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10-05-2008, 11:19 AM   #1
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DA Glass on Film Body Questions

Not many pentaxians around my place, so this seems like a good place to ask.

I've had my K10 for a year and a half now and love it. Unfortunately the shutter's seen a lot of use and it's soon time to upgrade. I'm trying to build up a collection of really nice glass to put in front of the K30D/KxD, as i'm willing to bet that the sensor's going to have more resolving power than any of my zooms (da 18-55 and fa 28-90) can produce, so it's upgrade time. i have a pair of sharp primes (F 28, FA 50) that get a lot of use, and i'd like to try and keep future lens IQ in the same general neighbourhood.

The DA* 16-50 and 50-135 are pretty high on my list at the moment, as are a couple of the Tokina 2.8 zooms. Having read review after review and actually getting to take a shot or two with the 16-50 (which blew me away, almost as nice as my FA 50 f1.4 when they're both wide open.
I'd also REALLY like a fisheye, but that's more of a guilty pleasure than a necessity.
Most of the appeal that the 'Tonka Toys' (Tokina AT-X's) have with me are the availability of full frame lenses with aperture rings and great price/IQ ratio. I'd rather give my money to pentax though.

All of that being said, i'm going to be a stubborn bastard about backwards compatability with my later film gear (PZ-1 and an MZ-6 eventually, mostly for high speed sync), as well as being a contingency plan for if/when pentax decides to make a full frame. I personally think we'll see it in a year or two once the market stabilizes a little.

To the actual questions;
-To anyone using *any* DA lenses on film bodies; what are your general experiences regarding vignetting?
My 18-55 seems fine past 24mm (which is slightly ironic since i bought a used tamron PK adaptall 2 24mm f2.8 around the same time.) Also, having had the chance to play with a DA 50-200 at work, i found no visible vignetting at any focal length through the PZ-1's viewfinder. A little research found something about all DA's (and perhaps all no-name APS-C designed PK lenses) over 50mm being vignet free. Can anyone help verify that? It will more or less seal the deal on the DA 50-135 for me.

-Anyone have experience with trying SDM with power-zoom film bodies?
I found one report that the SDM was very slow to lock and hunted far too much on one of the later 'plastic fantastic' bodies. Anyone tried it on the MZ 6 or 7, PZ-1/1P, or the MZ-S?

-Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, is how do the film images from DA glass compare to less recent film-designed glass?
I'm sure the DA*s all hold thier own, are sharp, colorful, and contrasty. That being said, my results with the DA 18-55 were honestly not the best. Images seemed to lack contrast and color when compared even to my FA 28-90, which is not a particularly sharp lens by most people's standards. Anyone have some experience with this?


Just as a footnote; i find it entertaining that people are referring to the rumored pro DSLR as the KxD, with the x standing in for a number, especially with the introduction of the Km. Anyone who'se familiar with the K-series film bodies knows that the KX was the top of its line with Optical aperture readout, mirror lock-up, and self-timer. If you ask me, KXd is more likely than K1d, K2d, or K20/200 super. Pentax has already pretty much guaranteed a K30 in the spring.

10-05-2008, 11:41 AM   #2
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Just so you know, most of the Pentax DA lenses are Tokina AT-Xs. You'll note that on the Tokina products page, that there are a disturbing amount of similar lenses. Right down to the fact that the AT-X 165 PRO DX and 535 DX Tokinas share the same "water repellent" special coating on the front element as the DA* 16-50mm and 50-135mm SDM Pentax lenses.

Owned by the same company, after all.
10-05-2008, 11:58 AM   #3
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i didn't think tokina and pentax were still in bed as far as lens development. Now i know. Still rather have that SMC stampted on the lens, though. Call me old fashioned.

I've played with some of the aps-c Sigma/Tamron/Tokina 2.8 zooms and a couple fast primes on canons at work, and they all seem to give great IQ on the canon 20/30d and 5d. Not sure how they'd look on my k10.
10-05-2008, 01:56 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by gremlindesign Quote
...I'm sure the DA*s all hold thier own, are sharp, colorful, and contrasty. That being said, my results with the DA 18-55 were honestly not the best. Images seemed to lack contrast and color when compared even to my FA 28-90, which is not a particularly sharp lens by most people's standards. Anyone have some experience with this?
I bought an FA 28-90 f3.5-5.6 by mistake once. I didn't ever directly compare it to any other lens, but I tried using it for some eBay lens photos. I went back to the DA 18-55mm, because the FA 28-90 sharpness was noticeably lower, even if I wasn't looking for it. Of course, color and contrast aren't big factors when the subject is a black lens on a white background.

10-07-2008, 08:04 AM   #5
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I can't ever bring myself to sell my FA 28-90. When pixel peeping, it's not the sharpest, and one corner sags right into soft. But darn it, when taking real pictures it looks good! Snappy contrast, great colours. Some of my favourite pictures were taken with it.

I'm also curious about the DA 50-200 on film. If it performs, it would be a more useful range than my current Sigma 70-210 UCII, which also lacks some contrast.
10-07-2008, 02:05 PM   #6
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as i mentioned above, the 50-200 did not vignet in the viewfinder of my PZ-1. Since it's got no aperture ring, you'll have to use it on a Super Program or better to get the body side apertue control. Af worked well, if not a little slowly.

And yes, the 28-90 is an acceptable performer for most simple portaits or as a walk-around lens. It has a great range, but i want faster maximum aperture and better build. It feels and looks much worse than it performs. My options for replacement are the nicer DAs like the 16-50 2.8 and the 17-70 f4 which is aparently SDM only, possibly being a big hinderance for film use. I'm also keeping an eye out for a cheap used FA* 28-70 2.8. One of those will run me as much or more than any of my other options, but i *know* how useful it is to me now and will be if pentax returns to FF. Also, more than a few people have called it the nicest zoom ever made.
I'm also considering in, order of preferance, the Tokina 28-70 2.8, 16-50 2.8, and the tamron, sigma equivilants as a replacement. Again, the tokinas offer FF lenses with aperture rings in some models, a definate plus.

What i have makes good pictures, but as i'm slowly trying to get into more professional work, i need to show clients that i can give as good or better images than my (usually canon) competitors. L-series glass is not the end-all, be-all of lenses, but it does set a high standard. $100 pentax zooms just don't cut the mustard when it comes to selling product in the market i'm in.

If this was still a film world, i might keep using it, i love the color images it renders. Got a couple really nice B&W wide-angle shots too. I did find the B&W contrast quite flat with it though, not even in the same area code as my old primes. Yellow or red filters made everything pop though.
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