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11-21-2012, 09:29 PM   #1
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My K01 lens usability list (low light tests)

So, I have a bunch of lenses, so I did an admittedly un-scientific test of all my lenses. I just pointed them at different targets in a room -- some targets well-lit, and some reasonably lit, and others in shadow and darkness. Here's what I've found.

40mm f2.8 XS - This lens focuses the fastest under good and mediocre light. It hunts very little, even when pointed at shadowed, low-contrast targets.

50mm f1.7 (F-model) - This lens focuses slightly slower than the 40mm in good light, slightly faster in mediocre light, and much, much faster in low light. This lens can focus on targets no other lens in my collection can. Dark, shadowed, contrastless, it sees them.

Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 (continuous) - Holy balls, this is almost as fast a focuser as the 40mm, and it's a huge heavy lens. It focuses only slightly slower when zoomed in under low light, but otherwise this is a very fast focuser and it may end up being my go-to lens for this camera. I mean, the speed at which the heavy glass moves is truly retarded fast.

Phoenix/Cosina 28-210mm f4.2-6.7 - I was actually surprised by this lens. Set to about 50mm, it had no problems with the bright and mediocre light targets, and it focused reasonably well on dark targets (It actually got about half of them). It's still f4.2 at 50mm, but at 210mm it has a very hard time with the mediocre light targets. At 50mm it focuses reasonably fast. Not slow, but not quick either... at 210mm it's dog slow. This lens has consistently surprised me, I paid $75 for it brand new, and expected junk, but aside from some purple fringing, it's reasonably sharp and the color rendition is warm and vibrant. In good light, I could use this lens on the K01.

Promaster AF 100mm f3.5 Macro - This lens is one of my favorites, and it's great on the K-01. In good light it's very fast. About the same speed as the 50mm. Slower than the 40mm and the Tamron, but still pretty quick. When the light starts falling though, it gets significantly slower. In low light it often zooms all the way out and then all the way in (slowly) and then finally finds a target lock. Even in low light it locks a target more often than not, even if it takes forever. In mediocre light it usually is quite fast, but every now and then it will hunt (all the way out, all the way in) for no reason. Note this is a Pentax lens without the SMC coating. not sure who really makes it, but it's a niiiiice lens. Brilliantly sharp.

Pentax F 35-70 f3.5-4.5 - I was hoping this lens would be a good performer, but alas it's not. It has trouble focusing in mediocre light, and low light it's abysmal. It hunts and it's slooooooow. It's the slowest overall of all my lenses. The 55-300 is slow at 300mm, and the Phoenix slow at 210mm, but this lens is slow at 35mm. In good light it's still the slowest focuser. Where the 40mm is blazing, this is sedate. It's still quick by the live view standards I'm used to (Kx)... but low and mediocre light this lens hunts constantly and rarely makes a target lock to boot.

Sigma 28-105 UC-II - This lens is a blurry, steaming pile of a lens... but it still makes a target lock where the 35-70 won't, and though it's the second slowest overall, it's still not as slow as the 35-70. It's slightly faster than the 35-70 in good light... but it's only *just* noticeable. This lens is such a useful range, it's a shame it's so soft. It's not great in low light, but it still beats out the 35-70.

Pentax 18-55 kit lens - Not great in low light, but not terrible either. It's a very fast focuser, easily the third fast of the bunch. Mediocre light has mediocre performance. At 18mm it's doing alright, but by the time you zoom in to ~40-50mm range I've been doing most of these tests at, it's f5.6 and therefore misses all the low light and most of the mediocre light targets. In daylight though, it's nice and fast.

Pentax 55-300mm DAL. This kit lens came with my Kx, and it works well on the K01. It's not great in low light, but at 55mm it will make all but the darkest targets. It's slow to focus when zoomed in, even in good light, but it's reasonably quick otherwise -- in good light. In low light it hunts, but usually finds a target unless it's very dim or dim with little contrast. It's about as fast as the Phoenix for focusing.

Tokina 35-70mm f3.5-4.6 - I was not able to test this lens on the K-01. It wouldn't reliably focus even with lots of daylight. I dropped this lens a while back though, and while it works perfectly on my Kx, there may be some issues with the focus drive (which is what got messed up) that the K01 is more sensitive to than the Kx. If anyone else has a K01 and this lens, lmk if it works well.

Further note, my Tamron 500mm mirror lens is actually usable now. With focus peaking and not even zooming in, i made five different shots today that were all perfectly in focus -- and HAND HELD. I've never taken five shots in a row in focus. I'm lucky if I get one out of 10 in focus, even using a tripod, and either a split prism or live view and zooming way in with the digital magnification on my Kx. So, a lens I once relegated to the shelf now has some life in it, and will likely see itself in my bag for the next zoo trip!

Charles.

11-21-2012, 09:34 PM   #2
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I forgot, the top four in focusing speed:

#1. 40mm XS
#2. Tamron 28-75mm f2.8
#3. Pentax 18-55mm DAL
#4. Pentax-F 50mm f1.7

Note that in low light, #3 and #4 swap places.

Charles.
11-21-2012, 09:35 PM   #3
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Charles

What firmware did you use?

I would add the info to your list as it will help interested people like myself.
11-21-2012, 09:38 PM   #4
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This is using the 1.01 firmware.

Charles.

11-21-2012, 09:40 PM   #5
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Glad to hear you finally got the K-01. Sounds like you have a descent range of lenses that work well with it too. Nice to hear about the focus peaking making the mirror lens so much more useable too.
11-21-2012, 09:46 PM   #6
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My bag will probably consist of the 40mm, 100mm macro, and the Tamron, unless I know I'm going to need telephoto. (Then i'll take my 55-300). I still haven't given the 40mm a good workout yet, though. I absolutely LOVE my 50mm f1.7. The low light, the 3D effect all the images have, and the beautiful colors.... I really hope this 40mm can come close.

Charles.
11-21-2012, 10:07 PM   #7
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Charles,
Did you use a lens hood for the F 35 -70 mm f/3.5-4.5 ? My copy has lens flare and would barely focus indoors with decent light. Once I used a $5 rubber hood indoors, however it focused quite quickly for the K-01. I am guessing that the lens flare messed with the K-01 CDAF ability to focus.
11-21-2012, 10:18 PM   #8
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I'm surprised the F 35-70 3.5-4.5 gave you so much trouble. Mine does alright indoors, even without a hood. I took it outside this afternoon/evening (with a metal hood, just in case), and it might have hunted a little when I had AF on face detect and there were no faces to detect. Have you tried center-spot focusing with it?

11-21-2012, 10:20 PM   #9
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Thanks for testing more quickly than I - this is helpful since I also have 18-55, 55-300. Promaster 100 and a DA40(ltd).
11-21-2012, 10:34 PM   #10
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I didn't think to use a hood indoors. Focus was set on center-spot for all of these tests.

Charles.
11-21-2012, 10:36 PM   #11
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I didn't think to use a hood indoors. Focus was set on center-spot for all of these tests.

Charles.
11-22-2012, 09:48 AM   #12
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Thanks. Great help, Chopper Charles....
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