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07-21-2016, 08:12 AM   #1
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The sharpest lenses for a Pentax according to Amateur Photographer Magazine.

Hello fellow Pentax lovers,


In this week's Amateur Photographer magazine (23 July 2016 UK) there is a major article about "sharpness" in photography. In part of the article the sharpest lens (by DXOMARK) are listed for each major make of camera, below is the list for Pentax:

Top lenses under £2,000.

1. Sigma 35mm f1/4 DG HSM Art
2. Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 EX DC HSM
3. Pentax HD DA 35mm f/2.8 Macro Ltd
4. Samyang 85mm f/1.4 Asph IF
5. Pentax SMC DA 50mm f/1.8
6. Pentax SMC D FA 50mm f/2.8 Macro
7. Pentax SMC FA 50mm f/1.4

The article is an interesting read and in the conclusion says that "if it's out and out sharpness you're after, it's still better to buy primes", but it also goes on to say "moderrn zooms are very good indeed, and noticeably better than those made 10 or 20 years ago". The conclusion also says that "on the whole you get what you pay for" but goes on to say "it's still possible for enthusiast photographers to get excellent results from some comparatively inexpensive primes" , noting the Pentax 35mm f/2.4 in particular.

Perhaps not a surprising conclusion but still interesting. If anybody is interested I can scan the Pentax section of the article and post it here (if that is allowed).

Nick

07-21-2016, 08:20 AM - 7 Likes   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Nickrs Quote
Amateur Photographer magazine (23 July 2016 UK) there is a major article about "sharpness" in photography
yes that is a thing amateurs worry inordinately about..
07-21-2016, 08:45 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
yes that is a thing amateurs worry inordinately about..
Do you mean that professionals don't place great importance on the sharpness of a lens? We could all save a lot of money if we bought cheaper "less-sharp" lenses.
07-21-2016, 08:52 AM - 2 Likes   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
yes that is a thing amateurs worry inordinately about..
The start of the final paragraph of the article was:

"Naturally, buying a sharper lens is still only part of the story, and won't get you better pictures without learning and applying good photographic technique"

I didn't include it in my précis because it I thought it was such an obvious statement. ;-)

The editorial by Nigel Atherton on page three also says:

"Today's photographers are obsessed with sharpness in a way that we never used to be. Browse a collection of classic photos and you'll discover that few are as critically shrap as we'd expect nowadays; indeed Henri Cartier-Bresson once said "sharpness is a bourgeois concept". Does that make them less great? No."

Personally, the sharpness of a lens is only one of a list of things I think about when I am considering the purchase of a new lens and one that is usually quite a way down that list. But what do I know? I am an amateur after all.


Last edited by Nickrs; 07-21-2016 at 08:54 AM. Reason: correct english.
07-21-2016, 08:55 AM - 14 Likes   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by psoo Quote
Do you mean that professionals don't place great importance on the sharpness of a lens? We could all save a lot of money if we bought cheaper "less-sharp" lenses.
Amateurs worry about equipment.
Professionals worry about money.
Masters worry about light.
07-21-2016, 09:04 AM - 4 Likes   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
Amateurs worry about equipment.
Professionals worry about money.
Masters worry about light.
I love that!!

Personally I find being in the right place at the right time the hardest part of photography, as someone once said "the things you see when you don't have your camera!" :-)
07-21-2016, 09:06 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by psoo Quote
Do you mean that professionals don't place great importance on the sharpness of a lens? We could all save a lot of money if we bought cheaper "less-sharp" lenses.
Take a look at any portfolio of good photographs. Look at what sells in art shows and galleries. Sharpness is way, way down on the list of qualities that make a good image. In focus, yes of course. Super sharp? Much more important for the image to be interesting, properly composed and with good and creative light.

Nothing wrong with having a sharp lens though, you can always blur things in photoshop. But the current obsession with wall to wall sharpness is IMHO a bit silly.
07-21-2016, 09:13 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by psoo Quote
Do you mean that professionals don't place great importance on the sharpness of a lens?
Don't think that was the intent. I think what he intended was, the more a photographer understands about gear and their style of shooting (experience), the less obsessive they may become about sharpness and more concerned about other qualities of a lens. Of course, it all depends on what you're shooting. I shoot landscapes where I value sharpness stopped down, so I do tend to be more concerned about this aspect (but not so much about whether the lens is sharp wide open). If you're a portrait photographer, out of focus rendering will be more important than for me, and a lens that's too sharp will be unflattering so the equation changes.

07-21-2016, 09:22 AM - 2 Likes   #9
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Perhaps the ultimate sharpness of a lens is a bit like the top speed of a car, nice to talk about but usually functionally irrelevant. Personally weatherproofing is the first thing I look for in a new lens, but then I do live in Wales. :-)
07-21-2016, 09:56 AM - 2 Likes   #10
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I have an idea, let's only start threads on lens and camera features which EVERYONE finds important.
So, since not everyone finds sharpness important, lets not start a thread about sharpness.
Some folks don't shoot in bad weather, so let's no start a thread about weathersealing.
Some folks don't shoot zooms, so let's only start threads about primes.
ETC ETC
07-21-2016, 10:40 AM - 2 Likes   #11
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The thing is that if you shoot most lenses stopped down a little, they are all fine. Bigger things when evaluating a lens are things like flare resistance, colors, contrast and distortion. Those are the sorts of things that can make or break a photo more than a lack of sharpness.
07-21-2016, 10:42 AM   #12
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The article seems to be written by an amateur for amateurs. BTW, the Sigma 70mm Macro EX DG f/2.8 is considered by some to be the sharpest lens it ever made (up until this year).
07-21-2016, 10:58 AM - 1 Like   #13
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Damned amateurs,how dare they express an opinion!

For all you, so called, "Pros" the hint was in the title of the magazine the OP's article came from,doh!

Last edited by timb64; 07-21-2016 at 11:40 AM.
07-21-2016, 11:00 AM - 1 Like   #14
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I dunno, I'm shooting my FA100 f2.8 now with a ring flash in the field and stopped down to f16 and a manual pop fill with the flash and it is extraordinary. Keeping the camera at ISO 100 allows so much detail it's crazy in a good way. I don't have the 50mm macro, and don't need it. I'd like a slightly faster flash synch now, though! Work on that, engineers!

Extreme sharpness isn't always necessary, particularly if you're not cropping or printing billboards. For macro? Yeah.
07-21-2016, 11:33 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by cali92rs Quote
I have an idea, let's only start threads on lens and camera features which EVERYONE finds important.
So, since not everyone finds sharpness important, lets not start a thread about sharpness.
Some folks don't shoot in bad weather, so let's no start a thread about weathersealing.
Some folks don't shoot zooms, so let's only start threads about primes.
ETC ETC
I don't think anyone would say that sharpness is unimportant, at least I would hope not. I would just say that most modern lenses are capable of adequate sharpness stopped down a stop. Macro lenses are a little sharper and have less field curvature and so they will be a little sharper, but I can't imagine shooting the world with a macro lens, even if it will come out sharper overall.
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