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View Poll Results: The Sharpest of the sharp
FA 31 LTD 3338.37%
FA 43 LTD 1922.09%
FA 77 LTD 2630.23%
DA 14MM 11.16%
DA 12-24MM 55.81%
DA 35 LTD 1213.95%
DA* 16-50 44.65%
DA* 50-135 1112.79%
OTHER PENTAX 2933.72%
OTHER 3rd PARTY 1213.95%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 86. You may not vote on this poll

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06-17-2008, 09:34 PM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by jsherman999 Quote
Forgot about the Voigtlander 180 I owned. That's probably in the top tier also, but the Viv 105 and FA 50 2.8 macro were both a bit sharper than it. I haven't had the VL 125.



.
Ummm...you also forgot your Jupiter-9 (at apertures smaller than f/4, that is!).

06-17-2008, 11:22 PM   #17
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Eh, I missed the fact that I could pick three. I voted the 77 ltd because it is scary sharp especially for portraits. Beautiful lens that 77 ltd. I love my VL 125 macro and it is sharp, but is dazzles me with more than just sharpness. It would have to be on my top 3 list for sharp lenses. My new 35mm macro can be mighty sharp too.
06-17-2008, 11:27 PM   #18
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Someone mentioned there are a lot of factors that go into sharpness and thats true. The notable lenses in this dept do it at wider apertures where people tend to shoot more and get a good rep, but if you stop down just about anything to f8 and use a good tripod you'll get a sharp picture.

If you want scientific evidence of what lenses produce more impressive MTF scores, head over to photozone.de

FWIW, for your stated purpose, the FA31 has served me very well. Sweet spot of speed, coverage and resolution, not to mention its built great.
06-17-2008, 11:34 PM   #19
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The A50mm f1.7

06-17-2008, 11:45 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by jsherman999 Quote
.


In my experience, it's probably tiered this way, roughly:

1st tier: Vivitar S1 105 2.5 macro, FA 50 2.8 macro, DA 35ltd 2.8 macro

2nd tier: FA/A/M 50 1.7, M85 2, , 77ltd, DA 40ltd, M 50 4 macro, M 100 2.8

3rd tier: FA/A/M 50 1.4, M 200 4, K 35 3.5 + 55 1.8, Viv 28 close focus, Super Tak 135 3.5 + 50 1.4, M 135 3.5

4th tier: M 28 2.8, most other Pentax branded primes + DA* 50-135 + 16-50

5th tier: DA 50-200 + Lotsa stuff, everything else not ^ or v

Basement: FA 28-80, Tamron 28-200, various Quantary and Sigma consumer zooms

4th tier & above are excellent, 5th tier is still good/usable, basement... won't even put them on the camera at this point.

Some in the same tier are sharper than others of course, but so very close I'm calling them as being in the same tier. Some in the mid tiers are very, very sharp stopped down, but aren't in the top tiers due to their higher-aperture performance (ex: 50 1.4 variants) .


(and yes, the DA 40ltd is super sharp, and its edge-to-edge performance puts it near the top there ! Don't be dissin' the 40! )


.
A question for you: is the FA 50 f2.8 you refer to the same as the D FA 50mm f2.8 macro listed at Adorama ?

Appreciate your time.
Grant
06-18-2008, 02:18 AM   #21
and
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Owning all the FA limiteds, they are all very good, Id perhaps give the nudge to the 77, but then that could just be the FL appealing to me. Still the voigtlander 125 is the top for me. And not only sharpness but also all the other iq characteristics where its also superb.
06-18-2008, 02:44 AM   #22
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If you're talking the sharpest of the sharp, then only the macros can cut it and only the 35 is listed, so I voted for just that one and other Pentax.

I've tried the FA 50, D-FA 50, FA 100 & D-FA 100 and would list them in the same order of preference, the two 50's were pretty much identical, the FA 100 just pipped the D-FA IMO (and Photozones too).

The shots from others with the DA 35 macro and *200 macros are universally impressive. Sadly I haven't had the opportunity to try either (yet!).

I've tried all 3 FA Limiteds and the 3 DA pancakes and IMO they cannot match the macros in terms of sharpness. Don't get me wrong, they are great lenses but with different strengths.

Last edited by Richard Day; 06-18-2008 at 02:57 AM.
06-18-2008, 02:55 AM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mallee Boy Quote
A question for you: is the FA 50 f2.8 you refer to the same as the D FA 50mm f2.8 macro listed at Adorama ?

Appreciate your time.
Grant
The F 50 macro, FA 50 macro and D-FA 50 macro all have the same optical design. The coatings may differ as technology has improved a bit in this area. Sample variation will be the only differentiator.

The D-FA 100 macro isn't the same optical design as the F/FA 100 macros, Photozone has tested both and the FA 100 came out slightly better.

The differences in optical design can be seen in Bojidar Dimitrov's Pentax K-Mount website Welcome to Bojidar Dimitrov's Pentax K-Mount Page

06-18-2008, 04:01 AM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by Richard Day Quote
The F 50 macro, FA 50 macro and D-FA 50 macro all have the same optical design. The coatings may differ as technology has improved a bit in this area. Sample variation will be the only differentiator.
Richard, I didn't think I would have read that from you, as the FA 50 and the DFA 50 or both different optical designs. Just read Bojidar's page for it. The D-FA 50 is generally not as well regarded as the FA 50 (although it certainly isn't bad, far from that.)


If you go for the sharpest optics within Pentax, then I would go (in that order): A* 200 macro, DA 35 LTD macro, FA 50 macro. Within Pentax lenses, it won't get any better than that...
06-18-2008, 04:09 AM   #25
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I voted first for the 77 ltd, like LaRee says "it's scary sharp". I also really really like my SMC "K" 135mm F2.5. As far as I'm concerned this lens can go head to head with anything out there despite the fact that it's ancient and elderly. I also have the Tamron 90 mm F2.8 macro on my list, I've found this lens to be incredibly sharp. I just gained ownership of the 43 ltd. and I wanted to put in on my list too, but I just haven't had enough experience with it yet.

NaCl(my nickle's worth)H2O
06-18-2008, 04:31 AM   #26
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FA 100/2.8 macro and VL 125/2.5

In my opinion both Pentax FA 100/2.8 macro and Voigtlander 125/2.5
06-18-2008, 06:07 AM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mallee Boy Quote
OK, so which is the sharpest in your opinion and experience. Intended usage will be predominately Landscape, but need not be super wide, or even wide at all. Image quality is more important to me.

Very interested to hear what you think.

Please note I have given you the option of three (3) choices.
Cheers.
I'm wondering if someone would like to define "image quality" for me. Does it relate to the MTF curve? Is it lines per millimeter of resolution? How about freedom from distortion? Where do optical abberations fit in? How about contrast? Does anyone care about colour rendition? What about the subjective qualities such as bokeh?

To me, all of these things fit into the image quality mix, and many of these qualities are mutually exclusive.

As an example, a lens can have the highest resolution (sharpest), but if it's flare control isn't good (think most Stiigma lenses), then it isn't going to be very usable in a lot of situations.

Anyway, if image quality is defined only as resolution, then anyone using that term has a lot to learn about what is important regarding image quality.

Now, to answer your question, as a landscape lens, my Nikkor 210mm f/5.6 mounted to my Tachihara view camera is the best lens I have had the pleasure of using.

Last edited by Wheatfield; 06-18-2008 at 06:17 AM.
06-18-2008, 07:17 AM   #28
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I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned the Tamron 28-75. For a zoom, that lens is sharp!

Heather
06-18-2008, 07:21 AM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mallee Boy Quote
A question for you: is the FA 50 f2.8 you refer to the same as the D FA 50mm f2.8 macro listed at Adorama ?

Appreciate your time.
Grant

No, it's different. This is my lens.

This is the D FA.


I haven't used the D FA. I picked up the FA 50 2.8 in a lot with several other lenses at the same time, and I was going to sell it because I already had the 35ltd macro, but then I took some shots with. Holy crap. It just may be sharper than my 105 Viv S1, if that's possible.

So I decided to keep it, because after seeing those shots and consulting photozone, I realized that it was probably Pentax's sharpest lens. You gotta keep Pentax's sharpest lens. (sharpest aside from maybe the 200 macro, which is, I think, owned by only Elvis & Bigfoot, and they're not selling.)


.

Last edited by jsherman999; 06-18-2008 at 07:39 AM.
06-18-2008, 07:32 AM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by jsherman999 Quote
You gotta keep Pentax's sharpest lens. (sharpest aside from maybe the 200 macro, which is, I think, owned by only Bigfoot & Elvis, and they're not selling.)

.
Bigfoot, Elvis and Wheatfield.
When I bought the thing, I was expecting to pay in the range of 3K for it. The good people at Pentax Canada couldn't supply one to me, but my Pentax rep found one in a US reps demo kit.
PCI imported it for me, did a CLA on it and sold it to me for 1/3 of new price. I took the money I didn't spend on it and bought the A600/5.6.
That was a good week to be me, for sure.
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