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07-26-2017, 10:07 AM - 1 Like   #1456
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QuoteOriginally posted by goldenarrow Quote
Secondly, IMHO, the new 50mm is extremely important for Pentax. I think it is a shame that a small camera system producer (Pentax) cannot focus enough on one line of cameras and lenses and deliver everything most people want. Now there has to be a split personality (almost truly schizoid in nature) where they are feeling the need to deliver 4 lines of camera systems and not pleasing anyone! So, they made a management decision, if we believe what Kenspo has said, for the FF lineup.
I'm not sure I should wade into this, seeing as I haven't received my first Pentax camera system yet, but maybe the opinion of a mostly-outsider will be of use.

Fuji is doing exceptionally well, in large part because they're delivering the lenses that photographers want. It started with a decent wide-medium-long/macro kit, then expanded to some zooms, and some very nice prime lenses. Photographers are eating them up because Fuji lets one buy into a small, portable kit with reasonably high quality. It's still a bit weird and not fully accepted by third-party processing tools, but it works great and keeps folks happy.

A big part of the happiness here is that Fuji has been completely open with their lens roadmap.

Now, my outsider's opinion on Pentax is that they believe in making affordable cameras that are indestructible and give superb image quality, at least at the high end. The 6x7 film camera was probably the archetype here - simple, tough, known limitations (like that monstrous shutter's impact on slower shutter speeds), but affordable, well-loved, and capable of images that rival the best of them. The 645D then 645Z continued this line, and now the K1 is pushing the same philosophy into more photographers' hands (like mine).

So how does this relate to the upcoming 50mm and its importance? I think in a few ways:
  • It shows users what Pentax is willing and capable of producing.
  • It takes the first step toward producing a set of prime lenses capable of taking advantage of the K1's sensor (and hopefully future sensors)
  • It builds momentum toward shifting users toward newer lenses instead of competing with legacy lenses. After all, Pentax makes no money on used lens sales.

If Pentax can produce a 50mm that's waterproof, well-armored, and tests as well as (or better than) the Sigma Art 50mm then they have a winner. It doesn't need to be Zeiss quality; it just needs to be something so special that every potential user, and every reviewer can see enough that's appealing about it that their mouths start to water.

I think it's very possible that a normal lens of Sigma Art quality, priced appropriately, and follow-up delivery timelines for a matching portrait lens, wide, and super-wide would get more commitment to the K1 system from users and potential users, even if it meant waiting 3 years for the follow-up lenses to get delivered according to the timeline, which would help sell gear now (and support near-term cash flows to keep the business flowing smoothly.)

I sense some pessimism among some of y'all, and maybe it's warranted. But the up-coming 50mm could be a really good thing for the Pentax ecosystem, and for Pentax as a platform and company.

07-26-2017, 10:14 AM - 1 Like   #1457
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
With all due respect Kunzite, this thread is about the 50mm 1.4 and I wrote in that context. I didn't move the goalposts, you took us away from the context of the thread to make a semantical point.
Due respect should be given to those who you called "inexperienced big glass designers".

I wrote in the past about the likely challenges posed by making such fast primes - including production issues like those encountered with the D FA* 70-200mm. However, I strongly believe such challenges will be overcome because Ricoh Imaging has experienced, highly capable engineers.
07-26-2017, 10:22 AM - 1 Like   #1458
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QuoteOriginally posted by Derek Zeanah Quote
I sense some pessimism among some of y'all, and maybe it's warranted. But the up-coming 50mm could be a really good thing for the Pentax ecosystem, and for Pentax as a platform and company.
We wait with bated breath. More choice is always good.

But as to your points.

QuoteQuote:
It shows users what Pentax is willing and capable of producing.
That's only good if it's better than what the competition produces at say 30% less cost. Previous purchasesI've made confirm, if the Pentax premium is too high, I might go with a Sigma. Especially if it's the better lens.

QuoteQuote:
It takes the first step toward producing a set of prime lenses capable of taking advantage of the K1's sensor (and hopefully future sensors)
That assume current lenses don't take advantage of the potential of the sensor. Where as my observation that is every time the MP increases on the sensor, lw/ph increases on the lens. There is just no justification I've seen that sensors are anywhere near out resolving DA or * quality lenses of the current generation.

QuoteQuote:
It builds momentum toward shifting users toward newer lenses instead of competing with legacy lenses. After all, Pentax makes no money on used lens sales.
I'm still interested in new lenses. Just not anything Pentax has proposed to date. Actually the lack of functional UWA ƒ4 glass for landscape, the weakness of the legacy glass in this end to the spectrum. I and many others are waiting for Pentax to fill this are which is an area of considerable weakness, rather than redoing the 50 and 85 which I have no complaints with as they are. My money is ready for product. Pentax has nothing to sell me. My UWA of choice remains the Sigma 8-16 on a K-3. Now that Sigma doesn't make Pentax lenses, my predicament is even more pronounced. I can't even turn to third party producers to make up for Pentax's lack of range in ti's lens systems.
07-26-2017, 10:25 AM   #1459
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kunzite Quote
(...)

Ricoh Imaging has experienced, highly capable engineers.
In the plural?

07-26-2017, 10:30 AM   #1460
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I'm a Pentaxian, not a troll.
07-26-2017, 10:32 AM - 1 Like   #1461
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kunzite Quote
because Ricoh Imaging has experienced, highly capable engineers.
Five men?
07-26-2017, 10:34 AM - 3 Likes   #1462
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QuoteOriginally posted by ogl Quote
Five men?
Why not? Designing a lens is not the same as carrying barrels of Vodka :-)
07-26-2017, 10:36 AM - 1 Like   #1463
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kunzite Quote
However, I strongly believe such challenges will be overcome because Ricoh Imaging has experienced, highly capable engineers.
"Engineers"? I thought Pentax just employed people to sneakily sit next to Sigma & Tamron engineers on commuter trains and try to catch glimpses in their notebooks.

07-26-2017, 10:37 AM - 1 Like   #1464
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I actually have no idea how the Pentax design team stacks up against even Tamron (oops, in reality a third of the new Pentax lenses were produced by Tamron, so they are one and the same) , forget about Sigma, Nikon , Canon or Sony. I have however noticed that despite it's weight the 70-200 doesn't seem to have a lot of people claiming it is a superior deign to the 70-200s of any other company. Bigger and the same for most of us isn't as good as "smaller and better." Smaller and better I'll definitely pay for. Bigger and the same or worse, I have to balance the improvement over what I have against the added weight. A bigger better lens is not by definition a winner. A smaller better lens definitely will be. For example the 31, 43 and 77. All loved for their size and rendering. I don't think people really like big lenses, but if the optical characteristics are superior in rendering the types of images they like to take, they may tolerate them.

And that's a decision the prudent won't make before they see some images. IN actual fact, a less than stellar performance by the new 50 1.4 and 85 1.4 could jumpstart sales of the FA* 85 and 55 1.4 if people don't see enough added value to justify the price (or weight) of the new products. It could also prompt a movement to other mounts who have successfully produced larger 30s, 50s 85s etc. in the past. Every move like this taking on a new market is a corporate gamble. Obviously their marketing people see the most profit going this route, but the market decides, not the marketing department, whether or not a lens is successful.

I assume that the new lenses will have the same effect as my DFA 28-105 has when compared to my 18-135.... but, I need to see it before I believe it. And I'm not paying a weight penalty using either of those lenses. make one a third heavier than the other and all bets are off.

Last edited by normhead; 07-26-2017 at 10:49 AM.
07-26-2017, 11:08 AM   #1465
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I don't understand why people feel like it is harder to build a big 50mm lens than a small one. I would think it would be easier to control vignetting, distortion and make the corners sharp, if size were no object.

When I mount a full frame lens on an APS-C camera, the corners are invariably better at wide apertures than when I mount the same lens on a K-1. This is because lens designers didn't want to make the lens bigger than they had to.

As to whether Pentax has experience designing lenses, I would think that designing a modern zoom like the DFA *70-200 would be a lot harder than designing a 50mm or even 85 mm prime. Wide angles are a bit of a different story, but certainly the 50 and 85 should be well within their capability.
07-26-2017, 11:13 AM - 1 Like   #1466
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
But is it a Sigma or a Zeiss?
It's a Pentax. And Pentax has made large lenses before. The DFA* 70-200 weighs almost 20% more than the Canon 70-200, yet its a stunning lens, sharp with beautiful rendering. The 645 DFA 90 f2.8 weighs 1040 grams. You might think it's that heavy because it's a 645 lens, but the 645 FA 75 f2.8 weighs only 215 grams. Why is that DFA 90mm so much larger and heavier? Because it features a (virtually) no compromise design, with excellent sharpness wide open and beautiful bokeh and rendering and superb control of aberrations. Some people think that 90mm 645 macro is the greatest lens Pentax has ever made. It's that good.

QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
Can a relatively inexperienced big glass designer on his first effort come up with a design that will put Pentax on top of the photographic world? How far has Pentax fallen?
The DFA* 50 is probably being designed by Masakazu Saori, one of Pentax's leading designers. He's hardly inexperienced. He has more experience and more patents to his name than Jun Hirakawa did when Hirakawa designed the FA 43, the FA* 85, the FA* 24, and the FA* 80-200. Saori has designed some impressive lenses, including the DA* 50-135 and the DFA* 70-200; and he assisted with the DA 21 and DA 70 Limiteds.

I'm confident the DFA* 50 will be better lens than any of those Sigma monsters. While it won't necessarily be sharper, it will feature the Pentax rendering and color, which will give it an edge over anything manufactured by Sigma. As for the Zeiss, well, that depends on which Zeiss, the Classic or Otus? I suspect it will be better than the Classic, but not as good as Otus (keep in mind: the DFA* 50 will be considerably less expensive than the Otus).
07-26-2017, 11:20 AM   #1467
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QuoteOriginally posted by northcoastgreg Quote
The DFA* 50 is probably being designed by Masakazu Saori,
He's done some nice lenses. But my observation is that the Tamron, Canon and Nikon 70-200 have all been about the same overall, (Sigma was not included, they refused to lend the testers a copy). I have seen no independent review suggesting the Pentax 70-200 is better than any of those, to make up for it's undeniable increase in weight. Maybe you've seen something I haven't?

I'm hoping to find some evidence to support the idea that they didn't make a heavier lens to achieve the same result. You always want the "latest greatest" to prove to be better than what came before it, especially if it's adding weight.

Unfortunately most sites are pretty spotty at including Pentax in their new lens evaluations. Not a mention of the 70-200 at Imaging Resources, DxO or Photozone or any of the sites with good benchmark information comparing a lot of both legacy and modern lenses.

---------- Post added 07-26-17 at 02:29 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
I don't understand why people feel like it is harder to build a big 50mm lens than a small one. I would think it would be easier to control vignetting, distortion and make the corners sharp, if size were no object.
It would be, that's why we are willing to pay a premium for lenses like the 31 and 77. At a time when everyone else is using technology to shrink product while maintaining value, camera companies seem to be doing the opposite, claiming they have to increase size to increase value. I'm not willing to pass judgement, i don't know enough to, but that doesn't mean I'm willing to just give in and say bigger is better, or give the bigger is better guys a free pass. The idea that smaller can be just as good is much more appealing.

Back when I was playing baseball, over 10 years I went from using a 34 once bat to a 30. It turns out bat speed is more important than the weight of the bat, if you can't get the 34 up to a descent bat speed in the 1/4 second you have to swing, you'll do better with a smaller bat. I'm sure there are lots more examples where bigger is worse, not from a theoretical viewpoint, but from a practical standpoint.

For me, if it's bigger it has to be better. Now, show me how it's better. I'm not going to buy a bigger lens just to placate some lens designer's compensation issues.

When the 31, 43 and 77 came out, they were smaller and better. What's changed that that can no longer be done?

I'm wondering if it's that there is a segment of the market that will consider a large lens a better deal than a smaller lens with the same or very similar photographic qualities. Like the really big cars of the 50s-70s. You certainly see that when comparing the 31 ltd and the Sigma 30 1.4. You really don't get anything comparing the two, for all that extra size and weight of the Sigma, but some people prefer it, I suspect, just because it's big.

I'm willing to bet it's the same as it always was. You have to like the way the lens renders. Bigger or smaller probably has very little to do with that. One has to ask, does Pentax still have the ability with it's designers to produce high quality light weight lenses? Is the current trend to "bigger than the competition" a result of falling behind in a specific area and trying to catch up, or is the high quality small lens a thing of the past? As Rondec pointed out, it's easier to do bigger, but does that mean it's impossible to do smaller? Finding an acceptable compromise between weight and optical quality is an art in itself I would propose. The current philosophy would suggest it's easier to just go big and forget about whether or not folks can actually carry the lenses.

Are the new lenses better, or just cheaper to manufacture using modern technology?

If you have trouble with weight, go 4/3s (many already have) ... I'm sure its a viable option, and one where designers are still making an attempt to keep the size down. But I don't see how that helps Pentax.

Last edited by normhead; 07-26-2017 at 12:59 PM.
07-26-2017, 12:46 PM   #1468
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For the record, the Pentax D FA* 70-200 f/2.8 has a simpler, 19 elements design - compared with the optically stabilized competitors which have 21-23 elements. IMHO its extra weight is at least partly due to differences in build, rather than glass' weight.
The one serious review I'm aware of - ephotozine's - shows it to be excellent.
07-26-2017, 01:07 PM   #1469
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kunzite Quote
For the record, the Pentax D FA* 70-200 f/2.8 has a simpler, 19 elements design - compared with the optically stabilized competitors which have 21-23 elements. IMHO its extra weight is at least partly due to differences in build, rather than glass' weight.
The one serious review I'm aware of - ephotozine's - shows it to be excellent.
I'll try and find it, thanks.
07-26-2017, 01:19 PM   #1470
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Here it is:
Pentax HD PENTAX-D FA* 70-200mm f/2.8 ED DC AW Review
Sorry for not including the link the first time.
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