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12-03-2009, 11:08 PM   #1
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Is DA really worth the $$$???

I have a question for the forum. Do you think that prices on the newer lenses reflect an improvement of IQ over older ones (M, K, etc) or are you just paying for the conveniences of AF and autoexposure? I wonder how great lenses like M's can be bought for feed while these new DA lenses are flimsy, sometimes have questionable QC and look like they compromise IQ for portability, as well as only being able to be used on APS-C cameras?

I'm not counting the Ltds of course qualitywise..

I can't see paying >$600 for a plastic lens and being stuck with it if Pentax ever makes a FF.

The only reasonably new lenses that can be bought cheap are the FA-J's And I know by expeirence why that is.


Last edited by jboyde; 12-03-2009 at 11:15 PM. Reason: forgot to mention LTDs
12-03-2009, 11:16 PM   #2
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in some cases, there are significant IQ improvements and in some not. always remember that the new lenses are optimized for the digital SLR use. it's more like a + and -. some older lenses don't work as well on a digital slr and some do.

convenience is also a luxury but doesn't always dictate a more expensive price. the FAJ and other F/FA lenses vary in price value due to IQ differences.

I'm sure you'll find a lot of magic with the new DA lenses.
12-03-2009, 11:38 PM   #3
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For anything wider than 24mm you'd be hard pressed to find anything cheaper that's as good as the DA kitlens...

Above 28mm though, you're not just paying for AF and AE , but also accurate SR focal length with zooms, new coatings (more contrast), and small size (DA lims). Whether these (and other minor advantages) are worth paying the extra for depends on how you use your camera and how you value these features. Also I dont think there are equivalents for the DA 10-17, DA 21, DA 70, FA24, and pretty much everything wider than 24mm in the pre-A era.

above 200mm and you're back to paying big bucks anyway even for manual lenses, although usually still less than the DA (and other digital-era lens) counterparts.

Last edited by Andi Lo; 12-03-2009 at 11:44 PM.
12-03-2009, 11:49 PM   #4
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The Ks and Taks started well over $1000 new when converted to 2009 dollars. Of course, now you can buy them used cheap, but I don't think it's fair to compare a DA lens to them as they are a fraction of the manufacturing cost.....they have to cut corners somewhere.

Some DAs are quite good, but I think they are geared towards the majority of the point and shoot DSLR market. I get better result tracking my kids using manual focus than I would having the camera hunting trying to figure out what to lock onto. Many people would find it the opposite.

My DA* are nice lenses, but build quality is cheap (like all other brands) and they won't be sought after in 35 years like the manuals are today.

12-03-2009, 11:59 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by jboyde Quote
I have a question for the forum. Do you think that prices on the newer lenses reflect an improvement of IQ over older ones (M, K, etc) or are you just paying for the conveniences of AF and autoexposure? I wonder how great lenses like M's can be bought for feed while these new DA lenses are flimsy, sometimes have questionable QC and look like they compromise IQ for portability, as well as only being able to be used on APS-C cameras?
Pentax sets prices according to what they figure folks will pay. $500 may be more to you than to someone else.

QuoteOriginally posted by jboyde Quote
I can't see paying >$600 for a plastic lens and being stuck with it if Pentax ever makes a FF.
Then for goodness sake don't get the $600 plastic lens! For some of us who see no reason to ever go FF, the APS-C lenses are appropriately slim and light, where a full-frame is useless, expensive flab.

I've found that lenses have remarkable resale value, such that unless Pentax goes out of business you shouldn't have much problem selling a DA lens three years down the road for 75% of its new price (unless it's a 50-135 or 16-50, with known problems). Try that with a computer, and folks will just laugh at you.
12-04-2009, 01:05 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by smc Quote
The Ks and Taks started well over $1000 new when converted to 2009 dollars. Of course, now you can buy them used cheap, but I don't think it's fair to compare a DA lens to them as they are a fraction of the manufacturing cost.....they have to cut corners somewhere.

Some DAs are quite good, but I think they are geared towards the majority of the point and shoot DSLR market. I get better result tracking my kids using manual focus than I would having the camera hunting trying to figure out what to lock onto. Many people would find it the opposite.

My DA* are nice lenses, but build quality is cheap (like all other brands) and they won't be sought after in 35 years like the manuals are today.
Yeah, I agree about the lack of far future resale with these DA lenses. Well ,the zooms anyway. The primes like the ones Andi Lo listed will only get more expensive as time goes on.

Im thinking of switiching up my lenses for more "portrait quality" ones and if I stay with Pentax brands then Im financially better off with A's or M's. Sigma's and Tamrons look more and more tempting but I wonder how much the tradeoff will be. The Sigma 31mm looks like a good all around performer and Im thinking of getting the Tamron 28-75 2.8 Di to replace the DA18-55 kit.
12-04-2009, 06:38 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by jboyde Quote
Yeah, I agree about the lack of far future resale with these DA lenses. Well ,the zooms anyway. The primes like the ones Andi Lo listed will only get more expensive as time goes on.
I always get a chuckle out of this line of thought.
When you buy a computer are you worried about the resale value? How about when you buy a car?
Cameras and lenses are consumer goods. Buy them to use them. If they hold a value, then that's a bonus, if they don't, you still get your use out of them.
You are thinking you will be financially better off with A and M lenses simply because they did not hold their resale value, and now, in the far future, are worth practically nothing, with the exceptions of the rarities.

QuoteQuote:
Im thinking of switiching up my lenses for more "portrait quality" ones and if I stay with Pentax brands then Im financially better off with A's or M's. Sigma's and Tamrons look more and more tempting but I wonder how much the tradeoff will be. The Sigma 31mm looks like a good all around performer and Im thinking of getting the Tamron 28-75 2.8 Di to replace the DA18-55 kit.
The trade-off is that you will not be using Pentax lenses if you are using Sigma or Tamron. If the quality of lens you will be using isn't critical to you, then you should also be exploring the Nikon, Canon and Sony, since you wouldn't be using Pentax lenses on their camera bodies.

As an aside, Sharp Lenses Are Over Rated, and "portrait quality" lenses are not the sharpest ones.
Your kit lens is the closest thing you'll get to a "portrait quality" lens.
12-04-2009, 12:23 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by jboyde Quote
I have a question for the forum. Do you think that prices on the newer lenses reflect an improvement of IQ over older ones (M, K, etc) or are you just paying for the conveniences of AF and autoexposure?
Considering that most DA lenses are *cheaper* than what the equivalents were when they were still being made (or would be if adjusted for inflation), I guess I don't really understand the question.

QuoteQuote:
I wonder how great lenses like M's can be bought for feed
You can buy a 1979 Honda Accord for feed, too. They're cheap because you are buying 30-year-old used goods. And of course, only the older lenses that are in huge supply are cheap - some are way overpriced on the used market compared to new equivalents.

Point being, it's ridiculous to compare prices of brand new lenses to 30 year old used ones.

QuoteQuote:
while these new DA lenses are flimsy, sometimes have questionable QC and look like they compromise IQ for portability
Um, which lenses do you have in mind here? I can't think of any that could be described as sacrificing IQ for portability. Although the irony here is, that was always the knock on the M series. I also wouldn't consider any "flimsy" just because they happen to have some plastic in them, but it is true that the DA zooms are noticeably not as solid as the M's. Nor do I know of any statistical evidence proving there are any worse QC problems today than in 1979.

QuoteQuote:
I can't see paying >$600 for a plastic lens and being stuck with it if Pentax ever makes a FF.
If you intend to buy an FF camera, then buy all means, don't buy APS-C lenses, plastic or otherwise. But many of us have no intention of buying FF even if Pentax reverses their public statements and does make it.

12-04-2009, 12:53 PM   #9
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Modern primes don't have that big an edge over older primes, except coatings.

Zooms are an entirely different animal, however. Don't expect an old zoom to come close to a modern one in any measure.

QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
I always get a chuckle out of this line of thought.
When you buy a computer are you worried about the resale value? How about when you buy a car?
Maybe you don't, but lots of people consider the resale of cars before buying them. There are cars that hold their value well losing say 30 to 40% over three or four years, and cars that simply turn to dust losing 70% of their value. Lenses are the same. Maybe for some people the investment in photo equipment is not significant but as it becomes more and more relative to your other assets it's wise to consider resale value down the line.

Say, next time you spot a pro photog with a FF Canon or Nikon ask him if he doesn't care what his set of lenses will sell for when he upgrades or whatever.

QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
The trade-off is that you will not be using Pentax lenses if you are using Sigma or Tamron. If the quality of lens you will be using isn't critical to you, then you should also be exploring the Nikon, Canon and Sony, since you wouldn't be using Pentax lenses on their camera bodies.

As an aside, Sharp Lenses Are Over Rated, and "portrait quality" lenses are not the sharpest ones.
Your kit lens is the closest thing you'll get to a "portrait quality" lens.
You get what you pay for. Often you get more from a third party than the official brand. Specially if the official brand is Canon and you want APS-C glass.
12-04-2009, 01:22 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by jboyde Quote
I have a question for the forum. Do you think that prices on the newer lenses reflect an improvement of IQ over older ones (M, K, etc) or are you just paying for the conveniences of AF and autoexposure? <SNIP>
I can't see paying >$600 for a plastic lens and being stuck with it if Pentax ever makes a FF.

The only reasonably new lenses that can be bought cheap are the FA-J's And I know by expeirence why that is.
I can see paying over $600 for a lens using modern plastic materials, especially when the lens is as sharp as my three DA/DA* lenses. I paid over $600 for each and every one of the three in 2007. While some use the term "Plastic" to mean "cheap", that is not necessarily the case. Some modern plastic materials are very durable. I banged my k10d into rocks at least four times before it got a crack in the top cover and started up with AE-L engaged.

If the third of those falls while taking pictures of Cameron Falls - memo to self, watch what you are doing when stepping on down sloping wet rocks. - had happened with my KX (the 1976 version!) in my hand, I would have been looking for someone to straighten out the metal so it would work again at all.

I suspect the fourth fall (by me!) took the cover past the point of no return and jammed the AE-L button and/or its circuitry. That was the total sum of the damage to the camera. A cracked top plate. Cdn$330 to Mr. Pentax Canada, and it is back in my hands working like it was new. The camera was still working perfectly except that it started up with AE-L engaged and I had to press the AE-L button several times to disengage it. A few bad exposure errors were the clue, and it was a pain to work with. I sent it in with the 50-135 which was doing the "I don't feel like focusing right now" thing. NOTE: the 50-135 is working fine again. Pentax stated that they "cleaned and adjusted contacts".

So here are the pros for plastic: It does not permanently deform as metal does when subjected to impact. It does not freeze to naked flesh at -40 C or F. It is impervious to most common substances. It transfers less shock to the supporting structure than metal does.

One old man's opinion. Plastic is not what it used to be.
12-04-2009, 04:14 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by kristoffon Quote
Say, next time you spot a pro photog with a FF Canon or Nikon ask him if he doesn't care what his set of lenses will sell for when he upgrades or whatever.
This pro photographer will just ask himself that question.....

ummmm no. My lenses are money making tools. I buy them to use and make money off of. I buy what suits my needs right now, and I don't think of some never never time when I may or may not sell them.
If I need something to make money now, I find a way to buy it.
This is how pros work.
12-04-2009, 07:31 PM   #12
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Value or worth is going to be different for everyone. I think there are optical improvements in the new lenses, and obvious convenience advantages over a Pentax-M lens. The DA lenses have a third advantage, distortion correction and CA with the right camera and software. Subtract whether or not the lens might work on FF if you want, and maybe typical construction.

All you have to do is look at what people actually have/use to see that we place different value on these features. And in most cases, we have limited funds. I don't see the point in arguing about whether our personal value decisions are "right". Mine are right for me, absolutely wrong for someone else.
12-04-2009, 08:01 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Just1MoreDave Quote
...And in most cases, we have limited funds. I don't see the point in arguing about whether our personal value decisions are "right". Mine are right for me, absolutely wrong for someone else.
Thank you Dave for saying this. We buy what we like and what we can afford and pass on what we don't like or is too expensive. With any luck, what we get does what we need it to do.

Through all of the 1970s into the early 1980s, I shot with an inexpensive Ricoh Singlex TLS mounted to an extremely cheap (both senses of the word) Auto Rexatar 50/1.7. The camera proved be very tough and although the lens was a dog, it was what I had and I took a lot of good pictures with it. If you had asked me at any time during those years whether my value decision was "right", I would have shot back..."Durned right!"

Steve
12-04-2009, 10:30 PM   #14
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DA & D FA Glass will have a longer life cycle than FA Glass.. Who is too say that Pentax will keep FA and older contacts ect.. on a future DSLR's? APS-C or FF.. Once Pentax fill out the Lens selection.. Hoya is about making money now, hoya dosn't make a cent on old out of production FA*'s ect.. sold secondhand.. In the past Pentax used the every K mount glass line (Bait) to sell cameras like K10D & K20D, Due to the DA glass selection being very small..
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