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04-05-2010, 05:08 PM   #1
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My biggest LBA score to date!

I found a guy locally on craigslist that was advertising for just 1 Pentax-A 70-210mm f/4. I emailed him and asked if he had any other Pentax gear he wanted to sell and he said yes, he had a few things that he would bring for me to check out.

So, I went to meet him today and this is what I came home with:

Pentax-F 70-210mm f/4-5.6
Pentax-F 50mm f/1.7
Pentax-A 70-210mm f/4
Pentax-M 28mm f/3.5
Pentax-K 35mm f/3.5
Promaster Lens case
Tamrac 606 Zoom Traveler shoulder bag

All in Very Good - Excellent condition with lens caps and Asahi Pentax skylight filters.

I wasn't planning on buying all of the gear but I threw out $350 for everything and settled for $400.

I looked them all up in the lens review section to see their ratings and value. It looks like I picked up some pretty decent lenses. The K 35mm 3.5 looks highly regarded.

Here is a summary of what I found in the lens review section:

Lens Price Rating
F 50mm 1.7 $116 9.0
F 70-210mm $129 8.2
A 70-210mm $138 7.9
M 28mm 3.5 $ 70 9.0
K 35mm 3.5 $ 93 9.7
TOTAL VALUE $546

I don't know how accurate the prices or ratings are for these lenses and I have not decided which ones I will be keeping yet so please let me know which of these you would keep if you were me and if you think I got a good deal or not??

Thanks!

-Jason

04-05-2010, 05:19 PM   #2
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Those are all fantastic lenses. You could probably get $150 for each F lens if you wanted to sell them but unless you have comparable lenses already, keep both. They're all wroth at least $100; the prices you list are a bit low because some buyers get lucky
04-05-2010, 06:19 PM   #3
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Until you shoot each lens and see what you got, I would reserve judgment.

And unlike the poster above, I don't believe they're all worth a minimal $100.
04-05-2010, 06:20 PM   #4
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Now the F50/1.7 could easily go over $200 on ebay.

04-05-2010, 06:23 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by tangus Quote
Now the F50/1.7 could easily go over $200 on ebay.
Congratulations then!!!
04-05-2010, 07:27 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by tangus Quote
Now the F50/1.7 could easily go over $200 on ebay.
Indeed! I have been looking at them for the last couple months and it seemed like most Pentax-F 50mm 1.7 lenses were going for around $250 on ebay.

I can't seem to find much info on the SMC Pentax 35mm 3.5 (K series). Other than the reviews here it seems to be almost impossible to search for anything on this lens online. If anyone has any sample photos using this lens, I would love to see them.... or if you know of any on flickr or anywhere, please steer me in the right direction. It is ugly weather in Seattle today so I haven't really been able to test any of these new lenses (other than when I was checking them out to buy them).

Thank you for the comments. I feel pretty good about the deal after looking around. I am really excited to test the F 50mm 1.7 to see if it can replace my M 50mm 1.4 and I will probably keep both of the wide primes also.

When the weather gets a little nicer I will have to take the 2 70-210mm lenses out with my Vivitar lenses and DA 50-200/55-300 lenses and do some comparison test shots before I sell a few of those.

I think I am done buying lenses for a little while.... unless I can find a good macro lens in the 90-135mm range. This LBA is rough!
04-06-2010, 12:24 AM   #7
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That is a briljant purchase. I agree with Ira to go and test them and see which ones you like most.
It will probably be difficult and I will probably be keeping all of them because it's psychologically impossible for me to get rid of any lens.
04-06-2010, 03:59 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by JP_Seattle Quote
Indeed!

I can't seem to find much info on the SMC Pentax 35mm 3.5 (K series). Other than the reviews here it seems to be almost impossible to search for anything on this lens online. If anyone has any sample photos using this lens, I would love to see them.... or if you know of any on flickr or anywhere, please steer me in the right direction. It is ugly weather in Seattle today so I haven't really been able to test any of these new lenses (other than when I was checking them out to buy them).
I just got the K 35mm F3.5. It seems to be sharper than my DA 40mm F2.8 Ltd
Contrast is very nice and the colors are wonderful. Bokeh is fine but not great.

I will post pics later.

Kind regards
.lars


Last edited by Recercare; 04-06-2010 at 05:51 AM.
04-06-2010, 05:43 PM   #9
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It was still pretty ugly outside today but I wanted to try to do some kind of comparison between all these telephoto zoom lenses I have now. Not much to look at out my back door so I just took some test shots of the radio tower with fake owl on top that is a couple city blocks away.

In my test shots, I compared :
Pentax-A 70-210mm f/4
Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm f/3.5 (v2 - Tokina)
Pentax-F 70-210mm f/4-5.6
Pentax-DA 50-200mm f/4-5.6
Pentax-DA 55-300mm f/4-5.8


Under most realistic shooting settings for this lighting, I would be shooting at f/8-f/11 so I tested each lens under these settings throughout their zoom ranges and I was not very surprised to notice that all of these lenses performed very good to excellent. Sharpness, contrast, and color were all pretty nice considering the gray skies. Only the Vivitar Series 1 lens showed significant different color rendering than the rest (much warmer - more yellow). Other than that, the sharpness and contrast on all were nice at f/8 and f/11. CA and PF was visible (but not bad) from all lenses except DA 55-300mm and F 70-210mm (where I could not spot any at all).

So most of us know that these lenses perform well under ideal situations (and if you didn't know... they do!)... but I wanted to see where the images rendered from these lenses start to fall apart. I wanted to test them to their limits. So I shot the cell tower again, this time at long focal lengths with the lens aperture wide open. My findings definitely show the limitations to some of the lenses, while others pass with flying colors.

All test shots were performed hand-held at 210mm zoom (200mm for DA 50-200) on a Pentax K-x, ISO 200, aperture f/5.6, 1/3200 shutter speed.

Here are the shots:

Pentax-A 70-210mm



Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm (v2)


Pentax-F 70-210mm


Pentax-DA 50-200mm



Pentax-DA 55-300mm



100% crops of each photo:

Pentax-A 70-210mm


Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm (v2)



Pentax-F 70-210mm


Pentax-DA 50-200mm


Pentax-DA 55-300mm



The DA 55-300mm lens outperformed all other lenses tested by a considerable margin. Sharpness, color rendering, and contrast were always spot on. I was trying to get this lens to show me some fringing or CA. This is a very nice lens (especially for the money).

After establishing the clear winner, it was harder to place an order to the rest of the lenses. I would probably rank them as follows (considering all aspects of the image quality):
1. Pentax-DA 55-300mm
2. Pentax-A 70-210mm
3. Pentax-DA 50-200mm
4. Pentax-F 70-210mm
5. Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm (v2)


Not to say that the F or Vivitar lenses are not good lenses (far from it in my opinion), I would just say that the A series and DA series lenses are more favorable overall. It was a really tough choice of which one I personally prefer to shoot with between the Pentax-A and Pentax-F. The autofocus is nice on the F but the A has a macro feature and constant f/4 aperture.... in the end I like the solid feel of the Pentax-A over the plasticky feeling Pentax-F although they both were very similar in their rendering. I am a big fan of the classic Vivitar lenses and shoot with them frequently. I also have the version 3 of the Series 1 70-210mm lens that I think will compete better against these Pentax lenses but I don't have it here today. I also have some old Kiron made Vivitar lenses in this zoom range that I think are great and take some amazing photos but the lack of the aperture contacts and the weight of these lenses is a huge disadvantage to the Pentax-A or Series 1 (v2 or V3) so I don't really see them as comparable.

What I have learned from my testing with these lenses today is the DA 55-300 is one darn nice lens, especially for what I paid for it. The other thing I discovered is how well the Pentax-A stands against the competition in this zoom range. It will give the DA 50-200mm a run for its money all day long, and with the constant f/4 aperture and macro function, I would take it over any other of these lenses tested (besides the 55-300).
04-06-2010, 06:04 PM   #10
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The F 50 f1,7 is one of my favourite lenses. The F 70-210 is extremely well regarded, sharp enough and with rich colours. The two wide manuals are extremely well regarded too. Not sure about the A 70-210, it's probably good enough but I doubt it will be better than the F.

I would sell the A 70-210, and the F equivalent if you have other zooms that you prefer (otherwise keep it). Definitely keep the F 50 except if you have an FA version (and even then you might consider keeping the F and selling the FA You'll make more money that way and get an amazing lens). I'd keep one of the M or K, depending on your preference. Selling at least two of the lot will recoup a strong part of your investment.

Congratulations!
04-06-2010, 07:33 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by JP_Seattle Quote
..It was a really tough choice of which one I personally prefer to shoot with between the Pentax-A and Pentax-F. The autofocus is nice on the F but the A has a macro feature and constant f/4 aperture.... in the end I like the solid feel of the Pentax-A over the plasticky feeling Pentax-F although they both were very similar in their rendering...
The Pentax-F lens is about as ugly to use as it is to look at. I'm kind of surprised that it did not do better in sharpness. When I test mine against something, it usually wins definitively. I would have sold it in a heartbeat if it didn't.
04-06-2010, 10:31 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Just1MoreDave Quote
The Pentax-F lens is about as ugly to use as it is to look at. I'm kind of surprised that it did not do better in sharpness. When I test mine against something, it usually wins definitively. I would have sold it in a heartbeat if it didn't.
I am confused by your statement, "ugly to use". Do you mean the photo from my copy? From playing around with the F 70-210mm it seems to be pretty sharp in all occasions other than at full zoom with the aperture wide open. Stopped down even one click and it sharpens right up and also at any zoom range shorter than 210mm it was pretty sharp (even wide open).

I would be interested to see any of your comparison test shots if you have any online or even just some samples of your F 70-210mm just to compare with my copy.

Thanks!

-Jason
04-07-2010, 01:50 AM   #13
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Hi JP_Seattle,

I took a closer look at the photos, but I seem to have a different perspective on what I see. as per sharpness, I would think that the A70-210 is the sharpest, followed closely by the Vivitar and 3rd the 55-300. then the 50-200. now with regards to the F70-210, it's quite difficult to judge whether the lens is really soft, therefore placing it last or the lens might have some issues or wasn't focused properly. so a consideration may apply or atleast give the F70-210 a benefit of a doubt. maybe do another test with it.

as far as CA or PF, the Vivitar showed the most horrible CA among the group, followed by the A70-210. this maybe due to increase sharpness or contrast of the 2 lenses.

the 55-300 is the best in controlling CA and followed closely by the 50-200. again, the F70-210 should be given another closer look or should be treated a bit with consideration. it does look that it's doesn't have CA and maybe very good in controlling CA. it maybe the best among the bunch or atleast very close to both the DA55-300 and DA50-200 in terms of CA control. but there is no clear way of confirming or telling this as the image looks blurry enough to mask any significant traces of CA.
04-07-2010, 11:46 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pentaxor Quote
I took a closer look at the photos, but I seem to have a different perspective on what I see. as per sharpness, I would think that the A70-210 is the sharpest, followed closely by the Vivitar and 3rd the 55-300. then the 50-200. now with regards to the F70-210, it's quite difficult to judge whether the lens is really soft, therefore placing it last or the lens might have some issues or wasn't focused properly. so a consideration may apply or atleast give the F70-210 a benefit of a doubt. maybe do another test with it.
I wasn't ranking them in order of sharpness. I was placing them in order of overall image quality (in my opinion).

I agree with you that the Pentax-A, Vivitar S1, and 55-300 are all the sharpest of the group. Personally, I think the image quality straight out of the 55-300 with no post processing is the best overall (sharpness, color, contrast, etc).

Like I mentioned in an earlier post the F 70-210mm seems very sharp when stopped down or focused on closer objects (lots closer than the 400 yards to the cell tower). I have had varied results (some better than others) but I seem to find that shooting with this lens zoomed to 210mm and setting the aperture wide open to f/5.6, focusing on objects over 300 ft away gets pretty sketchy. Dialed down to f/8 or more and it gets very sharp.

Does anyone have a copy of the F 70-210mm lens that can confirm if this is my copy or a characteristic of this model?

I haven't used it enough to really make any decisions on whether to keep it or not yet but from what I have seen so far it is a sharp lens, produces some nice images, and is easy to use. I think if I end up getting rid of it, it won't be because it doesn't take great images... it will be because I don't like the plastic construction of the Pentax-F lenses and personally I feel that if I own the DA 55-300mm lens I probably got this range covered with better glass.

Thanks for the thoughts... still looking for anyone else if you want to comment or weigh in with your opinion.
04-08-2010, 01:44 AM   #15
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A great buy for all the lenses.

I do agree with JP_Seatle assesment on the 3 lenses - Pentax-A, Vivitar S1, and 55-300 are the sharpest of the lot. IMHO, the image quality straight out of the 55-300 with no post processing is the best among the three.

Cheers.
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