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07-28-2011, 04:29 PM   #31
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ron Kruger Quote
I started with Contax and Zeiss lenses, shot Nikons for decades and switched to Pentax a few years ago. One of the biggest reasons was for glass comparable to Zeiss at less than half the price. I haven't been dissapointed. In fact, I've been more pleased with my decision with each Limited and *lens I've purchased.
Much of what I say is from memory of Zeiss performance and look. I think every one of my Limiteds are as sharp as any of the Zeiss I've owned. None of them have that butter-smooth focus ring of Zeiss, but they aren't bad (I use MF most of the time). The rendering of my Limiteds varies considerably, but two of them, the DFA 100mm Macro (yes, I know--not a Limited) and the DA 15mm Limited have a look comparable to Zeiss I've owned. All the Zeiss I've owned (three primes) had this special look, so I think the Zeiss look is more consistent than the "Pentax look." The DA 15mm Limited, I believe, is better in all respects than any Zeiss I've owned and is the best lens I've own from any maker.
The Zeiss/Contax G series were very consistent, but I cannot comment on whether they render the same as all other Zeiss lenses.

As far as the Pentax Limited series go, I think that there are significant differences between the DAs and the FAs. Some might characterize the DA series as being more "modern," in that they produce images with lots of pop, while the FAs are more "traditional," in that they produce images with great smoothness (not softness.) At least that is my impression, based on my own lenses.

Rob

07-29-2011, 12:03 PM   #32
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I also vote for the zeiss planar 50mm/1.7 (C/Y mount) as a sharper than the 50mm/1.4 takumar. I've compared it against no less that four smc/super taks, and it was a *TAD* sharper, especially near the corners. Mind you, this was on 100iso 35mm B&W film ... so perhaps on a full-frame digital camera the difference would be more apparent.

QuoteOriginally posted by vrrattko Quote
I had only 2 Contax/Yashica Zeiss lenses converted to PK mount - Sonnar 85/2,8 and Planar 50/1.7...similar Pentax lenses I used were Pentax FA 77 and S-M-C Takumar 50/1.4, Pentax M50/1.7 + Pentax FA43/1.9. While 77 and 85 are in my opinion quite different in rendering, Zeiss being more sharp, Pentax having more pleasing overall rendering and bokeh(to my eye), standards were more easy to compare. Planar beats Takumar and M50 for resolution - no contest. FA 43 is much more worthy oponent - but i think even here Zeiss is marginaly better. So much for my experience with Zeiss lenses - Sonnar 85 was sold, I'm keeping Planar 50 so FA43 must find a new home....although it was though decision.
07-30-2011, 02:17 PM - 2 Likes   #33
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QuoteOriginally posted by vw_michael Quote
I also vote for the zeiss planar 50mm/1.7 (C/Y mount) as a sharper than the 50mm/1.4 takumar. I've compared it against no less that four smc/super taks, and it was a *TAD* sharper, especially near the corners. Mind you, this was on 100iso 35mm B&W film ... so perhaps on a full-frame digital camera the difference would be more apparent.
Isn't comparing a f/1.7 lens with a f/1.4 lens the same as comparing apples with oranges?

In fact, I was disappointed to see that I could not see any really discernible differences between my 50mm f/1.4 Carl Zeiss HFT Planar (Rollei SL35 mount, lens made in Germany, definitely made by Carl Zeiss and not by Rollei) and a 50mm f/1.4 Super-Takumar (7-element version) on my Canon 5D. For all intents and purposes the similarities were bigger than the differences. Oh yes, I found that the Planar had more CA than the Takumar... And the Planar definitely is more contrastier. (The Takumar once had fungus, but I cleaned it myself).

The Carl Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 HFT Planar:


The 50mm f/1.4 Super-Takumar:

Last edited by Asahiflex; 07-30-2011 at 02:23 PM.
08-01-2011, 04:15 PM   #34
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Never tried an apple or an orange ... I don't think they would mate well to the bayonet mount .

However, two fairly bright lenses of equal length at F8-F11 are what I would use for my particular photographic purpose ... therefore perfectly worthy of a comparison.

QuoteOriginally posted by Asahiflex Quote
Isn't comparing a f/1.7 lens with a f/1.4 lens the same as comparing apples with oranges?

In fact, I was disappointed to see that I could not see any really discernible differences between my 50mm f/1.4 Carl Zeiss HFT Planar (Rollei SL35 mount, lens made in Germany, definitely made by Carl Zeiss and not by Rollei) and a 50mm f/1.4 Super-Takumar (7-element version) on my Canon 5D. For all intents and purposes the similarities were bigger than the differences. Oh yes, I found that the Planar had more CA than the Takumar... And the Planar definitely is more contrastier. (The Takumar once had fungus, but I cleaned it myself).

The Carl Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 HFT Planar:


The 50mm f/1.4 Super-Takumar:


10-12-2011, 11:42 AM   #35
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I used to own 2 Contax lenses, the planar 85/1.4 and the Planar 50/1.7 and they were absolutely fantastic, but I sold them both and my rebel XT for a total of 1400 bucks ( thats how I afforded the Leica M8 :P)
10-12-2011, 02:07 PM   #36
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QuoteOriginally posted by TaoMaas Quote
I've never owned a Leica (although I'd love to), but in competing against others who own their cameras, I've come to make a distinction between their SLR lenses and their M-series rangefinder lenses. To me, Pentax lenses are as good as the SLR/DSLR lenses from any other manufacturer, but Leica's M-series is in a class of it's own.
I have owned and shot Leica M rangefinder cameras for 30 years and would say the lenses are as good as anything ever made. My favorite right now would be the 24mm f/2.8 Elmarit-M, though the 90 Elmarit M and the 50 Summilux are very fine as well . The 24 is optimized wide apertures 2.8 to 5.6 and distances of around 5 to 10 ft. You can place a person's head on the edge of the frame with no distortion.

The absence of a reflex mirror allows Leica some real advantages in designing their lenses. Some rear elements come very close to the shutter curtain. Having to move your lens further away from the film to clear the reflex mirror requires some different designs, especially when it comes to wide focal lengths.

Leica M cameras are virtually vibration free and very quiet. This can have a significant affect on image quality. Then there is the pleasure of focusing with the bright, very quick, rangefinder itself. Very easy and accurate even in the lowest light.

I also photograph with Pentax SLR's and love them as well, but would never say they are in the same league as Leica Rangefinder. Leica SLR's are another story. The best Pentax SLR lenses are pretty darn close to Leica SLR. One of the special things about Leica, however, is perfectly matched color rendition from lens to lens. No one else quite does that.
10-12-2011, 02:58 PM   #37
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I have owned and used Pentax, Leica M (rangefinder) and Leicaflex (later Leica R) since the mid 1960s. While you can't lump all Leica lenses into a single group, the images do have a "family resemblance" during the 60s & 70s. I wouldn't generalize that all M lenses are better than R lenses. The R 135 2.8 is excellent, and is a great combination on the Leicaflex. The 50 1.4 Summilux M & R always seemed comparable to me in those years. Later, the last 50 Summilux R lens was better than the M, until the Summilux Asph M designs came out.
But many of my favorite pictures through the years came from Pentax, probably because I used an MX as my carry-around camera. I guess I'm not as critical as many, because I wouldn't like those pictures better if I'd used a Leica.
The used Leica R lenses are a good buy now, because the Leica reflex R line was discontinued. You can convert these to Pentax mount, but I wouldn't bother, as I find the Pentax M lenses handle better, with means fewer missed shots.
10-13-2011, 09:04 AM   #38
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Leica vs pentax

The Leica M rangefinder cameras are just flat special. There are no cameras to equal them in what they do and you can't really compare Leica M to Pentax SLR. I agree that Pentax SLR is on average the practical equal of any other brand including Leica SLR. You can test the lenses, talk about resolution and color rendition, but in the end it comes down to the image and the photographer's skill and vision. Lens quality is just part of it all. Pentax is plenty good.

10-13-2011, 04:18 PM   #39
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I disagree (somewhat).

The Leica R series lenses have their own character and are therefore not equal to Pentax. They produce images that look different. Some have a microcontrast, dynamic range and colour fidelity that are superior to Pentax greats like FA77 and FA31, I would say, though the differences to my eyes, are not very big. I am thinking in particular of Leica 19/2.8, 35/1.4, 50/1.4 E60 and APO Macro 100/2.8.

Of course, the light makes more difference than the lens, I agree, but the lenses are not the same, although Pentax lenses are excellent, no doubt.

These were just recently taken with the 100/2.8 macro and no postprocessing that I recall:







Here's a quick comparison I did with my sleepy daughter and 77ltd vs Leica 50/1.4 E60 (both wide open):





The second image (Leica) is slightly front-focused but to my eyes is still punchier, more 3-d. Maybe it's a matter of taste?

I also remember comparing Leica 35/1.4 and 31ltd shooting a patch of weeds stopped down to maybe f8. No matter how I tried I could not expose to get both the highlights on yellow flowers and the grass not overexposed and the background not underexposed with the 31ltd, but with the Leica I got this (unfortunately I didn't keep my 31ltd attempts):


Last edited by DanielT74; 10-13-2011 at 04:37 PM.
10-13-2011, 04:50 PM   #40
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My only Leitz is a Varob 50/3.5 enlarger lens (12 iris blades, US$20) which isn't really applicable here. I can say that my little Exakta-mount CZJ Tessar 50/2.8 (12 blades, US$8) is as sharp as my planar Yashica ML 50/1.4, or any of my Pentax|Takumar or Petri or Rikenon 50-55's in the f/1.4-2 range, when stopped down to f/2.8 or beyond. I hope this is relevant. If not, I'll shut up now.
10-14-2011, 04:04 AM   #41
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QuoteOriginally posted by DanielT74 Quote
I disagree (somewhat).
The Leica R series lenses have their own character and are therefore not equal to Pentax. They produce images that look different. Some have a microcontrast, dynamic range and colour fidelity that are superior to Pentax greats like FA77 and FA31, I would say, though the differences to my eyes, are not very big. I am thinking in particular of Leica 19/2.8, 35/1.4, 50/1.4 E60 and APO Macro 100/2.8.
Thanks for your experience and examples with these lenses. My R lenses are all previous generation (as am I!) with 35-50-90 Summicrons, the old 50 1.4, and 60 macro. I had heard there was a big improvement in these later lenses, but by then I had quit buying equipment, as I was satisfied with what I had. I also preferred my Leicaflex SL to the later R series bodies, so I stayed off the equipment bandwagen. Likewise my collection of Pentax M lenses has suited me well. While using them on my K-5 is not as convenient as the later lenses, I still love the images they give.
I also have a Leica M9, and although I know the latest Leica M lenses are far different, I still use my Leica lenses from the 60s. I get the pictures I want, so see no reason to change.
10-14-2011, 04:22 AM   #42
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QuoteOriginally posted by TomB_tx Quote
, I still use my Leica lenses from the 60s. I get the pictures I want, so see no reason to change.


well said, more shooting, less collecting was my mantra last year once I sold off a lot of gear , still kept the KX though, thats a great camera!
10-14-2011, 07:33 AM   #43
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It is pretty much impossible to compare vintage lenses to modern ones. Modern are superior in some respects, vintage lenses are superior in other ways. It all comes down to whether they give you the images you want.

Thanks Tom for clarifying the way Leica R lenses produce special levels of color fidelity, microcontrast, etc. There are good reasons Leitz lenses are preferred for many scientific applications where extremely high quality reproduction is required. I understand it comes down to the glass and the coatings as much as the lens design. Zeiss and Olympus are up there as well, but I doubt if they are "better" than Leitz.
10-14-2011, 03:04 PM   #44
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One Leica R lens, that always stood out for me, due to its sharpness was the 180/3.4 Apo. This is one great lens, which I would have loved to compare to the Pentax 200/4 Macro (the Leica isn't a macro, though), because the Pentax 200 Macro is reportedly (and supported by the images I have seen, made with that lens) the best long glass availabe - if you can afford one.

On the other hand I confess, that I love the special charcter the old K 200/2.5 has, just producing wonderful images....

Ben
10-14-2011, 06:32 PM   #45
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QuoteOriginally posted by DanielT74 Quote
I disagree (somewhat).

The Leica R series lenses have their own character and are therefore not equal to Pentax. They produce images that look different. Some have a microcontrast, dynamic range and colour fidelity that are superior to Pentax greats like FA77 and FA31, I would say, though the differences to my eyes, are not very big. I am thinking in particular of Leica 19/2.8, 35/1.4, 50/1.4 E60 and APO Macro 100/2.8.

Of course, the light makes more difference than the lens, I agree, but the lenses are not the same, although Pentax lenses are excellent, no doubt.

These were just recently taken with the 100/2.8 macro and no postprocessing that I recall:







Here's a quick comparison I did with my sleepy daughter and 77ltd vs Leica 50/1.4 E60 (both wide open):





The second image (Leica) is slightly front-focused but to my eyes is still punchier, more 3-d. Maybe it's a matter of taste?

I also remember comparing Leica 35/1.4 and 31ltd shooting a patch of weeds stopped down to maybe f8. No matter how I tried I could not expose to get both the highlights on yellow flowers and the grass not overexposed and the background not underexposed with the 31ltd, but with the Leica I got this (unfortunately I didn't keep my 31ltd attempts):

I agree with you that the shot of your daughter made with the Leica lens has more contrast. To me, it is evident in the shadow area on the side of her head. It is also obvious in the hair highlights, which are clipped in the Leica shot but hold good detail in the Pentax shot.

In practical terms, I would rather work with the Pentax shot. A very minor tweak of curves would increase the image's internal contrast In a way that would make it "pop" without causing clipping at either end of the brightness scale. Curves might be supplemented by the highlight/shadow function in Photoshop to maintain or augment the rich highlight tonality of the Pentax shot. This would result in an image that "pops" in a manner comparable to the Leica shot, but with the added richness of fully detailed hair highlights.

Most of the Pentax lenses I work with are from the seventies and eighties. I'd say that a family characteristic of those lenses is rich highlight rendition, which in my opinion is very useful. It also clearly distinguished Pentax from many other lenses of the period.

John

Last edited by John Poirier; 10-14-2011 at 07:04 PM. Reason: clarity
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