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01-20-2011, 05:21 AM   #31
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tommot1965 Quote
the best pentax lens is a sigma 17-50
It is - it really is the best - make that the very best Pentax lens!

The DA40 would be a good runner up.

01-20-2011, 05:41 AM   #32
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QuoteOriginally posted by flyer Quote
As far as I can remember, on a test bench, resolution wise, I think the FA43LTD is the best from Pentax. But that's only taking resolution in account. There is also CA to consider, flare resistance, corner light drop-off... An impossible question to answer.
Ditto - I remember seeing that too. And of course I have it so it must be correct.

It really depends on what FL you need though doesn't it !
01-20-2011, 05:53 AM   #33
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QuoteOriginally posted by Buckeye Quote
Thanks to those who actually answered the question. And to the others I apologize for creating this thread. I currently have the DA*16-50, DA* 60-250, D FA 100 macro, and the DA* 300. I also have old Sigma and Tamron kit type zooms that I used on my SF1N (that I got new 20 years ago) that lived though a trip to Alaska I shoot on a tripod and hand-held. I shoot manual and the auto modes. I've taken good and disappointing shots using all of the lenses (so I'll blame the photographer occasionally). Since its my money and the higher quality lenses are somewhat costly I have actually done hours and hours of research (too much)and comparing shots and this forum and other sites. There is so much chatter about the Lmtds. Much of the discussion on this forum leads to the Limited s as the best and back to my question on this thread. I've seen reviews on Photozone which give the Lmtd 31mm the highest marks four and a half stars (whether subjective or quantified). If the answer is that it depends, then that's the answer... so again thanks So how can I kill this thread?
Hi Fellow buckeye!

This gives more perspective as you already own some high quality lenses. To me, the best lens is the FA 43/1.9 limited for it's optical characterestics and size and I love the focal legth as well. I've also had the FA31/1.8 and the FA77/1.8. They are both optically as good as the FA43 with some subtle differences. The FA31 is a bigger lens and not so easy to use my cokin filter system with the buil-in lens hood, and i didn't use the 77 much. I used the 43 the most and thus I sold the other two. (Well! mostly as my interest was waning and didn't find the need to have the best at all focal lengths....)

You can't go wrong with any of them...I think getting the FA31 is an excellent idea, and then I am sure you will find ways to buy the other two as well.
01-20-2011, 07:14 AM   #34
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In this reply I'm concerned with sharpness only...

IIRC, there used to be a time when the FA50/2.8 macro was lauded as the sharpest.

But to be honest, I have no idea which among the 30 odd Pentax lenses (including that FA50/2.8 macro) that I have owned throughout the years really was the sharpest.

AFAIK a "normal" fixed focal length lens is the easiest to design and as such easier to perfect, so I would assume lenses with a focal length in the approx 40mm to 50mm range to have a better chance to be optically the best. This is in line with the FA50/2.8 macro's reputation, but also with statements of the FA43/1.9's and DA*55/2.8's excellence (and even the DA40/2.8).

Longer lenses (DA70, FA77, ...) often have better perceived sharpness. Note however that perception of sharpness is related to the contrast between the in focus part of the image and the out of focus part of the image. And since longer focal lengths have shorter depth of field and therefore more obvious bokeh, the sharp part of an image will *look* sharper by comparison. Comparing the sharp part of such an image with the sharp part of a shorter focal length image will yield much less difference than what the human mind thinks to see...

The now "normal" fixed focal length lenses are moderate wides of old, and have a more complicated design which is inherently more error prone. The FA31/1.8 has the best reputation, however I believe the DA35/2.8 macro certainly gives it a run for its money when it comes to sharpness. Coincidence that it's a macro?

Wim


Last edited by Ishpuini; 01-20-2011 at 07:19 AM.
01-20-2011, 07:27 AM   #35
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And since all these very good lenses outresolve the sensor, it is only an academic question.
More important in practice are color fringes, flare or bokeh.
01-20-2011, 08:44 AM   #36
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QuoteOriginally posted by blende8 Quote
And since all these very good lenses outresolve the sensor, it is only an academic question.
More important in practice are color fringes, flare or bokeh.
True. These are what give a lens its "character" and make one lens stand out over others. Some of these things are measurable and some are much more subjective. Bokeh in particular is tough to judge. I find the FA 43 to have a pretty busy bokeh wide open, but a lot of other people love it.
01-20-2011, 09:53 AM   #37
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QuoteQuote:
More important in practice are color fringes, flare or bokeh
.

Ok forget best resolution then, given top of the line resolution, what's your favourite lens? One person said resolution outperforms the sensors. Elsewhere some one just posted that the 18-55 was just redesigned because the older version wasn't up to the K-5 or the K-20D. So maybe you just need to tell us what camera body you're using.

This is starting to lead towards another question, how many select their lens based completely on focal length, and don't really have a lens they think takes better pictures than their other lenses?
01-20-2011, 11:59 AM   #38
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QuoteOriginally posted by blende8 Quote
And since all these very good lenses outresolve the sensor, it is only an academic question.
More important in practice are color fringes, flare or bokeh.
I made this turn as well in my thinking some time ago. Originally, I focused on getting lenses reputed for the best sharpness, but now I've come to care much more about color fringing (especially LoCA), bokeh, and flare. There are surprisingly many lenses for Pentax that are really sharp (and one can always add sharpening in PP), so the other optical properties and rendering of lenses do come to the fore.

All that having been said, as to the OP's original question, I'll limit myself to three lenses FA31 Ltd., FA43 Ltd., and FA (well I suppose it's the DF-A) 50mm f2.8 macro.

01-20-2011, 01:05 PM - 1 Like   #39
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Buckeye,

I think I know the lens you're looking for. It's the Voigtlander 40mm Ultron. It will meet your expectations and surpass them. But,..

let me also recommend these very inexpensive but really really good lenses:

SMC Takumar 35mm/3.5
SMC Takumar 55mm/1.8

You'll be surprised how quickly you'll fall in love with them.

Last edited by mika.; 01-21-2011 at 03:24 AM.
01-20-2011, 03:03 PM   #40
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Buckeye, to get your answer you will need to decide on focal length first, I'm sure you can find out what is your most used focal lenght so that'll be a good starting point
01-20-2011, 03:17 PM   #41
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The best lens is the one you have on the camera.
01-20-2011, 03:48 PM   #42
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I sold some lenses to get a vivtar 105mm lens that's ment to be really sharp. Learnt not to listen to the forum hype, it's really annoying having to stitch together 20 pics to make a landscape .
01-20-2011, 04:43 PM - 1 Like   #43
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This article gets lots of interest, particularly from Pentaxians looking for the 'best AF lens ever made': Luminous Landscape: Best AF lens ever made
01-20-2011, 05:35 PM   #44
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QuoteOriginally posted by Exo Quote
I sold some lenses to get a vivtar 105mm lens that's ment to be really sharp. Learnt not to listen to the forum hype, it's really annoying having to stitch together 20 pics to make a landscape .
I had to make sure it wasn't Mine you bought (it went to Australia) before I asked this (because I know I would have never given anyone that impression). What Forum Hype did you follow that gave you the impression this was a good Landscape lens? I would say that good landscapes can be made with it but not wide angle vistas. Not, as you've discovered, without stitching of some sort. If you want a good Landscape prime, DA14 f2.8 or DA15 f4 Limited. Zooms, Pentax, DA10-17, or DA12-24.

01-20-2011, 06:19 PM   #45
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QuoteOriginally posted by Exo Quote
I sold some lenses to get a vivtar 105mm lens that's ment to be really sharp. Learnt not to listen to the forum hype, it's really annoying having to stitch together 20 pics to make a landscape .
Is that the Series 1 105 mm macro? I got that new a few years ago, 2007 I think, and its very sharp, but I have other Pentax lenses that are as sharp if not sharper.
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