Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
08-10-2011, 09:04 PM   #1
Senior Member




Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Calgary
Photos: Albums
Posts: 122
Image quality between an old lens and a brand new lens with similar basic properties?

Hi Forum,

A little background,

I am currently shooting with a K100D, and am looking to upgrade to a K-5 very soon

That is not a cheap piece of equipment! However, one of it's big selling points to me is that it's weather resistant, among its other huge upgrades.

With this being the case, it strikes me that my current goto lens, an Asahi 50mm f1.4 (of which I have no idea of it's age, the lens in this link
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/sold-items/47245-sale-sold-asahi-pentax-s...condition.html
is the same as mine) is NOT weather resistant

Now I saw the Pentax DA* 55mm f1.4 is weather resistant, but after I'm about to spend ~$1300 on a new body, I'm not terribly eager to spend another ~$700 on a weather resistant lens if I'm not gonna see a huge jump in image quality.

I don't really know the intricacies of lenses, so forgive my ignorance throughout this entire post, but reading many reviews about this lens the only drawback that is constantly levied is slow auto-focus. Since my current lens is from the bronze age, I've never experienced auto-focus at f1.4, and honestly, I don't know if I want to. I find the margin of error is slim enough for photos at f1.4 that I don't think I could trust the auto-focus to capture what I wanted. Perhaps that is just me not knowing what I'm talking about because I've never used one? Haha

So AFTER ALL THAT! my main question is, can I expect a huge boost in image quality just with a new piece of technology? Though I think I've asked a few questions

08-11-2011, 01:09 AM   #2
Veteran Member
Anton Magus's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Durban, South Africa
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 346
QuoteOriginally posted by Codazzle Quote
So AFTER ALL THAT! my main question is, can I expect a huge boost in image quality just with a new piece of technology?
I would not think that you will see much difference in image quality at all. Those old lenses were always pretty good and there is no reason why the newer lens would be better.
08-11-2011, 01:38 AM   #3
Forum Member




Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: West Yorkshire
Posts: 88
I don't think it's the leap in image quality that you'll notice, more that you'll be able to capture more with autofocus and weathersealing. Admittedly there is a lot of photography that can be done without those two aspects (as you have found out), but it is nice to have those doors open to you
08-11-2011, 02:10 AM   #4
Veteran Member
Frogfish's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Shanghai
Posts: 4,490
I have the SMC version and this is a great lens. Pentax don't have a lot of WR lenses so don't think that all of their modern lenses are WR. I think there are ten in total of which 6 are the high end (and very expensive) DA* lenses.

As far as I am aware there is no prime that covers the 50mm length (though two zooms do). Also please note there are two levels of WR lenses :

DA*WR = All joint/lens groups are separately sealed.

WR = "Outer shell joints/lenses are sealed.

You can always do what I do with non-WR lenses in the rain and that's put a plastic bag and an elastic band over the lense / mount knowing the camera is going to be fine. Though MF lenses are rather more difficult to use in those circumstances than AF lenses.


Last edited by Frogfish; 08-11-2011 at 06:03 AM.
08-11-2011, 04:44 AM   #5
Zav
Pentaxian
Zav's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2009
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,336
QuoteOriginally posted by Anton Magus Quote
I would not think that you will see much difference in image quality at all. Those old lenses were always pretty good and there is no reason why the newer lens would be better.
New coating, new kind of glass, computer aided design, there are a lot of reasons why a new lens can be better than an old one. In this particular case, as I haven't compared the results of the lenses, I don't know what would be the conclusion.
08-11-2011, 04:54 AM   #6
Veteran Member
chalion's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: SE Pennsylvania
Photos: Albums
Posts: 628
Now, I don't own a K5, but I do own a K100D and several others (newest is K20D). With that said, you won't notice a huge difference in IQ, but the resolution will blow you away. Also, the speed and improvements to the K5 hardware and software make a big difference. If you were using AF lenses, they would be snappier, faster to focus.

But as been said before, it's not the gear that gets the picture, it's the photographer behind the camera.
08-11-2011, 05:03 AM   #7
Site Supporter
aliasant's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Stockholm
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 634
I dont really know but my experience is that new lenses has no soul
I have sold all that I have had even though they were smaller, lighter and had autofocus.

I think todays technology is used to get size and weight down and to increase profit rather then getting a higher IQ. The old HighEnd lenses were and still are really nice to use and they have soul and then some.

One thing that might do a difference though is the newer coatings made to supress some of the reflections from the sensor back on the rear glass.
For those with lesser strength the weight might be an issue but that shouldnt be the case with 50mm primes.

My walkaround lens that weighs more then 2kg could have benefited from newer materials though.
I took it apart and the focus mechanism alone is probably 2/3 of the total weight. Thats after I removed all the glass. If they made that using carbonfibre or whatever light material they use they could problay reduce the weight to less then half if not more.

So.

Image Quality: Not a reason to get a new lens.
Weather Resistance: Use a bag as suggested and save ~$700
Weight: If your arms are like spaghetti, visit the gym regularly.
Soul and charisma: Stay away from the newer lenses.

Dont take my post seriously. Im incredibly biased towards old glass.....
08-11-2011, 05:09 AM   #8
Pentaxian
bdery's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Quebec city, Canada
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 5,695
QuoteOriginally posted by Anton Magus Quote
there is no reason why the newer lens would be better.
That's completely innacurate. Newer lenses benefit from better design tools, better coatings, better glass. They have AF, they are telecentric and because of that better matched for a digital sensor. They can communicate with the camera so the body knows the lest settings for that lens. ÉThe list goes on and on.

HOWEVER, it doesn't mean older lenses are bad. Not at all. It's pretty easy to make a good 50mm lens, it's the simplest lens design possible (with the exception of the new 55mm from Pentax and 50mm from Sigma, two lenses with non-standard 50mm designs).

If you like your 50mm manual lens, I'd say keep it. You could buy a WR 18-55 kit lens for those situations when you need WR. That's what I do, as you can see I got a lot of primes in my kit, and some zooms. I use my WR kit when the weather is risky, when I go camping, to the beach, etc. It's great to be able to rely on the WR when needed, and still have better optics when WR is not needed.

08-11-2011, 06:27 AM   #9
Inactive Account




Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Ames, Iowa, USA
Photos: Albums
Posts: 2,965
There is no question that coatings have improved over the years resulting in better color rendition and contrast.

However simple in-camera processing and post processing can easily deal with such problems when necessary.
08-11-2011, 06:37 AM   #10
Veteran Member
RioRico's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Limbo, California
Posts: 11,264
Echoing a bit of what has been said: No, you will not notice a major leap in image quality, not unless you buy a premium lens. Yes, you will find a new AF lens to be somewhat easier to use than an old manual lens; but cost can be tremendous. Yes, WR is good to have if you shoot in downpours or crawling through mud; but a plastic bag suffices in many instances.

Personal note. I now have ~215 lenses: 10 manual zooms, 8 AF zooms, just one AF prime, and the rest are manual primes and miscellany. The AF prime and 4 AF zooms were bought new; the rest were used. Average price of AF lenses: US$320 each. Average price of manual lenses: US$20 each. AF costs a LOT!!

My recommendation: You're comfortable with manual focus, so keep your 50/1.4. If you feel a need to shoot in very wet conditions, or to shower with your camera and lens, then save up for the DA18-55WR. Myself, I try to stay out of the rain.
08-11-2011, 07:45 AM   #11
Senior Member




Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Calgary
Photos: Albums
Posts: 122
Original Poster
Thanks for the responses guys!

Much of what has been said has kind of backed up what I was thinking.

I think the WR 55m will be my next purchase after the body, but you have eased my worries about it being necessary to pair with the camera. (Honestly, I don't know why suddenly felt I needed a new lens with a new body when my old lens has worked perfectly on my DSLR all these years... damn consumerism!!!)

And if worse come to worse and my Asahi gets ruined in the rain, I can go buy another one since it was literally 10% the cost of the new Pentax lens
08-11-2011, 09:48 AM   #12
Veteran Member
paperbag846's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2010
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 2,396
While I don't have too much to add, I can say that the engineering of optics has really not changed much in the past 30 years. Even some of the much respected FA ltds bare a strong resemblance to much older lenses (85mm --> 77mm, e.g.).Often times, the redesign has more to do with getting the size of the lens down, then anything else.

Now you do see some differences, but they are subtle. In my experience, the SMC Taks are pretty similar / identical to the FA line. The DA line has a generally different look (possibly because they are designed with digital sensors in mind), but to call it better would be a huge overstatement. Just different. And also, an extreme example of modern design - not better quality, but smaller and faster to operate (ultra quick AF at the cost of manual focus ease).

To be honest, instead of saving up for the 18-55 WR, just buy whatever cheap zoom in the range you can find. They are all good enough for what they are. If it breaks in the rain, so be it. The WR might break in the rain too. It has happened before.

Better yet, buy some older, cheap glass. 20 dollars or less. Keep them safe, but dont worry about them if they break.Id rather get the perfect shot and wind up with a broken 20 dollar lens then have kind of the shot with perfect IQ taken from a safe place where I had to shield my baby from harm...
08-11-2011, 10:10 AM   #13
Veteran Member
Frogfish's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Shanghai
Posts: 4,490
QuoteOriginally posted by Codazzle Quote
And if worse come to worse and my Asahi gets ruined in the rain, I can go buy another one since it was literally 10% the cost of the new Pentax lens
Do make note though that if water gets in through the mount then it might not be only the lens that is ruined
08-11-2011, 11:10 AM   #14
Pentaxian
bdery's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Quebec city, Canada
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 5,695
QuoteOriginally posted by newarts Quote
There is no question that coatings have improved over the years resulting in better color rendition and contrast.

However simple in-camera processing and post processing can easily deal with such problems when necessary.
Then why are people buying expensive lenses? Let's all just use pinholes?

QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
I can say that the engineering of optics has really not changed much in the past 30 years.
I can say I disagree. It has lived through the same revolution that everything else in science and engineering did, with the advent of powerful computing, and improvements in manufacturing allowing the creation of things only dreamed of before.
08-11-2011, 11:26 AM   #15
Pentaxian




Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Hoek van Holland
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 1,249
I think the biggest difference will be (if there is) purple fringing and CAs. As the old lenses were not corrected for this, you could have a little to a lot. But you won't know until you try
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
age, auto-focus, brand new lens, f1.4, image, image quality, k-mount, lens, pentax lens, piece, quality, slr lens, weather
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Dust in lens, could this effect the Image Quality? Lulerfly Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 8 11-07-2010 05:34 PM
Are user lens 'tests' useful? what are the basic requirements. pcarfan Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 24 05-19-2010 12:21 PM
Basic question regarding image circle and edge quality tigershoot Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 3 01-27-2009 02:56 PM
Old "Image" Brand Lens question bbpa103 Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 2 12-19-2008 08:09 AM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 04:26 AM. | See also: NikonForums.com, CanonForums.com part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top