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04-26-2009, 06:20 PM   #1
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Again, question about DA 50-135?

Hi everyone. I'm currently shooting two systems now: a K20D and newly acquired 5D. Now I'm in need for a long telephoto and pulled between a 70-200L 2.8 (which I had before and sold it) and DA50-135. I'm leaning toward the DA50-135 due to the price.
So for those who had shot the DA, how bad or good the DA50-135 in term of CA and purple fringing when shoot wide open with strong back lit. I understand that CA and purple fringing are something digital photography has to deal with, but I also believe some lens control or suppress it better than the other. Thanks for the helps in advance.

04-26-2009, 07:10 PM   #2
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CA/PF just doesn't happen with this lens. If it does, I haven't seen it...
04-26-2009, 08:04 PM   #3
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Agreed, you can pretty much shoot into a backlit subject and not have any problems.

Here's a backlit shot of my daughter with strong sun coming behind her. Click on the "O" link and you can check out typical areas where you'd expect to see fringing.

Jeff : photos : April 2009- powered by SmugMug
04-26-2009, 08:30 PM   #4
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That's an awesome shot, Jeff!

Can't wait to get a good, used copy soon.

04-26-2009, 10:08 PM   #5
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I usually get some red/blue CA with my DA. Not alot but some...
04-26-2009, 11:23 PM   #6
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shot image below using 50-135mm and it is tack sharp. You can see every hair on her goosebump at 100%. My shooting buddy uses Canon 5D Mark II with Canon 85mm F1.2 and he's still amaze how sharp my 50-135mm is.

04-26-2009, 11:54 PM   #7
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Maybe I can ask this without starting a new thread, taking over this one, or being totally misunderstood. I want a 135mm lens period. I prefer AF, but manual is fine with me at that focal length. I'm just not certain there's one in Pentax's stable that I'm willing to settle for or risk the money on. What I really want to know is, and this is an odd question, how does the 50-135 stack up against the FA 77 when it's at 135mm? Let's just forget it's a zoom, because I will if it's good enough. I'll spend whatever it takes if someone tells me that there's a lens that will give me images with equal or better quality (I know the 77 isn't the greatest lens ever made, but it is my favorite, it's common enough that comparisons should be possible, and it's most definitely going to upset me if the images are all around softer, or if there's more PF, or if it hunts around super slowly in low light, etc.). The 50-135 is at the top of my list. Should it be? If you don't know what I'm asking, please don't tell me how they're totally different lenses. I know that. I really know that. I'm just looking for a good companion for it. Thanks!

Last edited by JHfwp; 04-27-2009 at 12:11 AM.
04-27-2009, 12:30 AM   #8
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Hmm

QuoteOriginally posted by JHfwp Quote
Maybe I can ask this without starting a new thread, taking over this one, or being totally misunderstood. I want a 135mm lens period. I prefer AF, but manual is fine with me at that focal length. I'm just not certain there's one in Pentax's stable that I'm willing to settle for or risk the money on. What I really want to know is, and this is an odd question, how does the 50-135 stack up against the FA 77 when it's at 135mm? Let's just forget it's a zoom, because I will if it's good enough. I'll spend whatever it takes if someone tells me that there's a lens that will give me images with equal or better quality (I know the 77 isn't the greatest lens ever made, but it is my favorite, it's common enough that comparisons should be possible, and it's most definitely going to upset me if the images are all around softer, or if there's more PF, or if it hunts around super slowly in low light, etc.). The 50-135 is at the top of my list. Should it be? If you don't know what I'm asking, please don't tell me how they're totally different lenses. I know that. I really know that. I'm just looking for a good companion for it. Thanks!
This depends on what aperture you're mostly using with your FA77. I don't own the DA 50-135 or FA 77 but I have tested both at the same time for approx two months. The DA 50-135mm is not soft wide open at 135mm but I believe the FA 77 is a bit sharper at the same aperture (F2.8).

Kind regards
.lars

04-27-2009, 01:24 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by JHfwp Quote
Maybe I can ask this without starting a new thread, taking over this one, or being totally misunderstood. I want a 135mm lens period. I prefer AF, but manual is fine with me at that focal length. I'm just not certain there's one in Pentax's stable that I'm willing to settle for or risk the money on. What I really want to know is, and this is an odd question, how does the 50-135 stack up against the FA 77 when it's at 135mm? Let's just forget it's a zoom, because I will if it's good enough. I'll spend whatever it takes if someone tells me that there's a lens that will give me images with equal or better quality (I know the 77 isn't the greatest lens ever made, but it is my favorite, it's common enough that comparisons should be possible, and it's most definitely going to upset me if the images are all around softer, or if there's more PF, or if it hunts around super slowly in low light, etc.). The 50-135 is at the top of my list. Should it be? If you don't know what I'm asking, please don't tell me how they're totally different lenses. I know that. I really know that. I'm just looking for a good companion for it. Thanks!
In mid range (say 70-100), the DA*50-135 are very close to a good 85mm lens at the same apperture. At the short and long ends, 50 and 135mm, there are obviously some compromises. It is not as sharp as in the middle and there is some distorsion. Not that it is really bad, but it is not just up to a good prime. Mind you, in my oppinion any zoom that get close to a good prime in any part of the focal range is a very good zoom. I do not have the FA77, but the lenses I shot with against the DA*50-135 are the A50/1.7, A*85/1.4, A100/2.8 and A*135/1.8, some of the best primes Pentax ever made. The thread is somewhere on the forum, though I never properly finished it.

If you really priorities the 135mm focal length, and don't mind manual focus, the best choises from Pentax are the A*135/1.8 (for astronomic prices) and the K135/2.5 (don't mix it up with the Takumar bayonet 135/2.5, which is a totally diferent lens). I have both and wont part with any of them. If you want autofocus the F and FA135/2.8 have a good reputation both optically and for having one of the fastest screw drive autofocus implementations. All these are of course second hand, since Penax have no 135mm prime in their current production.
04-27-2009, 11:00 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Recercare Quote
This depends on what aperture you're mostly using with your FA77. I don't own the DA 50-135 or FA 77 but I have tested both at the same time for approx two months. The DA 50-135mm is not soft wide open at 135mm but I believe the FA 77 is a bit sharper at the same aperture (F2.8).

Kind regards
.lars
Having the option to shoot at 2.8 would be nice, but being a hair softer wouldn't be a killer as long as it's really close by F4. Thanks

QuoteOriginally posted by Douglas_of_Sweden Quote
In mid range (say 70-100), the DA*50-135 are very close to a good 85mm lens at the same apperture. At the short and long ends, 50 and 135mm, there are obviously some compromises. It is not as sharp as in the middle and there is some distorsion. Not that it is really bad, but it is not just up to a good prime. Mind you, in my oppinion any zoom that get close to a good prime in any part of the focal range is a very good zoom. I do not have the FA77, but the lenses I shot with against the DA*50-135 are the A50/1.7, A*85/1.4, A100/2.8 and A*135/1.8, some of the best primes Pentax ever made. The thread is somewhere on the forum, though I never properly finished it.

If you really priorities the 135mm focal length, and don't mind manual focus, the best choises from Pentax are the A*135/1.8 (for astronomic prices) and the K135/2.5 (don't mix it up with the Takumar bayonet 135/2.5, which is a totally diferent lens). I have both and wont part with any of them. If you want autofocus the F and FA135/2.8 have a good reputation both optically and for having one of the fastest screw drive autofocus implementations. All these are of course second hand, since Penax have no 135mm prime in their current production.
That's not what I really wanted to hear, but I appreciate it. The A* intrigues me, but spending 1200-2000+ on a used lens that I don't believe was anywhere near that price new is really frightening to me. It sounds like the K135 2.5 would be the ideal place for me to start.

Thanks
04-27-2009, 11:13 AM   #11
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Its the best lens you can buy! It comes up quite a bit on ebay each month but I found them going for 400 an for 500 I could get a new one as opposed to 3 years old and with a 1years warranty, I think in the states you get 3 years with lenses tho!
04-27-2009, 12:56 PM   #12
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QuoteQuote:
CA/PF just doesn't happen with this lens. If it does, I haven't seen it...
There are some pictures in the lens review page showing some moderate CA and purple fringing. I know the DA50-135 is tack sharp, but my concern is with the CA/PurplePringging when wide open. But since everyone says it is a good buy, I'll try it myself. thanks everyone.
04-27-2009, 03:38 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by JHfwp Quote
Having the option to shoot at 2.8 would be nice, but being a hair softer wouldn't be a killer as long as it's really close by F4. Thanks



That's not what I really wanted to hear, but I appreciate it. The A* intrigues me, but spending 1200-2000+ on a used lens that I don't believe was anywhere near that price new is really frightening to me. It sounds like the K135 2.5 would be the ideal place for me to start.

Thanks
My preferences are so much in favor of primes that a zoom has to be really good to get used as much as the DA*50-135 does. I was quite surprised to see how it beat the A100/2.8 and got quite close to the A*85/1.4 at the same apperture (say closed down to f4). If you know the reputation of that 85mm lens you know what that mean. Of course, this is my rather subjective judgement without any exact scientific comparisons, nothing more advanced than a brick wall. Almost all zoom lenses will be less optional in the extreme ends of the focal length range. Another pleasing thing is that it has sort of a warmish nice color tone to it, while the A and A* lenses are colder in the color tone. I would say that if you have the DA*50-135 you are in no hurry to find a dedicated portrait prime lens unless you want extreme DOF play. I don't think you would regret buying the DA*50-135, but if you really specifically want sharpness at 135mm, you might still be looking for that after having baught the DA*.

Here is the DA*50-135 at 135mm f2.8.

With all the out of DOF softness it is even a bit academic to say that this is softer than a prime (it was more obvious when shooting at a brick wall).

Same lens closed down to f4:


Here is the A*135/1.8 at f1.8. Even more out of DOF softness, but what is sharp is sharp.


Closed down to f2.8:

You really have to blow up the photo and look closely at her skinn to realise how sharp this lens is!

So either you compare both lenses at f2.8 (but is it fair to compare witha 2000Euro lens you wont buy anyway?), or you look at the DA*50-135 at f4 and ask youself if you want sharper than this?

The softness at 50 and 135mm are around the corners mainly. The center keep most of its sharpness. I have problems to see the distorsion, but that's because the brick walls of my house is sort of not so straight. The distorsion is there. However, if you shoot for example portraits, sport or concerts, a bit of corner softness and distorsion at the corners doesn't matter...and at f2.8 it is the fastest 135mm option Pentax have today.

Unfortunately I never used the K135/2.5 in this shoot out. But here is a shot in door in a shopping mall hand held in low light 1/60s f2.5 on a KX camera, 400 ISO.

I'm afraid I don't have so much pictures with this lens on DSLRs as I mainly pick up the A*135 for the A connections when I want a 135mm prime with the K20D, while the K135mm stays together with the KX/MX/LX.

There is a Takumar 135/2.5 with the same optical solution as the K135/2.5 (6-6), SMC Takumer called model II, but don't mix it up with the model I (5-4). The model II may be an option if you don't find the K mount version.

Another nice lens is the M135/3.5, sharp and compact (would have been a ltd today) but of course slower (don't confuse it with the K135/3.5 which is probably the same 4-4 lens solution as the Takumar bayonetts and the A135/2.8).

I would like to have a F or FA135mm though, but not really because I need it. I got a soft spot for 135mm. Would like to compare the AF speed with the DA*50-135.
04-27-2009, 04:09 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Douglas_of_Sweden Quote
Here is the A*135/1.8 at f1.8. Even more out of DOF softness, but what is sharp is sharp...


Closed down to f2.8...:
I think I would probably hang onto the A* 135 too. In fact, I would probably ask to be buried with it. That 1.8 shot looks amazing as does the 2.8.

I've read reviews saying it's great at F8. How would you rate it around F4? Keep in mind sharpness ranks very high with me.
04-28-2009, 01:21 PM   #15
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The SDM died on my 50-135... luckily when I bought it, there was a third party warranty included. Despite the failure, this is one of the best lenses I've used.
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