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SMC Pentax Reflex 1000mm F11 Review RSS Feed

SMC Pentax Reflex 1000mm F11

Reviews Views Date of last review
5 39,222 Mon March 2, 2020
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $1,262.50 8.40
SMC Pentax Reflex 1000mm F11

SMC Pentax Reflex 1000mm F11
SMC Pentax Reflex 1000mm F11
SMC Pentax Reflex 1000mm F11

The SMC Pentax Reflex 1000mm F11 is much shorter than the 1000mm F8, as it employs mirror elements at the cost of slower and fixed aperture.

SMC Pentax 1000mm F11 Reflex
©, sharable with attribution
Image Format
Full-frame / 35mm film
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
6 elements, 4 groups
Mount Variant
Check camera compatibility
Max. Aperture
Min. Aperture
Min. Focus
800 cm
Max. Magnification
Filter Size
52 mm
Internal Focus
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 1.7 ° / 1.4 °
Full frame: 2.5 ° / 2.1 °
Dedicated hard case
Lens Cap
Weather Sealing
Other Features
Built-in Filters,Tripod Mount,Fixed Aperture
Diam x Length
119 x 248 mm
2300 g
Production Years
1977 to 2004
Engraved Name
smc PENTAX REFLEX 1:11 1000mm
Product Code
User reviews
Built-in ND filters (-1 stop, -1.5 stop, -2 stops).
Built-in skylight, yellow and red filters.
Compatible rear converters: A 2X-S, K T6-2X
Manual FocusBuilt-in HoodFull-Frame SupportDiscontinued
Price History:

Add Review of SMC Pentax Reflex 1000mm F11
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Loyal Site Supporter

Registered: July, 2011
Location: Hong Kong
Posts: 633

5 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 2, 2020 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $2,000.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: fairly lightweight for a super tele lens
Cons: difficult to focus, sharpness is underwhelming
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 4    Bokeh: 3    Handling: 6    Value: 7    Camera Used: KP and 645z   

I recently took the plunge and bought this lens out of curiosity and it seems to be an enigma, since little is known or written about it. The copy I got was new in box and it its excellent quality shows, it also showed in the price I paid. I selected this more expensive version to avoid usage defects in a lens of this focal length. For better or worse :-)

So I embarked on a series of unscientific tests to see how useful this lens could be for my style of photography. In short I was very impressed with such a lightweight at just over 2kg for a 1000mm super tele. Even so, I found hand holding was a bit much combined with manual focus. I mounted it on a heavy duty gimbal (which I use for my other heavy lenses). That helped a lot and made focussing and framing somewhat easier. The most difficult part was to focus the lens, even with live view it was impossible to reach a setting that was in focus. The best I could achieve was deciding when a detail was least out of focus. Following this method I could also use it through the viewfinder, perhaps a tad easier than with liveview. I have a split-focus screen on my KP which was of little use because one of the two sides of the split prism will always black out. This is due to being f11, hence no stop-down available for focussing.

Lets move onto the pictures:

Picture of a bullbull at abt 15m distance, surrounded by a lot of branches and leaves, obscuring the target and creating a lot of opportunity for contrast and bokeh. Difficult to focus and the best focus was eventually by selecting the "least-out-of-focus" option. The bokeh is not bad and I expected a lot more of the tell-tale donut shaped bokeh and was surprised to see it so limited. There was some CA and fringing, which I was able to remove or disguise fairly easily. If you are looking for a nice picture this lens can produce it, although if you are a pixel peeper you will be disappointed. The sharpness around the eyes are lacking considering it was taken at very close distance.

Don't ask me the name of this bird... Same scenario as before except this was hand held with elbow support on the garden furniture. The same experience as before with focussing. Again the sharpness is lacking compared to other lenses, but then again this is a 1000mm and a comparison to a 400mm or 600mm lens would be unfair.

With this picture I took a best guess of the focus because I knew some of the leaves will be in focus. The detail is actually very good even for pixel peeping and I was pleasantly surprised.

This picture is of some birds with wings :-) that made a nest about 70m to 100m away and they have young ones which need feeding with both parents returning to the nest at regular intervals, thus it was easy to swing the gimbal that way, guess the best focus and wait. Because of the light background and dark features of the tree and nest, there was a fair amount of purple fringing, which I could remove or hide. The result is not bad and I am quite happy with the picture even with some pixel peeping.

Is it of any use of some deep space astrophotography? Well I mounted the lens with the KP on my iOptron SkyGuider Pro, which I believe is only good for up to 400mm or 600mm (max) lenses. I limited the exposure to 6 seconds to compensate and took 40 pictures for stacking. The result of the Orion nebula is surprisingly good. More processing is needed to bring out the finer details and mask the imperfection in the picture, but for now I am too lazy.

Just see if I could push the limits a bit I added the tele-converter 1.4-L to the 1000mm lens. I adjusted the exposure time to 4 seconds to help the SkyGuider. The result was not bad, although it looks a lot softer with the 1.4-L TC, I think it is mostly because of the SkyGuider that is not designed for a 1400mm lens. You can see some of the tell-tale signs in the oval shapes of the stars.

Just a note on using a TC with the 1000mm lens: I found it impractical to use because the focussing becomes impossible. With the sky pictures I could spend more time on testing for the method of "least-out-of-focus" option I adopted. Thus I did not try to test the TC in daylight shots, well I did try but gave up without taking a picture.

Does it work on a 645z?
Next I started to become adventurous and wondered what would happen if I could mount this lens to my 645z. I rigged up a system which had the camera on a tripod, and the lens hand-held in front of the camera. This was a very tricky maneuver, but I was determined to see the outcome. First of all there is a slight amount if vignetting especially at the upper corners, which resulting in me not being able to properly align the lens and camera. I do expect that a machined adapter may do the job and minimize vignetting, or even perhaps remove it totally. Although it will definitely not cover a full frame 645. Because of the mount to sensor distance the 645 cannot focus the lens to infinity and I estimate it would be limited to about 200m with a sweet spot somewhere at 100mm distance.

The 645z resolved a much better picture with much more detail compared with the KP. I was pleasantly surprised and think that this may well be a better lens for a camera with a higher resolution. It will be interesting to see the performance on the K1. Apart from the focus difficulty I would say it is a real option for long reach pictures withing 100m distance, especially if you can pre-set the focus and wait for the subject to move into the focus zone.

The antenna in this picture is about 30m away. The "nervous" bokeh of the reflex lens can be seen in the tree trunks in the background. I had to reduce the exposure in the background to make it more acceptable.

So my conclusion is that as a special long-reach lens within a 100m distance I would consider this lens on the 645z (with a specially made adapter), or perhaps on the K1 models. For the APS-C I was not impressed and found that my 400mm FA star f5.6 lens is sharp enough that I can even crop down to a smaller picture. The usage will have to be specific to a task at hand and is unfortunately not a lens you would carry around for just in case.

One more note, It has two sets of built-in filters (a) a set of ND filters, which is good, because you can't use this lens in low light conditions, purely because you can't see enough light to focus it properly, (b) a set of amber and yellow filters for black and white film. So if you are into film, that might be a whole different ball game, and the sharpness of the lens may well go up a notch or two on a high resolution film, especially B&W.

So, do I keep it or sell it? I have not yet decided and may go for the 645 mount adapter, just to experience the novelty.

If you have any questions or comments, let me know, glad to answer.

Note re all the pictures above: None are cropped and all have been post processed to some extent. For the daylight pics the intent was to remove noise, CA and fringing. For the pics of Orion nebula, minimal cropping due to the stacking process and preliminary post processing which is normally done for astro-pics.

UPDATE - Review of lens mounted on 645z
Yesterday I received a prototype adapter for this 1000mm lens to mount directly onto the 645z, manufactured by RAF Camera in Belarus. In my previous review I mention that i did some hand held line-ups of the 645 with the lens and the results looked promising.

Originally I thought the 645z will not be able to achieve infinity focus with this lens, however with some suggestions from Rafael I think we have achieved infinity focus. I managed to focus on a mountain range about 10 km away, however the final test would be to focus on stars. There is still opportunity to improve the adapter which may further improve infinity focus.

The initial tests I did today showed that this lens is much better paired with the 645z than with an APS-C camera (My KP). The detail is much sharper although I find it is difficult to demonstrate with scaled down jpg's. So I will try to demonstrate with pictures.

Here is a picture of the same antenna as in the test with the KP, although this time with the 645z. The writing on the booster box is more readable and on live view I can actually read the small print "Made in Japan" on the bottom right of the booster box. The reason it is less clear on the picture is because of technique and jpg quality loss.

Another picture at close distance of about 8m

A magpie (bird) flying at about 150m distance'

I took a poicture of the live view screen of the 645z with my phone to try and show the clarity of the print on the label of the antenna box (see above picture)

The final test I wanted to do was to determine the vignetting. On the 645z the lens circle is maxed out and vignetting can be a problem. Although I found it easy to correct. You can see the vignetting in the pictures above. On closer inspection I found that the built-in filter set is actually causing the vignetting. This filter set is the amber and yellow set, useful for black and white film photography. Since it is of no use to me on the 645z, I am considering to remove this set of filters, and just leave the ND filter set which is set further away from the camera. Thus should eliminate most of the visible vignetting.

This lens performs much better on the medium format camera and is worth considering. I don't think it is as sharp as the 600mm A star lens, and the bokeh is as expected a bit nervous.

As all long focal length lenses, they will test your technique and show every bit of shortcoming you may have. The depth of field is very shallow even for a f11 lens (which is expected) therefore focussing is an acquired skill.

If you need a long reach lens for the 645z, in my book this lens is worth considering. On the famous auction site they sell for less than USD1,000 and an adapter from RAF Camera will not make you poor. It is half the weight of the 600mm A star lens and gives you almost double the reach. The 600mm lens will set you back some more $$$.

The most compelling part is that this thing looks absolutely cool and full of "testosterone". I would put it in the same category as a Boss Hoss motorcycle

It makes the 645z look small, just to give an idea of scale.

Site Supporter

Registered: February, 2010
Location: Salt Lake City, UT
Posts: 1,891
Lens Review Date: August 16, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $850.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Compact and lightweight as compared to it's focal length. Built like a tank.
Cons: Donut Bokeh, slow slow slow. I want more from it's color rendition.

It's difficult to compare this lens, as there's really not much out there like it. On a recent photo outing, a fellow photographer who was shooing with his Nikon 400mm/2.8 on a tripod asked me if I was shooting with a 300mm lens and I indicated I was shooting with a 1000mm (handheld). He was quite surprised. Here's a fairly tight crop of the result:

(Non working link removed)

This lens will come in handy during the zombie invasion, as I can keep a weather eye out using it, and if the zombies come too close, I can kill them by using this lens as a baseball bat without fear of harming the lens. It's just that tough.

I've had surprisingly good results using this with the Pentax AFA 1.7x TC. Here's a sample moon shot:

(Non working link removed)

If you're giving this, or something similar a try, use the autofocus in live view. I had much better success (read as any success) using liveview AF than viewfinder AF.

Focusing this beast on far away objects is tricky at best and impossible at worst. I strongly suggest using liveview to focus, and zoom to 8x (using the info button on the K-7). When you do this, you'll know when you've hit the mark, especially if you're looking at the edge of something.

A few other things of note.
You cannot screw in a 105mm filter, even though that is what the front opening measures.
The built in ND filters and colored filters are nice.
The ability to rear mount a filter is a neat idea, if not overly useful (on this lens) in the field.
The ability to rotate your camera on this seems poorly implemented to me. It's tricky to get to work right.
Donut bokeh are not fantastic looking.
I haven't used this lens for much up close, although it's ability to close focus was a surprising feature.

I picked up my copy from a forum member during another purchase, and I appreciate the price he named, because it meant I couldn't turn down the purchase. All in all, if you're looking for something with this much throw, $1000 is probably fair, although I'm not sure I would have bit the bullet at a higher price.

The worst trouble is, once you've adapted your shooting to this lens, you'll begin looking for the 2000mm Reflex.
Junior Member

Registered: June, 2010
Location: State College, PA
Posts: 44
Lens Review Date: June 20, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $1,000.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: long reach, detail
Cons: heavy

It's a remarkable lens in many different ways. For starters, the detail possible at its minimum focal distance is truly impressive (and compares well with my SMC-A* 200mm macro). At 150 feet, one can also capture impressive detail. At 300 feet and beyond, the focus is a challenge. At over 1000 feet, there's an advantage that has little to do with fine photography and a whole lot to do with hawk watching (during spring and fall migration); even in those times when focus is not quite right or seeing (i.e., air disturbance) is a problem, it can capture sufficient detail to help identify a distant hawk.

Probably a way to insert a few photos, but I'm too new at the moment to figure out how (plenty of photos using it at my site, though the quality varies due to the different purposes used, such as showing different bird types even if an otherwise weak photo).

I generally use it handheld, and I suppose it helps that I'm somewhat large (over 6 feet tall). Hey, I wouldn't mind if it weighed less; but I'm truly happy that I have the lens.

The disadvantage, of course, of any reflex lens is the donut effect (which is minimal compared to generic lenses but it is present), which is a factor of background distance versus foreground. The bokeh is surprisingly fine if the background cooperates.

One other advantage: The distance, in terms of nature photography, allows some subjects to be "natural"; that is, rather than a bird frozen in fear, there's an opportunity to capture behavior (and I suppose a good blind would do the same, if one had a portable blind). Of course, "natural behavior" depends on the subject. A hawk may be annoyed if perched within 500 feet of me. Such is the give and take of photography, but I love the long reach.
Site Supporter

Registered: September, 2006
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,441
Lens Review Date: June 12, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 8 

Pros: Long Reach, Light Weight, Sharp Images, Low CA's
Cons: large diameter focus ring

I have had this lens for a number of years. I have found it light enough (for a super tele) to use with a monopod, and for an occasioanl handheld shot. It works best on a gimbal platform or a pro level ballhead.

The colors are quite good and fairly well saturated. Contrast is good to excellent but can use some enhancement in PP. The control of chromatic aberrations is excellent and I have never encountered PF even in extreme light range changes.

The lens is beautifully built, delivers an excellent image and these images can be razor sharp. It close focuses and is much easier to move about in the field with than the other Pentax super teles. OOF areas do not always show donut holes though some bokeh effects my show OOF objects, such as grasses and twigs, with a diffuse birefringence linearly, not something that bothers me too much if the image is balanced otherwise.

Whether the lens was worth the $4+K it initially cost is debatable. But in lieu of the rapidly escalating cost of quality glass these days, anyone getting this for anywhere near a $K or so will find themselves with a very, very good lens. Make sure you get a good copy. A little dust inside means nothing to final image quality.

New Member

Registered: December, 2006
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 1
Lens Review Date: March 31, 2008 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $1,200.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Unbelievable distance. Bumps up to 1500mm with K10D/K20D.
Cons: Big, bulky, difficult to focus accurately

I bought this lens several years ago off of eBay. It is a monster. I can take full frame shots of the moon without a doubler. Works great on my K10D & my K20D. (1500mm)

The lens must be mounted to a tripod. The camera body is dwarfed by its size & weight.

Fixed aperture w/built-in ND & color correction filters helps with dialing in exposure.

You have to take your time with setting up the shot as focusing is difficult to properly fine tune due to physical movement of the lens during this process. (Extreme Maginifcation!) It is clear and sharp.

I use this lens 10 to 12 times a year and I feel it is worth keeping. Now if I can find a 2000mm reflex...
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