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10-02-2016, 12:59 AM - 2 Likes   #1
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Compare DA 70 with DFA* 70-200 @ 70

I took a few shots today comparing the SMC DA 70 Limited with the DFA* 70-200 @ 70mm on the K-1. I know the DA 70 isn't a FF lens technically, but as I reported previously, it's pretty useable. In any case, I thought it would be interesting to compare the two lenses at centre and edges.

So here are two shots at f/5.6, ISO 100 (RAW straight from LR; no edits or profiles applied).

First the DA70


Then the DFA* 70-200 @ 70


Click on an image for larger size.

Even at image centre, the DFA*70-200 is a little sharper and has better contrast. At the edges, and particularly the corners, the DA70 is muddy and prone to purple fringing. The fringing can be cleaned up in LR, the mud cannot. It is hardly surprising that the DA70 is not at its best at the edges, being a crop lens, but it is commendable that vignetting is very minor. I see little difference between the lenses in that respect.

Results at f/2.8 are similar.

So, overall, the DFA* 70-200 "bag of primes" beats the DA 70 Ltd quite clearly, especially at the edges. But then I guess it should, given the size and price disparity.

Don't get the idea though that the DA 70 Limited is rubbish. It's a very good compact lens that I am very happy to use, even on FF. It will go in my bag when travelling light, whereas the DFA* will definitely stay home.

10-02-2016, 01:08 AM   #2
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DA70 is tiny in comparison. The DFA70-200 is heavy zoom but as good as the best of DA ltd primes (my DA70 was the sharpest of the DA ltd I owned).
10-02-2016, 01:28 AM   #3
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The left side is much better with the zoom, but the right side is better with the Limited...
10-02-2016, 01:38 AM   #4
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I have the 70-200 and like it, the DA70 is fine and has different applications.
One should note that K3 has smaller pixel pitch than K1, so the DA70 may fall behind even more in direct comparison. At the same time the DA70 was designed for APS-C. It works on FF, but was not designed for it. Don't blame it for fll off toward the edge of the image.

10-02-2016, 03:36 AM   #5
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Imagine that 70mm is probably not the sharpest FL of the 70-200.
10-02-2016, 05:59 AM   #6
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Actually the reeds in the foreground and the details of the ripples on the water surface look sharper with the DA 70 Ltd. Did you focus on exactly the same point with both lenses and use the same aperture setting? I cannot tell from the picture of the trees in the background which is sharper, they look essentially equivalent to me. If you cropped into the signs at the edge of the water you may get a better idea of which lens has the best resolution. In any case, it is an exercise in splitting hairs as I am sure both are among the sharpest lenses available.
I would be curious as to how the DA* 70-200 at 100mm compares to the DFA 100mm Macro WR which is to me, my sharpest lens.
10-02-2016, 06:00 AM   #7
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The trees in the back seem out of focus. A little hard to determine overall sharpness that way.
10-02-2016, 08:38 AM   #8
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The HD DA 70 improves contrast over the DA 70; but HD's rounded aperture blades sacrifice starbursts for a modest improvement in bokeh. I suspect if you were to compare the HD DA 70 you'd find the contrast somewhat more comparable to the DFA 70-200. I agree with D1N0 - the trees doc seem a little out of focus making it hard to compare. I'm not sure I understand the point of the exercise. The comparison seems like comparing a 2016 Honda Goldwing to a 2008 Honda Forza - these are not equal with different advantages/disadvantages.

10-02-2016, 09:27 AM   #9
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In terms of color & contrast, the zoom looks better, but apparently you are using different exposures for each so it is not a good direct comparison.
10-02-2016, 10:02 AM   #10
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Having been though the same type of thing with my DA*60-250 and various primes, this is not at all surprising. Now if you were to produce a better image than my Tamron 90 macro, or Sigma 70 macro, that would be a surprise.

I carry my 21 ltd. 40 XS, etc. when I don't want the weight of a zoom.

The DFA 70-200 weighs 1755 kms, DA*200 weighs 825 kms. That 900 grams is almost exactly 2 pounds. You can fit a lot of shorter primes into 2 pounds including some wide angles and standard lenses. And you can include some faster lenses like the 31, 50 and 77 ƒ1.8 lenses, for wider ƒ-stops.

I love my zooms, but when I'm hiking, all I need is the 18-135, the DA*200 and a couple of TCs, and I can cover everything without breaking my back. A long zoom is a heavy zoom.

Last edited by normhead; 10-02-2016 at 10:20 AM.
10-02-2016, 10:23 AM   #11
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Just been experimenting with the new 1:1 crop on the K-1. The 21mm and 35mm are as "good" (quick check only = sharpness, contrast, distortion etc.) as the DFA 24-70 (see post in the 1:1 titled section). I wonder how the DA 70 would compare with the 70-200 in 1:1 crop ?

(Eventually, I'll get round to comparing it with the 24-70 at 1:1, but I suspect the 70mm will be as good as the the 21 & 35 are showing to be.)
10-02-2016, 12:39 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by jddwoods Quote
Actually the reeds in the foreground and the details of the ripples on the water surface look sharper with the DA 70 Ltd. Did you focus on exactly the same point with both lenses and use the same aperture setting? ... In any case, it is an exercise in splitting hairs as I am sure both are among the sharpest lenses available.

Both were taken at f/5.6 from exactly the same point about a minute apart, focussing on the "Herring Island South Landing" sign. I was in p-mode, so shutter speed was chosen automatically; 1/250 for the DA70 and 1/320 for the zoom. So yes, the trees are of course a little out of focus. I was specifically wanting to compare at around that aperture, so of course there are OOF foreground and background. That was part of what I wanted to compare.

Yes, I agree, both lenses are very fine. It is a credit to the DA70 that a lens of its diminutive size can compete at all, though if you compare the trees in the top right hand corner, you'll see it doesn't quite cover FF in terms of IQ.

QuoteQuote:
I would be curious as to how the DA* 70-200 at 100mm compares to the DFA 100mm Macro WR which is to me, my sharpest lens.
I don't have the DFA 100, but I do have the comparable Tamron 90mm macro, which performs very well on FF. I'll compare them when I get time.
10-02-2016, 02:34 PM   #13
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You cannot test lenses with different shutter speeds — the wind in the second image (70-200) is visibly much slower, just look at the reed. And you increased the shutter speed for 70-200. So the test is unfair. Nevertheless, I like the DA70 image better, despite inadequate shutter speed which makes image blurry; DA70 produces more contrast.
Try both at 1/500 and f8 in calm day.

Last edited by Uluru; 10-02-2016 at 02:43 PM.
10-02-2016, 07:12 PM   #14
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Thanks for the interesting comparison. Looking forward to seeing your macro vs. the 70-200 .
10-02-2016, 07:44 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Paul the Sunman Quote
Even at image centre, the DFA*70-200 is a little sharper and has better contrast.
Just a comment for everyone who doubts your methodology and your conclusions, more than one reviewer has commented on how exceptional the DFA*70-200 is, there is a reason why it costs what it does. As for the DA 70 Limited, it has its merits and its size and f2.4 are very useful, but it isn't the sharpest lens available in K-mount. I've repeated my test with the proper lens hood and more diffused lighting and at f5.6, the DA 70 still isn't any sharper than the DA 18-135. Doesn't mean it's not a very good lens, but sharpness isn't its forte. As a decent photographer once said, sharpness is a bourgeoisie concept.
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