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05-09-2010, 04:55 PM   #1
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ISO digression from 135 club thread

QuoteOriginally posted by Douglas_of_Sweden Quote
...why would not a 135mm with a view angle on APS-C close to the 200mm on full frame be useful? And you could easily get it at a speed that would have been a dream for most in a 200mm. 135/2.8 = 200/2.8!
The FF-equivalent of a 135/2.8 on APS-C is a ~200/4.5.
OK, but not a dream, AFAIC.

I've got an M135/3.5 but yet to take an image with it I like. Colours and contrast seem old-fashioned and in terms of sharpness the Tamron 18-250 @ 135mm (or a bit higher to get the same AOV) is just as good, if not better (not as fast, though).
In terms of build quality the M135/3.5 really is a gem to behold, AFAIC. I'm having a hard time letting it go even though I don't use it.

QuoteOriginally posted by danielchtong Quote
The only SDM lens I have not tried is the 55mm. I doubt if it is faster.
It most certainly will be slower. The FA50/1.4 is faster. The DA* 55/1.4 has received a lot of criticism for its slow AF. I don't think its main purpose requires fast AF, but it still is a bit of a shame that most screw drive lenses are faster.

QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
BTW, regarding being uncoated - I've always wondered if a coated UV filter would actually benefit lenses like this?
I don't think so. Light will still be reflected from the internal glass surfaces. The UV filter doesn't do anything to stop that. If anything it should degrade IQ unless there's an effect I'm not aware of.

05-09-2010, 05:16 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
The FF-equivalent of a 135/2.8 on APS-C is a ~200/4.5.
OK, but not a dream, AFAIC.

I've got an M135/3.5 but yet to take an image with it I like. Colours and contrast seem old-fashioned and in terms of sharpness the Tamron 18-250 @ 135mm (or a bit higher to get the same AOV) is just as good, if not better (not as fast, though).
In terms of build quality the M135/3.5 really is a gem to behold, AFAIC. I'm having a hard time letting it go even though I don't use it.


It most certainly will be slower. The FA50/1.4 is faster. The DA* 55/1.4 has received a lot of criticism for its slow AF. I don't think its main purpose requires fast AF, but it still is a bit of a shame that most screw drive lenses are faster.


I don't think so. Light will still be reflected from the internal glass surfaces. The UV filter doesn't do anything to stop that. If anything it should degrade IQ unless there's an effect I'm not aware of.
Why would an f2.8 lens get darker to f4.5 1 and 1/3 stops on an APS-C sensor? All I have read on this issue, and that is a lot because it is so,so confusing to an old film user like me, has said that you loose FOV but not light. A 135 sees through a DSLR APS-C like a 200 but that does not change the light just like the actual focal length did not change just how much of the light the sensor can see. The amount of light falling on the sensor, whether film or digital, is the same but it does not have as much area to cover in the camera. Perhaps my understanding is incorrect but it is what I have come to understand. It is also the simplest answer to all those claims of a 200 being "like" a 300 on a digital.
05-09-2010, 05:21 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
The FF-equivalent of a 135/2.8 on APS-C is a ~200/4.5.
OK, but not a dream, AFAIC.


Hrm? You still get the speed. Are you thinking of the equivalent DOF here?
05-09-2010, 07:25 PM - 1 Like   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by kacansas03 Quote
Why would an f2.8 lens get darker to f4.5 1 and 1/3 stops on an APS-C sensor?
It doesn't, and that's not what I said.

I said it is incorrect to calculate the FF-equivalent focal length for a lens on a crop sensor (i.e., say the 135 becomes 200) and suggest you could put such a virtual lens on an FF-camera and still retain a f/2.8 as the widest aperture.

If you wanted to build an FF-lens that gives you the same images as a 135/2.8 on APS-C, you wouldn't need a 200/2.8, but a ~200/4.5 would suffice.

My point was that if one refers to an FF-equivalent focal length (200) then one should also refer to an FF-equivalent f-ratio (4.5). Otherwise one makes the lens appear faster than it is.

QuoteOriginally posted by Ratmagiclady Quote
You still get the speed. Are you thinking of the equivalent DOF here?
I'm thinking of equivalent lenses and that does involve equivalent DOF and equivalent speed.

When converting focal lengths due to a sensor format change one must not make the error of converting 135/2.8 to 200/2.8 which would only result in the same speed/exposure if the format didn't change as well.

The simplest way in which I can explain this is to realise that there is an actual physical way to convert an APS-C lens (say a 135/2.8) to an FF-equivalent lens. Just attach a teleconverter which has the magnification of the crop factor, e.g., in our case ~1.5x. This increases the focal length from 135 to ~200 but also increases the widest f-ratio from 2.8 to ~4.5. Note that the teleconverter doesn't stop down but reduces the speed by spreading out the image circle. As a result of the image circle enlargement, the light intensity (lumen/mm^2) becomes lower. Note that an FF-sensor also needs a larger image circle. If you gave it a lens that achieved the same light intensity then the total light gathered would be higher (since the larger sensor has more light-gathering area). That wouldn't be fair so it is natural to expect an equivalent FF lens to be slower than the APS-C counterpart.

Or the other way round: If you want to do the same shots you can do with a 200/4.5 lens on FF, you need a 135/2.8 on APS-C. The fact that you need lenses with a lower widest f-ratio on APS-C compared to FF and that some lenses simply don't exist (you'd need a 20/1.2 on APS-C to match the FF 31/1.8) makes FF the "low light" format, not a more sensitive sensor. The fact that the FF sensor has more light collecting area is cancelled out by the fact that the incoming light has to be spread out to a larger area (also see this summary of the famous "Low noise benefit of FF vs APS-C equals ... zero" thread).

The more elaborate explanation is given by the Equivalence essay by Joseph James.


Last edited by Class A; 05-09-2010 at 07:54 PM.
05-09-2010, 07:56 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pentaxor Quote
lemme just share my findings on this one. the simple bayonet Tak 135/2.5 does not have that same punch and IQ that the SMC lenses produce. although is well-built, it is somehow underperforming due to it's limitations. more often, you will have more rejects and find it difficult to use under certain circumstances. a slower SMC 135/3.5 is even better than it. if you are looking for a cheap 135 with a f2.5 aperture, a SMC/Super TAK 135/2.5 would be your ideal choice. or get the slightly pricey SMC Pentax 135/2.5, which is worth it.

I don't have any idea what Pentax was thinking when they made some of those non-SMC Taks.
Well, a lot of the film a lot of consumers were using could actually be a pretty considerable limitation to how much 'punch' would come across. In the dollars of the time, as well, lenses were pretty pricey, and the difference could matter pretty big-time. Some of these came out at the same time as some rather-more-budget-oriented Pentax cameras, as well, I'm sure in some way it made market sense. This branding started going on even cheaper things, and that *really* made Pentax people indignant.

As for your assessment, very likely. 'Punch' isn't something I'd describe this lens as possessing, (There, Javier's Sakar seems to do pretty well, comparatively,) but I seem to get quite nice sharpness and I like the color rendering, so it doesn't bother me much. (I actually like my colors gentle almost all the time, so I don't mind. I've actually been looking for some recent shots I made with this lens, I'd been carrying it lately, but it's just an occasional one here and there) This one's definitely going to be less consistent over varying conditions.

And, Class A, I see what your source there is saying, he's working back from comparing some image quality concerns between FF and crop, to 'prove' things about the comparison. It doesn't mean that a 2.5 lens gets 'darker' just because your sensor isn't capturing the full image circle. It's still a 2.5 lens.

In other words, you can *use* the 135 as a fast little 200: a lens which would have to be much bigger on a FF format. Where this guy is splitting hairs is about 'making the same image:' ie, total amount of light reaching the sensor, regarding noise and all, as opposed to 'per unit area.' Which is where there's a practical equivalence and all.

Last edited by Ratmagiclady; 05-09-2010 at 08:18 PM.
05-09-2010, 10:10 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ratmagiclady Quote
Well, a lot of the film a lot of consumers were using could actually be a pretty considerable limitation to how much 'punch' would come across. In the dollars of the time, as well, lenses were pretty pricey, and the difference could matter pretty big-time. Some of these came out at the same time as some rather-more-budget-oriented Pentax cameras, as well, I'm sure in some way it made market sense. This branding started going on even cheaper things, and that *really* made Pentax people indignant.

As for your assessment, very likely. 'Punch' isn't something I'd describe this lens as possessing, (There, Javier's Sakar seems to do pretty well, comparatively,) but I seem to get quite nice sharpness and I like the color rendering, so it doesn't bother me much. (I actually like my colors gentle almost all the time, so I don't mind. I've actually been looking for some recent shots I made with this lens, I'd been carrying it lately, but it's just an occasional one here and there) This one's definitely going to be less consistent over varying conditions.

And, Class A, I see what your source there is saying, he's working back from comparing some image quality concerns between FF and crop, to 'prove' things about the comparison. It doesn't mean that a 2.5 lens gets 'darker' just because your sensor isn't capturing the full image circle. It's still a 2.5 lens.

In other words, you can *use* the 135 as a fast little 200: a lens which would have to be much bigger on a FF format. Where this guy is splitting hairs is about 'making the same image:' ie, total amount of light reaching the sensor, regarding noise and all, as opposed to 'per unit area.' Which is where there's a practical equivalence and all.
Yeah, very much the splitting of hairs. I think there are shampoos out there that do that really well. There are also 135 f2.8 FF lenses as well as 200 f2.8 lenses if one wishes to spend the money on a Canon Full frame body and then win the lottery to buy the lenses to go with it say up to 600 mm.
05-09-2010, 10:23 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ratmagiclady Quote
And, Class A, I see what your source there is saying, he's working back from comparing some image quality concerns between FF and crop, to 'prove' things about the comparison.
I'm not parroting a source. These are facts. Have you followed the link to falconeye's post? I think you'll agree that falconeye knows what he's talking about and he converts f-ratios between formats as one should.

Have you ever heard of the Group f/64 (Ansel Adams was a member)?
Even though the objective of the group was to achieve great DOF, f/64 sounds a bit extreme, doesn't it? FF lenses typically stop at f/22 and diffraction significantly reduces resolution at this point. Well, you have to understand f/64 in terms of the large format cameras it was used for. Depending on the format 8x10 or 4x5, f/64 translates to f/8 or f/16 on an FF camera. Isn't that extreme anymore, is it?

QuoteOriginally posted by Ratmagiclady Quote
In other words, you can *use* the 135 as a fast little 200: a lens which would have to be much bigger on a FF format.
Only bigger to the extend required to realise 200/4.5. Definitely not 200/2.8.

QuoteOriginally posted by Ratmagiclady Quote
Where this guy is splitting hairs is about 'making the same image:'
It is "hair splitting" only if the difference between f/4.5 and f/2.8 (or f/64 and f/16 in the other example) is splitting hairs.
05-10-2010, 12:35 AM   #8
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Sure, a 135/2.8 does not give the same DOF on APS-C as on FF. I am aware of that. But f2.8 expose like f2.8 regardless of the format. Even James agree on that. So if I have a dark motife where my 200/4 on film would be a challenge, a 135/2.5 or 2.8 on APS-C has a speed advantage. After all, shooting wide open in order to achieve minima DOF is something most people do on a rather small fraction of their shots.
And if I do want the same speed and DOF as a 200/2.8 has on film I simply put the A*135/1.8 on the APS-C camera. Though it can't be considered a budget option.

Now, I didn't think one short comment on the Takumar bayonet would trigger so much off topic discussion. While this of course have some interrest for the actual topic of this thread, the 135mm's, I don't want it to degenerate into a general fight about FF vs APS-C. The general theoretical aspects of DOF, speed, noise, format etc etc bla bla is already covered in many threads here and elsewhere and some links has been provided. Even if we spend the next 10 pages on this I think that in the end what we will have to agree on is

1) Any 135/2.8 lens is faster than a budget zoom is on the same focal length. Some of these 135/2.8 are also better perfomers in terms of contrast and sharpness than a budget zoom, but not all. This means that buying an old manual focus 135mm is meaningfull for lots of people, for the speed alone, and it is of interrest to present different 135mm's to help people figure out what lenses that may also challenge their budget zoom in other areas than speed.

2) A 135/2.8 does not have the same DOF as a 200/2.8. I don't think anyone here thought so, but just to make sure. You need a 135/1.8 for that. Physical laws are sometimes a pain, but they can't be cheated. For that reason, it will be interresting to see people post pictures by the A*135 and the ohter 3rd party options for extremely fast 135mm lenses.

Regardless of these two points, I find it historically interresting to examine the many different 135mm's out there and to explore the importance of this focal length. It is also interresting to discover certain lenses which present some other advantages, like being very small, having pleasent bokeh's (due to many apperture blades) etc. And the thread has started very well in this regard.

BTW: Why 135mm? Why this exact focal length and not something else, like 120mm or 150mm (Pentax actually made such lenses)? I think I know the answer, but I may be wrong.

05-10-2010, 02:03 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Douglas_of_Sweden Quote
But f2.8 expose like f2.8 regardless of the format. Even James agree on that.
What do you mean by "even James"? As if he were a loony who is completely wrong otherwise.
You are right, that James says that a given f-ratio leads to the same exposure regardless of focal length and format, but here's the full quote:
Yes -- any given f-ratio results in the same exposure for a given scene and framing regardless of the focal length or the format. However, the exposure is meaningless in terms of the IQ of the image. It is the total light that makes up an image, not the exposure, that is the primary determinant in image apparent noise and dynamic range.
Note that the same f-stop yields the same exposure (which is defined in terms of light intensity, not in terms of total light) but that the larger format has more light collecting area.

If you compared prints of different sizes (where the print size difference matches the sensor size difference) then the two prints would look equivalent in terms of exposure and noise if the same f-stop is used for the APS-C and the FF-lens. Although many photographers would regard this as a fair comparison and expect the larger format to allow larger prints, the fair comparison is one that assumes the same output (print) size. With the latter assumption the total light gathered must be the same, not the exposure.

QuoteOriginally posted by Douglas_of_Sweden Quote
So if I have a dark motif where my 200/4 on film would be a challenge, a 135/2.5 or 2.8 on APS-C has a speed advantage.
Not if you compare at the same output size.

QuoteOriginally posted by Douglas_of_Sweden Quote
While this of course have some interest for the actual topic of this thread, the 135mm's, I don't want it to degenerate into a general fight about FF vs APS-C.
I'll respect this. If anyone wants to continue to challenge my elaborations, I kindly ask that they do this in a different thread. I'll respond to that thread then.


QuoteOriginally posted by Douglas_of_Sweden Quote
BTW: Why 135mm? Why this exact focal length and not something else, like 120mm or 150mm (Pentax actually made such lenses)?
I think it is rather unlikely a coincidence that the AOV difference between 28mm & 50mm, and 50mm & 135mm respectively is pretty much exactly 28.6. In other words, if you want to widen the AOV of the then 50mm standard by 28.6 you need a 28mm and if you want to tighten it by 28.6 you need a 135mm. So one could say that a 135mm is as tele w.r.t. to the 50mm standard as the 28mm is wide w.r.t. the 28mm standard.

P.S.: To shut me up, someone send me a K135/2.5.
05-10-2010, 08:43 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
Note that the same f-stop yields the same exposure (which is defined in terms of light intensity, not in terms of total light) but that the larger format has more light collecting area.

Right.

QuoteQuote:
If you compared prints of different sizes (where the print size difference matches the sensor size difference) then the two prints would look equivalent in terms of exposure and noise if the same f-stop is used for the APS-C and the FF-lens. Although many photographers would regard this as a fair comparison and expect the larger format to allow larger prints, the fair comparison is one that assumes the same output (print) size. With the latter assumption the total light gathered must be the same, not the exposure.

Not if you compare at the same output size.
Well, we're kind of not.

I think the quibble is making these rather elaborate comparisons, which are of course valid when comparing absolute image quality between formats, but in terms of what exposures you can make carrying what, you still get a small, fast, light lens on your APS-C camera when the equivalent (even a 200 F4 or so) would be a lot bigger.

It's not like one's not already carrying an APS-C camera to begin with, pixel density differences and such concerns already built in and all. This equivalency is about 'getting the shot.' You can have a fast lens of that FOV where I probably would never be shooting an actual 200. Which is where the fun comes in. Yeah, the wider lenses will tend to be huge, but there's payoffs there in practicality when it comes to longer ones being smaller. (Per FOV. I'm actually big on FOV, especially related to where I'm standing. And can I focus. Therefore, 'intensity' of light actually matters a lot. As do things like snappy focus, as much as other equipment allows. ) To cite the other extreme, with my little superzoom with his tiny sensor, I can get in crazy-tight on things in situations where I certainly wouldn't be toting a 450/3.3 or whatever. Refusing to use the long end wouldn't make the sensor any bigger or more sensitive. The sensor is the sensor.

Anyway, the point is, that's about the practicalities of shooting, more than the measurements of 'IQ if you were trying to do the same thing.' You can actually do a different thing, is where some of us are coming from.

Last edited by Ratmagiclady; 05-10-2010 at 08:54 AM.
05-10-2010, 10:47 AM - 1 Like   #11
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I too am wary of this degenerating into yet another long discussion of Equivalence (there have been any number of threads on that topic already). If I see that happening, I'll just siphon off the appropriate posts into a separate thread. But since there *is* an issue relevant to *this* thread here, I would like to make a few points. I think the idea of using a 135 on APS-C digital becomes that much *more* impressive when looked at this way, and it's actually worth thinking about for a moment.

QuoteOriginally posted by Douglas_of_Sweden Quote
Sure, a 135/2.8 does not give the same DOF on APS-C as on FF. I am aware of that. But f2.8 expose like f2.8 regardless of the format. Even James agree on that. So if I have a dark motife where my 200/4 on film would be a challenge, a 135/2.5 or 2.8 on APS-C has a speed advantage.
Yes, but it's important to note you are introducing a new variable here by mixing film and digital. The issue becomes clearer when you first limit discussion to digital, and make FF versus APS-C the only variable, and *then* consider how this applies to film.

Yes, a 135/2.8 on APS-C will allow a 2X faster shutter speed than a 200/4 on FF *when shooting at the same ISO*. But since a FF digital camera will also have approximately one stop better noise performance due to its larger sensor, the point here is that you could actually get the same results by simply raising the ISO one stop on the FF camera. That is, using the FF camera's noise advantage to nullify the APS-C camera's focal length advantage (or vice versa, depending on how you look at it).

Of course, a 135/2.8 is still somewhat smaller and lighter than even a 200/4 (at least, all the 135/2.8's I've seen are smaller than all the 200/4's I've seen). So even when comparing FF to APS-C in the digital domain, we still see that a 135/2.8 on APS-C is a nice thing, if not maybe earth-shatteringly so.

But now you can see why talking about film changes things in a big way: 35mm film has *no* noise advantage, and indeed, really a pretty significant *disadvantage* compared to APS-C digital. For convenience, I'm obviously equating grain with noise, since despite the different physics/chemistry, the basic effect on image quality is similar.

Since 35mm film has no noise advantage it can use to offset the focal length advantage of APS-C digital, a 135/2.8 on APS-C digital actually *blows away* a 200/4 on 35mm film in terms of how fast a shutter shutter speed you can get for a given level of IQ.

For that matter, in terms of exposure, the 135/2.8 on APS-C digital beats a 200/2.8 and even a 200/2 on film - quite handily! I think most would agree that shooting APS-C digital at ISO 1600 will give you IQ comparable to shooting 35mm film at ISO 400 (and that's probably being generous to film). If you can get a given shutter speed at f/2.8 at ISO 1600, you'd need f/1.4 to get that same shutter speed at ISO 400. So really, shooting a 135/2.8 is a fairly similar experience with respect to exposure (if not DOF) to shooting a 200/1.4 on film! That's pretty incredible! Especially when one considers that in the majority of situations where you might want to take advantage of that sort of exposure, you wouldn't *want* the extremely shallow DOF of a 200/1.4. Being able to shoot an *exposure* similar to a 200/1.4 but with the *DOF* similar to a 200/4 - for a concert shooter like me, that's like having one's cake and eating it too.

Looked at it in this way, the M135/3.5 is in some ways more amazing still. Seems slow by film standards, but if a 135/2.8 on APS-C digital is similar to a 200/1.4 on 35mm film in terms of exposure, then a 135/3.5 is similar to a 200/1.7 (with DOF similar to 200/4.5 or a little higher). Still absolutely unprecedented performance - who's going to quibble that half stop now? - but getting this in a package the size of my fist is just unbelievable.

So as far as I'm concerned, looking at things in this way just makes the 135 club that much *more* special!
05-10-2010, 11:53 AM   #12
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Marc, here we go again . . . . . .

You can raise the ISO on a digital camera regardless of the lens. It becomes a body/sensor issue and not a physical change in the lens. Go back and think about how the f-number is calculated. On 135 film, you control the ISO/ASA by the film chosen. I think were most of these discussions blow up is people want to change 2 or 3 variables in comparing 1 thing to another.

If you kick up the ISO on one body, kick it up on another whether it is film or digital sensor. In other words, if you are going to compare one to another, keep the ISO/ISA equal.

If you want to say a given digital sensor/body combination gives a better image than a given brand, type and ASA film, that's a different story (for example 800 to 800, 1600 to 1600 taking into account pushing pulling etc.)

However, for this discussion, a 135mm f2.8 lens on 135 and ff digital has ~ the same FOV and the f2.8 isn't going to physically change. Enough said because the ISO settings are independent of the lens choice.
05-10-2010, 08:25 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Blue Quote
You can raise the ISO on a digital camera regardless of the lens.
True, but completely irrelevant to anything I said. If you wish to discuss a different application in which comparing at the same ISO levels instead of the same *image quality* is relevant, please start a new thread, but my observations here stand.

Last edited by Marc Sabatella; 05-11-2010 at 12:54 PM.
05-10-2010, 10:14 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
True, but completely irrelevant to anything I said. If you wish to discuss a different application which comparing at the same ISO levels instead of the same *image quality* is relevant, please start a new thread, but my observations here stand.
What ever. I'm not starting a thread on ISO because I don't keep bringing it into ever lens discussion. Nor was I the one that brought it into this discussion, and my observations stand as well.

Last edited by Blue; 05-10-2010 at 10:45 PM.
05-11-2010, 08:56 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Blue Quote
What ever. I'm not starting a thread on ISO because I don't keep bringing it into ever lens discussion. Nor was I the one that brought it into this discussion, and my observations stand as well.
Right "ClassA" wanted the discussion in here. Lets talk, or better yet look at photos, about 135 mm lenses. I have always loved the size, just enough telephoto but yet so many other wonderful features depending on what you own.
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