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SMC Pentax-FA 28-200mm F3.8-5.6 AL [IF] Review RSS Feed

SMC Pentax-FA 28-200mm F3.8-5.6 AL [IF]

Reviews Views Date of last review
16 114,735 Mon August 13, 2018
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
94% of reviewers $127.69 7.87
SMC Pentax-FA 28-200mm F3.8-5.6 AL [IF]

SMC Pentax-FA 28-200mm F3.8-5.6 AL [IF]
SMC Pentax-FA 28-200mm F3.8-5.6 AL [IF]

This 28-200mm full-frame zoom lens lens is designed by Tamron but employs Pentax electronics and branding.

SMC Pentax-FA 28-200mm F3.8-5.6 AL[IF]
©, sharable with attribution
Image Format
Full-frame / 35mm film
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
Yes (A setting)
Automatic, 6 blades
16 elements, 14 groups
Mount Variant
Check camera compatibility
Max. Aperture
Min. Aperture
AF (screwdrive)
Min. Focus
52 cm
Max. Magnification
Filter Size
72 mm
Internal Focus
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 55-8.2 ° / 46-7 °
Full frame: 75-12 ° / 65-10 °
PH-RBA 72mm
Lens Cap
Plastic clip-on
Weather Sealing
Other Features
Diam x Length
78 x 83 mm (3.1 x 3.3 in.)
465 g (16.4 oz.)
Production Years
1996 to 2004
Engraved Name
smc PENTAX-FA 1:3.8-5.6 28-200mm AL[IF]
Product Code
27021 (black), 27025 (silver/black)
User reviews
Aspherical element(s)
Silver and silver/black
Screwdrive AutofocusInternal FocusingAperture RingAutomatic ApertureFull-Frame SupportDiscontinued
Price History:

Add Review of SMC Pentax-FA 28-200mm F3.8-5.6 AL [IF]
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Sorry for all this

Registered: April, 2018
Location: Ottawa
Posts: 3,348
Lens Review Date: August 13, 2018 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: N/A | Rating: N/A 

Pros: Cheap, large range
Cons: Soft, plasticy
Camera Used: K-3ii   

See this
New Member

Registered: November, 2013
Posts: 5
Lens Review Date: December 30, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $60.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: very sharp beween 50 and 135mm
Cons: some CA's, sometimes visible
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: k-x,k-200.fuji x-e1   

a good allrounder

you must sharpen it a few and eliminate CA's by Phsh. afterward big posters available

nice colors, good contrast, but some reflections against light
Forum Member

Registered: February, 2014
Location: Warsaw
Posts: 76

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 17, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $110.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Versatile, good AF, good range, sharp as for zoom
Cons: flare easily, slow
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: k-500   

I was looking for versatile lens. First I was anxious about this lens, it is quite old zoom designed for SLR and for brief moment I was even considering purchase of almost twice the price used Sigma 18-200mm. At the end I went with Pentax and I donít regret it.
Lens is quite big and heavy but also very well made and quite nice looking attached to camera.
First I compared it to kit 18-55 lens and I was surprised that effects for around 28mm was almost identical in every aspect (I was expecting 28-200 to be worse).
At FL 28mm and wide open it is a soft, it starts to be sharp at 5.6 and gets best results for 7.1-8.

I took few pictures with 200mm FL and was also surprised. Despite the fact that at full open picture came a bit soapy stepping it down a bit made it clear and sharp. Much sharper and cleaner than I expected.
At 200mm wide open 5.6 it is a bit soft, it starts to be sharp at 7.1 best results from 8-12.
So, as for zoom with such zoom range it is reasonably sharp. But donít expect it to be prime sharp

The biggest issue with this lens is that there is a bit of purple fringing and lens can flare easily. Also it needs to be stopped down.
As general purpose zoom lens it is good especially for its price I got mine in almost mint condition with hood for around 110$.

So if you are looking for cheap versatile day lens and you donít need wide angle it is worth considering.

Senior Member

Registered: April, 2014
Location: Colorado
Posts: 116
Lens Review Date: April 13, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 10 

Pros: Versatile, good AF, good range, looks fancy (haha)
Cons: heavy
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-r   

This lens is the reason I have a Pentax DSLR. I inherited it from my dad, who had it on a film SLR (I don't remember which one, it may be in my basement somewhere but has a stuck mirror so is no longer functional). I have no idea what he paid for it, but he probably bought it new 15-20 years ago. I really liked the lens, and a guy at a camera store told me it was "new enough" it should be fully functional with a DSLR. It is! Mine has a hood (flower-style plastic), so obviously I haven't had to find one. I also already have a UV/haze filter for it, as well as a polarizer (which I guess could be expensive given it's a 72mm lens?).

I've nicknamed this lens my "lens of versatility" because I can just do so much with it. If I can only take one lens with me, this is the one I grab. I've had no issues with focus, cropping, sensor size problems, etc. It's not the best in low light, being a bit of a slower lens, but I have gotten some ok indoor (horse show) shots with it. I've gotten some lovely ones outside with sharp near focus and beautiful far blur.

The only drawback for me is it's heavy. I'm used to it now, but if I'm shooting a lot without rest, my wrist (already weak from injury) gets a bit tired. Could just be me, though!
Site Supporter

Registered: June, 2013
Location: Nevada, USA
Posts: 3,306

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: November 27, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $74.99 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Range, sharp, accurate metering, colors
Cons: Can flare easily, big, heavy, hard to find OEM hood
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 4    Bokeh: 6    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 6    Value: 8    Camera Used: Pentax K-30   

There are a few variations of this lens available under brand names such as Tamron, Sigma, and even Quantary. Pentax had theirs as well and the difference between theirs and others is the coatings and the custom electronics. Otherwise, I think (and I could be wrong) the general optical design is the same.

I paid a total of $74.99 for my copy with the Pentax OEM bayonet hood. The hood was purchased separately from the lens.

The focal length range of 28-200mm is very versatile.

My K-30 meters very accurately with this lens. I do not find myself with over/under exposed photos.

The colors are in between neutral and saturated. Maybe vivid is a good description.

Focusing is quick and accurate on my K-30. There is very little hunting unless I'm shaking the camera a bit and it decides that the focus point has been changed.

It is a full frame lens. The APS sized sensor in my K-30 crops out any soft corners. I can also use a narrower hood since vignetting effects are cropped out too.

The lens is decently sharp. Stop it down to somewhere between f/8 and f/11 for best results. I can get good sharpness from 28mm to about 150/175mm. After that I think either my hands shake too much or the light must be stressing the optical design. I would not hesitate to use the lens at the full 200mm. It's better than missing the shot completely.

Bokeh can be smooth and creamy but you have to work it into your shot.

It has an aperture ring. I used to be neutral on this but if I ever adapt this to a Q series camera then an aperture ring suddenly becomes very useful!

Despite having a bayonet hood mount the lens does have filter threads.

The lens/body mating surface for those that care for it. I'm personally OK with plastic if it is engineering correctly.

This lens is a beast to handle. It's big and heavy. Zoom throw is relatively short so it can be hard to fine tune the focal length. It can also be a bit stiff since the lens elements have to move around a lot with very little actuation from the zoom ring (think of a bicycle with a high gear ratio that is hard to pedal).

The OEM petal style hood can be hard to find. A rubber hood can work too. You absolutely need a hood of some kind!!

Going on with the hood, this lens can flare very easily - even with a hood. I think it has a lot to do with the massive size of the front element. Personally, I am thinking of putting a tube over the OEM hood that I can slide forward to block out errant light.

Like every lens, this one has its strengths and weaknesses. My first shots with this lens were done with no hood - not even a rubber one - and my shots were lacking contrast and definition. Everything flared. On the one hand I was disappointed but on the other hand I recognized the dream quality you can impart to your images if you can play with the light. A simple rubber hood reduced the flare significantly. The OEM hood took it up one more notch. Some have called these super zooms "vacation lenses". It's the lens you take with you on vacation to capture your memories vs. creating a fine art image. I would generally agree but I also think that an artist can create fine art with a piece of chalk just as well as with a pencil or a brush. I have snapped some lousy images and I have also snapped many good images as well.

I would say that if you can get this lens at good price (especially with the OEM hood) then it's worth it. Don't trip over your feet to get this one. I would save the tripping for my FA 28-105mm f/3.2 lens and my Super Lentar 35mm f/2.8.

Here are some sample images. Some of the color depth was lost during the conversion to JPG but this is still very representative of what the lens can produce.

IMGP7994 - Version 2 by Never Off, on Flickr

IMGP8957 by Never Off, on Flickr

IMGP8978 by Never Off, on Flickr

IMGP9022 by Never Off, on Flickr
Site Supporter

Registered: May, 2012
Location: Phoenix AZ
Posts: 825
Lens Review Date: July 16, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $75.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Good zoom range, macro ability, comes in silver, solid feel
Cons: Kind of soft, it's really a Tamron lens, max aperture
Sharpness: 6    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-5   

I own the silver Pentax K-5 and wanted a nice walk around zoom with far reach . I also wanted it to match my silver body. This seems to work out perfectly. It feels real solid, the thick rubber grips are nice and has a nice lens hood. It does however do some focus dancing from time to time. I bought this lens for $75 which is great for this type of range. choosing this or the DA 18-135mm WR I would have to say if you don't need the WR and are on a budget this lens is the best. One thing i have to note is that I do beleive this is actually a Tamron lens branded for Pentax. Perhaps Pentax contracted Tamron to make their cheaper lenses at that time. but anyway you can find a Tamron lens with these exact same specs just with a slightly different tread on the zoom grip and different colored numbering on the focus grip. The lens cap is the signature Tamron lens cap but with the word Pentax instead. All in all it's a great lens to have when you need zoom.

Registered: August, 2010
Location: Toronto
Posts: 12,362
Lens Review Date: January 18, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 7 

Pros: good range (particulrly on film) light fast af
Cons: soft at longer than 135, low contrast, not super sharp

I've had both the Pentax and the Tamron variant on this lens (the Pentax came with my mz5, the tamron was a replacement after the dog knocked it out of my hand and it was damaged)
Like all the above I think this is probably an undervalued lens to some degree. I've traveled a lot with this on the mz5 and got some very good results from wide to say 135 or so and acceptable results beyond.
I also used it pretty extensively on my early digital (*istds) for lack of an alternative. Z
Zoom creep is an issue when shooting down from above particularly. without the hood it can be pretty soft (In bright daylight i usually shot with a CP attached)
At the price it is available at now i would think it's a pretty reasonable little travel lens and that is why i still have mine for the most part
If you are looking for an inexpensive superzoom to experiment with and aren't expecting the iq of some of the newer ones or primes you will be pleasantly surprised. if you are a little more demanding of the lens though you llikely want to look at other alternatives.
this would have been one of my early digital shots with this lense

IMGP0380-01.jpg by Eddie Smith, on Flickr
New Member

Registered: June, 2009
Location: Chattanooga, TN
Posts: 7
Lens Review Date: December 5, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $50.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Size, design and construction
Cons: Soft at long focal lengths

Like several of the other posters I just really like this lens. My favorite lenses are wides but for an all purpose lens this fits the bill for me. Being a lens designed for film cameras and with my using it on the K10D it ends up being a "prime" length to really long telephoto. For the price I paid it can't be beat! Yes, it tends to be soft at the longer lengths and wider apertures but that usually can be taken care of in editing the "keeper" shots. I really like the size and shape of this lens and even though it feels like a rock it gives me a level of confidence in it's durability and toughness. All in all I wouldn't sell this lens unless I was changing systems!
Senior Member

Registered: December, 2009
Location: East Yorkshire
Posts: 120
Lens Review Date: October 10, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $60.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Good zoom range for film. Reasonably small when set at 28mm
Cons: Not brilliant for digital. Looks very plastic.

I really like this lens, I know that I should not but I do. It may not be the sharpest lens available, but then again it is not soft. It has to be the shear convenience of it. Sometimes you do not want to walk around with a bag full of equipment either because its too cumbersome or you are in conditions were you don't want to changing lenses a lot such as on the beach. I use it when I am hill walking or in areas were I'm just being a tourist.
This lens has converted me to the cause of the 'superzoom', something that I was against since owning a Vivitar 35-200 in the mid 80s which was probably the worst lens ever made.
Site Supporter

Registered: January, 2008
Location: Brampton, ON, Canada
Posts: 1,916
Lens Review Date: September 21, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $200.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Very fast AF on Film, useful range and aperture
Cons: soft at each end, creep, strong pincushion distortion when zoomed

I owned this lens for several years, and used it on an MZ-5n, and a *IST DS.
All review comments are pretty accurate.

Really good as a single lens travel solution - size and aperture at the zoomed end were seldom a problem. Creep was annoying at times, but with a compact crumpler bag, I was able to sling it like a gun and avoid the issue.

It *can* be sharp - in good light and with a better hood (a collapsable rubber one worked quite well) - it is very prone to contrast loss (due to the large front element I guess). Colour also OK with respect to this.

Pin cushioning of horizons is pretty bad at full zoom, best at around 135mm. A bit narrow at wideangle FOV on an APS circle.

*Very* snappy AF on a film slr due to the short focusing ring throw.
Inactive Account

Registered: June, 2010
Posts: 54
Lens Review Date: June 6, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $100.00 | Rating: 6 

Pros: wide zoom range, some close focus ability
Cons: soft images

This lens produces images that look nice as 4x6 prints. The closeup focus is fairly useful as well.

However, look any closer and softness is easily noticeable.

When shooting closeups of objects with small lettering, the lens does not produce sharp edges until f/9. From f/3.8 to f/7, the lettering is significantly softer than the DAL 18-55, almost to the point of illegibility. This lens also performs worse than a Kodak Z740 camera in this situation. There is also significant softness at image edges.

I measured the minimum focus distance and field of view (on a K-x) at the various focal lengths:

28mm: 48cm min, approx 40x25cm (larger than my cm grid)
35mm: 53cm min, approx 40x25cm (larger than my cm grid)
50mm: 52cm min, 27x18cm
70mm: 41cm min, 18x12cm
100mm: 31cm min, 11x8cm
135mm: 29cm min, 10x7cm
200mm: 62cm min, 14x10cm

As the numbers show, magnification peaks at 135mm.

Due to the weight of the lens, there is zoom creep. However, this only occurs when the lens is already extended past 70mm or so; the lens just slides out to the full focal length if pointed down.

Overall, this is an ok lens if it's available for a low price.

Edit: I came to realize that the slight looseness in the front element is not normal. It's reverse threaded (looking at the lens from the front), so I put a suction cup on it and tightened it up. After cleaning the glass, I did another informal resolution test. Still not super sharp, but sharper than before. Rating and recommendation has been revised.
Loyal Site Supporter

Registered: August, 2009
Location: Elko, Nevada
Posts: 1,275
Lens Review Date: October 30, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $200.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Excellent range, decent IQ
Cons: Weight, some lens creep in manual focus

I have owned this lens since 2001 and it has been one of my favorite lenses since the day I got it. This is not because it provides drop dead image quality, although my copy actually does pretty decent, but because it is so versatile. Although I do have the DA 18-55mm for my K200D I could sell it and not miss it at all since this lens is really my true "kit lens".

I travel a lot for my job and this is the one lens that goes with me on every trip and I never feel undergunned. If needed I can go from telephoto to normal and all the way down to a usable macro. Don't get me wrong, its' not the perfect lens at any of those focal ranges, but it handles them pretty well. When I go to one of my grandkids activities, sports or otherwise, this is the lens that gets grabbed and the autofocus is quick enough to capture pretty quick movement. I rarely miss a shot because I couldn't get focused. The aperture range can sometimes be a bit challenging at night but, with ISO 1600, it brings back very decent photographs. And I almost always switch to manual focus for my macro shots. In fact, this is the only area where I have any complaints at all. First, the manual focus adjustment is very short with this lens so it can be challenging to macro photos properly focused. Second, while it is in manual focus the zoom can creep if you aren't careful.

Even though the crop factor has changed this lens from a 28-200mm on my 35mm SF1n to a 42-300mm on my K200D, it has made that transition very gracefully. It is a bit heavier then some of my other lenses but it always felt perfectly balanced on my SF1n and is almost as nice on my K200D. In fact, since it is a bit front heavy on the K200D, I find I am pretty successful with handheld shots at all the focal ranges.

This is not the lens I grab if I am feeling artistic, but it is my first choice if I am out to record those fleeting memories.

Here is an example from a recent trip to Sidney.
Veteran Member

Registered: August, 2009
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Posts: 420
Lens Review Date: September 8, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $350.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: compact, light, wide range, surprisingly good optically; front element doesn't rotate when focussing
Cons: not wide enough on digital SLRs

The FA28-200 (which is in my opinion is actually more like a 28-190) is quite an underrated lens. I owned this lens between 1997 and 2002. I found it to be quite sharp and contrasty with well controlled distortion and little light fall-off.

It is quite good by any measure between 28-135 but is soft at the 200 setting.

In fact, to my surprise, I found that in the 28-135 range it was as sharp wide open, as my A50 f1.4 was wide open. (Of course the 50mm was much sharper when the two lenses were compared at the same f-stops - and had much less edge distortion.)

Otherwise, a little slow at the long end and in the digital age, and not wide enough at the short end.

In summary, a great lens if you need the range but want to travel light or dislike changing lenses. However like most superzooms, it doesn't quite match up to the image quality you would get using two zooms to cover the same range (having said that, it wouldn't be far off though).
Veteran Member

Registered: June, 2009
Location: Mid North Coast,Australia
Posts: 1,013
Lens Review Date: July 2, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $70.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Compact size with good focal length range
Cons: Soft,soft,soft!!!

If your limited with carrying space in your bag,then this lens would be the answer.The only down side to it,is it isn't the sharpest tool in the shed,so to speak.My copy came of a MZm,and have been using it on a K100D.But for a all round general purpose,this lens isn't that bad.If you find one going cheap,why not buy it.

Registered: June, 2008
Location: Idaho
Posts: 626
Lens Review Date: January 12, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $270.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Versatile range of focal lengths
Cons: somewhat soft at longest focal length, zoom creep

As the previous reviewer stated, this lens is a bit soft at the longest focal length and all focal lengths at maximum aperture. Best used around f8 (for sharpness) and good when used as a wide angle lens (that's where I've given it the most use). Varifocal, so refocusing is needed when changing focal length but usually taken care of by auto-focus camera function. Maximum aperture changes from f3.8 to f5.6 over the zoom range. Non-rotating front filter mount (internal focusing) - originally sold with a petal shaped lens shade that attaches bayonet style to the front of the lens. When installed, the lens shade makes changing filters difficult. I rarely use the shade and haven't noticed much flare except when shooting with the sun within about 45 degrees of lens axis or less. I've used mine for well over 15 years now (purchased new with my camera) and it has held up well with the exception of increased zoom creep when carrying the camera with the lens pointing downward. Used it in dusty environments and no internal dust visible indicating reasonable seals. The primary thing I like about this lens is its flexibility to cover a fairly wide range of focal lengths (wide to telephoto) in a compact size and light weight body. Closest focusing is at 135mm f.l. (12 inches from front of lens). It was advertised as having "macro" capability but it doesn't really replace a true macro lens. Overall, good performance as a non-critical lens and great versatility given sufficient light, replacing a number of prime focal lengths commonly used.
Add Review of SMC Pentax-FA 28-200mm F3.8-5.6 AL [IF]

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