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SMC Pentax-FA 28-80mm F3.5-4.7 Review RSS Feed

SMC Pentax-FA 28-80mm F3.5-4.7

Sharpness 
 6.6
Aberrations 
 6.2
Bokeh 
 6.4
Autofocus 
 7.2
Handling 
 6.6
Value 
 8.0
Reviews Views Date of last review
12 66,322 Sat February 14, 2015
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
50% of reviewers $65.50 6.00
SMC Pentax-FA 28-80mm F3.5-4.7
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Description:
This variant of the 28-80mm lens features a heavier design as well as Power Zoom support. It was produced from 1991 to 1998.

Power zoom can be enabled/disabled by sliding the zoom ring back and forth.



SMC Pentax-FA 28-80mm F3.5-4.7
© www.pentaxforums.com, sharable with attribution
Image Format
Full-frame / 35mm film
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
Yes (A setting)
Diaphragm
Automatic, 8 blades
Optics
8 elements, 8 groups
Mount Variant
KAF2
Check camera compatibility
Max. Aperture
F3.5-4.7
Min. Aperture
F22-32
Focusing
AF (screwdrive)
Quick-shift
No
Min. Focus
40 cm
Max. Magnification
0.25x
Filter Size
58 mm
Internal Focus
No
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 55-20 ° / 46-17 °
Full frame: 75-30 ° / 65-25 °
Hood
RH-B60
Case
S80-120
Lens Cap
Plastic clip-on
Coating
SMC
Weather Sealing
No
Other Features
Power Zoom
Diam x Length
71 x 84 mm (2.8 x 3.3 in.)
Weight
380 g (13.4 oz.)
Production Years
1991 to 1998
Engraved Name
smc PENTAX-FA 1:3.5-4.7 28-80mm
Product Code
27537
Reviews
User reviews
Features:
Screwdrive AutofocusPowered ZoomingAperture RingAutomatic ApertureFull-Frame SupportDiscontinued
Sample Photos: View Sample Photos
Price History:



Add Review of SMC Pentax-FA 28-80mm F3.5-4.7
Author:
Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-12 of 12
New Member

Registered: February, 2012
Posts: 15
Lens Review Date: February 14, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $10.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Inexpensive, sharp
Cons: Relatively low contrast, fringing
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 5    Value: 10    Camera Used: Samsung GX-20   

My copy is an e-Bay Spares/repair, and cost 1.99 plus postage. It was offered for sale twice. The first time no one bid at all, so when it was re-listed I thought I would happily pay that to personally assuage my curiosity.

On my copy, the Powerzoom switch is missing, and all moving parts feel as if they have sand in them. It was a struggle to move the zoom ring from the Powerzoom to the Manual Zoom position, and now it won't go back. However:
  • There is no fungus and there are no markings on the external glass surfaces, just a small amount of dust internally.
  • Autofocus is right on the money.
I played around with it indoors, and compared it with the Tamron 18-50mm f2.8, the Pentax FA 28-90mm f3.5-5.6 and the Pentax FA 28-105mm f4-5.6.

Sharpness-wise, the 28-80mm holds its own. The JPEGs are as large if not larger than those from any of these other lenses and the colours are similar. However:
  • The micro-contrast of the 28-80mm was the worst of these four lenses. There's loads of detail, but it is harder to make it out than it is with any of the others
  • There was more fringing with the 28-80mm than with any of the others
Subjectively, the descending order of performance was
  1. Pentax 28-105mm f4-5.6 Powerzoom
  2. Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 Di II LD
  3. Pentax 28-90mm f3.5-5.6
  4. Pentax 28-80mm f3.5-4.7
Bokeh with the 28-80mm looked O.K.; not intrusive.

The handling of my copy isn't good, but I cannot say whether this is down to the design, or just twenty years of wear and tear. The 28-80mm is heavier than the 28-90mm, but the weight doesn't feel excessive.

I can't not recommend it at the price that I paid, but there are undoubtedly better alternatives.
   
Site Supporter

Registered: April, 2012
Location: Lancashire, UK
Posts: 350
Lens Review Date: February 8, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $225.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Good 'FF' walkabout zoom range, Fast (for a 28-80 zoom), Aperture ring & 'A' setting
Cons: Slightly heavy, PZ switch failures, zoom & focus rings aren't smooth
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 6    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 7    Value: 9    Camera Used: Z-1, K-5   

Background: I'm surprised this lens has received such bad reviews. I bought this lens with my Z-1 in '92 - at a time before 'kit' lenses (where you had to buy the body and lens separately) - I think I paid 150 GBP for it. Reviews at the time had it as better than your average 28-80 but not quite as good as the PZ28-105/4-5.6 launched at the same time. I used it as my 'walkabout' lens on my Z-1 with Kodachrome 64 (occasionally 25) and had very few problems. I've scored it as it I see it - as a FF walkabout zoom and the results as I saw them on Kodachrome films. I've also used it on manual focus film bodies, where it's slightly faster than usual apertures for a 28-80 zoom helps.

Construction: Quite heavy with the PZ gubbins inside it, it feels sturdy but has some fragile components. The zoom ring didn't operate smoothly from day one - a hangover from the PZ mechanism, the focus ring feels similar to many of the F lenses. The PZ switch broke after two years (repaired) and broke again 15 years later - a common fault on these lenses, however as this functionality is no longer supported it's not an issue that can't be fixed by some tape.

Sharpness (8/10): For a standard zoom it's quite good, no significant problems seen on my Kodachrome slides.

Aberrations (7/10): Typical of many 28-80s it suffers from barrel distortion at 28mm at the very edges of the 'FF' frame - nothing more significant than my M28/2.8, CA was not a significant problem from my results on film for this type of lens.

Bokeh (6/10): Not really tested but It's a standard zoom, Bokeh is harder to get due to the maximum apertures available.

Autofocus (7/10): The amount of glass moving about feels significant so it's slower to focus than a small prime. Hits the end stops with quite a clunk when it hunts. The in-body motor of the K-5 seems to drive it faster than the Z-1.

Handling (7/10): The weight and lack of smoothness in the zoom and focus rings don't help it here but otherwise similar to other FA zooms.

Value (9/10): Good value when I bought it new, better now as prices have tumbled. A good price for a good 28-80 'FF' lens with aperture ring and 'A' setting.

Overall (8/10): Pretty good for a standard zoom designed for an 'FF' film camera, works best on an 'FF' camera (zoom range).

My first photo accepted into the Pentax Photo Gallery was from this lens.

An example and 100% crop of the indicated area is shown below (EXIF: K-5, ISO 400, 33mm, f/8, 1/180th):


Pentax FA28-80 f/3.5-4.7 Test Shot by John Halliwell, on Flickr


Pentax FA28-80 f/3.5-4.7 Test Shot crop by John Halliwell, on Flickr

John.
   
Loyal Site Supporter

Registered: September, 2009
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 3,010
Lens Review Date: November 9, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $35.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Full Frame; sharp; light
Cons: Plasticy feel; Bad reputation (why?)
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10   

I purchased this lens as part of a lot with a film camera. It has worked very well for me as a light walk around lens on the K-01. I think it deserves a better rating than it has received so far. I really look forward to see how it performs if a full frame comes alog.

   
Senior Member

Registered: February, 2012
Posts: 100
Lens Review Date: February 18, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $25.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: sharp enough, cheap, metal mount
Cons: a bit heavy, look ugly
Sharpness: 8    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: Pentax K-X DSLR   

While most of the reviewer telling this lens is bad, i'm lucky enough that mine is really good.

I bought this lens just for $25, well the total is $70 but i got this lens + sigma 28-200 which is in used "absolute mint" condition + portable tripod that i really like.

I just test this lens using pentax k-x open wide and it is sharp sharp sharp! obviously you can not compare with prime lens which is i think it is unfair.

i will post the image in the near future as my upload is slow at this time.


   
Junior Member

Registered: June, 2012
Location: Prague, Czech Republic
Posts: 36

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: December 12, 2012 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: N/A | Rating: 4 

 
Pros:
Cons:
Sharpness: 5    Handling: 7    Value: 6   

Came with a second hand Z1-p. I tried it for a while on digital and the results were... well, awful. The copy I tried was quite battered by previous user, so it might be caused by that. But reading the other peoples' reviews, I think it is just a bad lens. Maybe if you absolutely need a powerzoom lens for film (why?), it's worth it, otherwise don't bother.
   
Senior Member

Registered: March, 2011
Location: United States
Posts: 183
Lens Review Date: September 5, 2011 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: $28.00 | Rating: 2 

 
Pros: powerzoom
Cons: poor image quality
Sharpness: 2    Aberrations: 2    Bokeh: 3    Autofocus: 5    Handling: 4    Value: 3   

The kit lens for the PZ1. The 28-80 has poor IQ and poor construction. The power zoom button/switch falls off. This seems less of a problem on the 28-105, a much better lens.

Not recommended.
   
New Member

Registered: March, 2011
Location: Oregon
Posts: 1
Lens Review Date: March 22, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $15.50 | Rating: 6 

 
Pros: Inexpensive, good IQ, faster than kit, nice focal range
Cons: sticky zoom ring, a bit heavy, power zoom support

I got this lens for next to nothing on ebay and I've had a chance to do some tests with it and compare to the DAL 18-55 kit lens on my K-x. My copy of this lens was in extremely good condition, mint optics.

IQ (8/10): Both are great! The difference was too close, although I would say the kit lens is a bit sharper but I could be wrong. The 28-80mm could produce some really sharp shots.

Speed (6/10): Hands down, the 28-80 wins. It's a decent chunk of glass. The larger lens gathers more lights even at small apertures. At about f22, images are pretty much identical. The kit lens is not a speedy lens.

PF/CA (8/10): Not tested well but I haven't noticed any significant distortion. The FA lens doesn't allow for the K-x to use some of the new correction options but I never used them anyways with the DA-L lenses.

Bokeh (6/10): It's a bit 'polygonal' compared to the nicely round blobs on the kit lens. The iris of the kit lens is simply superior.

Zoom (4/10): The FA 28-80mmzoom ring is decent if not a bit tough. It's pleasant under or after 50mm. At the 50mm, it starts to stick. I wouldn't recommend using the zoom with video. It does have Power zoom which is not supported on many newer cameras. Although the power connectors line-up, they do not power the zoom. The extra weight of the motor does add weight and probably is one of the reasons the zoom wasn't smoothed out.

Focusing (7/10): AF is fast, screw-driven by the body, very similar to the kit. At full zoom, close objects may send the lens hunting. I think this was more of my fault trying to go to 80mm and then get too close to my object, trying to macro. MF is a different story. Focusing is very smooth and easy, but the focus ring at the very front of the lens and maybe a 6mm thick ring. Not the best placement. Also, the lens rotates when focusing. Not really an issue unless you are using pedal hoods or polarizers.

Build (7/10): Well, it's plastic but feels quite solid. I really wouldn't want it any heavier than it already is. The mount is metal and the zoom grip is soft rubber and grippy. Not the prettiest lens but it feels well made.

Overall I gave this a 6/10. There is no issue with image quality, focusing, distortion, etc. It's a very nice lens and you can get them cheap. I really liked the extra brightness, 80mm @ f4.7 is nice. The zoom range is really nice and yet the zoom ring is its lowest point. That, along with the added weight of the power zoom keep this from being a high-7, maybe an 8.

--Phot0n
   
New Member

Registered: July, 2009
Location: Dereel, Australia
Lens Review Date: October 12, 2010 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: N/A | Rating: 4 

 
Pros: "Follow the object" zoom
Cons: Flimsy construction

It's difficult to say much about this lens except that it's flimsy. I bought it with my PZ-1 on 2 August 1992 and didn't use it much. Despite that, it's in worse condition than any of my other lenses: the slider for power zoom has broken off, and the (plastic) filter thread is chipped. The zoom ring feels like it has sand in it, and has done so since I bought it. There seems to be a lot of play in the zoom and focus rings.

I started with SLRs in the 1960s with a Pentax SV and Spotmatic, and I was very happy with them. When I decided to buy a new camera, there was no question that it, too, would be a Pentax. But the quality both of the camera and (especially) the lens made me regret this decision.
   
Lens Review Date: May 4, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 8 

 
Pros:
Cons:

the quality better than 28-80 silver !
   
Veteran Member

Registered: September, 2007
Location: Logan, Utah
Posts: 976
Lens Review Date: May 5, 2008 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: N/A | Rating: 4 

 
Pros: PowerZoom
Cons: IQ, Build quality, size

The only thing that keeps me from rating this lens as a 1 is that I can't be certain it's current (sad, sorry) state is due to it's design or how it was used by the previous owners. Super soft at the wide end, the long end isn't a whole lot better. 'Soft' is the best word to describe the images.

Build quality is kinda poor- the PowerZoom switch seems to be a common defect- my copy has a piece of tape where the switch should be. The focus seems very loose, but the rest of the plastic used in the lens seems half-decent. The Powerzoom aspect seems to make this a rather heavy lens.

In conclusion: only get this if you want a paper weight. If you want a lens, there are many better choices out there.
   
New Member

Registered: January, 2007
Location: Canada
Posts: 5
Lens Review Date: February 7, 2007 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: $120.00 | Rating: 6 

 
Pros: ---
Cons: made of plastic, too narrow for an all purpose lens.

Bought it with my 35mm MZ30 as the kit lens. Now with my DSLR, 28-80mm is not a good range for my all purpose lens. I have 28-80mm then 80-320mm which cover the whole focal length range, but I would prefer having a gap between the two and having a wider angle. I don't have regrets, but it just means I need a wide angle lens...

The body is made of plastic and the "zoom tube" is not tight inside it, which make it difficult to focus by hand. The image quality is good, although I see more details at 80mm with my 80-320mm than with my 28-80mm. It is also a slow lens.

But a good choice for low budget people.
   
Veteran Member

Registered: November, 2006
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 593
Lens Review Date: January 8, 2007 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: N/A | Rating: 6 

 
Pros: Colour rendition and bokeh OK
Cons: Poor sharpness
Sharpness: 6    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 6    Handling: 6    Value: 8   

Not very good as far as sharpness, although bokeh and colour rendition is not bad.
Add Review of SMC Pentax-FA 28-80mm F3.5-4.7



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