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10-16-2012, 11:42 AM   #1
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Best lens...

I've beeen going through one of my "best lens" crisis again, going through the info at photozone and DxO I'm beginning to appreciate the intricacies of this search. Among the oddities, a popular lens tht didn't perform as well on a k-5 as it did on a K200D, I mean it actually lost resolution... and many other instances where a lens performed better on a body by one manufacturer than it did on an older or cheaper body made by the same manufacturer. One of the things I picked up was, if your CA is less than a Pixel width, you're probably good. A gleaning left over from a previous search.. if you circle of confusion is less than a pixel, digitally you can consider your image to be in perfect focus (something that in theory would be theoretically impossible, and it will enlarge cleanly forever. You should never have the kind of fuzzy, soft images you'd get with film, if your software is up to the task.There may not be a lot of detail, but the image should appear to be sharp.

Corollary, the larger the pixel the less CA. At DxO I looked up the best Pentax glass as they rate it, but discovered they have rated just one DA* and no third party lenses on Pentax, I ended up looking under the Nikon D7000 to get approximate ratings.

I'm not going to draw any conclusions, except to say it's really hard to make decisions based on test site numbers. Butwhoever runs The Digital SLR guide did draw some conclusions.

He had some surprising conclusions... as in best Pentax portrait lens... the 18-135. I'm not going to argue with him, I love that lens, but who woulda thunk it?
Best Canon portrait lens - the Tamron 28-75 2.8, also available for pentax... again , who woulda thunk it?
Best landscape lens... Pentax DA 16-45.My mouth dropped open. I beleive when I look at it I dismissed it because of it's handling of CA...now I have to go back and see if the CAs are less than a pixel. What else could explain this?

Best action lens Pentax Sigma 70-200 2.8, no surprise there..

Best wildlife lens... Sigma 100-300 f4.

Full data here http://www.digital-slr-guide.com/best-lenses-for-digital-slr.html

I'm not sure I agree with all his choices and I wouldn't even start to analyze his list without knowing what lenses he tested before making these decisions... but hey, as a bit of light reading material, one of the best I've come across.


Last edited by normhead; 10-16-2012 at 11:55 AM.
10-16-2012, 11:45 AM   #2
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Your link sends me to a non-existent page, can you double check that?
10-16-2012, 11:49 AM   #3
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I couldn't get the link to work either.
But anyway, the site describes itself as "a[n] .. introduction to consumer ... lenses,"
so they might have limited their possible choices.
10-16-2012, 11:53 AM   #4
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The link should work now, I left the "l" of html..

10-16-2012, 12:03 PM   #5
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OP is missing the l in HTML at the end of the link

The Best Lenses for Digital SLR Cameras
10-16-2012, 12:09 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by alphanerd Quote
OP is missing the l in HTML at the end of the link

The Best Lenses for Digital SLR Cameras
Thanks.

His portrait lens selection, with the 18-135, seems just so odd. He states:

QuoteQuote:
The best portrait lens for a digital SLR should have a focal range between 33 and 66mm (50 and 100 divided by 1.5).
and:

QuoteQuote:
This makes a wide maximum aperture the second requirement of a good portrait lens.
and, regarding the 18-135:

QuoteQuote:
This lens comes with a lot of acronyms, but don't let that scare you off, it's still a great portrait lens. The good news is that given its zoom power, you can also use it for landscapes and closeups. The Direct Current (DC) autofocus motor speeds up autofocus lock and the Weather Resistance (WR) helps keep out the elements.
It makes me think what he means to call it is not the "Best", but the "Most cost effective, wide range, and utilitarian lens to use for portrait"... which is sorta true, because it is cheaper than the DA*16-50, more range than the 18-55WR, sealed compared to the 16-45, and not a prime. Not that I agree with him, though.
10-16-2012, 12:12 PM   #7
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At least two pages (about landscape and wildlife lenses) were updated back in 2007.

A.
10-16-2012, 12:13 PM   #8
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OK, so the page says:

"Very cheap lenses have a negative impact on the image quality of your photos."

If the very cheap lens happens to be a $33 M42 55/2 Super Tak,
like you can get from KEH in EX condition right now,
I don't think it would have a negative impact on the image quality of your photos!

10-16-2012, 12:31 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
He had some surprising conclusions... as in best Pentax portrait lens... the 18-135. I'm not going to argue with him, I love that lens, but who woulda thunk it?
I think the subtitle for the article should have been "...and by 'best' we mean if you are just upgrading from your kit lens." In other words, not a single (scary to photo noobs) prime lens is mentioned in the article. Sorry, while I'm not a big fan of it myself, the FA77 still kicks the pants off of almost every other portrait lens out there when mated to a Pentax DSLR...

Oh, and most of the text is from 2007. A lot has changed in 5 years, so maybe that's where the DA 18-135 came from? :P
10-16-2012, 02:04 PM   #10
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"Best" is meaningless in almost every instance.
10-16-2012, 02:53 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by SpecialK Quote
"Best" is meaningless in almost every instance.
Yup, see Ken Rockwell's site if you want to read about cameras and lenses slapped with an arbitrary "best for this" moniker.
10-16-2012, 03:45 PM   #12
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Noobs beware, this guy -> The Best Lenses for Digital SLR Cameras
is full of it.
10-16-2012, 04:29 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
I'm not sure I agree with all his choices and I wouldn't even start to analyze his list without knowing what lenses he tested before making these decisions... but hey, as a bit of light reading material, one of the best I've come across.
I'm going to take a wild guess and say 'none', at least regards to the non-Canikon choices, although he may have cast his eye over the manufacturer's descriptions. I doubt he's even heard of the DA70mm or the 50-135/2.8.

QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
Pentax DA 16-45.My mouth dropped open. I beleive when I look at it I dismissed it because of it's handling of CA...now I have to go back and see if the CAs are less than a pixel. What else could explain this?
I wouldn't dismiss the DA16-45 either (although 'best landscape lens' is pushing it a bit, when it's up against lenses starting at 10-11mm and it's discontinued... ;P) The CA or PF on the DA16-45 is like a crisp purple shadow on high contrast edges. One click of the 'defringe' button in LR3 and it's gone, without any image degradation.

Last edited by ihasa; 10-16-2012 at 04:44 PM.
10-16-2012, 05:02 PM   #14
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Oh dear, the reaction is swift and decisive... none of his best lenses are best at what he says they are best at. Did anyone notice I said "Light reading as in, meant to be somewhat amusing," although someone noted it was written in 2007. But, the 18-135 wasn't released in 2007. I'm guessing this is still his "best of" list.

Come on admit it, y'all are happier now than before you read it.
10-16-2012, 05:36 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
Come on admit it, y'all are happier now than before you read it.
Sure I'm happier, but that's because I ate dinner. Grilled honey garlic sausage... mmmm!
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