on 27 April 2013
Although Pentax currently make DSLRs with only APS-C size sensors, this is a full-frame lens as signified by its DFA designation. It therefore has a field of view equivalent to an 150mm lens in 35mm terms and this gives a useful working distance. It's particularly attractive because of its weather-resistant sealing, so one doesn't have to worry about the odd shower when out and about. It's capable of 1:1 magnification, so it's a true macro lens, and it has a useful f2.8 maximum aperture. It also makes a superb portrait lens, though it might be a little sharp for some people's taste in this regard.
Even though it's not one of Pentax's renowned Limited series lenses, he build quality is nevertheless superb and it is reasonably priced. The only (minor) gripe I have is that it doesn't have an internal focusing (IF) mechanism which means that the len's length varies according to the focusing distance. However, as the inner tube extends inside the lens hood, this isn't too much of a problem. Autofocus is by way of a screw drive and seems reasonably quick, though this is a minor concern for most macro work. The lack of an internal motor and in-lens stabilisation (Pentax cameras have in-body stabilisation) means that the lens is relatively small and portable. Oh, and did I mention, it's very sharp!
on 22 March 2013
This review would be 5* but for one major point. No focus limiter. A weird omission as it was on a previous model I owned from many years ago. It's compact, light, weather resistant, with an aluminium outer casing, all plus points. Optically great, especially when closed down a stop. There are no manual controls, everything is electronically operated from the camera body. This is a minor criticism from someone who was using cameras to photograph Noah. Anyone new to photography will not even be aware that the old features might be useful sometimes (they won't, times change).
In conclusion, well worth the money. A lovely lens.
on 19 November 2014
If you're going to spend this much on a lens, please do some research first. The comments will tell you that the Pentax customers are very satisfied, but I think it's worth understanding what this lens is supposed to do before you lay down such a huge outlay.
Ok, caveat out of the way. :-)
It's a superb lens- light, weatherproof and it allows you to take great photographs. The 'macro' refers to it's ability to take close up shots- you can take astonishingly detailed shots from just a few inches away. Ever missed that amazing looking beetle or spider because you just couldn't focus? Problem solved. It's great for jewellery, crystal and other small, intricate, precious objects. Models- that's as in scale ones, not fashionista clothes horses- are a joy to capture. Under decent light you can see every effect you painstakingly applied in glorious, true life colour (as well as all your worst brush strokes! ;-) ).
Being light and not at all bothered by rain, mist or drizzle makes it a great choice when you're out and about.
And of course, it's beautiful, high quality glass takes lovely portrait shots.
Is it worth the expense? The macro ability is the reason I bought it . I paint 28mm miniatures- standard lenses are a pita for that. They require very powerful lighting and it's awkward to get close to the subject. The high quality glass and the ability to get right up next to the piece allows for better results with less light. It's a much easier, far more pleasant exercise. With space and money constraints it allows for decent results without having to revert to bulky and expensive studio lights. So it definitely improved my photography experience. If macro is your thing, then the ability to swing up and take a snap shot at the myriad little things that you see while walking/rambling is fantastic. You could use light tubes and possibly a portable light source to get similar results, but the ease of use and speed the macro offers is, again, a big improvement to the photography experience. A nice bonus is just how well it adapts to everyday shooting. It's not limited to close shooting, it's just very, very good at it!
Some comments on ease of use. The zoom is fairly quick. There's a manual focus ring on the end to further improve response time, if needed. It's pretty quiet- if your subject is a small animal, that can help. The Pentax pre-focus can get the lens partially focused on trickier subjects, you can manually fine tune it using the ring to get the desired effect. On a weather sealed camera- and most of the Pentax range are- it can be used in almost any conditions. I'm looking forward to playing around with that this winter! The light weight helps in every situation.
It is very expensive. You could get similar results spending a lot less on things like light tubes and high powered torches. But if you can justify the outlay it's money well spent. The improvement to the shooting experience and the ability to concentrate more on composition or even opportunity, rather than set up, makes it an absolute bargain. There's a reason the Pentax buyers love this thing!
on 12 May 2015
This lens screams quality. I bought it for macro, but its focal length and brightness makes it a fantastic portrait lens as well.
Metal lens feels like a limited. It's sharp! And has smooth manual focus with magnification markers.
Due to its extreme focus throw, it can hunt everynow then. But that's to be expected.
I can easily see this lens become my favourite. Incredibly versatile.
And it's FF!
on 24 May 2015
I've bought this lens mainly for location portraits and model shots - and the test shots I've done so far confirm that in image quality this lens will sit worthily alongside my 70mm Limited. I'm not entirely sold on the lens' looks though, as it's a bit of a plain tube or even like a lens on top of extension tubes. And the lens hood is so long it manages to unbalance the K-3, even with it's battery grip on! I'm not sure how necessary that is for the hood as the front lens element is quite recessed anyway
But although I have some reservations about the design, the fact remains that this lens is a top-notch performer and a worthy addition to any Pentax lens bag.
on 24 April 2011
Can't fault it, it's perfect for macro jobs, also good for sitting across the bar and taking pictures of your mates from afar. Detail is amazing, the ONLY downside is sometimes the focus struggles, but that's why I use manual anyway!