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04-30-2013, 05:06 PM   #16
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Seems to me that what the OP is complaining about is that Klaus at PZ doesn't agree with him. I could offer counter examples that presumably would be more agreeable to the OP (31mm, 70mm, 300mm, 60-250mm), but what's the point? Klaus gets a lens in his lab and does what he does, measures what he measures (all of which are objective) and then offers some subjective comments in the conclusion. That's him doing his job.

Subjective reports of "pixie dust" and the like are utterly worthless - you might as well say it's "magic" and be done with it. You may be a proud owner of the 43mm and get just a little bit hard when you take off its felt-lined cap. But when Klaus got it on his bench and stuck it on the K-5, he found it lacking in every measurable characteristic besides construction. The fact that it's an expensive little thing doubly damned it according to PZ's metrics - 2/5 optical performance, 2/5 price / performance. If you, the owner, are happy with it then more power to you. As far as I'm concerned, it tells me that I can better spend 500 on something else which is a good thing to know - when it comes to that sort of money I don't necessarily need to find out for myself.

04-30-2013, 05:10 PM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by Docrwm Quote
I agree. I find the cooking shows on TV a snooze mostly because the judges know who cooked the food, and their comments often indicate they are judging the two entrants based on their perception of the cook and not solely based on the food they ate. I see the same thing all the time in reviews of camera gear. Ok, for usage reviews you really have to know what you have in your hands. But for reviews of output there is no reason that the Canon - Nikon - Pentax equivalents can't shoot the same images, be put side-by-side and judged without labels telling which is which.
You mean like Digitalrev held an unmarked test between Sigma 35mm F1.4, Canon 35mm 1.4L and the Nikon 35mm G AF-S which the Sigma won hands down. But, as soon as the result was revealed more than half the people started to bash the Sigma pic as the worst by far.
Battle of the Bokeh - Canon, Nikon Sigma 35mm f/1.4

Though, at least the interviews from when the 77mm and the 43mm were designed tells a story that they weren't aiming to correct the lenses for flat field resolution testing, but optimizing them for "real life use" instead. There is something true to this judging by the pics I've seen as they have a different look to them compared to conventional lenses.

I got n problem with Klaus work as he seems to be one of the most thinking reviewers out there. He actually elaborate on his findings, tries to find why the lenses perform as they do and often mention how things actually looks in real life shooting, not only in the test lab. The test data is pretty much the only objective way to judge lenses so it's no surprise it's there, though it never tells the whole story.
04-30-2013, 05:11 PM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by top-quark Quote
Seems to me that what the OP is complaining about is that Klaus at PZ doesn't agree with him. I could offer counter examples that presumably would be more agreeable to the OP (31mm, 70mm, 300mm, 60-250mm), but what's the point? Klaus gets a lens in his lab and does what he does, measures what he measures (all of which are objective) and then offers some subjective comments in the conclusion. That's him doing his job.

Subjective reports of "pixie dust" and the like are utterly worthless - you might as well say it's "magic" and be done with it. You may be a proud owner of the 43mm and get just a little bit hard when you take off its felt-lined cap. But when Klaus got it on his bench and stuck it on the K-5, he found it lacking in every measurable characteristic besides construction. The fact that it's an expensive little thing doubly damned it according to PZ's metrics - 2/5 optical performance, 2/5 price / performance. If you, the owner, are happy with it then more power to you. As far as I'm concerned, it tells me that I can better spend 500 on something else which is a good thing to know - when it comes to that sort of money I don't necessarily need to find out for myself.

Not sure what to make of your comments. In the first paragraph you say that Klaus gets gear into his lab, runs the tests he does, and then "offers some subjective comments in the conclusion." The last part that I quoted is the problem IMHO. If he stuck to the numbers from the empirical tests he can run, and no Bokeh is NOT one of them, then I would have no objections. However, he presents his process as hyper empirical, lab based, standardized, etc., etc., etc. and then makes a right angle turn at the last paragraph in his conclusions about things that are aesthetics or personal taste. You then go on to disparage others who talk about "pixie dust", isn't that just the same thing Klaus does in those last paragraphs of his reviews?
04-30-2013, 05:13 PM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by VisualDarkness Quote
You mean like Digitalrev held an unmarked test between Sigma 35mm F1.4, Canon 35mm 1.4L and the Nikon 35mm G AF-S which the Sigma won hands down. But, as soon as the result was revealed more than half the people started to bash the Sigma pic as the worst by far.
Battle of the Bokeh - Canon, Nikon Sigma 35mm f/1.4

Though, at least the interviews from when the 77mm and the 43mm were designed tells a story that they weren't aiming to correct the lenses for flat field resolution testing, but optimizing them for "real life use" instead. There is something true to this judging by the pics I've seen as they have a different look to them compared to conventional lenses.

Yes, sort of like Klaus bashing the bokeh of the 35 MACRO limited for having bad middle distance bokeh, and then saying something to the effect of 'but oh the close bokeh is just fine'. IT IS A MACRO LENS!

04-30-2013, 05:28 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by Docrwm Quote
Not sure what to make of your comments. In the first paragraph you say that Klaus gets gear into his lab, runs the tests he does, and then "offers some subjective comments in the conclusion." The last part that I quoted is the problem IMHO. If he stuck to the numbers from the empirical tests he can run, and no Bokeh is NOT one of them, then I would have no objections. However, he presents his process as hyper empirical, lab based, standardized, etc., etc., etc. and then makes a right angle turn at the last paragraph in his conclusions about things that are aesthetics or personal taste. You then go on to disparage others who talk about "pixie dust", isn't that just the same thing Klaus does in those last paragraphs of his reviews?
To be fair to Klaus, you're a lot more likely to read "even performance across the frame at all tested apertures" in the conclusion than you are to read "pixie dust". He's already given you the dry-as-dust technical stuff on pages 1 and 2.

If we don't value sites like Photozone, Lenstip et al, why do we read 'em? In the hope that they'll reinforce conclusions that we've already reached? Prepare for disappointment if that's the case. I'd say it's best to use them prior to purchase, not after. That's the trouble with t'Internet: you've been happily using that crummy 28-80 for twenty years, but when you go online you find out that everyone else thinks it's crap.
04-30-2013, 06:28 PM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by top-quark Quote
To be fair to Klaus, you're a lot more likely to read "even performance across the frame at all tested apertures" in the conclusion than you are to read "pixie dust". He's already given you the dry-as-dust technical stuff on pages 1 and 2.

If we don't value sites like Photozone, Lenstip et al, why do we read 'em? In the hope that they'll reinforce conclusions that we've already reached? Prepare for disappointment if that's the case. I'd say it's best to use them prior to purchase, not after. That's the trouble with t'Internet: you've been happily using that crummy 28-80 for twenty years, but when you go online you find out that everyone else thinks it's crap.
We value them, but like most things they are not precisely what they pretend to be. My beef with PK, and its not unique to them, is that they pretend to be all objective, data-oriented, empirical, but in the end their personal aethetics and tastes enter into the conclusions in equal portion to the data they so painstakingly collected and appear to venerate. I like the tech info and use it, but not to the exclusion of (nor do I even pretend to) field reports from end users and actual photographs.
04-30-2013, 07:06 PM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by Docrwm Quote
My beef with P[Z], and its not unique to them, is that they pretend to be all objective, data-oriented, empirical, but in the end their personal aethetics and tastes enter into the conclusions in equal portion to the data they so painstakingly collected and appear to venerate.
I don't mind the "right brain" comments at the end
(even if they're dissing my personal favorites like the 25/2.8 Distagon),
since it's clear what they are: subjective opinions.

What concerns me on Photozone is the data massaging,
like the selection of the best-focused images that masks field curvature,
or factoring in differing degrees of in-camera sharpening,
or vacillation about vertical/horizontal or tangential/sagittal resolution.
04-30-2013, 10:42 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
Hmm, I think you're trying to say that photozone's tests aren't worth much. I'd agree with that
Well, of all the lenses I own, and that are tested by Photozone, I find no error in their conclusions.
So, what do you not find much worth about their tests ?

05-01-2013, 12:32 AM   #24
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I have an unproven theory about that. What we human Pentaxians see as "sharpness" is often the excellent micro contrasts that Pentax lenses tend to have. (Or rather a mix of excellent micro contrast and high resolution.) The already often mentioned DA 35 ltd, but also the DA 15 ltd, are both excellent examples of that. The actual resolution of these on test charts may really just be mediocre, but that sharpness is then corrected in PP. Off course, micro-contrast can be added in PP too, resolution charts don't measure micro-contrast. Now if PRI would actually measure and publish the micro-contrasts, then things would become different.

This would all be big fun if these bad test-results kept the prices down too, but no luck. And that brings me to the Pentax bang-for-the-buck-ratio, for which they are known. For the money spent on a Pentax lens with very noisy AF, you can buy one at the other brands that really scores in the benchmarks, with it's own quiet and fast motor, possibly with it's own dedicated OS.

Last edited by Clavius; 05-01-2013 at 01:33 AM.
05-01-2013, 12:34 AM   #25
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The 77mm costs well over $1,000 new here in the UK. It is well known to suffer from purple fringing in certain situations, especially at faster stops - the faster stops presumably being the prime reason to buy it versus a zoom. Its very sharp and magical but so is a $50 SMC Takumar 55mm. It has pixie dust, but so does a $290 M85 f2, as do some new non-Pentax options. Its not a $1,000 lens IMHO. (Something that says more about Pentax's UK pricing policies maybe).

I do have the 35mm Macro and also agree with PZ's assessment, for what its worth. But it is worth the $440 I paid for it.

Last edited by utak; 05-01-2013 at 02:38 AM. Reason: Amended price to "well over $1,000" as UK prices are all over the shop right now, but all over $1,000
05-01-2013, 03:40 AM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by KDAFA Quote
Case 3: FA43 f1.9 Limited
i can remember an article maybe at Dpreview or something like that that RH listed once. The article was a Q&A with one of the optical designer of Pentax and the man was saying something like this : well, the three amigos may not perform very well on test charts, we know that. but lens are not made to shoot brick walls or charts, they are made to shoot in the real world. And if you look to the three amigos and the picture they make, you can see a very 3D look, a very pleasant bokeh, color are very accurate, etc ... They are excellent lens, they have some flaws wide open, but still are among the best lens we ever did, and sales confirm this.
05-01-2013, 03:43 AM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by Docrwm Quote
I see your point but would argue that in context "a dSLR is not pocketbook" the implication is clearly - so why have a lens this small and therefore its size is not a plus in its favor.
I would have read this in the context of the review: "Since an SLR is already decent sized, why not make the 40 a little bigger and have an aperture faster than f2.8?" Voigtlander had the Ultron 40mm f2 pancake that was about the same size as the DA 70 -- not that big, but then would gain a whole stop of aperture over a normal fast zoom.

Obviously Pentax, in their wisdom, decided to go small (probably mainly because they already had the design of the M40mm f2.8).
05-01-2013, 03:49 AM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by Clavius Quote
I have an unproven theory about that. What we human Pentaxians see as "sharpness" is often the excellent micro contrasts that Pentax lenses tend to have. (Or rather a mix of excellent micro contrast and high resolution.) The already often mentioned DA 35 ltd, but also the DA 15 ltd, are both excellent examples of that. The actual resolution of these on test charts may really just be mediocre, but that sharpness is then corrected in PP. Off course, micro-contrast can be added in PP too, resolution charts don't measure micro-contrast. Now if PRI would actually measure and publish the micro-contrasts, then things would become different.

This would all be big fun if these bad test-results kept the prices down too, but no luck. And that brings me to the Pentax bang-for-the-buck-ratio, for which they are known. For the money spent on a Pentax lens with very noisy AF, you can buy one at the other brands that really scores in the benchmarks, with it's own quiet and fast motor, possibly with it's own dedicated OS.
I think it is the real world shooting experience that does make a difference. A lens like the DA 15 is really weak in the corners wide open. My DA 16-50 is sharper at f4 than the 15 at f4 wide open, but at f8, the borders are there and when I shoot, that is where I am. The size and build really aren't that big a deal to me either way, but I believe that the small size and less glass for light to travel through makes this lens incredibly resistant to flare. Maybe Nikon and Canon make zooms that can resist flare like this gem, but I certainly haven't seen them.
05-01-2013, 09:43 AM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by Docrwm Quote
They present themselves as all about the empirical data and "tests" but at the end of the day they offer incredibly subjective assessments in their conclusions that often are at odds with their own numbers in the actual tests they say they venerate.
To clarify, I find PZ's measured data to conform to my experience. I don't give a damn about their opinions.
05-01-2013, 09:47 AM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by Clavius Quote
I have an unproven theory about that. What we human Pentaxians see as "sharpness" is often the excellent micro contrasts that Pentax lenses tend to have
I agree. Of course, Zeiss lenses have even better micro-contrast. And yes, micro-contrast can be increased in post production.
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