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01-16-2012, 02:31 PM   #1
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A Lens With Personality?

Webster's defines "Personality" as The visible aspect of one's character as it impresses others [Iand Pleasingly distinctive qualities in a person.
But can a LENS have a personality? Sure, why not? Cars do (certain cars) and houses, lots of inanimate objects are so different from others in their class, so quirky or strange, goofy or perfect in an oddball way.
While musing over the different characteristics of my various lenses, a few stood out as having more, something that can't really be measured with pixel-peeping, measurements or other statistical means. They are operating "Outside the box" somehow.
And the first one that came to mind is a recent purchase (used), one I've mentioned before;
The Pentax F 35-70mm f3.5-f4.5 AF Zoom w/macro.
At first glance, it is less than impressive. The somewhat cheesy "F" zoom styling, plastic everywhere and garish orange/green/white lettering. The MF ring is about 1/2" wide and looks like an afterthought.
It is tiny, barely longer than a normal prime, but a bit chunky with it's rubberized zoom ring.
The many charms of this funny little lens only are revealed by using it. And I use "funny" advisedly, this is the only lens that has caused me to laugh out loud while using it.
It is very sharp, much sharper than you could rightfully expect from a budget, 2:1 F zoom.
The macro function, which really should be called "Close-up capability" is actually quite handy and has never caused me to weep and wail "Why, Oh Why, didn't I take my REAL macro lens out for this shot??!!!" Never.
The digital FL of 52mm-105mm hasn't been a problem, either. For some inexplicable reason, many of my candids and street, people and walk-around shots are in that FL. The big advantage is folks don't realize I'm getting the tighter shots, since it looks like a 28mm or perhaps an AF 50mm. It certainly doesn't appear to be any kind of serious telephoto. Ha!
But the biggest joy (others may disagree, here) is the AF function. This little gem is noisy but extremely effective in daylight, whirring at insane speeds to the exact AF point like it somehow knew what shot and focus point I wanted.
I think of it as a nosey, troublesome little brother who won't go away, tags along everywhere and bothers you constantly. But he has his uses and when you need a hand, he's always there.
Our lens reviews don't have a category for "Personality" but if they did, this little jewel would be a 9.
Do you have a 9 or 10 lens in this category?
Ron

01-16-2012, 03:18 PM - 1 Like   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by rbefly Quote
But can a LENS have a personality? Sure, why not?
I've seen lenses described as anamorphic before,
but never anthropomorphic.
01-16-2012, 03:49 PM   #3
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Lenses have personality !

For example, my Kiron 28mm f2, i wasn't fully happy of it when i bought it (was such a great deal i couldn't resist ), the colors don't "pop" like with my DA 40/2.8, the MF is turning the wrong side (comparing to Pentax one), the filter thread is damaged, so i could'nt use filter.

See ? A very bad start for this one.

But, the rendering is very special : it's like grainy at f2. Gives some impression of film somehow. it have some very special distorsion, not much visible, but just slighty present to give you the impression of difference compared to the day to day 18-55, DA40 or 55mm.

This lens is like a genius punkette : not very appealing but with secret charms

I call this personality : a very unique and lovely special thing, that make a lens be one of THE lenses.
01-16-2012, 06:11 PM - 1 Like   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by rbefly Quote
The somewhat cheesy "F" zoom styling, plastic everywhere and garish orange/green/white lettering.
Cheesy??? No, no, no! Retro maybe. Industrial, definitely. But cheesy?



01-16-2012, 07:16 PM   #5
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The F series lenses look and feel really dated imo. The focusing rings are very narrow and the hard plastic makes manual focusing tedious. The orange lettering is definitely garish especially since the lens body isn't even black in color. The rubber on the lens barrel is easy to peel away at the edges and dust is easy to show up in the clear focusing window. A short lived mistake in the annals of Pentax history.
01-16-2012, 08:41 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
But cheesy?
I think "cheesy" pretty much nails it.but we're talking about appearance, not function.
01-16-2012, 08:51 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by creampuff Quote
The F series lenses look and feel really dated imo
Agreed.
Lots of cheese.
01-16-2012, 10:55 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
Cheesy??? No, no, no! Retro maybe. Industrial, definitely. But cheesy?
I agree, but didn't always feel that way, I think they are an acquired taste.

01-16-2012, 11:38 PM   #9
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My F 35-70 kind of came apart inside. The build quality isn't all that great but the IQ is superb. All I can get out of it now is 70mm macro but the shots are still amazing. Probably one of the best cheesy plastic lenses ever made.
01-17-2012, 12:47 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by creampuff Quote
The F series lenses look and feel really dated imo. The focusing rings are very narrow and the hard plastic makes manual focusing tedious. The orange lettering is definitely garish especially since the lens body isn't even black in color. The rubber on the lens barrel is easy to peel away at the edges and dust is easy to show up in the clear focusing window. A short lived mistake in the annals of Pentax history.
Agreed, that explains why those cheesy short lived mistaken F*300/4.5 and F135/2.8 go for such 'low' prices nowadays...
Sorry, no offense meant, but not all F lenses are cheesy...
01-17-2012, 03:06 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by vrrattko Quote
Agreed, that explains why those cheesy short lived mistaken F*300/4.5 and F135/2.8 go for such 'low' prices nowadays...
Sorry, no offense meant, but not all F lenses are cheesy...
The 300mm is technically an F* and not an F.
Besides as good as the F* 300mm f/4.5 is optically, the lens barrel's white finish is easily chipped or flaked off. The white finish can also discolor. That's why it's pretty hard to find one in pristine condition.

As for the F135mm f/2.8, yes it's a good lens but there's no getting over the cheesy exterior finish.
01-17-2012, 05:52 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by creampuff Quote
As for the F135mm f/2.8,
A wonderful, butt-ugly lens.
01-17-2012, 06:08 AM - 1 Like   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by rbefly Quote
The Pentax F 35-70mm f3.5-f4.5 AF Zoom w/macro.
I've owned it briefly and sold it because I couldn't see myself using it (I have other lenses covering this range) but I have to agree with you. Impressively sharp, impressively fast, small and light, a real gem.

QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
Cheesy??? No, no, no! Retro maybe. Industrial, definitely. But cheesy
That's a nice collection, and a very nice picture.

QuoteOriginally posted by creampuff Quote
The F series lenses look and feel really dated imo. The focusing rings are very narrow and the hard plastic makes manual focusing tedious. The orange lettering is definitely garish especially since the lens body isn't even black in color. The rubber on the lens barrel is easy to peel away at the edges and dust is easy to show up in the clear focusing window. A short lived mistake in the annals of Pentax history.
I have to disagree. I really, really like the look of the F line. It has that retro/post-modern feeling, like it came out of Star Wars or something. My F50 f1,7 (and a few others I've owned) were all in great shape, no dust nor anything peeling off. They work well, focus fast (this is the first AF line ever made by Pentax, remember!) and are reliable even after more than 20 years.
01-17-2012, 07:13 AM   #14
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Both my F series lenses (28 mm and 35-70mm) look and feel more like toys than precision optical instruments. Especially the F35-70. Every time I screw on a CPL I'm afraid to damage this plastic filter thread. But the IQ really surprises. These lenses are very sharp and have great colors. And isn't that the point we should care about? Plus, the F 35-70mm is really really cheap. Got mine bundled with a P30t, a AT200 flash and a book for 25 €. By far my best deal.
01-17-2012, 11:40 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Roob-N-Boots Quote
I agree, but didn't always feel that way, I think they are an acquired taste.
Ok, I'll agree they are an acquired taste. But I seem to have acquired a lot of them.

The 50mm is excellent and gets used a lot. The 35-70 is a wonderful lens, very sharp, although without as much contrast as I like, it always goes along as a backup if nothing else. The 35-105 I just got but so far I really like it, in the shots I have taken it appears almost as sharp as the 35-70 and with better contrast. I don't use the 28-80 much, the 35-135 is a nice range but just too darn heavy so it gets little use. The 70-210 is also an excellent lens and perhaps my favorite except that I have the DA 55-300 so the 70-210 gets less use than it should mostly because it weighs almost twice as much.

If you want to get noticed, I guarantee that putting one of these on and standing next to a bunch of Canikon shooters will generate comment. Oddly, all of the comments have been positive. Several have asked if they would fit their camera.
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