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02-23-2007, 09:37 PM   #1
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new * lenses... when does the price of quality to much?

I realize that high quality lenses cost an arm and a leg.
but bang for the buck, when does the price for image quality become to much?
If you were to compare a very good image with a high quality but less expensive lens to a high priced * lens, would the viewer tell the difference if they did not have a side by side pixel peeping look? I can see paying the big bucks for a F 2.8 through out the focal length...but...
If I were to show an A4 print (or larger) of, lets say a good but less expensive lens, then show someone the same shot from a * lens at the same focal length and F stop are they going to tell the difference?
or would both prints need to be side by side and inspected with a fine tooth comb before the person could see a difference.

don't get me wrong. if I had the money I would get the DA *50-135mm in a heart beat... but is a couple of hundred dollars worth the investment?

all opinions to me matter, so please let me know what you think

cheers

randy

02-23-2007, 09:45 PM   #2
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in short, no

almost everyone that doesnt really know about photography will always put the body in front of the lens.

i can shoot the same whot w/ the sigma and the kit, i would be able to tell it's sharp, on the sigma side, but my mom or almost anyone else will, or probably will notice it, but will not care enough.

most viewers will look at the main focus of the shot, nothing else really at times. like i did a shoot of my friends son. they only saw their son, and what he was doing, i saw a million other things within the shot..

anyway, I myself will buy a DA* for myself, and my own personal enjoyment.

for a casual shooter, a mid range lens would be more than sufficient...in my opinion
02-23-2007, 09:52 PM   #3
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I think the answer is largely: it depends on how much the person doing the comparison has trained themselves to look for defects. There was a really nice post on this at the "online photographer" blog just the other day.

But beyond that, you've kind of answered your own question -- start by comparing other zooms with a f/2.8 constant aperture, and consider other features like the ultrasonic ring motor and the weather-sealing. Presuming these lenses sell street price for somewhat of a discount, they're not actually that highly priced for their features compared to the competition. And those features may help you get images you'd have a hard time with otherwise. Having optical quality as stellar as the press release claims ("superior to any existing lens series") would be a nice bonus.

Last edited by mattdm; 02-23-2007 at 09:53 PM. Reason: fix url
02-23-2007, 10:06 PM   #4
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Its more like a thousand haha. a $1000 for 50-135...You'd probably be better off with primes at that range.

For me, I just don't understand how lenses can cost so darned much...like more that the camera. Yes I saw the Canon Virtual Lens Factory video and there's alot of precision processing and manaul labour and perfection/inspection...but isn't a camera many more times complex? Nowadays lenses are far cheaper then they were back when it was all metal, full frame, had the aperture rings, smooth focus..etc.

My philosphy is that the lenses should never cost more than the camera itself. Of course its not reflective of the market today with thousand dollar lenses and an alphabet soup of specialities like "AL, DA, ED, Ltd, SDM, SR, *,... ".

Also, I find it a little awkward that I feel like the only one or among the few in here that use manual focus. Little more awkward because its the Pentax K Mount here. Composition is of course the main thing dictated by our creativity but just by going MF, you are that much more involved in getting that picture.

While I will continually read up on new developments partially because I am a gear addict/techie, my LBA rests firmly on eBay, the good ol' used outlet store, and perhaps Russia (I gotta try out that Jupiter-9). That Sigma 24-135mm maybe my last AF capable lens. (not that I use AF on it)

02-23-2007, 10:21 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by FotoPete Quote
Its more like a thousand haha. a $1000 for 50-135...You'd probably be better off with primes at that range.

For me, I just don't understand how lenses can cost so darned much...like more that the camera. Yes I saw the Canon Virtual Lens Factory video and there's alot of precision processing and manaul labour and perfection/inspection...but isn't a camera many more times complex? Nowadays lenses are far cheaper then they were back when it was all metal, full frame, had the aperture rings, smooth focus..etc.

My philosphy is that the lenses should never cost more than the camera itself. Of course its not reflective of the market today with thousand dollar lenses and an alphabet soup of specialities like "AL, DA, ED, FAJ, Ltd, SDM, SR, *,... ".

Also, I find it a little awkward that I feel like the only one or among the few in here that use manual focus. Little more awkward because its the Pentax K Mount here. Composition is of course the main thing dictated by our creativity but just by going MF, you are that much more involved in getting that picture.
Since when is FAJ an "alphabet soup speciality," lol? It's derogatory, if anything, since it basically means "plastic and no aperture ring."

The zoom range of the 50-135mm is a bit weird IMO, and I'd have to agree that 50, 85, and 135mm primes would probably be a better option. $1000 is relatively expensive when you compare the DA*'s to the FA*'s, and I'm guessing that several thousand copies of each lens will be sold, so Pentax should really ease up on the price. Plus, they're made of plastic..

I can understand that certain lenses cost more than cameras because of the amount of glass and the limited number of units sold, but those generally exhibit true quality. New, the FA* 80-200mm cost about $1,400 yet today it's worth around $2000. Given the amazing sharpness of the lens, it's well worth it compared to say the DA*'s. Don't forget the metal barrel, power zoom, focusing clutch, and internal zooming! As far as I know, the total number produced is in the low one-thousands.

And you're definitely not the only one that uses MF! My A* 200mm makes it into my bag once every few weeks, as well as several other nice lenses

Adam
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02-23-2007, 10:22 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by slipchuck Quote
If you were to compare a very good image with a high quality but less expensive lens to a high priced * lens, would the viewer tell the difference if they did not have a side by side pixel peeping look?
randy
Short answer...I don't think so. That is why I bought what I bought, and it might only be average and not even "high quality". [Shrug]

Slightly longer answer (with link)...I have a shot...
http://i133.photobucket.com/albums/q78/KylePix/070203-3621LAMMBoatCouple.jpg

using my $320 (after rebate) 10-17mm fisheye. In one spot on the transom there is a flare of light caused by a bright reflection. The color of the flare is a bit odd. Would a (say 2X) more expensive lens "cure" that "problem"? Would you notice the problem if I did not point it out? Does it (the flare) really matter?

If you are looking for the perfect setup it will be a long time coming, and there will always be something else around the corner.

Oh, yeah, I'd take the 60-250 :-)
02-23-2007, 11:27 PM   #7
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I remember reading a photography magazine and the author commented that unless you are either a pro or an enthusiast who cares about quality and do print big (I think he said A4 or bigger), you won't noticed the difference between a good consumer lens and a top range lens.

For myself, I am after the f4 DA* lens that's coming out later. Don't really need the f2.8.

cheers
Kenny
02-24-2007, 01:07 AM   #8
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I do find quite a difference in prints from Fa 31 ltd comparing to any other lens. The colour and contrast are just so different. That is my most beloved lens.

I had prints out of A* 200mm f4 macro which are just amazing. I used A* 200mm f4 macro on Canon 20D with pentax k mount adaptor as well. The images from canon 100 macro, 180 macro or even sigma 150 macro are not as sharp and 3D as images from A*200mm f4 macro!

I print them to A4 sizes though. I love the * quality lenses a lot.

02-24-2007, 01:10 AM   #9
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[

For myself, I am after the f4 DA* lens that's coming out later. Don't really need the f2.8.

cheers
Kenny[/QUOTE]

Oh Kenny,
Sure you need the 2.8's. You just don't know it yet . The truth is that the long zoom really should be faster than f/4. I have found a need for long focal length speed and when the lens is good and sharp (wide open) there is nothing like it.

But, the reality of the situation is that better end consumer lenses are really capable of producing high end work in the right hands. Additionally, many consumer lenses are buffering up at the upper range of the resolution capabilities of digital systems.

Stephen
02-24-2007, 01:23 AM   #10
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For me, f2.8 is too dark on many occasions.

Eventhough I have been casting doubt on Da* 50-135 and Da* 60-250, I would eventually succumb to buying these Da* zooms. Hard to resist the Japanese style sale strategy (obviously pentax adopted this idea from canon and nikon marketing beliefs). Not sure I would ever be able to find these zooms in Australia though ...
02-24-2007, 03:26 AM   #11
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The thing about the new lens is it does not change the existing lineup, it is an addition. I get the impression that if they were to charge $20K for it, some people would sell their Pentax gear.

My understanding is they will continue to sell the 16-45/4 lens which seems highly respected and enjoyed by a lot of people. The 16-45/4 is certainly affordable. Introducing the star does not make the 16-45/4 lens any worse quality or value.

.... so is the core of the problem that people want to be able to afford the very highest models offered? From where I'm standing, the value proposition has not changed one bit.
02-24-2007, 07:38 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by FotoPete Quote
For me, I just don't understand how lenses can cost so darned much...like more that the camera. Yes I saw the Canon Virtual Lens Factory video and there's alot of precision processing and manaul labour and perfection/inspection...but isn't a camera many more times complex? Nowadays lenses are far cheaper then they were back when it was all metal, full frame, had the aperture rings, smooth focus..etc.

My philosphy is that the lenses should never cost more than the camera itself. Of course its not reflective of the market today with thousand dollar lenses and an alphabet soup of specialities like "AL, DA, ED, Ltd, SDM, SR, *,... ".
The reason lenses are so expensive is

The design, plug the numbers into a Super computer, wait a couple hours and out the other end you have a lens design.

Optical glass is very expensive to make, it is incredibly expensive to cast, it is super incredibly expensive to machine. One minor mistake at any stage and the piece of glass is useless.

The you have to arrange the lenses, to a tolerance that is incredible, a 1/10th of a mm or less out and the lens wont perform as designed.

The another thing is coating the elements, not a cheap exercise, and not an easy process.

The aperture is a highly precise piece of equipment, not to mention all the electronics in them these days.

Lenses are highly complex highly precise pieces of equipment, the only reason they are more expensive is due to the high levels of automation in the construction process theses days.

Many people say that they cannot see the point in spending lots of money on lenses when a cheaper on will do, But when you see the qualities that i high end lens has you wont go back.
02-24-2007, 09:28 AM   #13
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Hi Randy, I guess I'll weigh in on this. Since I don't own a K10D, the new DA* lenses are pretty useless to me, so I won't be buying them unless I win the lotto and can afford the K10D also. That of course, doesn't answer your question. To be truthful, I don't print a lot of photos. If I take photos to give to someone else I burn them onto a disk and give them that. But in any case my photography is for me. It's very very nice that others like my photos, don't get me wrong, but I'm not out to please you or anyone else. I'm out to please me. I buy the most expensive lenses I can afford. Generally that means mid tier lenses, but if I could afford top tier, (AND COULD FIND THEM!!) I'd go that route as long as a) they were reasonably fast, b)have very good to excellent IQ and c) aren't loaded with features I don't need (like the new DA* lenses). If I can tell the difference on my monitor, that is really all I care about.

NaCl(If I can see the difference that's all I care about)H2O
02-24-2007, 03:37 PM   #14
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You'd only think that with the better tech and efficiency that lenses would get a little cheaper. Then again, its the price people are willing to pay and the marketing. Cameras are complex devices too requiring every bit the precision expected of the lenses.

There's strong doubt that the quality of the DA* will have me plunge myself into irreversible debt, but I'll be sure to ask to try on the DA*16-50 and the DA*50-135 at the coming camera show in a couple of months. It will never win my wallet but it might get my praise and recommendation.
02-24-2007, 04:37 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by slipchuck Quote
I realize that high quality lenses cost an arm and a leg.
but bang for the buck, when does the price for image quality become to much?
If you were to compare a very good image with a high quality but less expensive lens to a high priced * lens, would the viewer tell the difference if they did not have a side by side pixel peeping look?

cheers

randy
Randy, seems like you're asking "at what point do you reach the point of diminishing returns (PODR)?", and I guess the answer will differ from individual-to-individual.

For me it's not the cost of the DA* zooms that gives me pause - it's their bulk and mass, which are substantial for both lenses. I learned a couple of decades ago that my enjoyment of photography is severely diminished when it requires that I lug a heavy load; I'll gladly sacrifice some speed and ultimate optical performance for an unbowed back. My PODR is reached about when the lenses in a kit exceed the combined weight of a DA 16-45, a DA 50-200 and an FA 35/2 (870 g including hoods). Together, the two new zooms are well beyond that (1365 g with hoods). Others of course, will see weight as a non-issue, placing their PODR somewhere else.

Jer
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