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03-26-2008, 01:36 PM   #1
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wildflowers with 4 different lenses (4 lrg images)

I've been shooting a patch of bluebonnets this week and tried a variety of lenses, the 50-135, the 77Ltd, the 200 and the Tamron 18-250 (just for good measure). All were taken with the K20D. I need to go back and try this with the 16-50 and maybe the FA50 for good measure.

This was not a controlled test at all. The first batch with the DA*50-135 were taken one morning. The second batch with the Tamron 18-250 were taken that afternoon (so the lighting was different). The third batch with the 77Ltd and DA*200 were taken the next day in the morning.

All in all, there were some nice shots with all the lenses, though the Tamron was hampered by the slow aperture and slow shutter speed (there was a breeze that affected sharpness). If I'd been thinking (there's a novel idea), I would have bumped up the ISO slightly to speed up the shutter for the 18-250 shots to increase sharpness.

First shot is with the FA77mm f/1.8, taken at 77mm (what else?), f/1.8, 1/3200s, ISO 100


Second shot is with the DA*200, taken at (you guessed it) 200mm, f/2.8, 1/1600s, ISO 100


Third shot is with the Tamron 18-250 taken at 250mm, f/6.3, 1/250s, ISO 100


Fourth shot is with the DA*50-135 taken at 123mm, f/2.8, 1/1250s, ISO 100



Of all of these, I'm not sure which one I like the best. The Tamron is not the best, but again, I don't think I gave it a fair shake. However, it does point out the limits of a lens like this compared to higher grade lenses. The 77Ltd has a 3-D quality, though I'm sure that's due to the shallow depth of field.

These are all on the first page (as of 3/25) on my Flickr site, and I have the full sized jpeg on there straight from the camera. If you want to pixel peep, go right ahead!

03-26-2008, 02:07 PM   #2
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Really nice test you have here, I like the DA200 and the Da50-135 tops, they are pretty much neck and neck with a slight edge going to the DA200 for the great bokeh and the DOF being really clean and producing a nice 3-D effect. The DA50-135 IMO has better bokeh but for the same focal length the DOF is a bit larger, maybe it was just the crop of the photo due to lack of reach. The 77LTD is really nice, but hte DOF is way too thin, I'd of loved to have seen it backed off to f/2.8. The Tammy, well, thanks for playing.
03-26-2008, 02:41 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Buddha Jones Quote
. The Tammy, well, thanks for playing.


Yeah, I hate to rag on the Tamron as I think it's a great lens for what it is. But, yeah, it doesn't hold up to this comparison.
04-09-2008, 08:08 AM   #4
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Just to be complete, here's a shot with the DA*16-50 at 50mm, f/2.8, 1/2000s, ISO100.



I like this lens a lot more since I've put in on my K20D.

04-09-2008, 10:39 AM   #5
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In fairness, I think the Tamron example should have been taken at something less than it's max point. I'd shoot it at 100-150mm and around f7.1 to 8. I think it would have produced a much better result.

I really like the sweet spot on the 77ltd, but would have backed it out to about 2.8 and I bet it would have been clearly the winner.

Jas
04-09-2008, 12:10 PM   #6
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Agreed on all points. I tend to shoot these things wide open because I can. I agree that stopping them down would really sharpen things up, though they're fine right now for my purposes.

One other thing hampering the Tamron was the shutter speed. I should've bumped up the ISO a bit to get faster shutter speeds. There was a little breeze and that could have contributed to a little softness as well. As for shooting at the long end, I was trying to emphasize the "macro" function this lens advertises for its close focusing ability.

Not a controlled test by any means, but hopefully it gives people some ideas of the "look" from each lens.
04-09-2008, 05:21 PM   #7
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Really like the 'painting' like quality of the oof blur on the 50-135, but that bee in the 200 shot is key. Speed, magnification, quality of glass and skill come together to get that to happen. The 77 and 135 look a tad sharper, but I wonder if you weren't focusing on the plane the bee was on in that shot?
04-09-2008, 05:40 PM   #8
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Thats interesting Russ, and useful as well in that while its not 'scientific' it is a grass roots field comparison that many can/will relate to.

My observations are (keep in my mind I am viewing this on an ageing laptop)
1: None of these shots are what you could call 'bad' and most amateur photogs would be happy to claim them as their own.

2. The DA* 50-135 is a star.

3. The (your) DA* 16-50 is up there too. I just hope they got the production issues sorted on this and this lens increasingly appeals.

4. While there is a difference between the lenses it is put into perspective, and the purchasing decision will come down to $$$ and potential usage.

Thanks for the effort in doing this and posting.
Grant

04-09-2008, 05:50 PM   #9
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I notice all were shot at maximum aperture to get a narrow DOF and consequently a blurred background. The focal length will also have a bearing on the amount of background clutter or subject isolation.

Good comparison of images but the missing element is the camera to subject distance shot with each lens.
04-09-2008, 06:19 PM   #10
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nice photos ... would have been fun if you hadn't posted which lens you used :P
04-09-2008, 06:53 PM   #11
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To me the bokeh of the 77Ltd crushes the competition. The *200 is very sharp and the bokeh is nice but wow, the 77ltd is awesome!
04-09-2008, 07:14 PM   #12
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Interesting test. I can see the "3D quality" in both the 77 ltd and the 50-135. 77 is the bokeh king here. 50-135's bokeh is slightly worst than the DA*200 but it is significantly sharper. The 16-50 looks very good in all aspect. Nice work rfortson!
04-09-2008, 08:19 PM   #13
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I'm going to do something controversial...I'm going to comment on the artistic merit of these photos.

Russ, they're all technically sound (including the Tamron one). But the best of the lot is the one shot with the DA* 200mm. Why, because you captured the bee in mid-flight towards the flowers, perfect focus on both subjects, great lighting, and nice composition to boot.

I wouldn't care which lens you had used, if the scene shot was #2, that would be my choice.

These lenses are 99% the same, as far as I'm concerned. To me the only difference is the subject matter and the person behind to camera.

Well done for #2, Russ
04-10-2008, 08:59 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Miserere Quote
I'm going to do something controversial...I'm going to comment on the artistic merit of these photos.

Russ, they're all technically sound (including the Tamron one). But the best of the lot is the one shot with the DA* 200mm. Why, because you captured the bee in mid-flight towards the flowers, perfect focus on both subjects, great lighting, and nice composition to boot.

I wouldn't care which lens you had used, if the scene shot was #2, that would be my choice.

These lenses are 99% the same, as far as I'm concerned. To me the only difference is the subject matter and the person behind to camera.

Well done for #2, Russ
Thanks for the compliment. As the sports guys say, performance is when luck meets preparation (or something like that). I was prepared with a camera, and I got lucky that the bee flew in when it did.

I like closeups of flowers (I need to get a macro lens) but I need to start thinking a little more creatively about how to shoot them. Yvon posted a topic about a lady that shoots flowers at night and paints them with a flashlight (or torch, for my British friends). That's certainly a different way to look at flowers.

QuoteOriginally posted by thePiRaTE!! Quote
Really like the 'painting' like quality of the oof blur on the 50-135, but that bee in the 200 shot is key. Speed, magnification, quality of glass and skill come together to get that to happen. The 77 and 135 look a tad sharper, but I wonder if you weren't focusing on the plane the bee was on in that shot?
See above. I just got lucky, though there were lots of bees buzzing around, so it was just a matter of time one came in on the "correct" approach. I did try to focus on the bee just to see if the lenses could do it. In general, it seemed like they could.

QuoteOriginally posted by GWP Quote
Thats interesting Russ, and useful as well in that while its not 'scientific' it is a grass roots field comparison that many can/will relate to.

My observations are (keep in my mind I am viewing this on an ageing laptop)
1: None of these shots are what you could call 'bad' and most amateur photogs would be happy to claim them as their own.

2. The DA* 50-135 is a star.

3. The (your) DA* 16-50 is up there too. I just hope they got the production issues sorted on this and this lens increasingly appeals.

4. While there is a difference between the lenses it is put into perspective, and the purchasing decision will come down to $$$ and potential usage.

Thanks for the effort in doing this and posting.
Grant
Hi Grant, thanks for the comments. I really like the 50-135. I haven't used the 77Ltd nearly enough, though I like it. Since I got the K20D, the 16-50 just seems to be a much better lens than I originally thought when I used it on the K10D. I was impressed with how well this flower shot came out with that lens. I feel much better about the 16-50 now.

QuoteOriginally posted by creampuff Quote
I notice all were shot at maximum aperture to get a narrow DOF and consequently a blurred background. The focal length will also have a bearing on the amount of background clutter or subject isolation.

Good comparison of images but the missing element is the camera to subject distance shot with each lens.
Good point. I don't know exactly how close I was for each shot, but in general I was about as close as I could get and still focus. I don't know what that is for the Pentax lenses, but the Tamron advertises something around 17-18 inches. I'd say all of them were within two feet.

The focal length aspect of DOF is very important, and not mentioned that often. That's how the Bigma can get background blasting shots like this at f/6.7, 500mm.



Thanks for all the other compliments/comments. It was a good excuse to get out and use my new toys, and the flowers are always a willing subject. Next time, I'll get my wife to pose. (Yeah, right!)
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