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04-12-2010, 02:50 PM   #1
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Lens Resolution and the K-7

Ok so I am interested in vintage lenses, and was looking at the Vivitar Series 1 line up (Versions made by Komine w/ A setting). These resolutions and contrasts hover between 50 and 60 lpm.

What are the resolution values of modern Pentax lenses for APS-C and full format lenses? And what lens resolution is optimum for my K-7's 1.5 crop sensor with 14mp? I hastily bought a 70-210 f4.5 Kiron lens without thinking about how crappy it might look on my crop sensor (it is still in the mail).

Thanks in advance for all your help!


Last edited by Marc Sabatella; 04-13-2010 at 07:13 AM.
04-12-2010, 03:20 PM   #2
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You are going to get many answers to this. Resolution cannot easily be compared between different people who have used different methods over time. Though it appears "scientific" there is a subjective component in the measuring. And I have never read a definitive article about resolution of sensors relative to lenses. Actually, I have read several and they contradict.

A place to start is Do Sensors “Outresolve” Lenses?
04-12-2010, 03:26 PM   #3
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sorry i deleted the original post, but if you read the new one, i was interested in buying vintage lenses. With small sensors i know you need higher resolution. i was curious as to what this "cut off" is for a good resolution by general consensus. and how modern lenses compare to those meant for film.

Last edited by kickboxingpenguin; 04-13-2010 at 09:22 AM.
04-13-2010, 09:23 AM   #4
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**bump!!**

04-15-2010, 02:50 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by kickboxingpenguin Quote
i was interested in buying vintage lenses. With small sensors i know you need higher resolution. i was curious as to what this "cut off" is for a good resolution by general consensus. and how modern lenses compare to those meant for film.
I doubt there's a general consensus, except that modern zooms really are better than most older zooms. And even this generality is tricky -- Vivitar Series 1 Versions 3 and 1 of 70-210 are exceptionally sharp. Other than zooms, consider that many contemporary lenses use old optical formulas; designers of older lenses were pretty sharp themselves. Modern lenses are mostly distinguished by non-optical features: AF, IS, USM, ie motors and gears and other mechanical devices (that can break).

Let's look at the Kodachrome Era, say the 50's and 60's and early 70's, before the rise of color print (reversal) film. Chrome films have very little latitude, and slow chromes have tremendous resolution and low grain. Lenses of that era, to survive in the marketplace, HAD to be sharp and aberration-free, HAD to give good color rendition and saturation; their results couldn't be fixed in PP. This is one reason old Takumars and Nikkors and Tessars are prized -- good optics and good builds. The optical formulae were perfected long ago, so it's hard to find bad 28's and 35's and 50-55's and 85-105's and 135's and 200's. Losers are generally noticeable more by build quality than optical shortcomings. I'm culling some of my lenses, and it's difficult, because except for mechanical breakdowns, or damage like fungus or oil or element separation, they're all pretty good.

Yes, there are bad old 135/FF lenses. Some were even made by Pentax. Simple lenses used on older MF folders and box cams were too often less than stellar, as were those on cheap film P&S's, especially those whose target consumers shot color print rather than slide film. Can you say Holga? Some of the defects are easy to model, which is why the Kx has a Toy Camera filter. And some sellers of 135/FF gear got sloppy, rested on their laurels, let their brands turn mediocre. Can you say Vivitar? But you can google for specific lenses and read user ratings and evaluations and generally weed out the dogs. Their shortcomings aren't secret. And their optical problems are mostly out at the frame edges, which are cut off by APS-C sensors. Modern dSLRs tend to get every lens' sweet spot.
04-16-2010, 04:30 AM   #6
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wow thanks for the detailed reply rico. i think you really clarified what was on my mind. i typically prize old lenses on their durability, which is my key characteristic for a stellar lens. I will stick with old prime lenses from now own =P
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