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11-04-2008, 01:03 AM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by lbam Quote
Love the front picture of the 135mm F1.8... it's like there's nothing in the lens but glass..
There isn't. You can get vertigo from looking into it.





11-04-2008, 01:13 AM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by Light_Horseman Quote
Damn that glass looks nice. I could use those pics as a pinup on the wall.

The A50/1.2 would be icing on the cake.
Well, of course the simple answer to that is that I have the A50/1.7, not the A50/1.2. If you have one you can spare for a month, I can pm you my address

But seriously, it can be debated if the A50/1.4 or A50/1.7 is the sharpest, but they both beat the A50/1.2 below f8 (SMC Pentax Resolution Test Results), though the A50/1.2 has bigger bragging potential.
I could have brought in the FA50/1.4 in the test since it has the same optical solution as the A50/1.4, but it wouldn't have felt right. The A50/1.7 has always served me well.
11-13-2008, 05:01 PM   #18
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first shoot out between DA*50-135 and the A*-sherrif's with deputies

Sorry for the slow progress. Real life is coming in between including work.
Now I'm finally up to posting the first confrontation between my old favourites, the A50/1.7, A*85/1.4, A100/2.8 and A*135/1.8, and the new favourite, the DA*50-135/2.8.

But I was thinking that while everyone either either own it or have been drooling over the DA*50-135, and know it's features well, and many pictures have been posted here and elsewhere, the old A lenses are probably less well known by many members. Maybe you picked up a A50/1.7 from ebay, read someone arguing if the FA77ltd is a better lens then the A*85/1.4, but probability is that you who came into this with the DSLR's totally overseen the A100/2.8 and never knew there were such a beast as the A*135 or just heard a rumor about it. So I summed up the technical side for you, drool on:









This is what the DA* is up against.


Numbers are from Bojidar Dimitrov's Homepage.

More on these lenses can be read at Alex's Library: Photo Tips and Stan's Pentax Photography and many other places.

Take cover!
11-13-2008, 05:04 PM   #19
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Portrait with the DA*50-135 (v.s. A50 A*85 A100 A*135)

First shoot out session. Rest of the family took a Saturday walk. Me and my youngest daughter had other ideas, planning to bring out our more artistic sides. Well, I think she was more artistic than me.
She decided were she wanted to sit (very wisely with a good deal of natural light falling in from behind on her drawing paper...there's no smiley for a proud father...that suck's, nearest proxy would be ), and as she is the most stubborn member of the family she was not to be moved. So I had to live with the hard sunlight from the panorama window and the low October sun. From the other side there are several light bulbs and spot lights. So it is a difficult mixed light with lots of flare, and I mean flare in her hair, not in the lens (necessarily). With three blond girls in the family, this is a common problem, but also (sometimes) a nice effect.
I shot one focal length at the time, shifting between the A lenses and the DA lens, covering the apertures from 2.8 to 5.6 or 8 (well, for some lenses below 2.8 also, but we will get there later), as these are the apertures that I would most use for portraits. I shot on Aperture priority with auto-iso, with 2-4 shots on each aperture. The DA* is on AF, but with a fair deal of MF interference from my side. And guess what, I focused the A lenses manually (my K20D has a split-prism focus screen). I shot on free hand moving in and out with the focal length to get approximately upper body to head shots. For some reason I had turned off the shake reduction. All lenses had shades, but all UV or sky-light filters that are usually on them had been removed. The idea was to be as close to how I usually work when I photograph kids or bigger people. I arrange very little, shoot people as they are, so no time for tripod. I know auto-iso and no tripod, no SR will limit how much we can trust pixel peeping. There will be tripod brick walls later, so calm down. This is a real life test, or intended as. Far from all of these are keepers, but needed if we are to cover all focal lengths and apertures.
I shot in RAW and converted to jpeg's in lightroom. No other modifications. This is my usual work-path. In the rest of the thread, this will be taken for granted unless I say nothing else. Pictures are posted on Flickr and linked. I've tried to learn for this thread how to post the pictures so that you can click on them for a larger version. Let's hope that it is working.

The deal was that I could photograph her if I also took pictures on her art. Non the less, she showed a great deal of patience, and if you would happen to express how grateful you are for her patience, how pretty she is and how beautiful hair she has, I will forward that to her.

So here are first the shots of the new kid, DA*50-135:

50mm
f2.8

Mhh, managed to focus the whole DOF behind her head when I shot f2.8 and f4.0, but there is enough sharpness on her arm, hair and shoulder to compare with the A50/1.7. Expect RH to jump up now and complain about the lousy Pentax AF, but this was due to a lousy photographer I believe.

50mm f4.0



50mm f8.0


85mm f2.8


85mm f4.0


85mm f5.6


100mm f2.8


100mm f4.0


135mm f2.8


135mm f4.0


135mm f5.6


But behind the gun-smoke, we can see the sherrif's in the other end of the street...


Last edited by Douglas_of_Sweden; 11-13-2008 at 05:48 PM. Reason: posted two images too many, not used in later comparison
11-13-2008, 05:39 PM   #20
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A50 A*85 A100 A*135 return fire!

DA*50-135 at 50mm f2.8


A50/1.7 at f2.8


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
DA*50-135 at 50mm f4.0


A50/1.7 at f4.0

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
DA*50-135 at 50mm f8.0


A50/1.7 at f8.0


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

DA*50-135 at 85mm f2.8


A*85/1.4 at f2.8


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

DA*50-135 at 85mm f4.0


A85*/1.4 at f4.0


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

DA*50-135 at 85mm f5.6


A*85/1.4 at f5.6


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

DA*50-135 at 100mm f2.8


A100/2.8 at 2.8


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

DA*50-135 at 100mm f4.0


A100/2.8 at f4.0


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

DA*50-135 at 135mm f2.8


A*135/1.8 at f2.8


------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

DA*50-135 at 135mm f4.0


A*135/1.8 at f4.0


------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

DA*50-135 at 135mm f5.6


A*135/1.8 at f5.6



So, gentlemen, and gentlewomen, I leave it for a while for you do debate, who won, who's the last lens standing. Remember, the sherrif's still hide in their boots the full open apertures! Time to sleep a bit, here is way past midnight.

Last edited by Douglas_of_Sweden; 11-13-2008 at 05:46 PM. Reason: wrong link to wrong size of image
11-13-2008, 08:40 PM   #21
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the DA*50-135 is way too soft at 50mm...i don't think its (and shoudn't be) that soft...well its sharp on her left hand by the eye...maybe try a different (stationary) subject???
11-13-2008, 09:05 PM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by nupentaxian Quote
the DA*50-135 is way too soft at 50mm...i don't think its (and shoudn't be) that soft...well its sharp on her left hand by the eye...maybe try a different (stationary) subject???
It is appears very sharp to me on the subject where it is in focus - her left arm/shoulder as you noted.

Regards,
D
11-13-2008, 11:28 PM   #23
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Beautiful model!!!

But I think this is not the best way to do the test of all these great lenses. There are too many variables here. I would use static subjects under the exact same lighting conditions, all focused in the same way, with the same camera, mounted a tripod(using a cable release), same white balance , etc, etc. Find a subject with blacks, whites and a good range of colors. Use proven Kodak test images as a guide of for creating your test still life.

The more you control the variables the more accurate the test will be. Using auto focus on some lenses and manual focusing on manual lenses will give misleading results. Its hard to get really good manual focus with a modern digital SLR with a really fast 1.4 or 1.2 lens. This test should not be about the camera but instead focus on the lenses.

Now go out and get your model a great treat of her choosing...

Max

11-14-2008, 12:46 AM   #24
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An interesting test considering the 50-135s range and the fact APS-C is here for the long haul on the Pentax system, thanks for sharing your results. For me, even though the zoom performs well comparitively at the longer end with respect to its apparent sharpness, its the dof and oof rendering, manual focus feel and ff (just in case...) I would covet with those primes at those focal lengths.

I would strongly consider that 135 if you ever decided to find it a new home
11-14-2008, 04:19 AM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by nupentaxian Quote
the DA*50-135 is way too soft at 50mm...i don't think its (and shoudn't be) that soft...well its sharp on her left hand by the eye...maybe try a different (stationary) subject???
Quoting myself:

"Mhh, managed to focus the whole DOF behind her head when I shot f2.8 and f4.0, but there is enough sharpness on her arm, hair and shoulder to compare with the A50/1.7. Expect RH to jump up now and complain about the lousy Pentax AF, but this was due to a lousy photographer I believe."

"There will be tripod brick walls later, so calm down."

A 5 years old kid focused hard on her drawing is stationary enough, but I managed to miss focus on the 50mm shots. Don't know why. Human factor. The repeating routing of changing focal length/lens and aperture and trying to keep everything else constant invited carelessness. But as I said, there is enough sharp areas in the center and corners of the picture to compare with the A50/1.7. Will not recreate the same shooting again, but there will be others. Brick wall as well.

If you zoom in you can see something like this:

DA*50-135 at 50mm f2.8, near center


A50/1.7 at f2.8 near center crop


DA*50-135 at 50mm f2.8 near corner


A50/1.7 near corner crop


DA*50-135 at 50mm f4 near center crop


A50/1.7 at 50mm f4 near center crop


DA*50-135 at 50mm f4 near corner


A50/1.7 near corner crop


But make sure to do the same comparison on the other focal length's were I did not make the same mistake. Then consider, which has best sharpness, colors, bokeh etc overall? The DA* or the A(*)'s?
11-14-2008, 05:19 AM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by Photomaximum Quote
Beautiful model!!!

But I think this is not the best way to do the test of all these great lenses. There are too many variables here. I would use static subjects under the exact same lighting conditions, all focused in the same way, with the same camera, mounted a tripod(using a cable release), same white balance , etc, etc. Find a subject with blacks, whites and a good range of colors. Use proven Kodak test images as a guide of for creating your test still life.

The more you control the variables the more accurate the test will be. Using auto focus on some lenses and manual focusing on manual lenses will give misleading results. Its hard to get really good manual focus with a modern digital SLR with a really fast 1.4 or 1.2 lens. This test should not be about the camera but instead focus on the lenses.
It is not the best way, I agree, if it would be the only way. But quoting myself again: "There will be brick walls as well", with all conditions as equal as possible. For a trailer:

DA*50-135 at 50mm f4.0


A50/1.7 at f4.0


But that alone would not say very much about how the lenses behave in real conditions. I rarely shoot the same brick wall with tripod filling a whole card. So as I said in the start of this thread, I'm going to try to cover various real motives in real conditions, as well as the more constrained test. You have just seen the first shooting. I am very happy to receive suggestions on what to do the remaining time, but please, phrase it as a suggestion on what I should do it in addition, not as what I should do instead of what is already done. OK?

I don't find it very hard to focus a fast prime on a DSLR when it is equipped with a split prism/micro prism screen. Actually, in this first test, where I failed focusing was with the DA* lens where I mixed AF and MF corrections but failed to do so in a consistent way on the 50mm shot.

As for using AF on the DA* lens. I mean to do an over all comparison of all sorts of advantages/disadvantages in real life shooting. So I give the DA* lens the advantage of AF, and I give the primes the advantage of faster apertures etc.

I will consider Kodak test charts if I can get hold of any. Used to have some 15 years ago... But it is a rather boring shooting, even worse than the brick wall, and the fun/work ratio may be too low. No promises. But there will be a mountain of brick wall shots as soon as I have time to process them.


QuoteOriginally posted by Photomaximum Quote
Now go out and get your model a great treat of her choosing...

Max
I will!
11-14-2008, 05:39 AM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by thePiRaTE!! Quote
An interesting test considering the 50-135s range and the fact APS-C is here for the long haul on the Pentax system, thanks for sharing your results. For me, even though the zoom performs well comparitively at the longer end with respect to its apparent sharpness, its the dof and oof rendering, manual focus feel and ff (just in case...) I would covet with those primes at those focal lengths.

I would strongly consider that 135 if you ever decided to find it a new home
Well, I'm not going to sell those primes tomorrow, even though of course it would be stupid to say I would never do it if I need the bucks. But way beyond their value in Euros or whatever coins, they are the lenses I started with for Pentax, before any zoom, autofocus, or even before I got any old K or M lenses, third party lenses or anything else, so I'm found of them.
The 50-135mm was my whole range until I got a used 28mm Cosina and a 400mm Tokina, so that may be part of why the DA*50-135 appeals to me (not the shade necessarily) so much that these primes spend less time in my bag, except when I take the film cameras out for a hike, but that is a small number of shots compared to the digital shooting. Of course, while each prime is great to use on its own, the zoom have a practical advantage. Now this test is sort of a way of forcing myself to check what I'm really gaining or loosing.

And I'd love the input of everyone, because I find it a bit hard to be objective. Please, take a look at the shots. Is there a trend, ignoring my mistakes, that suggest an advantage of DA* or A, even in this less constrained test?

I seam to get the impression that the A lenses are overall sharper. I'm inconclusive on contrast. It appears to me that the DA* has a warmer color, which is very appealing, which may be why I like it. But it may look different on other shootings with different light. We will see.

Here may be something of interest to everyone wanting some A primes. It may be a hard task and demand large investments in both time and money to get hold of any of the A* lenses today, but the A50/1.7 and A100/2.8 are easy to get hold of for a modest amount, on the APS-C giving you a short and a long portrait lens.
11-14-2008, 06:24 AM   #28
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I think that the disadvantage of the DA* is the pincushion/barrel distortion at the focal ends. I am a bit disappointed actually. But maybe it would be even more expensive otherwise so...its a very nice lens otherwise in my opinon
11-14-2008, 07:00 AM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by debbie Quote
I think that the disadvantage of the DA* is the pincushion/barrel distortion at the focal ends. I am a bit disappointed actually. But maybe it would be even more expensive otherwise so...its a very nice lens otherwise in my opinon
Hej, så det finns fler medlemmar i Stockholmstrakten. Kul!

About this distortion, could you elaborate a little about it. When and how do you see it. Can you see it in the brick wall shots?

This reached the limit of my English here, checked with wikipedia:

A pincushion (or less commonly pin cushion) is a small cushion, typically 3-5 cm across, which is used in sewing to store pins or needles with their heads protruding so as to take hold of them easily.

Got no wiser......then found this link:

Distortion (optics - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

which explain what you mean and brought me back to solid ground and concepts I knew in Swedish. But would still like to know when you observe this. Pincushion in one end? Barrel in the other?
11-14-2008, 07:07 AM   #30
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Thanks for your ongoing efforts, Douglas!

Your model is certainly the cutest, blondest, grown-up little girl I've seen in a loooong time. And oh my, how beautiful is her hair!?!?

For a more consistent test subject, you might want to get in touch with Franks' father
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