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SMC Pentax 500mm F4.5

Sharpness 
 8.8
Aberrations 
 7.5
Bokeh 
 8.5
Handling 
 7.0
Value 
 9.8
Reviews Views Date of last review
10 73,895 Tue January 16, 2018
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $605.44 8.40
SMC Pentax 500mm F4.5

SMC Pentax 500mm F4.5
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SMC Pentax 500mm F4.5
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Description:
This focal length is unique to the K series. It is based on the screw mount Takumar 500mm F4.5 lens.



SMC Pentax 500mm F4.5
© www.pentaxforums.com, sharable with attribution
Image Format
Full-frame / 35mm film
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
Yes (no A setting)
Diaphragm
Manual, 10 blades
Optics
4 elements, 4 groups
Mount Variant
K
Check camera compatibility
Max. Aperture
F4.5
Min. Aperture
F45
Focusing
Manual
Min. Focus
1000 cm
Max. Magnification
0.056x
Filter Size
52 mm (Rear drop-in)
Internal Focus
No
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 3.3 ° / 2.7 °
Full frame: 5.0 ° / 4.1 °
Hood
Built-in, slide out
Case
Dedicated hard case
Lens Cap
Metal push-on
Coating
SMC
Weather Sealing
No
Other Features
Tripod Mount
Diam x Length
126 x 400 mm
Weight
3370 g
Production Years
1975 (start of production)
Engraved Name
SMC PENTAX 1:4.5/500 (early version), smc PENTAX 1:4.5 500mm (later version)
Product Code
24740
Reviews
User reviews
Notes
Compatible rear converters: A 1.4X-L, A 2X-L, A 2X-S, K T6-2X.
Filters are mounted at the rear.
Variants
Two variants were made, identical except for the engraved name:
SMC PENTAX 1:4.5/500 (early variant),
smc PENTAX 1:4.5 500mm (later variant)
Features:
Manual FocusBuilt-in HoodAperture RingFull-Frame SupportDiscontinued
Price History:



Add Review of SMC Pentax 500mm F4.5
Author:
Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-10 of 10
Moderator PEG Gallery

Registered: August, 2008
Location: Hielands o' Scootlund......... "Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand" William Blake
Posts: 39,834

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: January 16, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $450.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Relatively cheap to buy
Cons: She's a big 'un
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 6    Bokeh: 6    Handling: 5    Value: 9    Camera Used: K1   

Forget hand holding, forget flimsy tripods, after that just enjoy this fine piece of older glass. It does take a bit of getting used to, but do persevere it's worth the effort.

Interestingly my engraved name is different it's SMC PENTAX 1:4.5 500mm, so don't know if mine is an early or late variant.



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Senior Member

Registered: October, 2015
Location: Washington
Posts: 267

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 15, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $480.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharpness
Cons: none for the price
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-50   

Got it on E-Bay from Japan. Paid $480.00 including shipping. My lens came with carrying case.
This lens is beautifully built. Not super heavy considering it's size.
Very easy too use. Pure manual. Even at aperture set at f/8.0 it is very easy to focus, no need to open fully to f/4.5.
Bokeh is very nice. Some Chromatic Aberration at f-stop f/4.5 - 5.6. At f/8.0 and higher it gets really sharp and CA is almost gone.
Lens is worth every penny. There is no manual 500mm f/4.5 prime lens this quality on the market at this price period.

Here are some samples.

IMGP5318 by Mako_Elite, on Flickr

IMGP4790 by Mako_Elite, on Flickr

IMGP7893 by Mako_Elite, on Flickr

IMGP9453 by Ludovit Tatos, on Flickr

IMGP9405 by Ludovit Tatos, on Flickr

IMGP3811 by Mako_Elite, on Flickr
   
Veteran Member

Registered: October, 2008
Location: Albuquerque NM
Posts: 9,825

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 20, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $500.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Great quality and nice speed for price. Works well with 1.4x AL
Cons: Huge. Manual everything. Funky mount. No close focus.
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 6    Value: 10    Camera Used: K3, K01, Sony A6000, A7R   

I have gotten into birding and with a blind and a tripod, and I thought this a very nice companion to my FA*300. I have now used this combo for a few months, and am somewhat less enthused.

First impression is that this is a honking big lens. It is all metal and glass (even the lens cap), and weighs in at 7.5 lbs. It is a 500mm lens that is 440mm long--more of a long lens than a telephoto. Images are reasonably sharp and with nice contrast. The F/4.5 is great for a snappy focus, and the lens stops all the way down to f/45 for some depth of field. So far, I have not used it smaller than F/16, but F11 seems to be a sweet spot for getting enough of the subject in focus to do well.

Everything is manual from the focus to the aperture. Meter and focus is stop down. The K-mount seems to be an afterthought, with a funky mount required to attach the bayonet to the lens. The screw on connection to the mount can get a little loose sometimes and has to be re-tightened, but it is not a big deal.

No hand holding possible. The front of this baby is bigger than your average saucer.

This is not a lens for close work, and it barely works for shots in the back yard. Nearest focus is 10 meters. The shots below are at about as close as this lens gets. The more I use this lens, the more the lack of close focus gets in the way. I'm tempted to find an extension tube, because it is very hard to get small birds to fill the frame without a rear converter.

This lens needs to be on a sturdy tripod with a gimbal head. Figure the gimbal into the cost of the lens. The best use of this lens is to focus on a nest, feeder, bath or other spot where birds or wildlife frequent, and turn on the Flu card control. Use another body on a monopod to move around. Even better, put the lightest body possible on this lens, More and more, I'm using a mirrorless Sony E mount, because a heavy body will cause the focusing to bind, and with a manual lens, you lose nothing with an adapter. Also, to keep the tripod stable, it is better to keep the lens lower, and a body with an articulated screen is very helpful.

Below are some images from my early outings. These are all crops, because they are small birds, but the crop of the finch on the bird bath is 100%, and the sharpness is only limited by his movement and the shutter speed of 1/125. Not bad for a 1975 design, but my current thinking is that this 500mm alone, does not offer enough advantage over the DA*300 +1.4x HD converter to be worth the loss of AF, auto aperture and portability. After the initial testing and shots, my use of this lens is now limited to using it with the A 1.4x L converter (with the snout) from the '80s to get 700mm. Partly, this is because the more I have used the DA*300 + 1.4x, the more amazed I am at the performance of the DA* combo and the less use I see in a manual lens that offers only an additional 80mm of reach.

The manual focus and aperture as well as the sheer size of this two foot lens make hitting the right focus difficult. The F/4.5 sounds great, but hitting the point of focus you want is tough on anything that moves. Keeping the lens pointed where you want on a tripod is very difficult without a gimbal head and an ARCA-type mount that allows the balance of the lens to be adjusted.

A bright spot is that the performance of this lens on APS-C does not change that much with the 1.4x AL converter. If you have a distant subject, and you need 700mm, and the lighting will support it, this combo is useful enough to schlep this beast and its required Gimbal head tripod. It also works nicely on the tripod and 1.4x L with 36mp full frame.

   
Inactive Account

Registered: January, 2013
Posts: 1
Lens Review Date: March 26, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $900.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Filter easy , sharpness
Cons: No AF
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: K3   

It is a simple and effective goal. For use with APS-C I put a rectangle to cover the front lens, which improves contrast and reduces flare. The best hours are 8 - 9.5 - 11 to 16 which is great for photos of the sun (with a 1000 ND filter). Filters do not cost much and you can use several diameter 52 or 55 or 49 with an adapter ring.
The sharpness is better than the 400mm 5.6 Tokina / Hoya / Mitsuki and with a higher magnification.
Operation is simple, there is a viewfinder above. The picture is clear in the viewfinder even 8-11. (Or LiveView). Then pressing the green button on the camera.
Use a tripode but I like the idea of ​​bean bag
   
Site Supporter

Registered: October, 2008
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Posts: 6,092

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: December 19, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $520.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Fast, reasonably sharp and well built. Cost.
Cons: Heavy, manual diaphragm/stop-down metering.
Camera Used: K Series film bodies (K1000, KM, KX, K2, K2DMD)   

The K500/4.5 is now my second longest focal length lens. The K500/4.5 was in production from 1975-1998. There was no M or A version of this lens.


Features:

- sights for focusing
- camera positioning lock to move between vertical and horizontal shooting
- removable filter/camera mount that accepts filters with a 52mm thread
- built-in lens hood
- tripod seat
- manual diaphragm/stop-down metering
- no front filter thread
- padded hard leather case with shoulder strap
- mental front lens cap



Weight/size:

This is a heavy lens and there is no chance of hand holding it. (3.37kgs or 7.4lbs)
You will need a tripod and head that supports at least 4kg, as you have to include the camera weight. I initially used this lens with a ball head and found it very hard to move the lens, as the head has only one lock leaver. I switched to a 3-way pan & tilt head and I find this a lot better for moving targets. Other forum members find the gimbal heads good for these large lenses.


Observations/usage:

The K500/4.5 is very fast for a lens of this focal length and also quite sharp. I was able to capture the heat shimmering/mirage created by a helicopter landing. As a film user I have found no CA or PF issues with this lens. Stopping-down the lens & manual focusing, does make it hard to capture fast moving targets. I find the K500/4.5 better suited for taking pictures of ships in the harbor or resting wildlife. Focusing a lens with this long focal length does take a bit of getting used to, especially when your subject is far in the distance. You just have to make sure you have the DOF you want. The minimum focusing distance is 10 meters, so you are a bit limited on close subjects.

Summary:

Overall I would recommend the K500/4.5 over the K400/5.6. Even though the K500 is over 2.5 times the weight, the extra 100mm FL & 2/3 of a stop makes it a better value. (Both lenses sell for around the same price.) Compared to what an A*, F* & FA* super telephoto lens sells for, the K500/4.5 is an outright bargain.

Sample shots taken with the K500/4.5. Photos are medium resolution scans from original slides.


Camera: K2 Film: Fuji Provia 400 ISO: 400





Camera: KX Film: Fuji Velvia 100 ISO: 100

   
Administrator
Site Webmaster

Registered: September, 2006
Location: Arizona
Posts: 48,428

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: January 14, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $499.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Sharp, fast, inexpensive
Cons: Heavy, prone to CA/fringing

This telephoto lens is a solid performer, considering its reach and low cost. Optically, it is the same as its screwmount Takumar counterpart. It works very well with the 1.4x-L converter, and is quite sharp. The only downside is that CA is quite severe and can rarely be avoided, especially at wide aperture settings.

Apart from that, this sample shot says it all:

Pentax K10D | SMC K 500mm F4.5 | Pentax A 1.4x-L Teleconverter (100% crop)

   
Pentaxian

Registered: February, 2008
Location: MT
Posts: 1,276

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 17, 2008 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $900.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: inexpensive, sharp, light weight for this class
Cons: color issues, not ED glass

Sharpness is pretty decent, but the color rendition is washed out. Several years ago, tested it side by side with an FA*300/4.5. In drab light shooting an osprey on the nest, the color difference was VERY noticeable and severe. Probably best for black and white work where sharpness will be pronounced, color issues less noticeable. I'm presuming the difference results from ED glass in the FA* lenses.
Perhaps the color issues can be resolved digitally? If so, this lens would be a great bargain!
   
Administrator
Site Webmaster

Registered: September, 2006
Location: Arizona
Posts: 48,428

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: February 10, 2007 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $500.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Fast, sharp, well-built
Cons: Heavy, prone to CA

This 500mm was never produced in a future series by Pentax, but it's a great telephoto nevertheless. It performs very well wide-open, and it's ideal for moon shots. The manual diaphragm also makes metering a bit easier on DSLRs, and the photos it produces are tack-sharp overall

Its low price and relatively fast aperture make it one of the best manaul extreme-telephoto lenses out there; it features a very sturdy and elegant build.

Now, for the negatives:

I won't complain about its size (44cm long) and weight (3.4kg), but this makes it rather hard to transport and use in the field (you'll always need a tripod). It's also prone to CA, and finally, although it has a want-to-be front filter thread, it only accepts 49mm filters in the back.
   
Pentaxian

Registered: January, 2007
Location: Warsaw
Posts: 338

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: February 1, 2007 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $700.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: cheap, good contrast and quite sharp
Cons: BIG, HEAVY, thin DOF

It costs just tens of % of other 500/4.5. It works with Sigma TC1.4 and even TC2.0.

It is manual focus in pure mode. First you need to focus wide open then you go from 4.5 (here DOF is thin like sheet of paper) to 8 or 11 and take shot. Not easy but works even with 1/100 sec with my DS (no any SR). Of course you need to have very stable setup - I use bean bag. I always use it from my car - too heavy to carry and use tripod. There are some CA at borders from time to time. But it is not big problem as I always crop my pictures with birds.
Some examples can be found here http://www.pbase.com/piotreks/czw2006ptakli


Hood is very deep and works perfect.
   
Inactive Account

Registered: September, 2006
Location: D/FW area, Tx.
Posts: 1,712
Lens Review Date: January 8, 2007 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 9 

 
Pros:
Cons:

see my review under takumar lenses. pretty sure they are the same.
Add Review of SMC Pentax 500mm F4.5



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