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10-27-2018, 06:05 PM - 1 Like   #46
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It would be most useful if the OP would post photos taken with the DA 35mm f/2.4 and DA 50mm f/1.8 lenses that he considers to be "too soft" with exif data. Maybe also some taken with the Tamron 70-300mm lens. Then perhaps we can see what is going on, and offer reasons why there is softness in the images.

10-28-2018, 07:29 AM - 1 Like   #47
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How people define sharpness clearly varies from person to person.

35mm find that prime. - PentaxForums.com

We definitely need to see what the OP defines as a "sharp" image.

Many people are looking at how the image is rendered, micro-contrast, colour cast, contrast etc. and evaluate the whole image and call it sharpness. The only thing that's really important is how the lens renders. Snide commenters have looked at the spec sheets and commented (in reference to my 21 ltd.) "your lens isn't the sharpest." If I like how it renders an image, I don't care much about how technically sharp it is. That's why I can go out with my FA 35-80 and get great images that make me happy, when many, prejudiced by spec sheets wouldn't touch that lens. And my charts have shown, many of those who wouldn't touch a lens like that actually prefer it's images in blind testing if the image has been downsized. These kinds of biases can diminish your enjoyment of photography.

But bottom line, "which lens is the sharpest" depends on how you define sharpness, and even if you go for the technically sharpest, buying the technically sharpest lens does not translate into, 'if I buy the sharpest lens, I will like it's images best in a blind test." My examples show, you probably won't. The odds are against it. Lens design with regards to contrast, micro-contrast, rendering of OoF areas, colour rendering is way more complicated than straight up sharpness.

That is sad news for those who just want to purchase based on spec sheets. Each lens is a combination of important characteristics, many of which can not even be measured. For a person to really like a lens, those elements must be combined in a way that caters to their own individual taste, and no one of can guess what that might be for someone else.

And for many of us, our favourite lens is the one that is on the camera that day. Of my 20 lenses, none has never given me at least one image that suited it's characteristics. Even my soft hated old Vivtar M135 2.8 has given me a couple images I'm happy to share. The answer to "what is your favourite lens?" depends on what day it is and how I'm feeling that day.

My guess is, if you have to ask which lens is the sharpest? would be, "if you have to ask, maybe you just need more lenses to choose from." If you have enough, and you're familiar with them all, on given day, one of them is going to suit your mood.

Last edited by normhead; 10-28-2018 at 08:08 AM.
10-28-2018, 09:12 AM - 1 Like   #48
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From my own experience, confirmed by the MTF charts I have seen, the sharpest Pentax lens I have ever used is the 50mm Macro.
I have the F version, the others should perform the same.
The 77mm Limited is sharp, has great pop and beautiful bokeh, but is not as clinical.
As far as I remember, the 50mm macro beats the 100mm macro by a small margin.
I have no experience with the next D FA 50mm. It could even be better, from what I see/read.
The Sigma macro 70mm is very sharp too.
If extreme sharpness across the (full) frame is not required, some very old lenses show amazing sharpness at the center.
Tomioka-made 1.4/55mm MC and 8-elements Super Tak are two well known examples.

Last edited by cyberjunkie; 10-28-2018 at 09:20 AM.
10-28-2018, 09:40 AM - 4 Likes   #49
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QuoteOriginally posted by cyberjunkie Quote
If extreme sharpness across the (full) frame is not required, some very old lenses show amazing sharpness at the center.
Something a lot of people don't realize is that often centre sharp lenses like the 16-50 sacrifice edge to edge sharpness for centre sharpness. Their centre sharpness is off the charts on occasion. The across the frame lenses like the macros are often not as sharp in the centre but sharper on the edges. So whether or not a lens is sharp depends on what part of the frame you are talking about. For a lens to be edge to edge sharpness across an FF frame it has to every big and expensive, which creates it's own problems.

It all comes down to, what are you going for and how are you going to achieve it?
My 18-135 at 135 has excellent centre sharpness, but I quite soft on the edges. But if what I want is a centred image in focus and softer smooth edges, it's actually better for that type of image than a macro lens with less centre sharpness but better edge to edge would be. It's better on both counts. better sharpness centre, and smoother bokeh on the edges, even though it's a 5.6 lens.

If this is what you want, a lens with less centre sharpness but more even edge to edge wouldn't give you as good an image.


10-28-2018, 10:36 AM   #50
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sandy Hancock Quote
Is it safe to assume the frog photo mentioned in the OP is post #15 in the FA Limited Club thread? I suspect that image is responsible for the purchase of many copies of the FA43
It took me a while to find how to get to the location you referred to (I am a new, rookie, newbie and have not mastered navigation of this forum as of yet.)

Yes that is the photo I was referring to and it is the type of image I wish to get from my K-70. I like the camera and in general it makes good images but the goal, for me, is images such as the frog image you saw. None of the lenses I now own can achieve that level of sharpness for me. I have spent hours with the camera on a study tripod with a wireless remote, under various exposure settings and lighting conditions and no luck yet. I guess I was hoping to get an opinion on whether or not that lens is actually that good and not a myriad of suggestions and opinions on other lenses.

---------- Post added 10-28-18 at 10:37 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
Something a lot of people don't realize is that often centre sharp lenses like the 16-50 sacrifice edge to edge sharpness for centre sharpness. Their centre sharpness is off the charts on occasion. The across the frame lenses like the macros are often not as sharp in the centre but sharper on the edges. So whether or not a lens is sharp depends on what part of the frame you are talking about. For a lens to be edge to edge sharpness across an FF frame it has to every big and expensive, which creates it's own problems.

It all comes down to, what are you going for and how are you going to achieve it?
My 18-135 at 135 has excellent centre sharpness, but I quite soft on the edges. But if what I want is a centred image in focus and softer smooth edges, it's actually better for that type of image than a macro lens with less centre sharpness but better edge to edge would be. It's better on both counts. better sharpness centre, and smoother bokeh on the edges, even though it's a 5.6 lens.

If this is what you want, a lens with less centre sharpness but more even edge to edge wouldn't give you as good an image.
Sharp

---------- Post added 10-28-18 at 10:40 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by swanlefitte Quote
Lets do this in reverse. Here are pictures from different lenses. When are they sharp enough. start with a kit lens and end on one of the sharpest in any mount.
1

2

3

4

5


I think they are all satisfactory.
Dal 18-50, 50a 1.4, 55-300plm with 1.4xtc, 40mm xs, sigma 70mm
I would rate the lizard as the sharpest and followed up buy the fellow with the cup.
10-28-2018, 10:51 AM - 1 Like   #51
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QuoteOriginally posted by 54bravo Quote
It took me a while to find how to get to the location you referred to (I am a new, rookie, newbie and have not mastered navigation of this forum as of yet.)

Yes that is the photo I was referring to and it is the type of image I wish to get from my K-70. I like the camera and in general it makes good images but the goal, for me, is images such as the frog image you saw. None of the lenses I now own can achieve that level of sharpness for me. I have spent hours with the camera on a study tripod with a wireless remote, under various exposure settings and lighting conditions and no luck yet. I guess I was hoping to get an opinion on whether or not that lens is actually that good and not a myriad of suggestions and opinions on other lenses.

---------- Post added 10-28-18 at 10:37 AM ----------


Sharp

---------- Post added 10-28-18 at 10:40 AM ----------


I would rate the lizard as the sharpest and followed up buy the fellow with the cup.
And the lizard shot was taken with The consumer grade priced (but better than most comparably priced zooms,) DA 55-300 PLM with an additional Tele-converter! The PLM can be had new for around 360 dollars and the TC by itself is more expensive new. (And usually more used also,) so I think what the answers you have received mean, is that it really is the skill of the person behind the camera.
10-28-2018, 11:16 AM - 1 Like   #52
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Looking at the Optical limits numbers 16MP APS-c the 43 ltd. is definitely a centre sharp edge soft lens.

Pentax SMC FA 43mm f/1.9 Limited - Lab Test / Review - Analysis

The 40 2.8 might be more to your liking.
Pentax SMC DA 40mm f/2.8 Limited - Review / Lab Test - Analysis

Or even a 40XS if you want to go cheap.

The image posted shot at 18mm, for that focal range, I'm guessing the 16-85 would be the best for that image. But honestly, a lot of lenses could take that image.

You still don't have your 43 owner, so I'm going to leave it at that.
10-28-2018, 11:22 AM   #53
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QuoteOriginally posted by RobA_Oz Quote
Actually, if you read the whole first post, the OP is asking about the FA43, and whether or not it lives up to its reputation.

So, here’s a shot taken with the FA43, on a recent trip to Portugal:


PS: for a previously unsolicited statement of opinion, check my signature.
Thank you very much! That is exactly what I was looking for. A simple up or down on the 43mm. This picture is enough for me to get my wallet out. I don't believe I ever asked for suggestions on any other glass, my glass, or opinions on my skills or lack thereof. If I ever do want that information I will be sure to ask.

10-28-2018, 11:26 AM - 3 Likes   #54
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I'm pretty sure I won't be answering. Helping people often involves looking beyond the actual question. I don't want folks like you crimping my style.

If all you want is an image from a specific lens like the 43 old. Go here. don't waste our time.
https://www.flickr.com/search/?q=Pentax%2043mm

if you want advice, we are here.

Last edited by normhead; 10-28-2018 at 11:37 AM.
10-28-2018, 11:55 AM - 3 Likes   #55
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QuoteOriginally posted by 54bravo Quote
I don't believe I ever asked for suggestions on any other glass, my glass, or opinions on my skills or lack thereof. If I ever do want that information I will be sure to ask.
Because the title of your thread was "Which lens is sharpest" many of us gave you our opinions and experience other than or in addition to the 43mm Limited.

I'm glad you came to the conclusion that the 43mm was sharp enough for your expectations based on a few examples, but as others have noted, content/lighting situation, shooting technique, and post-processing can make the difference with defining acceptable sharpness to the viewer.

Some of my own images that others have considered razor sharp were shot wide open @ f/2 and objectively are not as sharp as other shots @ f/8. But because of the contrast between background bokeh and vivid color and texture on the focal point in the less sharp settings, the human eye perceives it as appearing sharper.
10-28-2018, 02:16 PM - 2 Likes   #56
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The OP still hasn't commented on the fact that many people have said that the OP's existing lenses are very sharp. Again, before you shell out money for a new lens you should use the in-camera focus adjustment for each lens. You can also use live view, turn on focus peaking, and use the OK button to magnify the view. That way you can be certain that the focus is as good as you can get. Perhaps you've already done this, but if you haven't then I highly recommend that you try it.

If you're looking for sharp, then you already have lenses that can do that. If you're looking for character, then you can't go wrong with something like the 43mm.
10-28-2018, 03:29 PM   #57
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Super sharp:
FA* 200mm 4.00 Macro or FA* 250-600mm 5.6
Or the cheaper D FA* 50mm 1.4
10-28-2018, 03:42 PM - 1 Like   #58
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I've had the FA 43mm Limited lens now for numerous years, first using it on my 35mm bodies before going into my first DSLR. It is indeed a very sharp lens, and it has character, when used to whatever advantage it has that is wished for. This means knowing how that is accomplished. And this is true of other lenses also. The OP might obtain this fine lens only to find that for him it performs no better at f/1.9 than his 50mm lens does at f/1.8 in terms of what he is looking for. Don't get me wrong, if we see consistently fine results over and over again from a certain lens, it is indicative of its potential. But when dealing with two potentially sharp lenses under very different circumstances, it is like comparing apples and pineapples, each made into jam then spread on bread and just looking it it.

What Sandy is saying is, not enough info is coming our way to analyze why you are not getting sharp results from your DA 35mm f/2.4 and 50mm f/1.8 lenses. Just seeing sharp results someone has achieved with a certain lens does not mean it can provide anything better than it is possible to get from another lens, until one compares all the specs of which settings were used, lighting, subject matter, distance, aperture, shutter speed, post processing, etc. etc. You should not be getting soft results when these lenses are used properly to their best potential.
10-28-2018, 03:43 PM   #59
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alex645 Quote
Because the title of your thread was "Which lens is sharpest" many of us gave you our opinions and experience other than or in addition to the 43mm Limited.

I'm glad you came to the conclusion that the 43mm was sharp enough for your expectations based on a few examples, but as others have noted, content/lighting situation, shooting technique, and post-processing can make the difference with defining acceptable sharpness to the viewer.

Some of my own images that others have considered razor sharp were shot wide open @ f/2 and objectively are not as sharp as other shots @ f/8. But because of the contrast between background bokeh and vivid color and texture on the focal point in the less sharp settings, the human eye perceives it as appearing sharper.
I agree the title of the post could be somewhat misleading (my bad) but I thought I was clear in the text what my goal was. As to just wanting a picture from a 43.....I know there are lots of them but I wanted the opinion of someone who actually owned one which I finally got.
10-28-2018, 04:14 PM - 2 Likes   #60
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The title is "Which lens is sharpest"


QuoteOriginally posted by 54bravo Quote
I don't believe I ever asked for suggestions on any other glass,..
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