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DA* 60-250mm Lens and Full-frame

Posted on 02-16-2013 in Photographic Articles
DA* 60-250mm Lens and Full-frame

From time to time the question comes up if the SMC Pentax-DA* 60-250mm zoom is a full-frame lens.  As the likelihood of a Pentax full-frame digital camera seems to be increasing based on recent buzz, we though we'd do a test!  

This particular zoom is an excellent lens on APS-C, and it is one of our favorites. Your tireless PentaxForums staff just shot a series of photos using the MZ-S film camera and, while the lens was easy enough to use in Tv mode (since it lacks an aperture ring it cannot be used in Av mode on the MZ-S), the resulting images left something to be desired in the corners.

Our developer didn't do the best of jobs with the film itself, but that doesn't matter for the purpose of testing the coverage of the lens. We don't aim at winning any prizes with these images!

So here are the results: the images shot at 60mm are perfectly usable, but when you zoom in you lose coverage.

For the 60mm shots we focused on the cactus in the left hand side to test edge sharpness (which is fine). The 135mm and 260mm shots were focused on the distant palm tree.

F4
F8
60mm
135mm
250mm

Click the thumbnails to browse larger versions.

The DA* 60-250 covers more that APS-C, but not the entire 24 x 36mm frame.  Stay tuned for an in-depth review of this lens!


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beholder3 [Delete] Feb 25th, 2013 7:55AM

Why not look at the IQ on digital FF?
see w w w .dslr-forum.de/showpost.php?p=10833739&postcount=37
At least the sharpness is fine right to the edges.

owl [Delete] Feb 21st, 2013 2:22PM

That can be corrected for with the in-camera image processing, but of course at some loss of quality, just like they have optional correction for distortion, there could be "gain" correction as well.

apathey2131978 [Delete] Feb 17th, 2013 3:37AM

like has been said, as Nikon and others do I am sure they will offer a crop mode for lens that don't fit the image circle. Or.... one can just enjoy the vignetting like i do.

Terzof [Delete] Feb 16th, 2013 10:36PM

I do test this 60-250 on Z1 2 years ago, it will be a bit darken by each corner but still be great for the future FF.

sb in ak [Delete] Feb 16th, 2013 7:55PM

Thanks for doing the test! Unfortunately, results don't look so good for its use on FF on the long end. Hopefully they will come out with a lens just as good for FFs.

Franky2step [Delete] Feb 16th, 2013 7:51PM

perhaps Pentax/Ricoh will launch a full frame that is slightly smaller, similar to the 645D which is slightly smaller than 6x4.5.

IchabodCrane [Delete] Feb 16th, 2013 3:38PM

If Pentax implemented some kind of variable cropping system, it would still have to be "fixed" for any given lens. It would be impossibly confusing if the crop changed just by changing focal length or, even worse, aperture. No one would know the effective focal length of the lens until the picture was taken. But, yes, it could be more elegant than what Nikon has done by using a single crop factor for every APS-C lens.

kiwi_jono [Delete] Feb 16th, 2013 3:15PM

Thanks - interesting.

I think if / when Pentax comes out with FF they should have some smarts (automatic with manual override) around what portion of the sensor is used. That way you get to use all the lenses but get the biggest benefit with FF lenses. I know FF cameras normally have DX / FX type modes but Pentax could go further with automating this (for the attached lens) and providing one or more in between sizes as well to get the best out of the camera for the attached lens.

tx0h [Delete] Feb 16th, 2013 2:56PM

please continue these kind of tests and add the results to the lens review database.

RonHendriks1966 [Delete] Feb 16th, 2013 8:51AM

I vote for a 4:3 sized sensor off 24x32mm for the K-1 FF-offering and all these things are resolved!

GoremanX [Delete] Feb 16th, 2013 8:47AM

This effect would likely be exacerbated and uneven if a FF digital camera had sensor-based shake reduction. The sensor would have moved over a bit to compensate for the motion of the camera, and therefore one or more of the corners would have even worse vignetting.

topace [Delete] Feb 16th, 2013 7:49AM

Funny thing is that I was just about to do a test like this myself, or rather, redo it. My early results were consistent with these. The 60-250 has a little too much vignetting at the longer settings for my taste, so when I go full frame (and I will, pentax or otherwise), it goes, though I will shed a tear, since it's one of the best lenses I've ever used. I would like to see more like this.

zosxavius [Delete] Feb 16th, 2013 5:19AM

I think the bigger question is what circle does the 560 produce? Of course when you spend 7k on a lens, a $1000 body is an accessory......

zosxavius [Delete] Feb 16th, 2013 5:11AM

I'm going to say that this lens shows some of the advantages of aps-c. Here you have a 90-375mm equivalent in a reasonable package. Seeing as how most portrait artists and wedding shooters focus on focal lengths over 35mm, i dont see why everyone wants to go to full frame so badly. For me it would offer a much wider view and that is what would interest me, but with telephoto aps has such a large advantage. Usable iso3200 was not possible even on full frame until relatively recently. These cameras are getting better at seeing at night than my own eyes. I don't think the 1 stop dof difference is all that huge either. I have a 1.4 50. Even on aps-c f1.4 is still extremely shallow. In fact i love that lens far more on aps-c than on film. 50mm is kinda pedestrian on ff. Sorry about any typos. Hard to edit on this tablet....

DSims [Delete] Feb 16th, 2013 3:27AM

While this indicates a real problem (if in fact the hood wasn't attached) I agree with ksuwildkat in that I always find it humorous that some people seem to worry about a lens vignetting but are happy to add it in PP.

Cynog Ap Brychan [Delete] Feb 16th, 2013 3:18AM

Bit of mild cropping may remove the worst of it (and I often crop my telephoto shots even on APS-C). I wonder how easy it would be to remove in PP.

ksuwildkat [Delete] Feb 16th, 2013 3:16AM

This tells me that the DA lenses will probably do just fine on a FF body. Heck I ADD vignetting to pictures a lot of the time. And I am willing to bet Adobe can make an automatic adjustment in Lightroom to fix 90% of that.

grahamcoad [Delete] Feb 16th, 2013 2:59AM

Well spotted Percy, though if it was the lens hood causing the vignetting, surely it would be worse at 60mm focal length?

beales1986 [Delete] Feb 16th, 2013 2:14AM

I wish that Pentax hadn't invested so much into APS-C lenses, but focused more on full-frame including aperture ring lenses.... I enjoy using my MZ-S and have had to focus n FA and A lenses to use on both my MZ-S and K-5. I would really like to see more lenses compatible with both 35mm and Digital cameras :(

Sandy Hancock [Delete] Feb 16th, 2013 2:03AM

I presume this has been forwarded on to Falk Lumo's thread.

percy [Delete] Feb 16th, 2013 2:00AM

Thanks - a very useful test.
Was the lens hood attached? If so, maybe a shorter hood would make the difference on FF?