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01-19-2015, 09:33 AM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by IchabodCrane Quote
At the risk of side-tracking the thread a little bit, what is the importance of constant aperture zooms that is mentioned all of the time? I get the advantage when using fully manual exposure or fully manual flash, but that's a very small percentage of all shots taken these days. What am I missing here?
Flawed technogeek logic:

"A kit lens is a variable aperture lens,
so a variable aperture lens must be a kit lens."

01-19-2015, 09:43 AM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by IchabodCrane Quote
At the risk of side-tracking the thread a little bit, what is the importance of constant aperture zooms that is mentioned all of the time? I get the advantage when using fully manual exposure or fully manual flash, but that's a very small percentage of all shots taken these days. What am I missing here?
Traditionally, variable aperture zooms were not the same quality as constant aperture zooms. There is a little bit of aggravation as well, in setting your aperture at f2.8, then zooming and your aperture flipping to f4.

None of these things are the end of the world. If you set your aperture to f8 and leave it there, you would probably be just fine with a variable aperture zoom. If you shoot wide open a lot, then you might be frustrated with these sorts of zooms.
01-19-2015, 11:46 AM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by IchabodCrane Quote
At the risk of side-tracking the thread a little bit, what is the importance of constant aperture zooms that is mentioned all of the time? I get the advantage when using fully manual exposure or fully manual flash, but that's a very small percentage of all shots taken these days. What am I missing here?
back in the film days - before autofocus - one of the advantages of a fixed aperture zoom was that they could be made to be 'parafocal'.
that is - you could zoom out to the max magnification of your focus point - focus - and zoom back in to your composition framing at a lower zoom 'mm' and the picture would stay in focus. A nice - quick - focusing aid.
Now with Autofocus - it's not as useful but still nice - especially if you need to change your composition at the last minute in a quick moving situation
01-19-2015, 11:47 AM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by IchabodCrane Quote
At the risk of side-tracking the thread a little bit, what is the importance of constant aperture zooms that is mentioned all of the time? I get the advantage when using fully manual exposure or fully manual flash, but that's a very small percentage of all shots taken these days. What am I missing here?
You are missing that the shutter speed goes slower as you zoom, when you really need the reverse. Take the 55-300 I use, for example. We took a whale trip in Maui last month, and having taken only three DA lenses for the trip (12-24/4, 16-50/2.8 and 55-300/4-5.8) I mounted the 55-300 for obvious reasons.

The weather was terrible. It was windy and rainy and generally not photographically conducive. 55 people had booked the boat we took, 44 cancelled. This had a good side - I only have two shots with somebody else's body parts in them. The bad side of the weather is that I was working with 1/400" exposures at 300mm and a maximum aperture of f/5.8. Between the corkscrew motion of the boat in three foot (1 meter) seas with the clutch disengaged because the whales were too close, the slippery decks, the random appearance of the whales in one or another direction, shake reduction is useless. I needed more shutter speed, and there was no way to get it.

01-19-2015, 12:55 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by Canada_Rockies Quote
You are missing that the shutter speed goes slower as you zoom, when you really need the reverse. Take the 55-300 I use, for example. We took a whale trip in Maui last month, and having taken only three DA lenses for the trip (12-24/4, 16-50/2.8 and 55-300/4-5.8) I mounted the 55-300 for obvious reasons.

The weather was terrible. It was windy and rainy and generally not photographically conducive. 55 people had booked the boat we took, 44 cancelled. This had a good side - I only have two shots with somebody else's body parts in them. The bad side of the weather is that I was working with 1/400" exposures at 300mm and a maximum aperture of f/5.8. Between the corkscrew motion of the boat in three foot (1 meter) seas with the clutch disengaged because the whales were too close, the slippery decks, the random appearance of the whales in one or another direction, shake reduction is useless. I needed more shutter speed, and there was no way to get it.
Sure, I realize the importance of aperture with telephoto action shots but that's a different issue. There have been comments previously expressed on this forum leading one to think an F/4 lens is better than an F/2.8 - 4 lens just because it's constant aperture. In your shooting situation, the constant aperture would be of no benefit at all as it's F/4 either way.
01-19-2015, 01:28 PM   #21
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I don't think it's any use to try and define which is "better", because that's a verdict, and it could be my verdict, but then it won't help you. I can tell you that since I prefer zooms, I would go for DA*. The 16-50 is a very useful range. Couple it with the 50-135, which is small and light for what it is and you have a 2.8-kit that covers everything from quite-wide to usually-enough-tele. If you want longer, go for the 60-250, but be aware that that is a much heavier lens.

In terms of optical quality, the 60-250 I have is super-sharp, it really is. BUT, it only became this sharp after I sent it in for repair, because it had a centering defect. In fact, now that I know what a lens like the 60-250 is capable of, I'm actually thinking of sending in my 50-135 as well. That one is also slightly decentered (slightly soft on one side of the frame).

I have to say this as well though: I have had the SDM failing on my 16-50 once, and recently it's started to act up again. If you don't need the weathersealing, I'd probably get a Tamron 17-50 instead. That also takes 67mm filters, just like the 50-135. And it's smaller and lighter. And according to the reviews, it should be sharper too. Not that I don't think my 16-50 isn't good.

As far as limiteds go, I only have the 70/2.4. Had the 35/2.8 too, but sold it because I always picked the DA-L 35/2.4 for speed anyway. The 70/2.4 is a lovely lens, as are all limiteds (except maybe for the 20-40 which I really don't get).

I think DA* versus limiteds is more a choice of philosophy than of which lens is "better". If you are attracted to the philosophy of the limiteds, and accept the inconvenience of not being able to err, zoom, then go for that. Otherwise, the DA* line has weathersealing and is excellent, except maybe for the SDM on the 16-50. But if you want zooms but don't want the worry of SDM failure, why not look at Sigma and Tamron?
01-19-2015, 01:35 PM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by Trudger1272 Quote
Hey all!
Next month will be exactly two years of photography for me and hopefully the start of my last lens and gear buying spree, "for a good while at least." So this should be my last purchase related question. I have a few Ltd lenses and plan to buy two or three * lenses, but never used a * lens. I know like everyone else that, both the Ltd and * series lenses are the top of the line but, I would like to ask:
Overall, which series do you prefer and do you think one series is better, or do you think they're equivalent?
My problem is waiting to find out for myself (doing LBA research), as I've yet to find anything stating one series is superior to the other overall.

For argument's sake, remember everyone is entitled to their own opinion. NO WRONG ANSWERS
Thanks once again!
I've had all of the DA Ltds, and have 2 of the DA* zooms (50-135 and 300), and have the DA Ltd zoom. I enjoy hiking, backpacking etc. and the convenience of WR zooms won for me so I ditched all of my DA Ltds. In terms of image quality they (ltds. and DA*s) are all very good.
01-19-2015, 01:38 PM   #23
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Well, it used to be that variable aperture zooms were constructed with glass that was not top quality. You didn't used to be able to find ED glass, or aspherical elements, much less multiple elements, in a variable aperture zoom. The point of constant aperture zooms was that they (especially the older f2.8 ones) were constructed to be for pros (or "enthusiasts"), and so had the best glass. They were also correspondingly expensive, large, and heavy. I'm sure that my old Sigma EX 70-200 f2.8 is a behemoth compared with modern day zooms in that range that are also f2.8 due to improvements in design and materials, much less compared with modern zooms in that range that are constant f4.

Edited to add: I have the FA* 28-70 f2.8, which I find outstanding. However, unlike many Pentax shooters, who justifiably adore the primes, I rarely shoot with primes, except with a Sigma macro and the Pentax DA* 300mm f4. The 300 is my newest lens, but it has great promise. Otherwise, I do value the DA 12-24 f4.

I'd be more interested in how you shoot, what you shoot, what you think you will shoot in the future, and the conditions under which you do and will shoot. That would, for me, determine what lenses to get.


Last edited by sholtzma; 01-19-2015 at 01:42 PM. Reason: additional comments
01-19-2015, 01:42 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by lytrytyr Quote
Flawed technogeek logic: "A kit lens is a variable aperture lens, so a variable aperture lens must be a kit lens."
Sorry you feel I'm that naive.

---------- Post added 01-19-15 at 01:30 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by sholtzma Quote
I'd be more interested in how you shoot, what you shoot, what you think you will shoot in the future, and the conditions under which you do and will shoot. That would, for me, determine what lenses to get.
Hey thanks for the info!
I shoot pretty much everything being a student. It just depends on the assignment. With two years of experience I've learned not to knock any type of photography because, "what I thought I wouldn't like to shoot in the beginning, I love to shoot now." To be safe I'll say: at this point I prefer portraits, on location and in studio. I've gotten hooked on strobe lighting and plan to purchase lights as well. (For the record I've always liked macro but haven't been shooting much macro lately.)
I also prefer primes and would probably only use zooms in certain situations where weather or limited time are factors. I do have experience with variable zooms and don't like the change in aperture while zooming in or out when composing my shots. My first semester I only had one zoom lens and that was it. I lacked the depth of field my prime shooting classmates had. (we were shooting film.)
Conditions here in L.A. are more dry and dusty than rainy, so weather sealing is still a plus and I really dig low-key(darker) work, buy have no problem with brighter stuff.
As for choices:
I like Sandy's suggestion of the 16-50 and 60-250(or 50-135 and 300) but substituting the 300 with the shorter 200.
But for a while I had been thinking more like 55(a lot of room between 43 & 77), 200 and maybe the 50-135(more likely than not)
01-19-2015, 04:23 PM   #25
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I kind of think of the group as similar. I know there are * prime lens out there, but the * ones seem to "generally" be in spots where there isn't a limited. I guess all the * lenses have SDM focusing whereas limiteds don't, so perhaps that is the only difference too.

In my line-up, I only have the 60-250 for a * lens, which I just received in the last week. I've only played with it a little, but I can already see that it is way better than my 55-300, but I might keep that 55-300 for its size. The 55-300 is definitely lower quality when working with wildlife for instance, but if I'm shooting landscape, I think the differences will be minimal.

Below 77 mm, I'm working on acquiring all limiteds and primes. I currently have the 15 mm, 21 mm, 43 mm, and 77 mm. I really just want the 31 mm now, but I'm not rushing it. I have a Tamron 17-50, which is a fantastic quality lens that seems to equal the 16-50 at a cheaper price with the only real drawback probably being its lack of WR.

Given the kit you have, I'm not sure I'd recommend the 16-50, unless you really want a zoom at that level. As much as I like my 17-50 that I talked about before, I'm able to do almost all of its work with just the 21 mm and 43 mm. The 60-250 is nice because it essentially provides you reach beyond where the limiteds stop. In terms of practicality, I would think it would be ideal because it would make a 50-135 unnecessary, and it could even make a 200 or 300 unnecessary. That's actually my hope, which is why I just got one. I'd like that 31 mm to be the last lens to complete my kit.
01-19-2015, 04:57 PM - 1 Like   #26
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To respond to the poster this is plain simple:

- The DA* line is the "pro" line. They are of high quality with all the features (All weather, silent and "fast" AF, fast apperture). This the gear a pro would typically take because of versatility. The drawback is the lenses are somewhat big/heavy. There also zooms, something that is really important for a pro as you may need to react fast and adapt to all kind of situations.
- The DA ltd line try to offer high quality optics like the DA*, but to keep a small/light package. Apperture is typically slower, there no silent AF or WR (excepted for DA20-40 ltd). This is also prime mostly, something that may not be always conveniant in all situations. You should go this line when you want quality in a light package.
- The FA ltd line is the artist line. Rendering is more interresting, with character. The lense while of stellar quality do not try to achieve the best technical results but to give the most pleasing, most interresting image with spice, great color and a 3D rendering look that "pop" out of the picture. I'd say they are the best lenses you can get... Still they will not be as wide or as packed in feature as the pro gear to keep a small to moderate size.
- FA* line is no longer sold.
01-19-2015, 07:25 PM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by Trudger1272 Quote
Sorry you feel I'm that naive.
Not at all - I was responding to @IchabodCrane's post:
QuoteOriginally posted by IchabodCrane Quote
At the risk of side-tracking the thread a little bit, what is the importance of constant aperture zooms that is mentioned all of the time? I get the advantage when using fully manual exposure or fully manual flash, but that's a very small percentage of all shots taken these days. What am I missing here?


---------- Post added 01-19-15 at 08:29 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Nicolas06 Quote
The FA ltd line is the artist line. Rendering is more interresting, with character.
Actually, it is the rendering that I find to be the most attractive feature on both the DA 35 Ltd and the DA 20-40 Ltd.
That said, those two lenses both render very differently from each other.

---------- Post added 01-19-15 at 08:32 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by starbase218 Quote
The 70/2.4 is a lovely lens, as are all limiteds (except maybe for the 20-40 which I really don't get).
See above.
01-20-2015, 12:24 AM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by lytrytyr Quote
See above.
If you are talking about this:

QuoteOriginally posted by lytrytyr Quote
The DA 20-40 Ltd is an update of the FA 20-35,
which was a constant f/4 aperture zoom.
I don't see how it is relevant to me where a lens was developed from.
01-20-2015, 06:15 AM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by lytrytyr Quote
Actually, it is the rendering that I find to be the most attractive feature on both the DA 35 Ltd and the DA 20-40 Ltd.
That said, those two lenses both render very differently from each other.

---------- Post added 01-19-15 at 08:32 PM ----------



See above.
Not sure I would qualify DA35 ltd or DA70 ltd as artistic... Just compare them with FA31 or FA43 (or even FA35) for DA35 ltd on one side and FA77 on the other side and you'll see the DA rendering is much more modern, mainstream than the FA ones.

By no means it is to say thoses lenses are bad, but they don't have the same unique properties the FA ltd have.
01-20-2015, 07:04 AM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by Nicolas06 Quote
Not sure I would qualify DA35 ltd or DA70 ltd as artistic... Just compare them with FA31 or FA43 (or even FA35) for DA35 ltd on one side and FA77 on the other side and you'll see the DA rendering is much more modern, mainstream than the FA ones.

By no means it is to say thoses lenses are bad, but they don't have the same unique properties the FA ltd have.
The DA 35 Ltd and DA 20-40 each have distinct unique properties,
which in turn are different from the properties of Hirakawa's FA 43 and FA 77,
or from the FA 31 Ltd.

I didn't mention the DA 70, but it has its own rendering -- "gentle", "pastel",
which some photographers have used to great effect.

So it does not really make sense to talk about a single "DA rendering",
or to reserve the term "artistic" for the FA Limited lenses.

---------- Post added 01-20-15 at 08:11 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by starbase218 Quote
I don't see how it is relevant to me where a lens was developed from.
Doubts were raised about the DA 20-40
based on it not having a constant aperture.

I was pointing out that the DA 20-40 was developed
as a modernization and upgrading of a constant aperture lens.

In general, if you want to learn a lens
so that you can get the best out of it,
it helps to know where it's coming from.

---------- Post added 01-20-15 at 08:16 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by starbase218 Quote
If you are talking about this:
You said that you "didn't get" the DA 20-40,
so I was referring to its special rendering
as its key feature for me
(on top of being compact, WR, and so on).
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