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10-13-2015, 05:32 PM   #31
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QuoteOriginally posted by jpzk Quote
I have that lens (and it is for sale) but I am having one heck of a time to find it "wide open sharp" unless I go "Live view" (with focus peaking).
Nonetheless, one great/superb lens!
The CZ85mm (I have one) is a bit tricky to manual focus, for example compared to the CZ28mm or VL58mm, but it is a great lens IMHO. I obviously have less issue that you.

10-13-2015, 05:48 PM   #32
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wingincamera Quote
I like to do mostly landscape and my two favorite lens for landscape is:
DA 35mm F2.8 limited macro (I know you said no macro, but I don't use this lens for macro, my FA 50mm F2.8 does that job when needed)
DA 15mm F4

My most used lens just to carry around is the DA 20-40mm.
The DA 35mm ltd macro is a good all around lens good for general work and closeups, not just macro.
10-13-2015, 06:13 PM   #33
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As a photographer who uses lenses like the Ziess Otus 55mm f/1.4 and the Leica Summicron-M 50mmm f/2 ASPH APO, the Pentax FA31, FA43, FA77, FA*85mm f/1.4 and FA*200mm f/4 ED Macro all have superb resolving power and rendering.
10-13-2015, 06:41 PM   #34
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Just for sharpness it will be F 35-70mm f3.5-4.5 lens.

10-13-2015, 07:27 PM - 1 Like   #35
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Since we are talking non-Ltd, I'll leave aside the FA43 Ltd and FA77 Ltd. Should also put aside the DFA 100 WR which is a Ltd in all but name. Each is a superb lens, but not cheap.

That leaves eight others that I have or have had. I like each in its way (my bias is towards nature photography):
DA 12-24: The price is close to the Limiteds, and it isn't really an ordinary lens. It's not only sharp and contrasty (with excellent colours) but surprisingly versatile. At 24mm, there is not a lot of distortion and the FOV is just on the wide end of normal. At 12mm the effect is completely different. I use it for landscapes mainly (wonderful for forests and rivers), but it can work for buildings, portraits and pets. At the wide end I like to have a strong foreground subject, like a flower or an animal - I think it takes you into the scene. Also I like to change the angle - e.g. getting down near the ground to shoot an animal takes you into the world they see. The distortion can work to effect too - for example making eyes seem larger.
Tamron 18-250: This was my only lens for 6 years, and it did everything from wide angle to wildlife. In good light, the slowness doesn't matter so much. I got thousands of enjoyable photos with it. Photozone said the image quality is "fairly amazing" for such a wide-range zoom, and I agree. It's relegated to a record or travel lens now (or when it is impractical to change lenses), but with a little post-processing images can be really good. At f8 between about 24mm and 80mm you wouldn't think it was a humble superzoom. The relatively short MFD gives it a useful close-focus ability too. The versatility is gold: on a single walk it can do flowers, trees, insects, vistas, birds and animals. It's now a great buy second-hand. Pair it with a fast-ish compact prime and you have a great travel kit.
DA 35 f2.4: Great value lens, All the versatility of a normal FOV. Excellent for landscapes, flowers and "still shots", good for portraits too. The detail and contrast blew me away when I first used it. Some people find it boring because it is slower and lacks the 3D effect of say the FA Ltds (I usually prefer the FA43 for portraits and flowers), but that doesn't matter for landscapes. Very resistant to CA and sharp across the image when stopped down a bit.
DA 50 f1.8: Another great value lens. I gave it to a friend after I got the 43 - maybe I shouldn't have as the effect is quite different. A very good portrait lens, and very good for flowers, trees, animals and landscapes if the narrower FOV works. A poor man's DA*55. I have one poster made from a shot of a snow gum taken with this lens and it is very pleasing. The extra stop over the DA35, and the longer FL, give more scope for subject separation and the bokeh is very pleasant.
A 50 f1.7: My first prime (now on semi-permanent loan). I loved the feel of it, and enjoyed going back to a MF lens after a long break. Prone to flare and CA, but the lovely rendering made it worthwhile. Pets, portraits, flowers, trees etc.
DA-L 55-300: Outstanding value. I use it most often at 300mm for birds and wildlife. Not being an IF lens, 300mm means 300mm and 250mm means 250mm at any distance from the subject - much better "magnification" for birds and the like than say the 18-250. MFD is a limitation. The bokeh is not very appealing, but overall IQ is excellent for a budget lens. Downside is that noisy AF can drive the critters away.
Sigma 170-500: Used mainly for birds and wildlife of course. Jekyll and Hyde lens. Or perhaps like the girl with the curl in the middle of her forehead: when she was good she was very very good and when she was bad she was horrid. Stopped down and with the subject not too distant, images were very good (especially after adding some contrast in PP); but otherwise ... There is no free lunch in long lenses.
Sigma 400mm f5.6 tele macro: Currently my most-used lens, mainly for birds and wildlife, but pseudo-macro makes it good for flowers too. It is light enough that I usually get away with hand-holding. A bit slow and the AF is a bit noisy, but quite sharp wide open. Very good colour and resolution. 400mm is a big gain on 300mm for birds and wildlife (well, with a 16mp sensor anyway - if you have a K-3 you might find 300mm and cropping to be sufficient). Usable with a TC but only in very good light. I find it a big improvement on the 170-500, which was a similar weight (about 1300g). Personally I think I would find the 2kg lenses (e.g. Sigma 50-500 or 150-500, or the DFA 150-450) very heavy after using this. Great value lens at half the price of a second-hand DA*300, without the worry about possible SDM failure.

For sharpness, each of the primes would beat each of the zooms, although the 12-24 is close to prime standard.

As between the primes, the DA 35 would be hard to beat, but the DA 50 would be right up there and the A 50 not far off. Centre sharpness is very good on the 400; corner and edges less so, but they don't matter so much for wildlife.

Strange as it seems, the Tamron 18-250 at f8 would give the 35 and the 50s a close run for centre sharpness at the corresponding length, although the edge and corner performance on the primes would be significantly better.

As between the zooms, at their optimal aperture and FL, I would rank them:
1. DA 12-24
2. Tamron 18-250 (centre) and Pentax DA-L 55-300.
3. Sigma 170-500
But in choosing your favourite ordinary lenses, there is more to it than just sharpness.

Last edited by Des; 10-13-2015 at 08:07 PM.
10-13-2015, 07:36 PM   #36

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With macro lenses ruled out, my next choice from my relatively small stable of lenses is probably my FA50/1.4, from about f/2.8 to f/8.

QuoteOriginally posted by dcshooter Quote
If you get a good copy, the DA 14mm f/2.8 can be ridiculously sharp.
The reviews may have given me low expectations but I have to agree, my copy seems pretty darn sharp, especially at close distances.
10-13-2015, 08:04 PM   #37
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The sharpest lenses I've used so far are F 50/1.7 and A 135/2.8. My copies are razor sharp when stopped down just a bit, and have very good contrast when used with appropriate hoods.
F 70-210 is very sharp too.
10-13-2015, 08:27 PM   #38

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My favourites. In order of preference:

-Pentax 12-24
-Pentax 18-135
-Pentax 10-17 fisheye
-Sigma 150-500
- Pentax 55-300
-Pentax 21,40, 70 Limited(s)

The 12-24 and 18-135 are the lenses I use the most.

I've got a bunch more. But they didn't make the cut, as far as the favourites list.

Sharpness....has to be the 12-24 first, then the Limiteds...then my 50 F 1.4, then my 18-135. My 150-500 Sigma also makes the sharpness list.

10-13-2015, 09:00 PM   #39
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A* 85 f1.4

So sharp you could cut yourself on the pictures.
10-13-2015, 10:56 PM   #40
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I realize there is a place for just about every kind of lens, but in MY world, sharpness seems to rule my mind! Now, portraits.... that's a little different, but for just about everything else.... make it as sharp as a scalpel! Sharp enough that I could do eye surgery with it! I love to look at photos posted here that have that "OH My Gawd" factor of sharpness!

EagleM's flower photos come immediately to mind! And Rupert's bird photos! Now, THAT is the sharpness that gives me a tumescent glow!

But, that's just me.
10-13-2015, 11:07 PM   #41
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dewman Quote
the sharpness that gives me a tumescent glow!
Sweet Jesus, TMI.

Last edited by Digitalis; 10-14-2015 at 01:24 AM.
10-13-2015, 11:18 PM   #42

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I use my Pentax-FA 35-80mm F4-5.6 for sharpness.
all my other 35mm lenses I use for how they render a scene rather then sharpness. now medium format us a different story since everyone of my lenses are nice and sharp
10-13-2015, 11:19 PM   #43
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QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
geez, TMI.
Love it!

In all seriousness though, the FA 31 and FA 77 are my two sharpest non-macro lenses. Everything else is 3rd place on down. That's not bad. My FA 50mm f/1.4 and FA 43mm is plenty sharp too. It's just that the FA 31 and FA 77 are sharp-sharp instead of just sharp.
10-13-2015, 11:49 PM   #44
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D FA 50/2.8 Macro
DA 70/2.4 Ltd
FA 31/1.8 Ltd
D FA 100/2.8 Macro WR (excellent lens)...
10-14-2015, 04:31 AM   #45
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[My sharpest lenses (current or previously owned) are all macro lenses, excluded from this thread,]

I would nominate the F* 300/4.5 as my sharpest (non-macro) tele, and the FA* 200/2.8 as being none too shabby, either.

My sharpest zoom is the (MF version) Tokina AT-X 100-300/4 SD.

Last edited by fwcetus; 10-14-2015 at 04:34 AM. Reason: pore gramma

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