Four Champions are Crowned
Category winners announced
By cjfeola in Pentax Lens Tournament on Oct 30, 2014
After 21 days and thousands of Pentaxian votes, four champions have emerged:
- The DA 15mm F4 Limited is the Greatest Wide Angle
- The FA 31mm F1.8 Limited is the Greatest Normal
- The FA 77mm F1.8 Limited is the Greatest Short Tele
- The DA* 300mm F4 is the Greatest Telephoto
And yet…there can only be one… the semifinals have just ended, where the two FA Limiteds prevailed. The winners will meet in a final showdown to be name The Greatest Pentax Lens of All Time.
Each champion has proven its merit by vanquishing a string of contenders. The DA 15mm F4 Limited defeated the DA 14/2.8 and the DA 21 3.2 Limited before crushing the FA*24/2 104-31 for the Wide Angle crown.
Despite the margin – or maybe because of it – feelings ran deep for both lenses.
"DA15 is probably the best lens that Pentax have delivered in the last 10 years. For the flare handling alone it slaps the 24 back to obsolete land where it should stay," said pentaxian robbiec, while pentaxian Rondec let a pair of beautiful waterscapes do his talking for him.
Pentaxian Dartmoor Dave was…less impressed. "To really get the DA15 look you have to crank the saturation up to 'ultra-neon' and apply HDR twice, just to make sure you've got it HDR enough. If you can get results that look like no version of reality that anyone has ever experienced without the aid of hallucinogenic drugs, you've nailed it."
The road to the Best Normal crown saw the FA 31mm F1.8 Limited knock off the DA* 55/1.4 and the FA 43/1.9 before almost tripling the DA 35mm F2.8 Limited, 124-47. Pentaxian DSims explained why: "The FA31 is kind of like a fine sports car - you actually have to know how to drive to make it work for you. But if you do (know how to use it, that is), there are few lenses on the planet that can match its ability to give you smooth backgrounds and transition to Out-Of-Focus - especially in a lens this wide.
"The DA35 macro is more like a turbocharged Corolla wagon - easy to drive, practical, and anyone can use it. Better than (a) non-turbo model, but not that special."
Of course, while we all may love to drove a Maserati, the vast majority of us are on a Corolla budget, as robbiec astutely pointed out. "Probably less than 10 percent of Pentax owners will ever get to try the 31, less than half of these will actually get to understand and explore its capabilities. More will use the 35 as it is 1/3 of the cost and will spoil you with sharpness, color rendition and overall ease of use. It is probably a better lens to more people more of the time and for that it should be applauded."
Meanwhile, pentaxian Reltih was celebrating while the votes were still being counted: "On the way to Round 3, FA 31 had to fight with DA* 55 F1.4 and FA 43 limited. On the other way, DA 35 F2.8 Macro just had to fight with two legacy lenses, A 50 F1.7 and Super Takuma 50 F1.4. The path of the FA 31 is harder, so a victory will be more glorious. I have the FA 31 and have tried the DA 35 F2.8 from a friend. While the DA 35 F2.8 Macro is a very good lens, it did not bring special feelings to me like the FA 31. Obviously, the FA 31 gets my vote. To me, the only lens that can 'win' FA 31 is its brother, FA 77."
No surprise that perhaps the best summary was offered by the always pithy pentaxian monochrome: "With all due respect to the Princess, the 35 Ltd. Macro is probably a better lens on our current cameras. It might just be a better lens, period, for all but the most accomplished photographers. The FA31 is better than I am - too good, in fact - but the DA35 sort of . . . . . isn't."
In the Short Tele bracket, the FA 77mm F1.8 Limited beat the M 85/2 and the DFA 100/2.8 Macro before clobbering the FA* 85mm F1.4 107-39 to be named Greatest Pentax Short Telephoto.
"I have both and I love them both. The 77 Limited is obviously going to be a favorite because of its size and build, not to mention that most on this forum have only been able to use the 77," said pentaxian Pioneer. "However, as nice as the 77 is, and as ugly and large as the 85* is, I have to go with the 85*. There is absolute magic in that lens. There is a reason why you can buy the 77 Limited used fairly easily while the 85* remains relatively rare despite EBay."
For pentaxian Sandy Hancock, it’s the little things that count. "It was always going to come down to this. I'm going with the FA77 for compactness, sheer beauty and the utter tactile joy of handling it. To hell with the 1% either way in image quality!"
Pentaxian mikeSF was even shorter: "Gimme a 7...Gimme another 7..."
The DA* 300mm F4 defeated the A* 200/4 Macro and the FA* 200/4 Macro before doubling up the DA* 50-135 F2.8, 92-45, to be crowned the Greatest Telephoto.
For pentaxian MetteHHH, it took tragedy to bring clarity. "For once I have both lenses in the match up. Or had. Well, the 50-135mm is sitting in my closet, full of mud from river diving with manatees inside a leaky DiCaPac. At the time it happened, I felt horrible. But I tried to comfort myself with the fact that at least it wasn't my DA* 300. So, I suppose I should vote accordingly!"
Death by mud! A tragic fate for a noble lens…
Meanwhile pentaxian selar offered a different perspective on the zoom. "I was surprised to see the 50-135 advance to this stage of the tournament. Wasn't so long ago that it was being vilified on nearly every post in the forum (I stayed loyal to my 50-135). In any case it’s a bit unfair to pit a zoom against a prime. That there is even a match between the two reiterates my belief and of others here, that the 50-135 is indeed a bagful of primes!"
So we have four champions…but the battle goes on. In the end, there can only be one…vote in the final match!