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01-27-2011, 08:10 AM - 6 Likes   #1
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Pentax heavy weights shootout - part I 31ltd vs 50mm/1.2

In a recent thread started by dgaies, there was a point risen that 31ltd might as well be the 50/1.2 of digital era, considering it's IQ, and subject separation and OOF rendering. Since shots in previous thread were all shot wide open, some members wanted to see shots stopped down. So I decided that I will take my lenses and start comparing them against each other, and of course first two to shoot it out would be the "silver queen" SMC P-FA 1:1.8 31mm Limited and the "old laughing lady" SMC P 1:1.2/50.
The test was simple, I put on table just about anything I found in a living room, set up a tripod, put my K10D on it. Set manual WB using impartial FA43. Then run shots with 31ltd. First up @1.8 in Av fiddling with EV until I wasn't happy with histogram. Then to M mode and selecting shutter speeds to keep the histogram where I wanted it. All with 2sec timer and remote cord.
Then I slapped K50 on, and took shots at f 2.8 and f2 with the same shutter speeds as for 31ltd, and set new speeds for other two shots. Firs series was done from the same spot to keep the perspective the same, and for the second series I moved the tripod to keep the target magnification the same (as much as possible).
All shots were then imported to LR3 and converted on my basic settings, no adjustments at all. Opened in CS3 and resized and cropped for display purposes.
I will not pass my judgment and let you draw your own conclusions. Thanks for reading and viewing. And tips and comments for future shootouts welcome...

Regards
P

EXIF:
K10D GP fv1.3
Manual balance (LR: temp: 9100, ting +109)
ISO100
Shutter speeds for 31ltd
1.8 = 1/13
2 = 1/13
2.8 = 1/10
Shutter speeds for K50
1.2 = 1/25
1.4 = 1/20
2 = 1/13
2.8 = 1/10

note: K50 doesn't support Av in other than wide open and f stops are selectable via aperture ring only! The f stops on the ring are as follow: 1.2 (marked) 1.4 (first mid click) 2(marked) 2.4 (second mid click) 2.8 (marked) and so on... that's why I couldn't and didn't do comparison on f1.8 and f2 is the first f stop these two lenses have in common.

now to the pictures:

IMGP5954


IMGP5957


IMGP5959


IMGP5963


IMGP5962


IMGP5961


IMGP5960


IMGP5969


IMGP5970


IMGP5971


IMGP5972


100% crops of focus target when keeping it the same mginfication:

IMGP5954c


IMGP5957c


IMGP5959c


IMGP5969c


IMGP5970c


IMGP5971c


IMGP5972c

and 3 composites to compare the sharpness:

Untitled-1


Untitled-2


Untitled-3

01-27-2011, 02:16 PM   #2
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great job Peter and thanks. this test would had taken a lot of work to do and time to spare. anyway, if it's not much of a bother, can you include the crop images of the first K50/1.2 set alongside the compared 2nd set of images between the FA31 and K50/1.2 ? like a 3 image side by side comparison? just to see the DOF difference at the same distance and FOV. thanks.
01-27-2011, 02:29 PM   #3
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These are great.

I would be interested in seeing the comparison when shot at F11 or so as the 50 is listed as being one of Pentax's sharpest lenses at that F stop....
01-27-2011, 02:43 PM   #4
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Based on this, in pure quality terms, I think the 50 looks better.

01-27-2011, 03:03 PM   #5
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Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by Pentaxor Quote
great job Peter and thanks. this test would had taken a lot of work to do and time to spare. anyway, if it's not much of a bother, can you include the crop images of the first K50/1.2 set alongside the compared 2nd set of images between the FA31 and K50/1.2 ? like a 3 image side by side comparison? just to see the DOF difference at the same distance and FOV. thanks.
No problem, will try to post that later, probably Saturday, depending on time...

QuoteOriginally posted by smc Quote
These are great.

I would be interested in seeing the comparison when shot at F11 or so as the 50 is listed as being one of Pentax's sharpest lenses at that F stop....
Sorry but this won't be straight away... I only did wide to f2.8... nothing behind..
But I'll reshoot it one day
01-27-2011, 03:07 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by axl Quote
Sorry but this won't be straight away... I only did wide to f2.8... nothing behind..
But I'll reshoot it one day
Thanks axl. It is really nice to see the comparison at the wide end. I think that is what most people think of when they buy a 50/1.2.
01-27-2011, 03:22 PM - 2 Likes   #7
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Wow, your K50/1.2 does extremely well wide open!

The 31 shows smurf in the smurf, but it's gone once you smurf down to f/2.8 (or possibly sooner), while the K50 shot is very well smurfed even wide open (maybe a hint of red smurf there in the high smurf areas, but nothing you'd notice unless you really smurfed).
01-27-2011, 03:57 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by farfisa Quote
Wow, your K50/1.2 does extremely well wide open!

The 31 shows smurf in the smurf, but it's gone once you smurf down to f/2.8 (or possibly sooner), while the K50 shot is very well smurfed even wide open (maybe a hint of red smurf there in the high smurf areas, but nothing you'd notice unless you really smurfed).
I love this post.

01-27-2011, 03:58 PM   #9
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me too
01-27-2011, 04:06 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by timh Quote
Based on this, in pure quality terms, I think the 50 looks better.
+1

Nice test!

The next interesting comparison is the cost of these two lenses
01-27-2011, 05:00 PM   #11
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thanks Peter. looking forward for the updates.


anyway, from what I'm seeing, the K50/1.2 looks impressive (resolution) at equal openings.
01-27-2011, 05:32 PM   #12
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Not that I didn't already know this.... but DAMN that K 50mm F/1.2 is a nice lens

Nice and sharp, VERY usable @ F/1.2.
01-27-2011, 06:34 PM   #13
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Good job Peter, you've really put in some work presenting these findings.
There are some clear differences (what to expect with the different max. apertures?) but they are both so good - wide open's usual haloing and softness isn't objectionable either.
The 50/1.2 really comes into its own, with no doubt a great advantage in FF.
Thanks again Peter.
01-27-2011, 06:47 PM   #14
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A lot of effort in this Axl. well done.

I don't own either of these lenses (sadly) but I prefer the overall look of the 31 to the 50. That said the 50 is the hands down winner as far as bokeh is concerned. It just obliterates the background at 1.2 yet stays surprisingly sharp in its very narrow range. Focusing must be difficult at 1.2. Thanks for sharing.

Tom G
01-27-2011, 06:52 PM   #15
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Yeah, focusing at f/1.2 is tricky. Live View helps some, and practice as well. Understanding that the VF will show a lot more in focus that the final picture, I try to find the "middle" of the in focus range. I'd love an AF version, although I suspect it would miss a fair amount as well.
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