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04-09-2009, 12:45 PM   #1
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Dear Pentax About your lenses.

Rather than putting an add on to the Dear Pentax thread, I have created a new thread.

Now its solely to do with Lenses.

Whilst I applaud Pentax for bringing out lenses in DA*, which mimic the FA* lenses to an extent, and providing a smaller lens (DA*50-135mm being and EFOV of a 75-200mm and the DA*55mm being the "digital" replacement for the mighty FA*85mm) It would be great if Pentax could reproduce the fine FA* lenses, and maybe some other primes, to suit both Film and APS-C.

So, Pentax, Please Please Please, can you recreate the mighty FA* range that will create a so called DFA* SDM range, that will fit both film (with the screw AF) and digital (with the SDM)

This of course could include many of the fine primes to be built too. You still have the blueprints for the optics (the most expensive bit of a lens) and can incorporate a wider body to have the SDM included. They can also include the latest SMC coatings, to reduce any CA and flare reduction as well, due to part of the build this coating can be applied as with all other lenses.

Now I can already think of a number of lenses, that can be built to a new DFA* spec without much of an issue, such as:-

FA* 85mm F1.4
Takumar 135mm F2.5
FA* 300mm F2.8
FA* 600mm F4
FA* 24mm F2
K 8.4mm F2.8
FA 35mm F2
FA 50mm F1.4
A 50mm F1.2
FA* 28-70mm F2.8
A* 135mm F1.8

So Pentax, how about it?

04-09-2009, 01:42 PM   #2
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I say Yes Yes Yes!!
and I said it many times.

Pentax is so proud about their Dslrs being compatible with old lenses. but as opposed to Nikon and canon. you can not get Pentax old lenses in stores. you need to go to the black market and hope to find the lens you want. with no warranty and usually since it a "rare" lens.( Rare only BC Pentax don't make it any more). you usually need to pay prices that are the same if not more then a new lens at the competition.

now if Pentax would go out to the public and say we are sticking with crop format and this is our future for many years to come and we investing in it and making it better. then we as costumers could know that we can invest in DA lenses.

but the fact is we all know that corp sensor as we know it today is limited. and the future as it looks is either FF cameras, or hybrid no mirror small camera. in both cases. our DA lenses are not usable.
04-09-2009, 02:10 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by offertonhatter Quote
FA* 28-70mm F2.8
I'd suggest modernizing this to the 24-70 standard that Nikon/Canon/Sigma have adopted. The extra 4 at the wide end makes it more usable on a crop sensor.

I'd also like to see a 200/2 but I doubt it'll be made (there used to be an SMC 200/2.5 a long time ago) because it doesn't seem to be cost effective...even the Canikon variants are $3-4K
04-09-2009, 02:23 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by kenyee Quote
I'd suggest modernizing this to the 24-70 standard that Nikon/Canon/Sigma have adopted. The extra 4 at the wide end makes it more usable on a crop sensor.

I'd also like to see a 200/2 but I doubt it'll be made (there used to be an SMC 200/2.5 a long time ago) because it doesn't seem to be cost effective...even the Canikon variants are $3-4K
I would be happy with this, as I have a (non) SDM Sigma 24-70mm EX DG F2.8 in my gear.
The only reason I put the 28-70 in, is that Pentax already made it in the past, and should be fairly easy to build due to the blueprints, as a 24-70mm is not a lens that they made initially, so could in theory cost more to create.

Mind you, It would be a cracker to make, what with the SMC coating and SDM......

04-09-2009, 02:44 PM   #5
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aye. and i am not only thinking wishlist, i am thinking money here. make one or two (make a poll on pentax.com and ask the pentaxians which particular old lens they would most likely buy new), and make the first two or three first, see how they sell. you might be shocked. i would also not mind if they carefully choose the lenses available so as not to eat into ltd lenses sales. i think it is worth a try at least for pentax, especially in these days of crisis

on a slightly different note: i would like pentax to also think of something else: i have a zenitar now, and i love it. i doubt if there is anything out there more suitable for my needs (even disregrading the price): it is small, it is light, well built, nice tu use (ergonomics), optically good, and it is also cheap. howcome? well, except for the obvious "the russians made it, and they made it so long ago the r&d is probably already paied for" (see the comment related to blueprints in the original post), i think (experts might want to correct me) it's because it is a fisheye, and it's so much easier to design a good fisheye than a good rectilinear wideangle (less corrections needed), it is also inherently smaller and lighter. so here is what i was thinking:

- fisheye (similar to the zenitar, "full frame" so i can put it on my film body and have fun),
- software bundled with the lens to defish if desired, with preset configuration available for this lens, batch mode and so on (i suggest autopano/nona, just make a donation to them and include that one, maybe also make a small gui for lens corrections alone, corrections of lateral CA are also possible).
-smc coating (so damn important for a wideangle)
-weather sealing (so cheap and easy to do for a small prime, as opposed to a zoom)
- interchangeable hood and filter mount (or just attachable hood/filter mount for aps-c, the one for film stays on at all times)
- the most compact and cheap form of af you can fit in, or none at all
- a-mount compatible, aperture ring, and contacts to talk to the camera (for exif and sr)
- to really blow my mind: firmware upgrades for all current dslrs (and everything at least back to k10d/k100d, just to show this is pentax) to preview the defished image if desired, three simple types of auto crop available in the config for this purpose. (should be rather trivial to do, only for preview purposes, to check the framing, not high quality stuff)

what's the point? i am a landscape photographer, and while i could buy a "proper" rectilinear wideangle (like the 12-24 or one of the primes, like the 14/2.8), i cannot get over the facts that 1. size does matter for us landscapers 2. rectilinear wideangles seem a complete waste of r&d money, space and glass, in this day and age (with the only exception that they will enable one to see the "corrected" image in the optical viewfinder directly)

there is also the cool factor: they will definetly be the first to ack this (digital) opportunity and cash on it, and, again, this being a time of "financial distress", the lower price for excellent quality will sell (and people who realy want rectilinears and can't be bothered with this defishing nonsense will buy the 12-24 anyhow).

am i a black sheep, or are others interested in the idea?
04-09-2009, 02:50 PM   #6
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another quick and very simple idea:

get a bunch of savvy photographers and work on the following project for a month or two:

take all current lenses, test for distorsions, CA, use autopano tools to correct them, populate the database. all you need to do next is publish the database for free, and distribute autopano for windows/mac/linux along with silkypix with all your cameras (with the permission of the autopano team, ofcourse)

i can see no loss and only gain out of this, and it is bloody cheap to do. unless i am missing something (?)

edit: this might already qualify as a hijack. if so, please accept my apologies, and a kind admin please move my posts as apropriate (maybe the "dear pentax" thread?)
04-09-2009, 02:58 PM   #7
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1) Fix the SDM issues and relegate micro motors to consumer lenses and ring motors for higher end stuff;
2) Adopt KAF3 for all SDM lenses (not popular I know but unavoidable on long term) and keep shaft driven only to DA LTDs;
3) Start to "redo" lenses from the past with modern designs such as FA LTDs (all 3 of them) and FA* 200/4 Macro;
4) Unfortunately I don't think it's only a matter of mechanics and new coatings. The designs themselves need changes in element curvature (special for digital) and optical elements that many older lenses didn't had (such as low/extra low dispersion elements or aspherical ones if needed);
5) *We* need longer DA LTDs with a final pancake as long as possible (90-100mm probably) and at least a modern 135mm;
6) I would welcome a version II for the 2 DA* zooms with faster AF motors (ring type), KAF3 mount and other mechanical and optic updates;
7) From your list I think some lenses will need only minor tweaks (FA 35 and 50) and will have a new life in a new *digital body*. Other designs are IMO obsolete and rather than improving on them maybe they need to start fresh.
8) If Pentax could make 7-9 new lenses a year (including updates) I think in about 2 years time the line-up will be a solid one with modern designs and good performers in both consumer and premium range.

Radu
04-09-2009, 03:29 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by RaduA Quote
1) Fix the SDM issues and relegate micro motors to consumer lenses and ring motors for higher end stuff;
2) Adopt KAF3 for all SDM lenses (not popular I know but unavoidable on long term) and keep shaft driven only to DA LTDs;
3) Start to "redo" lenses from the past with modern designs such as FA LTDs (all 3 of them) and FA* 200/4 Macro;
4) Unfortunately I don't think it's only a matter of mechanics and new coatings. The designs themselves need changes in element curvature (special for digital) and optical elements that many older lenses didn't had (such as low/extra low dispersion elements or aspherical ones if needed);
5) *We* need longer DA LTDs with a final pancake as long as possible (90-100mm probably) and at least a modern 135mm;
6) I would welcome a version II for the 2 DA* zooms with faster AF motors (ring type), KAF3 mount and other mechanical and optic updates;
7) From your list I think some lenses will need only minor tweaks (FA 35 and 50) and will have a new life in a new *digital body*. Other designs are IMO obsolete and rather than improving on them maybe they need to start fresh.
8) If Pentax could make 7-9 new lenses a year (including updates) I think in about 2 years time the line-up will be a solid one with modern designs and good performers in both consumer and premium range.

Radu
interesting thought, but I think in response, the following

Point 1. The SDM issues, might not be due to the lenses, but with the AF itself. In another thread I mentioned a superior AF for future cameras, so the existing SDM migt be suitable.
2. Not up for KAF3, but maybe a hybrid, KAD3 for digital, and KAF2(uncrippled) for film - There are existing film/digital users who would welcome a lens which could be used on both formats, including me.
3. Maybe the Limiteds too. although people who have/use Limiteds would think why? The list was was for obsolete lenses, but could include the mighty limiteds.
4. although I take your point about ELD lenses, how many of us use old lenses without much problem on digital. But I get your point.
5. This as in my previous thread, might take into account already produced lenses, but a pancake over 70mm that will work with FF(ie film)? not sure...
The modern 135mm is already on the list, in either the 135/F2.5 or 135/F1.8
6. see points above
7.Not sure, if they have the blueprints, which we know work, then why not?
8.I agree, we need as many lenses as Pentax can produce.

04-09-2009, 05:15 PM   #9
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I like this idea. In fact, I think it may be one of the easiest ways that Pentax could develop a full frame lineup for a full frame camera, assuming that camera comes sometime in 2010 or 2011. (they wouldn't have to start from scratch)

One question though for offerton: is there enough of a reason to do this if Pentax has no full frame camera in its plans? I mean, I would probably be interested in having the lenses for both film and digital, as you mentioned, but would it be worth the resources that Pentax would have to put into this?

Personally I would love it if they did this even if they didn't have a FF camera. It would be great to delve into all those legacy designs that made Pentax famous without having to spend more than $2,000 a pop.
04-09-2009, 06:28 PM   #10
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SDM, micro motors, ring motors, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH

QuoteOriginally posted by RaduA Quote
1) Fix the SDM issues and relegate micro motors to consumer lenses and ring motors for higher end stuff;

Radu
This whole discussion is B*** S***. I bought a Sony A700 and some cheap A** old Minolta lenses and a Tamron 28-75 f2.8 for less than $300 each. The speed of the AF on all of them blow my K10D away. When Pentax makes a body that can give me the same speed I get out of a 10 year old cheap third party lens on the A700 I'll buy one.

Excuse time is over. The idea we will have to buy expensive SDM glass to get decent AF is ridiculous.
04-10-2009, 12:21 AM   #11
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I have been thinking along the same lines for quite a while. At least the FA* telephoto lenses work very well with digital bodies as well.

Some years ago Pentax obviously made a decission to concentrate on APS-C format, and focus their efforts on this product range. Personally I have always considered APS-C as an interim solution, and the market now seems to be heading that way. It sure has taken longer than I expected, but it seems to be happening.
The decission to go entirely APS-C now appears to have been a miscalculation of strategic proportions. The big brands did have the resouces and patience to maintain their legacy FF lens range. Updating at least some of the FA* lenses could be a cost-effective way to get back on this stage. At least I would be more than delighted. The ones I miss the most are the FA*70-200/2,8 and the 28-70/2,8.
In the film days I did not have the money to buy them. Now they are very hard to get, and even more expensive than they were as new!
04-10-2009, 12:53 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by offertonhatter Quote
2. Not up for KAF3, but maybe a hybrid, KAD3 for digital, and KAF2(uncrippled) for film - There are existing film/digital users who would welcome a lens which could be used on both formats, including me.
Lenses have never been crippled, only bodies.
Lenses KAF3 is fine. No aperture simulator on body (at least higher end one) is pityful.
04-10-2009, 03:32 AM   #13
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I'd like to see only sharp lenses from Pentax - from center wide-opened.
And the sharpest in the world at f4-5.6.
04-10-2009, 03:46 AM   #14
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Hi, Offertonhatter!

QuoteOriginally posted by offertonhatter Quote
interesting thought, but I think in response, the following

Point 1. The SDM issues, might not be due to the lenses, but with the AF itself. In another thread I mentioned a superior AF for future cameras, so the existing SDM migt be suitable.
I meant reliability issues too not only speed. I also believe that the complex dual-AF system Pentax employs in it's KAF2 lenses has something to do with poor reliability. I never heard about a DA17-70 lens that failed until now but posts with the 4 DA star ones are pretty common.

QuoteQuote:
2. Not up for KAF3, but maybe a hybrid, KAD3 for digital, and KAF2(uncrippled) for film - There are existing film/digital users who would welcome a lens which could be used on both formats, including me.
I respect your use of film cameras but IMO Pentax should look ahead not back. It is enough that the mount is the same and (again IMO) it's bad for the large mass of digital users to complicate all the future designs with legacy stuff.

QuoteQuote:
3. Maybe the Limiteds too. although people who have/use Limiteds would think why? The list was was for obsolete lenses, but could include the mighty limiteds.
I can find at least some points where FA LTDs could be further improved and I bet that Pentax engineers know 100x better than me.

QuoteQuote:
4. although I take your point about ELD lenses, how many of us use old lenses without much problem on digital. But I get your point.
My SMC 135/3.5 has a lot of CA and I bet this is about the same with the 135/2.5 as well. It's not necessarily a design flaw as much as it was a not so important part back then but the results show.

QuoteQuote:
5. This as in my previous thread, might take into account already produced lenses, but a pancake over 70mm that will work with FF(ie film)? not sure...
The modern 135mm is already on the list, in either the 135/F2.5 or 135/F1.8
The DA Ltds are made specifically with digital APS-C cameras in mind and I think it will be wise to keep it that way. A potential FF readiness maybe a bonus point but IMO by no means a purpose in itself. About the second part I don't consider either of the 2 135mm "modern designs" with the *youngest* being about 25 years old.

QuoteQuote:
6. see points above
7.Not sure, if they have the blueprints, which we know work, then why not?
Because they may think as I do that it's better to build in 5 years a line-up of state of the art NEW digital designs instead of making in half the time a line up of compromised ones. Like I said many times it's not a matter of black or white and it's not a matter for us fans to decide but engineers. Looking at the past years history until now Pentax chose to revive only one older optical design with cosmetic changes: FA* 200 and yet made a new one for the 300mm although they had many previous lenses in that range. What is beyond me to comprehend though is why they don't make a modern version of the FA*200/4 Macro which seems the perfect candidate for this.

QuoteQuote:
8.I agree, we need as many lenses as Pentax can produce.
Regards,
Radu
04-10-2009, 04:58 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by RaduA Quote
What is beyond me to comprehend though is why they don't make a modern version of the FA*200/4 Macro which seems the perfect candidate for this.[/COLOR]

Radu

Because it will sell very few samples and will be very expensive (the same reason we will not see a new 135/1.8). In adition, many potential buyers already got the FA* version. Reportedly, they only made 900 of it. It is probably a loss item. But it is a faultlessly performig lens...
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