Pentax SMC DA* 200mm f/2.8 ED [IF] SDM - Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews - Pentax

Review by Klaus Schroiff, published February 2008

Lens kindly provided for testing purposes by Oliver Kirchner!


The Pentax SMC DA* 200mm f/2.8 ED [IF] SDM is a long awaited lens in the Pentax community. Prior of the DA* 200mm f/2.8 and its sister lens, the DA* 300mm f/4, Pentax users had to consider third party lenses when seeking for high quality lenses beyond the DA 50-200mm f/4-5.6 "kit" lens. When having a deeper look at the optical construction of the lens the reason for the delay is actually a bit mysterious. The DA* 200mm f/2.8 doesn't seem to be an all new design but strongly based on the old FA* 200mm f/2.8 (discontinued in 2004). Consequently it is also a full format lens despite the "DA" part of the name. On today's APS-C Pentax/Samsung DSLRs its field-of-field is equivalent to about 310mm in classic terms.

The DA* 200mm f/2.8 is part of Pentax' professional grade lens lineup and, correspondingly, it is a beautifully crafted lens. The outer body is obviously made of metal and the broad, rubberized focus ring operates very smooth. The lens is also sealed against dust and moisture and The Pentax Super Protect (SP) coating on the front element has been optimized to repel dust, water and grease. Thanks to an IF (internal focusing) design the front element does not rotate and the physical size of the lens remains constant regardless of the focus setting. The deep lens hood features a removable "window" which provides access to the filter area so it's possible to use a polarizer even with attached hood - a simple and smart solution. lineup.

The lens uses the new SDM ("Supersonic Dynamic Motor") which is similar to Canon's USM or Nikon's silent wave drive. Typical for most of these AF implementations the operation is virtually silent and very fast. Thanks to a "Quick Shift" system it is possible to override the AF in single-shot AF mode without the need to switch between AF and MF mode. There's also the old drive-screw AF interface so the lens does also support pre-SDM SLRs and DSLRs.

Equiv. focal length300 mm (full format equivalent)
Equiv. aperturef/4.2 (full format equivalent, in terms of depth-of-field)
Optical construction9 elements in 8 groups inc. 2x ED elements
Number of aperture blades9
min. focus distance1.2 m (max. magnification ratio 1:5)
Dimensions83 x 134 mm
Weight825 g
Filter size77 mm (non-rotating)
HoodBarrel shaped (supplied)
Other featuresultrasonic AF motor with quick-shift. SP-coating.

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