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12-28-2014, 07:40 PM - 1 Like   #31
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QuoteOriginally posted by Driline Quote
AHA! so you admit the 18-135 is inferior compared to the 16-50 & 50-135..... You all heard him say it. I know I did ...... LOL.

Hey question for you. Would you dump the 50-135 for the FA 77? I'm contemplating selling or trading my 50-135 for the FA 77. Once I do I'll have all the three Amigo's.
If you need ƒ2.8, and you have to admit, ƒ5.6 at 135 mm can be a little limiting. You have your slowest aperture when you need your fastest shutter. So that's an easy one. In some ways the 16-50 , 50-135 combination is better. On the other hand, if you want to carry one lens, don't like lens changes, are shooting mostly ƒ5.6 to ƒ11 for DoF and resolution, and either shoot in good light, or in situations where you can use long exposures, the 18-135 will match them, at a much cheaper price. Personally, I'd rather have an 18-135 and the three Amigos, than the 16-50 and 50-135. But that would also be predicated on keeping my 60-250.

After looking at the following...
Review: DA* 16-50mm vs. Sigma and Tamron 17-50mm F2.8 Comparison - Introduction | PentaxForums.com Reviews
I'm still quite happy with my Tamron 17-50 as my 2.8 zoom. At least I would be if my wife would ever let me borrow it.
After taking (in the guise of " borrowing") my Tamron 90 macro and falling in love with it... (she get's antsy if i even touch it now), she's afraid if i take a lens out of her bag, I'll get her back by refusing to return it.

That's the way it works... because she's "the wife", I don't get to use my lens and I don't get to use her lenses either. In other words. What's mine is hers and what's hers is hers.


Last edited by normhead; 12-28-2014 at 07:46 PM.
12-28-2014, 07:45 PM   #32
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
If you need 2.8, and you have to admit, 5.6 at 135 mm can be a little limiting. You have your slowest aperture when you need your fastest shutter. So that's an easy one. In some ways the 16-50 , 50-135 combination is better. On the other hand, if you want to carry one lens, don't like lens changes, are shooting mostly 5.6 to 11 for DoF and resolution, and either shoot in good light, or in situations where you can use long exposures, the 18-135 will match them, at a much cheaper price. Personally, I'd rather have an 18-135 and the three Amigos, than the 16-50 and 50-135. But that would also be predicated on keeping my 60-250.

After looking at the following...
Review: DA* 16-50mm vs. Sigma and Tamron 17-50mm F2.8 Comparison - Introduction | PentaxForums.com Reviews
I'm still quite happy with my Tamron 17-50 as my 2.8 zoom. At least I would be if my wife would ever let me borrow it.
I've handled the 60-250 in the camera store, but its such a HUGE lens. I was overwhelmed by it. So that lens will probably stay off my LBA list for now.
12-28-2014, 07:56 PM   #33
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QuoteOriginally posted by Driline Quote
I've handled the 60-250 in the camera store, but its such a HUGE lens. I was overwhelmed by it. So that lens will probably stay off my LBA list for now.
We are thinking of picking up a DA*200 ƒ2.8 just for the reduction in size and weight. Used with my HD DA 1.4 and FA 1.7 TC, it could actually be quite versatile. IF Pentax made a quality 135 2.8 (or better yet, a 150mm prime) I'd consider getting rid of the 60-250. As of right now, it's pretty much indispensable. My current travel kit is 18-135 and 60-250 with 1.4 TC and whatever primes I can squeeze into my pack, but almost always the 21 and 40 xs, as a bare minimum bare minimum with the Sigma 70 macro up next.
12-28-2014, 09:44 PM   #34
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QuoteOriginally posted by Driline Quote
Hey question for you. Would you dump the 50-135 for the FA 77? I'm contemplating selling or trading my 50-135 for the FA 77. Once I do I'll have all the three Amigo's.
If I were forced to sell one of them it'd be the 50-135 just because I am so much of a prime guy. Honestly, my 50-135 gets very little use, which is a shame because I really do love the photos from it. I keep expecting the SDM to be dead every time I pick it up, but it's still rock solid. Mine is several years old and has never given me a moment's trouble. Knock on wood. I keep it only because when I need it, I need it pretty badly. The FA77 would be one of the last lenses I would sell. Especially since this is the second copy I've had and it's noticeably better than the first.

Ironically, I am getting ready to sell my FA43. I don't use it anymore, either, and with the 31 and the 55, I'm fine without it. I chased having the three amigos at one time, but now that I've had them for a while the cachet of that is gone, I guess. My other hobby interest is needing some love right now, so the FA43 has stepped up and will be making the ultimate sacrifice. Maybe she can complete someone else's amigo set and not be lonely.

12-28-2014, 10:04 PM   #35
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QuoteOriginally posted by DogLover Quote
The FA77 would be one of the last lenses I would sell. Especially since this is the second copy I've had and it's noticeably better than the first.
That's disconcerting. If I get one I want it to be perfect right off the bat. Even more so because I'll probably buy it used.
12-29-2014, 01:27 AM   #36
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
IF Pentax made a quality 135 2.8 (or better yet, a 150mm prime) I'd consider getting rid of the 60-250.
I know you're going to say it's no good because of the CA, but the FA (or F) 135/2.8 is wonderfully light and small, and it takes very nice images. AF is also very fast, for those who need it (e.g. for action shots). And no one ever feels intimidated when it's pointed at them - it looks like a kit lens, if not less. They have no idea you're as close as a 200mm FF lens, and because of the IF it doesn't look like you're "zooming in on them" either.

---------- Post added 12-29-14 at 12:38 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Driline Quote
Hey question for you. Would you dump the 50-135 for the FA 77? I'm contemplating selling or trading my 50-135 for the FA 77. Once I do I'll have all the three Amigo's.
As I may have mentioned to you before, the FA77 is just as versatile as the DA*50-135, because of the f/1.8 aperture (it's very good wide-open). Its small size helps too, and its AF speed is pretty good IIRC (I have the FA*85 now - better than the FA77, but not by that much).

But I need both - the DA*50-135 is really good for events or when I want a quiet lens or can use the zoom. The FA*85 is great for low light and has much faster focusing for action shots. I suppose I use the FA*85 even more, but I really need both. If I had to trim my "essential six" down to four I suppose I'd keep my F*300, FA*85, DA*50-135, and FA*24. So while I'd give up my DA*16-50 and D FA 100 WR macro - and that would be a problem - I still really need both the 85 and 50-135. But on any given day, one of them can easily replace the other as the only one I take with me. So it is possible to replace one with the other, if you want to. I suppose the FA*85 would win the fight in the end, but it'd be close!



FWIW (to both you and Norm), if push came to shove, I could probably meet most of my needs with a two lens kit of the FA135/2.8 and FA*24/2. So I think it's doable without a zoom.

Last edited by DSims; 12-29-2014 at 01:54 AM.
12-29-2014, 04:03 AM - 1 Like   #37
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
You guys need to go to photozone. and see what you can do with these lenses. The 18-135 can hold it's own with the 16-50, no problem, and the DA 16-50 is worse for chromatic aberrations. If you look at the charts you're going to see, knowing where the strengths of the 18-135 and 16-50 are, of course you can get better results with DA 18-135 than you can with the DA*16-50. Look at 24 mm 5.6 or 8 or 50mm 5.6 or 8. Look at the CA numbers at 50mm @ 5.6. Over 1 at 5.6. For the DA 18-135, under .7. Given that the DA*16-50 is more than 3 times the money, from my perspective it's just a complete waste of money, unless you need 2.8 or 16mm I have to say, I don't like trashing other people's lenses, but in this case, there's a few folks who have earned it. The DA 18-135 is not a wide aperture lens, and it needs to be stopped down, but if you use it to it's strength, it should kick the DA*16-50's butt. I went for the Tamron 17-50. If you look at the Tamron 17-50, by the charts it's a huge improvement over the DA*16-50, and I can buy both the 18-135 and the Tarmon 17-50 for $400 less than the DA*16-50 and have WR on the 18-135 and a couple hundred dollars left over.

The DA* 50-135 by comparison looks to be a standout piece of glass. But people going on about the DA*16-50 just leaves me shaking my head, both the images I've seen on line, and the numbers. It's excellent in sharpness edge to edge in every category except

To me it's a no brainer. I've got the best corner to corner zoom in the Tamron 17-50, if you look at the stats, wide open it just blows the 16-50 away in everything but maximum centre sharpness. The Tamron at 16 compared to the DA*16-50 at 2.8 at any focal length, the Tamron simply leaves it in the dust. People who shoot with the DA*16-50 complaining about the DA 18-135's edges really need to look at the DA*16-50, @ 2.8, at any focal length. The 16-50 in the wide end, wide open, is almost as bad as the18-135 in the long end. But hey, does anyone go on and on about that? Maybe they should.

But hey, it's your money.
I read your various comments, Norm, and I find it odd that you focus so much on the "numbers" with these lenses when you usually are more of an image guy. The Tamron 17-50 is a fine lens, but I don't think the 18-135 is in the same ball park with these f2.8 lenses, whatever the CAs are. I really like the 16-50. The only down side, in my opinion is flare, but that is workable.

Anyway, it ends up being my go-to lens when it comes to every day shooting and landscape photos, as well.





Just a few recent photos with the 16-50...
12-29-2014, 06:07 AM   #38
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A very interesting exchange of ideas. Perhaps this deserves its own thread but I'll ask it here since it seems central to the discussion. If you had to rank the importance of factors to overall IQ, how would you do it? The candidates that I've detected in this thread:

Resolution
Contrast
Chromatic aberration
Did I miss any?

For the purposes of keeping this relevant, it only makes sense to put boundaries on the criteria. For example, there's no point in saying "resolution has to be #1 as without it, you don't have an image". That's true but let's only consider resolution in the range we find modern lenses of various quality. Also, I'll leave out things like distortion and vignetting as they're in a whole different category. Any thoughts?

12-29-2014, 07:35 AM   #39
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The biggest motivation most people have buying the DA 18-135 is zoom range and it's convenience as a walk around lens. If that isn't an issue, then the 16-50 and 50-135 combination gives you much better optics and IQ if the price doesn't scare you. I can also come up with lots of reasons to add the 16-50 (or similar like the Tammy or Sigma) and keeping the 18-135.
12-29-2014, 07:54 AM   #40
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
I'm still quite happy with my Tamron 17-50 as my 2.8 zoom.
You must have a good copy. I'm very disappointed in mine. Image quality seemed fine for what little it's been used so far, but from day one it would underexpose by about 1.5 stops ( on both my camera bodies ). I'm not talking about metering being off - the camera would meter correctly, but the shot would end up underexposed. Swap a different lens on, keep the same settings, and the exposure is correct. I took it in for warranty repairs, and it came back in far worse shape. Now it overexposes by about 2 stops. I think there's something wrong with the aperture blades - they don't seem to start moving until I reach around f4.5. It's in for repair again - I'm hoping they get it right this time. The folks at the repair facility wanted me to leave a camera body for them to use in adjusting the lens. None of my other lenses have any problem giving me correct exposure. F8 is F8.

Overall, I'm unimpressed with the quality control with Tamron. That aside, the build quality does not inspire confidence. Manual focus is far from smooth. I feel like I need to handle this lens very carefully, which
doesn't really fit with my rough and tumble shooting style.

I have never handled one, but from what I've read, I'm tempted to ditch the Tamron 17-50 for a ( used ) DA*16-50 for the following advantages:

a) 16mm vs 17mm
b) quickshift (!)
c) WR
d) rugged construction

The CA complaints I've read give me pause, but I'd never shoot the thing wide open ( I like constant f2.8 for the bright image it would give in the viewfinder ). Or I may give up on
wide zooms entirely and just get a 15mm LTD.

All this said, I will concede that the Pentax kit lenses can be quite good. I used to get some great results on the wide end with my DA 18-55 II, until I fell on it a couple of years ago.
The 18-55 WR I have now is far softer on the wide end.

It's a shame there's so much variability from one copy of these lenses to the next.
12-29-2014, 09:06 AM - 2 Likes   #41
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QuoteQuote:
I read your various comments, Norm, and I find it odd that you focus so much on the "numbers" with these lenses when you usually are more of an image guy.
I usually look to see if the number back up my opinions. If they do I post them.
If they don't, I try and figure out why.
I don't think anyone thinks the DA*16-50 is a bad lens... the question is, can I get away with a DA 18-135 for the types of images I shot, and the answer is, for the most part I can. Part of that is having the 60-250, which covers it's weak end, and part of that is having primes in it's focal length.

It's good points are listed above in. My consideration in most of these discussions is the idea that IQ favours the DA* lenses in this case. I'm not convinced that's true. There are areas where the DA*s are on their own, at ƒ2.8 and in the long end at ƒ4 as well. But in real world comparisons, I don't see an advantage. A guy who can take good images with the DA*s can take good images with the DA 18-135. The IQ differences are relatively minor.

QuoteOriginally posted by IchabodCrane Quote
A very interesting exchange of ideas. Perhaps this deserves its own thread but I'll ask it here since it seems central to the discussion. If you had to rank the importance of factors to overall IQ, how would you do it? The candidates that I've detected in this thread:

Resolution
Contrast
Chromatic aberration
Did I miss any?

For the purposes of keeping this relevant, it only makes sense to put boundaries on the criteria. For example, there's no point in saying "resolution has to be #1 as without it, you don't have an image". That's true but let's only consider resolution in the range we find modern lenses of various quality. Also, I'll leave out things like distortion and vignetting as they're in a whole different category. Any thoughts?
When I test all my lenses cable of achieving 90mm, in many ways even the cheapest lenses, like the Sigma 70-300, the images all came out pretty good. But at that time the three that really stood out were the Tamron 90 and DA*60-250 with the 70-300 in close third. It quickly became obvious that resolution wasn't the ticket. When i looked up the difference between the Tamron 90 and the 60-250, the only thing that stood out was were the CA values. To me, there is a correlation between CA values and micro contrast. The sigma, had the worst CA by far. It even showed some fringing on my test images. The DA*60-250, probably one of the most corrected zooms in existence, and stacked up well, but the Tamron 90 beats it in control of CA. The published resolution numbers for the two lenses are close enough to be a saw off, so the CA was the last factor un-accounted for. We were able to agree, myself looking at the images, my wife in a blind test, in that she didn't know which image was which, and we both agreed the Tamron 90 image while practically identical, look sharper, because it had better micro-contrast. There was no significant difference in detail, even with the Sigma 70-300. SO my understanding would be, that resolution while important is over-rated. In earlier discussion with jsherman and the like I actually laid out mathematically why that's true. (Calculate the difference in a 20 inch deep picture the difference between, 2000 lw/ph and 2300 lw/ph, and tell me you can discern that difference looking at an image from 8 inches).

But, even CA under a pixel in width affects micro-contrast, and the appearance of sharpness. My rule of thumb has become to not buy lenses with their highest CA value ever .7 pixels for the camera I'm buying and I prefer it from .2 to .4 pixels.

Of course I have many lenses that don't meet the criteria, at the time I did the tests. Of the 5 lens I tested, the fourth one being the 18-135, which as it was a landscape with all the detail at infinity finished very poorly because of edge detail, and an old 35-80 I threw in just as a sort of control, to make sure I knew what bad really looked like.

But after all that pixel peeping, the end result was, any of those top 4 images was good enough to print. The differences between the top 3 were only noticeable pixel peeping on a 27 inch monitor. And I have yet to determine what the output would be, that would make that level of excellence or would be able to even take advantage of that level of excellence.

Following this particular line of thought, I've also done tests that show a 36 MP image is indistinguishable from a 16 Mp image by about 7 or 8 Mp when you reduce the size. So long story short, on my monitor which is 27 MP across, shooting uncorked images, you won't be able to tell the difference. And I know of no test that establishes how big you have to print to be able to tell whether you shot 36 MP or 16 Mp.

All in all, what my rather un-scientific and cheaply executed investigation have led me to believe is that being comfortable with what you shoot and taking full advantage of the strengths of whatever you have, is more important than the actual hardware. People want to believe they can buy an advantage. If you look at work like MikeSF his work was spectacular with a K-5 and it's spectacular with a 645D.. but is it more spectacular with the 645D? That's a really tough call. People need to understand that when comparing things like a 16-50 and 50-135 combo to a 18-135, there are times when both are going to give you the better image. And sometimes you're going to get the image with the 18-135 because if you stop to change lenses you're going to lose it. And other times, like shooting at ƒ5.6 or ƒ8 you may get a better image with the 18-135 because it controls CA better than the 16-50 or the 50-135 at some FL and apertures.. Same at 135mm compared to the DA* 50-135 if the edges are OOF.

This blanket assumption that when you buy a better lens you get the better image is seriously flawed, at least that's what my testing would show. If you buy the better lens and can use it to it's strength, you get the better image. But you can't always use a lens to it's strength. It may well be that you buy a more expensive lens and the image you get in particular circumstance is one you could have matched or surpassed with a cheeper lens, just because in the case of zooms, the cheaper zoom just happened to be sharper with less CA at that focal length. At that point it doesn't matter that the more expensive lens might have come out superior in 90% of the images you shoot. If the best looking image is your goal, you should have been shooting the cheaper lens.

I tend to think, unless of course you're spending thousands on your lenses, buying better glass gets you better odds of getting better IQ, but not necessarily better IQ on every image you take with it. IN the case of the DA*16-50 and DA*50-135, the CA values leave me shaking my head. But I also know, if it's good otherwise, the likelihood of having an output device that is accurate enough to show the differences are pretty remote. If it's acceptably sharp, has reasonable control of CA you're probably splitting hairs. Which is what we had to do to see any difference at all between our top 3, one of which can be had for $200.

So at this point my opinion is, take picture with what you have, it's probably good enough. You can sell images taken with what you own, and when you do, you can buy something better. But to me, the reason for buying better glass is, your skills have advanced to the point where it will make a difference. And people who have reached that point, don't need someone else to tell them what they need. So my answer to "should I buy better glass?" is always no. If you don't know why you need it, you don't need it.

Last edited by normhead; 01-03-2015 at 06:39 AM.
12-29-2014, 10:40 AM   #42
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QuoteOriginally posted by Driline Quote
That's disconcerting. If I get one I want it to be perfect right off the bat. Even more so because I'll probably buy it used.
I wouldn't worry too much about it. My first one wasn't terrible, I just wasn't ever blown away by it, which is why I ended up selling it and thinking maybe I had just bought into some hype. But I kept seeing so many great images with it here that I was persuaded to try it again, and I'm so glad I did. My current copy is dang good.

You don't hear much about folks getting bad copies of that lens. I think it was an anomaly. And again, mine wasn't really bad, it just wasn't great. Incidentally, my first copy was MIJ, current copy is AIV. Always like to debunk that myth when possible. I know, some early AIV copies left a little to be desired, but not all the MIJ's are automatically golden, either.

Anyway, chances are pretty small that you'd get a dud. Buying used actually helps you because you can request some pics taken with the lens.
12-29-2014, 11:00 AM   #43
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The 16-50 is a great walk around lens, if you want a faster speed than you get with lenses like the 18-135 or 16-85. The issue really isn't the speed on the wide end (most of the time with landscape you are going to be shooting at f8). Being able to shoot at f2.8 or f4 on the longer end is awfully handy to have, though.

Having 16mm is also pretty handy to have and for all the talk about its weaknesses, it usually comes through for me.

(shot at f8 and 16mm)


Last edited by Rondec; 12-29-2014 at 11:09 AM.
12-29-2014, 11:29 AM   #44
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Beautiful shot of the 'Burgh! You are making me want that 16-50 after all!
12-29-2014, 12:36 PM   #45
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QuoteOriginally posted by loco Quote
Beautiful shot of the 'Burgh! You are making me want that 16-50 after all!
Nobody takes better pics with the 16-50 than Rondec. He's fooled me several times thinking he shot it with the FA 31
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