Pentax User Archive: Pentax SMC FA 80-320mm Zoom Lens

Pentax User tries the Pentax SMC FA 80-320mm compact telezoom lens (from July 2001).

12/04/2013 - 00:00

Pentax SMC FA 80-320mm Compact Telezoom Lens

The Pentax 80-320mm FA f/4.5-5.6 zoom weighs in at 550g; the fixed Pentax 300mm f/4.5 tips the scales at 935g. OK, the fixed 300mm is a constant f/4.5 and has more elements, whereas the zoom drops to f/5.6 at the longest setting. But the 80-320mm zoom is a remarkable bit of optical design - compact and at a reachable price.

At the 80mm setting the lens measures 13cm long; move out to 320mm and the front element is 19cm away from the camera body. Unless you are working at high shutter speeds you do not need to have the camera supported in some way at the tele end of the zoom. Purists will go for a tripod but a very acceptable substitute, though not as versatile, a bean bag would suffice.

The lens mount size is 58mm so filters are not so expensive as you would find with lenses that have a large front element like the 28-200mm zoom. The front lens is not recessed in any way so a built in lens hood would be nice. Having said that we didn't find any problems with flare.

The lens focuses down to 1.5 metres, about 5 feet, and at the maximum zoom setting you can get a satisfying frame filling image. The depth of field at the 320mm setting is very shallow; great for throwing the background out of focus and isolating the subject, but not so good if you are looking for a wider zone of sharp focus.

The 80-320mm is a comfortable lens to use but the relatively small maximum apertures of f/5.6 at the maximum zoom means you could be working with shutter speed too slow to eliminate camera shake with hand held exposures. However, it is reasonably light and certainly affordable.

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Link Posted 22/11/2013 - 12:31
I bought one of these in early 2013 on E-Bay for about £80. It was in good condition and takes good pictures. I use it mostly for sports activities of my grandchildren. The small aperture requires high ISO levels but on my K-r this seems OK. The shallow depth of field at 320mm is noticeable but the range from 80-320 is excellent. I fell on some rocks during the summer and the lens took the brunt of the fall - but it survived without any damage: so it is a sturdy piece of kit! I am pleased with this lens and it has made me pause in going for an up to date DA equivalent.


Link Posted 10/07/2019 - 00:40
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Last Edited by emadgad45 on 10/07/2019 - 00:40


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