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06-18-2009, 10:21 AM   #1
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Top 3 sharpest AF lenses

I don't know exactly what order, but IMO, these 3 are tops in Pentax land:

F 50mm 1.4
FA 50mm 2.8 macro
FA 85mm 1.4

I just can't think of any others that challenge these, unless you have an argument for the F version of the 50mm 2.8 macro.

06-18-2009, 11:02 AM   #2
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In my opinion, sample variation puts the Pentax-F 50mm 1.4 above the A and FA versions in the most popular test. The optical formula remains the same for those three versions. The F version is somewhat less common, which perpetuates the myth. They often sell for about 50% more than the FA. Again, my opinion, and I don't have one to test either.
06-18-2009, 01:03 PM   #3
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Who knows what exactly it is that makes the F slightly sharper than the FA 50. Maybe the source of the glass they used in the late 80's/early 90's is different than what they use on the FA now, which has been in production for years. Any tweaks inside the two models may have also been a factor. Maybe very early samples of the FA would be more comparable to the F, but I'm not sure how to decipher between those and one bought today from B and H.
06-18-2009, 01:26 PM   #4
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My 31mm Limited is pretty damn sharp, but I haven't used every pentax AF lens so I don't know exactly where it falls.

06-18-2009, 01:28 PM   #5
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Also, my FA 85 is indeed quite sharp, but I'm not sure it would fall in the top 3 sharpest. It is, however, currently my favorite lens due to the FL and creaminess of the bokeh.
06-18-2009, 01:43 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Votesh Quote
Also, my FA 85 is indeed quite sharp, but I'm not sure it would fall in the top 3 sharpest. It is, however, currently my favorite lens due to the FL and creaminess of the bokeh.
If any of the top 3 were debatable for dropping out, this one definitely isn't. Without a doubt one of the sharpest lenses, any brand, as any lens tests over the years have reported, and (most) owners will attest. I distinctly recall an extensive lens test (but I can't recall by who) done in the 90's of all currently sold MF and AF lenses and the two lenses regarded as the top 2 in sharpness were a manual focus Contax (the G series 90mm Sonnar) and the FA 85.

As far as Photodo's MTF lens tests, I belive only 2 lenses scored higher than the FA 85, another Contax (the 45mm Planar) and the other was a Canon EF 200mm f1.8.

Last edited by K-9; 06-18-2009 at 02:00 PM. Reason: updated info
06-18-2009, 02:12 PM   #7
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i dont own many lenses, I only have a few... but i really think these lenses are razor sharp:

(in no particular order)

FA 50mm f1.4
DA* 50 - 135mm f2.8
DA 10 - 17mm FishEye
06-18-2009, 02:17 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by K-9 Quote
I don't know exactly what order, but IMO, these 3 are tops in Pentax land:

F 50mm 1.4
FA 50mm 2.8 macro
FA 85mm 1.4

I just can't think of any others that challenge these, unless you have an argument for the F version of the 50mm 2.8 macro.
I would have to say the 31 Ltd, 40 Ltd and the 70 Ltd. All shot at optimum aperture, i.e. Two to three stops down from wide open.

06-18-2009, 02:19 PM   #9
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The FA 35 2.0 measured just barely sharper than the FA 50 1.4 in the Photozone tests. I'm assuming that by sharpness you mean resolution.
06-18-2009, 02:26 PM   #10
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Sharpness could mean resolution only, or also resolution + contrast. It also matters if you are only talking about center sharpness or if you are also considering the sides and corners. And if the latter, it depends on if you are comparing on film or digital, since the location of those corners differs. It also matters if you are only considering the aperture at which the lens reaches peak sharpness or if you are somehow trying to capture some sort of subjective sense of "overall" or "average" sharpness.
06-18-2009, 02:33 PM   #11
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the F50 mm 1.7 is a super sharp lens that I am currently very happy with

I am at work and dont have the original here
I added a 0.02 blur for film feel but you can imagine
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06-18-2009, 03:03 PM   #12
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43 at f4! (center sharpness)
06-18-2009, 03:07 PM   #13
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Sharpness/resolution is only one factor I use when evaluating lenses. Color rendition, contrast, bokeh, ergonomics and the "pixie dust factor" are all considered when evaluating a lens.
For instance I have the Sigma 180mm F3.5 macro. Sharp as a pin. Big as a tank. It requires at least a monopod for me to properly handle the lens. The 77 ltd on the other hand is a wonderful lens that is pretty damn sharp, maybe not the sharpes pentax lens made, BUT its got beautiful creamy bokeh, is nice and small, manually focuses like a dream, renders colors beautifully and has loads of "pixie dust factor". Guess which lens is more often on the camera?

NaCl(sharp is not the be all and end all, there are other factors to consider)H2O
06-18-2009, 05:54 PM   #14
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You guys are forgetting the special series of Zeiss 50mm f/1.2 Sharpar made in 1972 with secret WW2 technology. They were so sharp NASA bought all them and fitted on secret surveillance satellites that read car plates from orbit - that's why you never hear of them anymore.
06-18-2009, 06:52 PM   #15
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example

fa* 85/1.4 @ f1.7 reduce size & crop 100%
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Last edited by malakola; 06-18-2009 at 10:19 PM. Reason: fix : image crop 100%
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