Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Pentax Lens Review Database » Film Era Pentax K-Mount Lenses » FA Prime Lenses
SMC Pentax-FA* 200mm F2.8 ED [IF] Review RSS Feed

SMC Pentax-FA* 200mm F2.8 ED [IF]

Sharpness 
 9.7
Aberrations 
 9.3
Bokeh 
 9.4
Autofocus 
 8.7
Handling 
 9.6
Value 
 9.3
Reviews Views Date of last review
15 69,981 Mon April 1, 2019
spacer
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $853.38 9.60
SMC Pentax-FA* 200mm F2.8 ED [IF]

SMC Pentax-FA* 200mm F2.8 ED [IF]
supersize
SMC Pentax-FA* 200mm F2.8 ED [IF]
supersize
SMC Pentax-FA* 200mm F2.8 ED [IF]
supersize

Description:
This compact yet fast lens features extra-low dispersion (ED) elements and internal focusing (IF).

You switch between autofocus and manual focus by pushing the focusing forwards (autofocus) or pulling it towards the camera (manual focus).

SMC Pentax-FA* 200mm F2.8 ED[IF]
© www.pentaxforums.com, sharable with attribution
Image Format
Full-frame / 35mm film
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
Yes (A setting)
Diaphragm
Automatic, 9 blades
Optics
9 elements, 8 groups
Mount Variant
KAF
Check camera compatibility
Max. Aperture
F2.8
Min. Aperture
F32
Focusing
AF (screwdrive)
Quick-shift
No
Min. Focus
120 cm
Max. Magnification
0.2x
Filter Size
77 mm
Internal Focus
Yes
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 8.1 ° / 6.9 °
Full frame: 12 ° / 10 °
Hood
MH-RBB77
Case
S110-160
Lens Cap
Plastic clip-on
Coating
SMC
Weather Sealing
No
Other Features
Diam x Length
83 x 134 mm (3.3 x 5.3 in.)
Weight
785 g (27.7 oz.)
Production Years
1993 to 2004
Engraved Name
SMC PENTAX-FA* 1:2.8 200mm IF & ED
Product Code
24140
Reviews
User reviews
Notes
Two ED elements.
Features:
Screwdrive AutofocusInternal FocusingAperture RingAutomatic ApertureFull-Frame SupportDiscontinued
Sample Photos: View Sample Photos
Price History:



Add Review of SMC Pentax-FA* 200mm F2.8 ED [IF]
Author:
Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-15 of 15
Site Supporter

Registered: October, 2008
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Posts: 6,772

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 1, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $940.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Small, fast 200mm prime with good optics.
Cons: Looks a bit cheap and scratches easily. Tough to find one in good shape at a reasonable price.
New or Used: Used    Camera Used: Pentax film bodies (K1000, KM, KX, K2, K2DMD, ME, ME-F, MX, LX, Super A, Super Program, P50)   

The FA*200/2.8 was released in 1993 and remained in production until 2004. It was Pentax’s first Auto-Focus 200mm prime and first 200mm to feature “Internal Focusing”. The FA*200/2.8 was eventually replaced with the optically similar DA*200/2.8 in 2008.

Optics:
Excellent optics! The FA*200/2.8 is sharp at all apertures and very good wide open. The extra-low dispersion “ED” element helps control aberrations.

Focal Length:
Pentax has produced a 200mm prime lens since the late 1950’s, so most people have owned one over the years and are familiar with the focal length. I like to use my 200mm primes for birds, boats and “paparazzi” shots of people. You can be far enough away from someone with a 200mm lens that they don’t automatically notice you taking a picture of them, but a 200mm is also small enough that it does not attract attention like a larger 300mm or bigger lens would.

Build:
The build of the FA*200/2.8 is not bad, but it’s not as good as any K/M/A* Series lens I own. The biggest problem with the FA*200/2.8 is the silver paint used on the lens and hood. It’s prone to scratching and makes the lens look cheap. The rubber focusing grip is also pretty cheap looking compared to the older Pentax K/M Series focusing grips. The lens hood also has “PENTAX” big and bold across both sides, so this and above make the FA*200/2.8 a somewhat tacky/cheap looking lens.

Usage/Handling:
The FA*200/2.8 is a nicely sized well balanced lens that is easy to hand hold, as it only weighs 785g.

I only shoot with manual focus film bodies, so I can’t comment on the FA*200/2.8 auto-focus capabilities. The focus ring on the FA*200/2.8 pushes up for auto focus (the words “AUTO FOCUS” will appear below the focus ring) and down for manual focusing. (“AUTO FOCUS” will disappear). The distance scale on the FA*200/2.8 is in a plastic window, it’s acceptable but not great. The FA*200/2.8 manually focuses past the infinity mark and also uses internal “IF” focusing. The minimum focusing distance of 1.2 meters is excellent for a 200mm lens. I have no issues manually focusing the FA*200/2.8 or using the aperture ring, however the handling experience overall is a bit on the clunky side.

The FA*200/2.8 has a 77mm filter ring and uses an outside mounting bayonet hood MH-RBB77. This hood does not have a filter cutout window, so using a polarizer is a bit tricky. The hood can be reverse mounted for storage and both the hood & FA*200/2.8 fit in the OEM S110-160 soft lens case. It would have been nicer if the hood was built -in.

Speed:
F/2.8 is very fast for a 200mm lens, but the older K200/2.5 is still the fastest lens that Pentax has made in that focal length.

The FA*200/2.8 vs my other 200mm telephoto primes:
I also own the K200/2.5 and the K200/4, this is how I rate them against each other:

Speed: K200/2.5, FA*200/2.8, K200/4
Minimum Focusing Distance: FA*200/2.8, K200/2.5 & K200/4 (tie)
Build: K200/2.5 & K200/4 (tie), FA*200/2.8
Bokeh: All three have a pleasant bokeh, so a three way tie.
Sharpness: I did some indoor resolution tests near minimum focusing distances. I found the K200/2.5 to be the sharpest overall and the best in corners. The FA*200/2.8 was a close second. The K200/4 is not bad in center sharpness at middle apertures, but falls way behind in edge sharpness.
Handling: The K200/2.5 is a bit big/heavy, but other than that is an excellent handling lens. The FA*200/2.8 is smaller/lighter than the K200/2.5, but is a bit clunky on the manual focusing side. The K200/4 is probably my favorite overall, as it’s the smallest/lightest of the three. It’s also the only of three that has no issues using a polarizer filter. (The plastic clip-on hood attaches to the filter and you just turn the hood to adjust.)
Value: The FA*200/2.8 is about twice the price of the K200/2.5, especially one with minimal signs of use. So I would pick the K200/2.5 as the best "bang for your buck".

Overall the K200/2.5 is my favorite of the three. I rated the K200/2.5 a 10, the K200/4 an 8 and will give the FA*200/2.8 a 9.

Summary:
I recently purchased my FA*200/2.8 to see how it would compare against my older K200/2.5. While I really like the FA*200/2.8 lens, it’s just another example how a classic K Series prime can still compete/surpass a newer lens with all the “bells & whistles”. Newer does not always mean better…


Price:
I bought my FA*200/2.8 online and paid $939.00. It was in mint+ condition and came with the MH-RBB77hood, S110-160 soft lens case and original box.

Sample shots taken with the FA*200/2.8. Photos are medium resolution scans from original slides or negatives. All shots were taken in Vancouver.


Camera: KX Film: Kodak Ektachrome 100 ISO: 100




Camera: Super Program Film: Fuji Velvia 100 ISO: 100




Camera: K2DMD Film: Kodak T-Max 400 ISO: 400

   
Forum Member

Registered: July, 2011
Location: Texas
Posts: 83
Lens Review Date: February 13, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $659.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharpness, IQ, speed, QuickShift
Cons: no tripod mount
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K50, Kx, ME-Super   

Beautiful and sharp Film-era lens (all metal, feels solid and wellmade). F2.8 is nice and fast with good DOF for a long tele. Good images wide-open and throughout, Best at F4-F5.6. Very sharp, great color & contrast. No pbms focusing (auto or manual, has Quickshift). Definitely deserves the star. Since getting this lens, my 55-300 DAL kit is collecting dust! (Sure that lens would go to 300, but degraded IQ beyond 225mm, and had to be stopped down to F8-F10), so great upgrade for my longie! I can use this lens for moon shots and max-crop for effectively a 400-500mm lens (which would cost a fortune I don't have)! I don't always carry this around and use (as it is my biggest lens), but when I do I get great photos and am so glad to have it around. My main drivers are my pancake limiteds (15,21,40,70), my 100 macro, and this baby for the long stuff! It has an aperture ring (with A) so I can also use it just as easy on my old ME-Super (film) camera too.

NOTE: This lens DOES have "Quickshift Focus" (the nice big focus ring shifts forward or back with a nice firm click)! (Please CORRECT the spec-list!)
   
Pentaxian

Registered: November, 2013
Location: Barcelona
Posts: 467

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: August 12, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharpness, Bokeh, Weight
Cons: It's not friend of hard lights
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 9    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: Pentax K3   

I also bought this lens second hand some months ago (maybe a year already) and my main purpose was to use it for Motorsport.
And so I did. Just don't do that. Is not even close to good when used to capture action. It is no friend of hard lights like car lights and it tends to purple a lot, and it's not focusing right.

So I was about to sell it, but then last weekend we did a Pentax Barcelona Meeting and I used it a bit for portrait and the results are so amazing that I just decided to keep it.

_IMG1491 by Daniel Gonzalez Aguilera, en Flickr

Please notice that was in a day that temperature was +36 at around 12AM and yet still the bokeh is great, and the sharpness.... check his face! you can even feel the wrinkles!

Definitelly a keeper!
   
Senior Member

Registered: November, 2012
Posts: 151

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: July 1, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $600.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: IQ Size
Cons: Auto Focus Hood
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 10    Value: 9    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K5IIs   

Bought this lens second hand. IQ is really nice, color and contrast are very pleasing. Another good thing about this lens is its size.. i shoot handheld with this lens and, with my k5IIs it doesnt feel out of balance. Now, coming to cons.. auto focus is slow.. and sometimes it just stucks and doesnt want to hunt. The hood is also a pain to lock. Otherwise, its a portable 200mm that you will love to carry with you.

   
Site Supporter

Registered: August, 2009
Location: Elko, Nevada
Posts: 1,295

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 29, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Wonderful colors, sharp-sharp-sharp, compact
Cons: Silver paint, tiny bit of CA in right circumstance while wide open
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: Pentax K5iiS, Pentax PZ1p   

Pentax has so many magnificent prime lenses that I find it hard to designate this one as the best lens Pentax ever made, but it is certainly running neck and neck with the other "best" lenses.

The optics are absolutely tack sharp. Anything I point it at comes out looking terrific. I like the color rendition of most Pentax lenses anyway but this one is particularly nice. I have no idea whether or not the color is accurate, but it is certainly beautiful and vibrant. The best aperture range is f/4 to f/8

Ergonomics and handling are quite good. I have read a few people here wishing it had a tripod collar, but I have never had any issue with the weight. I guess my tripods and mounts are up to the task. Besides, I only have two other 200mm Pentax lenses, both manual focus. One, the 200/4 is a tiny little thing and the other, the K200/2.5 is even heavier than this one.

I have no idea what I paid for this lens. It was my very first telephoto bought new at least 10 years ago for my first PZ1p and I have never regretted or been tempted in the slightest way to sell it. I bought a new DA* 200 a couple of years back but could see no difference at all in my photos so I sent it back. I'm sure there are probably better lens coatings and the digital anti reflective coating on the rear lens so for new buyers it is probably a better deal, but it turned out I didn't need it.

My only real complaint with this lens is the finish. Over the years the silver paint on mine has been scratched so many times that it looks like a real leper. But it is still wonderfully sharp and focuses accurate and fast. When the photographs start coming back I could really care less what it looks like.

Like I said earlier, if you are looking for a new version then the DA* 200 is the one you need. If you do not already have the FA* 200 then, like me, I doubt you will regret buying it. Alternatively, if you get the chance to grab the FA* 200 at a good price then jump at it. It is a great lens.
   
New Member

Registered: January, 2017
Posts: 1
Lens Review Date: January 10, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $400.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharpness, beautiful colors rendition and contrast even at F2.8
Cons: No tripod collar, a bit noisy AF
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: Pentax K-3   

I feel very lucky to have stumbled across this lens in almost mint condition at a very reasonable price.
What other reviewers said about the sharpness, colors rendition and contrast is true.
For a lens of this size and weight, a tripod collar would be very useful. That is the only thing I wish for.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/65545813@N07/31386720934/in/photostream/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/65545813@N07/32078879652/in/photostream/
   
New Member

Registered: February, 2012
Location: Bangkok
Posts: 16
Lens Review Date: March 19, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $915.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: I like the sharpness, colors and bokeh, this is the best lens so far for me at 200mm range.
Cons: No tripod mount and delicate silver color
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 9    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K3, K5, K01   

The best pro lens FA* at 200mm range. Thanks Pentax.
   
Junior Member

Registered: January, 2013
Location: Texas
Posts: 32

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: January 5, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $1,000.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Everything
Cons: Weight
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 8    New or Used: New    Camera Used: MZ-S, K10D   

An excellent lense: sharp at full aperture and ultra-sharp at f5.6, nice minimum distance of 1.2m, useful MF/AF selector (done by moving the focusing ring), gorgeous metal build quality.
It is heavy, though, and I wish that Pentax will make one day a 200 mm f3.4 for APS-C format only. It could weight something like 500g instead of 785g (without hood)
   
Senior Member

Registered: October, 2009
Location: ita/swiss
Posts: 267
Lens Review Date: March 21, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $1,300.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Super sharp, built like a tank, compact for a f/2,8
Cons: Silver finish prone to scratches
New or Used: New   

I fund this lens to get a good AF 200, fast.
And I must say it is.
Like its older brother A * 200, both very sharp and defined.
Beautiful colors, internal focusing, optics really nice, f / 2.8 presents a friming light.
The blurred for a 200mm is not bad, even really good.
Although the lens is SDM, its AF speed is remarkable.

As always, the silver paint is delicate

Sharpness 10
Contrast 10
Bokeh 8,1/2
Color 9
Handling 9,1/2 (heavy enough to need a tripod collar, like that AF/MF quick switch)
Build 10
Distortion 10
Aberations 10
Sharpness 9 (from 2.8 upwards)
Flare and CA 9 (very little flare, slight CA wide open)
AF speed 9
Value 9

Probably the best lens I've ever had
   
Pentaxian

Registered: February, 2009
Location: egypt
Posts: 431

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: May 18, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $900.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: super sharp,amazing colour,FF
Cons: none

when IWAS looking for a k20 copy in a local shop,Ifound this lens priced 600$
Iasked for help and advice becouse ihavnt any idea about fa* SERIES but after aweek trying it ICAN SAY igot a TREASURE YES IT IS TRUE
   
Forum Member

Registered: March, 2009
Location: Trier
Posts: 71
Lens Review Date: March 30, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $1,050.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Excellent quality of picture; sharper is not possible; solid metal tube
Cons: none so far

Hello,

I fell for this lens, as I saw it being sold in the DFN.net Forums.

As I read the review, I could not resist. Just to say it plain:
This is the lesn for a razorsharp photo. Just go as far away as necessary and take your photo, the results are astonishing and crystal-clear.

This is (at least one of) the holy grail(s) for a Pentaxian.


Greatings from Germany
Georg

PS: I am proud of being an Pentaxian.
   
New Member

Registered: July, 2007
Location: Sweden
Posts: 9
Lens Review Date: March 8, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $900.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: compact for 200mm F2.8
Cons: some fringing

one of my (all time) favourites, excellent lens, in numbers it would
be something like:

Sharpness 9
Bokeh 9
Color 10
Handling 10 (like that AF/MF quick switch)
Build 9 (silver paint can be easily scratched)
Distortion 10

it is joy to use, not too heavy and I at least do not miss a tripod colar
   
Pentaxian

Registered: May, 2008
Location: San Jose, Costa Rica
Posts: 972

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: August 13, 2008 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $950.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Super sharp, built like a tank
Cons: Heavy. Silver finish prone to scratches

Probably the best lens I've ever had. Super tack sharp from f/4 and down. At 2.8 is still tack sharp but looses a bit of contrast.

Some of my photo friends have called my FA*200/2.8 a "telemicroscope" because of its sharpness.

One word of advice. Never attempt glamour photography with this lens. It will show every single skin flaw without mercy.

Robert
   
Veteran Member

Registered: November, 2006
Location: London, England
Posts: 1,187
Lens Review Date: May 2, 2007 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $700.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Must compete for the title of finest 200mm lens ever made
Cons: Silver finish prone to scuffing.

Yes this lens is expensive, rare and heavy but thats because its one of the very finest telephoto lenses ever made by anyone. The build quality is superb, AF is sparky, the results are breathtaking. Its almost impossible to find one anywhere!

breakdown

Sharpness 10 (from 2.8 upwards)
Contrast 10
Colour 10
Flare and CA 9 (very little flare, slight CA wide open)
AF speed 9
Handling 9 (manual focus clutch not as handy as new DA version)
Bokeh 9
   
Inactive Account

Registered: February, 2007
Location: Atlanta, GA USA
Posts: 4
Lens Review Date: April 20, 2007 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $780.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Razor sharp, superb lens
Cons: Heavy

Easily my finest lens. Also does well with the Pentax 1.4 teleconverter! Sharp is an understatement! Deserves the "*"!

Sharpness 10
Bokeh 8
Color 9
Handling 9 (heavy enough to need a tripod collar)
Build 10
Distortion 10
Aberations 10
Value 8

Has no tripod collar, so I use the Manfrotto "long lens bracket" - works quickly and easily with the quick release.

I got an incredible bargain - last one in stock in the "mark down" counter at a local store.

Hope the new 200mm will be just as good!
Add Review of SMC Pentax-FA* 200mm F2.8 ED [IF]



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 12:25 AM. | See also: NikonForums.com, CanonForums.com 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?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top