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06-20-2014, 01:14 PM   #901
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I've done some tests shooting my SMC Pentax-A 70-210 f4, where I shot some tree branches against some bright clouds, and let me tell you, a lot of the OOF branches became entirely purple... I'd find them and post them but I think the thread's going a bit OT already...

Anyway, in real world situations, I haven't seen it to be a problem. I just know not to shoot dark things against very bright backgrounds with that lens and in new lenses I don't think this exists anymore, certainly not the nice lenses we are discussing here...

06-21-2014, 01:36 AM   #902
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Everyone has their personal beliefs and opinions, and that's fine. In the end, if you enjoy your gear, that's what matters. Admitting that other lenses might be better won't make yours worse. Being a fanboy is nothing bad, but please, keep an objective view of things.

This Sigma is a nice fresh breeze of air for the photography community. A great lens that, in many aspects, beats many other designs. I find it amazing that a zoom lens with 17 elements in 12 groups and a constant aperture of f1.8 has so little flare! Ofcourse, a prime lens with 8 elements in 6 groups and an aperture of f4 will perform better.

In my opinion Pentax lenses are horribly overpriced (for the optical performance), especially here in Europe. Maybe the 18-35 f1.8 will help even it out a bit. If you can live with the size, I see no reason to buy a 31mm ltd or the likes. Not at the current price point at least.

Every single announcement and press release follow the same path. Downplay weaknesses or even try to turn them into strengths. A perfect example: our binoculars are by far the best in the world, we don't need radar. What about visibility in fog or in the night? What about Zeiss and Leica? It is a great example of Japanese philosophy and marketing. Never admit any faults and mistakes.
06-21-2014, 02:48 AM   #903
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QuoteOriginally posted by TrueFocus Quote
Everyone has their personal beliefs and opinions, and that's fine. In the end, if you enjoy your gear, that's what matters. Admitting that other lenses might be better won't make yours worse. Being a fanboy is nothing bad, but please, keep an objective view of things.

This Sigma is a nice fresh breeze of air for the photography community. A great lens that, in many aspects, beats many other designs. I find it amazing that a zoom lens with 17 elements in 12 groups and a constant aperture of f1.8 has so little flare! Ofcourse, a prime lens with 8 elements in 6 groups and an aperture of f4 will perform better.

In my opinion Pentax lenses are horribly overpriced (for the optical performance), especially here in Europe. Maybe the 18-35 f1.8 will help even it out a bit. If you can live with the size, I see no reason to buy a 31mm ltd or the likes. Not at the current price point at least.

Every single announcement and press release follow the same path. Downplay weaknesses or even try to turn them into strengths. A perfect example: our binoculars are by far the best in the world, we don't need radar. What about visibility in fog or in the night? What about Zeiss and Leica? It is a great example of Japanese philosophy and marketing. Never admit any faults and mistakes.
I don't think so. But certainly Sigma's style is very different from Pentax's, at least traditionally. Pentax has made small lenses, often with relatively slow apertures and unusual focal lengths.

I am glad Sigma is making lenses like this and releasing them in K mount, but I like the DA/Fa limiteds pretty well.
06-21-2014, 03:11 AM   #904
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QuoteOriginally posted by MadMathMind Quote
The only real "technology" that has changed has been manufacturing capability. Sure, new kinds of glass are available but the principles of optics have been well-established since Fresnel in the early 1800s. Physics has not changed.

Case in point: the Japanese during WWII were so radically far ahead in binoculars that they had no need of radar. With classical optics, they were able to do as well as the allies with their fancy modern radar machines. Think about that. And that was 70 years ago.

Pretty much anything can be made. That's not an issue. But making it affordable for consumers to purchase...that's the trick. The FA31 was designed for late 1990s manufacturing capability. The new Sigma is made for 2014 abilities. Precision and automation is much better now than it was 15 years ago. The FA lenses were also designed for film cameras, where chromatic aberrations are far less noticeable. At that time, correcting so stringently for CA was a waste of money; all it would do is make the lens more expensive for no gain for consumers. But now it matters.
Yes, also digital photography itself has shifted the emphasis in lens design towards measureable objective qualities, inevitable like the emphasis on increasing resolution in digital sensors. It's inevitable because digital photography is still only relatively new, and there's been a lot to overcome before we can start talking about other things than limited dynamic range (blowing highlights has been one of these issues that give so many images a second-rate look compared to film photography) or how to get really good color out of a cmos sensor, or how to make lenses that don't show abundant color fringing and can take advantage of high resolution sensors without smearing the corners.

Olympus was one of the pioneers in lenses optimised for digital photography. The Zuiko SHG lenses are still the best lenses for digital that I have used, even better than the Zeiss ZK lenses that I now use on Pentax, and that were not designed to minimize color fringing when used on a digital camera.
Still I won't be getting the Sigma 18-35/1.8 myself. It's a highly compelling and utterly modern lens, maybe a bit like my former Zuiko 14-35/2, but the Zeiss primes, despite their color fringing and their not so perfect corners (even on Apsc), seem to have qualities that tend to be downplayed in the modern digital age, where the super high resolution of mobile phone cameras apparently makes them desireable as photographic tools.
Perhaps the FA31 has similar qualities to the Zeiss ZK 28/2 and 35/2 that give images an appealing look beyond sharp and high resolution.
But the Sigma 18-35/1.8 is a wonderful achievement for Apsc, no doubt about that.

Chris

06-21-2014, 03:25 AM   #905
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Sigma's lenses tend to be most boring lenses because Sigma makes lenses that will first sell to the millions of people who use Canon and Nikon cameras. Lenses that are not bad, but they are a form of "fish and chips with gravy" that most people like and can be found in all restaurants. A safe bet design, safe bet focal length, enough weight to justify price, modest coating, but nothing extraordinary or daring. They must appeal to the most common denominator of what people consider good and acceptable. Sony users tend to follow that same crowd because they always feel inadequate for the reason that Sony is not an optics company and cannot imagine an exciting optics design. Sony gives that daunting task to Zeiss. And through its representatives in managing boards, assures obedience from Sigma and Tamron.

While Pentax is thoroughly different. Pentax is and was an optics company, so I see it as a philosophical competitor to Sigma.

To me, buying a Sigma lens for a Pentax cameras is anathema. The fact Pentax makes cameras is a coincidence, really, and they do the good job in making cameras too. I mean, a really good effort.

I believe the problem with current Pentax owners (aka Ricoh "the big daddy") is that big daddy does not realise that fact, that their new pet Pentax is an optics company first and foremost, and that keeping the lens lineup in the best tip-top shape possible is their primary goal and duty, and should have been visible to Pentax users from the first day of their ownership.

But, their actions so far show they are sluggards. Something in their heads appears to be maladjusted and only self-serving of their own vanity. I hope they won't screw up the most valuable asset of this poor brand. If they make Pentax a camera brand, that relies on Sigma or Tamron to make its lenses while they keep restructuring company forever because they are experts is shifting chairs and cupboards, then Ricoh has the worst mindset one can fear of that can happen to rule over an iconic optics brand.

Last edited by Uluru; 06-21-2014 at 03:32 PM.
06-21-2014, 05:49 AM - 1 Like   #906
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QuoteOriginally posted by Uluru Quote
Sigma's lenses tend to be most boring lenses because Sigma makes lenses that will first sell to the millions of people who use Canon and Nikon cameras. Lenses that are not bad, but they are a form of "fish and chips with gravy" that most people like and can be found in all restaurants. A safe bet design, safe bet focal length, enough weight to justify price, modest coating, but nothing extraordinary or daring.
I don't agree at all. You should become acquainted with some of the Sigma lenses in my collection: Lenses like the 85mm 1.4, the 100-300mm f4, and the 8-16mm. These lenses are not also-rans. They are very special, and are great values too. And new lenses from Sigma, such as the 120-300mm 2.8, the re-designed 50mm 1.4 and the 18-35mm are without pier in the market.

Pentax makes some fine lenses, but that's no reason to smear other great lenses. Not to mention that most of the great Pentax lens designs are now many years in the past, and Sigma is releasing exciting new lenses on a regular basis. One gets the sense that Pentax is coasting on their legacy.

Last edited by Edgar_in_Indy; 06-21-2014 at 06:57 AM.
06-21-2014, 06:52 AM   #907
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@ Uluru: I would be delighted to be told in what sense a 18-35mm f/1.8 is characterized by a "safe bet focal length (...) but nothing extraordinary or daring."

Last edited by Mistral75; 06-21-2014 at 12:59 PM.
06-21-2014, 07:13 AM   #908
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I bet that this was just a re-iteration of a Sigma reputation stemming from many years ago. That is exactly, as if Uluru would have insisted, that Pentax generally fails on doing autofocus or flash exposures right.


But Sigma moved on. Sigma's Art series seems a big, big change to what Sigma was aiming for in the past. In my local photo hobbyist group, I also talk with Canonians about the new Sigma stuff, and they have nothing but the highest praise for the new Sigma Art prime lenses. Regarded even as a "killer" for Canon's L primes. They are really impressed with the Sigma Arts they purchased.
Unfortunately none of my local photo club mates bothered to purchase the 18-35 yet AFAIK (but that's simply because the ones who got Sigma Art primes are doing semi-pro work, e.g. on their 36 megapixels full-frame bodies, whereas the 18-35 is a crop lens).


Last edited by Frater; 06-21-2014 at 07:42 AM.
06-21-2014, 07:21 AM   #909
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I'm reserving my judgement on the 18-35 until I see some concert photographers use it shooting into stage lights and also until I see if the focus accuracy is dependable. The weight didn't bother me when I held one on a Canon body but when shooting to a 3 song limit at a spotlit stage I need to know I can trust the lens. My Sigma 24-70 tended to flare. The FA31 I know I can trust.

It's certainly a lens I'll be keeping an eye on though. But for size alone it's hard to see it replacing the FA31 in my bag. I'm too addicted to the small sized limited primes.
06-21-2014, 03:37 PM   #910
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QuoteOriginally posted by Frater Quote
I bet that this was just a re-iteration of a Sigma reputation stemming from many years ago. That is exactly, as if Uluru would have insisted, that Pentax generally fails on doing autofocus or flash exposures right.
But Sigma moved on. Sigma's Art series seems a big, big change to what Sigma was aiming for in the past. In my local photo hobbyist group, I also talk with Canonians about the new Sigma stuff, and they have nothing but the highest praise for the new Sigma Art prime lenses.
Exactly in the same period when Sigma came with Art lenses, Ricoh did nothing of similar importance or scale for Pentax. And they have bought the brand to revitalise i, right? Pentax is an optics brand. I buy Pentax cameras only because I want Pentax lens designs in the first place — not the other way round. Similarly, Apple has always claimed they are a software brand — that they make good hardware is kind of coincidence too because inspiration comes from software.

Therefore my fear above, that Ricoh indeed does not understand Pentax standing, does not reinforce it timely but lags farther and farther behind. But shifting chairs around offices and tossing new names around is far more important to them.

Last edited by Uluru; 06-21-2014 at 03:50 PM.
06-21-2014, 03:43 PM   #911
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QuoteOriginally posted by Uluru Quote
But shifting chairs around offices and tossing new names around is far more important to them.
But that's half the fun of taking over another company!
06-21-2014, 03:56 PM - 3 Likes   #912
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QuoteOriginally posted by Edgar_in_Indy Quote
But that's half the fun of taking over another company!
That Pentax users are far more excited about Sigma Art series over whatever Pentax was supposed to do and fix in lens department — and never did or does — is concerning. It shows that the owner has failed in its task to recognise what is true value of the brand, act timely, and deliver. And in turn users have embraced players that do deliver — Sigma.

Just to illustrate the point further, all new coatings Ricoh now uses in their advertising 3 years later after the purchase of Pentax, were patented for Pentax under Hoya. The HD, the Aerobright, etc. Ricoh already had all the tech in place and ready with the purchase in 2011, and only they needed was to act promptly: the competition does not wait, and in fact, learns from mistakes of others.

And they did not act timely. In those 3 years of sluggish action on Rioh's side, Sigma became a household name in modern lens design even in Pentax's own land. To say Ricoh's management of Pentax lens department is incompetent, would be an understatement.
But that it does not appear I am only criticising without offering an alternative path, imagine this:

In 2011, plan is formulated because Ricoh knows what they are buying (yeah, right), and the plan says all lenses will be updated in the next few years. Production of all current lenses ceases in early 2012, old stock is sold while inventories are depleted, and in 2013, 2 years after the acquisition of Pentax,
– all DA* lenses updated with SDM 2 tech and HD coating. SDM question that hinders the prospect of brand answered once and for all.
– new 70-200mm lens also added to the DA* family.

During the year, all DA Limiteds are also updated with HD coating, which requires minimum of investment.

That act in lens department would push people into buying Pentax lenses, and stick to the system even with only a K5II on board. Add a K-3 sometime, and you have a major uptake in appreciation of the brand.

But now when Sigma and Tamron have practically conquered the Pentax land because Ricoh did not act timely, they must act with twice more effort and twice more money just to make themselves visible and viable! They have lost the momentum.

Last edited by Uluru; 06-21-2014 at 04:23 PM.
06-21-2014, 05:26 PM   #913
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QuoteOriginally posted by Uluru Quote
But now when Sigma and Tamron have practically conquered the Pentax land because Ricoh did not act timely, they must act with twice more effort and twice more money just to make themselves visible and viable! They have lost the momentum.
One does have to wonder and gape at Pentax/Ricoh's strategic decisions in recent years. Looking at other companies, such as Fuji, Olympus, Sony, etc, you get the sense that some photography enthusiasts are involved at some high level, calling at least some of the shots. But I just don't get that sense from Pentax very often.
06-21-2014, 05:28 PM   #914
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Uluru I'm not sure how you can say sigma and tamron have conquered Pentax when they are barely competing in the same lens segment. Pentax have limiteds and high quality weather sealed zooms. If anything lens like the sigma 18-35/1.8 help pentax steal market share from canon/nikon because you can now get the pentax body and tiny limited primes with some big fast third party glass. Yes you could view it as a lost opportunity for pentax, but pentax still needs to be up to scratch with its cameras if it's to be anything other than a niche product. So far I would give Ricoh at least a credit for product delivery, If they get a full frame camera and and two lenses out by the end of the year (or three out of the roadmap lenses) then they are doing extremely well.
Sigma on the other hand have to excite with their lenses because that is their main market. Good luck to them.
06-21-2014, 08:23 PM - 1 Like   #915
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QuoteOriginally posted by robjmitchell Quote
Uluru I'm not sure how you can say sigma and tamron have conquered Pentax when they are barely competing in the same lens segment. Pentax have limiteds and high quality weather sealed zooms.
Pentax uses are willing to forgo DA* lenses for Sigma's and Tamron's alternatives because of the severe perception of the SDM issue, and because Pentax is not addressing certain focal lengths and ranges Sigma does so well. Because Sigma makes designs attractive for Nikon and Canon users first, users who demand such focal lengths Pentax never really addresses. I mean, current Pentax FA 50mm/1.4 lens is now 20+ years old and Ricoh is even proud of it !!

The SDM must be solved once and for all, and Ricoh has failed to act timely.

Once you start infecting the tissue of the brand somewhere, the wound just grows bigger, and now 3 years later, Pentax's best lenses I can recommend are DA Limiteds, sporting an ancient screw drive. It's embarrassing, but at least screw drive lenses will not screw up like the SDM may. Optical design of Limiteds is really good and unique. Kit lenses are noisy screw drive lenses too no other brand offers as such. They have just a couple with a decent DC motor, the rest uses a suspicious SDM and the rest — screw drive. Not bright picture at all compared to what other brands have and have invested into!

I dare say Limited lenses is the reason Pentax is still in existence under Ricoh.

On the other hand, people think new 68K imaging sensor, or the AA tech "costs a fortune of an investment" that shows Ricoh's commitment? Not at all. That chip is such an easy investment that if Ricoh did not allow for it, they would literally do nothing at all all these years. Nil work. The major investment was fixing the lenses, and they did not act on that. HD update of a few lenses is not an investment; just a last minute call to address the issue of non-commitment spilling all over the desk. But it is. The TC also came too late. Why?

There is a pattern to it. Ricoh's aim was to show itself totally solvent and with positive balance sheets after the end of fiscal 2013, and they could not do that if they have invested any more serious money into the Pentax brand — especially lens lineup. Like Fujifilm and Olympus who are investing heavily, Ricoh would have shown negative balance as well. For Ricoh, though, direct extra investment was a no-no scenario. That is why we are waiting forever.

If they did, they would show negative balance in the Imaging department because next to expenditures for company purchase from Hoya and the restructure, they'd need to add extra several millions to address all the Pentax issues (which is more than what they earn now) — all of which start from lens department which constitutes majority of cost and value of the brand — and they did not do that. Therefore wait, just to show to major shareholders they have amortised "all cost and appear profitable". All is green, birds singing, etc. They appear profitable at the expense of a new and urgently necessary investment and development in the most valuable asset of the brand — the lenses.

Few bits of electronics inside the K-3 and shared with 645Z is peanuts compared to that cost needed for the lens lineup, and that is how Ricoh pulls wool over user's eyes that "they are working hard and think strategically, long term". It's an excuse — nothing more than that, and a strategic suicide for the Pentax brand. While in the meantime they lose their own ground in system's future growth, as competitors are willing to risk more, and grab more.

Sigma is going through its renaissance now, because of the smart and intelligent lens investments. Sigma is making Pentax users their own and Pentax users are more keen to ask Sigma when the 18-35 will be available and wait for it, than to expect any move from sleepy Ricoh to address the SDM issue, for example.

Sigma has won because Sigma acts! And because they are able to share lens production and design cost with other mounts — something Ricoh cannot.

No timely made new quality lenses, no updated lenses, no new original lens designs, no new Pentax value, and Pentax will end up being a rubbish camera brand. With more people buying third party lenses, each new lens from Pentax coming too late will cost more, and people will question its value. If a user choses a Sigma lens because it makes more sense and is cheaper and sufficiently good or more reliable, then why buying a Pentax camera after all?

When there are more choices of those same Sigma lenses available for Nikon for example, why buy Pentax camera? It is only a matter of day before users realise that bitter fact, and the sales of Pentax cameras may as well go down.

Pentax cannot be sustained by making cameras alone. The fate of the brand is directly linked to the fate of its lenses. That is the question deserving a direct and open question to Ricoh.

Last edited by Uluru; 06-22-2014 at 02:00 AM.
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