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View Poll Results: Pentax Prime subject distance poll
SELECT ONE LENS BELOW: 78.54%
DA14   00%
DA21 33.66%
FA31 1012.20%
FA 35 f/2 22.44%
DA 35 MACRO 56.10%
DA 40 78.54%
FA 43 11.22%
FA 50 f/1.4 3036.59%
D FA 50 Macro 22.44%
DA 70 44.88%
FA 77 910.98%
D FA 100 44.88%
DA* 200 33.66%
SELECT ONE SUBJECT DISTANCE CATEGORY BELOW 22.44%
MACRO ONLY (less than 2 feet) 67.32%
MACRO ONLY (2 - 5 feet)   00%
1-3 feet 56.10%
4 - 10 feet 3036.59%
11-20 feet 1214.63%
21 feet to infinity 78.54%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 82. You may not vote on this poll

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10-14-2008, 03:05 PM   #1
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REVISED subject distance poll...

This is the revised subject distance poll.

This time I'm providing a list of prime Pentax lenses currently available through outlets such as Adorama and B&H. If we get good response we'll do Pentax zooms later. Note: every lens isn't listed, but if you want to add one, please post directly to this thead with the lens name and the category you select from the poll above; that data will be merged with the poll.

NOTE: the poll says you can make 2 selections and that means one lens and one subject distance category... not two lenses or two categories. It isn't set up to cross that many variables.

The rationale: most Forum Folk know what lens to use under what conditions; and most of you probably automatically adjust for the best subject distance... but a lot of us newcomers might benefit from having a simple lens+subject distance chart to help us get the best possible image quality and help with lens purchase/selection. A charet like that wouldn't be the best part of that selection process, but it might give us just one more tool to use.

Definitions: Subject distance = the distance from the front of the lens to the primary focal point of any image. Image quality = contrast + sharpness.

Thanks for participating. The results will be posted as soon as possible after the poll closes in 30 days,
Brian (FHPhotographer)


Last edited by FHPhotographer; 10-14-2008 at 03:14 PM. Reason: claification
10-14-2008, 05:45 PM   #2
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This is the fourth time I've attempted to formulate a reply, but all I can say is a have no idea what you are asking.

Are you saying there is an answer such as , "oh, I have a 77mm, I should shoot at 12 feet"?

I never think in subject-distance terms, unless I'm at an airshow. It is mostly angles.
10-14-2008, 07:09 PM   #3
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Or maybe try it this way...

QuoteOriginally posted by SpecialK Quote
This is the fourth time I've attempted to formulate a reply, but all I can say is a have no idea what you are asking.

Are you saying there is an answer such as , "oh, I have a 77mm, I should shoot at 12 feet"?

I never think in subject-distance terms, unless I'm at an airshow. It is mostly angles.
Try rephrasing it... " "oh, I have a 77mm, if I shoot this subject at 12 feet I may have the best chance of the optimum image quality." No absolutes, just gut feeling and experience on what subject distance works for that lens.

I suppose if you have five different situations where you use the 77 and get the best IQ with different subject distances, you can send along five responses. I assume you can submit multiple polls? We'll need a moderator to let us know.

If not, just post those five to this thread and I'll crank it into the poll results.

Thanks for responding.
Brian
10-14-2008, 08:04 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by SpecialK Quote
all I can say is a have no idea what you are asking.
I believe that he's trying to gather some information to see if any lenses have a "sweet spot" in terms of distance. So does the lens appear as sharp, as contrasty, with as good colour rendition etc. when taking pictures at 2 feet, 20 feet, or infinity?

The question isn't whether you can see fine detail in a given object at various distances (a given object will obviously show more detail at a closer distance). But rather, is there a distance where the edges of objects appear the sharpest and the other lens characteristics look the best?

10-14-2008, 08:32 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sean Nelson Quote
I believe that he's trying to gather some information to see if any lenses have a "sweet spot" in terms of distance. So does the lens appear as sharp, as contrasty, with as good colour rendition etc. when taking pictures at 2 feet, 20 feet, or infinity?

The question isn't whether you can see fine detail in a given object at various distances (a given object will obviously show more detail at a closer distance). But rather, is there a distance where the edges of objects appear the sharpest and the other lens characteristics look the best?
Give the man a canoe.
10-14-2008, 08:53 PM   #6
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get a life

OP should get out and take pictures and stop wasting good bandwidth with silly polls. You wont collect any useful data from this, its just another type of measurebating. Just my opinion, YMMV.
10-14-2008, 09:11 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by FHPhotographer Quote
Try rephrasing it... " "oh, I have a 77mm, if I shoot this subject at 12 feet I may have the best chance of the optimum image quality." No absolutes, just gut feeling and experience on what subject distance works for that lens.
I certain respect the desire to collect this information. I going to try one more time to explain why I am skeptical, but I am still interested to see if numbers come in that make a believer out of me.

First, I can't imagine thinking along the lines you just laid out. Why would I choose the 77 - or any lens, for that matter - if I didn't already know what distance I wanted to be at? I choose my position first - either because of the perspective I want, or just practical considerations like I can't get any closer because there is a barbed wire fence in the way, or if I moved any further away then there would be too many other people between me and my subject. Then, based on where I am relative to the subject, I decide what sort of angle of view I want - how much of the scene I want to encompass in my composition. That pretty much decides for me what focal length I want, and then that pretty much decides for me what lens I'm going to use.

I can't imagine getting the lens on the camera then saying, "I'm in the perfect position for the perspective I want, and I'm getting just the composition I want, but gee, I've got some data that says this lens would perform 0.3% better if I were to move 20 feet closer - so what if that ruins my perspective and composition".

That is, whatever tiny differences there might be, I can't imagine any real life situation where that would trump the more fundamental desire to want to get the perspective and composition I want. That stuff is important. Miniscule - as I beleive they will prove to be - differences in lens performance at different distances won't be nearly so important except in the most extreme cases.

The situation where I *do* think this information might be useful would be in deciding between buying two lenses of a given focal length. If I know I'm buying a lens for a particular purpose - say, concert photography, where I'm often working at around 10-15 feet - and I have a general idea of what focal length I want for that distance - say, somewhere around 80mm - then I might be interested to know if, of the various lenses that exist somewhere around that focal length, if one of them performs better than the others in the 10-15 foot range. Or, for that matter, if I happen to already own two lenses of a similar focal length, to decide which one to put on the camera in a given situation if I find myself wanting to shoot at that focal length.

Unfortunately, that information would be hard to get from this sort of poll. The best lens at 10-15 feet might turn out to be the 77, but it might be the case that the 77 does *even better* at a distance of 6-7 feet. So someone says that the 77 is better at 6-7 than it is at 10-15. The 85/2 might be at its best at 10-15 feet, but still be way behind the 77. So I'd really want to see different lenses of similar focal lengths compared *with each other* and *at a variety of different subject distances*, not have different subject distances compared for a single lens. And even then, frankly, I'm still not sure this would trump the more obvious considerations like price, maximum aperture, overall quality, etc. In other words, I suspect we're talking about collecting a lot of information to measure something that barely matters.

Like I said, I'm willing to be proved wrong by incoming data that shows sopme clear and significant trends, but so forth, obviously, I'm underwhelmed...
10-14-2008, 09:18 PM   #8
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.


If this is really the question, then it makes sense to me:

"What lens + distance combo that you've ever shot has given you your very best/favorite images, generally?"

To that, my answer would be: 77ltd @ 6ft, or M 85 f/2 at 8 ft, or DA* 50-135 @ 135mm at 12 ft.


.

10-14-2008, 10:35 PM   #9
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I still can't believe how much anger this topic is generating. For the record I'm not a measurebater and would much prefer to go out and shoot than mull over numbers all day long. However this is an interesting poll because many of us use lenses that were originally designed for film.

In my mind DA lenses are designed for a specific subject and because most have focal lengths that take the crop-factor into account (16-50, 50-135, 35 anyone?) they suit the subjects that you would typically shoot with those focal lengths.

Lenses that were designed for film were also probably designed for a specific purpose (FA*85 for instance). But with the crop factor everything has changed. My M28 which was wide-angle on film is now a 42mm normal lens and I know from my own shots with it that IQ seems to be better when I use it for (narrow) landscapes than as a normal lens.

I don't think the OP is after any hard data, but it could prompt some interesting discussion, especially since we've all found new ways to use older lenses with the crop factor.
10-15-2008, 12:18 AM   #10
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OP response

QuoteOriginally posted by keithlester Quote
OP should get out and take pictures and stop wasting good bandwidth with silly polls. You wont collect any useful data from this, its just another type of measurebating. Just my opinion, YMMV.
Thanks for the response. I've got the time to do a couple of things in the same day, see https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/post-your-photos/39386-channeling-maxfield-parrish.html
Brian
10-15-2008, 12:44 AM   #11
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The last justification for the poll...

QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
I certain respect the desire to collect this information. I going to try one more time to explain why I am skeptical, but I am still interested to see if numbers come in that make a believer out of me... (expurgated to save bandwidth...assuming that bandwidth has anything to do with this anyway). In other words, I suspect we're talking about collecting a lot of information to measure something that barely matters. Like I said, I'm willing to be proved wrong by incoming data that shows sopme clear and significant trends, but so forth, obviously, I'm underwhelmed...
Marc, I am pretty clear on how you feel about the poll. I can't agree/disagree until we have some data but I'm not going to keep trying to justify this; the poll is out there, live with it or, if it really is anethma to somebody, ask a moderator to pull it. I really don't give a damn at this point.

However... you and others have spent a lot of time and effort explaining why this won't work and I have to ask, why bother? If somebody doesn't think this is worth doing, swell, don't do it, but why go to such lengths to criticize and undermine the process?

This isn't a real life issue, it's just playing in the digital sandbox... and if some of you don't like the game the other kids are playing, there's no need try and knock the shovels out of their hands.

Brian
10-15-2008, 12:45 AM   #12
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I'll buy that...

QuoteOriginally posted by jsherman999 Quote
.


If this is really the question, then it makes sense to me:

"What lens + distance combo that you've ever shot has given you your very best/favorite images, generally?"

To that, my answer would be: 77ltd @ 6ft, or M 85 f/2 at 8 ft, or DA* 50-135 @ 135mm at 12 ft.
Thanks for the input. And that's as good a way to think about it as any,
Brian
10-15-2008, 12:47 AM   #13
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Thanks for the responses...

QuoteOriginally posted by Sean Nelson Quote
I believe that he's trying to gather some information to see if any lenses have a "sweet spot" in terms of distance. So does the lens appear as sharp, as contrasty, with as good colour rendition etc. when taking pictures at 2 feet, 20 feet, or infinity?

The question isn't whether you can see fine detail in a given object at various distances (a given object will obviously show more detail at a closer distance). But rather, is there a distance where the edges of objects appear the sharpest and the other lens characteristics look the best?
Sean, Wheatfield... thanks for the input, you guys seem to get it. Now, fill out the poll and be quick about it
Brian
10-15-2008, 02:46 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
I certain respect the desire to collect this information. I going to try one more time to explain why I am skeptical, but I am still interested to see if numbers come in that make a believer out of me.

First, I can't imagine thinking along the lines you just laid out. Why would I choose the 77 - or any lens, for that matter - if I didn't already know what distance I wanted to be at? I choose my position first - either because of the perspective I want, or just practical considerations like I can't get any closer because there is a barbed wire fence in the way, or if I moved any further away then there would be too many other people between me and my subject. Then, based on where I am relative to the subject, I decide what sort of angle of view I want - how much of the scene I want to encompass in my composition. That pretty much decides for me what focal length I want, and then that pretty much decides for me what lens I'm going to use.

I can't imagine getting the lens on the camera then saying, "I'm in the perfect position for the perspective I want, and I'm getting just the composition I want, but gee, I've got some data that says this lens would perform 0.3% better if I were to move 20 feet closer - so what if that ruins my perspective and composition".

That is, whatever tiny differences there might be, I can't imagine any real life situation where that would trump the more fundamental desire to want to get the perspective and composition I want. That stuff is important. Miniscule - as I beleive they will prove to be - differences in lens performance at different distances won't be nearly so important except in the most extreme cases.

The situation where I *do* think this information might be useful would be in deciding between buying two lenses of a given focal length. If I know I'm buying a lens for a particular purpose - say, concert photography, where I'm often working at around 10-15 feet - and I have a general idea of what focal length I want for that distance - say, somewhere around 80mm - then I might be interested to know if, of the various lenses that exist somewhere around that focal length, if one of them performs better than the others in the 10-15 foot range. Or, for that matter, if I happen to already own two lenses of a similar focal length, to decide which one to put on the camera in a given situation if I find myself wanting to shoot at that focal length.

Unfortunately, that information would be hard to get from this sort of poll. The best lens at 10-15 feet might turn out to be the 77, but it might be the case that the 77 does *even better* at a distance of 6-7 feet. So someone says that the 77 is better at 6-7 than it is at 10-15. The 85/2 might be at its best at 10-15 feet, but still be way behind the 77. So I'd really want to see different lenses of similar focal lengths compared *with each other* and *at a variety of different subject distances*, not have different subject distances compared for a single lens. And even then, frankly, I'm still not sure this would trump the more obvious considerations like price, maximum aperture, overall quality, etc. In other words, I suspect we're talking about collecting a lot of information to measure something that barely matters.

Like I said, I'm willing to be proved wrong by incoming data that shows sopme clear and significant trends, but so forth, obviously, I'm underwhelmed...
I agree with Marc, the poll is ambiguous at best. So I didn't vote because I cannot see the reasoning (or point) of the poll. I use all my lenses within their complete focussing range, i.e. min focus to infinity, not any particular range, so I thought it reasonable to give my lens choices below.

I use only one prime currently, an FA 50 macro, which I use whenever I want the best possible IQ whatever the focus distance. I'm considering supplementing it with both the DA 35 macro and FA (D-FA) 100 macro. The DA 35 as a "normal standard" prime with proper close focus ability and superb IQ all over, and the FA (D-FA) 100 as a pure macro for true macro work so I can get further away from my subject matter and have a flatter perspective.

I find the 50mm macro superb as a general purpose short tele and portrait lens as well as macro, it also has stunning IQ, but it's sometimes too long for general walking around, hence the desire for the DA 35.

Up untill now, I've found the DA 16-45 fills the gap very well and the IQ is very acceptable and the lens has reasonable close focus ability. For longer distance and flatter perspectives I use the DA 55-300 which punches well above it's weight and price bracket. I will say that in general I'm not a wide aperture shooter as I prefer greater DOF rather than less, if I want less DOF I find f2.8 restrictive enough, when I had f1.4 and f2.0 lenses I very rarely used such fast apertures, I'd rather crank the ISO or use a tripod (more so in pre SR days).

I used to have a huge array of 14 different lenses from 8mm (Peleng) to FA*300, but I did some drastic culling a while back and really haven't missed much. I currently run with the DA 16-45, DA 55-300 and the FA 50 macro. My wallet, back and mental stress (over which lens to use) have all improved considerably without having a major impact on my IQ (image quality, not intelligence! ) output, nor many photographic limitations for my type and style of shooting.
10-15-2008, 06:42 AM   #15
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I voted.

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