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Old Aug 12, 2009, 4:19 PM   #1
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Default Pentax SMC DA* Series 200mm f2.8 ED IF SDM

Anyone have any experience with this lens? Any and all feedback would be appreciated. I'm wondering about what price point would make this one a no-brainer to purchase and possible applications for this lens.

Thanks,
Jerry
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Old Aug 12, 2009, 10:20 PM   #2
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Daniel has posted some awesome pictures he's taken with the lens at fashion shows and some really lovely portraits.

I got a chance to try it last week at the Redondo Beach Pentax K-7 tour event. I was really, really impressed with it.

It's lighter than the Tamron or Sigma 70-200 f2.8 lenses, which is a very big advantage to me. It's a prime, which makes it less versatile for many, but I seem to get along much better with prime lenses. It's also weather sealed, which the other two aren't. I'm not so sure that the weather sealing would be as useful for this lens as it's a bit short for wildlife or most outdoor sports that would need a fast lens. It's really too long for a portrait lens. It's heavier than something like the DA 55-300 because it's faster. I can see using it for some landscape, school plays, perhaps some indoor sports, and lots for travel if you don't mind heavier lenses.

Hopefully Daniel will stop by and give you more insight to the lens. If not, tomorrow night I might be able to give you more information about it.

As far as price point - Pentax has raised their prices. I noticed that Sunday both Adorama and B&H had the lens for under $1000, but on Monday Adorama raised their price. Don't know what it is today, but B&H is still the same price as it was. The way I look at pricing is that it's relative. If the lens doesn't meet your needs, it doesn't matter how brilliant a lens it is, it's not worth 2 cents. If you really want a lens, then it will be worth a whole lot more to you, perhaps it would be worth the extra price that Pentax is going to be charging.

It's not a lens that will appeal to everyone, and I think it's pretty specialized. If you value high quality lenses and don't mind a prime, I think it's well worth what B&H is selling it for today (something like $969). Just for me, though, that's as much as I'd want to spend on it.
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Old Aug 13, 2009, 12:42 AM   #3
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The reason I was asking is that I can pick one up for under $800, brand new and it seemed like it my be an alternative to the 70-200mm Sigma HSM because it's smaller and lighter. I'm just wondering how much I'll miss not having the flexibility of the 70-200 and how much the lighter weight offsets the lack of flexibility.
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Old Aug 13, 2009, 11:02 AM   #4
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It depends on what you want to use it for and how you personally use shoot in general. I handled the Tamron 70-200 f2.8 and thought it was marginal as a lens I would want to carry around, I assume the Sigma is at least in that category. But I'm a small female, a larger person might not mind the extra weight. My film experience is with a couple of primes, and I often forget that I can change what I see in the viewfinder when shooting with a zoom, so a prime doesn't bother me at all. If I were using the lens to shoot sports, where I really needed a zoom, then the prime makes no sense. My personal experience has been that even with the modern, excellent zooms, they aren't quite a match to a top quality prime (i.e., my DA*50-135 is a brilliant lens but not quite a match to the 77 Ltd.).

So whether you'd miss the flexibility of the zoom is really a personal matter. There's no "one-size-fits-all" answer to it. On the other hand, I just spent significantly more than your $800 for the lens.
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Old Aug 13, 2009, 11:28 AM   #5
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Most of my outdoor action shots for my son's football games are around 200mm focal length, so I thought this might be a good alternative for outdoors. The Sigma weighs in at a full 3lbs, and I have some arthritis in my hands and arms and am trying to avoid so much weight. I still newbie enough to not be able to distinguish the differences between a prime lens and a lens like the Sigma 70-200mm, besides zoom capabilities. I'm assuming that the pics will be sharper with the Pentax lens than with the Sigma at the full 200mm. Is this an accurate assumption?
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Old Aug 13, 2009, 2:02 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jnanpentaxfan View Post
The reason I was asking is that I can pick one up for under $800, brand new ...
That's a remarkable price. Are you confident of the retailer's reliability?

Henry Posner
B&H Photo-Video
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Old Aug 13, 2009, 2:36 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jnanpentaxfan View Post
The Sigma weighs in at a full 3lbs, and I have some arthritis in my hands and arms and am trying to avoid so much weight.
Another, less expensive solution is to use a monopod. The sigma 70-200 2.8 comes with a collar. $50-60 buys you a great monopod and weight is no longer an issue.

Also, don't discount the Sigma HSM motor and it's affect on focus speed. You'd also want to be sure the Pentax lens is just as fast to focus. It's also something people that don't use continuous focus probably won't notice. So you'll want to find a sports shooter whose used both to see how focus speed compares.

Last edited by JohnG; Aug 13, 2009 at 2:39 PM.
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Old Aug 13, 2009, 4:48 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by henryp View Post
That's a remarkable price. Are you confident of the retailer's reliability?

Henry Posner
B&H Photo-Video
Yes, they are an authorized Pentax retailer. I decided to purchase the lens. If I don't like it, I think I can get my money out of it. I went and picked it up this afternoon and will post a few pics tonight.
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Old Aug 13, 2009, 5:13 PM   #9
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Default Some quick pics

Here are a few quick indoor pics, no flash, 1600 iso, F2.8, first pic reduced, other 2 cropped:

Last edited by jnanpentaxfan; Feb 11, 2010 at 11:35 AM.
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Old Aug 19, 2009, 8:33 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jnanpentaxfan View Post
Anyone have any experience with this lens? Any and all feedback would be appreciated. I'm wondering about what price point would make this one a no-brainer to purchase and possible applications for this lens. Thanks, Jerry
Its rate already very very competitive indeed. I was fixated in getting FA*200mm 2 yrs ago. The going rate was like $1500-1600. Later it dropped to $1200 once DA*200mm was announced. But at that time nobody knew if it measures up to FA* and its optical formula.
Turned out that it has exactly the same optical formula of FA*200mm plus weather seal and SDM motor. I got that at around $1100 likely 2nd or the 3rd in N Am. Judging from whoever posted images first.
That gives you some historical perspective of price point.
Another factor you need to take into account is the fact that 200mm (=300mm in film) is something you need to be familiar with. Maybe I am a bird shooter and shooting portrait 30 ft away does not intimidate me. But it does intimidate short shooters.


Quote:
Originally Posted by mtngal View Post
Daniel has posted some awesome pictures he's taken with the lens at fashion shows and some really lovely portraits.
Its biggest asset like the FA* is its sharpness wide open like what Harriet posted earlier (staple remover with extreme shallow DoF). Even at F5.6 as shown below still with shallow DoF and full blown sharpness, its bokeh still remains intact.





Hope that may clear some of points jnanpentaxfan likes to raise.


Daniel
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