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09-05-2010, 10:38 PM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by creampuff Quote
It is pretty easy to rationalize about manual focus lenses especially if one doesn't have the dough to fork out for the current crop of AF lenses. With AF, focus is a lot faster than you could usually do manually, which translates to more keepers, especially when quick, unexpected photo opportunities occur. Also with AF you can shoot one handed and at different angles knowing the camera will handle focus, which opens up new options in composition and camera shooting angles. With Pentax DA series AF lenses, having Quick Shift allows immediate manual focus override, so there is no shortcoming so far as I can tell. Besides, why are you comparing old MF prime lenses with AF zooms instead of AF prime lenses???
I wouldn't say that. I have a DA* 60-250 and love the lens. But, I've spent more time this summer shooting with an old Vivitar 135mm and had some wonderful results. It's not that the DA* isn't nice and give good pictures - it does. Manual focus, at least for me, forces me to focus more on the art of photography than snapping the picture. I found myself taking hundreds of pictures and hoping one would turn out well. Now I take 1/2 to 1/3 as many pictures, but get much more pleasing results. A big reason for this are the targets (hummingbirds and waterfowl take-off/landings. I've tried all of my autofocus lenses and none of them are able to focus as well as I can with the manual lenses.

Granted, I realize I'm comparing a zoom to a prime but the DA line of zooms is no slouch. I've read many comments on this board comparing the 50-135, 60-250, and 16-50 to primes. I personally think primes will do better, but the very thick line differentiating the quality is now a much thinner line.

09-05-2010, 10:47 PM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by opiet70 Quote
10. It forces the photographer to walk through each step of taking a good photograph
I buy into that 100%, but do feel that to exclude either invalidates that line

Last edited by BillM; 09-05-2010 at 10:55 PM.
09-05-2010, 10:48 PM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote


Even though they're not zooms:
10.) FA limiteds are next in line to have a word with you after the DA* 50-135

But as for a few more zooms who'd like to dispute the MF prime IQ claim: see DA 12-24, FA* 80-200 and DA* 60-250

As much as MF is great for learning and MF lenses are beautifully dampened - the convenience and speed of AF is a virtue in a number of applications...
I have both the 12-24 and the 60-250. They are great lenses and I've taken wonderful pictures with them. But, I've fallen in love with a Vivitar 135 this summer and have taken some great pictures with it. Each has their use and places where they shine. All things considered, though, I spent over $2000 on the 12-24/60-250 and $12 on the 135. I consider IQ to be similar in my amateur opinion - but with the 135 I MUST take additional time to set up the shot correctly and I feel that makes me take better pictures. So, I have an extremely inexpensive, well-built lens that I enjoy using that takes damn good pictures.

Soon fall colors will be here and my 12-24 will be back in heavy use, but until then I hope to master the 135...
09-05-2010, 10:50 PM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by BillM Quote
I buy into that 100%, but do feel to exclude either invalidates that line
agreed. Each lens has their purpose and use. I do feel, though, that being forced to stop and think through the shot, exposure, speed, ISO, etc has made me a much better photographer. I'm not a noob, but I certainly am not a pro either.

09-05-2010, 11:04 PM   #20
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Looking inward,100% agreed
09-05-2010, 11:37 PM   #21
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Good luck focusing on manual wide primes on your APS-C viewfinder without split-screen/prism or LiveView.
09-05-2010, 11:56 PM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by RolloR Quote
Good luck focusing on manual wide primes on your APS-C viewfinder without split-screen/prism or LiveView.
Thanks...
09-06-2010, 12:42 AM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by opiet70 Quote
I have both the 12-24 and the 60-250. They are great lenses and I've taken wonderful pictures with them. But, I've fallen in love with a Vivitar 135 this summer and have taken some great pictures with it. Each has their use and places where they shine. All things considered, though, I spent over $2000 on the 12-24/60-250 and $12 on the 135. I consider IQ to be similar in my amateur opinion - but with the 135 I MUST take additional time to set up the shot correctly and I feel that makes me take better pictures. So, I have an extremely inexpensive, well-built lens that I enjoy using that takes damn good pictures.

Soon fall colors will be here and my 12-24 will be back in heavy use, but until then I hope to master the 135...
I too have the Viv 135. I also think very highly of it - sharp, bright and contrasty, but I can get very similar results with my Tamron 70-200, yet at 135mm (!) where it's supposedly weakest. Then again, at that focal length I prefer to stop down to f/4 or 5.6 and am impressed either way. I couldn't fairly compare it to the DA 55-300 at 135mm, but again I'd be hard pressed at f/5.6 to find discernible faults in those results compared with my Viv 135.

The 12-24 on the other hand - I simply have no comparisons. I won't be getting a DA 15, but I have had the DA 14 and wasn't as blown away with my results as I have been with my 12-24 - so I'm less inclined to believe that all primes beat all zooms...

09-06-2010, 04:18 AM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by boris Quote
i respectfully disagree here. They suffer from wrong shimming of the focusing screen or slight misalignment of the mirror and other mechanical issues. As a general sentiment - yes, mf lenses are manual all right, but it is not necessarily an advantage in this very case.
+100000
:d
09-06-2010, 05:55 AM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by RolloR Quote
Good luck focusing on manual wide primes on your APS-C viewfinder without split-screen/prism or LiveView.
No problem..

1A_Compare 28 to kit lens - a set on Flickr

The lens used is noted in the file name.

Hint... For moderately distant subjects, set the lens to infinity. For closer subjects, focus until image is sharp in the viewfinder.

09-06-2010, 06:01 AM   #26
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Hi all,

I just quickly scanned the posts above and there are some valid points from both sides. I have a lot of old MF primes so I am rather biased towards that side of the debate. That being said, I really appreciate the convenience of my DA* 16~50/2.8 zoom.

There is one area where the older primes are indisputably superior to the newer (SDM driven) zooms. Unless they are dropped on a rock or in the lake they will continue to function as designed for a very, very long time. I doubt the same can be said of newer SDM zooms or primes. Already we are hearing of SDM motor malfunctions. Every time you add a moving part you add a weak point. Barring damage of some sort there is nothing which can go wrong with a helicoid screw used to focus an old prime. Focusing one of these old gems is like winding a fine old watch. You can “feel” the quality of finely machined materials. I don't want to appear like a Luddite but its a "feel" I just don't get from modern lenses.


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09-06-2010, 06:22 AM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by 8540tomg Quote
Hi all,

I just quickly scanned the posts above and there are some valid points from both sides. I have a lot of old MF primes so I am rather biased towards that side of the debate. That being said, I really appreciate the convenience of my DA* 16~50/2.8 zoom.

There is one area where the older primes are indisputably superior to the newer (SDM driven) zooms. Unless they are dropped on a rock or in the lake they will continue to function as designed for a very, very long time. I doubt the same can be said of newer SDM zooms or primes. Already we are hearing of SDM motor malfunctions. Every time you add a moving part you add a weak point. Barring damage of some sort there is nothing which can go wrong with a helicoid screw used to focus an old prime. Focusing one of these old gems is like winding a fine old watch. You can “feel” the quality of finely machined materials. I don't want to appear like a Luddite but its a "feel" I just don't get from modern lenses.


Tom G
Let's not kid ourselves here, Tom just hit the nail on the head - MF lenses are still revered because of their feel and the throwback to "old" times when they are used. I think this debate would be near 100% unanimous if the question was do you prefer manually focusing a Tak vrs newer AF lenses.

I suspect that the same folks who would argue that MF lenses are superior because they have less components to potentially break down are currently using a touch tone phone (likely cordless too) that obviously would never last nearly as long as a table top rotary dial phone (that you can still use today). Would they also still daily drive an older manual transmission, carb'ed, crank windowed, no air conditioning car too...

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09-06-2010, 06:50 AM   #28
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Also implied in the original post was a concept of value, especially at the lower end of cost. If you have $100 to spend on lenses, are you better with an AF zoom or a MF prime or two? Many would say MF primes; or maybe one of each for different uses. Once you get up to a DA* 50-135, or 60-250, it is harder to know what the equivalent MF primes by cost would be. An A* 85/1.4 or 135/1.8, maybe, or the K 200/2.8. Those are awfully nice lenses.
09-06-2010, 06:56 AM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by ll_coffee_lP Quote
Would they also still daily drive an older manual transmission, carb'ed, crank windowed, no air conditioning car too...

c[_]
Funny you should say this...I used to ride a normally aspirated Suzuki Bandit with an engine with race origins from the 80s, which is very popular today, because of the fuelling response (no interference from fly by wire gadgetry). And my bro drives a normally aspirated manual (is there any other way for a sports car? maybe if I was going shopping for nappies in Mothercare I would get an automatic, otherwise, no way) Lotus Elise with race exhaust and KN filters, which hits 0-60 in around 5 seconds (as recorded by his engine management which Lotus printed out for him). Its design stems from the original Colin Chapman philosophy of keep it simple and light and it will go better. It also gets around 40mpg and produces less CO2 than something like a Chelsea tractor...somehow a Leica Rangefinder fits better with this. You gotta laugh how Ford recently had to get the Italians from Fiat in to help them with their more efficient designs.

Still, if I was ploughing a field, I'd use a tractor. And if I am doing my home inventory, I use a modern zoom. But when I need detail of things like an engagement ring, out comes the M 50 f4.

Last edited by whojammyflip; 09-06-2010 at 07:01 AM.
09-06-2010, 07:20 AM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by hoojammyflip Quote
Funny you should say this...I used to ride a normally aspirated Suzuki Bandit with an engine with race origins from the 80s, which is very popular today, because of the fuelling response (no interference from fly by wire gadgetry). And my bro drives a normally aspirated manual (is there any other way for a sports car? maybe if I was going shopping for nappies in Mothercare I would get an automatic, otherwise, no way) Lotus Elise with race exhaust and KN filters, which hits 0-60 in around 5 seconds (as recorded by his engine management which Lotus printed out for him). Its design stems from the original Colin Chapman philosophy of keep it simple and light and it will go better. It also gets around 40mpg and produces less CO2 than something like a Chelsea tractor...somehow a Leica Rangefinder fits better with this. You gotta laugh how Ford recently had to get the Italians from Fiat in to help them with their more efficient designs.

Still, if I was ploughing a field, I'd use a tractor. And if I am doing my home inventory, I use a modern zoom. But when I need detail of things like an engagement ring, out comes the M 50 f4.
Ata boy...you get it!

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