The return of the prodigal lens?????


Arthur Dent

Link Posted 18/03/2007 - 03:22
Years ago there was a Pentax A 20mm f/4 macro lens that was (and still is in some places) considered the ultimate macro, the ultimate 200mm, and possibly the finest lens ever made.

Not a lot were made, and they're really hard to find and realy expensive.

According to legend, Marty Forscher in New York converted a number of them to Canon mount for a LOT of money.

I've seen the photos and specs on this lens. I had given up hope of ever tracking one down.

I just saw a new lens on the Pentax Web site, a P-FA 200mm f/4 Macro. Specs are the same, the barrel looks the same, and perhaps Pentax realized that if they made the lens again, people would buy it.

Not listed on any stores yet. Let's hope that Pentax marketing is finally waking up from their zombie-like slumber!



42

genesisphil

Link Posted 18/03/2007 - 08:05
Yes indeed, if this is correct and the legendary (holy grail) of macro lenses is being returned to us for availability as a new lens, then I also will drool with anticipation. I have searched long and hard for a 2nd hand (for sale) example of the discontinued one and they are as rare as the proverbial RHS.

Whatever the cost (which will be high) at least we will have the opportunity to purchase.

Philip

genesisphil

Link Posted 18/03/2007 - 08:09
oops posted twice

Philip

McBrian

Link Posted 18/03/2007 - 09:11
Arthur Dent wrote:

I just saw a new lens on the Pentax Web site, a P-FA 200mm f/4 Macro. Specs are the same, the barrel looks the same, and perhaps Pentax realized that if they made the lens again, people would buy it.

I'm sorry to burst the bubble Arthur, but according to Pentax UK this lens will never be made again, I had a lengthy email discussion with them away at the begining of last year regarding the purchase of this lens, the response at the time was that all the FA lenses were being discontinued except IIRC the 300 f2.8 and 600 f4 which can be made to order once you arrange a re-mortgage.

I can't answer why Pentax USA still have it listed, hope it is coming back as this is one I have had on my radar for a long long time, never had enough spare when ones been available although just this week I have managed to pickup for a reasonable cost a Sigma 180 f3.5 as a substitute.
Cheers
Brian.
LBA is good for you, a Lens a day helps you work, rest and play.

johnriley

Link Posted 18/03/2007 - 09:41
It's a pity, because 200mm is an excellent choice for a Macro lens.

I use 100mm, but I can't say that the 50mm Macro has ever been anywhere near as useful.

The only exception is for copying small documents, and then the 50mm gives a more comfortable working distance.
Best regards, John

AdrianP

Link Posted 18/03/2007 - 10:17
Begs the question, though, as to why Pentax are no longer producing lenses that there is clearly still some sort of market for. OK, this thread is about a 200mm macro lens but you can draw parallels to this right up and down the focal length range. Why, for example, is there no fast digital only prime in the 28mm range (apart from the 31mm Ltd that is)?

Just a cursory look on the auction site would suggest that the market for Pentax prime lenses, particularly in an A or AF fitting, is buoyant so why doesn't Pentax bring back a couple of these if only to test whether the market really does exist? I've looked at the road map and I'm, frankly, not particularly inspired; lots of zooms, a couple of fast telephotos a few (increasingly slow) limited lenses. (Rant over.)

Adrian

McBrian

Link Posted 18/03/2007 - 11:01
AdrianP wrote:
Begs the question, though, as to why Pentax are no longer producing lenses that there is clearly still some sort of market for. OK, this thread is about a 200mm macro lens but you can draw parallels to this right up and down the focal length range. Why, for example, is there no fast digital only prime in the 28mm range (apart from the 31mm Ltd that is)?
Adrian

It's a matter of economics, in this cut throat business Pentax have made the desion to revamp their entire range of lenses, redisned for cheaper manufacting. They have also relocted their lens manufacting to a state of art new factory in Vietnam, Considering the strides they have made in the last 2-3 years we will just have to be patient till they bring out a whole new range, they don't have the sane resourses as Canon or Nikon.

The latest lens road map shows new 35 f1.4, a 200 and 300 f.4 lenses to be released towards the end of the year.
Cheers
Brian.
LBA is good for you, a Lens a day helps you work, rest and play.

George Lazarette

Link Posted 18/03/2007 - 12:20
AdrianP wrote:
Begs the question, though, as to why Pentax are no longer producing lenses that there is clearly still some sort of market for. OK, this thread is about a 200mm macro lens but you can draw parallels to this right up and down the focal length range. Why, for example, is there no fast digital only prime in the 28mm range (apart from the 31mm Ltd that is)?

Well, they are now making lenses for digital cameras, and the equivalent to 28mm on digital is approx 19mm. Lo and behold, Pentax makes a 21mm, which is quite close. They also make several zoom lenses which cover this angle of view, and nowadays most buyers seem to want zooms.

Quote:
Just a cursory look on the auction site would suggest that the market for Pentax prime lenses, particularly in an A or AF fitting, is buoyant so why doesn't Pentax bring back a couple of these if only to test whether the market really does exist? I've looked at the road map and I'm, frankly, not particularly inspired; lots of zooms, a couple of fast telephotos a few (increasingly slow) limited lenses. (Rant over.)

Adrian

I don't entirely disagree, being a high-quality prime-lens lover myself. However, if you add up all the Pentax primes sold on Ebay each month, it still doesn't amount to very much, and it's debatable whether somebody buying an M 1:3.5 135mm for forty quid would stump up two hundred and forty for a new one. My guess is that most wouldn't.

My modest collection of lenses was built up over time by buying second-hand. I wouldn't have most of my best lenses now if I had had to buy them new.

But the idea of Pentax testing the market with one or two of the best out-of-production lenses is interesting. The last UK price on the FA* 200mm macro was £1,300. Are you still in the market? Speaking for myself, at that price, I think I will just stick an extension tube on my FA* 1:2.8 200mm.

G

G
Keywords: Charming, polite, and generally agreeable.

spirit_of_will

Link Posted 18/03/2007 - 13:12
I spotted one of these 200mm FA* macros up for sale earlier in the week from Germany - the price tag for a second hand model was £1100!!!

Soon got snapped up tho!

I have to agree with some of the comments above - some of the lens releases over the last year or so, such the DA Ltds, has been a bit disappointing in terms of max aperture... Not quite in keeping with the spirit of the original Ltds is my thought.

The Pentax lens market is thriving though, all this talk of dealers unable to fulfill orders for weeks and ebay prices for some lenses such as the FA 50mm 1.4 are approaching silly. All of this is a good thing, plus the new roadmap has some interesting offerings, not all of them wildly exotic super fast primes, but you have to trust in Pentax concentrating on the sectors of the market that they feel will sell well...

I definately think it's a good time to be a Pentax user - will have to see how my LBA copes...

Will
Spirit_of_will

Fan and user of quality Pentax Shiny Kit

WEBSITE www.willbartonphotography.com & www.inspiredlightimages.com

Will Barton Photography: Landscapes, Cityscapes
My Flickr
Follow Will Barton Photography on Facebook

spirit_of_will

Link Posted 18/03/2007 - 13:14
spirit_of_will wrote:
All of this is a good thing...

Unless you're waiting for a delivery of course!!!
Spirit_of_will

Fan and user of quality Pentax Shiny Kit

WEBSITE www.willbartonphotography.com & www.inspiredlightimages.com

Will Barton Photography: Landscapes, Cityscapes
My Flickr
Follow Will Barton Photography on Facebook

Bracken

Link Posted 19/03/2007 - 19:07
Spirit wrote "will have to see how my LBA copes... " Not too well judging by the auction site.

Bracken

spirit_of_will

Link Posted 19/03/2007 - 21:07
Bracken wrote:
Spirit wrote "will have to see how my LBA copes... " Not too well judging by the auction site.

Bracken

The 645 stuff doesn't count direct replacements AF for MF!!!

And as for the K-mount, I'm actually in credit on this years LBA - more out than in so far and even more heading out soon...!!!
Spirit_of_will

Fan and user of quality Pentax Shiny Kit

WEBSITE www.willbartonphotography.com & www.inspiredlightimages.com

Will Barton Photography: Landscapes, Cityscapes
My Flickr
Follow Will Barton Photography on Facebook

McBrian

Link Posted 20/03/2007 - 20:48
I mentioned in an earlier post due to the absence of any affordable or
obtainable Pentax 200mm Macro lenses I took the plunge and snapped up
a used Sigma APO EX 180mm f3.5 (not the digital variant), well here it is
mounted on the K10D itís a big lens, come in about the same size as
the 70-200 f2.8.




and this is the new lineup (all AF now except the big one) minus a DFA
100mm f2.8 Macro which Parcel Force have temporarily mislaid



All I need now is some time and descent weather, been a long. wet and cold winter up here.

Note: as per the recent discusions, bigger pics are available in my pbase gallery
Cheers
Brian.
LBA is good for you, a Lens a day helps you work, rest and play.

Ammonyte

Link Posted 21/03/2007 - 20:48
It must have been a long cold wet winter, if you are reduced to photographing your own lenses!


Tim the Ammonyte
--------------
K10D & sundry toys
http://www.ammonyte.com/photos.html

Daniel Bridge

Link Posted 22/03/2007 - 00:32
What lens did you use to take the pic with Brian?

Dan
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