Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
05-29-2007, 06:21 PM   #16
New Member




Join Date: May 2007
Location: Los Angeles, California
Posts: 22
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by kjao Quote
M50/1.7 - sharper than FA50/1.4 wide open
K55/1.8 - only just got this lens recently so haven't really formed an opinion yet.
cheers
Kenny
Please let me know when you formed your opinion about the K55/1.8. How old is this lens, anyway?

05-29-2007, 06:59 PM   #17
Veteran Member




Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Göteborg, Sweden
Posts: 810
QuoteOriginally posted by The View Quote
Better microcontrast - does this more of contrast mean less nuances in color (which is usually the case in higher contrast).

Better low light performance: do you just mean "more light in due to a bigger aperture" or...

... better describing details and colors at low light?
In order:

Better microcontrast, to me, is the opposite of loosing nuamces in color. Good microcontrast is a neighbour to resolution and can loosely be used for ability to distinct small details and color shifts close to each other from each other. Something like that. For example: The kit lens doesn't excel when it comes to microcontrast. (I know some will defend the kit lens/anything Pentax til' they drop but I don't see the point in that.)
As a general rule you can try this: Take a picture with some details (foliage?) and open it in your raw converter. Now sharpen the picture in small steps. A picture taken with a lens with good microcontrast will sharpen easily and show more small details. A lens with bad microcontrast will not respond as well to the sharpening and end up with mainly increased edge contrast.

Better low light performance means to me more light -> brighter viewfinder -> better contrast -> better conditions for the AF to work in and also easier manual focusing if you prefer that. Then a larger aperture opening allows for shorter shutter times -> sharper pictures. For your question about colors and details in low light I guess these aren't much affected by a faster lens.

When you mentioned the kit lens in your second question I thought you wanted opinions comparing a faster prime with the kit lens for your purpose.

Again - the K55/1.8 is not sharp wide open. I dare to say that is the general opinion about this lens. Check the age and construction and details over at Bojidar's place: Bojidar Dimitrov's Pentax K-Mount Equipment Page
You can still use it for portraits and take advantage of it's carachter. Here is a sample (a snapshot of a friend of my daughters):

DS, K55/1.8, 2005, maybe f/2.8
The DS was new to me when I took the picture above. I don't think I have used the k55/1.8 since then. (Now I also see it could use some selective sharpening of the closest eye.) In general I prefer sharp lenses and the choice to either sharpen up, modify or make softer in PP afterwards:

DS, FA31, 2007, maybe f/4
In the last picture I used a short focal length but then it also isn't a traditional portrait but more a picture used as a comment on the occasinal need of contrast and resolution.

Lengthy and blabbering,
05-31-2007, 01:50 AM   #18
New Member




Join Date: May 2007
Location: Los Angeles, California
Posts: 22
Original Poster
Hi, Jonas

Thanks for your reply. It was not at all lengthy, but concise and informative.

So the older 1.8 would only give me a speed advantage (which I don't need for headshots) but not necessarily a quality advantage.

For the moment I'll give it a rest, as the kit lens is not that bad. But further down the road I'll possibly get a good prime for headshots, and a higher quality zoom lens for landscape.

Thanks also for the web address for the k-mount lens test site.


PS:

Actually, I could at least nail down one test article about the comparison of primes (quality primes, not average primes) and zooms (quality zooms, not kit lenses).

Zooms vs. Primes - - PopPhotoNovember 2004

It's from November 2004 and dates the point of time where zooms caught up with primes somewhere in the 90`s, possibly because you can construct a lens much better with good computer help.

Last edited by The View; 05-31-2007 at 02:02 AM.
05-31-2007, 02:03 AM   #19
New Member




Join Date: May 2007
Location: Los Angeles, California
Posts: 22
Original Poster
I just went to the Pentax K-mount test site.

Looks like all primes are at their best at around f/8.

I just wonder how much the loss of quality is if you increase the aperture.

05-31-2007, 05:43 AM   #20
Pentaxian




Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: West Chester, PA
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 1,420
QuoteOriginally posted by The View Quote
I just went to the Pentax K-mount test site.

Looks like all primes are at their best at around f/8.
I'll bet that 90% or more of my shots are at f/4 and wider. Only for macros and some landscapes where I want more depth of field will I ever go smaller.

A lens test that only looks at shooting test charts and calculating sharpness curves doesn't tell you much at all when you're looking to use the lens on anything but test charts for calculating sharpness.

Go check out the photozone reviews of the new Zeiss F lenses. You would think based on the amazing sharpness results that they are good lenses - then look at the pictures at the bottom and you'll realize that a lens built for sharpness and not much else is good for shooting test charts - and not much else.
05-31-2007, 08:38 PM   #21
New Member




Join Date: May 2007
Location: Los Angeles, California
Posts: 22
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by carpents Quote
I'll bet that 90% or more of my shots are at f/4 and wider. Only for macros and some landscapes where I want more depth of field will I ever go smaller.

A lens test that only looks at shooting test charts and calculating sharpness curves doesn't tell you much at all when you're looking to use the lens on anything but test charts for calculating sharpness.

Go check out the photozone reviews of the new Zeiss F lenses. You would think based on the amazing sharpness results that they are good lenses - then look at the pictures at the bottom and you'll realize that a lens built for sharpness and not much else is good for shooting test charts - and not much else.
Absolutely.

I sometimes have the impression that those comparisons of lenses mostly forget about what photography is. Lenses are tools, that's all (which doesn't mean you can't like your tools).

And those typical lens chart shooters heat up a strange kind of arms race among photographers, which leads away from photography.

Evaluating a lens is a bit like evaluating a painting or a poem: it's evaluating impressions on the human senses, it's a field of esthetics. Lens quality is quality for the human eye (and not for a robot) and cannot be nailed down by line numbers. (this is also why I do not really trust dpreview.com's camera tests).

Building good lenscan't just be having a computer run calculations on how to form the elements. There must be some kind of a master of the craft, who has also the artistic sensibility and the ability to see all the components together in one vivid idea of a certain image characteristics - and from there he gets the idea on how to build a certain lens.

But still: which lens should I get? Maybe you tell me your favorite lens/lenses, and why you like it?

Last edited by The View; 05-31-2007 at 08:53 PM.
05-31-2007, 09:25 PM   #22
Pentaxian




Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: West Chester, PA
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 1,420
QuoteOriginally posted by The View Quote
But still: which lens should I get? Maybe you tell me your favorite lens/lenses, and why you like it?
Ahhh...now that's an excellent question.

My favorite 50-ish lens is my A50/1.2. Its overall rendering characteristics are incredible and I've been pretty lucky with the focus as the DSLR focus screens aren't built for f/1.2 lenses. I actually use it at f/1.2 sometimes.

If I were more budget-minded I would absolutely get a new FA50/1.4. Overall it is a really good lens and worth $200.

If I were even more budget minded I would get a Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 50/1.4 - but that's because I already have and use M42 lenses.

And my best bang-for-the-buck was a Sears 55/1.4 (which I'm told is the exact same as the Ricoh 55/1.4) which came with a 135/2.8 (since sold) and a Sears TLS camera for $16. The Sears has the coolest temperature cast of all my lenses.

Next best cheap-o lens is a Fuji Fujinon 55/1.8 that is really quite nice. It is well controlled for chromatic aberrations.


I don't particularly care for the Pentax 50/1.7 lenses (I have or sold two - the F50/1.7 and A50/1.7) nor the Pentax 50/2 lenses (I have or sold two - M50/2 and A50/2). But those are all better than the Yashica Yashinon 50/2.8 (M42 version) and the Helios 44M-4 58/2. All of those can be sharp at some apertures, but it is really the bokeh that I like in descending order from what I've listed them.

The SMC Takumar 55/2 and Super-Takumar 55/1.8 that I own are OK but not spectacular and the two Super-Takumar 50/1.4s that I own are good but flawed compared to later (with SMC coatings) 50/1.4 models. My Super-Taks are a bit yellowed from the decaying radioactive element in the coatings.

I also converted a Nikon Nikkor-S 50/1.4 to Pentax mount and it is also good but flawed. Nikon's bokeh always looks like it is wrapped in cellophane to me - but it is sharper at f/1.4 than any of the Pentax lenses and pretty decent at f/4.


So, to sum up - I like my 50-ish lenses in the following order:
(Best)
A50/1.2
FA50/1.4
SMC Takumar 50/1.4
Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 50/1.4
Sears Auto 55/1.4
Fuji Fujinon 55/1.8
SMC Takumar 55/2
F50/1.7 and A50/1.7 (not owned at the same time, so it is a tie)
Nikon Nikkor-S 50/1.4
Super-Takumar 50/1.4
Super-Takumar 55/1.8
M50/2
A50/2 (my copy is not the best)
Yashica Yashinon 50/2.8
Helios 44M-4 58/2
(Worst)

Probably.

Hope this helps,
Sean

Edit to add: You can check out my galleries by lens at pbase.

Last edited by carpents; 05-31-2007 at 09:37 PM. Reason: Added link.
06-01-2007, 02:06 PM   #23
New Member




Join Date: May 2007
Location: Los Angeles, California
Posts: 22
Original Poster
Thanks, Sean, for this detailed reply.

If definitely helps.

06-01-2007, 08:08 PM   #24
Veteran Member
Eaglerapids's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Idaho,USA
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,588
This really was a tough choice for me anyways, but I ordered the FA 50/f1.4. I wanted to get the best Pentax lens that I could for the best price. This lens seems to me to be the best quality prime to get first. It's fast and although I like to manual focus many of my shots, I like the option of AF. I still lack a true dedicated macro lens, though. I do have a set of Vivitar automatic extension tubes that I'm hoping I can use with this lens to some degree of success. Has anybody used the FA 50/f1.4 with extension tubes?
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
film, k-mount, k100d, lens, pentax, pentax lens, slr lens
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Good 50mm prime lens? raver1414 Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 6 12-11-2009 02:48 PM
Good value used prime alternative to SMC-A f/1.4? gti5notrkt Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 18 11-16-2009 03:53 PM
Looking for good short prime(s) pszilard Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 7 10-25-2008 06:58 PM
A Good Prime For Indoor Shots? LodeRunner Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 22 06-21-2007 05:47 PM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 03:31 AM. | See also: NikonForums.com, part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top