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SMC Pentax-F* 300mm F4.5 ED [IF] Review RSS Feed

SMC Pentax-F* 300mm F4.5 ED [IF]

Reviews Views Date of last review
45 161,336 Sun October 30, 2022
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $880.14 9.86
SMC Pentax-F* 300mm F4.5 ED [IF]

SMC Pentax-F* 300mm F4.5 ED [IF]
SMC Pentax-F* 300mm F4.5 ED [IF]
SMC Pentax-F* 300mm F4.5 ED [IF]
SMC Pentax-F* 300mm F4.5 ED [IF]
SMC Pentax-F* 300mm F4.5 ED [IF]

This lens is optically identical to the later FA* version, but it has several physical differences, including a removable tripod mount and built-in hood.

SMC Pentax-F* 300mm F4.5 ED[IF]
©, sharable with attribution
Image Format
Full-frame / 35mm film
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
Yes (A setting)
Automatic, 8 blades
9 elements, 7 groups
Mount Variant
Check camera compatibility
Max. Aperture
Min. Aperture
AF (screwdrive)
Min. Focus
200 cm
Max. Magnification
Filter Size
67 mm
Internal Focus
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 5.5 ° / 4.6 °
Full frame: 8.2 ° / 6.9 °
Built-in, slide out
Lens Cap
Plastic clip-on
Weather Sealing
Other Features
Push-pull AF/MF Focusing Ring,Tripod Mount
Diam x Length
84 x 160 mm (3.3 x 6.3 in.)
880 g (31 oz.)
w/ Tripod Foot: +240g
Production Years
1987 to 1991
Engraved Name
smc PENTAX-F* 1:4.5 300mm ED[IF]
Product Code
User reviews
Three ED elements.
Screwdrive AutofocusInternal FocusingBuilt-in HoodAperture RingAutomatic ApertureFull-Frame SupportDiscontinued
Sample Photos: View Sample Photos
Price History:

Add Review of SMC Pentax-F* 300mm F4.5 ED [IF]
Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 31-45 of 45
Veteran Member

Registered: December, 2007
Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 1,016

6 users found this helpful
Review Date: July 8, 2011 Recommended | Price: $800.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Too numerous to list...
Cons: tripod mount a bit excessive...
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10   

The rating scale needs to go up to eleven for this lens...I only need ONE picture for this review (wish you could see it BIG):

Does anybody NOT want it after seeing that? And who's the nut that said this is HEAVY? I think this is the lightest 300 ever made....

OK, since you insist, one more (I had to wade in waste deep in FREEZING water to get this shot, so I hope you appreciate it):

Both shot with an *ist D, Metz flash.

Veteran Member

Registered: July, 2007
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 2,042

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: March 24, 2011 Recommended | Price: $1,250.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Fantastic IQ, bokeh, sharp wide open, Tripod collar
Cons: Lack of Weather Sealing

I think this lens is the single main reason I shoot Pentax. This is the first lens I bought after the kit lens, I have bought many lenses after that, but none have beaten this first purchase. I shoot everything from portraits to landscapes with this lens, and I feel that this lens produces magazine covers with every shot. This lens unfailingly has travelled with me on every holiday, and photographic outing since I purchased it and I guess it will continue to do so. Compact, lightweight, bokeh to die for, what more could one ask for from a lens?
Site Supporter

Registered: October, 2010
Location: Paris, TX
Posts: 38

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: October 3, 2010 Recommended | Price: $750.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: light, small, sturdy, built-in hood, great glass
Cons: Bokeh can be a bit unpleasant at f4.5-5.6 with foliage close behind subject

To those needing a replacement foot, contact Pentax in Colorado and buy the foot for the A* 200/4 macro. It fits perfectly and is much smaller and cheaper too I think. I kept one mounted to my 300/4.5 for years until I sold the Macro lens and sent the mount along with it.

There are more convenient AF switching systems such as Full Time Manual, and the foot is large and hard to fit in the bag. But these are small complaints quickly forgotton when the photos are enlarged and one sees how good the lens really is. It held one of the highest ratings on Photodo for years, and in my experience deserved it.

For closeups, a Kenko AF 25mm extension tube will bring the close focus distance down to flower-and-bug level, though one loses infinity focus.

Most will learn that the foot is not always necessary because the lens is really not that large or heavy. With today's high ISO cameras, leaving the foot off at all times is a viable option.
Senior Member

Registered: February, 2008
Posts: 177

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: April 21, 2010 Recommended | Rating: 10 

Pros: Tripod Mount, optical and build Quality
Cons: no weatherproof

it is my most favorite lens, i got it for wildlife
it is very rear to get the F* Version with the tripod Mount, but it is worth to wait for it

the tripod mount is a great bonus - mounted on a monopod it gives me the extra time to wait for the perfect moment.
but it is not too heavy to use it out off the hand

the quality of the photos is just awesome, great colours, very sharp, very fine details
the bokeh is very nice and smooth. i use it for portraits as well.
Inactive Account

Registered: September, 2008
Location: Michigan
Posts: 78

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: June 7, 2009 Recommended | Price: $554.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Ultra Sarp, Great Bokeh,
Cons: Just a Tad slow on AF but acceptable

I use this lens for my wildlife photography mostly the canvas back ducks on lake Saint Clair, Next to the SMC Pentax-FA 50mm F2.8 Macro. This lens is just as sharp. When considering the different range between the two. These are the sharpest lenses that Pentax has ever made hands down.

Then lets consider bokeh it is simply wonderful. This lens is pretty rare and hard to find and at nearly a thousand dollars if one can afford it. It is worth every penny spent.

Skooterman In response to the mount, You may want to contact
PENTAX Customer Care in Denver Colorado

Toll Free: (800) 877-0155
Phone: (303) 799-8000

This lens is so rare I doubt that you will find anyone with this mount. Pentax does still service some of the F lenses and your best bet on finding this mount is through them.
New Member

Registered: April, 2009
Location: Delaware
Posts: 1

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: April 5, 2009 Recommended | Rating: N/A 


I have not had a chance to review the lens I just purchased it off ebay and it will be here soon. I did have one question for anyone that has this lens. I purchased the lens without the mounting collar and would like to get one... does anyone have any suggestions where I can pick one up. Thanks in advance for your help! I will post my review once I have a change to use it. I shoot mostly soccer pics and am very excited to get it and give it a go. Cheers!
New Member

Registered: October, 2008
Location: London / Southampton
Posts: 1

2 users found this helpful
Review Date: February 4, 2009 Recommended | Price: $600.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: *Really Sharp*, compact, well built, sweet bokeh
Cons: no AF limiter

Managed to find one of these beauties in a local camera shop for 300 and it is worth every penny.

Wide open the lens is pin-sharp, beats the resolution on the K20D and produces wonderful 8x10 prints from Ilford FP4 (pushed to ISO200). As the lens performs fantastically wide open the relatively slow f/4.5 is not a problem and gives really powerful bokeh. The compact size makes it great for birding, airshows etc and I don't find the weight too much of a problem. The tripod mount is useful, and a valuable feature over the FA version as is the built-in hood.

Only feature lacking is an AF limiter although for my purposes the AF speed is more than adequate, although hunting can be an issue in lower light.

If you find one, buy it!! It's an incredible bit of glass.

Registered: November, 2006
Location: Jakarta
Posts: 667

2 users found this helpful
Review Date: January 16, 2009 Recommended | Price: $1,200.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, contrasty, nice colors, no chromatic aberrations
Cons: Bokeh can be a bit unpleasant at times
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 3    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: Many cameras from *ist D to K1ii   

A great telephoto lens able to capture sharp, contrasty, pictures with glorious colors, even when used wide open. It exhibits a remarkably small amount of chromatic aberrations for a lens of this focal length and those are never visible on the printouts, even with dark subjects shot against a bright sky.

The bokeh can be a wee bit disturbing on some pictures, but this is only apparent on very few pictures and doesn't impair global image quality that much.

The lens is very well constructed and feels sturdy. It looks much better than the FA version IMHO and has two advantages over its more recent sibling: a removable tripod mount as well as a built-in collapsible hood.

Some will say its main drawback is that it's only F/4.5. Maybe, but then it's fully usable wide open and also much smaller and lighter than an F/2.8 behemoth. It's also much easier to carry in the bag just in case and easier to use handheld to shoot the unexpected.



Addendum: I still shoot this lens in 2022 with my K1ii.

The F* 300mm f/4.5 is still my favorite telephoto. Small, sharp, almost apochromatic.

This is a building shot from 1.7km away through the turbulent atmosphere of Jakarta. The lens was at f/5.6, 2/3 stop from wide open, and the picture was taken in autofocus mode with my K1ii handheld (click on the picture to download the original image).

Do you see the structure at the top of the building?

Here's an enlarged view:

If you look closely, you can see a guy with an orange vest working on the highest platform.

If you download the whole image file, you will see other guys working on the building, including one doing some welding. I find the amount of detail this lens captures truly amazing, considering the distance and also the fact that this crop is almost at the edge of the frame. Everything is sharp and there is no trace of chromatic aberrations!



Registered: March, 2008
Posts: 357

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: March 11, 2008 Recommended | Price: $850.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: sharp right from f4.5
Cons: the lousy grey paint

Used for shooting aerial displays. Never let me down. Now used on K10D, its even better. Wonder how the DA300 is going to top this one.
Oh, I prefer this to the FA version because it has a retractable hood and a removable tripod mount.
Veteran Member

Registered: March, 2007
Posts: 3,381

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: March 8, 2008 Recommended | Price: $930.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp with excellent bokeh and beautiful color rendition
Cons: if any slight cons it would be slow and somewhat noisy autofocus

This lens delivers sharp, detailed images with beautiful bokeh and color, excellent build quality. I use it for birding and have had superb results. On APS C sensor its a 450mm equivalent. Buy one, you will never regret it.
Senior Member

Registered: July, 2007
Location: Maaseik, Belgium
Posts: 158

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: January 2, 2008 Recommended | Price: $1,500.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, wel build,

Its an amazing lens. I use for about everything from landscapes to portraits but mostly for wildlife.

Wonder if the new DA 300 sdm wil beat this quality.

Inactive Account

Registered: May, 2007
Location: Chicago
Posts: 2

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: May 25, 2007 Recommended | Rating: 10 

Pros: Relatively compact, extremely sharp and positive auto-focus..
Cons: The cost now is considerably higher than when new.

I've owned dozens of Pentax lenses thru the film and now digital years. The 300mm while not used often has produced some magnificent images.
Art Ketchum
Veteran Member

Registered: March, 2007
Posts: 3,381

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: May 14, 2007 Recommended | Price: $1,250.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: sharp, vivid detail, excellent bokeh
Cons: autofocus hunts quite a bit and is a bit slow

I've been looking for a very sharp lens in this mm range and after reading the 2 prior comments and other online reviews, paid a small fortune on ebay. It is worth every penny. Whenever I shake my head over the amount paid, I just call up a few images and GRIN! Handheld shots are possible and the tripod mount is a huge +. If you are fanatical about sharp, sharp detail, don't hesitate over cost, just buy one and enjoy. I sold this one when i accidentally won another on ebay for less $s. Both were equal in performance.
Senior Member

Registered: November, 2006
Location: San Diego, California
Posts: 115

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: February 4, 2007 Recommended | Price: $600.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, Sharp, Sharp, lovely Bokeh
Cons: slow focus, AF won't work in M mode

This is easily my best lens. It's so light and small that you don't need the tripod mount. (the FA* version does not have it).

I almost exclusively shoot it wide open. There is no FF/BF and the thin DOF creates fantastic three dimensional and nice bokeh.

If you have the opportunity to get one, don't hesitate. These days (Jan 2007) the price of pristine sample is well over $1000 US.
Veteran Member

Registered: September, 2006
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 1,308

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: January 7, 2007 Recommended | Rating: 10 

Pros: Tripod mount, solid build, optical quality, built in hood
Cons: Bit on the heavy side...

This is a lovely lens.. Fantastic optical quality, slightly above in my opinion the Canon equivelant, though much smaller and still very well constructed... Optically it is the same as the FA version, but I prefer this one due to the tripod mount..

Minimum focus distance is around 2 meters which can mean some nice closeups with the equiv. FOV of 450mm on our APS DSLRs.. It has a 67mm thread for filters and comes in at just under 900gm..

No problems on any Pentax DSLRs focuses accurately no FF or BF issues at all to speak of..

Built in hood is handy (one less thing to forget), it unscrews ad slides out then screws into place securely.. Tripod mount is removable when you don't need it.
Add Review of SMC Pentax-F* 300mm F4.5 ED [IF]

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