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06-29-2013, 04:06 PM   #1
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Which lenses should be avoided no matter what?

Most lenses, especially modern ones, are good. Some are great. A few are excellent. How many are absolute stinkers out there? Are there some makes/models or combinations of focal length and ratio that should be avoided no matter what?

06-29-2013, 04:14 PM   #2
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Look at this recent thread

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/229186-tp-spec...ml#post2433582

to see how bad it can get, and to see what you can still do with an absolute dog of a lens.

(I hope Skippy will forgive my choice of words here.)
06-29-2013, 04:39 PM - 1 Like   #3
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Really really expensive ones--I speak from experience.
06-29-2013, 04:43 PM   #4
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As soon as somebody offers up a lens somebody will have an exceptional copy of it. One I read about a lot is the FA35-80, I've never heard it called anything better than below average, I've had two and they were both below average. But guess what, there are 22 photos taken with that lens in the Pentax Photo Gallery!

06-29-2013, 05:02 PM - 1 Like   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by lytrytyr Quote
Look at this recent thread

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/229186-tp-spec...ml#post2433582

to see how bad it can get, and to see what you can still do with an absolute dog of a lens.

(I hope Skippy will forgive my choice of words here.)
Hey now, be nice!

To the OP, I don't think there is such a thing as a bad model of lens. You should avoid ones with fungus, for sure, but that goes for any lens ever made. What's technically a flaw in some lenses can be something that many people treasure.

Consider the Helios 40. It's a Soviet copy of an old German design. It's well known for the swirl that appears in the bokeh at the widest apertures. Technically, that's an optical flaw, but people pay big bucks for that lens. It suffers from low contrast and massive purple fringing, and it has a 66mm filter thread for which nothing is ever produced in modern times, but it's one of my favorite lenses.

I usually avoid lenses that just do an okay job, but don't do anything special. The thing is, these lenses are usually dirt cheap, and they're still capable of great images. The photographer matters far more than the lens.
06-29-2013, 05:15 PM   #6
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None. Photography is not a science, itīs an art. So, as long as you get to express what you want, you can use anything.

Now, personally, I like my lenses to perform well at maximum aperture and I mean, good contrast with few aberrations, little flare (with a hood). Sharpness... I think itīs very difficult to find a soft lens nowaday (calibrating autofocus is very important). Saturation... Can take care of that in PP.
06-29-2013, 05:35 PM   #7
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As a general rule? Pre A lenses.




K 50/1.2
A 50/1.2
K 50/1.4
M 50/1.4
A 50/1.4 A little stiff
F 50/1.4
FA 50/1.4
M 50/1.7
A 50/1.7
F 50/1.7 My best fifty
FA 50/1.7 fungal
M 50/2
A 50/2
A 50/2.8 Macro
F 50/2.8 Macro
FA 50/2.8 Macro
D FA 50/2.8 Macro
K 50/4 Macro
M 50/4 Macro fungal
Super-Takumar 50mm F1.4 (Early 8-Element Variant
SMC/S-M-C/Super Takumar 50mm F1.4
Super Macro-Takumar 50mm F4 Early 1:1 preset version
S-M-C/Super Macro-Takumar 50mm F4


I have most of the old ones and do not use them.
06-29-2013, 05:36 PM   #8
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Normally, one might say, "Anything labeled Promaster or Quantaray". But as noted above, no sooner would one suggest that, then another user would post an incredible image taken with said lens. For reference I would suggest the "Off-Brand Club" thread on this site:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/lens-clubs/31353-off-brand-club.html

...and of course, there is the standard safety warning regarding any lens with a green or red "P" on the aperture ring. That is usually a good indication that the lens has the dreaded "Ricoh Pin".


Steve

06-29-2013, 05:37 PM - 1 Like   #9
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I generally avoid manual focus zooms (M series and below) when rooting through used stores for lenses because I've got the impression that technology sucked back then and thus almost all those lenses are crap (yes, there are probably a few exceptions to that).

That being stated, I still apply the sandwich rule: If it's in perfect working order, and it costs less than a sandwich, it's okay to grab it if you want it.
06-29-2013, 05:41 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by EarlVonTapia Quote
That being stated, I still apply the sandwich rule: If it's in perfect working order, and it costs less than a sandwich, it's okay to grab it
Concur.
06-29-2013, 05:45 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by EarlVonTapia Quote
I generally avoid manual focus zooms (M series and below) when rooting through used stores for lenses because I've got the impression that technology sucked back then and thus almost all those lenses are crap (yes, there are probably a few exceptions to that).

That being stated, I still apply the sandwich rule: If it's in perfect working order, and it costs less than a sandwich, it's okay to grab it if you want it.
+1
I think modern zooms are so good that older zooms have no chance. I wouldnīt buy a zoom lens without ED / AL lens. Also, I donīt like varifocal lens (expect for the DA10-17!!)
06-29-2013, 05:47 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by aoeu Quote
I have most of the old ones and do not use them.
I'm sure some people will get mad at you for dissing all this legendary glass , but you do have a point. You may get a bargain on some old glass, but then you see something that takes nearly the same images, but does it slightly better, or easier. Then you want that better glass, and, eventually, you'll get it, because you can't stand the thought that all the pictures you're taking could be just a little better. Then you stop using the lesser lens, and you could have saved a little money by just getting the better lens in the first place.

Those old lenses aren't really bad, though, and what makes a lens "better" varies from person to person. Some people love the feel of those old, pre-A lenses, and refuse to touch a modern "plastic fantastic."
06-29-2013, 05:55 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by scratchpaddy Quote
Consider the Helios 40. It's a Soviet copy of an old German design.
That would be the Helios 44 family of lenses which have a clear line of descent from the Zeiss Biotar. The standard version of Internet "truth" regarding the Helios 40 is that lens is a Soviet design originally intended for photographing oscilloscope displays. That being said, there are a lot of Helios 40 owners who feel strongly that the Helios 40 is a longer version of the Biotar 75/1.5 and they have a page from the KMZ catalog to back that claim up.

One thing is for sure, the Helios 40-2 85/1.5 is lens with huge reputation that fails miserably on the optical bench and succeeds spectacularly in the studio and field. Go figure.


Steve


(...did a little research, including some time in the KMZ online archive and the translated text indicates that the optical design was derived from the Biotar 75/1.5. It also says that rumors of a Leitz Summarex 85/1.5 origin are false. That is a relief to know! The lens is supposedly available for purchase again new from KMZ with a price around $400 USD.)

Last edited by stevebrot; 06-29-2013 at 06:44 PM.
06-29-2013, 06:04 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by scratchpaddy Quote
I'm sure some people will get mad at you for dissing all this legendary glass
I wasn't dissing them. I carry three lenses at all times. Most of the time it's the F50/1.8, the WR 18-55( just in case), and one heavy. Usually it's the FA 100 Macro but I have been known to pick up either the 14 or 85 fast Samyangs.
06-29-2013, 06:16 PM   #15
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The FA J 28-80 was a pretty lousy lens -- poor contrast, really prone to flare. A lot of older Sigma zooms were the same (even modern Sigma zooms are prone to flare, but are much better in most respects). I had a Sigma 70-300 -- a 70 dollar lens and it really was pretty poor.

But even poor lenses can produce good results in the right circumstances...
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