Pentax 100mm f/2.8 Macro WR Lens Review

Dot.Foto Ultra Violet 49mm Filter for Pentax A 50mm f/1.4, A 50mm f/1.7, A 50mm f/2.0, D FA Macro f/2.8 100mm, D FA Macro f/2.8 100mm WR, D FA Macro f/2.8 50mm
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Gary Wolstenholme reviews the weather sealed Pentax-D 100mm f/2.8 Macro WR lens.

20/02/2014 - 10:40

Handling and Features
Performance
Verdict
Specification

Pentax DA FA Macro 100mm F2 8 WR (4)

This macro optic provides an angle of view equivalent to a 150mm on a 35mm format camera, when mounted on a Pentax Digital SLR. It sports a fast f/2.8 maximum aperture, life size magnification at its closest focusing distance, weather resistant construction and costs around £515.

Pentax-D FA Macro 100mm f/2.8 WR Handling and Features

Pentax DA FA Macro 100mm F2 8 WR (1)

The build quality of this lens is excellent thanks to the aluminium weather sealed lens barrel and metal lens mount. In fact due to the high quality construction and design, you'd be forgiven for mistaking this lens for one of Pentax's premium 'Limited' lenses. The weight of this lens is fairly typical for its type, at around 340g and it balances well with the Pentax K-5 IIs body used for testing.

Focusing isn't performed internally, so the lens barrel extends by a couple of inches during focusing, although the filter thread does not rotate. This makes it perfect for use with polarising and graduated filters. A hood is supplied with the lens that attaches to the front of the lens via a bayonet fitting although this doesn't move as the lens is focused. This is important as it would shade your subject when focusing at close distances if it did.

Pentax DA FA Macro 100mm F2 8 WR (8)

The manual focusing ring rotates during auto-focus although it is well enough out of the way to avoid catching your fingers with it accidentally. Manual focusing action is smooth and well damped , which makes applying manual focus adjustments a pleasure. The Pentax 'Quick Shift' focusing system has been implemented on this lens, which means manual adjustments can be applied once the lens has focused automatically. Auto focus is screw-driven, so it generates more noise than newer silent focusing lenses do. The minimum focus distance of 30.3cm is typical for a lens of this type and provides enough working distance to prevent shading your subject with the lens. Focusing is reasonably quick for a macro lens at normal distances, although a focus limiter may have help speed up focusing on those occasions that the camera struggles to lock onto a subject easily.

Pentax DA FA Macro 100mm F2 8 WR (5)

Pentax-D FA Macro 100mm f/2.8 WR Performance

Sharpness is already excellent in the centre of the frame and good towards the edges of the image at f/2.8 and stopping down as far as f/5.6 improves performance further. Here sharpness is outstanding in the centre of the frame and excellent towards the edges.

MTF @ 100mm
MTF @ 100mm

How to read our charts

The blue column represents readings from the centre of the picture frame at the various apertures and the green is from the edges. Averaging them out gives the red weighted column.

The scale on the left side is an indication of actual image resolution. The taller the column, the better the lens performance. Simple.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Pentax K-5 IIs using Imatest.

Chromatic aberrations are extremely well controlled, barely exceeding 0.25 pixel widths. This low level of fringing will be difficult to spot, even in harsh crops, or large prints.

CA @ 100mm
CA @ 100mm

How to read our charts

Chromatic aberration 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-5 IIs using Imatest.

Falloff of illumination is also well controlled for a lens of this maximum aperture. At f/2.8 the corners of the frame are only 0.71 stops darker than the image centre and visually uniform illumination is achieved with the lens stopped down to f/5.6 or beyond.

Distortion is virtually negligible. Imatest was only able to detect 0.07% pincushion distortion, which is an extremely low level and should not require correction, even by the most discerning photographers.

During testing, this lens proved itself very resistant to flare and contrast levels are retained well, even when shooting into the light. The hood also does an excellent job of shading the lens from extraneous light that may cause issues.

Pentax Pentax-D FA Macro 100mm f/2.8 WR Sample Photos

Performance at f/2.8 is good, especially in the centre of the frame  | 1/1250 sec | f/2.8 | 100.0 mm | ISO 80<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/PentaxD-FA-Macro-100mm-f28-WR-1200/highres/Pentax100mm_344_1392806294.jpg">High-Res</a>

Performance at f/2.8 is good, especially in the centre of the frame | 1/1250 sec | f/2.8 | 100.0 mm | ISO 80
High-Res

Stopped down, sharpness is outstanding in the centre of the frame, and excellent towards the edges | 1/500 sec | f/6.3 | 100.0 mm | ISO 80<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/PentaxD-FA-Macro-100mm-f28-WR-1200/highres/Pentax100mm_345_1392806308.jpg">High-Res</a>

Stopped down, sharpness is outstanding in the centre of the frame, and excellent towards the edges | 1/500 sec | f/6.3 | 100.0 mm | ISO 80
High-Res

Out of focus areas are rendered smoothly at maximum aperture | 1/125 sec | f/2.8 | 100.0 mm | ISO 200<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/PentaxD-FA-Macro-100mm-f28-WR-1200/highres/Pentax100mm_347_1392806334.jpg">High-Res</a>

Out of focus areas are rendered smoothly at maximum aperture | 1/125 sec | f/2.8 | 100.0 mm | ISO 200
High-Res

Contrast is retained well when shooting into the light | 1/160 sec | f/5.6 | 100.0 mm | ISO 400<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/PentaxD-FA-Macro-100mm-f28-WR-1200/highres/Pentax100mm_348_1392806347.jpg">High-Res</a>

Contrast is retained well when shooting into the light | 1/160 sec | f/5.6 | 100.0 mm | ISO 400
High-Res

1/400 sec | f/2.8 | 100.0 mm | ISO 80<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/PentaxD-FA-Macro-100mm-f28-WR-1200/highres/Pentax100mm_346_1392806321.jpg">High-Res</a>

1/400 sec | f/2.8 | 100.0 mm | ISO 80
High-Res

1/400 sec | f/6.3 | 100.0 mm | ISO 80<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/PentaxD-FA-Macro-100mm-f28-WR-1200/highres/Pentax100mm_349_1392806357.jpg">High-Res</a>

1/400 sec | f/6.3 | 100.0 mm | ISO 80
High-Res

1/160 sec | f/8.0 | 100.0 mm | ISO 100<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/PentaxD-FA-Macro-100mm-f28-WR-1200/highres/Pentax100mm_350_1392806368.jpg">High-Res</a>

1/160 sec | f/8.0 | 100.0 mm | ISO 100
High-Res

Closest Focus | 0.5 sec | f/5.6 | 100.0 mm | ISO 200<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/PentaxD-FA-Macro-100mm-f28-WR-1200/highres/Pentax-100mm-Macro-Closest-Focus-IMGP5188_1392903220.jpg">High-Res</a>

Closest Focus | 0.5 sec | f/5.6 | 100.0 mm | ISO 200
High-Res


Value For Money

Being priced at around £515, this lens is more expensive than offerings from third party manufacturers, but this is acceptable given how well the lens performs and how good the build quality is.

Sigma offer a 105mm f/2.8 macro lens, which costs around £380 in Pentax fit and Tamron also offer a 90mm f/2.8 lens, for around £325. The budget conscious amongst us may consider these as good alternatives, especially if weather resistance, or extra-sturdy build aren't high priorities.

Pentax-D FA Macro 100mm f/2.8 WR Verdict

As far as lenses go, this one is a top notch performer. It's sharp from maximum aperture, displays very little fringing, falloff or distortion and it is built to a very high standard. Considering all this, the price is very reasonable too, and this lens should find many a fan amongst Pentax camera owners as a result. 


 
  The Pentax FA Macro 100mm f/2.8 WR lens is a top notch performer with sharp results from maximum aperture.

Pentax-D Macro 100mm f/2.8 WR Pros

Excellent sharpness
Weather and dust resistant construction
Good build quality
Low CA, distortion and falloff
Quick shift focusing system

Pentax-D Macro 100mm f/2.8 WR Cons

No focus limiter

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
VERDICT  

Pentax Pentax-D FA Macro 100mm f/2.8 WR Specifications

ManufacturerPentax
General
Lens Mounts
  • Pentax K SMC-FA
Lens
Focal Length 100mm
Angle of View 16
Max Aperture f/2.8
Min Aperture f/32
Filter Size 49mm
Stabilised No
35mm equivalent 150mm
Internal focusing No
Maximum magnification No Data
Focusing
Min Focus 13cm
Construction
Blades 8
Elements 9
Groups 8
Box Contents
Box Contents lens caps, hood, bag
Dimensions
Weight 340g
Height 80.5mm

 


Related Photos

7avensis7

Link Posted 21/02/2014 - 04:54
Quote:
Auto focus is powered by a motor in the lens, but it isn't as quiet as you might expect from an ultrasonic lens.

It is NOT an ultrasonic lens, there is no internal motor it is driven the camera screw drive, and hence the noisier operation. This is a serious flaw in this review!

joshwa

Link Posted 21/02/2014 - 09:10
This error has been corrected, thanks for alerting us to this.

mike389

Link Posted 27/08/2018 - 16:19
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