SMC Pentax-M 80-200 f/4.5 zoom on Sony Nex 6

This is a review of the Pentax-M SMC 80-200mm f/4.5 zoom lens in K mount when used on a Sony Nex 6 mirrorless camera.

This is one of those lenses which I acquired as part of a camera buy on eBay. The camera (a Pentax MZ-7) unfortunately stopped working the same day as I received it but this lens came with it and although it obviously wasn’t originally paired with that camera, since I got the pair for only £4-05 I thought I hadn’t done too badly even if the camera never works again.

There were two versions of this lens made and the copy I have is the original version dating from the early 1970’s. My copy is in slightly scruffy condition cosmetically, although optically it seems ok with just the usual light smattering of dust you would expect for a lens which has been around for 40 odd years. The only area of actual damage is the slight dent in the lens hood but this is purely cosmetic because the hood has no filter thread etc so it will still function perfectly well. I also found there is a slight zoom creep if the lens is held vertically other than than, the controls are smooth and easy to operate.

In design this is a simple lens. There is no ‘A’ position on the lens (as denoted by the M in the lens title) so the aperture is a simple stop down from f/4.5 to f/32. On the original camera this lens was made for (the K1000 probably) the lens would stop down as the shutter was fired, but on the Nex the lens works in simple stop down mode because there is nothing to operate the k-mount stop down lever. The aperture stops are 1/2 stop between f/4.5 and f/22 with a full stop from f/22 to f/32.

The actual aperture is made of 8 blades so should give reasonable bokeh shapes. Although this is not a fast lens, the fact that the maximum aperture is constant across the zoom range is quite nice.

The zoom operation is push-pull with the lens remaining the same length as the zoom operates. The minimum focus distance is 1.6M and the focus registration across the zoom range seems to hold up nicely.

Although this is a reasonably heavy lens, it is ok to use on the Nex with two hands, one holding the camera body and the other balancing the lens, which is the way most people would hold a telescopic lens to reduce shake.

Sample images.

The snow drops have started to come out just up the road from me so I went out to use them as subjects for some sample shots with this lens.

It was a reasonably sunny day, but testing this lens at f/22 and f/32 meant I had to put the camera on a small tripod, and even so I was getting quite a lot of camera shake as I pressed the shutter. Even though I used the Nex remote camera control and fired the shutter from my mobile phone the f/32 shots were too shaky to use. I will carry out some further tests at a later date in the summer and add them to his post.

These shots were processed in Lightroom to set the white balance but had very little other processing.

Overall I’d say this lens is an average performer. It certainly doesn’t have the performance of the Takumar 135 f/3.5 or the Pentacon 200mm f/4, which surprised me a bit considering how good the other Pentax-M lens I have is, the 50mm f/1.7. You can view the pictures at full size using this link.



Categories: Photography, Reviews, Takumar/Pentax, Vintage

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4 replies

  1. So you say it’s average because it’s not on par with fixed focal length lens? Come on that’s not fair by a mile. From the samples you provided it seems very decent.

    • That’s why I supplied sample pictures so that readers can judge for themselves. You are right of course to say that zoom lenses won’t usually give results as good as a prime, but my assessment is really for people who are thinking of buying a secondhand lens for their mirrorless camera and who have only a few pounds to spend – ie what will give them the best picture quality for that money.

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