During the months of November/December 2019 I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to get my hands on the prototype of the Pentax DFA 70-210mm F4 lens. To have this chance to take this new lens out onto the field was certainly exciting as I was the only landscape photographer outside of japan to try this lens in its element.
The lens is constructed of 20 elements in 14 groups, including three extra-low dispersion (ED) elements and two anomalous dispersion. It has a minimum focusing distance of 95cm (3.1ft), nine-blade aperture diaphragm, uses Pentax’s high-definition multi-layer coating on its elements and features a weather-resistant design to fight against the elements.
The autofocus is a ring-type supersonic direct-drive motor (SDM) and a quick-shift focus system which makes it easy to switch from autofocus to manual after the shutter has been half-pressed. It also features a focus distance limiter, that limits the focus from 0.95m to 2m and 2m to infinity (amazing feature to minimise rate focus hunting). The lens measures in at 175mm (6.9in) long, 78.5mm (3.1") diameter and weighs 859g (1.89lbs) with the lens hood on.
This versatile and extremely light weight telephoto lens, is surely a system that Pentax users have been long waiting for since the release of the DFA lineup. Closing the bridge for photographers wanting a high performance lens within this focal range, that is lighter than the DFA 70-200mm, but still has the ability to perform well under all situations that you would expect from DFA telephoto.
Mounting this lens onto a Pentax K1 Mark II, I tested its performance under many conditions, such as landscape, wildlife and street photography. Not only did the focus system respond very quickly and accurately (thanks to the help of the in-built focus range limiter), being an F4 gave off a lovely soft bokeh, the 0.95 meters focus distance gave for lovely intimate captures, the focus subjects were tack sharp, the weather sealing brilliant while shooting under harsh conditions, and the build quality is what we can expect from all DFA lenses.
As a landscape photography that spends a lot of time traveling and hiking to difficult locations, having a lightweight telephoto lens is an essential part of my kit to go. I would recommend this lens to any landscape photographer looking for a lens with these characteristics, and seeing it perform in other circumstances I would recommend it to anyone shooting portrait, wildlife or even street photography.
Here you will find some sample images that I took on various locations while shooting with the lens. The images have all been taken with a Pentax K1 Mark II, at ISO 100 and shot in RAW PNG. To analyse the images at best I have applied minimal adjustments in post production.
Please visit my in depth experience with this lens via my youtube channel for further details: