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Pentax Lens Review Database » Film Era Pentax K-Mount Lenses » F Prime Lenses
SMC Pentax-F* 600mm F4 ED [IF] Review RSS Feed

SMC Pentax-F* 600mm F4 ED [IF]

Reviews Views Date of last review
4 46,948 Sat October 18, 2014
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $7,000.00 9.75
SMC Pentax-F* 600mm F4 ED [IF]

SMC Pentax-F* 600mm F4 ED [IF]
SMC Pentax-F* 600mm F4 ED [IF]
SMC Pentax-F* 600mm F4 ED [IF]

This lens is a fast, long telephoto lens. It is optically identical to the later FA* version.

SMC Pentax-F* 600mm F4 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
500 cm
Max. Magnification
Filter Size
43 mm (Rear drop-in)
Internal Focus
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 2.8 ° / 2.3 °
Full frame: 4.1 ° / 3.4 °
Built-in, slide out
Dedicated trunk case
Lens Cap
Weather Sealing
Other Features
Drop-in Filter Holder,Focus Range Limiter,Push-pull AF/MF Focusing Ring,Tripod Mount
Diam x Length
181 x 457 mm (7.1 x 18 in.)
6830 g (241 oz.)
Production Years
1988 to 1991
Engraved Name
smc PENTAX-F* 1:4 600mm ED[IF]
Product Code
User reviews
Two ED elements.
Screwdrive AutofocusInternal FocusingBuilt-in HoodAperture RingAutomatic ApertureFull-Frame SupportDiscontinued
Sample Photos: View Sample Photos
Price History:

Add Review of SMC Pentax-F* 600mm F4 ED [IF]
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Site Supporter

Registered: July, 2008
Location: Baltimore, Maryland
Posts: 11,589

3 users found this helpful
Review Date: October 18, 2014 Recommended | Price: $7,000.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: long, fast and sharp. Sweet rendering,
Cons: pricey. Somewhat harder to handle than a 35mm

This was a "yeah, you only live once--I'm doin' it." purchase (I don't think there's any other way to go in to it) and--in spite of the required belt tightening it necessitated--I've got no regrets.

Yes, it's long and heavy (it's a 600/4 for Pete's sake ;~) so not something I take out wandering. So far, I've only used it to shoot from the porch where it's excelled. I do plan to take it out in the field--but only to sites where the game is set-up & wait. I've been using it on the K-3, often with the Tamron AF-Pz MC 1.4x, with which it matches very well. I generally shoot TAV 1/800-1/1000, f 6.3 - f8. Although it doesn't have the ED like the FA*, aberrations have not been an issue but maybe I'm not looking hard enough.

With the TC:
Senior Member

Registered: February, 2008
Posts: 177

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

Pros: range, optical quality, very sharp
Cons: large and heavy, purple fridge

i do have the F* 300 allready so i was quite lucky to find a F* 600
the 600 is by fare the most heaviest pentax-lens and it is larger than any other 600 f4.0

it needs much more training and some special gear to get good results
but i think that's quite normal for any supertele

once you can handle this big lens you get a very impressive imagequality, very nice colours and very sharp
it does produce purple fridge at high contrast and autofocus is not that fast

you will not need the buildin filter on a digital camera as it is said in the manual
i do use it with the K20D
Senior Member

Registered: May, 2008
Location: UK - Somerset
Posts: 175

3 users found this helpful
Review Date: May 13, 2008 Recommended | Price: $7,000.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Reach, Colours, Built in Hood and Tripod Mount
Cons: Cost, Weight

(Non working link deleted)

I would rate this lens as a 10, when used with the wimberley head Mk2 and Kinetic carrying system.

The Wimberly, not cheap, but if I have spent a hefty amount on a lens well another $400 for the head and a mounting plate etc are worth it.

On the issue of weight, after much searching I found the Kinetic Gear sight. What a revelation. Very helpful communications, fast delivery and excellent quality. So now I am able to carry the lens + K10D body fitted, in complete safety.

Visit the Kinetic site, well worth the look, not just for a suitable carry system for you Valuable lens but tons of other useful stuff...
New Member

Registered: December, 2007
Location: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Posts: 18

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: March 4, 2008 Recommended | Rating: 9 

Pros: Magnification, build quality, results I get
Cons: Weight (about 7 kg - per Pentax)

Mr. Ron Boggs offered a great review of the same lens under FA name. I think the difference is only in color. He is absolutely 100% on target with everything. I can't better his review.

Why do I offer a 9 rating? You need strength and stamina. I can walk with this lens for a few hours, but it kills my shoulder (ask any 600 owner).

Because of the magnification factor (18x with digital bodies) you need a perfect technique to get the results. If there is something wrong with the images, it is the yours truly who is at fault.

Yes, it is soft at 4.0, but very usable. I have some shots of spoonbills taken at bad light and the images after some USM are just great.

Personally, I prefer to use it at f8.0. This way, because of shallow depth of field, my images are sharp. Also, I like to use ISO 400 so I can get a good shutter speed. K10D performs very well at 400. To improve the quality, I can run the image through the Noise Ninja (love it) and I get a super sharp picture with no grain. But on many occasions I can get absolutely sharp images of non-moving objects at 1/160 sec only without using a remote. Seems that SR is not a factor here at all. I hardly ever use it. It took me time to learn, a long time, to finally be satisfied with the results. The learning curve because if the weight, magnification and sensitivity to any movement is steep. It is not a lens for everybody. For example, even your breathing can be sensed by the lens through your fingers. I put some samples of the images from the lens here on the forum, one is at f 4.0 without any USM.
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