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07-22-2009, 07:50 AM   #1
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Questions on Sharpness pursuit and on M42 adapters

Hello,

I drool over the dream of having a ltd77, 41ltd or DA 35ltd. But at this moment those lenses are out of my reach. Sharpness is important for me. Speed is nice, but not critical as I usually lean more towards DOF than speed. I don't mind manual focus nor weight or size. I do macro work, but more product close up than true 1:1 macro. Occasional portraits but more walk around and landscapes than anything else.
It is my understanding that in general, primes are usually sharper than zooms. Is that still correct? I like my A70-210 but it's on the long side for walk around. I was given an A50 f2 but I sent it for service as it had fungus. I need to test it when I get it back. Other than that I have the Takumar 28-80 that has been with my K1000 since day one and a Samyang 60-300 that suffers from serious contrast issues. I also have 2 M42 lenses: Helios 44-2 and SuperTakumar 55. I need to get an adapter to try those in the DSLR.
Are there other options out there for sharpness besides what I already have?
Any recomendation on screwmount adapters?

Thanks,

07-22-2009, 09:24 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by ismaelg Quote
...Any recomendation on screwmount adapters?
There is only one predictably good adapter:
Genuine Pentax
Available through the Pentax Web Store and other merchants...

Steve
07-22-2009, 09:25 AM   #3
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"Most" primes are sharper than "most" zooms, but some of the newer zooms like the DA* series, also the DA12-24, are often considered to be as sharp as most primes in their respective ranges. but these aren't cheap lenses, of course - if the 77, 43, or 35 are out of reach, so are these.

As for sharp lenses on a budegt, I don't know the Takumars, but I can say the 50/2 is the weakest of the 50's. You're better off with one of the 1.7's or 1.4's (both have their fans). Beyond that, check out sites like:

Stan's Pentax Photography

for discussion of older lenses. Not sure what focal lengths you prefer, but based on my own reading of what's out there, my looking at the relative costs, and my own focal length preferences, some of the lenses I'd be hunting for include the K24/2.8, K30/2.8, A50/1.7, and M100/2.8.
07-22-2009, 10:35 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
There is only one predictably good adapter:
Genuine Pentax
Available through the Pentax Web Store and other merchants...
Sound advice. You'll then have a good start with a great, sharp lens in the Super Takumar you already own. You can then look to pick up the classic set of screwmount Takumar f:3.5s.... 35mm, 28mm, & 135mm..... all superb, sharp, reasonably priced, widely available prime lenses.


Last edited by raymeedc; 07-22-2009 at 12:25 PM.
07-22-2009, 10:43 AM   #5
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While I wouldn't dissuade you from the Takumar path... for ease of use you might consider the SMC-A lenses - while these tend to run higher prices, they have the undeniable advantage of being compatible with the digital body exposure modes. For example I really love walking around with my SMC-A 28/2.8.

Get the genuine Pentax M42 adapter anyway, on principle, regardless of what else you do.
07-22-2009, 10:48 AM   #6
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You can definitely improve a lot on the Takumar 28-80 and the Samyang 60-300. Your 50-55-58 lenses are maybe not the ultimate sharpest, but I would say sharp enough for now to concentrate in other areas. I suggest:

- the DA 18-55mm if you don't already have it.

- Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 35mm f3.5, the same optically as the K35/3.5 but easier to find and cheaper

-Pentax-M 28mm f2.8 or f3.5, the f3.5 is sharper and the f2.8 is faster and more common.

- Vivitar 135mm f2.8 M42, often very cheap on eBay and plenty available, very good performer

- a manual focus 90-100mm 1:2 macro, probably harder to find and the most expensive, but it'll definitely be sharp.

That gives you 28, 35, around 55, 90ish and 135 in primes, the kit lens for general usage, and the A70-210 for longer range. Those should work well. If you can unload the Takumar and Samyang zooms, you might end up spending $350-400, less than the cheapest dream lens on your list.
07-22-2009, 01:54 PM   #7
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if you can afford it get the Carl Zeiss Flektogon 35mm f2.4 lens for sharp. I borrowed a friends recently, and even at 1:1 zoom my RAW files are sharp. It focuses down to <0.2m (1:2x magnification) and is a handy FL for a walk around lens.
07-23-2009, 07:32 AM   #8
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Thank you all for the valuable information. Hopefully I'll be more educated when the decision time comes.
There is an old saying in the collector's car world that applies here as well: "Before filling up your garage, fill up your library" Just replace the word garage for camera bag

Thanks!

07-23-2009, 08:21 AM   #9
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Ismael, when I go through your list of lenses, I think a FA 35/2.0 would be a very good complement - serving as a acceptably fast standard lens on digital. It is simply as sharp as it gets in this focal range, decidedly better, than any of the old manual lenses of that focal length and sharper than a 31mm limited. With its field of view it is very useful and can serve for low light photography as well. It is certainly not a really cheap lens, but very good value and at the lower end of the pricelist for such a high image quality.

Ben
07-23-2009, 10:50 AM   #10
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Researching all this I came up with another question:
Is there any optical/performance difference between:
M50-1.7
A50-1.7
F50-1.7
FA50-1.7

I understand the differences between them with the automatic aperture control, auto focus etc. But are they optically identical?
Pretty much the same question for other models like the 28-2.8 etc.
I'm spending a lot of time in the lens database here

Thanks,
07-23-2009, 01:01 PM   #11
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The Pentax 50/1.7s all use the same optical formula. Easy to see on a chart like this:

Pentax Normal Prime Lenses

The Pentax 28s change a lot. It's easier to say that they're all different, except for three: Version II Pentax-M 28mm f2.8, Pentax-A 28mm f2.8 and Pentax-F 28mm f2.8 are all the same. (The Version II lens has its serial number between the mount and aperture ring opposite the DOF scale, not on the trim ring around the front element. It also carries some parts from the Pentax-A lens. They're not common.)
07-23-2009, 01:54 PM   #12
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This is a pretty general question, so you'll get a lot of different answers, but for
product shots, and the following critera:

extreme sharpness, low distortion, great contrast and a light weight (so you can
actually take shots without a tripod with no visible handshake - really speeds
things up,) and on a budget - my vote today goes to the K 35 f/3.5, around
$90 - $175 depending on condition.

It's as sharp or sharper than the DA 35 2.8, and has pretty good close-focus
ability. It's a lens that doesn't get a ton of attention around here, but it should.




Crop:




Crop:






Another vote would be for the Vivitar 28 f/2.8 close focus ($50 - $80), but
good luck finding one that their owner is willing to part with.



.
07-23-2009, 02:49 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by jsherman999 Quote
my vote today goes to the K 35 f/3.5, around
$90 - $175 depending on condition.

It's as sharp or sharper than the DA 35 2.8, and has pretty good close-focus
ability. It's a lens that doesn't get a ton of attention around here, but it should.
After kicking myself for having hesitated too long & eventually missing out on one a couple of months ago, I lucked out yesterday & picked up a mint example for $90 when I was at Adorama picking up a Domke camera pouch & strap. Great lens.
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