Jun 17, 2015

HD Pentax-D FA 150-450mm F4.5-5.6 (APS-C)


The long-awaited HD Pentax-D FA 150-450mm F4.5-5.6 ED DC AW telephoto zoom made its debut in early May, 2015 as the first of an upcoming series of Pentax full frame lenses.  It was originally announced at CP+ 2015 in Tokyo alongside the Pentax full frame DSLR, which is scheduled for release in late 2015.

Update as of July, 2017: read our newer review of this lens on full-frame here.

This 5-pound behemoth is packed with Pentax's latest technologies, including three focusing modes, dedicated AF buttons on the lens barrel, a silent DC focusing system, the premium HD lens coating, and a super low dispersion glass element for superior aberration control.  It offers the longest focal length for a zoom in the current Pentax lens lineup, and thus fills an important gap that had previously existed beyond 250mm.  Its 150-450mm zoom range also complements the existing DA* 300mm F4 and DA 560mm F5.6 primes very nicely.

D FA 150-450mm Lens w/ hood and tripod mount

Although this lens was designed with the soon-to-be-released full frame DSLR in mind, it also works wonders on current APS-C bodies such as the Pentax K-3, K-S2, and K-3 II.  We of course couldn't wait half a year to start testing it, so in this preliminary in-depth review, we will be evaluating the lens solely based on its performance with the aforementioned DSLRs.  It other words, we will only be working with a cropped portion of the image circle.

We had originally planned to confine our findings to a single-page "first impressions review", but we ended up with so many exciting things to share that the length of the page became overwhelming.  We thus opted for a paginated review, but do note that we will be following an abridged format with a different layout compared to our standard in-depth lens reviews. Once the full-frame DSLR arrives, we plan to publish our complete in-depth review of the 150-450mm with detailed evaluations and comparisons of the results on both formats.

Sample photo - click to enlarge (Full size: JPG, DNG)

If your primary area of interest lies in photographing wildlife, birds, sports, or events, we feel that this lens has the potential to become a key component of your kit.  Read on to learn more about how it stood up to our tests!

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