HD Pentax D FA 70-210mm f4 ED SDM WR - First impressions


LennyBloke

Link Posted 14/02/2020 - 12:13
Delivered less than an hour ago (thanks to the SRS guys) I thought I'd give my initial impressions of the latest release from Pentax.

It has a nice feel to the lens, the zoom and focus grips are of the more recent type (as on the D-FA*50/1.4) and do feel slightly more positive than previous versions. It's compact, fairly light yet it has a solid feel - the zoom ring is at the front of the lens - not sure how I feel about this yet, but after a few minutes "play" it wasn't a big negative.

Focus is quick (my previous equivalent lens was the DA*60-250 - it's massively quicker than that lens), it doesn't seem to hunt as much as some other of my lenses and it "locks" focus quickly and accurately.

Results - first "play" in the garden and around the house was at maximum aperture - I think that's the real test of a lens like this, you want to know how usable it is at its fastest - no issues with sharpness, it does exhibit a little softness or glow in difficult conditions (backlighting) but it picks out detail well.
Bokeh is excellent - the rounded aperture clearly helps here - oof highlights look great, and the general look of background is really nice to my eyes. There is purple fringe around some highlights in some shots, but not terrible and of course easy to remove.

Anyway - enough waffle - here's a few images (click for bigger size on Flickr) - no sharpening, a few exposure/shadow/highlight adjustments but nothing major...



















If you want to see the focal lengths, aperture, iso etc. you can see them (and a few more) in the mini Flickr album: https://www.flickr.com/photos/62460860@N05/albums/72157713104352857

Hope this is of use to some of you
LennyBloke

HarisF1

Link Posted 14/02/2020 - 13:48
Thanks for the review, it's an extremely interesting lens it seems.

I'm interested in knowing how it might compare to the DA* 50-135 on APS-C since it was one of the best portrait lenses available on the system. This should theoretically offer a very similar FoV and DoF so the colours and contrast would be worth comparing.

LennyBloke

Link Posted 14/02/2020 - 14:29
HarisF1 wrote:
Thanks for the review, it's an extremely interesting lens it seems.

I'm interested in knowing how it might compare to the DA* 50-135 on APS-C since it was one of the best portrait lenses available on the system. This should theoretically offer a very similar FoV and DoF so the colours and contrast would be worth comparing.

I can't do a direct comparison, but my memories of the DA* 50-135 are that it was clinically sharp and produced beautiful colours - but I wasn't overly keen on the OOF rendering. I sold mine because it wasn't getting used enough, when I moved to Full Frame the DA* 60-250 was it's equivalent (sort of) and that got plenty of use - only being sold to accommodate this replacement which is lighter, more compact and closer focusing.

Time will tell
LennyBloke

ronniemac

Link Posted 14/02/2020 - 16:54
First impressions of the photos are that it renders nicely, thanks for posting these John.

Has anyone compared to the D FA* 70-200 yet or indeed the DA* 60-250 at FF?

RobL

Link Posted 14/02/2020 - 19:25
The big question for me is whether Itís worth a swop from the f2.8 70-200; the weight saving would be a big bonus but OTH I love the results I get now, probably my most commonly used lens. I will be interested to hear from anyone who can compare the two.

LennyBloke

Link Posted 15/02/2020 - 09:44
RobL wrote:
The big question for me is whether Itís worth a swop from the f2.8 70-200; the weight saving would be a big bonus but OTH I love the results I get now, probably my most commonly used lens. I will be interested to hear from anyone who can compare the two.

The f2.8 version is a "Star" series lens built to the highest standards, this new f4 version is not going to produce better results and has the disadvantage of being a stop slower - owning this lens is far more about size and weight with good optical quality, from discussions I've seen so far the primary reason for changing from the f2.8 is simply weight and size. If you can cope with the bigger, heavier and faster version then I can't see why anyone would change. I used to own the fast FA* 80-200 - but it was rarely taken out because the DA* 60-250 was lighter (but slower).

When considering this purchase I came across the DFA* for exactly the same price (at a UK bricks and mortar) - If I'd been after the very best quality without compromise I would have gone for it, but this will be my go-to travel/walking companions for telephoto shots
LennyBloke

HarisF1

Link Posted 15/02/2020 - 14:14
I've said it before and this thread just keeps reminding me that I would absolutely love a full frame 50-135 lens. It would be a great wedding and events lens I think.

I don't see Pentax trying anything crazy out with their lenses though. The other big makes have a load of superb prime lenses with interesting focal lengths so maybe something like a 50-135 could be experimented with.

LennyBloke

Link Posted 15/02/2020 - 14:53
The new 70-210/4 is of course compatible with the HD-DA1.4x converter, but it's surprising how little vignetting there is with full frame.

These 2 images taken at 210mm and maximum aperture - the first is with no vignette correction, the second with correction (no cropping)...

1. Without Vignette correction:



2. With Vignette correction:



Sharpness is down a little, but that may be partly to do with the iso and shutter speed (iso1600 + 1/125) as they are handheld.
LennyBloke

johnha

Link Posted 15/02/2020 - 17:56
HarisF1 wrote:
I've said it before and this thread just keeps reminding me that I would absolutely love a full frame 50-135 lens. It would be a great wedding and events lens I think.

I don't see Pentax trying anything crazy out with their lenses though. The other big makes have a load of superb prime lenses with interesting focal lengths so maybe something like a 50-135 could be experimented with.

Pentax need to get the bread and butter stuff covered first, this 70-210 is one if the more useful new lenses (not huge & heavy and reasonably priced). I'd expect you'd also need a wider option for weddings, putting this 70-210 on your spare body gives you good twin lens options.

My current goto lens in this range is the M80-200/4.5, this might replace it on the K-1 (my film cameras still need aperture rings).
PPG Flickr

pschlute

Link Posted 15/02/2020 - 18:22
Looks like you have all your ducks in a row with this lens John
Peter



My Flickr page

LennyBloke

Link Posted 15/02/2020 - 18:28
pschlute wrote:
Looks like you have all your ducks in a row with this lens John

Quite literally Peter

I tried it out this afternoon with some indoor grandchildren shots - with and without flash - and the focus is fast and accurate in low light, my 60-250 was a great lens but wouldn't keep up with this one. It's very good at maximum aperture, not up to the level of the DFA*50/1.4 but more than good enough for me
LennyBloke
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