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SMC Pentax-FA 35-80mm F4-5.6 Review RSS Feed

SMC Pentax-FA 35-80mm F4-5.6

Sharpness 
 8.6
Aberrations 
 8.5
Bokeh 
 7.0
Autofocus 
 9.0
Handling 
 8.7
Value 
 9.7
Reviews Views Date of last review
23 129,158 Thu September 27, 2018
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $26.06 8.26
SMC Pentax-FA 35-80mm F4-5.6

SMC Pentax-FA 35-80mm F4-5.6
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SMC Pentax-FA 35-80mm F4-5.6

Description:
This lens comes in both silver and black finishes.



SMC Pentax-FA 35-80mm F4-5.6
© 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
7 elements, 6 groups
Mount Variant
KAF
Check camera compatibility
Max. Aperture
F4-5.6
Min. Aperture
F22-32
Focusing
AF (screwdrive)
Quick-shift
No
Min. Focus
40 cm
Max. Magnification
0.25x
Filter Size
49 mm
Internal Focus
No
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 45-20 ° / 38-17 °
Full frame: 63-30 ° / 54-25 °
Hood
Case
S80-80
Lens Cap
Plastic clip-on
Coating
SMC
Weather Sealing
No
Other Features
Diam x Length
65 x 58 mm (2.6 x 2.3 in.)
Weight
160 g (5.6 oz.)
Production Years
1999 to 2005
Engraved Name
smc PENTAX-FA 1:4-5.6 35-80mm
Product Code
27189
Reviews
User reviews
Features:
Screwdrive AutofocusAperture RingAutomatic ApertureFull-Frame SupportDiscontinued
Sample Photos: View Sample Photos
Price History:



Add Review of SMC Pentax-FA 35-80mm F4-5.6
Author:
Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-15 of 23
Pentaxian

Registered: June, 2007
Location: Near Algonquin Park
Posts: 37,883

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: June 18, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $40.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Lightwieght, great IQ
Cons: Feels like cheap plastic.
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 5    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10   

Today I decided to look a bit further at this little used lens. I have some images from around the garden All taken at 8 (wide open) and 85mm (112 with the 1.4 attached.) if a lens has weaknesses in the centre, you can always expose them by attaching a TC and enlarging them a little. I own a tamron 90 and Sigma 70, and this lens isn't going to replace either of those, and they are both excellent with the TC.

My overall opinion wold be... you could do worse.

While I didn't get the number of keepers I would have expected, I got some nice stuff.






1.1 pixel peeper




I moved in for a more macro type of image.


The one knock on it is the bokeh, and it is a little choppy, not made any better by the TC. But with the TC and 112 mm, the widest aperture is 8, so how smooth could you ask for?





This is definitely a lens that doesn't get enough respect. I know i my house we have a tamron 90 macro, and a Sigma 70 macro, this lens will never get used for this type of shot. But if you're new to photography, don't want to spend a lot of money and you want a lens rated almost 9 out of 10 in the forum reviews to give you some nice sharp images in good light, I can't see how this lens would be a miss.

I usually say the difference between a cheaper kit lens or a level above is that you can't use a TC on a kit lens or even a step above like a 55-300 or 18-135. You need a DA*. This lens is sharp enough to perform admirably with the 1.4 TC. That's saying something for 50 bucks.

More FA 35-80 images here. Without the TC.
http://s1132.photobucket.com/user/Norm_Head/library/Pentax_forum/Machinery?sort=3&page=1



I'm adding this link to the review. You'll note 28% preferred it's rendering as a reduced image, over every other 35mm lens tested including the DA 35. Pixel peeping 7% preferred it.If you are reducing the size of the image there's a pretty good chance this might be your favourite lens. Perhaps not based on resolution, but based on rendering.
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/10-pentax-slr-lens-discussion/302815-35mm-find-prime-2.html
   
Junior Member

Registered: December, 2016
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 47

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: November 14, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $19.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: inexpensive, convenient, fast AF, capable of producing some interesting images
Cons: not consistently sharp, bokeh is only ok
Sharpness: 6    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 4    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 7    Value: 9    Camera Used: K20D   

I don't have too much to add that hasn't already been said. I agree with previous reviewers who praise the quickness of the autofocus and point out that it tends to be sharper at 80mm than it is at 35mm. Safest to forget that 35mm is really an option and use it as a cheap, sharp, short telephoto. The two sample photos notwithstanding, I usually shoot with this while in aperture priority at f/8 and extended to 80mm. The bokeh is not abysmal and may suit your taste more than it does mine: I'm not generally a fan of the hexagonal 'spots' this tends to create.

I purchased this on a whim from a popular online auction site mostly just to have a new lens to try out. I believe I will keep it - at least until I acquire a prime around the 80mm focal range. If nothing else, it represents a good value and is not the kind of lens you would hate to lose in a rainstorm or dark alley.


   
Veteran Member

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

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: November 4, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $16.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Lightweight, handling, AF, and IQ
Cons: f/4, plastic construction, and rotating front element
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 4    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: Pentax K-30   

I bought this lens for around $16, not including S&H, off of eBay. Like many F and FA lenses, this design will have a hard time fitting in with an APS sensor camera due to the focal range. However, if you can make it fit then you will be rewarded with great IQ, excellent operational performance, and practical portability. I will cover this lens with a section of PROS, NEUTRAL, and CONS.

Pros
First and foremost, IQ and color rendering of this lens is excellent! Stop the lens down from f/8 onward and you will rewarded with near edge-to-edge sharpness that rivals lenses costing much more. CA is down to a minimum. I did not not notice any strange distortions. Colors are bright and vivid as some of the samples in other reviews show.

Autofocus performance is great. I have not seen the lens hunt unless you try focusing on a clear blue sky. The lens and camera can lock on to a subject very quickly.

The lens is relatively small and lightweight which makes it easy to carry around. The zoom ring has a short throw too. It's a comfortable lens to use.

There is an aperture ring for those who like that mechanical control.

Neutral
The lens/body mating surface is made of plastic. I know many people prefer metal surfaces. This is a neutral to me since I know that plastics can be engineered to be as tough (or tougher) than metal.

It's a slow lens with a maximum aperture of f/4. This isn't a bokeh monster and it shouldn't be expected to be one.

Cons
The biggest strike against this lens is its focal range. Back when film reigned supreme I would think a 35-80mm zoom range was practical. On todays APS sensor cameras 35mm is not wide enough and 80 is not tele enough. It's hard to figure out what the application would be today. Weddings? Street photography? Birthday parties? In todays day and age of super zooms this lens falls short.

Conclusion
At $16 I consider this lens to be good cheap entertainment. IQ and AF performance are excellent although the plastic construction and limited focal range may be a big turn off. If you can find an application for this lens or are ready to challenge yourself then this lens will work wonderfully!
   
Inactive Account

Registered: November, 2008
Location: Trabzon/Turkey
Posts: 1,010

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: August 3, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $40.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp, Lightweight, 1:4 macro
Cons: Plastic body, so what? I't's almost free.
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10   

I can't believe above reviews, probably only explanation is IQ differs from lens to lens, I am giving this lens a well deserved 9 not a 10 just because legendary lenses for instance Voigtlander 125mm Apo-Lanthar Macro's IQ. I am posting three samples, direct from K200D's jpeg engine, just resized nothing else, EXIF's are intact ,so don't believe anyone, just you decide by yourself.





   
New Member

Registered: September, 2015
Posts: 16

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: June 15, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $15.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Cool, very fast AF, interesting
Cons: sometimes AF just hunt
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 7    Value: 10    Camera Used: K5 ii   

I came across this kit lens by purchasing MZ-50 SLR.

I expected nothing from it. So I was pleasantly surprised how interesting, nice and sharp images can be and how fast the AF is. The AF is REALLY FAST. When work, AF is spot on without hunting. No FF/BF. It is really joy to use. But sometimes it can hunt back and forth and just not loack at all. You must refocus on different target and try again. Like 3 out of 10 times that happens, especially if target is closer to camera. Have no pattern what kind of target would be difficult for it, since sometimes lock on small twig no problem, sometimes hunts on easy object. Maybe it is faulty lens, and not model issue. But I reckon it has to do with how fast it is. Modern lenses have much finer "screw", so they are slower but more precise. It seems sometimes focus point sits between two motor positions. If I move slightly back or forward it locks than. Or I often just use MF.


Images are pleasant, real to life, and even on K5ii they look organic and "film" like. Images have good contrast and interesting bokeh. They call for "film-like" grading. Lens can give nice blurred background for portraits since it can focus really close. Near macro range Did I say how fast, accurate and snappy AF is? Did I mention it is more quiet than any DA lens I have? Well, mostly it is low pitched sound, while modern DA lenses have much higher pitched sound. I reckon the screw is more precise in modern lenses, so higher sound. While DA50-1.8 "think" a moment before starting to focus, this FA is like golden retriever, just wainting to focus something Crazy, I love it and it is my new toy.

IQ: Lens give obviously better resolution at f8, than wide open. But image is well defined and pleasant at wide open as well. Center sharpenss is really good, but corners are softer wide open, and not much better when stopped down and I reckon on FF body that would look even worse. But this is obvious only when image represent large flat object like brick wall. For most photos I take, like portraits, flowers, walk snapshots, it is not noticable at all.

When Tamron 70-200 f2.8 is put against this lens in bright sunny day, it is instantly obvious how modern zoom have greater contrast and sharpenss. But I do like image character from this old lense a bit more. I like this lens and I will keep it. It's lighter and smaller than DA 18-55.

Photos from my album
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/members/97119-cdmikelis/albums/11840-smc...-35-80-f4-5-6/

EDIT after use on FF film body:
Using the lense on FF body proved that lens is really soft at the corners wide open. In fact it is not lack of sharpeness but curvature. My MZ-50 sometimes focuses in front of object and than corners around center of frame is sharp, with center out of focus. On FF body lens produce interesting curly effect around center of frame. It is really usable lens on APS-C, but more "arty" on FF body.
   
New Member

Registered: September, 2015
Posts: 16

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: June 15, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $10.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Cool, very fast AF, interesting
Cons: sometimes AF just hunt
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 7    Value: 10    Camera Used: K5 ii   

I came across this kit lens by purchasing MZ-50 SLR. The lens obviously went through some usage, but it is not beaten up. So I can expect this copy represents this model well.

I expected nothing. So I was pleasantly surprised how interesting, nice and sharp images can be and how fast the AF is. The AF is REALLY FAST. When work, AF is spot on in fist move. No FF/BF. It is really joy to use. But sometimes it can hunt and at some objects AF does not loack at all. You must refocus on different target and try again. Like 1/15 times that happens. Have no pattern what kind of target would be difficult for it, since sometimes lock on small twig no problem, sometimes hunts on easy object. Maybe it is faulty lens, and not model issue.

Images are pleasant, with good contrast and interesting bokeh, with some vintage feel. They call for "film-like" grading. lens can give nice blurred background for portraits since it can focus really close. Near macro range Did I say how fast, accurate and snappy AF is? Did I mention it is more quiet than any DA lens I have? Well, mostly it is low pitched sound, while modern DA lenses have much higher pitched sound. I reckon the screw is more precise in modern lenses, so higher sound. While DA50-1.8 "think" a moment before starting to focus, this FA is like golder retriever, just wainting to focus something Crazy, I love it and it is my new toy.

IQ: Lens give obviously better resolution at f8, than wide open. But image is well defined and pleasant at wide open as well. Corners are smeared wide open, and not much better when stopped down and I reckon on FF body that would look even worse. But this is obvious only when image represent well defined large flat object like brick wall. For most photos I take, like portraits, flowers, walk snapshots, it is not noticable at all.

I like this lens and I will keep it. It's lighter and smaller than DA 18-55.
   
Veteran Member

Registered: January, 2010
Location: Southern England
Posts: 554

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 11, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $18.00 | Rating: 6 

 
Pros: Sharp at the long end, light as a feather, cheap
Cons: Soft at the wide end
Sharpness: 6    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 8    Camera Used: K-50   

Just to sum up:

Goes from pretty soft at the 35mm end, getting sharper as you move up to the 80mm end, at which it's quite sharp.

Colours and contrast are OK.

A little flimsy feeling, but light as a feather and fast-focusing.

I've tried a couple, and the optically identical (?) F35-80, and all are very similar (though one is slightly decentred).

Would recommend on the proviso that it's cheap, and that you don't mind that it's distinctly soft at the wide end.
   
New Member

Registered: March, 2016
Posts: 3

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 25, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $36.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp even wide open, very fast AF, IQ better than 18-55, its light
Cons: Not f 4 permanent, "macro" 1:5 only at 80mm, prone to flare and cyan color
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 9    Camera Used: Pentax KS-1   

I've won this lens on ebay for 25 GBP, in excellent condition. I search for this lens for its cheapness and IQ, mainly because i did'nt want to buy a 18-55. I think that 35mm it's enough wide for landscapes, but I usually shoot 3-5 pictures that i merge in Lightroom or Hugin. The zoom range makes it perfect as a factotum, as i said i use it for landscapes, portraits (from 50 to 80mm), close up etc.
It's very light and small, so you can take it everywhere. Obviously is not a macro, the magnification only at 80mm is 1:5.
I recommend a lens hood, because unlike most SMC lenses, its prone to flare in backlight.
Vote 9, also based on the price
   
New Member

Registered: May, 2015
Location: Baha Blanca. Argentina
Posts: 8

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: August 9, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $40.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: very good autofocus and sharpness.
Cons: construccion fragil
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: k5   

very good autofocus and sharpness
   
New Member

Registered: February, 2015
Posts: 2

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: February 4, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: light weight, overall sharp, nice color, nice bokeh, produces very pleasing images
Cons: focus ring action too light, lens/filter rotates with focus
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: sony a5000 with adapter   

Very enjoyable lens. It had been sitting in a closet for the past 13 years, but brought it back into service a few months ago after buying e-mount adapter for my Sony cameras. I actually like this lens better with the APS-C format for 2 reasons. The crop factor focal range (52-120mm) works really well for my shooting, and the softness around the edges I recalled from some of my previous 35mm film shots seems to have been cropped out. Still slightly soft wide open, but very useable.
Everything is manual or aperture priority with these cameras, but that is part of the fun of the lens for me. Focus peaking and magnification features make it super easy to focus.

Overall very sharp images and surprisingly nice bokeh. Only criticisms; aperture ring could have more positive feel, focus ring could be damped better, and lens/filter rotate when focusing, which makes using polarizing filter more difficult.

sample shots:




   
Veteran Member

Registered: June, 2010
Location: Manteca, CA
Posts: 1,653

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: January 18, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $15.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Lightweight, Great IQ, Super fast AF, Low CA
Cons: Plastic, Focus ring drifts when manual focusing

I was very pleasantly surprised. For such a cheap lens the AF is lightning fast and it does not hunt. IQ is better than the 18-55 by far. Bokeh isnt to bad either. A very good choice for a walk around lens and contrary to what some of the other reviewers have stated its a very usable focal length on APS-C or 35mm. If you find one its a great value.
   
New Member

Registered: May, 2013
Posts: 6

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: May 3, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $45.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp, light weight, good handling
Cons: none so far
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 9    Camera Used: Pentax K5   

I wanted something in between my DA 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 WR and my Sigma 100-300mm DL f/4-5.6. Found this in eBay for 45 usd and after checking the review, I ordered it from the seller (A nice guy from Greece. He even threw in a lens leather case for the price!)

I know this lens received some good reviews but I was simply amazed by the results. Check out the snapshots I took this afternoon. Converted from RAW to JPEG straight without any PP.

Definitely recommend this lens..!!





   
Forum Member

Registered: September, 2013
Posts: 62

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: December 26, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $14.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: light weight, compact, sharp and CHIP zoom, fast AF
Cons: may be plastic construction, but for this price...
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-30   

on the crop it is like 50-120, my usual FL.
light (plastic) construction
VERY fast AF, just kick-n-catch.

very sharp, even for some fixed-FL lens.
highly recommended if lens longer than "kit" needed. it is more better, sharper, than DA 18-55
yes, it is "slow", F5.6, but 14 USD!!!
using 35 mm round lens hood...

I love it and using even owned DA40 and DA70 lim lens.
   
Site Supporter

Registered: May, 2013
Location: Hertfordshire, England
Posts: 686

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: September 3, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $15.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Sharpness; quick and accurate focus; light weight.
Cons: No wideangle on DSLR
Sharpness: 8    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 7    Value: 10    Camera Used: K100D   

Got this one in a pawn (correct spelling) shop for 10, to use on a K100D body from eBay as a backup camera. For that price, it is a great find. It is effectively a standard to short tele lens on a DSLR, so not for wide shots At anything from room brightness (electric light) upwards, the autofocus snaps it into focus quickly and accurately - much better than I can, using it manually. The auto aperture works well, enabling the camera to produce consistently exposed, reasonably sharp images with quite realistic colours. Minimal processing is required (just a tweak of contrast, brightness, and sharpness) to produce pleasing images. This one must be a good copy of the lens, as it seems to be quite acceptable quality across the frame.
   
Senior Member

Registered: September, 2012
Posts: 107

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: September 15, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Fairly sharp, cheap
Cons: Construction, flares
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: MZ-M and K-r   

I've had this lens for about 10 years now, and it has held up quite well. It takes sharp pictures when stopped down to about f7, but wide open it's a little soft. The focus ring feels loose and drifts when in MF mode (the AF on my K-r keeps it in check though). I got it for $200 brand new, but like I said, that was about 10 years ago. Now, if you find a used one they go for $50 or less, and for that price it's a great walk-around lens with which you can get some surprisingly good and sharp pictures. Here are a few examples, all shot with the K-r:








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