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04-15-2013, 11:10 PM   #31
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Most of my lenses are 'vintage' to one extent or another (a lot depends one where you define the jump from vintage to modern lies). I have had a blast shooting with a number of old zooms which I deliberately purchased because I wanted them for one reason or another. So far I've done well in not buying clunkers.

Compared to modern lenses, no, they don't holdup. Then again, you shouldn't compare them to modern lenses - its a case of apples to oranges. What was needed then, isn't needed now, and whats needed now was unheard of then. You should buy the old lens knowing it will have its own 'personality' so to speak, and adapt yourself to it rather than try to force the lens to be something its not. When you approach shooting with vintage glass that way, it makes the entire experience more enjoyable.

Then when you DO get a surprise from something old that you weren't expecting, you can cherish it all the more. Right now I'm doing a Single In challenge with a lens I picked deliberately because I expected it to be difficult, and I've discovered all kinds of wonderful quirks about it that I couldn't imagine a modern 'set it and forget it' kind of lens could possibly have.

04-15-2013, 11:27 PM   #32
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QuoteOriginally posted by Allison Quote
I think you have to look at your application to determine if they hold up. When I am on a paid shoot I need the speed and efficiency of newer glass. When it is personal work, I like the concept of having a modern camera with an old lens. It is just a neat exercise.

The the end the coatings (and auto focus too) make a difference, so you can't exclude them.
That sums it up pretty well.

About coatings. I think the biggest leap in coatings for Pentax was the introduction of Super Multi Coating. SMC put Pentax lenses a step above everything except Zeiss multicoated lenses in terms of flare control. There have been improvements to Pentax coatings since that introduction, but they have been much less dramatic. I would say that the flare control performance of many early SMC lenses is closer to that of modern Pentaxes than it is to Super Takumars.

In my view Nikon and Canon did not really begin to catch up on coating technology until they produced AF lenses with major design revisions vs. their MF ones. This is one of the things that I believe makes MF Pentax lenses from the introduction of SMC onwards a particularly good value.

Something that is not often discussed these days is the effectiveness of internal baffling in reducing flare and internal reflections. I would say that this was done very well in older Pentax lenses relative to most other brands, and shows even in the performance of pre-SMC lenses. (I can remember that sort of thing coming up in lens reviews in the early 70s.)
04-16-2013, 05:07 AM   #33
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QuoteOriginally posted by John Poirier Quote
About coatings. I think the biggest leap in coatings for Pentax was the introduction of Super Multi Coating.
For the record, you are aware that SMC has evolved over time, while keeping its name, right? The advent of SMC is not a fixed moment in time, like everything else it has improved over years and is still improving (only now, Pentax started adding labels like SP, HD, etc)
04-16-2013, 07:35 AM   #34
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QuoteOriginally posted by bdery Quote
For the record, you are aware that SMC has evolved over time, while keeping its name, right? The advent of SMC is not a fixed moment in time, like everything else it has improved over years and is still improving (only now, Pentax started adding labels like SP, HD, etc)
Yes. I did say "there have been improvements to Pentax coatings" over the years. I was already a serious photographer in the 1970s when SMC was introduced. While there were some late Super Takumar lenses with unlabelled SMC, the introduction really did take place over a fairly short time. I view the first implementation of SMC as revolutionary, while subsequent improvements have been evolutionary.


Last edited by John Poirier; 04-16-2013 at 10:38 PM.
04-16-2013, 12:26 PM   #35
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Olympus were also into multicoating, but felt it was so over-hyped that it didnt warrant marketing. Having bought a OM1n and coupled it with a MIJ 50mm 1.8, 28mm 2.8 and Zuiko 135/3.5, my Pentax kit faces some stiff competition. I feel the advantage of Pentax SMC coatings is overstated. As mentioned Zeiss T* coatings from that era are supposed to be superb.

One aspect of old manual lenses is that the centralisation of the elements has the potential to be more finely controlled in comparison to a modern zoom, due to the different friction requirements of manual vs automatic focus. This in turn will lead to a sharper lens. I somewhat doubt that a modern Pentax lens is going to outresolve a C/Y Zeiss Planar 50/1.7...I'd be happy if someone could conduct a test and prove me wrong! It would make for a very interesting read. Same goes for my Bronica PE medium format lenses which are made by Schneider. The reason for this is that there are many aspects to lens quality in conjunction with resolution which result in compromises being made in order to sell the things. Of course, this would necessitate using aerial resolution and not a digital sensor....the angle the light comes into the sensor has an impact on image quality. Olympus 4/3 digital lenses are specifically designed with this in mind and many of the old OM lenses underperform on digital purely due to this consideration. The simple solution is to buy digi lenses for digi cameras and film lenses for film cameras
04-16-2013, 04:34 PM   #36
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QuoteOriginally posted by whojammyflip Quote
And that was all a very long time ago
I have to chuckle a little. People forget that the bulk of the work in optical design happened well over 50 years ago. The improvements since then have been in manufacturing and materials and coatings.

I had to double chuckle when I remember seeing comparison photos between an early 1960s Zeiss Sonnar 50/2 and a (Sonnar-derived) FSU Jupiter-8 50/2 of the same vintage. Despite the reputations (German vs. Soviet) for manufacturing excellence, the Jup was actually a little better.


Steve

(...owns three Jupiter-8s...)
04-16-2013, 11:09 PM   #37
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Here is an interesting piece about SMC etc. from the Asahi Optical Historical Club: Flare control
04-18-2013, 07:33 AM   #38
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guys... Shush.

What you mean to say is, old lenses are trash and you should probably all sell them on ebay. Because old lenses were only designed for black and white as colour didn't exist then! To think of the poor chaps who bought these old lenses and expected to take good colour photos. Shame shame shame on you all.

Old Takumars and Ziess are the worst too! They are just crap. sell them now. Sell them cheaply and buy some state of the art Tamaron glass. You wont be disappointed.


There. That should fix all the damage you lot have done

04-18-2013, 07:58 AM   #39
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Yes I have to agree, old lenses are trash, and I'll gladly pay the postage for anyone who would like to send me some. I run an excellent old lens recycling depot. No need to worry about those old lead glass lenses going jot landfill and polluting the environment for generations to come.
04-18-2013, 08:19 AM   #40
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Glad to finally see of some sense being talked.
04-18-2013, 08:34 AM   #41
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
I have to chuckle a little. People forget that the bulk of the work in optical design happened well over 50 years ago. The improvements since then have been in manufacturing and materials and coatings.
coatings and materials ARE the bulk of optical design.

QuoteOriginally posted by tromboads Quote
What you mean to say is, old lenses are trash and you should probably all sell them on ebay.
I don't think anyone said that. But I don't think older Takumars were perfect either. Just look what a modern take on the 50mm concept can deliver (Sigma 50 and Pentax 55). The older 50mm design is fine (and I use it with my F50) but let's be honest, the newer designs ARE better optically.

On a theoretical basis, older lenses, especially non-telecentric lenses, are flawed for digital. In real life the difference is marginal obviously, but those differences exist. Optical design has come a long way since the beginning of the 80's with the advent of computers, and even in the last few years design softwares such as Zemax have improved in leagues.

Just look at the Vivitar series 1 70-210. I compared it with the Pentax FA100-300 and the latter was almost as sharp, and had far better control of aberrations. Then I compared it with the 60-250, and even though both lenses were top of the line at launch, there is not the shadow of a contest between the two.
04-18-2013, 09:59 AM   #42
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Really depends on what level of lenses you are looking at. I'd be interested to see a head to head comparison of an older 50/1.7 Zeiss Planar, on some film like Gigabit, vs a newer Pentax FA Ltd. This film is capable of 400lpmm, or circa 270mp on a cropped sensor, or 550mp full frame. Of course, tripod mounted . Enlargement say via a decent 35mm enlarging lens, like a Computar 65mm, so that as little resolution is lost as possible. Final detail in a 10x enlargement would be the hallmark. I very much doubt there would be anything in it.
04-18-2013, 11:25 AM   #43
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QuoteOriginally posted by bdery Quote
Just look at the Vivitar series 1 70-210
Which one?
04-18-2013, 12:14 PM   #44
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ikarus Quote
Which one?
I personally used the v1. I do not think it's really relevant, my point stands whatever version you are looking at.
04-18-2013, 01:41 PM   #45
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I have the FA 80-320mm and the DA-L 55-300mm, which replaced a broken DA 55-300mm. For 95% of what I do, the FA 80-320 turns out to be just as good. Though the DA and DA-L have the same optical formula, I find the DA-L 55-300 I have is a bit softer at the very longest end than the (now broken) DA model. But the FA generally matches them. I will continue giving the FA a workout. When the DA 55-300 broke, I just replaced it with the DAL, not even thinking the FA could stand in. But now that I've used it, it might be just as good unless you need that 55-80mm end of it.
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