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

SMC Pentax-F 70-210mm F4-5.6

Reviews Views Date of last review
54 258,332 Sun May 15, 2022
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
96% of reviewers $85.27 8.32
SMC Pentax-F 70-210mm F4-5.6

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

APS-C: 23.2-7.8 ° / 19.5-6.5 °
Full frame: 34.5-11.8 ° / 28.8-9.8 °
RH-RB 49mm
Lens Cap
Plastic clip-on
Weather Sealing
Other Features
Rotating Front Element
Diam x Length
71 x 99 mm (2.8 x 3.9 in.)
555 g (19.6 oz.)
Production Years
1987 to 1991
Engraved Name
smc PENTAX-F ZOOM 1: 4-5.6 70-210mm
Product Code
User reviews
Screwdrive AutofocusAperture RingAutomatic ApertureFull-Frame SupportDiscontinued
Price History:

Add Review of SMC Pentax-F 70-210mm F4-5.6
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Site Supporter

Registered: December, 2015
Posts: 5,279

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: May 15, 2022 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $50.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Price/Value, Colours
Cons: Noise
Camera Used: K-1   

I find ratings like this very hard to choose a value. For example, Autofocus. How do I rate this? Compared to a PLM? Compared to another screwdrive? Compared to modern MILC? And isn't AF also partly the cameras responsibility as well as the lens design?

So I will just leave a series of images on my Blog that are lightly retouched jpgs to help you get a better idea. Really for me, lens performance these days becomes less and less important. I think a good photographer should be able to make any lens perform much better than expected. If we're scrutinizing a lenses traits then it's probably for very specific case usage and you'll already know from reputation if that lens will do what you need of it. For me this is a cheap affordable lens with acceptable IQ.
New Member

Registered: August, 2017
Location: Ronneburg
Posts: 1
Lens Review Date: August 11, 2021 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $60.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: sharp by all focal length, SMC Coating, natural colors
Cons: pretty ugly and clunky design, rotation front element
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-3   

Ugly body but as compensation excellent Optics.
Good old school screwdrive. A little loud and hunting the focusing in lower light situations.

But it isn't a speed lens and that fact doesn't bother me.

In normal daylight situations the AF works well at my K-3.
I think it depends of the camera.

Her are two pictures (not really beautiful objects ) but good enough to show the image quality.
Both with full resolution.

Out of cam no post processing. JPEG

K-3/210mm/1/400sec/f13/ISO200/Center Weighted

K-3/135mm/1250sec/f11/ISO250/Center Weighted

New Member

Registered: September, 2016
Posts: 2
Lens Review Date: January 10, 2021 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $100.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: cheap, small, lightweight, image quality
Cons: very plastic, AF ring, zoom ring, front element rotates
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 5    Handling: 4    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-1   

I use it only in manual focus for landscapes with F8 and higher. The zoom ring is hard to turn at short end, AF ring is horrible - very small and clumsy. Also the front element rotates which makes using filters a nightmare. The lens is small and lightweight comparing to modern lenses and it was incredibly CHEAP :-) IQ on the other hand is impressive. The images are very sharp at F8-F16. I do not know much about bokeh and aberrations as I only use it for landscapes. Do not use AF, it is not reliable. The price/value ratio is very high. And it doesn't need much room in your backpack.
New Member

Registered: January, 2018
Location: Paris
Posts: 8

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 10, 2020 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $65.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Amazingly good zoom on k1. Iq Colors Bokeh 9 blades
Cons: Some find ugly but not so it is Typical f séries, not for low light or action
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: K1   

Such small size for the zoom range . 49mm rotatif front element. First mount on the k1 ... quite loud af system but acceptable and really fast af !
First time use i was afraid...As I have a mint copy of a F star 300mm 4.5

But after somme pics.....damned !!!!
Except for low light and action (no pentax lens existing for action for me) Its really good with the k1 and the size is very Nice so you can bring it with you each Time . I love my fstar but i still find it big to bring it with me often.
Quite the same size and weight than my k135 f2,5.

F4 Po fully usable at 70mm, one or two stop after po Everywhere (F8 at 210 really sharp !!!) and its a real good Lens. Better than my da55-300 on k5. I always hated this da plastic zoom with such a poor and loud af system...this f70 is much better , faster and less loud and much better feeling handling

Nice Bokeh, contrast, Colors. Some few AC but easy correction

Very underestimated zoom and extraordinary bargain for the price. No wr, dont CARE...60€...
With a fa 20-35 , a fa50 2.8 macro and this zoom you have a good light allround kit with your beloved quite heavy k1 …. And sometimes i will add my fish zoom f 17-28 too ;\…

Try to find a good copy (old...) . If not sharp you found a lemon, no way so try again
New Member

Registered: February, 2020
Location: ATX/DFW
Posts: 11

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: May 18, 2020 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $20.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Cost, good telephoto length on crop, fast AF, beautiful color rendition straight out of camera
Cons: Not the sharpest, loud and violent AF, rotating front element
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-S2   

To preface, I don't have massive amounts of experience with quality modern Pentax glass, as I'm pretty attached to legacy lenses.
I got this lens from a fellow PF user for only the cost of shipping due to a bit of haze, so that could partially impact my sharpness rating. For $20, it's a deal I couldn't pass up, and I'm glad I took it. On crop, this pairs excellently with the SMC-F 35-70 for a good all round kit if you don't need wide angle. In typical Pentax fashion, the colors are wonderfully rendered- greens in particular are really beautiful. I'm not much of a pixel peeper, so the sharpness is just fine for me. Not the sharpest, but it's definitely usable. Some aberrations and fringing in high contrast areas that can easily be corrected in PP. Like the 35-70, the front element rotates, and the autofocus can be downright VIOLENT and of course loud, but it's pretty quick. Required a bit of calibration on my K-S2. Manual focus is eh, not much feedback and tiny focusing ring, but it's fine if you're using focus peaking in live view. I'll be taking it back out to motor racing events once we get past the current global situation, looking to see how it performs at an F1 weekend later this year Plasticky build with a polarizing look, but I'm personally a fan of it with the white and grey body of the K-S2. Some images below. Weird lines in bokeh in some of them because I was shooting through a wire cage, but the first image is an example of some of the really nice circular bokeh possible.

Registered: April, 2009
Location: Madrid, Spain
Posts: 9,126

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 12, 2020 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: $60.00 | Rating: 2 

Pros: Not sure there are any
Cons: Heavy, very noisy AF, poor image quality, hit-&-miss AF, very ugly

I bought this lens in order to have a compact telephoto zoom that I could use on both film and digital, especially for travel. The first problem is that this lens is too heavy to travel with. The second is that image quality is poor, though I suspect that's largely because the autofocus is very hit-&-miss, with a considerable leaning towards "miss". That second problem would be enough to get rid of it even if every other aspect of the lens were perfect, but they're not. Aside from those two issues the lens has very noisy auto-focus, which from what I gather is quite common on F series lenses, and it has looks that only a mother could love.

I always post reviews of lenses with sample pictures but not this time - I don't have a single one that was good enough to merit uploading anywhere.
Loyal Site Supporter

Registered: October, 2018
Location: Quebec City, Quebec
Posts: 4,589

5 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 11, 2020 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $60.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very sharp, light, inexpensive 3X tele-zoom.
Cons: None
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K3, K5, K20, K10, K1   

Handheld K10 + F 70-210 mm

Handheld K3 + F 70-210 mm.

My copy is pristine as I am very choosy and I take my time when I buy on eBay. The F series was plasticky and focusing might be somewhat loud. Personally, I'm very satisfied with its image producing performance. Most of the time, I shoot landscapes on a tripod and I use the optimal aperture range (f/8 to f/11). On an APSc sensor, it is equivalent to a 100-300 mm lens and is very sharp, with good contrast and beautiful colors. You can't go wrong with this awesome, ridiculously inexpensive lens.

Tripod-mounted K20 + F 70-210 mm (3 images above)

Tripod-mounted K1 + F 70-210 mm

Pittsburgh, PA, K10

Road to infinity, K20.
New Member

Registered: January, 2019
Posts: 1

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: February 16, 2020 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $40.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Cheap (mine is usd40), good contrast, acceptable sharp for a old zoom lens, good bokeh
Cons: The "ref ref" sound when auto focus, heavy
Sharpness: 6    Aberrations: 6    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 7    Value: 9    Camera Used: K1   

Try to find 1 if u got the k1. It can be used as portrait lens thanks to 9 apediture blade.

Registered: June, 2007
Location: Near Algonquin Park
Posts: 39,437

2 users 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 ƒ8.
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
Posts: 82

13 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.

Taken at 210mm, F10.

Taken at 210mm, F10. Bokeh is quite nice too.

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: 2,176

1 user found this helpful
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.

Registered: December, 2012
Location: Blenheim
Posts: 1,021
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.
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