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10-26-2010, 10:17 PM   #1
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Stitched Landscape HDR - FA43 and/or A 50/1.7 Questions

I do landscapes, cityscapes and things that don't move (too much).

I like to do stitched panoramas - HDR a reasonable amount of the time, and they are usually in the very late afternoon, dusk, early evening or night. And yes, its most always on the tripod.

So the question is with the FA43 Limited. Is it worth wild for landscapes.

The reason why I ask is, that through circumstances I wound up with a FA31 which I though may be too long and after a bit over a year, it is working out wonderfully. The sharp crisp images and very addicting. It complements the 12-24 and between these two lenses - that is where the vast majority of my images are taken with.

I am thinking of the 43 so as to get even sharper and more crisp images, not going so wide, but more of "close up detail" panoramas within the overall scene. There is somewhat of a method to my madness here. I am looking to do wide panoramic expanses, and then more localized panoramas. Something like a matched set. I really do not want to just crop a localized set of details. I want them to be somewhat the same but different (if that makes any sense).

Is there anyone else doing or has tried the same or similar approach?

My K20 came up lame again with very high noise in 5 frame bracketing, essentially it appears that DFS is not working. Pentax swapped out the electronics and sensor a month ago under warranty, and this last weekend was my first real opportunity to try it out again. I have a 16-45 but compared to the 12-24 and 31 its been soft, so I dropped it off at CRIS also to be evaluated, thinking I might as well get everything done at once. That might be the other option to use, however the 43 is substantially sharper.

Just going off the Photozone numbers as a basis of comparison the 43 should be about 20% better. However, its really how the images turn out that counts. But in a quantitative sense, 20% may be worth the additional dollars.

Another question - In this situation, does anyone have experience with both the FA43 and the A 50/1.7? Since I am pre-setting focus, AF really does not matter that much. How do the two compare in terms of color and rendering - especially a night in ambient low light? I picked up a A 50/1.7 for next to nothing, but have not used it that much.

I have been thinking about this for a while now, so I just finally decided to ask....

Out of 5 panels of 5 bracketed frames, 25 total - I could only salvage about 11 shots to stitch (some of the 0EV and all the -2 and -4 EV shots were not usable). So, here is a brief example of what I was able to salvage with some judicious cropping. K20 and the 12-24.


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10-27-2010, 04:48 AM   #2
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Some experience

The FA43 and A50f1.7 have a very different feel to each other.
To me the A50 has a bit of an old fashioned feel. Something about the colour rendering being warmer gives it a comfortable worn look, even though it is a sharp lens even wide open.
My experience with the FA43 is more limited as it actually belongs to my partner. I don't like its look wide open, always feels cold and heartless, again, probably due to it's colour rendering but once stopped down a bit it has a razor sharp modern feel and still maintains a nice three dimensional feel to the images. It is also probably better for landscapes as it seems to perform better at longer range. I should pinch it from her camera bag and try it out a bit more.
10-27-2010, 05:54 AM   #3
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The feel aspect is true, however, I'm wondering if you would notice a huge difference between the lenses if you are focused at infinity and a large depth of field.

The FA 43 has a lot of advantages in the sharpness across the frame / OOF rendering when your subjects are close to you. Keep trying the A 50 1.7, it's plenty sharp stopped down. The colour between the lenses is only really an issue if you shoot jpeg.

I'd say to work with the A 50 1.7 until you really notice a downside to it. I'm wondering if you should keep the 50 and look at something even longer for tight landscapes, since you have 12-31mm covered so well.
10-27-2010, 08:15 AM   #4
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Thank you very much for the suggestions. I have been forgetting to toss the 50 in my bag, however the more I am seeing, it does have a place - I have been too focused on the wider angle aspects. Being a faster lens, it will also handle the light in a much different way. I am starting to think that with the 16-45 and the 50, I really do not need the 43 or 40 for quite a while - if at all. Probably better off with out another lens.

I have not used the 50 that much, however if it gives a warmer more comfortable worn look, with it being a sharp lens wide open, that in itself gives me another completely different dimension to work with - which I am after between the two ends (wide expanse, more narrower more defined expanse).

Overall, I really did not want to get another lens, since I really feel I have most everything covered - the glass might be a tad bit slower, but it all works. Also, I need a better head on my backup tripod (a old used beater) - as I hate the one that came with it. Allocation of funds problem.

One aspect I am finding, is that I finish a location too quickly. Its looking like I need to run through about 4 to 5 lenses, rather than the 2 primary ones that I have been using. I see that in post processing, but not when shooting the scene. Using the 31 for a wide angle landscape lens has really illustrated that. The changes I am seeing between the 12-24 and 31, I should see similar changes between the 31 and 50 along with additional changes in rendering quality, aspects of color/contrast - and a more defined detail from both the lens and the narrower field of view.

10-27-2010, 11:53 AM   #5

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While I don't own the FA 43, I do have the M 50/1.7, and I have used it for stitched panoramas (though not of the HDR variety). If you do it right, the results can be absolutely stunning. The 43 may be a little sharper than the 50/1.7 (though I doubt by much), but with the extra magnification in the 50, the resolution you'll end up with will be much the same -- you'll just have to take a few extra shots to get there. As for the color rendition, the 50/1.7 is again superb (although it doesn't always play nice with AWB, but that's easily fixable either in the camera or in post).

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