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SMC Pentax-FA 70-200mm f/4-5.6 Power Zoom Vintage Lens Review - Performance

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SMC Pentax-FA 70-200mm f/4-5.6 Power Zoom Vintage Lens Performance

At 70mm central sharpness is very good from f/4 right through to f/16 and good at f/22 and f/32. The edges are also very good from f/4 to f/16 and good at f/22 and f/32.

At 135mm central sharpness is good at f/4.5, very good at f/5.6. excellent at f/8, very good from f/11 to f/16, good at f/22 and fair at f/32 and f/40. The edges are good at f/4.5 and f/5.6, very good at f/8, good at f/11 and f/16 and fair from f/22 to f/40.

At 200mm, the centre is fair at f/5.6, good at f/8, very good at f/11 and f/16, good at f/22 and fair at f/32 and f/45. The edges are only fair though the whole aperture range, rising to good at f/11.

Fine detail definitely suffers at longer focal lengths, although images remain punchy, suggesting that the MTF20 figures would be much better.

 

Pentax SMC Pentax-FA 70-200mm f/4-5.6 Power Zoom Vintage MTF Charts

How to read our MTF charts

The blue column represents readings from the centre of the picture frame at the various apertures and the green is from the edges.

The scale on the left side is an indication of actual image resolution as LW/PH and is described in detail above. The taller the column, the better the lens performance.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Pentax K-1 using Imatest.

 

CA (Chromatic Aberration) is very well controlled centrally, but strays at the edges, especially as we zoom to longer focal lengths. Having said that, there are expensive current zoom lenses that are worse and in any event, CA can be tackled in software.

 

Pentax SMC Pentax-FA 70-200mm f/4-5.6 Power Zoom Vintage Chromatic Aberration Charts

How to read our CA charts

Chromatic aberration (CA) is the lens' inability to focus on the sensor or film all colours of visible light at the same point. Severe chromatic aberration gives a noticeable fringing or a halo effect around sharp edges within the picture. It can be cured in software.

Apochromatic lenses have special lens elements (aspheric, extra-low dispersion etc) to minimize the problem, hence they usually cost more.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Pentax K-1 using Imatest.

 

Distortion is very reasonable for a zoom lens of this era. Barrel distortion measures -1.0% at 70mm. This soon changes to pincushion, measuring +1.7% at 135mm and +1.57% at 200mm.

Bokeh is helped considerably by the lens being a telephoto zoom and those 9 diaphragm blades, and gradation looks smooth, although not as impressively so as some current optics.

Flare is generally not a problem, but point the lens towards the sun and then a veil descends. This shows that coatings, including Pentax's SMC and HD varieties, have improved dramatically over recent years.

Vignetting is very moderate for a zoom lens and the results are:

Aperture 70mm 135mm 200mm
F/4 -1.2 stops    
F/4.6   -1  
F/5.6 -0.8 -0.7 -0.8
F/8 -0.8 -0.6 -0.7
F/11 -0.7 -0.5 -0.6
F/16 -0.7 -0.5 -0.5
F/22 -0.7 -0.5 -0.5
F/32 -0.6 -0.5 -0.4
F/40   -0.4  
F/45     -0.4

 


Pentax SMC Pentax-FA 70-200mm f/4-5.6 Power Zoom Vintage Sample Photos

 

Pentax SMC Pentax-FA 70-200mm f/4-5.6 Power Zoom Vintage Aperture range

You can view additional images in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.


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Comments


josa 10 25 Czech Republic
13 Mar 2021 8:48PM
Excellent numbers at 70mm, very good the rest! Make you wonder what glass they use nowadays...

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