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03-05-2014, 03:25 AM   #1
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Shootout 6 -M42 135mm F2.8/2.5 - you Judge!

Shootout 6 -M42 135mm F2.8/2.5 - you Judge!

Having read a lot of different opinions on various M42 135mm, I thought it might be fun to let you be the judge.

I took six 'affordable' M42 135mm lenses:

SMCT 135mm/F3.5 S/N - 855
SMCT 135mm/F3.5 S/N - 459
Vivitar Chrome Nose (Kiron?) 135/F2.8 S/N 106899
Vivitar Komine 135/2.8 28xxx109
SMCT 135/2.5 43812 V2 8202194
SMCT 135/2.5 43802 V1 4726992

All IMO were in excellent condition - no fungus, scratches, haze, filter dings (indicating dropped) and minimal cosmetic wear. All shots were with a hood attached, and a UV filter (for uniformity - I always have them on all my lenses).

I then setup a test shot following Bob Atkins great 'simple lens tests' using his free chart - and distance spacing. See: http://bobatkins.com/photography/technical/lens_sharpness.html

Camera was a tripod-mounted K-01 with genuine Pentax 30120 adapter.

All shots via 3sec delay infrared release. Live View manual focus with magnification. (To get the 'rising sun' best shimmering)

I let the camera underexpose and did not try to EV compensate for white-whites. But they are all the same.

A typical un-zoomed shot shows below. The Post-Its show which lens, and which F stop. 2 shots each.

Here should be just a single DNG of each. About 300mb: https://drive.google.com/uc?id=0BxeoCe316yvjQnY0ZVhrT2FRa3M&export=download

Finally, single JPG of each - about 200mb: https://drive.google.com/uc?id=0BxeoCe316yvjSm4xTG8xZFh1ZW8&export=download


How do you rank the lenses - sharpness, contrast, CA? I'm trying to decide which lens goes in the K-01 bag - which in the Q bag - which to kids or sell. With the Q - and bird/nature shots - I would think center sharpness and even more lack of CA is most important, as well as F4.0 (maybe 5.6) so I can keep ISO low (comments?). For the K-01 I can let ISO drift up a bit, and of course corner performance is going to be important. But maybe I can use F8 w/o diffraction effects? All thoughts appreciated!

I viewed in the free Lightzone, but Silkypix or whatever opens DNG, or failing that, the K-01 .jpgs have also been included.

Results seem a bit surprising to me. I'll be interested in your opinions and recommendations!

Have fun!
Chris

Note: On the Post-Its '+ 1/2' means the unmarked detent between two marked detents.

Attached Images
View Picture EXIF
PENTAX K-01  Photo 

Last edited by cahudson42; 03-16-2014 at 01:51 PM. Reason: deleted redundant link
03-05-2014, 09:34 AM   #2
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Neither of the links above work. Have you considered uploading as compressed jpegs?
03-05-2014, 10:50 AM   #3
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I see a single image with your post and it is dark, dark, dark...

I then clicked the link to Google Drive and got 404.

Rather than DNG, I would suggest full-resolution, no compression JPEG crops (center and margin) from the original, one pair per lens. I would also suggest proper exposure of the original image.

As for the results, my guess would be that the Vivitars performed on a par with the SMC Taks and maybe even better.


Steve
03-05-2014, 11:48 AM   #4
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Thanks everyone. Sorry for the link screwups... I think they are both fixed. Adkins and the download shots. At least they give me a correct page when I try them from my own browser..

I have added to the original posts links to two smaller files - one just with a single DNG of each test shot, one with JPGs as suggested.

Thanks for letting me know what was wrong - I apologize. Hopefully, all links now work. If not, I again apologize, and please advise.

As to darkness, I found in earlier similar tests of some Tak 1.8/55s that adding EV compensation made it more difficult to see what was going on. Instead, I adjusted exposure in Post Processing temporarily if I was undecided on what I was looking at. So I let the K-01 'underexpose the whites' - thinking it eliminated one variable...

I also decided against just posting an already-cropped image, as with LightZone (and SilkyPix?) I can 'move around' the highly Zoomed view window, look for CA all around - edges, corners, middle - and the same for contrast and resolution - then go back and forth to see how it changes. In other words, leaving more information to look at, rather than less. (My thinking anyway...)

Thanks for looking..


Last edited by cahudson42; 03-05-2014 at 02:27 PM.
03-05-2014, 05:45 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
As for the results, my guess would be that the Vivitars performed on a par with the SMC Taks and maybe even better.
Steve
Hi Steve - Nope. In my view the Vivs were radically different. Thanks for comments! :>)
03-05-2014, 06:19 PM   #6
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Ok, I downloaded the jpg files, but it's just too much work to go through them all for lenses I don't own, so can we have some hints as to what to look for in which files?
03-06-2014, 12:53 AM   #7
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Show us a resume of your test

Please show us a short resume of your test!
03-06-2014, 03:29 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by etrend Quote
Please show us a short resume of your test!
OK - some thoughts so far... All compared RAW...

Based on center sharpness, contrast, and lack of CA, the -855 SMCT 135/3.5 goes in the Q bag. This lens, and its sister -459, while mediocre at F3.5, improve dramatically in contrast and sharpness simply going one-click up (unmarked - but likely F4.0 or F4.5 - anyone know?). At F5.6 -855 is sharp in the corners as well. Bit more CA than at center though. Thus I will try to never shoot it at F3.5. However, the two copies were not identical. -459 was a bit softer (could maybe be focus though)

Both SMCT 135/2.5 were disappointments. Even at F4.0 they were softer and had less contrast than the F3.5s one click up. V1 had more center CA as well. V2 had less center CA but it was still there. I haven't yet decided to sell... Before doing so I would run multiple tests at F4.0 refocusing each time to assure this first test did not have a focus problem.

The Komine at F2.8 was better than the F3.5s at F3.5. At F4.0 it is close to the F3.5s one click up - but definitely had some CA the 3.5s did not. Thus its not a good choice for the Q. Maybe OK for the K-01.

The Chrome Nose 2.8 was the worst at F2.8. Low contrast, CA, soft, 'haloing' around everything. Ugly. But at F5.6 it picked up - certainly better than most Zooms I have tried at 135mm. Worth so little I will probably just give to one of my kids, maybe with an old but great condition Spotmatic F... Maybe best as a Portrait lens on a FF film?

Thats it for now. Still hope some have their own opinions - certainly if they see it differently


Last edited by cahudson42; 03-06-2014 at 11:23 AM.
03-07-2014, 12:15 PM   #9
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I downloaded the DNGs and created a grid of 100% crops from the center and one corner. The chart you used makes it easy to select the same crop from each image. I make two new composite images from all the crops, one for the centers and one for the corners. Horizontally, the aperture decreases, and each new lens goes on a new line. The composite images are easier to see the sharpness differences for all lenses at once at 100%. The results are easier to share too.

I think the exposure shouldn't matter a lot for sharpness but I would really prefer to see a more evenly distributed histogram for contrast and CA. It would make the differences more obvious. The white balance differences were distracting but maybe don't matter.

I agree with all your above conclusions from the images. The 43812 Takumar ought to have been almost identical to the Vivitar/Komine for sharpness, and better at flare. I would definitely retest them. I never tested the 43802, but I assume they did not add another element to the design for fun.

Some Pentax lens manuals state that the first click down from wide open, marked with a dot on the aperture ring, is a full stop down from wide open. That makes logical sense to me.
03-07-2014, 02:11 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Just1MoreDave Quote
I downloaded the DNGs and created a grid of 100% crops from the center and one corner.....(snip).... Some Pentax lens manuals state that the first click down from wide open, marked with a dot on the aperture ring, is a full stop down from wide open. That makes logical sense to me.
Hi Just1MoreDave: Wow! Neat way to compare. Can you attach your composite? Or give a link to it possibly?

I will try to reshoot the 43812 and 43802 over this weekend sometime and report. FWIW - both the 43802, and the 'winning' -855 were purchased new by me in the '70s. Always kept in the house, never abused, and used little - if at all - after about 1985. All the other lenses were bought over the last year or so as I got back into things with a K-01, and then a Q. (and as I put additional K-01 kits together for my two kids.). Makes me wonder about how much these old M42 Taks performance depends on the lens history - abuse, and storage.

I continue to be amazed by the Vivitar Komine. I just did a bit more looking, and now see that this lens came in both a V4 version from 1974 to 1976 with 5-elements, and later dropped to 4-elements. And they look the same externally. But the 5-element has an 8-blade aperture (as mine does) - while the 4-elements have a 6-blade. Certainly might be making a difference in the ratings we see on the Forums Vivitar tests...

Don't know if you own a SMCT 135/F3.5 - but the aperture ring markings go: 3.5 - unmarked_dot - 5.6. Am I right a full stop from 3.5 is 5.0? I'm still sorta guessing the dot is possibly 4.5, maybe 4.8. Maybe when I reshoot the 2.5s I can see if a change in shutter speed indicates what it actually is.

Thanks for taking the time and reporting your analysis. For now, the -855 goes in the Q bag, and I think I'll start using the Komine a bit with the K-01 and see how it goes.

Chris
03-07-2014, 03:05 PM   #11
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I uploaded them to flickr. I think you can get the original size there. They are too big to embed in a forum post.

Centers
Corners

I didn't label them but the layout is like I described. Each column is the apertures: 2.5, 2.8, 3.5, 4, the dot, 5.6 and 8. The rows are the lenses as you shot them. I used the first shot for each lens, and left out the shots between 5.6 and 8. The backgrounds are different colors so I don't lose track pasting in all the crops.

I tried to figure out that first click thing before, and it's harder than it looks. The shutter speed only goes in third or half stops, so you might look at the brightness change of a grayscale image.
03-17-2014, 12:03 PM   #12
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135/2.5 43812 Retest

QuoteOriginally posted by Just1MoreDave Quote
.... The 43812 Takumar ought to have been almost identical to the Vivitar/Komine for sharpness, and better at flare. I would definitely retest them. I never tested the 43802, but I assume they did not add another element to the design for fun. .....
I finally got around to retesting my SMCT 135/2.5 43812 against the 'previous winner' 135/3.5 SMCT - 855. Plus added a 'new' 135 - a just bought for $16 (couldn't resist) preset Takumar, third version, c1961 49mm filter. The comparison full DNGs are here: https://drive.google.com/uc?id=0BxeoCe316yvjU0x2dFBUTE5ReDA&export=download

They are in order:

135/3.5 Tak Preset -572
135/3,5 SMCT - 855
135/2.5 SMCT -194

I tried to replicate the previous test conditions as best as possible. I did, however, refocus on duplicate shots.

My take on the retest, I'm not going to sell the 135/2.5. And while I am still going to keep the -855 3.5 in the Q bag, it seems the -194 2.5 this time, is slightly sharper at F4.0 than the 3.5 'one click up', and with similar contrast though perhaps a bit more CA. Fine for use on my K-01, less so with the CA, on the Q.

The ancient PS 3.5 is third, but nowhere near as far behind as the c1967 Vivitar (Kiron) Chrome Nose. At F4.0 it was strangely slightly sharper at the edge than at the center (?). The -855 SMCT 3.5 was better 'one click up' at center, but perhaps slightly worse at the edge. But overall, as might be expected with the old single blue coating, contrast seemed lower. CA more like the 2.5? (3/25/14: Relook at the PS 135: It is the sharpest - center and edge - wide open at F3.5. It is lightest and with Preset, a pleasure to use. CA is not that bad - I'm going to give it more of a try on the Q.)

Focus errors can play a part in distorting results. Even with the K-01 latest (next to latest) firmware and magnified focus peaking, the DOF is shallow and shows it sometimes in the magnified crops.

Bottom line - I'm no longer concerned I wasted $$ on the 43812, and will put it in the K-01 bag. Still liking the size, color, and contrast of the -855 on my Q. Its really the longest I can reasonably shoot hand-held on the Q, and has become my 'go to' for walk-around nature shots.

As always, your opinions, differences. appreciated

Last edited by cahudson42; 03-25-2014 at 01:49 PM. Reason: relook at PS 135
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