Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Pentax AF 300mm(ish) Fully Compared

There are not much choices in Pentaxland for telephoto to super-telephoto lenses. In fact, the starting focal for that is at least 300mm IMO, even if we are to use the lenses on the Pentax DSLRs all of which are with a crop factor of 1.5X. To choose a fixed prime for 300mm that supports AF, Pentaxians have only 3 choices over years up till now, since Pentax launched their "new" AFSLR system in 1987, i.e., the F*300/4.5, FA*300/4 and the DA*300/4 SDM. I do note that many Pentaxians do have many confusions for the actual differences between them. So, I write this article to clear them up. And, I share my own personal opinions according to my practical experiences with the lenses, in addition:-

Specifics
F*300/4.5
FA*300/4.5
DA*300/4 SDM
Lens Design:
9 elements in 7 groups, ED and IF (Extra-low Dispersion / Inner(Internal) Focusing)
9 elements in 7 groups, ED and IF, generally believed to be optically identical to the F*
8 elements in 6 groups, ED and IF
(Officially) Guaranteed Image Circle Size:
135 Full Frame
135 Full FrameAPS-C
First Marketed:
1987
1991
2008
Discontinued:
1991
2004
Not Yet
Size:
160 x 84mm (Dia.)
160 x 73mm (Dia.)184 x 83 mm (Dia.)
Filter Thread:
67mm
67mm
77mm
Weight:
880g
935g
1070g
Tripod Collar:Yes: Detachable, Rotatable
Nil: No Support / Not Available!Yes: Built-in, Rotatable
Lens Hood:Built-in: Screw-in/out Type, Handy, Slim and LightweightExternal: Bayonet, Metal, Bulky, Thick, Large and HeavyExternal: Bayonet, Plastic, Slim, Large but Not Heavy w/ Detachable Window for Polarizer
Closest Focus and Magnification:
2.0m @ 0.17X
2.0m @ 0.17X
1.4m @ 0.24X
AF Drive:
Body Motor
Body Motor
Lens Motor (SDM)
AF Noise:
Very Noisy
Noisy
Silent
AF Speed:FasterFasterSlower
AF Accuracy:GoodGoodNot So Good
AF Hunting:Most NoticeableLess NoticeableNot Noticeable
AF/MF Switching:
Push-pull Ring-form Switch - But with Limitation, i.e., Body's AF/MF Switch Needed to be at MF Position!
Push-pull Ring-form Switch - Without Limitation, i.e., Body's AF/MF Switch Can be at Either AF or MF PositionQuick Shift Manual Focusing - No Instant Push-pull Mechanism for Complete AF/MF Switching, but there is yet a Small AF/MF Selector
MF Feel (Damping & Smoothness):
Worse*
Better
Worse*
IQ:
Very Good (Best from f/6.7 to f/11)
Very Good (Best from f/6.7 to f/11)Very Good (Best from f/5.6 to f/11)
Colour Response - Could be Subjective!:
(1 Best, 3 Worst*)
3
1
2
* Remark: "Worst" and "Worse" are still Acceptable to Good! :-)

Some sample images of mine (w/ F*300 on K100D):-

Chinese Dragon Boat Racing


Read Also:-


Compatibility of DA Lenses on Full Frame

Summary Matrix for Equipment Tests and Reviews

The SDM Petition Online

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