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06-15-2009, 09:02 PM   #1
seacapt's Avatar

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Who else uses MF lenses for your "Main Squeeze"?

In the past year since jumping onboard with Pentax I've bought , sold and traded alot of glass trying to find the qualities I want. I test new aquisitions on my istDL because if it's sharp enough for me on 6 MP I know I'm gonna love it on 14MP.
One of my main goals was to put together a 3 lens carry kit which I recently achieved. The thing that I find odd is that all 3 lenses that feel right to me (to each his own) are old Tamrons . In fact when I look at the lenses that I've considered keepers in general there are more MFs than AFs. Recently I've started looking into whats out there in M42 which will probably be my next area of experimentation. Am I going through de-evolution?
My logic is this , I paid $250 for a new FA28-105 and it took crappy pictures. I paid less than half of that for an A35-105which yeah you gotta focus but it has great IQ. Most recently I picked up a Tamron 35-80 for $20.00 and it's an absolute jewel.
I guess to me it's all about the picture and in most situations turning the focus ring is no big deal.
My question is this ; who else prefers high quality old tech glass to consumer grade new stuff.

06-15-2009, 09:15 PM   #2
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I think the equipment list in my sig pretty much sums up what I like. I use everything there a fair amount, but the 50 and the 135 see more use than anything else in there (except maybe the 50-200, but birds are a little too chancy for MF as of yet).
06-15-2009, 09:20 PM   #3
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I'm totally with you on that thought. I've always thought, hey if I can do it for less, why not?

Old glass is often built better than today's lenses. I suppose you can argue the economics of inflation etc. but where we stand today, I'm more than happy to pick up an old relic than to shell out for something I'd rather keep safe in its pouch.

Still a student and can't afford to be musing around with current era glass. The availability and price of old 2nd hand lenses has enabled folks like me to experiement with lenses I wouldn't otherwise be able to afford and be able to 'hold' my own vs more affluent shooters.

Like having a Vivitar Series 1 28-90/2.8-3.5 for indoors, Tair-3 300/4.5 for sports and animals etc.
06-15-2009, 09:54 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by seacapt Quote
. . .

I paid less than half of that for an A35-105 which yeah you gotta focus but it has great IQ. Most recently I picked up a Tamron 35-80 for $20.00 and it's an absolute jewel.
I have both of those lenses and I agree whole-heartedly, especially for "A" lenses.

I've just started selling most of my collection of K and M series lenses, though, because they don't meter as well as the A's and FA's, I don't use them enough and I need the money.

I plan to get down to 3 essential autofocus lenses, Plus 1 Takumar, 1 K, 1 M and 2 A lenses, plus the 3 Tamrons. That's still 10 lenses - a large kit for most people.

Click lenses in my signature.

06-15-2009, 10:26 PM   #5
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I am glad to be able to manually focus. It's certainly expanded the number of lenses I have, and limited my complaints about camera flaws. It's too bad more AF lenses aren't quick-shift compatible.
06-16-2009, 12:25 AM   #6
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i keep the da 16-45mm on the body most of the time as my walkaround but when I really care about getting top notch image quality i'll borrow my bosses A 50mm f/1.7 and Takumar 135mm f/2.5(mine is currently out of comission)

Nothing beats the bang for the buck of high quality manual focus lenses. Also noticed I was able to get better bird in flight pictures with the takumar than with any of the cheaper mid short tele's i've used. Burst mode+wide enough focus range+good hand eye coordination beats the k20d's AF-C
06-16-2009, 01:02 AM   #7
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All of my lenses are manual.
06-16-2009, 01:04 AM   #8
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you are not alone. i am a sucker for image quality, and i ended up using manual focus lenses almost exclusively after i moved to pentax (anything from m42 to smc-m, no smc-a yet, except one old ,non-pentax, a lens), and including a medium format lens i had sitting on my pentacon six (and it certainly diserves a new life). the most surprising of the bunch, and probably hardest to use overall, too, is an smc-m zoom, i never thought i would ever buy a zoom that old, especially that i generaly dislike zooms, but this one -- the 75-150/4 -- is shokingly good. after getting it, i started looking for reviews on the net, to figure out if i am delusional, most people tend to agree (prime-like quality).

however, af is often usefull, and i would like to have more a lenses, but for the most part i am happy (generally a slow shooter, mostly landscape).

i disagree about testing on a 6mp camera, your logic seems wrong to me (no offence). i suggest you test on the k20d too, if that's what you're using most, as a lens which looks plenty sharp on a 6mp sensor can be insufficient on a 14mp one, for obvious reasons. other things can change too, with different sensors (chromatic aberrations and so on, even vigneting, if the sensor is different enough, regardless that it's the same size). the proof is in the pudding, but better to test the pudding yourself for your own purposes, instead of using somebody else who you think is more critical than you, so to speak, especially that image quality is not just a simple linear parameter, it has many dimensions (some almost impossible to measure). just a thought

06-16-2009, 01:34 AM   #9
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After getting the KatzEye I don't really care about auto or manual anything. I do exposure manually and with the split screen focusing is a bliss.

My main "squeeze"s right now are the 50-135 (pretty automatic) and a Russian Helios (fully manual).

I guess for me it's the feeling of the lens and the result. Not the vintage. Good results without the right feeling doesn't cut it and vice versa.
06-16-2009, 02:35 AM   #10
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I think it varries from person to person.

I have a collection of AF zooms, but all my primes are MF.

I use them differently. When I travel if I want to take a lot of stuff, it usually boils down to 4 AF zooms. Sigma 10-20, Pentax 18-35, Tamron 28-75 F2.8 and Sigma 70-200 F2.8. THis goes along with 2 bodies and 2 sitma TCs for the 70-200 plus a flash

I may also decide to take my SMC 300mm F4 and 1.7x AF TC.

Just add up the weight and volume and this is about the carry on limit for an airplane

I have travelled light twice, with what I consider good success, by cutting this list down somewhat.

My light kit is the 10-20, the 28-75 and one other lens plus only 1 body and no flash. It goes in a backpack with my other carry on stuff, and to walk about I have a shoulder bag that holds the 2 lenses that are not om my camera.

The one other lens is the point. I have taken my 135mm F2.5, and my 85mmF1.4 (along with my 1.7x AF TC. Both have performed very well but I am tending towards the 85 mm more and more because it offers a lot of other advantages, and with the 1.7x AF TC can give the same reach etc as the 135. I have also considered my 50mm F1.4 for night shots, but I have found that the high ISO of DSLRs (compared to film) is so much better, that speed is not that important.

The MF lenses make light travel kits, but will not replace my AF zooms because they perform so well, but note the zooms and AF lenses I use are fairly high quality to start with.

the main use of my MF lenses is when I go ouot to have fun, around home. I just grab one lens, and go out. I force myself to take shots with only that lens, which makes you think more about what you are doing.
06-16-2009, 03:48 AM   #11
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I am reluctant to say it, but maybe there's some emotions involved with those all-metal handcrafted oldies but goldies ?

Maybe it's the lenses' names also. Which of these would you choose if it were for the name only ?

SMC Pentax-DA* 50-135mm F2.8 ED [IF]
Carl Zeiss Hologon

Best, Georg (hopeless case)
06-16-2009, 03:55 AM   #12
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neaaah, you have it all wrong. they're all just tools, we only use them for what they are. build, feel, names are not important.

nanok, clutching an smc-m at his chest
06-16-2009, 04:11 AM   #13
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For me it depends. I tried two different copies of the DA 50-200mm and was less than impressed with either. On a recommendation I got the Pentax A 70-210 F4 and have been much much happier with the older lens.
On the other hand I dearly enjoy using my Pentax DA 12-24mm. I don't think there is anything 'historical' that matches that lens.
My "walk around" lens is the Tamron 28-75 F2.8 a fully "auto" lens, but my favorite medium tele is the Pentak "K" 135 f2.5
I guess I'd have to say that I prefer "top shelf" period, whether it's fully auto or fully manual isn't much of an issue.

NaCl(unfortunately my income doesn't match my lens preference)H2O
06-16-2009, 04:17 AM   #14
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Having gotten into photography only two years ago (because digital made it plausible) and being of a certain age (where my sight is not as acute as it once was) I assumed I'd go all AF. To my surprise, I'm really enjoying, and getting good results from, MF lenses (and I'm totally in love with my A 35-105mm!)

It really depends on the shooting situation, though. Out on the street, shooting sports or candids at events, I definitely want AF.
06-16-2009, 05:23 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by NaClH2O Quote
I guess I'd have to say that I prefer "top shelf" period, whether it's fully auto or fully manual isn't much of an issue.
that about says it all.

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