FA J lens opinions

Andrew Cunnington

Link Posted 18/02/2004 - 10:25
In an earlier thread I asked about lens reviews and a number of people pointed me to some great sites. However these cover only older lenses and I am looking for reviews now of the FA J series of lenses.

The smc FA J 18-35mm F4.5.6 AL has it's own thread below - and general opinion seems to be that it has some minor problems - but these are minimised when used on the *Ist D beacuse of it's smaller sensor size.

What about the other two in the range, the smc FA J 28-80mm F3.5/5.6 AL and the smc FA J 75-300mm F4.5/5.8 AL? does anyone have any opinions - or can point me to a review?

Many thanks,



Link Posted 18/02/2004 - 16:11
Previously, I had used a Pentax FA 28-80 F3.5/4.7. It may have been me, but I always felt this lense came up short on meeting my expectations.

If you're shopping for lenses, I would recommend you include the Tamron SP AF 28-75 F2.8 XR Di as part of your research.

I have recently purchased the Tamron lense as a replacement for the Pentax and feel that the I am getting a better performance from my camera than ever before.

At the photo shop, the Tamron lense was was initially demonstated on an *ist and I found the focus fairly quick and accurate. From a physical perspective, I was very comfortable with the feel and handling of this lense, although it is dimensionally larger that the older Pentax.

To date, I haven't been disappointed with any of the results using the Tamron lense.

Good luck!

Kim C

Link Posted 18/02/2004 - 17:01
The Pentax FA 28-80 F3.5/4.7 was not one of Pentax's better lenses . I always felt it was very much for the budget market. This may be why it has effectively been replaced by the FA 28-80/3.5-5.6 AL. Certainly the FA 24-90/3.5-4.5 AL is a much better lens (with a price tag to match). My son has just got one of the J models with his *ist. Whilst it is too early to give a positive recommendation, early results would put it on a par with the FA 28-90/3.5-5.6 which I have found to be no problems. If you don't need the A setting, the J is certainly a very compact lens and a pleasure to lose. If you want quality, I would go for the 24-90, If not the 28-80 seems a reasonable buy. Sorry can't help with the 75-300. However, I can't see it being much worse than the 80-320 and that was covered in another thread.

I must admit, I am not a fan of most of the indepedent lenses. Generally, I have found the Pentax ones to give better results on an equivalent match. The Tamron SP AF 28-75 F2.8 XR Di is in a different league to the budget Pentax's. However at this price bracket and quality, I would go for the Sigma 28 - 70 EX. Personally, I will stick with my FA* 28-70/2.8 AL - apart from the size,it leaves all the others miles behind.


Link Posted 19/02/2004 - 18:17
The concept of the "budget lens" does seem to be a relatively new one - in the days on M and A series lenses there were no real distinctions between the performance levels of the lenses in a range - I suppose the first "budget" Pentaxes were the bayonet Takumar series.

I can vouch for the 24-90mm, which is a cut above the basic zooms in the range. I have also tried the 28-70mm f4 AL, which is pretty good as well. Of course, KIm, your 28-70mm f2.8 is a different kind of beast! If I could justify the cost of that, then that would indeed be a lens of choice.

Independent lenses have always been a disappointment either mechanically or optically and although there will no doubt be good ones I tend to avoid them. In any event, they tend to focus or have aperture rings that turn the wrong way and that causes confusion in practice.
Best regards, John

George Lazarette

Link Posted 19/02/2004 - 21:47
There is quite a lively discussion of FA-J (and other) lenses on the DPReview site. Look for the Pentax forum.

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