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12-15-2008, 10:52 AM   #16
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The skinny from that link:

QuoteQuote:
Executive Summary ?

Well, nope. Not really.

* Pretty much everyone is very sharp by f8.
* The cheap Sigma zoom is a cheap Sigma zoom !
* One of my Pentacon auto is lame (I'm sure if I clean it it'll be better).
* The Takumars f3.5 are really, really good, even at f3.5.
* The Tak f2.5 appears to be a tad softer at f3.5 than it's small brothers, but it becomes slightly sharper afterward, to "Canon 135" level even.
* Takumars are sharper than the Zeiss at f3.5!
* The 2 working Pentacon (preset and auto (2)) are very similar, and are very similar to (surprise) the Zeiss too.


12-15-2008, 04:40 PM   #17
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Good evening ladies and gentelmen, this is your anal poster speaking. The Captain would like to inform you that f/2.5 is 1/3-stop slower than F/2.8, and NOT 1/2-stop, as has been continuously reported on this thread so far.

Thank you, and please fasten your K mounts.

Last edited by Miserere; 12-16-2008 at 08:10 AM.
12-15-2008, 04:49 PM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by Miserere Quote
Good evening ladies and gentelmen, this is your anal poster speaking. The Captain would like to inform you that f/2.5 is 1/3-stop slower than F/2.8, and NOT 1/2-stoop, as has been continuously reported on this thread so far.

Thank you, and please fasten your K mounts.
However, the lens I posted is 0 stops slower than what the OP asked about.

Edit: But at least no one has called them prime lenses yet . . .
12-16-2008, 08:10 AM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by Blue Quote
Edit: But at least no one has called them prime lenses yet . . .
Yeah, we wouldn't want to do that

12-16-2008, 09:05 AM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by dantekgeek Quote
Nothing I've seen suggests anything like this exists, but I can hope, right?

(I know there are a fair number of 2.8 offerings, but the .8 makes a big difference in low light.)

Edit: Darn, posted in the wrong forum section. Requested thread be moved (thanks soccerjoe!)
Do you have any pictures taken with the Canon 135/2? It would be interesting to see.

Pentax two closest offerings has already been pointed out to you: (K) 135/2.5 and A*135/1.8. I have both of them. The 2.5 is a very nice lens, but only slightly faster then the several 2.8 versions. So in all fairness it is really the A* one should compare with.



On the DSLR it behaves like a 200mm lens. This took some time to get used to, but now I find it quite useful. Especially as the A*135 is relatively sharp even wide open.

Here a shot at f1.8. The DOF is only thick enough to cover nose and one eye.


At f2.8 the DOF is thick enough to cover most of the face


But this happens for all lenses that are fast enough to produce a thin DOF.

Some people say the A*135 is soft wide open. It makes me think they have a different lens than me. I find the A*135 quite sharp wide open. Of course, as far as I know, all lenses are less sharp full open than they are closed down. Question is if it is so soft that you cannot use it other than as a portrait effect. To my experience, it is sharp at 1.8, sharper than anything I can compare with in a fair way. Perhaps people are mistaking the thin DOF and softness due to shaking with the lens own optical sharpness?

The A*135 is useful at 1.8, but it takes training, several exposures on each motive is a good idea and a bit of luck comes in handy as well, especially if you shoot live hand held, to make use of such a thin DOF on a focal length as long as this. The lens is heavy, not far from a full kg, so you will have to fight both the limited DOF and the difficulties to hold it still long enough (though the Pentax body SR helps a lot).

Currently I'm trying to move forward a shoot out between the DA*50-135/2.8 and some A lenses including the A*135. Here is an appetizer for the brick wall shots I have promised there:

A*135 at f1.8


A*135 at f2.8


DA*50-135 at 135mm f2.8


DA*50-135 at 135mm f4.0


A*135 at f1.8 center crop


A*135 at f2.8 center crop


DA*50-135 at 135mm f2.8 center crop


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


To my eye the A*135 lose contrast full open, but not worse than the DA*50-135 does full open. In practical use, in film days, this contrast drop was not worse than I could fix it in the dark room (so the lens got used a lot shooting e.g. scene performance full open in low light) and now in digital time I can easily fix this in lightroom.
To my eye the A*135 is sharp enough to be useful at full open, in fact it is clearly sharper at 1.8 than the DA*50-135 at 135mm is at f2.8. The DA*50-135 at 135mm closed down to f4.0 is maybe slightly sharper than the A*135 at f1.8, but not as sharp as the A*135 is at f2.8. So in either case, you can shot a full stop faster with the A*135 and anyway get better sharpness than the DA*50-135 get one stop behind.

The problem is that the A*135 is not easy to get hold of. Before current economical downfall, it appeared to go between 1500 and 2000 Euros at ebay, the few copies I saw there. I think price is driven not only by the extreme performance, but also because Pentax appears to have made very few of them. Would suspect many copies of this lens sadly spend their times sitting in a shelf in some collection. Currently there is one on ebay for about 1500. There was an odd story on Pentax Forum a while ago when someone tried to sell A*135 but no one wanted it

Got middle aged so I'm not shooting much rock stars any longer, but we can take another low light application. Just this weekend I got use of this lens at the Skansen in Stockholm (an out door museum) when we were watching the coronation of the official Lucia of Stockholm (I'm not going to explain this, let us say that she is a sort of winter queen, it is to complex to explain why a protestantic country celebrates a catholic saint as a camouflage for old pre-christian traditions on the day, December 13, that used to be mid-winter when we chandged from Julian to Gregorian calender...yes, the crown is full of burning candles, try this). The rite takes place at an out door stage in poor light below a black Nordic winter evening sky, and I had a large crowed in front of me. This is the best I could do at iso 3200 (useful!) 1/40 sec and f2.2, cropped a bit to get rid of crowd heads in the bottom.

Of course at iso3200 it does not hold for any large enlargement, but I got a shot in conditions when even the DA*50-135 would not have been bright enough.

Closed down to f4 I get a very sharp distant portrait lens with a nice bokeh (here on the *istDS, rest of the shots here are on the K20D).


And with an extension tube the A*135 makes a very nice macro lens, and here the speed enables you to put on a tube and still have a decently fast combination.


With a vivitar/Kenko macroconverter you get a 270mm f3.6 1:2.7 macro which allow a good distance to bugs.

or

a bit cropping in both cases.

With a MC7 2x converter on you get a fairly good 270mm f3.6, here at iso1600 1/125sec f7 hand held in the shadow.


So I would say it is a fairly useful lens. Wish I had the AF1.7x converter to try it on. That would probably make a wonderful FA230mm f3.0!

I would be the first to support the idea that they should have a bright 135mm in their current line up. As well as a fast 85mm (and sorry but the 70ltd and 77ltd are not fast compared to the old A* and FA* 85/1.4 lenses). However, I suspect that Pentax wont release any prime between 77ltd and the DA*200, considering that they have covered that with the DA*50-135 zoom. Not in a while at least. While I like the DA*50-135 a lot, it does not fully replace the really fast primes of the past.
12-16-2008, 09:09 AM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by vindrum Quote
vivitar 135/1.8 m42
vivitar 135/2.3 m42
While looking for the A*135 I saw there were also a Vivitar 135/2.3 m42 currently on the ebay. For anyone with a bad LBA...
12-16-2008, 09:13 AM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by Douglas_of_Sweden Quote
While looking for the A*135 I saw there were also a Vivitar 135/2.3 m42 currently on the ebay. For anyone with a bad LBA...
There is also that Porst 135 f1.8 in the marketplace.
12-16-2008, 09:16 AM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by Just1MoreDave Quote
... including the S-M-C Takumar f2.5. The Takumar holds up very well. I believe there is a recent test of the K-mount version that shows it's competitive with the DA* 50-135.
What does that mean? Would be great if you had the link.

12-16-2008, 11:44 AM   #24
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I remembered enough to find it again:

Pentax SMC-K 135mm f/2.5 - Review / Lab Test Report

You mentioned Vivitars - I have a Vivitar TX 135mm f2.5 that seems to produce less CA than the Pentax. But I never have time to test thoroughly, and wnen I have to choose, I take the Pentax based on reputation. I ended up with two of these Vivitars at dirt-cheap prices and sold one for like $22, so I don't think a lot of collectors are looking for them.
12-17-2008, 11:39 AM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by Just1MoreDave Quote
I remembered enough to find it again:

Pentax SMC-K 135mm f/2.5 - Review / Lab Test Report

You mentioned Vivitars - I have a Vivitar TX 135mm f2.5 that seems to produce less CA than the Pentax. But I never have time to test thoroughly, and wnen I have to choose, I take the Pentax based on reputation. I ended up with two of these Vivitars at dirt-cheap prices and sold one for like $22, so I don't think a lot of collectors are looking for them.
Thanks for the link! I never seen an optical test on the 135/2.5 before. Just wish now there were one on line for the A*135.

I don't know for sure, but it seams that the Vivitar 135/2.3 is supposed to be something special, but I have not first hand experience.
12-17-2008, 12:03 PM   #26
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I have the Vivitar series 1 135/2,3 wich is a very nice and sharp lens that ive heard from diffrent sources meters like a f2,0. Ihave not tested myself but it shure looks more lika a 2,0
12-17-2008, 06:35 PM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by Just1MoreDave Quote
The marketplace ad mentions that there are two versions of this lens. One is part number 43802 with 5 elements, and the other is part number 43812 with six elements. The part number is stamped into the bottom of the auto/man switch. Also the markings on the distance scale are different and 43812 is heavier.

Part number 43812 has the same optical design as the SMC Pentax K-mount version.

Here is an interesting test comparing the Canon to several other 135s including the S-M-C Takumar f2.5. The Takumar holds up very well. I believe there is a recent test of the K-mount version that shows it's competitive with the DA* 50-135.

135mm Lens War
I was the one who purchased the very 135mm 2.5 mentioned above. It is indeed one helluva piece of glass. It yields images like a SuperTak 85mm f1.9, only l-o-n-g-er. Very, very nice, I recommend it highly.
12-18-2008, 10:06 AM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by germar Quote
I was the one who purchased the very 135mm 2.5 mentioned above. It is indeed one helluva piece of glass. It yields images like a SuperTak 85mm f1.9, only l-o-n-g-er. Very, very nice, I recommend it highly.
It also looks very cool on the camera, especially smaller bodies like the DS. I had the Super-Multi-Coated Takumar and the Pentax-K versions, and had a hard time deciding which to sell. The Takumar won in looks and handling, but the K didn't need an adapter.
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