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07-16-2012, 11:21 PM   #1
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Pentax DA 17-70 f4 - wow - images

Mystic cowboy and I both get calls occasionally from a local live theater to take pictures for advertising and/or decorative purposes in the lobby. In this case they wanted pictures of some actors for an upcoming play. The shoot was to be staged in the courtyard of a local hotel since the real stage hadn't been built-yet)

I just bought this lens a few months back after wanting a normal lens that wasn't limited on the wider end like my Tamy 28-75 f2.8. The 17-70 has been so much more flexible to work with, i may sell the Tamy since its no longer appearing on my camera

These are not intended to be any kind of "fine art" or studio portraits. The play director arrives with the actors, in costume preferably, and basically directs the shoot. They will accept limited input from the photographer but they have the final say. In this case, the director was going to take shots in bright mid-day sun, but i convinced him to use some of the softer shadowy areas i had found ahead of time. So we quickly stepped through the shots and then the actors retreated to the theater for some rehearsal. Bokeh is not something that is a consideration in these shots.

I was very happy with what came out of the lens. I turned up the shutter speed to freeze the actors and turned off the SR to avoid any OOF shots (i had not one OOF) So here are 3 sample shots that demonstrate the 17-70

17mm, 1/160s,f8,2000iso


17mm, 1/160s,f8,2000iso


48mm, 1/160s, f8, 2000iso



07-17-2012, 02:36 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by philbaum Quote
I was very happy with what came out of the lens. I turned up the shutter speed to freeze the actors and turned off the SR to avoid any OOF shots (i had not one OOF) So here are 3 sample shots that demonstrate the 17-70
I never heard about the SR causing OOF photos. Can you please explain?

BTW> Very good photos.
07-17-2012, 05:58 AM   #3
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Even though I sold my DA 17-70 this year (had to pay for the DA*50-135 purchase!), I really like that lens a lot. Glad you've discovered it. Nice shots there too.
07-17-2012, 10:24 AM - 1 Like   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by elho_cid Quote
I never heard about the SR causing OOF photos. Can you please explain?

BTW> Very good photos.
I would be glad to - this is how it occurs.

a. Shooters scrimp on shutter speed and rely on SR solely. Min. shutter speed thumb rule is 1/(2*FL)
b. Shooters watch the action in front of the VF instead of the little SR hand that pops us saying its ready.
c. Folks shoot before the SR has aligned to a new direction and get an OOF shot with inadequate shutter speed.

Try this alarming exercise. Turn your SR function on. Press you shutter button down 1/2 way till the SR hand appears in the VF. remove the finger from the shutter and the SR hand will continue to display. Now move the orientation quickly to a new orientation and you will see the SR hand disappear. Keep watching. The SR hand will reappear after a full 2 seconds. Keep experimenting with fast or slow movements of the camera while watching the SR hand through the VF. People just don't wait to shoot for the hand to appear. We shoot to "catch the moment" as Henri Cartier Bresson encouraged us.

SR works fine if you will be maintaining one orientation for an extended period such as for macros. My OOF rate dropped markedly for theater work when i stopped relying on SR and just turned it off. I explained this to a wedding photographer, and he reported back the same experience, e.g. one gets a lower OOF rate if you turn SR off during a snap shooting candid session. It isn't just Pentax's SR system, but i've read criticism of Nikon's VR system as well, that one should use it selectively. So i don't think its any one of these stabilization systems - its the physics involved.

07-17-2012, 10:25 AM   #5
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Very crisp, vivid. Thanks for sharing. I also like elho_cid's question about SR causing OOF photos; I've not heard of that before. Did you use your K-5?
07-17-2012, 11:15 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by GlennG Quote
Very crisp, vivid. Thanks for sharing. I also like elho_cid's question about SR causing OOF photos; I've not heard of that before. Did you use your K-5?
thank you. yes i did use the K5 which i'm sure added some resolution :-)

I've been looking at the mtf resolution numbers for the 17-70 at photozone.de and comparing them to the DA 16-50. Unfortunately, these numbers were taken on a K10 and haven't been retested on the K5. The 16-50 is an f2.8, but otherwise the 17-70 resolution numbers aren't that far off from the 16-50's numbers (in some cases higher). For a lens that costs so much less and has a longer range, its quite a nice compromise.
07-17-2012, 02:31 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by philbaum Quote
For a lens that costs so much less and has a longer range, its quite a nice compromise.
I also have the DA 17-70 and like it quite a lot. SDM might be in process of failing now - time will tell. Before choosing the lens, I plotted the photozone data and graphed it for this 17-70, the 16-50, the 16-45 and the Tammy 17-50 (though it was not tested on Pentax). The 17-70 was certainly competitive enough, and had the range, so I went for it. I use it on "only" a k100dS, and it still delivers nicely on a 6 MP body. Did I make the best choice in that lens? Who knows, but I thought I'd like it best among all of the usual cast of characters for the kit lens upgrade. Colors are really good, sharpness also. As an amateur hack, that is about all that I can really know about or discern. Thanks again for the post and replies - I'll have to try that shake reduction advice above. Glenn
07-17-2012, 04:03 PM   #8
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Yes, very sharp lens. I got 2 of them. But kinda crappy build. Very sloppy. Got a speck in one of them ruins 17mm for it. But IQ is xlnt!

07-17-2012, 04:14 PM   #9
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I believe I'm holding blackclowdbrew's 17-70 now. As a prime shooter (until recently I owned 2 zooms) I love the lens. I also agree with the OP about turning off the SR. Since I purchased the K5 I've had the SR turned off 90% of the time ( I heard someone else mention the OOF shots) and my keeper rate has improved.
Sometimes falling back to the old rules of thumb just seem to make more sense.
07-18-2012, 12:02 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by philbaum Quote

I've been looking at the mtf resolution numbers for the 17-70 at photozone.de and comparing them to the DA 16-50. Unfortunately, these numbers were taken on a K10 and haven't been retested on the K5. The 16-50 is an f2.8, but otherwise the 17-70 resolution numbers aren't that far off from the 16-50's numbers (in some cases higher). For a lens that costs so much less and has a longer range, its quite a nice compromise.
I used both lenses on my K-5. I loved my 17-70 much more than the 16-50. 17-70 wide open at f4 (where I used it 90% of the time) was sharper than 16-50 stopped down to f4. Selling the 17-70 and "upgrading" to 16-50 was my biggest mistake ever...
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