Marc Langille's reviews

  • Pentax 250-600mm f/5.6 ED IF SMC P-FA

    10 out of 10 points and recommended
    Optical quality is superb - even wide open; unique FL range; MFD is only 11.5 feet; power zoom is great for framing/composition;
    It's a carry on item unless you are willing to risk checking it... not likely! Will fit in a Pelican 1510 carry on. It's a heavier lens.

    Brilliant, even on digital: I highly doubt I will ever part with this lens. The FA* 250-600/5.6 is definitely better than the Sigma 500/4.5 EX DG APO lens I used. This heavier lens - like any larger super telephoto - requires top shelf tripod and gimbal head to bring out the best images. I have a Gitzo GT3541XLS, Wimberley WH-200 gimbal head and Wimberley P-50 lens plate - three screws hold the almost 7" long plate to the tripod collar foot. I've not really tried it on a monopod yet, but I now have a Wimberley C-10 QR clamp to mount on my monopod so I am looking forward to seeing it in action.

    It's a fantastic lens. This is by far the better lens of choice and the MFD kicks the competition around by a good margin. Most 600/4 lenses start at 15.5 feet and go up - that's the lowest in class of any 600mm - next 600mm is 15 feet - great for shooting in a blind/hide. Only Nikon's newest 600/4 is on par with the FA* 600/4 in that aspect. Having a max. aperture of F/5.6 is but a small trade off for it's flexibility. When the light is getting that low, it's becoming a compromise anyway. All wrapped up into a unique FL zoom.

    What's astounding is that the FA* 250-600/5.6 is unbelievably sharp even wide open throughout the entire FL range. The proof is in the images I have taken with it. If it's a tad soft at 600mm wide open, then that is an issue with the photographer's technique, nothing more. This is another example of the pinnacle of Pentax optical engineering mastery.

    reviewed October 9th, 2010