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05-21-2022, 02:21 AM   #1
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New vs Old lenses resolution

Hi guys,
I'll try to make it short. Before posting this I searched the forum for something similar. I wasn't able to find the answer.
The situation is the following: I am a product photographer. Often I have products that have a very fine texture. For example clothing (fabric texture) or the latest one - matcha powder.
I am using a K1 mark 1 with
1. SMC Pentax-F 50mm F2.8 Macro
2. SMC Pentax-F 100mm F2.8 Macro

I know matcha is a very fine powder, still often I have a feeling I should get more details, a higher detalization.
The question is: Do you think changing the old SMC Pentax-F 50mm F2.8 Macro to the new HD Pentax-D FA* 50mm F1.4 SDM AW will change anything? Both these lenses have a 10 for sharpness.
Same thing with 100mm: Do you think changing the old SMC Pentax-F 100mm F2.8 Macro to the new SMC Pentax-D FA 100mm F2.8 Macro WR will change anything? Both these lenses have a 9.8 for sharpness.
To conclude, do you think that using the same camera, same lighting, f-stop, etc... but with newer lenses will increase the detalization of my images?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

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05-21-2022, 02:58 AM - 5 Likes   #2
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You'd not get a significant bump in detail using more recent lens models.

What you could do with what you already have is:
- use pixel shift
- use a wider lens aperture and focus stack
- use pixel shift, with wider aperture and focus stack
- get closer and stitch a few frames (e.g using the 100 macro instead of the 50 macro)
- fine grained sharpening (capture sharpening / de-convolution type sharpening)

Combining pixel-shift, focus stacking and stitching should get you a massive increase in image detail, downside being more processing time.
05-21-2022, 03:08 AM - 1 Like   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by marinb Quote
New vs Old lenses resolution
I wonder if before going down the lens switching "Rabbit Hole", which easily develops into an expensive never ending quest.

Are there any technique or workflow changes with your existing set up, that will give the desired results?

A few additional things to consider at time of capture... focus stacking, K1 pixel shift, less flat and slightly more oblique lighting.

In PP some ideas... which give an "apparent" increase to resolution, subtle high pass sharpening, together with gentle tweaks to contrast, texture, clarity and dehaze settings.

STOP PRESS: Oops biz-engineer beat me to it while I was typing.

Last edited by Kerrowdown; 05-21-2022 at 03:15 AM.
05-21-2022, 03:09 AM - 1 Like   #4
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Getting more detail may also be limited by the closest distance to subject, if so , adding a tele-converter can help, also using an apsc camera having a sensor with higher pixel density than the Pentax K-1.

05-21-2022, 03:13 AM - 3 Likes   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by marinb Quote
To conclude, do you think that using the same camera, same lighting, f-stop, etc... but with newer lenses will increase the detalization of my images?
I doubt newer lenses will make any appreciable difference here, especially considering those you're using are already very good.

What *will* improve resolution is using the optimal aperture for your lenses, which is likely to be f/5.6 - f/8. The D FA50/2.8 and D FA100/2.8 both peak f/5.6, and by f/22 (the aperture you used) they're considerably softer. I'm pretty sure the older Pentax-F versions will perform similarly. Of course, depth-of-field will be much shallower at f/5.6, so for the kind of shot you're taking, you'd probably have to do multiple shots with focus stacking to achieve the desired end result...

Last edited by BigMackCam; 05-21-2022 at 02:17 PM.
05-21-2022, 03:15 AM - 8 Likes   #6
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The image is captured with aperture of f/22 which is past the diffraction limit. So you loose detail by stopping down the aperture that much.
You most likely get most detailed shots with aperture between f/5.6 - f/8. If you need more DOF than that you can use focus stacking.
05-21-2022, 03:58 AM - 3 Likes   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Fogel70 Quote
The image is captured with aperture of f/22 which is past the diffraction limit. So you loose detail by stopping down the aperture that much.
You most likely get most detailed shots with aperture between f/5.6 - f/8. If you need more DOF than that you can use focus stacking.
Fogel70 has nailed it here.
And what he says go for any new lens too.
If you are up against diffraction limitation vs enough depth of field no amount of money will buy you out of it.

05-21-2022, 06:42 AM - 2 Likes   #8
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Hello !

Never forget it is the "LIGHT" that is sharp, not so much the lenses. Try different levels of lighting and vary the incoming direction of the light to improve the apparent sharpness of the scene. Sidelight always reveals myriad of details not visible otherwise. Short bursts of flash might improve contrast. I tried night table photography a few years back with surprising results : in total darkness, after composing your image carefully, you open your shutter and keep it open with a locking cable-release. You then use "open-flash", flashing a strobe multiple times from different angles to create sidelighting and/or rimlighting. You may have to repeat and vary the procedure multiple times but the results will amaze you.

Lens-wise, I have both the DFA 50 mm f/2.8 and DFA 100 mm f/2.8 and both give excellent results. I also use a Pentax 645Z and A 120 mm f/4 and FA 120 mm f/4 as well as a P67 100 mm f/4 Macro with adapter and also a 645 Auto-Bellows to photograph fruit and vegetables using natural light coming from a Northern oriented window. Once again, excellent material but it is always the light that makes the picture. Also, using the OPTIMUM APERTURE (usually around f/8 - f/11) should help attain maximum performance from any lens.


Best Regards


Mr. Smiley



Chérie

Last edited by RICHARD L.; 05-21-2022 at 02:30 PM.
05-21-2022, 07:04 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by marinb Quote
The question is: Do you think changing the old SMC Pentax-F 50mm F2.8 Macro to the new HD Pentax-D FA* 50mm F1.4 SDM AW will change anything? Both these lenses have a 10 for sharpness.
Same thing with 100mm: Do you think changing the old SMC Pentax-F 100mm F2.8 Macro to the new SMC Pentax-D FA 100mm F2.8 Macro WR will change anything? Both these lenses have a 9.8 for sharpness.
To conclude, do you think that using the same camera, same lighting, f-stop, etc... but with newer lenses will increase the detalization of my images?
Keep in mind that the ratings for "10 for sharpness" and "9.8 for sharpness" are only opinions, not based on tests.
05-21-2022, 07:07 AM - 1 Like   #10
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The 50mm is excellent. The 100mm very good.

Pentax D FA 50mm f/2.8 macro - Review / Test Report - Analysis

Pentax SMC-FA 100mm f/2.8 macro - Review / Lab Test Report - Analysis
05-21-2022, 07:38 AM - 1 Like   #11
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Once in the diffraction region every 2 stop smaller aperture (opening) reduces resolution by 1/2, and w/ higher resolution sensor at f/22 you may (as guess-estimates) 1/2 ~ 1/4 the expected resolution, and in macro regime the effective aperture is much smaller, and it depends on the distance, but very possibly you may have 1/4 ~ 1/8 the expected resolution. I suggest you read a book on macro photography that discusses this stuff. The "manual of close up photography" by Lefkowitz (1979) is the best source I have ever read.
05-21-2022, 08:22 AM - 1 Like   #12
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I have the FA 50mm f2.8 macro which I believe is optically identical to the F, and I have the DFA* 50. The new DFA wins from 1.4 to 2.8. From there it is difficult to tell other than the DFA will handle flare and ghosting better and the macro lens can focus closer. I don’t think your challenges are going to be solved by a new lens or necessarily even a higher resolution camera. There are some good suggestions above. The DFA* is a lens you buy to shoot wide open. Closed down it is similar to other 50s.
05-21-2022, 02:07 PM - 4 Likes   #13
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Original Poster
Hi guys,
so nice to have answers. The most important one - I have good lenses and there is no need to buy new ones.
On the other hand I admit I was trying to avoid some post production by using f 22. I understand it was a mistake because of the diffraction. I do use most of the techniques related above:
1. the image above is focus stacked from 2 images - one focus on top, one focus on paper's surface.
2. I do use high pass to sharpen my images
3. I am not using flat lighting. This light creates almost no shadow. I know the sidelight creates shadows and texture.
4. For some reasons, I thought pixel shift can not be used with flash, but flash is 100% my lighting source. I searched the manual - ... can not be used with X and B modes... Hm... I am always using M mode.
5. Bought right now the advised book.

Thank you guys again for your time and good thoughts.
05-21-2022, 04:13 PM - 1 Like   #14
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Another possibilty that would give you another tool on your box (but not one I've used personally) would be a tilt-lens set-up. A tilt lens wouldn't give you greater depth of field, but it would give you some flexibility in the placement of the plane of focus, particularly for subjects that aren't parallel to the sensor plane. I know there aren't really any off-the-shelf options for this available for Pentax, so a DIY solution might be in order. Some of those you're going to find on-line are little more than freelensing on the end of a rubber tube. You'd likely want something a bit more controllable and repeatable. Here are links to some rigs that I came across in my own search for tilt-shift projects that offered more stability and control than most.

DIY Tilt Shift (the full boring write up) – Jon Martin Photo

- Tilt-shift -

Ultra-short tilt/shift bellows

Tilt-shift-swing Macro bellows from OTS parts - PentaxForums.com

Real Tilt-Shift with a Canon 5D Using a 62-Year-Old Lens and Bellows | PetaPixel

Flickr: Discussing DIY tilt shift adapter for full frame sensor in Homemade Lens

Pentax Hacks

https://www.northlight-images.co.uk/photography-articles-and-reviews/tilt-an...s-and-reviews/

I haven't actually built anything like this, but I'm more inclined to go in this sort of direction than the "plungercam" style rig. I probably wouldn't copy any of these exactly, but they do offer a range of ideas and inspirations for what I've got in mind.
05-22-2022, 06:18 PM - 1 Like   #15
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Detail has little to do with perceived resolution to the audience. Higher contrast, harder lines, etc will look "sharper" even if it has less detail. A film shot with the same or more information will always look softer than a digital shot.

To your question you could probably do the same photography with worse gear, I wouldn't worry about it. Your lighting will probably matter more than the lens.
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