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06-25-2009, 09:52 AM   #31
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I'll be the stick in the mud here and say, no, as a complete system Pentax lenses are not even close to being the best on the market. If I had $20k to spend on a complete camera system I'd buy a new Leica M8.2 and the top end 28, 35 and 50 trio of primes.

Taking price into consideration though I think a person can assemble a Pentax kit having some extraordinary lenses. As long as the prosepctive Pentax owner/operator is willing to do the necessary research, buy lenses, sell lenses, and settle on those he or she likes it's a viable endeavor. It's also fun but my lens shopping drives my wife crazy.

06-25-2009, 10:12 AM   #32
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
Lens design is a wealth of compromises. People will talk about "IQ", which seems to be a dysfunctional term for resolution, like as if it is all that matters.
This is why I tend to ignore machine tests, focus charts and brick wall photos. I'd rather see what actually gets rendered, and that will never be explained by numbers.
06-25-2009, 10:33 AM   #33
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Whoever believes that is delusional.
06-25-2009, 06:03 PM   #34
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QuoteOriginally posted by B Grace Quote
I'll be the stick in the mud here and say, no, as a complete system Pentax lenses are not even close to being the best on the market. If I had $20k to spend on a complete camera system I'd buy a new Leica M8.2 and the top end 28, 35 and 50 trio of primes.

Why not medium format, or go the whole way, get a large format film camera and a wet drum scanner? It's all about price/performance, with 'performance' defined in many ways.

Life is compromise.

06-25-2009, 06:21 PM   #35
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The problem really is the "value for money" question. Once you bring money into the equation, the question ceases to have an answer. Some very cheap primes are also very good, at the same time, you can always go up in price, often with diminishing returns.

There are a lot of good lenses out there, some cost an awful lot of money. Let me just say that Pentax has some unique lenses that aren't offered by any other company, for any price.
06-26-2009, 10:22 AM   #36
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QuoteOriginally posted by jfsavage Quote
Why not medium format, or go the whole way, get a large format film camera and a wet drum scanner? It's all about price/performance, with 'performance' defined in many ways.

Life is compromise.
That's an excellent point. I'm not sure I'm up to lugging a large format camera and tripod about but a nice used Hasselblad kit could easily be assembled for one quarter of my fictional $20k purchase. There's a hundred other things to spend that money on though. My biggest complaint about my K200D is probably about the small size of the viewfinder. I'd love to see an image come together on the glass in a waistfinder on a 500 series camera.

Taking cost into account, I'll stick with my Pentax kit.
06-26-2009, 10:49 AM   #37
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Prime lenses!
Pentax has shown more commitment to primes than any other manufacturer. Has anyone released more prime lenses in the last 5 years than Pentax?
DA14, DA15, DA21, DA35, DA40, DFA50, DA*55, DA70, DFA100, DA*200, DA*300
And the 3 FA Limiteds are still being made, and have lost none of their desireablility.
This is the Pentax niche, IMO.
06-26-2009, 12:12 PM   #38
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
The problem really is the "value for money" question. Once you bring money into the equation, the question ceases to have an answer.
That's an interesting perspective. Without the "value for money" aspect, then no, the current Pentax lenses are clearly not the best. No lens built for a DSLR (FF or APSC) is going to compete with even medium format, let alone large format.

If you constrain things to 'money no object DSLR lenses', then I would expect FF lenses & bodies to do better than APSC.

If you constrain things further still to 'money no object DSLR APS-C lenses', then I believe Pentax has lenses that would justify the label 'the best'.

Obviously not all Pentax lenses are better than all other lenses! But I think that lenses such as the limited range of primes and the SDM zooms can be considered 'the best'.

For instance, my look at 'standard' primes recently suggests the Pentax 55mm is better than any of the Canon standard primes, including the pricey f1.2. However, saying which is 'better' becomes complex - one will have lower distortion and another better color fidelity perhaps.

So, a very hard question to answer in a reasonable way, but an interesting one.

Just to reiterate, I feel that the Pentax in body stabilization makes the Pentax lenses much better than Canon or Nikon. When I eventually upgrade to the K-7, I will have better IS for all my lenses, protecting my real investment, which is in glass.

06-26-2009, 12:31 PM   #39
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Basically there is no best camera lens brand - not even a best single camera lens. As others noted: lens design is always a compromise. Different manufacturers weigh certain lens design aspects heavier than others.

What is remarkable about Pentax lenses for me, is the consistency of their performance, if you only compare the better lenses and not the cheap junk, Pentax also produced enough over time. Even a humble FA 35/2 has a very similar colour rendering to a FA Ltd 31mm or to the FA 85/1.4. You can see the typical Pentax rendering with these lenses immediately: very pleasant, without any harshness and a very nice depth (or three-dimensionality) to them.

Pentax lenses rarely excell in a distinct technical aspect (like resolution) and even the mosr renowned of them have flaws, like heavy CAs or Purple Fringing. But nevertheless, the final images have a quality, which I tend to describe as a "real life rendering".

Ben
06-26-2009, 12:48 PM   #40
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I don't think it matters all that much. Pretty much every brand has excellent lenses; the differences are minescule. It's all about preference.
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