Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home

Pentax Lens Review Database » Film Era Pentax K-Mount Lenses » FA Zoom Lenses
SMC Pentax-FA 28-70mm F4 AL Review RSS Feed

SMC Pentax-FA 28-70mm F4 AL

Reviews Views Date of last review
43 247,879 Mon February 3, 2020
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
91% of reviewers $72.69 8.09
SMC Pentax-FA 28-70mm F4 AL

SMC Pentax-FA 28-70mm F4 AL
SMC Pentax-FA 28-70mm F4 AL

This is a budget oriented, slower and lighter variant of a 28-70mm range zoom lens. It was designed for film cameras.

SMC Pentax-FA 28-70mm F4 AL
©, 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
40 cm
Max. Magnification
Filter Size
52 mm
Internal Focus
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 55-23 ° / 46-19 °
Full frame: 75-34 ° / 65-29 °
Lens Cap
Plastic clip-on
Weather Sealing
Other Features
Diam x Length
65.5 x 66 mm (2.6 x 2.6 in.)
240 g (8.5 oz.)
Production Years
1996 to 2000
Engraved Name
smc PENTAX-FA 1:4 28-70mm AL
Product Code
User reviews
Aspherical element
Screwdrive AutofocusAperture RingAutomatic ApertureFull-Frame SupportDiscontinued
Sample Photos: View Sample Photos
Price History:

Add Review of SMC Pentax-FA 28-70mm F4 AL
Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-15 of 43
Lens Review Date: February 3, 2020 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 9 

Pros: Light, nice 2,5 zoom
Cons: Not so good on early digitals like k10d
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 9    Camera Used: MZ5 and Samsung GX10   

Lovely light lens, one of the last Pentax lenses made in Japan and the first kit zoom in the Netherlands, Pentax described it as the first standard zoom at the time (meaning that it was the first zoom to be sold as a kit lens instead of the famous SMC 50mm 1,7). Some people say that is made of plastic, but actually it is made of metal and has a grey plastic looking finish. It is a better lens than the ones from the SF-series, which also had a plastic look due to the finish used. It is still like new although much used on the MZ-5. On the Samsung GX-10 it was dull, but on the Pentax K3II it works great with natural colors. Its autofocus is very fast bearing in mind that it is a screw AF. And I own the early version of this lens released at the same time as the MZ-5. The metal used is quite thin compared to the old lenses like Pentax F3.5 35-105. I had to rediscover this lens as it did not work well with my early digitals, but is does with my K3II. But in all those years never had problems with it, it has still the same smooth zooming and although the manual focus ring seems small, just like on the AF lenses from the SF period, it works great. And of course Pentax engineers anticipated that you would use AF most of the time and only in emergencies turn to manual. But I never used it, neither will I use the manual override of the digital era lenses. Although I will use it now, because it has such a nice macro capability, that can only be used with manual focusing. It did not work well with a film camera, but it does with a digital, because you are able to instantly the result and can adjust if needed. Highly recommended this lens, I would say.
Loyal Site Supporter

Registered: October, 2018
Location: Quebec City, Quebec
Posts: 1,983
Lens Review Date: December 5, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $60.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Very sharp, inexpensive, useful focal range.
Cons: Feels too plasticky, despite having proven reliable.
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: Pentax K5   

This lens is much underrated. It looks flimsy but has proven to be quite durable over the years
Junior Member

Registered: January, 2018
Posts: 46

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: November 18, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $50.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: small size, sharpness
Cons: focusing
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 6    Handling: 8    Value: 9    Camera Used: K-1   

I think this is a pretty nice lens for the money. I do have the DFA 24-70 which is superb in IQ and I am used to how it handles and focuses, so clearly this old $50 lens does not perform equally.

I have shot video, landscapes and some portraits with this lens and this is very much acceptable in all this. For video, you can still control DOF and f/4 does not make it too narrow either. (Of course there are limitation with K-1 autofocus and an old lens like this, so f/4 allows for some target movement). The portraits i.e. close focusing distance at large apertures, are good without any major issues. Again, this is not a $1000 pro lens. For landscape shots, stopped down to f/8, I cannot really see the lack of detail some earlier reviewers are seeing in their lenses.

The only actual drawback is that it is sometimes a bit challenging to make the AF lock in low-light situations (especially when focusing close). For daylight use, there is no issue.

Summarizing, this lens is a good budget walk-around lens when you do not want to attract a lot of attention (like you do with a DFA 24-70).

Senior Member

Registered: April, 2012
Location: Endeavour Hills, Victoria, Australia
Posts: 127

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: August 22, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $100.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Nice balance of contrast, good colour
Cons: Speed
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-1   

I used this in Japan for a short while, just interested to see how it would go. I liked it a lot. It is quite sharp, without being stunningly so. Worked fine with the K-1. The attached photo was taken in Tokyo. I was interested in the lines of the scene and was trying to get some elements in focus, but not all.
Veteran Member

Registered: July, 2007
Location: North West UK
Posts: 382

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 19, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $25.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Small, cheap, low CA
Cons: Soft, very loose focus ring
Sharpness: 6    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 8    Camera Used: K-1   

This could have been the go-to lens, but it lacks detail.
Think about it, a very small 28-70mm F4, yes F4 thoughout the range and handy for, say, travel.
But, it is soft. Not overtly soft, but with the demands of a 36MP K-1 it is lacking. The detail is not really there.
You say, "well that is not surprising with an old lens". However, I have primes twice as old that provide so much more detail.
Then again, it is a very small lens for something that could provide so much with its specification.

Is it bad? Reality is no. It is - okay.

CA is surprisingly good, as is contrast. It is just that light transmission from the optics that could be better.
Also, the zoom ring is very slick, lacking some sort of smooth friction that we love.

On the upside, it was VERY cheap, at £20. so I can't really complain. But the potential of a similar F4 28-70 is certainly there brand new, weather sealed and silent motor. If Pentax can make such a tiny F4 lens (my mates Canon 24-70 F4 is at least twice the size if not more), then we may be in luck.

If you find one, never pay top dollar, get it for the price of a few beers, and have fun with it. The size and F4 is worth giving it a go just for the fun or it.
Veteran Member

Registered: July, 2009
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 1,519

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: July 31, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $90.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Better than similar lenses
Cons: Build quality, soft on long end
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 9    Camera Used: K-3, K-01   

To some extent, this lens has been down-rated due to the low quality of plastic, and internal optical failure (separation) on some copies. Purchasing unseen is not advisable unless assured of return at no cost.

As a kit zoom from the film FA era, expectations should be relatively low. Optically, a good copy's sharpness isn't considerably different than the 18-55 - probably this lens is sharper in the corners, but not quite as sharp at center (as would be expected given the image circle difference). If you like the saturated lower contrast film look, this lens has it. Colors are very pleasing. Screw drive AF works fine, and isn't as noisy as some others. The lens is pretty soft at the long end, probably not reaching "good" until f/8. The rest of the range is OK from f/5.6. I had a similar style Sigma that was optically inferior in every way.

It will work fine as a casual portrait lens, and for street photography where normal to portrait length is desired. Keep in mind that this lens is smaller and lighter than a Ltd. 20-40 which is pretty amazing for a constant aperture lens at 2.5:1 zoom ratio designed for FF film.
New Member

Registered: September, 2016
Posts: 3

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 8, 2017 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: $35.00 | Rating: 3 

Pros: Small and lightweight
Cons: Cheaply made
Sharpness: 4    Aberrations: 4    Bokeh: 3    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 2    Value: 4    Camera Used: K-30   

It's main asset is the handy size and the fast and accurate AF. Everything else just screams "plastic crap". It's probably the most cheaply made lens I've ever used. Compared to another constant f4 zoom, the 16-45, it's ... well there isn't any comparison actually. It's soft soft soft at f4 and I personally I find the colors washed out and dull.

I've used the following overlapping zooms on my K-30 and optically I'd rank them in the following order:

Pentax-A 35-105mm F3.5
Pentax-DA 16-45mm F4
Sigma 18-50mm F2.8 EX DC Macro
Pentax-FA 28-70 F4

Avoid unless you get it for free. Sold it very soon after getting it. Disclaimer: might've gotten a bad copy since some reviewers seem to be fond of it.
Site Supporter

Registered: December, 2014
Location: Colorado
Posts: 476

4 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: December 27, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $50.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Sharp (assuming a good copy), light weight, aperture, color
Cons: Build quality
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 9    Camera Used: K5-IIs, NEX-F3, K1   

I have had two copies of this lens. First one had the separation problem that is well recognized in this forum. Second one is a good copy and a keeper.

APS-C: When compared side-by-side to DA16-85WR, which is a very good modern lens, the sharpness of this lens is nearly identical from F5.6. The color is more saturated (better to my taste). There is tiny color aberration but definitely better than, for instance, DA16-45. DA16-85WR as a modern lens is totally free of color aberration in 28-70 range, which is amazing. This lens was on par with SMC F28-80 3.5-4.5 and better than SMC FA28-105/4-5.6 Power Zoom in my test.

FF: When tested on NEX-F3 (16MP with Lens Turbo II from Zhongyi), the center sharpness is very good. Corners show some softness however still quite acceptable - better than the corner softness of 18-55s on APS-C. As the test was done through a Lens Turbo II, this is not the true FF performance. I look forward to such information from a K-1. The performance of this lens from my test was about the same as SMC F28-80 3.5-4.5.

When you have a good copy, this is a nice sharp little lens.

FF UPDATE on K1: I tested this lens on K1. Sharpness drops a bit toward the corners but in general is quite uniform across the frame. Best image quality is around F5.6-F8. Very good flare resistance. I consider this lens a little better than SMC F28-80/3.5-4.5 that I tested together in terms of corner and wide open performance and flare resistance.

UPDATE: Two images taken with K-2000 - one at 28mm and another at 70mm. Both F8.

New Member

Registered: October, 2016
Location: Porthtowan
Posts: 17
Lens Review Date: December 10, 2016 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: N/A | Rating: 8 

Pros: Good lens for sightseeing, constant aperture
Cons: Soft compared with manual focus primes
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 8    Camera Used: MZ-5N   

It's a good little lens for days out that aren't primarily for photography because of its useful range and ease of use. If I was going out with the express purpose of taking photos though I always used A-series primes instead for better contrast, colour saturation and sharpness. The constant aperture made it useful for portraits indoors, it worked well with off-camera third-party flash units and the slightly lower optical quality wasn't so much of an issue.

However, I cannot recommend this lens for APS-C cameras because the focal length range makes it much less suitable for this format. There was a tendency for elements to separate slightly as well, which makes it a risk on the used market.
New Member

Registered: October, 2014
Posts: 14
Lens Review Date: July 26, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $50.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: light , constant aperture , colors
Cons: poor quality of construction , focal doubtful APSC
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 9    Camera Used: k50, k5,k200   

Lente de buenas cualidades opticas. Buena definicion, muy buenos colores. Contraste mediocre, especialmente cuando esta abierto. En f6.3 mejora, pero pierde la gracia de la apertura constante. La calidad de construccion es la peor que haya visto nunca. La focal 28-70 es extraña en apsc, es muy largo para angular y muy corto para tele. La apertura constante permite velocidad de enfoque y resultados similares mas alla de la focal que se elija. Calidad optica similar al lente de kit.


Optical lens good qualities. Definition good , very good colors . mediocre, especially when open contrast. In f6.3 improvement but loses the grace of constant opening . The build quality is the worst I've ever seen . The focal 28-70 in APSC is strange , it is very long for angular and very short for TV. The constant opening allows focus speed and similar results beyond the focal chosen. similar to optical quality lens kit.
New Member

Registered: March, 2010
Location: Brittany, France
Posts: 4

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: January 17, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $32.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Light, cheap, colors, sharpness stopped down
Cons: zoom ring not smooth at all (my copy)
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 8    Camera Used: K30   

Just bought this lens on the bay for a very low price. Sharpness is good from 6.3 upwards. The zoom ring of my copy is rather difficult to use (not smooth at all!). The colors of the pictures are good (saturated Pentax colors). The longer end is softer. I still have not found how to use a cap and a hood at the same time. A hood is necessary as the lens is prone to flare.

Edit (October 2015)
I have been using this lens for a few months and shooting Raw, I'm beginning to like this ugly duckling a lot ; colors are (IMO) very good and I found it can be quite sharp (BTW, f/4 for general use does not look useless to me, but I'd like some feedback on this)

A few photos to illustrate the quality of the lens.

@28mm, f/4, 1/60 sec, -0,7EV

@28mm, f/8, 1/640 sec.

@28mm, f/8, 1/125 sec, -0,3EV

@28mm, f/4, 1/200 sec, -0,3EV


Registered: June, 2013
Location: Nevada, USA
Posts: 3,348

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: January 17, 2015 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: $40.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Sharp, good colors, nice contrast
Cons: Slow aperture, strange focal range for APS
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 5    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 7    Value: 7    Camera Used: Pentax K-30   

I'm really torn and divided about this lens. It is capable of producing very sharp and crisp images. Colors come out lively and there is good contrast in the images. It reminds me of my FA 43mm in some ways. Aberrations are minimal and I think that comes from the aspherical lens element. When used wide open the images can be soft but that's not necessarily bad if you are making portraits. It works quite well in that regard. Stopping down even to f/6.3 from f/4 makes a huge difference. I think most people would use this lens between f/6.3 and f/8 on the wide end and up to f/11 on the tele end. f/4 for general use is pretty useless. The 28-70mm focal length on APS feels awkward to me. Wide is not wide enough in some cases and tele is not tele enough in almost all cases.

There are as many positive aspects as there are negative and that dampens the overall experience of using this lens. I think what kills this lens is its relevancy on an APS format. There are so many other zoom lenses which work better. They may not be ideal in all aspects but they would at least improve some part of it. For example, a FA 28-105mm will offer a much more useful tele range while even the standard DA 18-55mm will give you more breathing room on the wide end. Everything changes when this lens is used on film. It suddenly becomes a WA to mild tele range zoom, just like the DA 18-55mm on APS. I would still favor a prime or the previously mentioned FA 28-105mm instead though.

Oh, and the mechanics of the lens are just fine. There's a healthy mix of plastic and metal. It's not going to match a limited but it will probably feel beefier than an all-plastic DA L. I wouldn't worry about durability. My copy is solid and heavy.

I bought this lens during a phase of LBA. The weird focal range and constant f/4 make it a novelty. It's fun to use this lens every now and then on APS. I'll probably keep my copy just for that but I wouldn't use it as a daily shooter - even on film. Better options for that too. For $40 it was cheap entertainment. If you are looking to move up from a kit lens then look somewhere else.
Senior Member

Registered: May, 2009
Location: Finland
Posts: 215

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: July 28, 2014 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: $50.00 | Rating: 6 

Pros: Sharp and contrasty between 28-45mm
Cons: Feels cheaply made, very soft at tele end.
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 7    Camera Used: K-5 IIs   

I have had two of these lenses both have similar pros and cons. From 28-45mm 28-70/4 is actually quite nice. Good contrast and shapness. Unfortunately tele end is unusable soft.

Mechanically 28-70/4 feels cheaply made and plasticy.
Senior Member

Registered: May, 2010
Location: Paris, France
Posts: 246
Lens Review Date: September 30, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $45.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: close focus
Cons: a little soft

[ This review comes from my use of the lens in the Single in September 2013 challenge. ]

The FA 28-70 (regular f/4, not FA*) has been one of the lenses I amost always keep at hand for at least a few months, but this is the first time I really use it so much.

It looks quite cheap, even a little wobbly, but it has not let me down yet, and I tend to just keep my body and lens in my bag and take them everywhere with me so I suppose it is tougher then it looks.

I find the focal length fits well with my shooting style. On APS-C 28-70 is a normal-to-short-tele zoom; I sometimes miss something a little wider but most of the time 28 is wide enough for me. I guess a 17-70 would be the perfect everyday zoom for me, but they tend to cost 10 times what I paid for the 28-70 (around 40 euros with a SF7 body IIRC). In any case I wouldn't go with anything shorter than 70 for my everyday zoom; maybe I'll try to get my hands on a 28-105 sometime to see if the extra reach is useful.

At f/4 (constant) the lens is not very fast, but it gives satisfactory bokeh nonetheless. It can focus quite close (the lens database says 40 cm, this is the minimum indication on the distance scale but the actual limit is quite a bit shorter), which helps to get a shallow DoF.

On the negative side, it is quite soft wide open and not so sharp at f/8, even in the center. I may be a bit harsh on the lens with this though, as I tend to use high ISO quite a lot (around 4000-6400 is more or less standard). It is definitely softer than most (all?) primes but I'm not practiced enough with zooms for a real comparison.

All in all, not the best of lenses technically, but more than good enough for everyday use, and it has no real weak points.
Veteran Member

Registered: September, 2013
Posts: 306
Lens Review Date: September 22, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 8 

Pros: Sharp,colors,contrast,size,weight,af sharp
Cons: 0nly 28mm, nolens hood
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 9    Camera Used: K5   

Good one
Add Review of SMC Pentax-FA 28-70mm F4 AL

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 01:55 AM. | See also:, part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]