Pentax HD FA* 70-200mm f/2.8 ED DC AW Review

HD Pentax-D FA* 70-200mm F2.8 ED DC AW
Amazon.co.uk: £1699.00

Gary Wolstenholme reviews the new Pentax HD PENTAX-D FA* 70-200mm f/2.8 ED DC AW lens for full-frame and APS-C cameras.

21/04/2015 - 09:55

Handling and Features
Performance
Verdict
Specification

HD PENTAX D FA 70 200mm F2

This 2.9x telephoto zoom lens covers the popular 70-200mm range on a 35mm camera and provides a focal length roughly equivalent to a 107-307mm range when used with Pentax APS-C DSLRs. It's interesting that Pentax/Ricoh have chosen to release this lens with full frame coverage, as currently, none of their DSLRs have a full frame sensor. This will add credence to recent announcements that a full frame DSLR will be available by the end of this year. It sports a relatively fast f/2.8 maximum aperture throughout the zoom range, silent focusing, weather sealing and two different types of exotic anti-reflective lens coating. These high level features result in a high end price, with this lens being priced at around £1850. In this review, we'll take a look at how this lens performs on an APS-C Pentax DSLR, and it will be interesting to see how the lens performs in the future on a full frame camera, when one is finally released.

Pentax HD PENTAX-D FA* 70-200mm f/2.8 ED DC AW Handling and Features

HD PENTAX D FA 70 200mm F2

The metal build of this lens inspires confidence that it will be able to handle the rigours of daily professional use, as it is sealed against dust and moisture too, it should be able to cope in a wide range of conditions. It's certainly not a lightweight lens, tipping the scales at just under 1.8 kilogrammes, even so, it balances very well with the Pentax K-3 body used for testing.

Focusing and zoom are performed internally. As a result, the filter thread does not rotate, which makes it perfect for use with polarising and graduated filters. A deep petal-shaped hood is supplied with the lens that attaches to the front via a bayonet fitting and a removable tripod mount can also be clipped to a rotating section on the lens.

HD PENTAX D FA 70 200mm F2
The manual focusing ring doesn't rotate during auto-focus and manual adjustments can be applied at any time. Manual focusing action is very smooth and there is enough damping to make applying adjustments a pleasure. The silent focusing motor results in reasonably quick autofocus, although not as quick as can be found on some equivalent lenses from other camera manufacturers. Focus accuracy with phase detection could be a little hit and miss, so care may need to be taken, especially when shooting erratic, moving and difficult subjects. The minimum focus distance of 1.2metres is fairly typical for a lens of this type.


HD PENTAX D FA 70 200mm F2

Pentax HD PENTAX-D FA* 70-200mm f/2.8 ED DC AW Performance

At 70mm, sharpness levels are just a shade below excellent in the centre of the frame, with performance towards the edges reaching good levels. Stopping down to f/5.6 results in outstanding sharpness in the centre and excellent sharpness towards the edges of the frame at this focal length.

Zooming to 135mm, sharpness drops to very good levels in the centre of the frame, with performance towards the edges of the frame remaining good. Peak performance is achieved between f/5.6 and f/8 where sharpness is outstanding in the centre of the frame and excellent towards the edges.

Finally, at 200mm, the way this lens performs similarly to the way it does at 135mm, but at slightly reduced levels of sharpness overall. At maximum aperture sharpness is good in the centre, but only fairly good towards the edges of the frame. Sharpness is excellent in the centre between f/5.6 and f/8 and very good towards the edges of the frame between f/5.6 and f/11.

MTF@70mm
MTF@70mm
 

MTF@135mm
MTF@135mm
 
MTF@200mm
MTF@200mm
 

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-3 using Imatest.

Chromatic aberrations may become visible under certain circumstances, with fringing exceeding 1.25 pixel widths at 200mm and f/2.8. Although this is a still a reasonably low level of fringing, it may become visible along high contrast regions of images on close inspection. Chromatic aberrations are well controlled throughout much of the rest of the zoom range.

CA@70mm
CA@70mm
 
CA@135mm
CA@135mm
 
CA@200mm
CA@200mm
 

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-3 using Imatest.

Falloff of illumination towards the corners of the frame is well controlled. At 70mm the corners are only half a stop darker than the centre of the frame and at 200mm the corners are only 0.9 stops darker. Visually uniform illumination is achieved with the aperture stopped down to f/5.6 or beyond throughout the zoom range.

Distortion is very well controlled at both ends of the zoom range. Imatest detected 0.9% barrel distortion at 70mm, which is replaced by 0.2% pincushion distortion at 200mm. The distortion pattern is uniform across the frame, which should make it relatively easy to apply corrections in image editing software afterwards if absolutely straight lines are necessary.

During testing, this lens proved itself very resistant to flare and contrast levels are good, even when shooting into the light, thanks to the combination of Pentax HD and the new Aero Bright optical coatings, which give reflections on optical surfaces a red hue, similar to what you may have seen on binoculars of a certain vintage. The petal-shaped hood does a good job of shading the lens from extraneous light that may cause issues.

Pentax HD PENTAX-D FA* 70-200mm f/2.8 ED DC AW Sample Photos

Close Up Fungi | 1/250 sec | f/8.0 | 200.0 mm | ISO 400<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/HD-PENTAXD-FA-70200mm-f28-ED-DC-AW-5760/highres/pentax_70-200mm_close_up_fungi_1463411172.jpg">High-Res</a>
Close Up Fungi | 1/250 sec | f/8.0 | 200.0 mm | ISO 400
High-Res
Flower Close Up | 1/125 sec | f/8.0 | 200.0 mm | ISO 100<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/HD-PENTAXD-FA-70200mm-f28-ED-DC-AW-5760/highres/pentax_70-200mm_flower_close_up_1463411505.jpg">High-Res</a>
Flower Close Up | 1/125 sec | f/8.0 | 200.0 mm | ISO 100
High-Res
Garden Stage | 1/400 sec | f/8.0 | 200.0 mm | ISO 200<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/HD-PENTAXD-FA-70200mm-f28-ED-DC-AW-5760/highres/pentax_70-200mm_garden_stage_1463411711.jpg">High-Res</a>
Garden Stage | 1/400 sec | f/8.0 | 200.0 mm | ISO 200
High-Res
Goldfinch Bokeh Test | 1/1250 sec | f/5.6 | 200.0 mm | ISO 800<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/HD-PENTAXD-FA-70200mm-f28-ED-DC-AW-5760/highres/pentax_70-200mm_goldfinch_bokeh_test_1463411869.jpg">High-Res</a>
Goldfinch Bokeh Test | 1/1250 sec | f/5.6 | 200.0 mm | ISO 800
High-Res
Moorhen Housing | 1/250 sec | f/8.0 | 200.0 mm | ISO 400<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/HD-PENTAXD-FA-70200mm-f28-ED-DC-AW-5760/highres/pentax_70-200mm_moorhen_housing_1463412057.jpg">High-Res</a>
Moorhen Housing | 1/250 sec | f/8.0 | 200.0 mm | ISO 400
High-Res
Pheasant | 1/125 sec | f/8.0 | 200.0 mm | ISO 800<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/HD-PENTAXD-FA-70200mm-f28-ED-DC-AW-5760/highres/pentax_70-200mm_pheasant_1463412231.jpg">High-Res</a>
Pheasant | 1/125 sec | f/8.0 | 200.0 mm | ISO 800
High-Res
Photography Student | 1/640 sec | f/8.0 | 200.0 mm | ISO 400<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/HD-PENTAXD-FA-70200mm-f28-ED-DC-AW-5760/highres/pentax_70-200mm_photography_student_1463412421.jpg">High-Res</a>
Photography Student | 1/640 sec | f/8.0 | 200.0 mm | ISO 400
High-Res
Portrait | 1/125 sec | f/5.6 | 140.0 mm | ISO 200<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/HD-PENTAXD-FA-70200mm-f28-ED-DC-AW-5760/highres/pentax_70-200mm_portrait_1463412549.jpg">High-Res</a>
Portrait | 1/125 sec | f/5.6 | 140.0 mm | ISO 200
High-Res
Single Bloom | 1/200 sec | f/11.0 | 200.0 mm | ISO 200<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/HD-PENTAXD-FA-70200mm-f28-ED-DC-AW-5760/highres/pentax_70-200mm_single_bloom_1463412691.jpg">High-Res</a>
Single Bloom | 1/200 sec | f/11.0 | 200.0 mm | ISO 200
High-Res
Summer House | 1/250 sec | f/10.0 | 108.0 mm | ISO 200<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/HD-PENTAXD-FA-70200mm-f28-ED-DC-AW-5760/highres/pentax_70-200mm_summer_house_1463412914.jpg">High-Res</a>
Summer House | 1/250 sec | f/10.0 | 108.0 mm | ISO 200
High-Res
Texture In Wood | 1/400 sec | f/5.6 | 200.0 mm | ISO 800<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/HD-PENTAXD-FA-70200mm-f28-ED-DC-AW-5760/highres/pentax_70-200mm_texture_in_wood_1463413072.jpg">High-Res</a>
Texture In Wood | 1/400 sec | f/5.6 | 200.0 mm | ISO 800
High-Res
Wide | 1/640 sec | f/6.3 | 70.0 mm | ISO 100<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/HD-PENTAXD-FA-70200mm-f28-ED-DC-AW-5760/highres/Pen70200mm_206_1429526609.jpg">High-Res</a>
Wide | 1/640 sec | f/6.3 | 70.0 mm | ISO 100
High-Res
Telephoto | 1/800 sec | f/6.3 | 200.0 mm | ISO 100<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/HD-PENTAXD-FA-70200mm-f28-ED-DC-AW-5760/highres/Pen70200mm_207_1429526617.jpg">High-Res</a>
Telephoto | 1/800 sec | f/6.3 | 200.0 mm | ISO 100
High-Res
Closest focus with this lens is 1.2 metres | 1/500 sec | f/4.0 | 200.0 mm | ISO 100<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/HD-PENTAXD-FA-70200mm-f28-ED-DC-AW-5760/highres/Pen70200mm_208_1429526625.jpg">High-Res</a>
Closest focus with this lens is 1.2 metres | 1/500 sec | f/4.0 | 200.0 mm | ISO 100
High-Res
Focusing can be a little bit hit or miss, so extra care may need to be taken to ensure focus is accurate, especially at fast apertures | 1/1600 sec | f/2.8 | 200.0 mm | ISO 100<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/HD-PENTAXD-FA-70200mm-f28-ED-DC-AW-5760/highres/Pen70200mm_217_1429526707.jpg">High-Res</a>
Focusing can be a little bit hit or miss, so extra care may need to be taken to ensure focus is accurate, especially at fast apertures | 1/1600 sec | f/2.8 | 200.0 mm | ISO 100
High-Res
1/1000 sec | f/2.8 | 180.0 mm | ISO 100<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/HD-PENTAXD-FA-70200mm-f28-ED-DC-AW-5760/highres/Pen70200mm_205_1429526599.jpg">High-Res</a>
1/1000 sec | f/2.8 | 180.0 mm | ISO 100
High-Res
1/250 sec | f/5.6 | 200.0 mm | ISO 200<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/HD-PENTAXD-FA-70200mm-f28-ED-DC-AW-5760/highres/Pen70200mm_209_1429526633.jpg">High-Res</a>
1/250 sec | f/5.6 | 200.0 mm | ISO 200
High-Res
1/250 sec | f/2.8 | 170.0 mm | ISO 200<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/HD-PENTAXD-FA-70200mm-f28-ED-DC-AW-5760/highres/Pen70200mm_211_1429526651.jpg">High-Res</a>
1/250 sec | f/2.8 | 170.0 mm | ISO 200
High-Res
1/320 sec | f/2.8 | 200.0 mm | ISO 100<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/HD-PENTAXD-FA-70200mm-f28-ED-DC-AW-5760/highres/Pen70200mm_212_1429526658.jpg">High-Res</a>
1/320 sec | f/2.8 | 200.0 mm | ISO 100
High-Res
1/125 sec | f/6.3 | 70.0 mm | ISO 100<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/HD-PENTAXD-FA-70200mm-f28-ED-DC-AW-5760/highres/Pen70200mm_213_1429526667.jpg">High-Res</a>
1/125 sec | f/6.3 | 70.0 mm | ISO 100
High-Res
1/125 sec | f/8.0 | 70.0 mm | ISO 200<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/HD-PENTAXD-FA-70200mm-f28-ED-DC-AW-5760/highres/Pen70200mm_214_1429526677.jpg">High-Res</a>
1/125 sec | f/8.0 | 70.0 mm | ISO 200
High-Res
1/125 sec | f/11.0 | 70.0 mm | ISO 100<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/HD-PENTAXD-FA-70200mm-f28-ED-DC-AW-5760/highres/Pen70200mm_215_1429526686.jpg">High-Res</a>
1/125 sec | f/11.0 | 70.0 mm | ISO 100
High-Res
1/250 sec | f/11.0 | 200.0 mm | ISO 800<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/HD-PENTAXD-FA-70200mm-f28-ED-DC-AW-5760/highres/Pen70200mm_216_1429526696.jpg">High-Res</a>
1/250 sec | f/11.0 | 200.0 mm | ISO 800
High-Res
1/250 sec | f/5.6 | 150.0 mm | ISO 200<br /><a target="_blank" href="https://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/HD-PENTAXD-FA-70200mm-f28-ED-DC-AW-5760/highres/Pen70200mm_219_1429526721.jpg">High-Res</a>
1/250 sec | f/5.6 | 150.0 mm | ISO 200
High-Res

Value For Money

Being priced at around £1850, this lens does cost more than equivalent optics available for Canon and Nikon camera systems, by around £300.

There is very little competition from third party manufacturers left as Sigma have discontinued their current Pentax mount version of their 70-200mm f/2.8.

Tamron's 70-200mm f/2.8 Di LD IF is currently pretty much the only equivalent lens available for Pentax at the moment. It may lack weather sealing, fancy optical coatings and even silent focusing, but it is substantially less expensive, being available for around £470.

Pentax HD PENTAX-D FA* 70-200mm f/2.8 ED DC AW Verdict

As you might expect, this lens is a highly competent, highly specified lens, with all the bells and whistles you'd expect from a high end manufacturer's own lens.

Features like weather sealing, metal build, silent focusing and exotic optical coatings all add to the appeal of this optic and there is enough there to keep almost anyone happy. The performance of this lens is good, but maybe not good enough to support a £300 premium over similar lenses from other camera marques. Of course, the appeal of this optic will also largely depend on the appeal of the forthcoming Ricoh/Pentax full frame SLR, when that is finally available.

Pentax HD PENTAX-D FA* 70-200mm f/2.8 ED DC AW Pros

Very good sharpness in the centre at maximum aperture
Very good sharpness across the frame when stopped down
Weather and dust resistant construction
Excellent build quality
Silent focusing
Full time manual focus override
Constant f/2.8 aperture
Low falloff

Pentax HD PENTAX-D FA* 70-200mm f/2.8 ED DC AW Cons

Autofocus with phase detection was hit and miss with tested sample
Price

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
VERDICT  

The Pentax-D FA* 70-200mm f/2.8 ED DC AW delivers very good sharpness, and excellent build quality.

 

Pentax HD PENTAX-D FA* 70-200mm f/2.8 ED DC AW Specifications

ManufacturerPentax
General
Lens Mounts
  • Pentax KAF3
Lens
Focal Length 70mm - 200mm
Angle of View 8.1° - 23°
Max Aperture f/2.8
Min Aperture f/22
Filter Size 77mm
Stabilised No
35mm equivalent 107mm - 307mm
Internal focusing Yes
Maximum magnification No Data
Focusing
Min Focus 120cm
Construction
Blades 9
Elements 19
Groups 16
Box Contents
Box Contents Hood, Lens cap, Mount cap, Lens Case, Tripod Mount
Dimensions
Weight 1755g
Height 203mm


Related Photos
No related photos found. Check out the Pentax User Gallery.

Mike-P

Link Posted 21/04/2015 - 16:52
When the Canon EF 70-200mm MKII was released it cost approx £100 more than this does today, I think we will see prices fall in line with the Canikon lenses fairly soon (once the early adopters premium has been exhausted). Maybe a fairer comparison would be with the Sony 70-200mm f2.8 G SSM II which is a more recent lens ... and costs around £400 more than the Pentax.
No equipment list here but thanks for taking an interest. My Flickr
Last Edited by Mike-P on 21/04/2015 - 16:53

michaelblue

Link Posted 22/04/2015 - 12:42
Good point Mike
Regards,
Michael
My new website:link

Russ

Link Posted 22/04/2015 - 14:26
The list of new full frame lenses grows.

Looks an excellent lens, something to dream of owning. Would probably look out of place on my K-S2.

cabstar

Link Posted 26/04/2015 - 03:35
With a launch price of £1850 this lens is actually cheaper than the launch price of the Nikon 70-200mm vr2 nearly six years ago by £150 take into account inflation and the launch price of the Pentax is very competitive.

http://www.ephotozine.com/article/nikon-af-s-nikkor-70-200mm-f-2-8g-ed-vr-ii-int...
PPG Wedding photography Flickr
Concert photography

Currently on a Pentax hiatus until an FF Pentax is released

closhlav

Link Posted 06/05/2015 - 09:03
Why Pentax doesn't fix this AF once for all?
Why someone should pay that much to buy a lens/camera that is not reliable in AF on the subject? 70-200 is aimed to professionals, for sport and weddings AF is a must now days especially if the price is in the same league of Brands that have the whole package.
I have a k-5 with horrible AF reliability,I was waiting to upgrade until a decent AF is released, but looks like we are not there yet.
Last Edited by closhlav on 06/05/2015 - 09:04

tyronet2000

Link Posted 14/05/2015 - 09:56
Think I'll stick with what I've got.
Regards
Stan

PPG

lamminka

Link Posted 18/05/2015 - 07:44
Looks like sniper lens ! ;D

elbusdelseo

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Last Edited by elbusdelseo on 29/05/2019 - 00:01
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