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SMC Pentax-FA J 75-300mm F4.5-5.8 AL Review RSS Feed

SMC Pentax-FA J 75-300mm F4.5-5.8 AL

Reviews Views Date of last review
22 104,025 Sat February 9, 2019
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $113.38 7.68
SMC Pentax-FA J 75-300mm F4.5-5.8 AL

SMC Pentax-FA J 75-300mm F4.5-5.8 AL
SMC Pentax-FA J 75-300mm F4.5-5.8 AL

This zoom lens offers slightly slower speed than the FA 80-320mm.

SMC Pentax-FA J 75-300mm F4.5-5.8 AL
©, sharable with attribution
Image Format
Full-frame / 35mm film
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
Automatic, 6 blades
12 elements, 10 groups
Mount Variant
Check camera compatibility
Max. Aperture
Min. Aperture
AF (screwdrive)
Min. Focus
130 cm
Max. Magnification
Filter Size
58 mm
Internal Focus
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 22-5.5 ° / 18-4.6 °
Full frame: 32-8.2 ° / 27-6.9 °
PH-RBF 58mm
Lens Cap
Plastic clip-on
Weather Sealing
Other Features
Diam x Length
69 x 116 mm (2.7 x 4.6 in.)
385 g (13.6 oz.)
Production Years
2003 (start of production)
Engraved Name
smc PENTAX-FA J 1:4.5(32)-5.8(38) 75-300mm AL
Product Code
27717 (silver/black)
User reviews
One aspherical element.
Silver and silver/black
Screwdrive AutofocusAutomatic ApertureFull-Frame SupportDiscontinued
Sample Photos: View Sample Photos
Price History:

Add Review of SMC Pentax-FA J 75-300mm F4.5-5.8 AL
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Site Supporter

Registered: January, 2019
Location: Geelong, Australia
Posts: 90
Lens Review Date: February 9, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 8 


I have the chrome version of the FA J 75_300.
I bought a virtually unused copy still in its original wrappings and box.
This is one of my most dust free lenses as a result.
I too bought this lens for some more reach than the 50-200 and was hoping for some more clarity in my pics.
I was surprised how fast the autofocus is. My copy sounds like it almost clicks into position when it finds focus. Focus jumps more at longer lengths like most zooms. Probably my loudest lens in that way.
Everything feels smooth but cheap as it is plastic.
My copy seems to give bad CA when in direct sunlight and flare can be quite pronounced. In saying that, I have also taken pics with the same lens with zero signs of CA.
My copy doesn't include a hood (I may yet get that) and I am guessing that would make a difference.
My copy shows softness on the left and right edges and especially at the long end.
I like the speed of the AF which makes it better than the 50-200 for shooting wildlife.
Overall - I find this is much better than my DA L 50-200 except the size of the lens let's it down.

I think it was value for money in any case and worth it if you can find a cheap and decent copy.

Registered: February, 2010
Location: Eureka, CA
Posts: 3,597

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: December 13, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $64.00 | Rating: 5 

Pros: Suprisingly good in sweet spot
Cons: Not good at all away from sweet spot
Sharpness: 5    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 8    Value: 8    Camera Used: Pentax K-1   

It's difficult to evaluate and rate this lens because the quality of its output really is very dependent on what aperture and focal length you shoot it at. The sweet spot of the lens on an FF camera is ~85mm to ~150mm at f16. Wide open, my copy of the lens evinced poor sharpness throughout it's entire focal length. Even when stopped way down (to f16), the lens suffers from edge sharpness issues at 75mm and worsening edge sharpenss from 150mm through 300mm. Budget strapped photographers will often buy a lens like this for inexpensive reach. But the problem is that the lens is at its worst at the long end. (For inexpensive reach, a used DA-L 55-300 would probably be a better way to go.) For those that need something cheap and light-weight that performs well stopped down in the 85mm to 150mm, I can give this lens (an admittedly deeply qualified) recommendation. I have images I have taken with the FA-J 75-300 at 85mm, f16 that are nearly as sharp and contrasty as images taken at the same focal length and aperture with the DFA 28-105. That's actually rather impressive for such a cheap, consumer grade zoom lens. For telephoto landscape work on the K-1, this lens constitutes an inexpensive, light-weight option. I'm not sure I'd recommend it for anything else, however. The gap between wide open sharpeness and f16 sharpness is the greatest I've ever seen in a zoom lens. I'm almost shocked by how great it is.

One other positive aspect of the lens is its contrast and color rendering, which are quite good for a lens of its type. In terms of color rendering, I'd give this lens a leg-up on other vintage AF consumer grade telephoto zooms, such as the original FA 100-300 and even the FA 80-320. CA control is not bad --- everything easily cleans up in post --- and its cheap plastic build, to my way of thinking, is an asset because it keeps the weight down. This is actually the lightest Pentax lens that goes to 300mm (it's 5 grams lighter than the later version of the FA 100-300).

To sum up: this is a surprisingly nice lens for landscape shooting (at f11 through f16 on an FF camera) in the 85mm to 150mm range. It's not a very good lens for much else, however, and you need to know that going in. Photographers with low expectations might be fine with this lens. But photographers with higher expectations may find themselves appalled by wide open softness and edge performance at the longer end of the lens.

Some sample shots, first at f11, 75mm:

f10 at 85mm:

f11 at 93mm:

f11 at 143mm:

f11 at 200mm:

New Member

Registered: April, 2017
Posts: 2
Lens Review Date: December 2, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $40.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Sharp enough, light weight, good color
Cons: All plastic, 5.8 aperture at 300mm means can be only used with good light
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 7    Value: 8    Camera Used: K100D   

Not a bad lens for new users. It is light weight, sharp at 300mm, good color. I got mine almost brand new with box for $40. Used on K100D, worked very well.
Forum Member

Registered: February, 2014
Location: Warsaw
Posts: 76

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: June 2, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $90.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: decent IQ, price, resonably sharp when stoped down, lightweight
Cons: plastic mount, soft full open
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 8    Camera Used: K-500   

I bought mine for around 90$. I wasn’t expecting much but I was positively surprised.
For its price it is good lens. It is better then Pentax F 100-300mm and offers decent IQ.

Bit soft at 300mm when full open, gets decent sharp when stopped down to f7.1. Best results from f8-10.
Overall results are comparable but bit worse than my Sigma 75-300mm F4-5.6 DL.

It is great lens for sunny day, for taking photos of planes in day light when you can step it down to f10 it is good choice. If you want to take some shots of birds in cloudy day, when you may need more light or faster shouter speed it might be to slow and soft.
Unsurprisingly the biggest issue is aberration especially when full open, but much less than in Pentax F 100-300mm better or at least equal to Sigma 75-300mm F4-5.6 DL.
Autofocus works quite viciously but is Ok, mount is plastic but overall it is good lens for its price and for 300mm zoom.


300mm F10 ISO 1600 ( sharp but to slow to take photo of a bird in shadow)

New Member

Registered: March, 2009
Location: Michigan
Posts: 20
Lens Review Date: December 30, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $78.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Light weight, impressive image quality for the
Cons: Slow, mostly plastic including the mount, no aperture ring
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 6    Bokeh: 6    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 9    Camera Used: K110D   

This was shot at 300 and as you can see it nice but hey its soft...

Forum Member

Registered: December, 2011
Posts: 52

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: February 29, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $100.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Light. small, big reach
Cons: Very soft wide at 300, f11 OK so need a K5 and high Iso! Ditto soft at 75 and wide open. Lacking in contrast/colour
Sharpness: 5    Aberrations: 5    Bokeh: 5    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 7    Value: 9    Camera Used: k5   

Cheap and decent quality though rather plasticky, though that makes it light and so a great travel lens. Needs to be heavily stopped down to give best performance which means running very high ISO as you'll also need 1/1000 sec shutter speed unless tripod mounted. Matches my F 80-200 in the latter's more limited range, except the 'F' is sharper wide open at widest setting - otherwise no reason not to use the FA-J.

Bargain though.
Inactive Account

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

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 11, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 9 

Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 8    Value: 9   

All I can say is that for the money it's hard to get better. It's just hefty enough to remind you it needs a tripod, and yet it's light enough to be used without one. A very, VERY good solution for those on a budget and as far as I can tell it's in no way inferior to the FA 100-300mm.
Veteran Member

Registered: June, 2008
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 2,160
Lens Review Date: May 28, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $115.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Light, inexpensive, long reach, nice IQ
Cons: Slow, mostly plastic including the mount, no aperture ring

Ira gave a very nice summary above. I don't need a long range lens very often, and when I do this lens works just fine. It is particularly good at the shorter end, and I have some shots at 75mm that could have been done with a prime. Toward the long end IQ slips a little, but partly that is camera and lens shake, smaller DOF, and smaller apertures available. Pump up the ISO, to allow higher shutter speeds and stopping down slightly, and IQ is pretty good even at 300mm. The all-plastic build makes for a very light lens, even if it's not the most reassuring in the hand. No problems thus far with the plastic lens mount. I should get a hood, maybe results would be even better!
New Member

Registered: March, 2011
Location: Tuktoyaktuk, NWT
Posts: 6
Lens Review Date: March 24, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $100.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Light weight, impressive image quality for the price
Cons: Light weight means lots of plastic, even the mount. AF does hunt some.

Nine may seem high but of three "to 300mm" Pentax zooms I have owned this one is the best. The F 100-300mm f4.5-5.6 was nice but heavy and not particularly sharp, the FA 100-300mm f4.7-5.8 was also a lightweight all plastic design but optically a little better than the F, however this 75-300mm exceeds my (admittedly modest) expectations.

First it is not as well built as my F lens but is much easier to carry, it has some zoom creep but no where near the issues with the FA lens. I have shot some sharp images at 300mm with just a slight reduction in contrast and, even with an old Takumar metal lens hood attached, it easily fits in my camera bag. I don't have much call for really long telephoto glass so this inexpensive lightweight easily gives me what I need when the chance arises. I find that 300mm hand held will usually stretch the SR system in the camera to the limit, it is best to up the ISO to shoot a much higher shutter speed or use some support if you want sharp images at long distances. The 300mm end works really well at shorter distances up to 200m (200 yards) or so but beyond that camera shake is amplified and sharpness drops off. Since this is not a fault of the lens it does not effect my rating.

Negatives: well it is no FA* or DA* 300mm in sharpness, and at f5.8 it is quite slow, but in bright light it works very well. The lack of a distance scale is a minor inconvenience and if my old FA 100-300mm is any indication the plastic lens mount will wear faster than metal and produce a little slop.

Overall I would heartily recommend this lens to those who do not have the budget, nor the need, for a pricey, high quality, 300mm lens. Mine is in black, which is a little more professional looking than the silver, and my lens hood is a screw in Takumar which offers much better flare resistance than the cheesy plastic hood the lens was often shipped with.

I like it

Addendum: After trying out the F 100-300mm f4.5-5.6 again and then back to this lens I am now convinced that this lens is slightly better and that my telephoto technique sucks. Although all of the 300mm images I have shot with this lens are a little soft some are very detailed, and what more can you ask from a lens that came practically free (paid less than $250 for a *istDL with an FA 28-105mm f3.2-4.5 and this lens). I am hoping to give it a real trial soon.
Senior Member

Registered: May, 2009
Location: Finland
Posts: 212
Lens Review Date: December 8, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $80.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Sharp and contrasty for the price.

This lens did surprise me. I didn't expect it to have this good image quality. Usable sharpness even at 300mm wide open.
Veteran Member

Registered: May, 2007
Location: Singapore
Posts: 3,955
Lens Review Date: March 26, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $100.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Decent optical performance for the price
Cons: Build quality is average

A cheap zoom for those wanting to have the 300mm focal length.
Optical quality is decent and for the price, little to complain. Obviously bettered by the newer DA/DAL 55-300mm
Would have preferred the lens mount to be in metal.
Unfortunately, the lens hood is sold separately.
Senior Member

Registered: December, 2008
Location: Oxford, UK
Posts: 276
Lens Review Date: December 15, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $100.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Good lens for the money
Cons: Can be soft when pushed, can hunt on AF
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 8    Value: 9   

I've owned this one for about a year. As others have said, it can be soft when pushed and it has a tendency to hunt on AF on older cameras. From my experience it is almost useless on AF on my DL, but works much better on a K10 or K20 with almost no hunting at all.
Good everyday lens at a reasonable price.

New Member

Registered: September, 2008
Location: Phoenix
Posts: 20

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: September 13, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $139.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Wonderful Bokeh, Great starter zoom!
Cons: Soft wide open at 300mm.

This is a lens that will make you appreciate prime and constant f/stop zooms once you get your hands on one. Prior to that awakening you will enjoy this lens. It can "paint" a pretty picture in low light situations, if you are patient!

I have taken portrait photos, outdoors, and the bokeh is simply creamy. Almost as if I had a background hanging behind my subject in the middle of the park. I really have no gripes, why, in photography you get what you pay for, this is worth its price and has and will teach many aspiring photographers, new to the world of Pentax, how to utilize 300mm without spending $300-$6000 dollars.
Forum Member

Registered: April, 2008
Location: Vancouver
Posts: 87
Lens Review Date: September 12, 2008 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $190.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Light weight, inexpensive, attractive silver exterior
Cons: Softness wide open at 300mm

I believe this lens is a decent compromise on optical quality and price. And as always, even though it is made of plastic, it has a Pentax quality feel to it. Being made of plastic means that it is also light and easy to travel with. But wide open at 300mm can produce somewhat soft images. Images that I could live with when I took it to the Montreal Gran Prix this summer!

Veteran Member

Registered: June, 2007
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 2,891
Lens Review Date: March 16, 2008 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 7 

Pros: Cost for reach, crisp when stopped down, versatility
Cons: CA/fringing evident in high contrast situations, AF speed/hunting, low-light performance, a little soft at 300.

Hard for me to compare with other lenses as I ahve haven't used similar lenses from other brands.

I got this as part of my kit instead of the 50-200mm (hence I can't remember the price).

I guess you pay for what you get ... it is a budget lens for the reach ... but it's not exactly crap either. For what it is built for and meant to do ... it does it better than I was expecting (as I had low expectations after reading poor reviews everywhere).

It can be pushed to produce pronounced CA/fringing when deliberately shooting high-contrast shots (although a lot of lenses can anyway).

Low light performance isn't the best ... as it is rather slow ... and getting AF Lock is difficult at time when light is poor. This is to be expected for it's aperture range (especially the long end).

AF hunting can be a bit of a bain of this lens as well ... if not in a hurry ... it's not too bad though if you have time on your side.

Can be a tad soft at 300mm ... I find hand-hold difficult at these lengths ... support is needed for sharper shots.

All in all though ... once stopped down a little bit through-out most of the zoom range .. it is quite crisp ... and colour rendition isn't bad at all.
Add Review of SMC Pentax-FA J 75-300mm F4.5-5.8 AL

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