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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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06-18-2008, 08:13 AM   #31
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no mention of the new k mount CZ lenses?

06-18-2008, 08:32 AM   #32
and
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QuoteOriginally posted by OniFactor Quote
no mention of the new k mount CZ lenses?
More due to the fact that few have them I think
06-18-2008, 08:35 AM   #33
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From the Online Photographer:

QuoteQuote:
About the 35mm 2.8 macro Mike and I will report on in detail at some point: it makes a superb general purpose "normal" lens (except it's a little longer than I'd wish for in a normal) that happens also to focus in to 1:1. It's easily the best more-or-less-normal focal length lens I've used so far for digital capture.

Wow. Not specifically speaking of sharpness only, but quite a recommendation - one of Pentax's sharpest if not the sharpest lenses can also be considered possibly the 'best digital normal', from any manufacturer?



.
06-18-2008, 09:19 AM   #34
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QuoteOriginally posted by jsherman999 Quote
From the Online Photographer:




Wow. Not specifically speaking of sharpness only, but quite a recommendation - one of Pentax's sharpest if not the sharpest lenses can also be considered possibly the 'best digital normal', from any manufacturer?



.

I'm sure by now I was on the low end of the totem pole of sample variation with this lens. Mine visibly (and online with pictures) visually couldn't outresolve the FA31 at infinity, even with a 4mm headstart. It wasn't bad, it just wasn't great.

Someday, I'll have to borrow another and repeat the tests. But alas, there are so many lenses and so little time... errm. . money.

I will concur, everything everyone has said about the VL125 is true. The 90 is easily as sharp and the 180 right up there too. Stopped down the 58 can be scary sharp. I don't think anything that comes out of the Cosina factory in Japan these days is anything less than superlative, including the new Zeiss line, excepting my copy of the T*25 which couldn't hit infinity at all. I'm still waiting for it to come back from service in Germany into three months now. But I digress...

06-18-2008, 07:04 PM   #35
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very interesting results so far.

Going by the voting pattern, it looks like once you have used a Ltd, thats what you reach for.

Looks like the 31 ltd, FA 50 f2.8, & DA 35 f2.8 (assume this is the new one?) will have to be considered. The 50-135 also makes it presence felt. Not easy.
Thanks for the input, it IS a big help.
cheers.

Last edited by Mallee Boy; 06-18-2008 at 07:12 PM.
06-19-2008, 02:59 AM   #36
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pentaxke Quote
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...
The optical design is exactly the same (go and re-check the optical formula on Bodjidars pages), plus I have had this confirmed officially, of course the barrels differ completely, the D-FA is smaller and lighter and has Quickshift.

When I tested my FA 50 against a D-FA 50 I found no perceivable differences in IQ.

The D-FA 100 is a new joint design in co-operation with Tokina, as is the DA 35 macro.

As I said, I've not had the opportunity to try either any of the *200's, or the DA 35 macro, so sadly I am not qualified to make any objective judgement. From your statement I take it that you have (or tested yourself), the 3 you mention as your preferences?

For reference:
FA 50 macro optical formula - http://www.bdimitrov.de/kmp/lenses/primes/_optics/50f2.8-Macro-ii.gif
DFA 50 optical formula - http://www.bdimitrov.de/kmp/lenses/primes/_optics/50f2.8-Macro-iii.gif
and http://www.pentax.de/downloads/lenses/de/DFA50mm-makro-Datenblatt-ger.pdf
06-19-2008, 04:00 AM   #37
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QuoteOriginally posted by Richard Day Quote
The optical design is exactly the same (go and re-check the optical formula on Bodjidars pages), plus I have had this confirmed officially, of course the barrels differ completely, the D-FA is smaller and lighter and has Quickshift.

When I tested my FA 50 against a D-FA 50 I found no perceivable differences in IQ.

The D-FA 100 is a new joint design in co-operation with Tokina, as is the DA 35 macro.

As I said, I've not had the opportunity to try either any of the *200's, or the DA 35 macro, so sadly I am not qualified to make any objective judgement. From your statement I take it that you have (or tested yourself), the 3 you mention as your preferences?
Hi Richard,

When I read your first topic I immediately went to Bojidar's webpage, and what comfirmed it for me where two things: 1) the line drawn between the F50/FA50 and the DFA 50 and 2) more importantly, minimum focusing distance.
If, like it's stated on that page, min. foc. distance would have been 0,20m for the DFA and 0,19m for the FA 50, then no way that both could have had the same optical design, so I didn't check any further.

I rechecked just now, looking at the optical diagram too, and both are the same. Moreover: both have min foc distance of 0,195m. So I guess I owe you an apology. It was the first time I have ever read that both have the same optical design. I don't have the DFA 50, but I do recall that I have read a few times that the DFA 50 is not on par with the FA 50 (if I find where, I will post them here.)

As for the FA 50 and the DA 35 ltd: I do have them both, and can safely say that my copy of the 35 ltd is better than my FA 50, which in turn is better than the 31 ltd, 77 ltd, 21 ltd and 70 ltd that I all have (or had, in the case of the 77 ltd.)
I do not have the 200 macro, but I'm lucky enough to have used both the FA* 200 macro and A* 200 macro on several occasions, and they were both simply fabulous...

Sorry again, I hope you're not mad at me. You surely convinced me I was wrong...
06-19-2008, 06:20 AM   #38
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Having similar optical cutaway diagrams don't prove much imo.
While the optical design and specifications of the FA 50mm Macro and the DFA 50mm Macro appear identical, I will differ in opinion that the lenses are optically similar. The differences aren't just in dimensions and weight. I have tried out the DFA 50 macro against my FA 50 macro and while both are sharp, the DFA exhibits more purple fringing.

There is also a common assertion that the DFA 100mm macro is similar to the Tokina AT-X 100mm macro. The lenses may again share some common traits like optical construction and min focusing distance but I have found them to be quite different. The images from the Tokina when I tried out on a Nikon is quite different that the DFA100, especially bokeh wise. The Tokina is quite a bit bigger and heavier and definitely better built than the Pentax and has 9 aperture blades compared to 8 on the Pentax.

06-19-2008, 12:13 PM   #39
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QuoteOriginally posted by creampuff Quote
Having similar optical cutaway diagrams don't prove much imo.
While the optical design and specifications of the FA 50mm Macro and the DFA 50mm Macro appear identical, I will differ in opinion that the lenses are optically similar. The differences aren't just in dimensions and weight. I have tried out the DFA 50 macro against my FA 50 macro and while both are sharp, the DFA exhibits more purple fringing.

There is also a common assertion that the DFA 100mm macro is similar to the Tokina AT-X 100mm macro. The lenses may again share some common traits like optical construction and min focusing distance but I have found them to be quite different. The images from the Tokina when I tried out on a Nikon is quite different that the DFA100, especially bokeh wise. The Tokina is quite a bit bigger and heavier and definitely better built than the Pentax and has 9 aperture blades compared to 8 on the Pentax.
Well, now I don't know who to believe anymore...

I was already leaning towards a D-FA 50, because I miss the manual override on the FA 50 macro. Can anyone confirm that the D-FA 50 has manual override?
06-19-2008, 12:47 PM   #40
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QuoteOriginally posted by SCGushue Quote
If I were to rate primes:
31 LTD overall winner... excellent contrast, flare control, color and sharpness, very usable focal length.

43 LTD the sharpest by far but an occasionally "iffy" bokeh. Great for pano work.

35 LTD Macro is looking pretty good in early tests.

A 50 2.8 Macro can be scarey sharp.


Stephen
The Pentax-A 50mm f/2.8 macro is the sharpest lens I've ever used.
06-19-2008, 01:05 PM   #41
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QuoteOriginally posted by jsherman999 Quote
Wow. Not specifically speaking of sharpness only, but quite a recommendation - one of Pentax's sharpest if not the sharpest lenses can also be considered possibly the 'best digital normal', from any manufacturer?
Quite a claim considering it is not particularly fast. Is it "better" than the FA31? But given the images I have seen posted it seems to at least be in the top echelons.

If one fell out of the trees my outstretched arms would be there to save it.
06-19-2008, 04:15 PM   #42
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pentaxke Quote
Well, now I don't know who to believe anymore...

I was already leaning towards a D-FA 50, because I miss the manual override on the FA 50 macro. Can anyone confirm that the D-FA 50 has manual override?
The DFA 50mm macro has the advantage of Quick Shift where you can tweak focus manually after AF is locked. For the FA version you're either in full AF or full manual.
06-19-2008, 04:58 PM   #43
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pentaxke Quote
Well, now I don't know who to believe anymore...

I was already leaning towards a D-FA 50, because I miss the manual override on the FA 50 macro. Can anyone confirm that the D-FA 50 has manual override?
Buy whichever lens suits you best in terms of operation. You aren't going to see enough real world optical difference between any Pentax 50mm lens made in the last 25 or so years to matter at all in the final print.
The whole IQ thing is over rated, it really is a meaningless bullshit term.

Unless you are doing all of your photography off a tripod, it is unlikely that you will see any significant difference from one 50mm lens to the next, as camera shake will take the edge off of any lens, whether your body has shake reduction or not.
06-19-2008, 07:54 PM   #44
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
Buy whichever lens suits you best in terms of operation. You aren't going to see enough real world optical difference between any Pentax 50mm lens made in the last 25 or so years to matter at all in the final print.
The whole IQ thing is over rated, it really is a meaningless bullshit term.

Unless you are doing all of your photography off a tripod, it is unlikely that you will see any significant difference from one 50mm lens to the next, as camera shake will take the edge off of any lens, whether your body has shake reduction or not.
Don't know that I'd go that far. It has a place in the discussions about lenses, but I do agree the hype about sharpness & IQ is well overblown. A lot of good and very inexpensive lenses available out there if you can utilize their strengths. People demanding a 'One-lens-does-it-all' solution and we get $500+ zooms.

Last edited by TourDeForce; 06-19-2008 at 08:03 PM.
06-19-2008, 08:45 PM   #45
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Original Post specifies for landscape use, so we can presume on a tripod and stopped down. In fact, for much traditional landscape use, we might presume the need for extreme depth of field which rules out bokeh and brings in the problems of diffraction at miniscule apertures--f16 and f22 and heaven forbid f32. Recall, Ansel Adams' "f64 and be there" group (note that on a view camera as Adams used f64 is not a big diffraction problem as it would be on our "mini format" cameras).

In it's sweet spot, the FA*200 Macro is scary sharp and one of the best lenses ever produced, but diffraction kills it above f16. Not so sure I'd label it a "landscape lens" either. And by the way, I'm not Elvis but maybe 35mmfilmuser is? I heard the queen of England has two copies of this lens...and didn't the Hubble space telescope copy the optical formula for their 'scope from this lens?

I try to stick with Pentax 67 for landscape and the 100/4 Macro is very very impressive as an all around landscape lens--that focal length is equivelent to 50 mm in DSLR terms, so fit's into the awesome 50mm category.

Though I try to ignore them, the FA limiteds--31,43 and 77 keep forcing themselves onto my tripod and bumping the 67 film body back into its case--100 Macro included. Lately, the 31 has continued to conduct radial caritotomy scalpel cuts on my corneas. I flat love that lens and it's phenomenal even at f16 and f22. Some days it just clearly defines the term "razor sharp." Color rendition is also off the charts good. It's not my favorite focal length, but it's so good that it forces me to move the tripod rather than grab a different lens.
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