Pentax smc D FA 100mm f/2.8 Macro

Is there more to this Pentax lens than old-school looks?

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Our Verdict

Just too many weaknesses to recommend. For consistency, another lens would be a better buy


  • Disappointing optical quality
  • Poor autofocus

The Pentax 100mm Macro looks like an old-school lens, with its lockable aperture ring at the back and a huge 'clamp' switch on the side, for locking focus.

Autofocus itself is hit and miss, with a noisy motor drive, punctuated by the clack of the mechanism banging into the end stops at either end of its 0.3-metre-to-infinity range, and there's no focus limit facility either.

As well as this unpleasantness, we experienced a higher degree of hunting during autofocus than with most other lenses in its class.

Optically, the Pentax was soft when shooting wide-open, and we had to stop down to f/8 or f/11 to get the sharpness that we got with other macros at f/2.8. The lens hood is a waste of time, as the inner barrel extends to its front edge at closest focus.