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02-28-2009, 08:34 PM   #1
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Pentax 200 f4 & Vivitar 200 3.5 Comparison

Below are the pics from some very controlled comparitive shooting I did with these two nice lenses. I shot each lens @ f4, f5.6, f8, & f11. I then took %100 crops of each shot. They are all in incandescent lighting, @ 100 iso. It was completely dark out, so each shot has equal lighting. All were shot Raw, with no post processing whasoever. Just resampling for forum. Focus is on center of glass leaf candle holder.

Since, for posting attachments, I am limited to 5 pics on each post, I will need to make 4, separate posts. Each post will have 4 shots, all @ same aperture: 2 of the Viv (resampled full size & %100 crop) & 2 of Pentax (resampled full size & %100 crop).

So, for example, my first post will have 4 shots @ f4--2 with each lens--a full size and a crop--here we go:


F4 @ .6 secs


Last edited by Jewelltrail; 09-25-2009 at 09:00 AM.
02-28-2009, 08:35 PM   #2
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f5.6 @ 1.3 secs

Last edited by Jewelltrail; 09-25-2009 at 09:00 AM.
02-28-2009, 08:37 PM   #3
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f8 @ 2.5 secs

Last edited by Jewelltrail; 09-25-2009 at 09:00 AM.
02-28-2009, 08:38 PM   #4
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f11 @ 5 secs


Last edited by Jewelltrail; 09-25-2009 at 09:00 AM.
02-28-2009, 10:25 PM   #5
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Very interesting. I appreciate the work that you put into this. It looks like the Pentax wins here.

I know I tested these two once myself, and the Vivitar won at wide apertures, a tie at f8 or smaller, not a huge difference either way. I was looking for a reason to auction the Pentax and I found it. But I didn't do anything intelligent like label the photos, so I don't have any backup for my claim. My test was at a distance, about 1/4 mile, and I looked at center and corner crops. I might have decided in favor of the Vivitar based on corner performance.
02-28-2009, 10:35 PM   #6
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The Vivitar clearly has more contrast. Since you were focusing on the center of the picture, that is where the 100% crops should come from. The colors on the Pentax look relatively washed out. My vote is for the Vivitar.
02-28-2009, 11:13 PM   #7
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QuoteQuote:
pentaxman:
The Vivitar clearly has more contrast. Since you were focusing on the center of the picture, that is where the 100% crops should come from. The colors on the Pentax look relatively washed out. My vote is for the Vivitar
You have a point: I thought about taking crops from the center, but the area was much too boring. I wanted colors and some depth, which I got a little of with the crops I selected. Keep in mind that the ceramic candle holder is in the same focal plane as the glass candle holder. Also, I wanted to test the lenses away from the center because this is a truer test of a lens' strength/weakness.

That said, if you would like, I'll be glad to provide center crops--just ask. I have come to my own conclusions regarding the results of the shooting, but did not want to post them yet--I would rather hear comments from you guys.
02-28-2009, 11:36 PM   #8
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Center crops

Okay, you want center crops, here they are. The crops are from the same images and the odd numbers are all one brand while the even numbers are the other brand. F4 & F5.6 here:


Last edited by Jewelltrail; 09-25-2009 at 09:03 AM.
02-28-2009, 11:37 PM   #9
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And here are f8 & f11

Last edited by Jewelltrail; 09-25-2009 at 09:03 AM.
03-01-2009, 12:00 AM   #10
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Thanks for the center crops. I would have to say that the even number photos are definitely less contrasty. I like the odd number. At F4 they are pretty comparable, but as they are stopped down, the Vivitar improves more.
03-01-2009, 12:16 AM   #11
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QuoteQuote:
pentaxman
Thanks for the center crops. I would have to say that the even number photos are definitely less contrasty. I like the odd number. At F4 they are pretty comparable, but as they are stopped down, the Vivitar improves more
I have to agree %100! I am not sure what just1moredave sees here. They are a toss-up @ f4, but the Vivitar really lights up while stopping down. In fact, f11 shows the biggest gap between the 2 lenses INHO. I should give f16 a try too. I am surprised the Vivitar is this good. I have to thank Stevebrot for getting me into the Vivitar line with one of his threads.

There is more to picture taking than just IQ though. The focus ring on both lenses is smooth, but the Vivitar takes more effort than I like. Also, the aperture ring on the Pentax has slightly better defined detents than the Vivitar. The Pentax is lighter, but the Vivitar is better built--extremely well built. Though these tests do not show it, I have heard the Vivitar has better bokeh too. Both lenses have built in hoods.

All in all, picture taking is about IQ in IMHO and I give the nod to the Vivitar--though an outdoors comparison is in order too. I look forward to taking the Vivitar outdoors and sending the Pentax to the Market, orEbay.

Last edited by Jewelltrail; 03-02-2009 at 11:16 PM. Reason: spelling :)
03-01-2009, 01:00 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jewelltrail Quote
I have to agree %100! I am not sure what just1moredave sees here.
I think I got mixed up on which lens was which. I assumed you had identified them in your first posts.

QuoteQuote:
There is more to picture taking than just IQ though. The focus ring on both lenses is smooth, but the Vivitar takes more effort than I like. Also, the aperture ring on the Pentax has slightly better defined detents than the Vivitar. The Pentax is lighter, but the Vivitar is better built--extremely well built. Those these tests do not show it, I have heard the Vivitar has better bokeh too. Both lenses have built in hoods.
My focus ring is pretty good, even a bit lighter than typical Pentax-M. My aperture ring felt like it had some drag to it, but I just fixed it. You need a very small common screwdriver, eyeglass repair sized. Loosen (two turns) the three tiny screws in the lens barrel just above the aperture ring. Then you can slide that barrel just a little towards the focus ring, so it's not pressing hard against the aperture ring. With less pressure on the aperture ring it should turn more freely. Tighen the three screws and you're done.

QuoteQuote:
All in all, picture taking is about IQ in IMHO and I give the nod to the Vivitar--though an outdoors comparison is in order too. I look forward to taking the Vivitar outdoors and sending the Pentax to the Market, or Ebay.
That's what I did. The Pentax can be sold for a good price and the cost difference goes back into the lens budget. For my infrequent need for a 200mm prime, the Vivitar is perfect.
03-01-2009, 01:46 PM   #13
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I have both Pentax M 200mm f/4.0 and Vivitar 200mm f/3.5 in K mount from Komine. The former is at least twice in cost than the later. Both are pretty good for the 200mm manual prime. For some odd reasons that I can't articulate well, I prefer the Vivitar from Komine than the Pentax. Like other comments, it may be due to infrequent use in the 200mm and the lesser cost. PF is found with the Vivitar, more apparent with the use of TC. The Komine is always good in the MF ring and I have great liking of Komine, influenced by Jay and others, and my personal encounter with few Komine lens in Vivitar Series 1 zoom and Vivitar 135mm f/2.8 1:2 Maco.

Out of the three Komine lens that I own from Vivitar, the 135mm f/2.8 1:2 Macro is the best. All three are not immune to moderate PF/CA. Moderate as it is really not too bad.

Request: Can OP confirm which lens is the odd number? I personally don't enjoy guessing game

Hin
03-01-2009, 02:14 PM   #14
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Jeweltrail...You beat me to the punch here! I just got my Vivitar 200/3.5 from the mail box this morning and could not resist doing a very quick outdoor hand held comparison between it and my Pentax-M 200/4. I shot them both wide open and at f/8. My initial impressions mirror your results and the comments above:
  • The Vivitar has better contrast
  • The Vivitar is sharper wide open
  • Sharpness is about equal stopped down
  • The Pentax is substantially lighter and more compact (duh!). I am genuinely thinking that a tripod collar might be appropriate for the Viv.
  • The focus ring on the Viv is smooth but viscous. The lens was made in 1974 and I suspect that the grease has thickened with age.
  • Both lenses offer great performance and are a heck of a value. I paid $60 for the Pentax and $23 for the Vivitar.
I want to repeat the test shots on a tripod in better light (the day here has turned crappy) and will post when I have something worth sharing.

Steve
03-01-2009, 02:35 PM   #15
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Here is the obligatory portrait of my copy:



I just love the ribbed focus ring

Steve
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