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SMC Pentax-M 200mm F4 Review RSS Feed

SMC Pentax-M 200mm F4

Sharpness 
 8.7
Aberrations 
 8.2
Bokeh 
 8.6
Handling 
 9.2
Value 
 9.4
Reviews Views Date of last review
61 229,377 Mon April 29, 2019
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
95% of reviewers $73.40 8.58
SMC Pentax-M 200mm F4

SMC Pentax-M 200mm F4
supersize
SMC Pentax-M 200mm F4
supersize

Description:
This is an extremely compact telephoto lens for its focal length.



SMC Pentax-M 200mm F4
© www.pentaxforums.com, sharable with attribution
Image Format
Full-frame / 35mm film
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
Yes (no A setting)
Diaphragm
Automatic, 8 blades
Optics
6 elements, 5 groups
Mount Variant
K
Check camera compatibility
Max. Aperture
F4
Min. Aperture
F32
Focusing
Manual
Min. Focus
200 cm
Max. Magnification
0.13x
Filter Size
52 mm
Internal Focus
No
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 8.1 ° / 6.9 °
Full frame: 12 ° / 10 °
Hood
Built-in, slide out
Case
Dedicated hard case
Lens Cap
Plastic clip-on
Coating
SMC
Weather Sealing
No
Other Features
Diam x Length
64 x 111 mm
Weight
405 g
Production Years
1977 to 1984
Engraved Name
smc PENTAX-M 1:4 200mm
Product Code
24260
Reviews
User reviews
Features:
Manual FocusBuilt-in HoodAperture RingFull-Frame SupportDiscontinued
Price History:



Add Review of SMC Pentax-M 200mm F4
Author:
Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-15 of 61
New Member

Registered: September, 2008
Location: Québec
Posts: 12
Lens Review Date: April 29, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $40.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Small, Lightweight, Excellent Handling
Cons: None
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K5 - II s   

Really surprised, sharp enough at f 11 .

   
New Member

Registered: February, 2016
Location: lake constance
Posts: 1
Lens Review Date: March 18, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $50.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Light weighted, sharp, small
Cons: none
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: Sony A7, Pentax MX, ME super   

In my opinion this is a very interesting lens for general use on trips. Not too heavy and long. Good handling on MX and ME super. Digital use is perfect.
The built-in hood is very helpful, also on rainy days. Perfect mechanics and optical quality like my former Nikon AIS 4 200mm. But this lens is a real pocket tele with a much better coating.
Generally the coating of the smc lenses is better than the NIC and the later Nikon coatings on manual lenses.

I can completely recommend this tiny and solid lens, because you can get it for a low price in good condition. Its a pity, that you can´t get those lenses new anymore. The good old times. With the Pentax smc M 4 200mm you can bring back a little bit of that to your photograph. Enjoy it!



   
New Member

Registered: January, 2019
Posts: 14
Lens Review Date: February 5, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 8 

 
Pros:
Cons: Price, construction in relation to "K" ...
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 7    Value: 7    Camera Used: K-5II   

The lens is only good. it is too expensive for its performance. better to add $ and buy a series of "K".
   
Junior Member

Registered: October, 2017
Location: Lindsborg, Kansas
Posts: 38

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 9, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $70.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Small, Lightweight, Excellent Handling
Cons: None
Sharpness: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: Pentax K-70   

A few months ago I purchased a used Pentax M 200mm f/4 lens. I had a gap in my lens line-up between 135mm and 300mm, so I figured this would be a cheap solution (it was only $70).

When the lens arrived it was in like-new condition, and a few test shots around town confirmed that the image quality was decent… but it really wasn't a lens that I expected to use a lot.

However, I recently had a soccer match to shoot that started at 1:00 PM on a blazing hot day with the sun almost directly overhead: miserable conditions for trying to get good pictures. Because I didn't have high expectations for the match I decided to shoot the first half with the 200mm, just to see what it could do. When I reviewed the shots later, I was astonished at the spectacular images that I got with it!

The lenses I usually use for field sports are the Pentax F* 300mm f/4.5 and the Rokinon 85mm f/1.4. Compared to these lenses, the 200mm is much smaller and lighter, and the improvement in handling is definitely noticeable. This ease of handling is one reason why the lens is working so well for me. And 200mm on a crop sensor (equivalent to 300mm on a full-frame sensor) is a really good focal length for field sports.

The 200mm is also surprisingly easy to focus; much easier than the 85mm despite that len's bright f/1.4 aperture. It's so easy to focus that, at times, it feels like I'm using an autofocus lens! It should be noted, however, that using manual-focus lenses for fast action is a skill that has to be learned. I spent 20 years honing that skill back in the film era, so what is easy for me probably won't be easy for someone who has only used autofocus lenses. But, if you are willing to put in the effort to learn to use it, this lens will certainly deliver great results.

This is rapidly becoming my favorite lens for field sports. Not too bad for a 40-year-old manual focus lens!

   
New Member

Registered: September, 2016
Posts: 3

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 28, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $60.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Great performer, even at F4
Cons: None at this price
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: Olympus OM-D EM-1   

When I switched from Pentax to micro4/3 this together with the pentax m 50mm F1.7 were the only two lenses I kept. I had 10+ legacy lenses, most of them m-series. Though beautifully crafted, they were all made redundant by modern glass; the so very impressive olympus 12-40 mm F2.8 pro zoom together with Sigmas 60mm F2.8 prime.

This and the 50/1.7 couldn't be replaced, though.

I use it on the em-1 with a pixco focal reducer ("speed booster"). It's an optic adapter that concentrates the full frame image circle rendered by the lens into a smaller area, effectively reducing the focal length by a factor of 0,72 = 144mm. A positive side effect is that you also gain a full stop of light (google "focal reducer" for the theory behind all of this) turning the lens into an F2.8. In practice with micro4/3's x2 crop factor due to the smaller sensor, this lens then becomes a 144 x 2 = 288mm F2.8 full frame equivalent!

The whole package with camera+battery grip+lens weighs in at 1,200 grams. Compare that to a full frame Canon or Nikon 300mm f2.8, where the lens just by itself weighs twice as much!

As a last positive note, it looks pretty awesome mounted on the camera.

Image quality? Holds up very well compared to modern lenses, magnifications posted are 100% crops.

All of this at a price of $120 (lens+focal reducer). Sure I don't have AF, but a Canon L 300mm F2.8 costs $6,000. I'm very happy.





   
Site Supporter

Registered: July, 2016
Posts: 29

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: August 8, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $100.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: In the right light it is perfect.
Cons: none
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: k3ii   

I cannot sing this lens' praises enough. I picked it up from a good lens dealer and it was in perfect shape. Everything worked wonderfully and it was light and compact enough that I could take it anywhere. Everything on the lens feels very well-made and premium.

Image-wise this is a perfect lens for its focal length. If you nail your focus correctly and stay within the lens' limits (don't try and shoot something half a mile away or some silliness) you will find no issues at all with your images. Being f4, it's faster than a lot of other old manual lenses and you will be surprised at just what you can shoot with the lens. I've done sports, birding, and landscapes with it - the key is nailing that focus.

For the money you won't find a better 200mm manual. I take it with me everywhere I go.


   
Site Supporter

Registered: May, 2015
Location: Hampshire
Posts: 851

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: May 19, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $30.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: It is a Pentax lens
Cons: Not special enough
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 9    Camera Used: K-5   

I was disappointed with my initial results with this lens. Using a 300mm lens on the birds in my back garden was a little unwieldy and I had liked some of the images provided by a Chinon 200mm F3.5 so when the opportunity came to get this at a good price I did.

It seems quite sharp through the apertures I have used this at, until cropping, the feather detail was not quite as sharp as the Chinon images which surprised me. Still, early days, tweak the camera settings and with better light.......

CA is better controlled by the Pentax, the Chinon shows more purple fringing and also some green. The Pen tax shows some red! Unless it's me.

I really wanted to give a lot of 10's for this lens, maybe my copy is not 100% as it left the factory.

   
Pentaxian

Registered: January, 2013
Location: Kansas City, KS
Posts: 1,564

4 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 2, 2016 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: $70.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: compact, lightweight, sharpness, rendering
Cons: contrast, color, all the inconveniences of a fixed focal length

Here's my Flickr album with all of my images from this lens: CLICK HERE.

I bought it used from eBay, actually one of the first lenses I bought when I started my collection, but I've never really put it through its paces, and even after this (most) month, I still feel like I could learn some things about it.

It's a solid M lens, well constructed and responsive. Nicely dampened focus ring that goes on for miles and miles, so it was a little inconvenient to have to crank the thing around from infinity to MFD, when I was ever in that position. The aperture ring has half-clicks from 4 all the way up to 32, but I never stopped it down past f/16 for my purposes. The lens has a built-in slide-out hood, which did improve contrast noticeably. The hood on my particular lens is adorably and amateurishly engraved with the name "Wilber Havens". I'd like to know who he is, but I'm sure I'll never find out. ;-)

The lens doesn't disappoint with sharpness and rendering - it's a solid performer, but not remarkable. Contrast and color were not as dependable, but images responded well to PP. The CA was readily available in all high-contrast situations, but Lightroom knocked it down, and it was actually less intrusive at the most usable (or, at least, my most-used) apertures, f/5.6 to f/11. The bokeh was pleasant enough for me, when I could conjure it, but I'm not much of a bokeh connoisseur, so my opinion's not worth much.

The FOV was, frankly, shocking. I'm not a keen telephoto shooter and I gravitate more towards wide-normal lenses. I don't want to be stuck at 200mm for a month ever again! lol! But, to be honest, the lens was easy enough to handle and the MFD was graciously ~2m/6ft, which was pretty manageable.

Ultimately, I was not inclined to like the focal length, and I have no other fixed 200mm lenses to compare it to, so this was a pretty blind experimentation on my part. Mr. Havens may have loved the lens enough to get his name emblazoned on it for eternity, but if I am ever in a situation where I think I might need the extra reach of a telephoto, I'll definitely be packing my A70-210/4 or my Kalimar 60-300/4-5.6 before tying myself down to a fixed focal length, even with the dependability and build quality of the M lenses.
   
Veteran Member

Registered: August, 2011
Location: Austin, Texas
Posts: 302
Lens Review Date: March 11, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $75.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Image Quality, Build Quality, Size
Cons: None
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-3 and MX   

What a nice handling lens. Smooth focusing, balances very well on camera and SHARP. On the K-3 it is equivalent to a 300 f/4 without the size, you can put it in your bag and carry it all the time so you can reach out and grab those distant subjects when needed. Best at f/5.6 to f/11, not that it isn't just fine wide open. I still use my MX for black and white and now I wonder why I did not have this lens before. I recommend it highly, especially with the new FF K-1 coming out (you might look for an A version for shutter priority). Great addition to either my SMC-A set 24/35/50/135 or the DA set 15/35/70/18-135
   
Forum Member

Registered: February, 2016
Location: Moab, Utah
Posts: 90

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: February 18, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $80.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp, color rendering, contrast
Cons: bokeh
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 10   

Typical perfect build quality and usage from the old Pentax primes. The military wishes they could build tanks this tough. Smooth and snappy like you expect and desire.

Very sharp. I don't keep lenses with soft corners and this is a definite keeper. Usable for most things at f4 (but you better be dead on critically focused) and tack razor crisp at 6.3 and smaller. I don't need the 2.8 at 200. There's never enough depth of field for anything I want to shoot, and any 2.8 lens I have ever used isn't actually usable at 2.8 anyway, so why bother carrying the extra 4x the weight? I suppose you look cooler with a 70-200 2.8, but aside from that, what are you actually gaining in usable images? At least that's how I feel. Sports shooters will likely disagree for focusing reasons, but then they aren't using manual focus lenses as first choice are they. With live view and super sensors of modern cameras, there's no need for f2.8 for almost anybody. This lens is a serious bargain for under a hundred bucks and will help you get higher quality images than you ever could with a modern, haphazardly constructed zoom.
   
New Member

Registered: September, 2015
Posts: 2

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: September 20, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $50.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: small, solid, crisp, built-in hood, overall very good lens.
Cons: none, just a little CA full aperture.
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: Pentax ist DS   

This is a tipical old school Pentax M lens: well built, lightweight, nice optical scheme, sweet colour and contrast.
I used it tipically on wild animals (African photosafari...) and everytime you need a lightweight gear.
Best shots I get with it is full aperture; subject remain very crisp with a smooth, creamy background... just nice!

Cromatic aberration is noticeable at f4 (especially on luminous background), but is not a real issue.

An overall very good lens, I've found it withstands comparison against the venerable Takumar 200mm f3.5 (which is probably
2-3 times higher priced...). Use it with built-in hood for a better flare protection and contrast improvement.
   
Pentaxian

Registered: September, 2010
Location: MD
Posts: 933

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: July 18, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $38.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: compact, solid, built-in lens hood, Pentax M character
Cons: needs f5.6 or greater
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 9    Camera Used: K-30   

Typical Pentax M prime lens with all it's delicious characteristics. Solid and smooth, and I appreciate the built-in lens hood.
At f4, it's almost not worth using since I got soft, glowing images with lots of green CA. Much improved one click down (5.6) and best at f8 +/- a step or so. Still quite nice at f16. Compared to my DAL 55-300 shot at 200mm, it may not be quite as sharp or contrasty, but it's a bit better across the frame. Attached pics (sorry for cat pics ) have minimal pp.
   
Veteran Member

Registered: December, 2010
Location: SoCal
Posts: 515
Lens Review Date: May 17, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $35.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: relatively small/light, solid, inexpensive, large focus range
Cons: complete manual

Good deal on a lens... lots of PF in outdoor light.
   
Pentaxian

Registered: September, 2013
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 930

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: May 12, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Somewhat small in size, reasonably good image quality, good build quality
Cons: Takes a little more time to use
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: K30   

I have tested this lens on my K30 in bright as well as cloudy conditions, and conclude that it is usable at f4 but really starts to sharpen up and gain significant contrast one click over to f5.6. For this reason I am not sure it has much of an advantage over a typical autofocus zoom that starts at f5.6 at its 200mm end. Based on my testing against my Pentax F 80-200 f 4.7-5.6, they were very close in image quality at comparable f stops at both near and far distances and with 100% crop viewing. The M 200mm may have a slight advantage in sharpness and appears that it may be resolving the full 16 mp at the click between the f5.6 and f8 marker on the aperture ring. At f8 both lenses will resolve all of my K30's megapixels. Advantages this M 200mm may have? Of course the extra stop of light is there if needed, but remember that manual focus lenses have the benefit of hard stop focus at infinity, whereas most autofocus zooms can pass infinity in manual focus mode (thus making manual focusing in the dark much more difficult than a manual focus lens). It is still a rather small lens at nearly the same size as the 80-200 I have (but both are bigger than a Pentax 50-200mm zoom). The 200mm f4 is built like a tank, focuses very smoothly, has a built in hood, and if you are willing to take the little extra time to manually focus it and deal with stop down metering with the green button, it can impress you. But remember that using proper technique is paramount in order to use this lens to its fullest, and a viewfinder magnifier helps. The colors it renders are great, and as another reviewer mentioned the blues are very deep and vibrant. The bokeh is good, and purple fringing is surprisingly very minimal! My lens shows a little sign of wear on the body, and has a little scratch nearing the border of the front element, but other than that it is very clean and I don't mind keeping a spot in the camera bag for it (considering it cost $38, including shipping).

Below are links to some heavily cropped samples showing what I am able to squeeze out of this lens. I do post process my images, and the lens was stopped down near or at f8 in these photos, but I didn't keep track of which were which:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/adudenamedjosh/38463039961/in/dateposted-public/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/adudenamedjosh/20091608882/in/dateposted-public/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/adudenamedjosh/20105003621/in/dateposted-public/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/adudenamedjosh/19912848469/in/dateposted-public/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/adudenamedjosh/17478894406/in/dateposted-public/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/adudenamedjosh/17988730908/in/dateposted-public/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/adudenamedjosh/18108190741/in/dateposted-public/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/adudenamedjosh/16884975213/in/dateposted-public/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/adudenamedjosh/17318956279/in/dateposted-public/
   
Pentaxian

Registered: March, 2015
Location: France
Posts: 361
Lens Review Date: May 4, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $25.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: small size, sharpness, construction, IQ
Cons: minimal focus distance, CA
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: k-x   

Bought this lens on eBay with a light fungus infestation on the rear element. Strangely, on the outside of the rear element. Cleaned without a trace. I've must have cleaned or repaired a hundred lenses, this was the first time I saw a fungus on the outside of the rear element. Special from the start. Back to he review.

I found it to be very easy lens for manual focusing, maybe the easiest from all the lenses I own. I was able to take pictures of swifts and swallows flying low in the garden. It produces lovely colors, even on a grey day, and I find it to be sharp enough for wildlife photography, acceptable even wide open. More tests in the days that come will show me more but for this price, there is not much negative I could say.

I definitely recommend this lens, especially for beginners with manual focusing.
Add Review of SMC Pentax-M 200mm F4



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