Saturday, August 07, 2010

Pentax SMC FA 24-90/3.5-4.5 IF AL mini review and samples


Along with good offer on Sigma 24-60/2.8 I chanced to come by Pentax FA 24-90/3.5-4.5... This would be my second attempt on this lens. The first one ended with mechanical defect that couldn't be repaired.

Handling and build

This sample is as close to pristine as it can probably get with the used lens of this mechanical quality and (lack of) sturdiness. This thing is outright flimsy. It screams plastic all over. Mount is metal though.

Everything else quite fine really. It has the right weight - not too heavy, not too light, and it is convenient to work with. The range is just right, being about 35-135 mm of EFOV.

AF is spot on, no correction necessary whatsoever. So, beside the plastic build, it is actually a rather piece of kit.

Image quality

The image quality is excellent. As far as I understand the line up of Pentax zoom lenses of the film era, this was the second in command after legendary FA* 28-70/2.8. The images this lens produces seem to support this claim. It is really quite excellent optically. For the zoom lens, of course.

The colors are excellent due to SMC coatings. Stop it down a bit and the sharpness is very good. Wide open it is a bit of a gamble, but I chanced to produce several pretty good images as well. Also, it yields itself very well to clarity adjustment in LightRoom.


So, if Pentax bothered to make it properly built from mechanical point of view, say like Sigma EX 24-60/2.8, then they would have had a definite winner here. But unfortunately, Pentax did not bother...

I am keeping this lens for outdoor shooting and if necessary to mount it on my daughter's K10D if she would need a zoom lens.

Sample images

The sample shots below were taken in Tel Aviv University Botanical Gardens...


fRANK d said...

I got the 28-80 FA a few months back and love it. Its plastic as most lenses are now anyway but the lens is pretty sharp all the way through. It works well in the team line up between the 18-55 and the 50-200...

Niels said...

I also have this lens, and I have had it as the standard lens since I got the *istD. Now it's an K10D.
The lens got a lot of scratches, so maybe it's time I started looking for a replacement.