This lens makes no sense.
Right off the bat this is a top 5 lens for me. Perhaps top 3.
I had Pentax DSLRs a couple of times before and this lens was on my radar both times. With my recent return to Pentax, I bought a used copy. Immediately became very attached to it, but then to my great disappointment, it broke. Returned it. Hurt to do so. Tried to let it go. Then it went on sale… new… and very silver… for about what I paid for the used one.
Why did I want this lens? So many reasons. Continue reading “Pentax FA 77mm f/1.8 Limited Review”
A lens so nice I bought it… thrice? Anyhoo…
I love a bargain. My father is the tech/geek inspiration, but my mother’s battle cry is “Never pay retail!”
A while back I had a Nikon D3300 that I really liked. Would still have it if the upgrade path were not so prohibitively (for me) expensive lens and body wise. My favorite lens for it was the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8. More about that version here and below is a sample photo of a nightmare fuel mutant hummingbird lobster moth thing captured in my backyard with it.
More on this when it returns, but due to backordered parts my Pentax K-1 is off to warranty repair spa until early October. Fortunately I held on to little orphan NX300 with a couple of lenses and a boatload of film cameras of varying format to hold me at bay. But many film cameras and a compact mirrorless do not a DSLR make… or something like that. Solution? Accelerate plans to acquire that 2nd Pentax body. With an acceleration to that acceleration provided by the awesome customer service at SE Camera Carrboro. I cannot say enough good things about this store. What body? Well the title was a spoiler so here it goes.
Since this is not my first Pentax dance I have written posts about both the Pentax K-3ii and the Pentax K-1. So instead of starting from scratch I will compare the three by sharing what they have in common and what sets the K-70 apart.
Pentax perks. All three have:
- In body image stabilization bringing the added benefits of IS for everyone, virtual AA filter (never had need for it) and pixel shift for higher resolution photos under certain conditions (have not gotten to it).
- In body image stabilization also brings one more benefit, Astrotracer, but I list it separately because the K-1 and K-3ii have built in GPS , but the K-70 requires an optional GPS module. Again, I have not gotten around to trying this on any. Glad to have it for when I get to it though.
- The venerable 1975 and on K-Mount and all of the lenses that includes.
- Water resistant and built like tanks. Being plastic instead of magnesium the K-70 is technically less tank-ish, but in hand the difference is not as big as one would think.
- Great, honest to goodness what you see is what you get prism viewfinder. I have nothing against EVFs, and I honestly like both the new and the old tech, but this old school viewfinder is awesome. Most other DSLRs have mirrors instead at this price point.
- Excellent low light performance with 3 vertical center cross type focus points that focus down to -3EV (with lense f/2.8 or wider as I understand it). This just works and works well when combined with these cameras and their excellent low light capturing capabilities.
- Body only it saves you around $200 compared to the K-3ii and over $1,100 compared to the K-1. I loved my K-3ii, but starting from scratch today I might opt instead for the K-70 bundled with the so far excellent 18-135mm WR for only $50 more than the K-3ii body alone. It would largely depend on if I planned on also getting a K-1 or not.
- Video friendly doo-dads like a more traditional flip out screen and on sensor phase detection focusing adding constant focusing to Pentax DSLR video for the first time. Admittedly video is not Pentax’s strong suit, but nice to have nonetheless. IS is a bit wonky during video as well, but nothing that firmware could not fix if they are so inclined. I rarely shoot video however.
- Like the K-1 it has proper built in WiFi as opposed to requiring a WiFi enabled SD Card like the K-3ii.
- None are compact by today’s standards, but it is the smallest of the three and anything helps when you like schlepping a DSLR wherever you go like I do.
- Against the K-1 it is down a sensor size and a goodly chunk of MP (Not a fair comparison since dxoMark dubbed it a “Full-Frame Marvel” that just placed 3rd on their all time full frame list only bested by 2 cameras costing way more.), but it is a virtual twin of the K-3ii sensor wise. All will produce great results IQ wise.
- Frames per second fall between the 2 with the K-1 at about 4 fps, the K-70 at about 6 fps and the K-3ii at about 8 fps. True, faster is better and there are better tools for sports, if that is what you are after, and I have had cameras with upwards of 15fps, but these number are all fine for my purposes.
- Shutter speed tops out at 1/6000s instead of the 1/8000s top end of the other two. admit 1/8000s is handy to have, but less than essential. Other great cameras, even full frame ones like the D750 I admire top out at 1/4000s for example.
- It has a built in flash. I usually despise built in flashes, but I must say the K-70’s is quite nice.
- 11/9 focus points/cross type to 27/25 on the K-3ii and 33/25 on the K-1. Not good on paper, but real world results depend on the shooter. I have had and still have a camera with focus points that number in the hundreds. How many do I typically use 90% of the time? One. I need about five all together the rest of the time. One on center and one each of the four directions off center. Your mileage may vary.
- No top side LCD like the other 2. Do I want this if I can get it? For sure. But other great, highly regarded cameras (like the A7 line) do not offer one at all. Plus it may be a function of using film cameras and point and shoots for so long or that I only got my mitts on cameras with top side LCDs in the last year or so, but… psst… I never remember to look at the top side LCD. Instead I gawk at the big honking screen on the back of the camera.
- 1 card slot instead of 2. Nice to have, but seeing as I had two much more expensive cameras in the past that also only had one slot (E-P5, A7 and NX1) this is a non-issue for me.
A few additional thoughts before I wrap it up and post some initial pics with a link to an ongoing gallery.
I have grown to like the one system, two body set up since I did so once before. While the K-3ii is an excellent standalone camera I argue that the K-70 is a better compliment to the K-1. The K-3ii is like an APS-C K-1 in many ways. Adds a body with flash instead of having 2 GPS built ins. Adds phase detection on sensor. Offers two crop sizes with the same mount making each lens more flexible like adding a bit of lengthened perspective to the old Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8.
Bottom line great camera at an even better price. After churning through a number of systems versatility is one of the defining traits for Pentax cameras. In the gallery below there are shots from different situations to show this. The football shots are taken at night (HS marching band Dad) from halfway up the bleachers behind the marching band. Others shared traits are value, great IQ, weather sealing, great control layout and so forth. I have owned and still own many camera brands and I pride myself on being brand agnostic, but suddenly realizing that you now own 2 Pentax digital cameras and 4 film Pentax cameras including medium format (Fully half of my total count including 7 others, not counting point and shoot digital, with no other brand repeats.) I must acknowledge Pentax leanings even if not intended.
Below are some shots and here is a link to a gallery I plan to add more photos to.
This lens makes no sense.
Before I start I must mention that like some other items on my photo gear odyssey this lens is in a rare bought twice grouping. With most gear I trade or sell and move on without so much as a second thought. Not this one though, and a video from Lee Haze is partly to blame…
But I digress.
This lens makes no sense. Why? Glad you asked.
Affordability and Aesthetics:
In all honesty I first bought this lens back when I had a K-3ii because 1) It is shiny and 2) It costs under $150 for a K mount. That is all I needed and anything above this was gravy. To that point up until recently I had 2 pictures of this lens on flickr, but none taken with the lens. Sure it looks fine in black, but it makes no sense that a silver lens version this good looking sells for around $150. I traded that lens with the Pentax K-3ii and it remained at the store until this week. After thinking about it I stopped by Southeastern Camera Carrboro and gave it a spin on my newest Pentax. Fortunately Chris gave me the “Hey, this guy keeps selling and buying his gear here.” discount. Available for Sony A, Pentax K, Nikon F, and Canon EF mounts from a few places, but Amazon is the only place where I saw the siver version. Here is one of the first shots I took in the shop and also the moment I knew I would be rescuing this lens for the K-1.
Build, Usability and Ergonomics:
The lens itself is built like a tank. All metal with etched and painted numbers and machined grooves on the aperture and focus rings. The packaging and the hood are to be set aside as soon as possible and are the only indicators of cost cutting which is fine with me. For usability this is one of the best manual focus lenses I have ever used on full frame. Less so on APS-C (K-3ii) as I recall accurate focusing through the viewfinder being a bit of a chore even with Pentax’s handy center focus confirmation. This is also why I had 2 photos of the lens and none with the lens until I got the K-1. But with full frame (K-1) focusing through the viewfinder only by sight is a breeze and this lens has been on the camera nearly 24/7 since I picked it up again. This may be owing to the lens’ native full frame focus circle, but the difference between crop/no crop was noticed right away. Ergonomics are great. I keep coming back to this, but this is a lens that feels much more precious than its price point suggests. The focus movement is very smooth and the throw is long, but that is not a ding as this aids in accurate focusing. Also this lens is small and light for an 85mm lens. If you did not know any better you would think it was a 50mm lens at most.
Again, this is another area where this lens performs well above its price point. That the lens looks good is a given, but the photos themselves shine in the areas of sharpness, subject isolation, and color. Take this simple shot of a car while I was sitting in traffic.
On the one hand that is not surprising because they are made by the same company. But that lens had an astounding f/0.95 aperture, was considerably larger, and considerably more expensive. (No shiny, silver option though.) Even at $899.99 the Mitakon 50mm f/0.95 was reasonably priced compared to other lenses with those specs. Granted the 85mm discussed here has a much more modest aperture at f/2.0, but I think the focal length offsets this advantage a bit. First for photos of people an 85mm lens is more desirable than a 50mm as it has less distortion. Secondly isolation lost due to the more modest aperture is also offset some by the longer focal length. Plus f/2.0 is nothing to sneeze at. 70-200mm f/2.8 lenses are my favorite all around portrait lenses and this offers a bit more light than that in a considerably more compact package. Add to this a price of $150 or less and it is a no-brainer.
I knew I did not ‘need’ an 85mm portrait lens, but I wanted one. The issue was that while the Sigma (has AF, a larger aperture and stellar reviews but I could not justufy the outlay personally given what else I had in my bag) and Samyang (larger aperture and only $100 more, but because silver shiny) options are priced right I could not justify buying them, or the very nice Pentax 77mm f/1.8 Limited (had the silver shiny option, larger aperture and AF, but price again) since I had a Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 and a Pentax 100mm f/2.8 WR macro in my bag already… But I still wanted an 85mm. And this lens was a wonderful way to satisfy that want.
Full disclosure/warning: This blog post was written under duress. I suffer from as yet to be officially diagnosed low level OCD and waiting for my pre-ordered K-1 is driving me nuts. As such I have been scarfing down any information I can get my mitts on and my brain is full. This very long winded post is my release valve. Oh, there will be typos. Written furiously over the course of today broken up by family quality time interludes. As is my custom I will be re-reading and correcting over the coming days. Again, you have been warned.
Had planned on writing more about the K-1 after it arrived, but this wait is proving more of a challenge than I thought it would. Never pre-ordered a camera, or anything for that matter, before. I am more of a “Can I get it in the back of the minivan this afternoon?” kind of guy. If given the option I will pay more locally than online, not only to support local businesses (my local camera shop preference is Southeastern Camera), but to have it in hand. Immediate gratification looms large in my wheelhouse. Also a bit of a why should I wait if I give you a bunch of money thing too. Another factor that played a part is that a gear trade was involved. Theoretically I could have listed my gear online like I have in the past and very likely gotten more money, but for me that is a last resort as I do not enjoy that process at all. I will gladly eat profits not to deal with the general populous if I am honest. Hence the trade/pre-order became reality since no ‘real’ money exchanged hands.
Aside from shooting the legacy Pentax film lenses I purchased in anticipation of the K-1 with my Dad’s K20D my other coping ritual is regularly searching for and consuming any media pertaining to the K-1. The most recent and my current favorite entry is the video by The Camera Store and Nick Devlin:
Other articles and reviews that have helped me get through this blatantly first world problem can be found here:
- DPReview and another
- Pentaxforum overview on Catch In Focus
- which is one of my favorite Pentax features for manual lens shooting
- Photography blog
I don’t do doe eyed gushiness. No talk of a certain (insert brand here) look. My general demeanor and wallet will not allow me to suspend all reason to pay enormous sums for one system to another. The only warm spot a company can give me is the knowledge that they are not trying to gouge me price and feature wise simply because they can. Recently I add to this companies that do not unceremoniously abandon their customers, but that is a rant dealt with earlier. Even though I first learned SLR photography on a Pentax ME Super the bulk of my interest in Pentax is for very practical reasons. I have spent time visiting a few systems since I first dipped a toe in to digital interchangeable lens systems three years ago. Here are the reasons why I bought in and why I left:
- Olympus (micro four thirds)
- Why I bought:
- Friend of mine, Anthony, and the Manager of SE Camera, Chris, pointed me to the Olympus E-PL5 as a great on ramp in to interchangeable lens systems. Later upgraded to the E-P5.
- Affordable if you stay on the low to mid end of the line up.
- Offers image quality far exceeding it’s spec sheet.
- Why I left:
- Pricey once you want to jump the fence to the upper end of the line up.Bought the E-P5 used for $800 when I could not justify the additional OMD outlay for the same sensor and IS tech to gain a built in EVF. Personal issue admittedly. So I bought a D3300 instead which was on sale at the time.
- Physics. Compared low light performance of my E-P5 with a much loved prime up against a newly purchased D3300 with a kit lens one day and the D3300 cleaned it’s clock. No fault of the Olympus.
- Why I bought:
- Nikon (APS-C)
- Why I bought:
- D3300. Can somebody say deal! The sensor out of a D7200 in a $499 kit? Sign me up.
- A great camera and fantastic image quality
- Nothing more needs to be said does it?
- Why I left:
- Kind of fuzzy on that one admittedly.
- Something like at the time I sold it to get an NX30 to share lenses with the NX300 I bought to replace the E-P5.
- Ok, now I am remembering. Feature lack.Lacked a couple of puzzling things I had become accustomed to on other cameras that seemed to have been left off just to get you to spend more on pricier Nikons. Not cool:
- WiFi dongle instead of built in. Really? What is this, 1990? I bought one and found it an annoyance that I was destined to lose one day.
- No front dial. Why? Surely they had the real estate.
- Fixed, non-tiltable screen. My E-PL5, E-P5, NX300, NX30, and RX100ii all had this.
- Why I bought:
- Samsung Part 1 (APS-C)
- Why I bought (NX300/NX30):
- Why I left:
- When the Sony A7ii was released Sony dropped the price of the A7 to $999.99.
- That’s all I have got. Because full frame for less than a G. It was all a blur.
- Sony (Full Frame/1″)
- Why I bought:
- For the A7 as previously stated because full frame. I like saying to myself, “I have a full frame camera”.
- For the RX100ii I stopped by Southeastern Camera and mentioned that I missed having a pocketable camera and Chris lent me the RX100ii to take for a spin over the weekend. Bought it. Nice little camera.
- Why I left:
- I had great fun with the Mitakon 50mm f/0.95, but I found the practical high end zoom lenses were lacking in performance (f/4 was the best option at the time), very expensive given their modest specs, and their large size to accommodate full frame rather diminished a key advantage of the mirrorless, compactness.
- AF focus speed and accuracy at the time was meh even compared to other mirrorless cameras I had used. Awful when compared to DSLRs.
- Just never warmed up to it. Comparing my Dad’s Pentax K20D side by side one day I was so impressed with the 8 year old Pentax that I traded the A7 for a K3ii soon after.
- I bought a phone. Not long after purchasing an LG V10 I found that it’s camera was so capable that I was no longer carrying my RX100ii with me.
- Why I bought:
- Pentax K3ii (APS-C)
- Why I bought:
- All the things I loved about the D3300 with the added benefits of:
- In body image stabilization like my father’s K20D and the Olympus cameras I had.
- “Kind of” in body WiFi with the included WiFi enabled SD card. A tad clumsy, but worked and way better than a dongle.
- Felt like the water and dust sealed tank it was.
- With the added benefit of in body IS I could save a fortune on lenses by purchasing non IS Tamron glass trinity and I did just that.
- Along with the NX300 one of only 2 trade regrets.
- All the things I loved about the D3300 with the added benefits of:
- Why I left;
- Short version: At times kids will negatively impact your reasoning faculties.
- Long winded version: My Marching Band High Schooler had volunteered me as AV geek for their band’s half time performances. A concert was coming and I was asked to video that as well. As a video camera the Pentax was a heck of a stills camera. A used NX1 became available at the the local camera shop and I traded because 4K video and constant AF.
- This can only be described as a mistake in the end. More on that below.
- Why I bought:
- Samsung Part 2 (APS-C)
- Why I bought (NX300/NX1):
- Regretted selling this camera almost immediately. When replacing the RX100ii I thought, “It would really be nice to have a Ricoh GRII sized camera with interchangeable lenses and tiltable screen… like the NX300 I traded.” So I bought it back from the shop.
- Because 4K.
- Because deal (I thought).
- At the time of purchase they were selling new for $1,499.99 still and I bought mine used for $850.
- Actually an excellent stills camera also. There is a reason it was rated the 5th highest dpreview score of all time.
- Why I left:
- Didn’t. Still have it along with the 30mm f/2.0 and 16-50mm PZ. Already bought, sold, and bought again. I see no reason to go through that again. Even though it is not supported I know of no compact solution I would rather have. Even with Samsung’s decisions it is worth more to me than what I would get for selling it.
- Too precious a camera with a price to dear, especially along with the 85mm and S lenses, to be left utterly high and dry by their manufacturer.
- For all of my concern about 4K I shot 4K in the wild exactly never. It was clearly overkill for the occasional video I needed to take.
- Why I bought (NX300/NX1):
So why the K-1?
- Purely looking at the actual act of taking a photograph the most assuring and satisfying and beefy in hand cameras I have ever used are the D3300 and the K-3ii. Point them in that direction, make sure the focus points are where you need them to be and image.
- Purely looking at image quality under the perfect conditions with perfect timing and manual or auto focus on point the full frame A7 was without peer. Everything right the results were amazing.
- Feature wise I loved the myriad of mirrorless cameras. The tilt screens, WiFi, and more specifically in body image stabilization of the Olympus, and also the K-3ii, was greatly appreciated.
- Value. Certain non big banner brands offered a heck of a lot of value for the money.
Up until the point that Pentax announced the K-1 and it really seemed like reality the cameras I aspired to obtain were the D750 and D810. The problem was their high price and that I wanted a mixed set of features from each and both lacked a key feature:
- Wanted the built in WiFi of the D750.
- Wanted the 1/8000 of a second shutter speed of the D810.
- D750 maxes at 1/4000. Heck, my little NX300 will do 1/6000.
- I actually use this often.
- Wanted the tiltable screen of the D750.
- Admittedly 24MP is fine, but if available I want the 36MP of the D810 all other things being equal.
- From the sound of cameras reviewed with even higher MP compromises start to creep in that offset any benefits once you step too far over 40MP.
- Both lack in body image stabilization.
- This one is important to me. I had this available on the Olympus bodies and it was great to have IS when adapting older film era glass. This is one thing that was sorely missed when I adapted legacy glass to my Samsung and Sony mirrorless cameras.
- Both cost considerably more and pack fewer features.
The K-1 has all of the features mentioned above plus some decidedly Pentaxian features like:
- K mount lenses dating back to the 70s will mount without an adapter.
- Better yet lenses like the SMC A 50mm f/1.7 I recently acquired for $50 will even link with the camera aperture controls so the camera can be used in Av mode.
- I repeat in body image stabilization. This opens up more lenses in certain areas:
- 3rd party
- Right now I have 2 lenses I previously traded with my K-3ii that I loved and will now be buying back. The 28-75mm f/2.8 (gallery) and 70-200mm f/2.8 (gallery). The 28-75mm focal length was a bit odd on the APS-C cropped sensor K-3ii (and the one I had for the D3300), but since both lenses are full frame Di lenses they will be right at home on the K-1.
- Consider this. At the time of the writing of this post I could buy the K-1 and these 2 lenses covering 28-200mm at f/2.8 all new for $3,064.95. Now take a look at this comparison chart. If you buy the lenses new you could get all three for less than some other full frame 36MP plus bodies alone. I do not know if that means anything to you, but as a man with a mortgage to pay and kids to clothe and feed this is significant. If you have got it like that where this does not matter flaunt it baby, as Zero says in the original Producers film, and get whatever you wish and I will be truly happy for you.
- Legacy glass
- Like the SMC A 50mm f/1.7 and 135mm f/2.5 I already purchased for $89 combined.
- 3rd party
- Focus confirmation. Tripped over this while playing around with my father’s K20D (which even though released in 2008 it still has IS also) and an old manual film lens from his ME Super. Basically the center focus point will light up when in focus.
- Catch in focus. Mentioned above I tripped over this feature while in Pentax Forums. In short AF on manual lenses where you are the focus motor by auto shutter when in focus.
- LED access lights. Any parent who has fumbled in a dark auditorium should welcome this.
- Access to Pentax’s film era full frame limited lenses which are lens eye candy, especially the 77mm f/1.8.
- Built in GPS with Astrotracer. I must admit I have no use for this. My K-3ii had this and I did not use it.
- Relatively inexpensive access to weather sealed lenses in the 28-105mm WR and 100mm WR macro. The 100mm macro WR is excellent by the way.
- Built like tanks. The K-3ii I had felt like a camera I could use to break open other cameras. By all accounts water and dust sealing beyond reproach.
Not all is not rosy in Pentax land of course. There have been those who have brought up cons that range from silly to justified. I am fortunate in that they either do not impact my style of shooting, or I am willing to overlook them. The common ones are:
- Non-issue for me. Fewer factory and 3rd party lenses, but enough.
- I could counter with the fact that since the camera has in body IS it opens up more lenses like the 3rd party and legacy lenses mentioned above.
Extra dials on top redundant and someone complained you cannot see what the dial is set to in camera.
- Different strokes for sure, but… Um. Don’t use them?
Only 33 focus points.
- As an olive branch 25 are cross type which is more than many competitors.
- Personal preference, but no matter how many focus points are available (my current NX300 has 105) I use center point or center cluster focusing.
- The D3300 had 11 and the K-3ii had 27 and I do not recall a single instance where this was an issue with either.
Slow burst frame rate.
- Guilty as charged, but I am not a sports shooter.
- Personal preference, but I had an NX1 that was capable of 15fps and I never made use of it other than to occasionally say, “Hey, watch this <brrrrrrrr…>”.
Sub par video specs compared to the latest releases (No 4K and no continuous AF during video).
- Again, guilty as charged.
- Personal again, but I rarely shoot video.
- As I mentioned above I got an NX1 largely for 4K and AF-C during video and used them exactly never.
- The events I shot did not warrant 4K so it ended up being a sledgehammer to drive in a thumbtack affair. The AF-C during video was not needed since I shot band concerts and half time performances.
- It would have been nice to have them on the spec sheet, but I would rather not have them than pay extra to have it.
No in body flash.
- Previous cameras had this and I never used it.
- For triggering I already purchased a budget new/retro radio flash kit so no need for in body flash.
In summary Pentax seems to have produced a camera that leaves some ‘would be nice’ options off, checks off every item on my DSLR-ish wish list all while adding a few I never would have thought to ask for at a price far less than I would have expected to pay:
- Full frame
- Legacy friendly mount
- In body image stabilization
- Water and dust sealing
- Reasonably priced lens selection
- Solid focusing performance
- Built in WiFi
- forgot something I am sure
In all honesty, for whatever reason they decided to do it, like late to the game, general techno-eccentricity or other, I am impressed that a company would produce such a camera at this price point. Especially so soon after being hosed by another brand recently. It feels almost like a nod to those whose ambitions outstrip their budgets. Quite bluntly until this camera was released I could not afford to enter the realm of high featured, little or no compromise full frame DSLRs. Sure, I could have bought a D610, D750, or an A7ii, but what of the glass? Nikon’s VR constant f/2.8 (even VR aftermarket) and Sony’s newly announced constant f/2.8 lenses (no aftermarket options at this time) are all priced far out of my range. Even when I do step up and get the Pentax native zoom offerings to gain modern focusing motors and weather resistance they are easier on the pocket.
Well done Pentax.
I hope to get my hands on my K-1 shortly.
My great appreciation for the Pentax K-3ii having been well documented I have started acquiring lenses. In short on sensor image stabilization frees me to save a ton lens acquisition time since I can shop non-IS lenses. For little more than the price of one factory IS 70-200mm f/2.8 lens I can purchase three third party non-IS lenses of similar spec putting a lens trinity approach in fiscal reach. Tamron was chosen having had good luck with a Tamron 28-75mm on a Nikon D3300 in the past. The first step and long end of my lens trinity approach has been completed with the acquisition of the Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 Di lens (28-75mm f/2.8 will be the last trinity acquisition). Next up was the wide end in the form of the Tamron 10-24mm.
Main draw other than being a Tamron? Last I checked it was the widest lens with the broadest zoom range among it’s most direct competition. A few days in and I am fully confident that I made the right decision. I will forgo listing cons since I have yet to identify any in real world use. There are no third party handling oddities like the 2 step Manual/AF switchover process on the 70-200mm. For pros I can say that operation has been seamless, it is fast to focus, pleasingly sharp, and I offer the gallery below as the final word. -ELW