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10-19-2017, 07:43 AM   #1171
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QuoteOriginally posted by thibs Quote
I think this is way overstating the help offered by computers. It only calculates, it doesn't designs and doesn't chose between compromises. Also, modern designs are way more complex than old school designs.

If we were talking Takumars 50mm, I might agree. Not in this context.
Exactly!

An interview with a Sigma executive revealed that even they need two to three years to develop a new lens.

It takes time to create a new optical formula for a new lens especially if you want the lens to be really sharp, bright, nice bokeh, fast-AF, etc.

And a big part of the challenge is finding a bright optical formula that stays sharp with nice bokeh even with natural variations in the element, group, and housing dimensions. Then it takes more time to get the manufacturing right so that every copy of the lens is good enough (which is again harder if you want the lens to be really sharp, bright, and nice bokeh).

10-19-2017, 07:45 AM   #1172
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
To me the slow progress is a sign, they are doing it right in the design stage, not just rushing product to market.
I'm always amazed by your untouchable optimism.
I don't mean to "shoot from the sides", i swear. I'm all in with Pentax (many cameras and > 300 compatible lenses), though i'm at best ambivalent, if not outright pessimistic.
From the glorious times of the 6x7 and the LX, if i have to be sincere i've seen the brand slowly descend in a gray period of conservation and lack of innovation (late Pentax management), to be acquired by the worst of the worst (Hoya), that sucked all the juice and spit an half-empty shell, taken by a company that at first seemed to believe in the brand, finally releasing the long-awaited full frame (Ricoh). A pity that Ricoh has very little diversification, compared to the big players, and mainly sells office copiers/printers... which in modern times is like being in the automotive industry and selling carburettors. I would not say it's future proof.
As far as i understand, Ricoh's catalog cries for diversification.
The activities of the group are being restructured, this is a fact.
What direction Ricoh Imaging will take is still a mystery, at least to me.
The only thing i care about is the survival of the PK mount, that's all.
About the future of Ricoh/Pentax, a minimum of simple common sense would suggest that either:
1) the brand go chinese
2) Ricoh will play wait and see, minimizing losses
3) Ricoh will bet on Pentax as a strategic asset for the future, accept more losses, and try to imitate Sony (of course not with as many resources)
4) call it over

All but the last would be fine with me, as long as the PK mount (that is Pentax legacy) will survive.
I care about that cause i'd like to buy, in due time, a worthy successor to the K-1.
I confess it's the sole reason. Ricoh still makes great cameras, designed by technicians who know something about photography, not by people who don't have a clue.
Sorry to poke my finger where it hurts, Pentax is not a top lens maker anymore. Price vs performance, cameras are very good or even great. Lenses are... expensive. I don't mean to be rude or divisive, so i will express only one term of the comparison. The A Star 1.4/85mm and 4/200mm Macro were the best of their kind when they were released. Today... judge by yourself if any objective released in the last 10 years will be remembered 20 or 30 years from now.

cheers

Paolo

Last edited by cyberjunkie; 10-19-2017 at 07:51 AM.
10-19-2017, 07:45 AM - 1 Like   #1173
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QuoteOriginally posted by photoptimist Quote
It takes time to create a new optical formula for a new lens especially if you want the lens to be really sharp, bright, nice bokeh, fast-AF, etc.
AND not infringe anybody else's patent!
10-19-2017, 07:53 AM   #1174
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My explanation - which is merely a guess - is that since Ricoh Imaging is making their first fast high-end primes in a while, it's taking a while to solve all sorts of problems. It cannot be rushed.
If they started on the D FA* primes in the first months of 2015, that's still within the 3 years. Before that, they had the zooms to work on; it's slower than we'd like, but not unreasonable.

---------- Post added 19-10-17 at 05:59 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by cyberjunkie Quote
About the future of Ricoh/Pentax, a minimum of simple common sense would suggest that either:
1) the brand go chinese
2) Ricoh will play wait and see, minimizing losses
3) Ricoh will bet on Pentax as a strategic asset for the future, accept more losses, and try to imitate Sony (of course not with as many resources)
4) call it over
1 and 4 are not common sense, but FUD.
2 should be qualified
3 is highly unlikely.
What's missing is "the Pentax way", doing excellent stuff at their own speed (neither 2 nor 3).

10-19-2017, 08:12 AM   #1175
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QuoteOriginally posted by thibs Quote
I think this is way overstating the help offered by computers. It only calculates, it doesn't designs and doesn't chose between compromises. Also, modern designs are way more complex than old school designs.

If we were talking Takumars 50mm, I might agree. Not in this context.
Go tell a mechanical engineer that you're taking his computer away and he can do finite element analysis on his own. See what his reaction is and how much longer you just made his work take.

Computers have accelerated so much of design and engineering tasks that I'm boardering on speechless.
10-19-2017, 08:16 AM   #1176
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QuoteOriginally posted by cyberjunkie Quote
Sorry to poke my finger where it hurts, Pentax is not a top lens maker anymore.
And you say this because?

What recently released Pentax lens do you judge, in your opinion, to be less than top quality?

The 150-450?
The 70-200?
The 28-105?
The DFA 100 macro WR, which is completely unique in it's class?

Which one of these are you singling out when you say Pentax doesn't produce top quality lenses?

Last edited by normhead; 10-19-2017 at 08:42 AM.
10-19-2017, 08:21 AM   #1177
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QuoteOriginally posted by photoptimist Quote
An interview with a Sigma executive revealed that even they need two to three years to develop a new lens.

It takes time to create a new optical formula for a new lens especially if you want the lens to be really sharp, bright, nice bokeh, fast-AF, etc.
From the input from the top floor to the actual release date to the public, 2 or 3 years could be a reasonable time.
Choose between different projects, do the raytracing, test the prototype, etc etc, should take only a fraction of that time.
I think that the implementation of a new project at an industrial level, and making it economically profitable, is both complicated and time consuming.

Once i tried to design a triplet (like the Trioplan by the "new" Meyer), using a modern professional program for optical design.
I chose two basic Schott optical glasses... quotes and curvatures were obtained lightning fast.
Impressive.
Of course a complex optical layout is a completely different thing, but i am aware that even a simple triplet using common optical glasses would have taken plenty of time, before and immediately after WWII.

cheers

Paolo
10-19-2017, 08:37 AM - 2 Likes   #1178
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IMO computers don't enable you to do something faster, as much as to do things that are much more difficult/complex in about the same amount of time.

10-19-2017, 08:43 AM   #1179
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QuoteOriginally posted by cyberjunkie Quote
Sorry to poke my finger where it hurts, Pentax is not a top lens maker anymore
The truth is that with computer aided design, nobody is a top lens maker any more - the differences between the pro lenses of all the major manufacturers are just a matter of taste and which set of compromises suit you best. Pentax has a disadvantage over Canon and Nikon that t doesn't have many pro users, and has a much smaller user base altogether, so making no holds barred lenses in uncommon configurations where they might shine ( like the new Nikon 105/1.4) isn't a sensible option.
10-19-2017, 08:44 AM   #1180
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QuoteOriginally posted by ffking Quote
The truth is that with computer aided design, nobody is a top lens maker any more
Or more to the point, everybody is.

I can safely say, nobody will ever again produce a lens the quality of my old Vivitar 135 2.8, no one his that bad these days... differentiation is based on other factors.

To me, the Pentax decision to not release any glass slower than ƒ5.6 already puts them head and shoulder above everyone else if you consider there isn't going to be a lot of difference in optical quality. I don't care how many cheap ƒ6.3 lenses you produce, they are just dead weight in your inventory from my perspective.
10-19-2017, 08:45 AM   #1181
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kunzite Quote
IMO computers don't enable you to do something faster, as much as to do things that are much more difficult/complex in about the same amount of time.
if that isn't somebody's law, it ought to be - my experience also
10-19-2017, 08:45 AM   #1182
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@cyberjunkie, while I tend to agree with some of your thoughts, one of your statements hits the crux of the matter:

QuoteOriginally posted by cyberjunkie Quote
Pentax is not a top lens maker anymore.
The issue is, how is 'top' defined? 'Top' or 'best' depends on numerous characteristics and trade-offs in lens design:
- focal length or range
- optical qualities (e.g., resolution, sharpness, abberations)
- physical size and mass
- auto-focus action and audible noise
- cost and price to consumer

Consider the example of the Pentax DA 18-135mm. It's not the very 'best' lens across all optical characteristics, but it is relatively small and lightweight, has a useful focal range, focuses well, and it's reasonably affordable.

What characteristics do you use when defining "top"? I would argue that no lens is at the top of all characteristics.

- Craig

Last edited by c.a.m; 10-19-2017 at 10:27 AM. Reason: clarify
10-19-2017, 08:46 AM   #1183
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
Or more to the point, everybody is.
yes, I should have phrased it that way round, you're right
10-19-2017, 09:13 AM   #1184
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
(...)

To me, the Pentax decision to not release any glass slower than ƒ5.6 already puts them head and shoulder above everyone else if you consider there isn't going to be a lot of difference in optical quality. I don't care how many cheap ƒ6.3 lenses you produce, they are just dead weight in your inventory from my perspective.
Ahem!...

The latest Pentax lens launched by Ricoh Imaging is the HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm f/4.5-6.3 ED PLM WR RE.
10-19-2017, 09:38 AM   #1185
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mistral75 Quote
Ahem!...

The latest Pentax lens launched by Ricoh Imaging is the HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm f/4.5-6.3 ED PLM WR RE.
Ya, I read those stats and cringed. But I figured at $500 it's probably worth buying just for the super fast AF in good light. No one else's ƒ6.3 glass i PLM so that doesn't enter my thinking on this one.

If you buy a lens of what it does for you you buy that lens for fast AF, not for it's aperture. Other manufacturers are producing average focusing 6.3 lenses. And with the K-P's fast low light capacity focusing, they have upgraded the camera it should be used on to be able to handle the lack of light coming to the AF system.

So while I understand your point in a debating sense, I also understand that this is a unique lens specifically engineered to be light enough to be used with a very fast PLM motor. Other people are going 6.3 with a pretty standard less than ideal set up. IN fact I've heard complaints about the focussing gasped of many or those 6.3 lens from other manufacturers.

While no one has come right out and said that the 55-300 PLM on a K-P might be the fastest focusing system in consumer glass, and theoretically fast than anything but a 1Dx with a very fast lens on it, it is quite possibly true. SO ya, it's ƒ6.3, but there's an asterisk behind it. 6.3 to achieve performance. Not mediocre performance and 6.3 because the company intentionally wanted to come in at price point less than what a top quality offering ( like the DFA 150-450) would cost.

When your whole business plan is based on undercutting the prices of OEM manufacturers, you're always looking of short cuts. Pentax wasn't looking for a shortcut, they were looking for performance. Older Pentax 55-300s that didn't feature the mind numbing performance of the PLM lens were ƒ5.6.

But you all knew that. For some freaking reason you couldn't figure it out for yourselves.

Do i have to explain every little thing?

When i see these kinds of numbers I don't just start bashing Pentax, I think, "What were they thinking." In the case of the PLM lens, a Pentax lens designer is on record a saying that keeping the lens elements light enough to be moved by the PLM motor was a design constraint. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to realize that's why the lens is ƒ6.3.

Pentax sets these parameters but as they should will violate them it there is good reason to. But they have to have a compelling reason, better than beating someone else's price point at any cost.

Last edited by normhead; 10-19-2017 at 09:54 AM.
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