by teamrimfire, on Flickr
K3, f/8, 1/400 sec, ISO 100, -.3 step, 110mm

IMGP2880 by teamrimfire, on Flickr
K3, f/16, 1/125 sec, ISO 100, -.3 step, 70mm

PMET3742 by teamrimfire, on Flickr
K5, f/5.6, 1/125 sec, ISO 200, 100mm
   
Junior Member

Registered: January, 2011
Posts: 39
Lens Review Date: December 29, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $25.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: fast auto focus
Cons: noisy, slow aperture

this lens is a hidden gem as its auto focus is way quicker than my da* 16-50 and 55 1.4. Image quality is not bad at all. A must own lens for small budget people like me.

   
New Member

Registered: May, 2016
Posts: 8
Lens Review Date: June 26, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $56.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Price and Focal Length
Cons: Max focus distance is way too short and the cheap feel
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 6    Handling: 4    Value: 10    Camera Used: K5   

This is a good entry telephoto lens with a couple shortcomings. I have found the ideal application for this lens is portrait type photography. This lens is simply not useable for sports, wildlife, or landscape pictures because it lacks infinite focus (at least my copy) with a maximum focusing distance of a paltry 20 ish meters. The other major shortcoming is the poor plastic construction of the focusing ring (which is tiny by the way). I also had the front element fall out of the lens, It was luckily on grass and screwed back in later that evening. I will give a couple of good examples of where this lens shines. All photos were shot RAW and contain no lens corrections in lightroom to provide acurate samples. Most have been taken one stop from wide open. Take in mind any compression due to these photos being a web upload.


This picture was taken at F5.6 at 100mm, The original file was very sharp, with the glasses and hair clearly defined.


This picture was taken at F5.6 at 70mm, another sharp picture with good details.


This picture was taken at F5.6 at 70mm, good depth of field with out of focus details rendered smoothly. Pretty Sharp as well.


This picture was taken at F8 at 210mm. This was where I found out this lens lacks infinite focus, I could only capture images when the players were only feet from the sideline.

Even if you take into account where this lens can not perform, It is still worth the buy. This lens is an incredible value at $56. I have seen it listed for more, sometimes even over $100, but I would steer clear or buy something more versatile and well built. I would totally recommend the purchase at around $50. This has been a great lens to add to the collection, a definite 7-8/10.
   
Pentaxian

Registered: December, 2012
Location: Blenheim
Posts: 587
Lens Review Date: February 29, 2016 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: $75.00 | Rating: 6 

 
Pros: Cheap, robust, reasonably sharp
Cons: Awful SA (white fringing), AF hunts
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 3    Autofocus: 5    Handling: 8    Value: 8    Camera Used: K-50   

I purchased a used copy of this lens with high expectations after reading many reviews.
The copy I received looked to be in reasonable condition for its age, but IQ is a totally different story.

Sharpness is good but not exceptional.

The lens is actually not bad in situations without bright edges, but it suffers from horrible spherical aberrations (white fringing) below about F10 whenever there are strong highlights.

The lens is heavy, but robust. Zoom is acceptable, however manual focus ring is very small and not ideal.

AF tends to hunt, is noisy and sometimes it feels as though the lens is being hit by a hammer when it is focusing.

If you can avoid using this lens in situations with strong white highlights or can stop it down to F10 or more, it's quite good value for money, however due to severe white fringing around bright highlights, I wouldn't recommend it if you have access to a better zoom in the same range.

I also have a kit 50-200 DA-L, and I'd consider the F 70-200 slightly sharper at wider apertures, however any increase in sharpness is more than offset by the terrible white fringing around bright objects, the DA-L is much lighter, and IQ is as good if not better once both lenses are stopped down.
   
Site Supporter

Registered: June, 2014
Location: Paris region, France
Posts: 135

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 13, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $55.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Value for money, colour rendering, quick AF, cool looks...
Cons: Front element turns with focus, some PF, noisy AF
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 5    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-50   

I sold my DA 50-200 a month ago in order to get this lens (and some other oldies...), basically because I really like legacy Pentax glass. I don't have much to add that has not already been said in its praise. Looking forward to a lasting relationship (and counting on Lightroom to take care of the PF).

A seagull at Etretat, Normandy, France; 135mm, 1/2000, f/4,5


A cliff at Etretat, Normandy, France; 190mm, 1/250, f/7,1
   
Veteran Member

Registered: November, 2010
Location: New Berlin, WI
Posts: 519

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: December 14, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $120.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Price, good IQ
Cons: A ugly lens
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-x, K-5   

I had a copy of the SMC-F 70-210 for a while with my K-x and K-5, and took many pictures with it. Not bad at all. Actually an excellent value. Capable of above average IQ.
I recommend 135mm wide open for portrait. It really is crisp with a pleasing bokeh. It is 10x cheaper than the 50-135 but certainly not 10x less capable. The best 70-210 $100 can buy.
   
Veteran Member

Registered: August, 2013
Posts: 1,457
Lens Review Date: December 14, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $40.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Low price , quite sharp , good build
Cons: Hunts too much in AF , very Ugly
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: K30 , K3   

I just picked this lens up on Ebay for $40. Its ugly !
However I heard positive things so figured why not give it a try.
There is a bit of flair on lightly colored objects , but nothing too bad.
Its quite sharp in the middle ranges with aperatures of 8-11 , and also quite sharp on the wide end at f4 which comes in handy.
Autofocus is spot on in enough light , but if it doesnt nail it right the first time there is alot of hunting.
Overall its a very good lens even compared to new designs and can hold its own.
Nice and heavy with a solid feel.
Manual focus is almost a joke. The ring is tiny and this lens is loud and very clunky.
Im going to give it a thorough workout on the K30 and K3 before giving a final call on it , and will post my findins here in detail.
Its a keeper for now.....but man is it ugly and loud !
   
Pentaxian

Registered: March, 2010
Location: Vermont
Posts: 865

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: September 28, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $100.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, sharp, sharp!!!
Cons: Rotating front element, somewhat heavy
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-30   

This lens is one of the sharpest lenses I have. It's a little heavy, but the IQ in my opinion trumps the inconvenience. Focusing is fast, and usually very precise. Overall, an excellent lens that I don't think I'll ever part with (unless I purchase the Tamron 70-200 2.8 someday). IQ id say is between the pentax SMC 55-300 and the Tamron 70-200 2.8.

Here is a shot, with a little post processing in light room.


IMGP3340.jpg by dcarman75, on Flickr
   
New Member

Registered: July, 2012
Location: Perth, Australia
Posts: 17

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: September 22, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $129.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: weight, size, reasonably sharp, fast focus
Cons: bit noisy
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 6    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 7    Value: 8    Camera Used: K5IIs   

I do not give away 9's or 10's to old lenses that do not compete with modern high quality digital era lenses, so at a 8 this thing is fairly handy

I generally agree as per below. But it's surprisingly small in size to me, not a lightweight, it's quite a bit shorter than the DA55-300, whilst just a fraction heavier. I can't get over that this is Full frame, just a smaller aperture than the big f2.8's, so not such a tank !!!

Feels very nicely balanced and looks perfect on the front of a modern K5IIs or Kx. Very Sturdy construction.

I have tested it alongside the 55-300 and at 210, it's very similar in IQ. But at 70 and 135mm it seems to be in it's sweet spot, rather sharp and has have nice edge to edge sharpness at f5.6. reminiscent of my FA 28-105. Colours are very nice, rich and warm, so it seems to perform similar to or above a modern kit lens in terms of sharpness but shows those typical , F or FA traits of keeping more consistent in edge to edge performance compared to the DA 18-55 whilst on a crop sensor camera. These lenses seem to work really well on aps-c.

Auto Focus...... very quick and snappy, (almost violent -super torquey)

Having one of these, gives you something 'ready to rock' when the (now, more promising) FF arrives. It would be a pity putting an old lens on a great FF sensor, but it's a worthy starter.

It's not going to win any low light competitions, but as a cheap and cheerful sports, portrait and general use lens, it's pretty good value for money and worth having if you can find a decent one. It is what it is, a very decent FF film era lens, however, in the right hands I think it's capable of some very respectable results.

It just seems to fit like a glove and look like a weapon on the K5/3 style cameras and balances beautifully.

So, what are you getting ? A solidly built, noisy but very quick screw drive driven AF which hunts a little bit when subject lacking contrast. Has at least as good optical performance as similar digital specific aps-c lenses if not overall better, due to very good edge to edge performance. I'm not sure if perhaps centre sharpness may be less than a new lens but overall sharpness gives you that feel that its fairly special.

Looks and feels a little antiquated, but a real gem.
   
Veteran Member

Registered: April, 2011
Location: Chicago Area
Posts: 366

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: June 26, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $75.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Very sharp, fast AF, nice bokeh
Cons: Heavy, loud AF, poor manual focus, not pretty

My curiosity got spiked when I came across some comments on the internet http://www.stans-photography.info/ The website has a lot of comments by Pentax photographers on older Pentax lenses up through FA. Some of the comments on the 70-210 was "It's by far the best optically among its peers ", and " . . one of the best lenses Pentax ever made . . "...

Picked one up on fleabay, and compared to my HD 55-300. At 70 and 135mm HD is slightly sharper in the center than the F. Stopped down one ore more stops, the F is better in the sides and corners, and the are the same in the center. At 210mm they are identical in the center, but the F is a good deal sharper in the corners. The HD has slightly more contrast.

With 9 blades it produces a very nice bokeh, though I have not done a controlled comparison.

The F is noticeable (1.5x or more?) faster at autofocusing than the 55-300. Mind you - it is much louder, but definitely much faster.

It is heavier than and almost as big as the 55-300, though the 49mm filter thread is nice. The manual focus ring is pathetic, but other than that the build is nice. It obviously misses the wider focal range of the 55-300, but then it is Full Frame - may come in handy one of these days .

This lens is a GREAT alternative to the more expensive 55-300. I suspect that it optically will perform much better than the DA 50-200, but it is of course much bigger and heavier. If we ever get a full frame Pentax, I would guess the price of this lens will increase, since it might become the best lower cost FF tele zoom available
   
New Member

Registered: January, 2014
Posts: 4
Lens Review Date: May 11, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $60.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Bokeh, Colour, Value for money.
Cons: Heavy, Noisy.
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-30   

My first telephoto zoom lens. I picked this up cheap from eBay not expecting much but man was I surprised ! For the price I paid this thing blew me away. It's heavy though, and hunts around loudly focusing when light is a little scarce. Apart from that it seems like the perfect beginners (aka cheap) telephoto zoom lens.

I took a few photos around the property the first night I got this, a bit of mucking around in lightroom too.


Rain Gauge Holder: K-30 155mm, 1/125, f4.5



Rose: 135mm, 1/125, f5.6



Fence Pole: 210mm, 1/180, f5.6


Rosebush: 70mm, 1/125, f4.5
   
Senior Member

Registered: January, 2013
Location: San Luis Obispo
Posts: 146

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: November 22, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $120.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp, great color for portrait
Cons: CA Problem, A little to heavy.
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 6    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 7    Value: 9    Camera Used: K-5   

Great Sharpness, Great Color for portrait, excellent skin color.
CA is a problem, It is a little too heavy, autofocus is not fast
Add Review of SMC Pentax-F 70-210mm F4-5.6



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