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10-26-2010, 07:10 AM   #1
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Crude kit lens test

I did a crude test with my Kx kit lens, DA L 18-55mm, DA L 50-200mm, and my K1000 kit lens Pentax-M 50mm 1:2
Settings for all was in manual mode, and the same. ISO 200, 1/60, f5.6. Kx lenses AF. SR off. manual flash. Tripod was used at same distance from focus point, 2sec timer, and all at 50mm. AE and AF "spot"
No PP was done at all, only converted from RAW to JPEG 1024pix, max quality.
Any comments on the results
Replaced photo's. Please see new photo's on page 3


Last edited by altopiet; 11-10-2010 at 10:07 PM. Reason: replaced photo's
10-26-2010, 08:04 AM - 1 Like   #2
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They look more or less the same; with #2 and #3 being sharper than #1, and #3 having a colder WB. The subject isn't appropriate for testing; moreover, lens testing either has some precise purpose (e.g., wide open performance) or is pretty much useless. At @5.6 sharpness isn't going to differ significantly between the 3 lenses. But if you shoot some tens of photos with each, you'll notice that the overall aspect of the pics coming from each lens is unlike the overall aspect of the pics taken with another lens. For instance, my Takumar 35mm 3.5 isn't sharper than my DA 16-45mm, but I simply love the results it gives. It may be a subjective impression, but I feel that there is a 3D characteristic to the images produced by the Tak.
10-26-2010, 08:18 AM   #3
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It just seems to me as if 2. Is a bit sharper (more in focus) than 1. The old M lens (3) also look better to me. I decided to try this after reading up on the reviews in the lens section, and I am surprised that the 50-200, at 50, looks more in focus than the 18-55 at 50.
3. Is clearly also sharp, but being fixed at 50, I can understand that, but the colour is not the same, as the new lenses?
10-26-2010, 08:29 AM   #4
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It's hard to miss the focus at f5.6 (meaning at f5.6 the depth of field is too large not to include the target). And yes, different lenses will give you different color palettes.

10-26-2010, 08:41 AM - 1 Like   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by altopiet Quote
Is clearly also sharp, but being fixed at 50, I can understand that, but the colour is not the same, as the new lenses
The older lenses do tend produce different colors, which is sometimes exaggerated by how the lens affects the auto white balance. In comparing color rendition of lenses, you need to turn off AWB and hold white balance constant.

It's not in the least surprising that the 50-200 is sharper than the 18-55 at 50mm. Pentax zooms, particularly the cheaper ones, all tend to soften up on the longer end of the zoom.
10-26-2010, 10:04 AM - 1 Like   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by northcoastgreg Quote
The older lenses do tend produce different colors, which is sometimes exaggerated by how the lens affects the auto white balance. In comparing color rendition of lenses, you need to turn off AWB and hold white balance constant.

It's not in the least surprising that the 50-200 is sharper than the 18-55 at 50mm. Pentax zooms, particularly the cheaper ones, all tend to soften up on the longer end of the zoom.
the 18-55 is weakest at the longer end. the M50/2 is the sharpest, although I'm surprised to see that it displayed a cool WB. my copy usually displays a warm tone to it. although there might be instances or situations that makes it look this way.
10-26-2010, 11:05 AM - 1 Like   #7
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This looks more like an AWB issue rather than that much difference in lens color. As northcoastgreg has suggested, try turning off AWB (and everything else that might be auto) and repeat. You could get a very different result on the colors.

What is your purpose for testing, or is it just to see the general effects of the lenses? The 18-55 and 50-200 don't compete in the same focal range, and generally the lens appear to have very similar IQ in general as profession reviews would reveal. The M-50 f/2 on the other hand is a manual prime classic. More work to use, but optically pretty good by all accounts. I have the M-50 f/1.7 from an old MX. Similarly brilliant.
10-26-2010, 11:41 AM   #8
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This test does a good job of showing my pet peeve with the kit lens - softness at 50-55 mm.

10-26-2010, 12:46 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
This test does a good job of showing my pet peeve with the kit lens - softness at 50-55 mm.
I don't have the 50-200, so I can't compare, but I find the 18-55 to be very acceptable at that 50 end. The 18mm end has some issues imho.

photozone.de has some thorough reviews, and seems the 18-55 is as good as 50-200 in the 50-55 range in centre, and much better at edges.

Pentax SMC-DA 50-200mm f/4-5.6 ED - Review / Test Report - Analysis

Pentax SMC-DA 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL - Review / Test Report - Analysis
10-26-2010, 01:36 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by KevinR Quote
I don't have the 50-200, so I can't compare, but I find the 18-55 to be very acceptable at that 50 end. The 18mm end has some issues imho.

photozone.de has some thorough reviews, and seems the 18-55 is as good as 50-200 in the 50-55 range in centre, and much better at edges.

Pentax SMC-DA 50-200mm f/4-5.6 ED - Review / Test Report - Analysis

Pentax SMC-DA 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL - Review / Test Report - Analysis
I find the 18-55 at best at 35mm. this is why I find the zoom capability to be shorthanded or crippled. of course, not bad for a kitlens to do a decent job of doing wide to normal range, but for someone looking for consistency or better results all throughout the zoom range, one would be better on investing on other lenses.
10-26-2010, 10:09 PM - 1 Like   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pentaxor Quote
I find the 18-55 at best at 35mm. this is why I find the zoom capability to be shorthanded or crippled. of course, not bad for a kitlens to do a decent job of doing wide to normal range, but for someone looking for consistency or better results all throughout the zoom range, one would be better on investing on other lenses.
Agree that the kit is best at 35mm. I use the 18mm end a bit, but only because I do not have access to anything nearly as wide (next being a 28mm 2.8 prime, which blows the kit away at 28mm).

At the 50-55 end, I would agree with the "soft focus" statements here:

Pentax DA 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6 AL Lens Review: 3. Test results: Digital Photography Review

Although this can be a nice effect, it tends to bother me now that I am used to the A K 55 1.8 .
10-26-2010, 10:39 PM - 1 Like   #12
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If you hadn't told us which lens was which, I would have correctly identified the M50 in a flash - the sharpness and cold colour balance. However, I'm fairly sure my 18-55 outperforms my 50-200 at 50mm, so I'd have mixed up 1 and 2.

I've heard others say their 50-200 is sharper at the wider end, but mine's the total opposite - it's significantly sharper at 200mm than at 50mm. It's a pity that the modern zooms seem to be so variable in quality.
10-26-2010, 10:49 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by KevinR Quote
What is your purpose for testing, or is it just to see the general effects of the lenses? The 18-55 and 50-200 don't compete in the same focal range, and generally the lens appear to have very similar IQ in general as profession reviews would reveal. The M-50 f/2 on the other hand is a manual prime classic. More work to use, but optically pretty good by all accounts. I have the M-50 f/1.7 from an old MX. Similarly brilliant.
I love the old M lens and don't mind shooting in M, and the reason for testing at 50mm, was to decide which lense should be on the camera most of the time.
QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
This test does a good job of showing my pet peeve with the kit lens - softness at 50-55 mm.
As most of my shooting is done at 50mm, and with the 50-200 almost the same as the 50 M, if I compare the photo's, I think I should have the 50-200mm on the camera, for the added option it gives when I suddenly have to use zoom?
QuoteOriginally posted by KevinR Quote
Originally posted by paperbag846*
This test does a good job of showing my pet peeve with the kit lens - softness at 50-55 mm.
I don't have the 50-200, so I can't compare, but I find the 18-55 to be very acceptable at that 50 end. The 18mm end has some issues imho.
The fact that both of you have problems with the 18-55 at both ends of the range, sort of confirm my decision to rather have the 50-200 on the camera most of the time, and as I don't often need anything less than 50mm, use the old 50 M for anything specifically in that range.
QuoteOriginally posted by causey Quote
The subject isn't appropriate for testing; moreover, lens testing either has some precise purpose (e.g., wide open performance) or is pretty much useless
I hear you, will try a new test in the garden this weekend, at f16, and compare again, also remember to set WB manually

Thanks to everyone for your input and time, really appreciated
10-26-2010, 10:55 PM   #14
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Sorry m42man, didn't see your post. I've also got an old M Vivitar 70-150mm macro zoom. Will try a few shots at 150mm with it and the 50-200mm, to compare
10-27-2010, 05:47 AM   #15
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Carry that 50mm prime along with you too, f2 is a nice thing to have every once and a while and boy is it small! .

I use the kit every once and a while... it's funny, there are two ways to look at the kit.
1) It's better than other kit lenses (true).
2) It's not as good as many vintage lenses available for next to nothing (also true).

But you will find no better deal at the wide end, period, so the kit is worth keeping for 18mm (which isn't stellar but better than nothing!) - 35mm (which is actually pretty good).
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