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SMC Pentax-FA 28-80mm F3.5-5.6 Review RSS Feed

SMC Pentax-FA 28-80mm F3.5-5.6

Sharpness 
 6.7
Aberrations 
 5.7
Bokeh 
 5.0
Autofocus 
 9.0
Handling 
 7.3
Value 
 7.3
Reviews Views Date of last review
14 81,109 Fri September 14, 2018
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
86% of reviewers $46.69 6.93
SMC Pentax-FA 28-80mm F3.5-5.6
supersize


Description:
This lens comes in both silver and black.



SMC Pentax-FA 28-80mm F3.5-5.6
© www.pentaxforums.com, sharable with attribution
Image Format
Full-frame / 35mm film
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
Yes (A setting)
Diaphragm
Automatic, 6 blades
Optics
8 elements, 8 groups
Mount Variant
KAF
Check camera compatibility
Max. Aperture
F3.5-5.6
Min. Aperture
F22-38
Focusing
AF (screwdrive)
Quick-shift
No
Min. Focus
50 cm
Max. Magnification
0.19x
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
Case
S80-120
Lens Cap
Plastic clip-on
Coating
SMC
Weather Sealing
No
Other Features
Diam x Length
65 x 78 mm (2.6 x 3.1 in.)
Weight
278 g (9.8 oz.)
Production Years
1998 to 2001
Engraved Name
smc PENTAX-FA 1:3.5-5.6 28-80mm
Product Code
27957 (silver), 27948 (black)
Reviews
User reviews
Variants
Black and silver
Features:
Screwdrive AutofocusAperture RingAutomatic ApertureFull-Frame SupportDiscontinued
Sample Photos: View Sample Photos
Price History:



Add Review of SMC Pentax-FA 28-80mm F3.5-5.6
Author:
Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-14 of 14
Site Supporter

Registered: November, 2017
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 607
Lens Review Date: September 14, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $30.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: cheap, good enough, don't care if it gets damaged
Cons: lost of better lenses

I like this lens because of what it is. Everything that has been said about this lens previously is accurate and I have found mine is not different. I got this lens initially as a replacement for the 18-55 DA kit lens that got broken and I needed an autofocus lens within a couple of days. I found it locally for $30 and figured why not.

A year on and this lens is still serving the purpose I got it for. It is a good lens for snapping pics of bouncy cub scouts at events. If it gets broken, scratched, etc. it isn't a big deal as it is a $30 lens and for capturing images where the moment is more important than absolute quality it is great. For these kinds of pictures it is good enough. I recently picked up a tamron 28-300mm f3.5-6.3 for $60 that I intend on using in a similar fashion, but with more reach, so this will likely become the body cap for my k-2000 that I let my youngest kid use when he wants to take pictures.
   
Veteran Member

Registered: July, 2014
Location: Nagoya
Posts: 577
Lens Review Date: August 9, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $15.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Cheap, light, good colours
Cons: Slow at 80mm, does nothing outstanding

This lens is nothing special, but for the price you can't complain. It is not the crispest or sharpest lens, it's a bit slow at the long end and it feels cheap. But it is cheap, really cheap. And for that cheapness you get very nice Pentax colours, quick and snappy AF, decent bokeh when you close focus and a lens that you won't mind bashing around in a bag. Don't go out looking for this lens, but if you see one going cheap then it's certainly worth snapping up.
   
Site Supporter

Registered: June, 2013
Location: Nevada, USA
Posts: 3,323

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: December 18, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $8.50 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Fast and solid autofocus, good exposure
Cons: A little bulky, could be sharper
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 5    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 7    Value: 10    Camera Used: Pentax K-30   

I bought this lens for $8.50 off of eBay plus S&H. At this price the lens can do whatever it wants and I think I got a bargain. Excellent value! It's cheaper than going out to the movies and getting take-out from your favorite restaurant.

Pros:
The autofocusing was quick and accurate. My K-30 did not hunt around with this lens.

Colors are good and exposures are balanced.

It has an aperture ring which I appreciate for mounting to other systems even though I only use the A settings.

Most people would list this as a con but I'm going to go pro here. The flare and internal reflections this lens can produce are awesome! If you can leverage this feature then you can get some great artsy shots! It's super easy to manipulate with the zoom and aperture settings. It's quite dramatic!

Neutral:
This is just me but for those that care this lens has a metal mounting surface. I'm OK with plastic since it can be engineered to be tough. Plus, plastic makes the lens lighter.

Con:
The front element spins when focusing. This could make the use of filters difficult.

There is no depth of field scale on the focus ring. I do like having this feature but not a deal breaker. Still, I will list it as a con.

The lens lacks contrast, even with a hood. This can be corrected in post processing, especially if you shoot in RAW. Still, I would rather the lens transfer contrast without a helping hand.

The lens could be sharper. It's not bad. Think of it as better than a good P&S camera but noticeably softer than a "high quality" modern lens. I think the apparent softness comes from the lack of contrast. You can easily recover a lot of sharpness in post processing by adding definition, mid contrast, and sharper edges. While it's all doable I think this should be unnecessary. The sharpest images will come when you stop down the aperture a bit.

Conclusions:
I bought this lens for $8.50 knowing that the ratings here were low. I can understand why people would give low ratings in general but I do think that they are a bit harsh. Small 6"x4" prints will look wonderful. Larger prints may suffer a bit but the printing process is often softer than any lens so the loss would be small. A lack of contrast is truly this lens' achilles heal for a lack of contrast probably drives the IQ more than anything.

I was wonderfully surprised when I saw how this lens can flare. It's a wonderful prismatic effect that I think would be nearly impossible to recreate digitally. This gives analog effects some positive publicity as far as I'm concerned! This effect isn't for everyone but you should know it's there.

I consider this a high value lens if you can get it very cheaply.

Here are some samples.


IMGP0131 by Never Off, on Flickr
With some post processing you can get very deep colors.


IMGP0146 by Never Off, on Flickr
The prismatic effect can be easily leveraged for a dramatic show of color ... if that's your cup of tea.


IMGP0156 by Never Off, on Flickr
Pixel peeping will show some softness in the details in the boot and the bricks. It's not terrible but other lenses are obviously capable of better. I would still challenge many P&S cameras to recreate this image with the same color depth and exposure.


IMGP0157 by Never Off, on Flickr
Shot through a dirty window, I was pleased with the detail shown in the cob webs. Again, a lack of contrast is the lens' achilles heel.
   
Inactive Account

Registered: April, 2011
Location: near Berlin
Posts: 9
Lens Review Date: January 30, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $25.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: super fast AF, light weight, warm color rendition
Cons: cheap build, not very sharp, no hood
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 6    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 7    Value: 10   

Maybe I am a bit spoiled by my fix-focals, but sharpness isn't best here. The older kit-lens does well on my K-5, when I just walk around and take some snap-shots. Due to the fact I haven't got any WR-lens with such focal length, I also use it when I lie in dirt or when it rains - no problems until now! I also like the warm color-rendition. Pictures look old-fashioned... that's nice if you want that! Also bokeh isn't decent but ok. To put it in a nutshale: cheap lens with fasted AF I know!

   
Inactive Account

Registered: August, 2011
Location: San Antonio, TX
Posts: 95

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 3, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: INEXPENSIVE lense
Cons: For the money, none.

Yeah, it's inexpensive but if anyone's been watching Ebay you know this is got to be one of the most common lenses to be found. Used? Yes, that's true. Very used. However, it's an excellent lense for the money. I picked mine up for $20 plus shipping, I have no complaints. All in all, it's an exepensive kit lense which is sorely underrated.
   
Pentaxian

Registered: September, 2009
Location: Oregon
Posts: 4,505
Lens Review Date: April 14, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Cheap, Decent IQ, Fast AF, Good Colors
Cons: Can there be a negative when the lens is $25

This lens came to me attached to a ZX-5n I bought but as it turned out the camera was broken. The lens turned out to be the only useful part of the deal. I wasn't expecting much after reading lots of bad reviews, but I decided to give it a try.
After a few shots I was quite surprised by this lens. Now granted the IQ isn't steller and it is rather slow, the AF speed seem is faster than any other lens I have tried on my K10. The zoom range makes for a nice walk around lens, could be a little wider, but the extra length compared to the 18-55 is nice to have.
The best part is that this lens can be picked up in good condition for under $30.
Now I probably wouldn't take it to a paid shoot, but for a decent walk around zoom, you won't find a better value.
   
Veteran Member

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

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: November 29, 2009 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: N/A | Rating: 5 

 
Pros: Light, cheap(mine came with the MZ-5n),
Cons: floppy focus ring, not fast, no hood, soft, 42-120 on APS-C, CA.
Sharpness: 5    Aberrations: 2    Bokeh: 4    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 2    Camera Used: K20D, K10D, K-01, *istDS   

Well its light, and its cheap. But other than that, not much to recommend it.
Its too soft on digital, although the extra softness on the edges have gone.
I can understand why Pentax made this lens, as other makes were producing kit zooms, but in reality not a good one.

Not up to Pentax standards I'm afraid.

Edit. I have had another play with it. No point getting rid, so it just sits on the shelf most of the time. However I decided to give it another try on digital bodies. So it went on the K-01 and the K20D the same day. On the K20D it was just awful! lacks any sort of resolution and the CA is awful, and I mean awful! Ironically on the K-01, which we know the Sensor is superior, it was okay. The CA was reasonable, and resolution was better. Maybe it was the subjects I was photographing on each body, I don't know. Sharpness is still lacking, but in CameraRAW it can be pulled back to a decent level.
Would I still consider one if I did not have one as part of a kit? Probably no, but on the other hand it is small and light and has a respectable focal range. So in the end, unless you find one second hand for peanuts, I would say that there are other lenses, even older K-mount ones that are far far better for a small cost.
   
New Member

Registered: November, 2009
Location: Upstate New York, USA
Posts: 2

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: November 6, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $80.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Price, sharpness, color & contrast
Cons: Construction, manual focus ring

My rating of 8 is with reference to the lens' cheap price. I find it to be sharp enough for viewing images on a monitor or 8x10 or smaller prints, and that it renders lovely Pentax colors. Autofocus is quick and snappy. Despite its f3.5 max aperture, I have had no issues using this lens indoors.

It is light and plasticky, and things do wobble around disconcertingly if you are used to solid, big dollar lenses. The manual focus ring offers little resistance and is narrow -- I sometimes find myself accidently grasping the end of the lens when focusing manually.

I use this lens on a k100d Super and leave it on most of the time since it offers a useful zoom range, produces nice images and I don't have to worry about damaging an expensive lens during everyday use. If you are interested in a zoom in this range with Pentax SMC and a metal mount, this lens is a great option at $80 or less.
   
Veteran Member

Registered: December, 2007
Location: In the most populated state... state of denial
Posts: 1,105
Lens Review Date: June 12, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $20.00 | Rating: 6 

 
Pros: Price
Cons: Soft wide open

Good if you are in a budget.
Not as good as Tokina or Sigma alternatives thou
   
Inactive Account

Registered: September, 2008
Location: Singapore
Posts: 1
Lens Review Date: October 26, 2008 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $95.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: sharp, good contrast
Cons: focussing sluggish

I just acquired this lense and I would say it quite surprise me upon seing how sharp it is....well, not so sharp actually but compared to the kit lense, it is..and gives good contrast too....my lens is a silver one.

Only complain is focusing is sluggish and putting the hood will take time as it is screwed to the front end and putting up filter is messy affair..

other than that..im happy with the overal sharpness,contrast and the cheap price..
   
Senior Member

Registered: August, 2008
Location: UK
Posts: 237

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 1, 2008 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 6 

 
Pros: Very cheap, quite sharp stopped down.
Cons: Slack focus ring in MF, not wide enough on APS-C.

Its construction is soild enough for a kit lens, if a bit plastic-tastic. At least the mount is metal. The front element wobbles a tiny bit. The stop-down lever is not the smoothest. The diaphragm is a six-bladed type. Weight is 300 grams.

The zoom ring is fairly smooth and not too sticky, rather stiffer around the 28mm and 80mm ranges. Autofocus is quite snappy, but manual focus is very bad - due to the short focus throw, and loose focus ring that has virtually no resistance.

Image quality is on a par with the SMC Pentax-DA 18-55 3.5-5.6 AL, its APS-C DSLR equivalent. While predicatably soft wide open, and prone to chromatic aberration, I have found that the 28-80 can sometimes outperform the 18-55 at around f/11, at least where sharpness is concerned. Contrast can be a bit higher on the 28-80 too.
There's certainly no problem with vignetting with this lens when a 1.5x crop factor is involved. Also, the 28mm end serves as a convenient "standard" focal length if you've no other equivalent lens.

Not a brilliant lens by anyone's standards, but cheap and easy to find, especially when included with an MZ/ZX type SLR found often on eBay. It doesn't get used much, but it's a keeper nonetheless. It's useful as a beginner or backup lens.
   
New Member

Registered: April, 2008
Location: London
Lens Review Date: April 6, 2008 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: N/A | Rating: 4 

 
Pros: light, low cost zoom
Cons: not very sharp

This isn't a bad lens, but it isn't a very good one either. When I purchased it, the third party lenses I tried that cost less were much worst; however, this one did not live up to my expectations.

Later I got a Tokina AT-X 28-70mm f/2.8 lens which I was really impressed with.
   
Forum Member

Registered: January, 2007
Location: Yorkshire, England
Posts: 80
Lens Review Date: June 14, 2007 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $100.00 | Rating: 6 

 
Pros: Cheap, Lightweight, decent zoom range
Cons:

I have used this lens on both film and digital cameras and I have never been let down by it, but at the same time never been overly inspired by it either.
It is quite compact and is very light, and the zoom range makes it a versatile everyday budget lens suitable for family days out when you don't want to take a selection of lenses, especially with the digital range for the candid shots.
Focusing is quick and sharp, colour rendition is pretty good also, it is best used above F.4 for sharpness.
I find manual focus quite difficult to use because the focusing ring moves too easily, I much prefer the stiffer, smoother focusing you find on the A and M series lenses.
   
Lens Review Date: May 19, 2007 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 5 

 
Pros: Cheap, light weight, decent performance for a budget lens.
Cons: cheap, light weight, decent perfformance for a cheap lens.

Somewhere along the line, cheap 28-80mm lenses went from decent f3.5-4.5 zooms the cheapo f3.5-5.6 models, this is one of them. My wife likes this lens because it gives much better performance on a small sensor DSLR than it did on film where vignetting and corner softness were issues. The APS sized sensor has effectively left that fuzzy edge far behind.

It is light weight, the construction is not exactly confidence building, this is plastic that looks and feels like plastic. It does have a metal lens mount (something other manufacturers didn't all include on their lenses from that era). If, like my wife, you like candid photography, this lens (with an effecctive focal range of 42mm to 120mm on a DSLR) can make for a very good choice in good light.

It is normally available used for less than $30 and is a good buy at this level. The 28-70mm f4 lens is a better choice but costs more and sometimes develops problems with lens elements separating (apparently).

Ira
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