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01-19-2011, 04:28 PM   #1
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Optically, what is the best Pentax Lens currently available new

Regardless of costs, what is the best lens that Pentax currently makes? Or I should ask what is optically the best lens available for a Pentax mount that is currently made? Does it make a difference if it's on a film camera or a digital camera? I'm really not trying to stir up controversy and I'm sure it's been discussed before somewhere on the forum. I want to purchase the best Pentax lens for the sharpest photos. From what I've read at Photozone for Pentax lenses the Ltd.31 was reviewed as the best using a K10 as the test camera. The number of lenses reviewed at DPReview is small. I'm now considering getting a Ltd 31 and waiting on the K5 price to drop a little.

01-19-2011, 04:30 PM   #2
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Basically an impossible question to answer. What does "optically" mean? Centre sharpness? Border sharpness? Low CA? Low distortion? etc. The lenses all have different strengths and weaknesses so you can't come up with one that is plain "best."
01-19-2011, 04:34 PM - 1 Like   #3
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Yeah. It's not easy to answer the "simple" question. I'd say among the lenses I currently have, the DA40 is the sharpest. But that means nothing if I need a wide angle, or the flexibility of a zoom.
01-19-2011, 04:36 PM   #4
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All the DA*, DA limited, FA limited and the DFA 50&100 macro lenses are extremely sharp, to say nothing of the lenses no longer in production. Actually the one with the reputation as the sharpest of all is the FA 200mm f4 macro. The FA31 is extremely sharp true, but much of it's reputation is because of iits' smooth bokeh which is rare in wide lenses.

But buying the sharpest possible lens regardless of focal length, zoom vs prime, macro vs not, whether it is sharp wide open vs stopped down, WR vs not seems a strange thing to do.

I suspect you are coming from a kit lens, so therefore you think that sharpness is a rare commodity? In fact it isn't. Worry about what you are going to be taking photos of first and that will suggest an appropriate focal length.

01-19-2011, 04:40 PM   #5
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FA 77mm

anyone?
01-19-2011, 04:42 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Buckeye Quote
Regardless of costs, what is the best lens that Pentax currently makes? Or I should ask what is optically the best lens available for a Pentax mount that is currently made? Does it make a difference if it's on a film camera or a digital camera? I'm really not trying to stir up controversy and I'm sure it's been discussed before somewhere on the forum. I want to purchase the best Pentax lens for the sharpest photos. From what I've read at Photozone for Pentax lenses the Ltd.31 was reviewed as the best using a K10 as the test camera. The number of lenses reviewed at DPReview is small. I'm now considering getting a Ltd 31 and waiting on the K5 price to drop a little.
The answer is easy. The one you're willing to pay for. Take a look at the lens reviews here. They are the ones that DPR blocks.

01-19-2011, 04:51 PM   #7
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I read an interview in a Zeiss magazine once and they asked the same question about Zeiss lenses. The answer was it is impossible to make a lens that is "sharp" for both individual and group portraits. It is your substance which dedicates the degree of "sharpness" that is acceptable.
01-19-2011, 04:56 PM   #8
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I don't know anything about you Buckeye and am not trying to imply anything but the best lens won't help a clueless photog. you should make your own research about what is the best lens for you

01-19-2011, 05:07 PM   #9
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The sharpest one I have used is the DA *55.
01-19-2011, 05:09 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Buckeye Quote
I want to purchase the best Pentax lens for the sharpest photos.
If sharpness is what you are looking for:

1. Use a tripod
2. Use your current lens
3. Don't shoot wide open
3. Post your pictures
4. Tell us why you are not satisfied with the sharpness

And you may wind up getting more meaningful opinions and wind up spending your money more wisely?
01-19-2011, 05:19 PM   #11
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Initially when switching from a Nikon kit to a K-r, I bought a Tamron 17-50 2.8 because I wanted the "best" all around from my perspective (sharp, low-distortion/CA) for the lowest cost ~$400.

What I find I am interested in now are the sweet old film primes with sharpness sure, but more importantly interesting bokeh, colour and character (and often small size!) There are literally dozens and dozens of "best" lenses out there, just depends on what you want it for.
01-19-2011, 05:32 PM   #12
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DA 70mm Limited
01-19-2011, 05:35 PM   #13
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Man, how I do hate threads with the word "best" in the subject....
01-19-2011, 06:10 PM   #14
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The variety of answers (accroding to whatever criteria) shows that Pentax have a number of "sharp" lenses. It's just a matter of buying and using them...
01-19-2011, 06:53 PM   #15
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Original Poster
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?
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