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10-04-2010, 12:18 PM   #16
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Well considering Pentax has a good number of lenses in the 1.x (but not 1.2-1.4 range), I think they are balancing lens speed with ISO very well. Look up lens reviews of 1.4 lenses - you really need to stop them down to use them for more applications, and for EVERY application to optimize IQ anyways. On the other hand, these slower Pentax primes do not need to be stopped down nearly as much to achieve similar IQ. Since high ISO has given us MANY stop advantages over the film days, I would say that the 1.8/1.9 lenses are plenty fast (and still need to be stopped down). The small DOF "effect" I've seen with the A 1.2 is perfectly doable with a slightly slower lens... the quality of the OOF areas (i.e., the entire frame) depends more on the optical qualities of the lens than aperture alone, I think. I would bet the FA 77 would be able to achieve very similar results to the 1.2 50.

10-04-2010, 01:55 PM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
Well considering Pentax has a good number of lenses in the 1.x (but not 1.2-1.4 range), I think they are balancing lens speed with ISO very well. Look up lens reviews of 1.4 lenses - you really need to stop them down to use them for more applications, and for EVERY application to optimize IQ anyways. On the other hand, these slower Pentax primes do not need to be stopped down nearly as much to achieve similar IQ. Since high ISO has given us MANY stop advantages over the film days, I would say that the 1.8/1.9 lenses are plenty fast (and still need to be stopped down). The small DOF "effect" I've seen with the A 1.2 is perfectly doable with a slightly slower lens... the quality of the OOF areas (i.e., the entire frame) depends more on the optical qualities of the lens than aperture alone, I think. I would bet the FA 77 would be able to achieve very similar results to the 1.2 50.

They have 2 f1.4 af lenses in production, the FA 50/1.4 and the DA* 50mm/1.4. They have done some runs of the A 50/1.2 at their Vietnam plants but those aren't readily available out side of Japan and Hong Kong except by ebay. Just guessing, but I think an af version of the A 50/1.2 would run ~ $1800. The 'new' A 50/1.2 have been going for ~ $900-1000.
10-05-2010, 07:53 AM   #18
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ISO is where Pentax is succeeding today, but not when they designed the moderately slow (but exceedingly compact) DA Limited lenses. Then, it was shake reduction.

I'm in the pleasurable financial position to build up a nice camera kit for myself, and I was looking at all my options: not just Pentax glass but also other brands. And while Pentax lenses may be about 1 or 1.5 stops slower than the competition, and may be 10-20% higher priced, when you factor SR into the equation the lenses become more capable at slow shutter speeds. Comparing DA Limiteds to Canon and Nikon equivalents in terms of build quality and slow shutter capability, Pentax comes out on top by a substantial margin. If Canon or Nikon decided to put IS or VR into their wide/normal primes, the story might be different--but they haven't, and if they did, they'd still be even larger than their current lenses.

I believe high ISO just happened to come along as something Pentax could do well; they buy Sony sensors, and then optimize them for detail rather than Sony's optimization for low noise, and you have a winner. SR was the plan.

That said, all the complaining about Pentax's current lineup is a bit misplaced. Yes, they decided to take a unique direction with the DA Limited series. But, aside from a longer telephoto than the 70, I don't see much room for expansion in the compact lens lineup. And the zoom lens lineup is rather solid. With the announcement of the DA35/2.4, we may be seeing the next series of lenses: affordable, standard primes. Maybe throw in some more long telephoto. And, in 5 years, I'd expect that lineup to be finished and for them to move on to fast and large primes, if SLRs are still around.

My thought is that if Pentax tried to produce exact equivalents of the Canon or Nikon lineups, they would fall behind. Pentax doesn't have the resources to match. So their products need to specifically target a specific audience, and they seem to be targeting the new photographer audience. And they seem to be doing it well, aside from marketing issues.

The DA Limited lineup fits me perfectly. Sure, I'd like faster, but I'm happy with where it is at. Sure, I'd like WR, but then I'll probably buy a 16-50/2.8 for inclement shooting when they figure out the SDM issues. But the size and weight of the DA lenses cannot be beat, and the image quality is extraordinary. Personally, I think the DA Limiteds outdo the FA Limiteds in everything but center sharpness, which to me is worth sacrificing for corner sharpness, and speed, which I don't worry about because I can still shoot faster than I ever would have been able to with film and at higher image quality for what I'm concerned about.

Anyhow, the strategy was to target a specific niche rather than to play the game on the terms of the larger companies. And I think they hit that niche spot on.
10-05-2010, 09:04 AM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by JonPB Quote
ISO is where Pentax is succeeding today, but not when they designed the moderately slow (but exceedingly compact) DA Limited lenses. Then, it was shake reduction.
yes, and shake reduction and ISO while complementary in many situations, are not direct replacements for each other. SR is OK with slow lenses for stationary subjects, ISO is needed for moving subjects because SR cannot stop subject motion, only camera motion, shutter speed stops subject motion
QuoteQuote:

I'm in the pleasurable financial position to build up a nice camera kit for myself, and I was looking at all my options: not just Pentax glass but also other brands. And while Pentax lenses may be about 1 or 1.5 stops slower than the competition, and may be 10-20% higher priced, when you factor SR into the equation the lenses become more capable at slow shutter speeds. Comparing DA Limiteds to Canon and Nikon equivalents in terms of build quality and slow shutter capability, Pentax comes out on top by a substantial margin. If Canon or Nikon decided to put IS or VR into their wide/normal primes, the story might be different--but they haven't, and if they did, they'd still be even larger than their current lenses.
so the point is to have tiny lenses? as opposed to fast lenses?
QuoteQuote:
I believe high ISO just happened to come along as something Pentax could do well; they buy Sony sensors, and then optimize them for detail rather than Sony's optimization for low noise, and you have a winner. SR was the plan.
High ISO was always around and it was clear that at some point sensor resolution would plateau, and more development would go to high ISO. don't forget that the origonal *istD had ISO 3200 and a lot of people used it. It didn't, by the way, have shake reduction.
QuoteQuote:

That said, all the complaining about Pentax's current lineup is a bit misplaced. Yes, they decided to take a unique direction with the DA Limited series. But, aside from a longer telephoto than the 70, I don't see much room for expansion in the compact lens lineup. And the zoom lens lineup is rather solid. With the announcement of the DA35/2.4, we may be seeing the next series of lenses: affordable, standard primes. Maybe throw in some more long telephoto. And, in 5 years, I'd expect that lineup to be finished and for them to move on to fast and large primes, if SLRs are still around.
but the problem is, aside from legacy lenses, and third party, there are no fast primes in pentax's line up, and there is no roadmap to tell any one they are coming. For my purposes, I don't mind MF for primes, and have fast prime K mount and M42 mount kits, but that is not for every one.
QuoteQuote:

My thought is that if Pentax tried to produce exact equivalents of the Canon or Nikon lineups, they would fall behind. Pentax doesn't have the resources to match. So their products need to specifically target a specific audience, and they seem to be targeting the new photographer audience. And they seem to be doing it well, aside from marketing issues.
this is a very slippery slope and they went down it in the early 1980's trying to make the smallest camera out there, and gave up market share to every one , it was called the M series. I call it the M disease.
QuoteQuote:

The DA Limited lineup fits me perfectly. Sure, I'd like faster, but I'm happy with where it is at. Sure, I'd like WR, but then I'll probably buy a 16-50/2.8 for inclement shooting when they figure out the SDM issues. But the size and weight of the DA lenses cannot be beat, and the image quality is extraordinary. Personally, I think the DA Limiteds outdo the FA Limiteds in everything but center sharpness, which to me is worth sacrificing for corner sharpness, and speed, which I don't worry about because I can still shoot faster than I ever would have been able to with film and at higher image quality for what I'm concerned about.

Anyhow, the strategy was to target a specific niche rather than to play the game on the terms of the larger companies. And I think they hit that niche spot on.
The problem with a niche market is that they are not sustainable. WHile small lenses are nice, if they cannot do more than the present fast zooms, I can see people opting to simply stop buying them. I don't purchase my MF lenses presently to be slower than what I have available with my zooms, I get them because they are faster. I have over 20 MF lenses presently, and there are only 2 which are slower than my present AF zoom kit. those are the Takumar 200mmF3.5 and the Vivitar Series 1 70-210 F3.5 (K mount Version 1).

I have no other primes above F2.8, AT ALL, and that goes from 24mm to 135mm.

I have 24 and 28mm F2 and F2.5 lenses, 35mm F2, 50mm F1.4, 85mm F1.4 and F1.9 and I have 135 at F2.5.

we are just not seeing this from pentax today, and it is important because I use these lenses wide open for either low light or shallow DOF.

are you saying I should be looking elsewherre, even though I really like my pentax camera?

10-05-2010, 10:11 AM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
so the point is to have tiny lenses? as opposed to fast lenses?
That was my point, at least, earlier in this thread.

QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
there are no fast primes in pentax's line up, and there is no roadmap to tell any one they are coming.
True, the roadmap is dated. Pentax have released many lenses since last updating the roadmap. But you should say "there are no primes fast enough for me in Pentax's lineup". There are many fast primes, it depends on your definition. And most current primes can be used wide open with better results than older primes closed to the equivalent aperture.

QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
I call it the M disease.
Most people regard the M line as a historical high. Fantastic lenses still loved and sought after today. YMMV.

QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
WHile small lenses are nice, if they cannot do more than the present fast zooms, I can see people opting to simply stop buying them.
That's a matter of opinion, but just compare a zoom to a prime (especially something like a LTD) and you'll realize this is comparing apples and oranges. Pentax primes are leaps ahead of most zooms.
10-05-2010, 01:18 PM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by bdery Quote
True, the roadmap is dated. Pentax have released many lenses since last updating the roadmap. But you should say "there are no primes fast enough for me in Pentax's lineup". There are many fast primes, it depends on your definition. And most current primes can be used wide open with better results than older primes closed to the equivalent aperture.
but when you want faster than F2.4, where do you go. Many people want primes in the F1.4-F1.8 range, specifically for shallow DOF, the small relitively slow lenses just can't do that, and no matter the quality at their wide open aperture is good, their wide open aperture is simply not wide enough
QuoteQuote:
Most people regard the M line as a historical high. Fantastic lenses still loved and sought after today. YMMV.
virtually anything except the kit zooms made by pentax for film are widly sought after, and if M series are popular, both K and A series are even more popular, and offer faster lenses.
QuoteQuote:
That's a matter of opinion, but just compare a zoom to a prime (especially something like a LTD) and you'll realize this is comparing apples and oranges. Pentax primes are leaps ahead of most zooms.
define a leap. in the past, zooms were somewhat of a novelty, and most were not very good. by all accounts, modern zooms have closed the gap significantly that primes once held. the one area that zooms never ever really competed in was ultimate speed. As the IQ gap narrows, the only thing left is speed, and if you don't offer significantly faster primes then most if not all will see the primes as a luxary not a necessity.
10-05-2010, 02:28 PM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by bdery Quote
Most people regard the M line as a historical high. Fantastic lenses still loved and sought after today. YMMV.
Hardly! K series is held in much higher regard, not just because it includes 24/2.8, 28/2, 35/2 (of different - many say better - design to M), 50/1.2, 85/1.8, 135/2.5, 200/2.5....
you may say M series are fantastic and still loved by many but there is NO M series equivalent to those above not just from line up POV but from resale value POV....
A series luckily ditched the slow+small formula and reverted to fast big lenses (A24/2.8, A28/2, A50/1.2, A*85/1.4, A*135/1.8, A*200/2.8) but some/many consider their build to be slightly inferior to K and Ms....
so to say "most people regard the M line as a historical high" is slightly high aim IMO.... I'd check my sources

QuoteOriginally posted by bdery Quote
That's a matter of opinion, but just compare a zoom to a prime (especially something like a LTD) and you'll realize this is comparing apples and oranges. Pentax primes are leaps ahead of most zooms.
Why would you want to compare zoom to prime (any?)
Problem with zooms is that technology moved by leaps since late 60s.... old zoom would be leaps behind any prime but new zooms (like FA* or DA*) is not all that far off.....and as Lowell says... if the IQ gap narrows what's there to go after? some say size, some say speed... count me in the 2nd group. I'll happily carry around lenses of the size of a kit lens or average 50 if they give me f 1.8 or there abouts....

by the way, you know what they say: size don't matter... it's the skills... and f2.8 will never give the lens the skills of rendering OOF as f1.8

Last edited by axl; 10-05-2010 at 02:33 PM.
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