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04-02-2011, 12:49 AM   #1
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Which generation of lenses are better

Do you think the lenses offering back in the 70's and 80's are better than the current generation of lenses?

04-02-2011, 12:51 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by chongmic Quote
Do you think the lenses offering back in the 70's and 80's are better than the current generation of lenses?
DA and DA* should be better for digital...........
04-02-2011, 01:04 AM   #3
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Definitely the A's. IMHO
04-02-2011, 01:27 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by chongmic Quote
Do you think the lenses offering back in the 70's and 80's are better than the current generation of lenses?
If you talk zoom lenses they are generally speaking visibly better today if you compare lenses with more or less comparable zoom range.

If you talk major brand prime lenses there is no significant difference (again generally speaking). There hasn't been the same development in optical design of primes as for zooms.

Lenses designed for digital should in theory be better suited for DSLRS (less prone to flare from sensor reflection and the light rays should hit the sensor at less of an angle). But only rarely have we seen examples illustrating this in practical use.

Some of the best zoom lenses were designed only over the past 20 years (most of the F*/FA* and DA* zoom lenses).

04-02-2011, 01:31 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by chongmic Quote
Do you think the lenses offering back in the 70's and 80's are better than the current generation of lenses?
Yes. Or possibly no.

Seriously, no one can answer that question. Depends which lens. Depends what your priorities are. If autofocus is your thing, then clearly no. If zooms are your thing, probably no. Are the old primes better than modern primes? Probably not. The point is that, in today's market, they are a lot cheaper. As to ultimate image qualities, it's a toss-up - many highly regarded old lenses have dreadful longitudinal CA wide-open, for example.

The old lenses certainly feel more solidly built. But plastic is pretty strong too, and may wear well.

Modern lenses with AF mechanisms and inboard motors are more complex, and there's more to go wrong. So are they more or less reliable? You have to compare apples with apples, not oranges.

Tim
04-02-2011, 02:56 AM   #6
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Everything is better than something else. WHICH is better, and HOW it's better, is tricky.

WHICH: Yes, most modern zooms are better than most older zooms. Yes, most older primes are at least as good as (or better than) most modern primes. With many exceptions, of course.

HOW: Modern coatings reduce flare. Modern complex optical designs can reduce aberrations. But older simpler optical designs may seem to have more dimensionality & character & magic.

IMHO: Modern lenses are great for recording images. Older lenses are great for interpreting vision. Simplified: I use modern zooms to TAKE pictures and older primes to MAKE pictures.

What is the best generation of lenses? I'm currently crazed by older German & Russian glass, especially with shiny aluminium bodies and many iris blades, ooh ooh. Those in Exakta mounts are pretty cheap, and easily mounted on PK cams. No modern coatings, so use a lens hood and don't shoot into lights -- unless flare is desired. Many of these guys, and Takumars, are small and light, so it's no big deal to have a few in my bag. Are they the *best* generation, or even *my* generation? I dunno, but they work for me.
04-02-2011, 04:30 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
IMHO: Modern lenses are great for recording images. Older lenses are great for interpreting vision. Simplified: I use modern zooms to TAKE pictures and older primes to MAKE pictures.
That's sort of where I am but it's not really a black & white thing. I'm particularly fond of the A-series lenses: especially the A* primes but also some of the constant aperture zooms.
04-02-2011, 04:37 AM   #8
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While it is quite true that the theoy of lens design has not changed since at least the 1980's, There are things done today that were simply not possible 30 years ago due to availability of newer materials. If you look at the quality vs cost of consumer zoom lenses this has paid big dividends. Primes have benefited too, just not to the same extent.

04-02-2011, 11:56 AM   #9
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I agree with Lowell. Personally, I think the old Taks were built to a higher mechanical standard than today's lenses...but they can be a PIA to use 100% of the time.

One of the photo mags did a test years ago and the 50 f1.4 Tak gave a Summicron a run for the money. Pentax has always made lenses that perform well and offer excellent value. In the 70's I had a Spotmatic II and the 35mm f3.5 Tak was my favorite lens. I still have one.
04-02-2011, 01:25 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote

I use modern zooms to TAKE pictures and older primes to MAKE pictures.
If you don't PM me about helping you write a book, I'm going to kill you.
04-02-2011, 01:29 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Spotmatic Quote
Personally, I think the old Taks were built to a higher mechanical standard than today's lenses...but they can be a PIA to use 100% of the time.
You have an opportunity here to correct your math:

100% OF THE TIME!? (Especially with you living in sunny southwest Florida?)

Shooting outdoors in good light, the LAST thing that old Taks are are a PITA to use, especially with their incredibly tight focusing mechanisms. In good light with the Taks, you don't even MISS AF.
04-02-2011, 02:17 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Spotmatic Quote
but they can be a PIA to use 100% of the time
My answer to the pain: Just buy an old body cheap and permanently attach the Pentax original screwmount adapter to it. Thats what I've done to my old K100D. I now have a Av mode image stabilized digital spotmatic!
04-02-2011, 02:19 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ira Quote
You have an opportunity here to correct your math:

100% OF THE TIME!? (Especially with you living in sunny southwest Florida?)

Shooting outdoors in good light, the LAST thing that old Taks are are a PITA to use, especially with their incredibly tight focusing mechanisms. In good light with the Taks, you don't even MISS AF.
Agreed, with regards to focus, the Taks are very easy to use in good light!


.
Tak 135 f/3.5





Tak 55 f/2


04-02-2011, 03:09 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ira Quote
You have an opportunity here to correct your math:

100% OF THE TIME!? (Especially with you living in sunny southwest Florida?)

Shooting outdoors in good light, the LAST thing that old Taks are are a PITA to use, especially with their incredibly tight focusing mechanisms. In good light with the Taks, you don't even MISS AF.
I like the Taks. I just do not want to use them 100% of the time. I should have been more clear. However, the DA Limiteds are my lenses of choice. I went through the 'tryabunchalensesandseewhatcaget' and sold them off. The Tak 35
and 50mm f1.7 are staying. I am not a lens junkie...to each their own. The ability to be able to use these lenses is what made my decison to choose Pentax when I went digital.
04-02-2011, 03:25 PM   #15
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I picked up a SMC Tak 55mm f1.8 and love it, almost as much as my FA43mm Ltd. I think I'm going to get the 50 1.7 as well if its still around the local shop in a month or two when I can afford to sneak in another little lens purchase.
I haven't had a chance to shoot with DA ltd's but I sure do love my FA, for older lenses the I went down and shot a few different lenses that were sitting around the shop and really liked the 55 1.8 and 50 1.7, I tried a Tokina 28mm 2.8, it was nice but a little softer focusing. I didn't get a chance to shoot the SMC Tak 28mm f3.5 he had, maybe next time.. I also tried a Ricoh 35mm f3.5? It was pretty nice too, I think the mechanical slide feeling the older lenses give feels better than some of the newer lenses like my 18-135 WR.

Last edited by Chex; 04-02-2011 at 03:33 PM.
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