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01-11-2010, 03:58 PM   #1
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"Best" lens for this?

Taken with a K20 and DA-35, is there a Pentax AF prime that will give more detail and contrast for this kind of B&W image? I don't want to go any wider and not too long to keep it useful for an all-around lens, so I'm looking at the Pentax 43, 55 and 70mm. Thanks,
Brian


01-11-2010, 04:38 PM   #2
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The 70mm will be a fair bit longer than either the 43mm or the 55mm. The 43 will be sharper tha the 35mm but probably won't have more pure contrast.

I have the 35mm Macro but am not nearly as enamoured with it as some people. I also have the 43mm Ltd and I much prefer it for general photography (obviously it can't do macro).

The other lens to consider would be the 31mm Ltd - but that's hugely expensive now (at least in the UK).

Having said all this I am surprised you are finding the 35mm lacking in contrast and sharpness for this kind of picture.
01-11-2010, 04:40 PM   #3
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as far as focal length goes, crop the image in a 2:3 ratio and once cropped measure the percentage of the image linearly. i.e. if your old image was 2000 x 3000 pixels and the new one is only 1000 x 1500 you would have a crop factor of 1/2 and you would need double the focal length.

as for contrast etc, that is more of a PP issue or JPEG settings issue. You can also (for B&W) use layers in PP and modify one color so that you get higher contrast boost between especially red and green since they both have similar values in illumination (the same effect was achieved by putting red and green filters over the lens for B&W film to boost contrast between redd flowers on green leaves.
01-11-2010, 04:43 PM   #4
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You can also try unsharp mask (after scaling).


Last edited by asdf; 01-11-2010 at 04:50 PM.
01-11-2010, 05:11 PM   #5
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Your DA 35 is a sharp and contrasty optic. Sorry Brian...but you might have to go to film for really nice B&W. Even the best of my B&W conversions are poor next to my average film scans. Part of the equation is tonality and part is dynamic range. Part is how the digital engine renders texture. Hard to describe, but easy to show when comparing pictures of weathered wood, grass, sand, rough stone, etc..

Steve
01-11-2010, 05:36 PM   #6
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Is there a lens that gives more detail and contrast than the DA35? My understanding is that it is just about as good a lens as a lens can be.
01-11-2010, 05:59 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by FHPhotographer Quote
Taken with a K20 and DA-35, is there a Pentax AF prime that will give more detail and contrast for this kind of B&W image? I don't want to go any wider and not too long to keep it useful for an all-around lens, so I'm looking at the Pentax 43, 55 and 70mm. Thanks,
Brian
All of those lenses will give you excellent detail and contrast, but not noticeably better (or any better) than the DA35. I preferred 43 over 35 as a focal length though, and like the way it draws better.
01-11-2010, 10:23 PM   #8
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farfisa, I don't know this term "...and (I) like the way it draws better." Thanks for any feedback,
Brian

01-11-2010, 10:29 PM   #9
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Steve, that's not good news. I've been working with every B&W conversion I can find, including NIK Silver Efex Pro and every PS4 method, and I can't get the kind of micro contrast and acutance I want, so I may be on a fool's errand trying to get film B&W quality out of digital,
Brian
01-11-2010, 10:34 PM   #10
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Wheat, the DA-35 may be as good as it gets, I don't know. So far I've tried the DA-35 and FA-35, and both the FA f/1.4 and 1.7 50s, and they're all too close to call. I was hoping somebody here had some specific experience with a lens that works for them with the kind of urban B&W images I'm going after,
Brian
01-11-2010, 10:38 PM   #11
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Caat, thanks for the feedback. I am coming to agree with you about the DA-35; it's good, but I have to agree with you that the DA-35 doesn't seem that much better than others in the 35-50mm range, except for the macro which is quite good indeed. I don't think it's "lacking," I'm just fishing around for the best possible combination with the K20. Unlike some other folks, I'm a one-lens kind of guy and so I want to find the ultimate all-purpose lens for these kinds of shots. Zooms aren't going to do it, so it's primes,
Bria
01-12-2010, 12:13 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by FHPhotographer Quote
Steve, that's not good news. I've been working with every B&W conversion I can find, including NIK Silver Efex Pro and every PS4 method, and I can't get the kind of micro contrast and acutance I want, so I may be on a fool's errand trying to get film B&W quality out of digital,
Brian
Those are some pretty sophisticated tools. I would have thought that the NIK product would be up to the challenge. I don't remember, do you have a history with shooting film? If so, it might be worth dusting off the film camera and trying the "figital" approach. Good B&W films are readily available that provide wide dynamic range and high acuity. The big bind is scanning. The hardware is expensive, even used. There is also a bit of a learning curve, both in the development process and in learning the scanner.

You might want to take a gander at the threads over on the film forum. There is some pretty good work being done over there.
Pentax Film SLR Discussion - PentaxForums.com
Steve
01-12-2010, 12:15 PM   #13
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Steve, I agree NIK should handle it, so maybe I haven't gotten it down correctly. I have no film history to speak of, other than a couple of rolls of Tri-X run through a friend's borrowed Olympus back in the mid-1970s. I am, however, going to check out your link and take a look at borrowing/renting a film camera and seeing what's what. Thanks for the suggestions,
Brian
01-12-2010, 08:03 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by FHPhotographer Quote
Steve, I agree NIK should handle it, so maybe I haven't gotten it down correctly. I have no film history to speak of, other than a couple of rolls of Tri-X run through a friend's borrowed Olympus back in the mid-1970s. I am, however, going to check out your link and take a look at borrowing/renting a film camera and seeing what's what. Thanks for the suggestions,
Brian
Careful...film is addictive, sort of like being a wine connoisseur.

Steve
01-12-2010, 10:12 PM   #15
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surprised I noone suggested the 28mm shift. Now, I'll be sorry I said anything. ...don't need any more eBay'ers outbidding me... :ugh:
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