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09-10-2014, 07:42 AM - 1 Like   #76
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
I think the DA *55, DA *60-250, and DA *50-135 are all excellent lenses that have been designed since the FA 31..
Relative to other premium 50-56mm lenses on the market how does the DA* 55mm stack up?
The Sigma 50mm F/1.4 is sharper up until F/4 and the DA* 55m is sharper after F/4.0. I ended up with the Sigma after trying 2 copies of the DA* 55mm. I actually need a WR lens in this focal length, and keep looking at the DA*55mm, but I like the bokeh of the sigma better.
The new Sigma ART 50mm is considered on of the best in the class. The bokeh is not the best, but 2nd only to the Otus in sharpness and contrast.
The 55mm Otus is definitely a premium lens, but no AF and will never be available for Pentax.
The Sony 55mm F/1.8 FE is a stellar performer.
Fuji 56mm F/1.2 and the new Fuji 56mm F/1.2 APD - The Fuji 56mm F/1.2 is sharper wide open than the DA*55 at F/2.8

The DA* 55mm is a below average lens relative to other premium lenses in this class. If it was not weather sealed I wouldn't even consider it.

How does the DA* 50-135 compare to other premium lenses in this class?
Here is the new Fuji:

How about the Sigma version? Tamron? In its day, it was a solid performer (other than SDM failure), but relative to the newer options in its class, how does it compare?

09-10-2014, 08:11 AM   #77
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QuoteOriginally posted by Winder Quote
Relative to other premium 50-56mm lenses on the market how does the DA* 55mm stack up?
The Sigma 50mm F/1.4 is sharper up until F/4 and the DA* 55m is sharper after F/4.0. I ended up with the Sigma after trying 2 copies of the DA* 55mm. I actually need a WR lens in this focal length, and keep looking at the DA*55mm, but I like the bokeh of the sigma better.
The new Sigma ART 50mm is considered on of the best in the class. The bokeh is not the best, but 2nd only to the Otus in sharpness and contrast.
The 55mm Otus is definitely a premium lens, but no AF and will never be available for Pentax.
The Sony 55mm F/1.8 FE is a stellar performer.
Fuji 56mm F/1.2 and the new Fuji 56mm F/1.2 APD - The Fuji 56mm F/1.2 is sharper wide open than the DA*55 at F/2.8

The DA* 55mm is a below average lens relative to other premium lenses in this class. If it was not weather sealed I wouldn't even consider it.

How does the DA* 50-135 compare to other premium lenses in this class?
Here is the new Fuji:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-OKr4ULTGc&list=UU9CifUFEqSpuF9tTGpKxC4g

How about the Sigma version? Tamron? In its day, it was a solid performer (other than SDM failure), but relative to the newer options in its class, how does it compare?


You make some valid points (like the Sigma 50/1.4), but if we look at the rest of the comparisons like its some sort of arms race, we will never be happy and keep jumping ship to the next company that launches new stuff.
Those DA lenses work on a K mount (or course the Sigma do too and so I consider those fair comparisons)
The rest are not K-mount lenses.
Its like bashing Nikon by saying that they don't have a 43mm lens or smallish ones like Pentax ones.

Some of the lenses listed are optically good, some are rather big if not outright so, and others leave something wanting in the bokeh (FE55; ART 50)
The focus by wire Fujis... first thing, AF isn't that fast for most of those lenses, and focus by wire isn't as tactile, also, one fine day (if ever) Fuji does not make such a camera, the lens is hard to make usable on anything else (though we can also say that's pretty far fetched like Motorola, Ericsson, Nokia ) .

The only perfect system is one made up of the sum of various brands.
We just choose the system that fits us best (some guys get lucky and that system fits all their needs)
09-10-2014, 08:29 AM - 1 Like   #78
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QuoteOriginally posted by Winder Quote
Relative to other premium 50-56mm lenses on the market how does the DA* 55mm stack up?
The Sigma 50mm F/1.4 is sharper up until F/4 and the DA* 55m is sharper after F/4.0. I ended up with the Sigma after trying 2 copies of the DA* 55mm. I actually need a WR lens in this focal length, and keep looking at the DA*55mm, but I like the bokeh of the sigma better.
The new Sigma ART 50mm is considered on of the best in the class. The bokeh is not the best, but 2nd only to the Otus in sharpness and contrast.
The 55mm Otus is definitely a premium lens, but no AF and will never be available for Pentax.
The Sony 55mm F/1.8 FE is a stellar performer.
Fuji 56mm F/1.2 and the new Fuji 56mm F/1.2 APD - The Fuji 56mm F/1.2 is sharper wide open than the DA*55 at F/2.8

The DA* 55mm is a below average lens relative to other premium lenses in this class. If it was not weather sealed I wouldn't even consider it.

How does the DA* 50-135 compare to other premium lenses in this class?
I completely get what you are saying.

Pentax is going to have further issues attracting new users who considering themselves rather up-market photographers. With all the research tools available and the objective measurements available, many Pentax lenses suffer in comparison with other brands. Things like Pentax lenses being "smaller & lighter" are much harder to conceptualize when having cold, hard measurements on your screen.
09-10-2014, 08:38 AM - 1 Like   #79
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QuoteOriginally posted by pinholecam Quote
You make some valid points (like the Sigma 50/1.4), but if we look at the rest of the comparisons like its some sort of arms race, we will never be happy and keep jumping ship to the next company that launches new stuff.
Those DA lenses work on a K mount (or course the Sigma do too and so I consider those fair comparisons)
The rest are not K-mount lenses.
Its like bashing Nikon by saying that they don't have a 43mm lens or smallish ones like Pentax ones.

Some of the lenses listed are optically good, some are rather big if not outright so, and others leave something wanting in the bokeh (FE55; ART 50)
The focus by wire Fujis... first thing, AF isn't that fast for most of those lenses, and focus by wire isn't as tactile, also, one fine day (if ever) Fuji does not make such a camera, the lens is hard to make usable on anything else (though we can also say that's pretty far fetched like Motorola, Ericsson, Nokia ) .

The only perfect system is one made up of the sum of various brands.
We just choose the system that fits us best (some guys get lucky and that system fits all their needs)
It is an arms race. If Pentax wants to grow its user base they have to be able to compete with those other systems. The future of Pentax as a brand isn't about the current users. It about future users. Who makes a more attractive system for new users?

09-10-2014, 08:39 AM   #80
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QuoteOriginally posted by Winder Quote
Relative to other premium 50-56mm lenses on the market how does the DA* 55mm stack up?
The Sigma 50mm F/1.4 is sharper up until F/4 and the DA* 55m is sharper after F/4.0. I ended up with the Sigma after trying 2 copies of the DA* 55mm. I actually need a WR lens in this focal length, and keep looking at the DA*55mm, but I like the bokeh of the sigma better.
The new Sigma ART 50mm is considered on of the best in the class. The bokeh is not the best, but 2nd only to the Otus in sharpness and contrast.
The 55mm Otus is definitely a premium lens, but no AF and will never be available for Pentax.
The Sony 55mm F/1.8 FE is a stellar performer.
Fuji 56mm F/1.2 and the new Fuji 56mm F/1.2 APD - The Fuji 56mm F/1.2 is sharper wide open than the DA*55 at F/2.8

The DA* 55mm is a below average lens relative to other premium lenses in this class. If it was not weather sealed I wouldn't even consider it.

How does the DA* 50-135 compare to other premium lenses in this class?
Here is the new Fuji:

How about the Sigma version? Tamron? In its day, it was a solid performer (other than SDM failure), but relative to the newer options in its class, how does it compare?
Premium lenses are premium lenses. I feel like sharpness is adequate on all of these lenses. Bokeh is decent. As to whether it is better on the DA *55 than the Fuji, maybe not. The reason to shoot Pentax is for the lenses. I feel like quality with DA *55 and 50-135 is really similar to the quality that is available with the FA limiteds. If that isn't adequate, then maybe a different system would be in order.

Biggest issues (in particular with SDM lenses) is focus speed, which tends to be poor, but optical quality is good.
09-10-2014, 08:39 AM   #81
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Oldies but goodies...

QuoteOriginally posted by luftfluss Quote
I completely get what you are saying.

Pentax is going to have further issues attracting new users who considering themselves rather up-market photographers. With all the research tools available and the objective measurements available, many Pentax lenses suffer in comparison with other brands. Things like Pentax lenses being "smaller & lighter" are much harder to conceptualize when having cold, hard measurements on your screen.
I put my old F 50mm F1.4 up against 55mm SDM F1.4. Keeping the oldie, put a Rodenstock nano in front of it for protection. May not be a Zeiss, but solid performer. Appears in "reviews" the FA may be a little better than both....
09-10-2014, 08:56 AM   #82
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
If that isn't adequate, then maybe a different system would be in order.
That is what I have been looking at.
09-10-2014, 09:04 AM - 1 Like   #83
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QuoteOriginally posted by luftfluss Quote
I completely get what you are saying.

Pentax is going to have further issues attracting new users who considering themselves rather up-market photographers. With all the research tools available and the objective measurements available, many Pentax lenses suffer in comparison with other brands. Things like Pentax lenses being "smaller & lighter" are much harder to conceptualize when having cold, hard measurements on your screen.
Great point. At the risk of being a "Pain" I wonder if the minimal differences from bench testing, the degrading of optomechanical devices over time (AF, drives, gears, barrel threads, seals, elements), etc, have that much of an effect when the "variability" in the carbon based processor's ability (human skills) has a much more significant role in the quality (or lack therof) of output....


Last edited by GlassJunkie; 09-10-2014 at 09:20 AM.
09-10-2014, 09:08 AM   #84
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QuoteOriginally posted by GlassJunkie Quote
I put my old F 50mm F1.4 up against 55mm SDM F1.4. Keeping the oldie, put a Rodenstock nano in front of it for protection. May not be a Zeiss, but solid performer. Appears in "reviews" the FA may be a little better than both....
But how will that F 50/1.4 fare on some fancy Measure-O-Meter? Edge softness, CA, blah blah, people will criticize it.

For my use, I'm perfectly satisfied with the DA Ltds, and my old glass. Sharp enough for me, good-looking images, equipment that's a pleasure to use.

---------- Post added 09-10-14 at 12:10 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by GlassJunkie Quote
Great point. At the risk of being a "Pain" I wonder if the minimal differences from bench testing, the degrading of optomecnanical devices over time (AF, drives, gears, barrel threads, seals, elements), etc, have that much of an effect when the "variability" in the carbon based processor's ability (human skills) has a much more significant role in the quality (or lack therof) of output....
That's the key, but many people are not willing to admit it.
09-10-2014, 09:42 AM - 1 Like   #85
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
Pentax has always been a glass maker first and camera maker second. Just because they sell slower aperture lenses now, doesn't mean that the quality has changed.
If they are truly a glass maker first...... then,

QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
Premium lenses are premium lenses. I feel like sharpness is adequate on all of these lenses. Bokeh is decent. As to whether it is better on the DA *55 than the Fuji, maybe not. The reason to shoot Pentax is for the lenses. I feel like quality with DA *55 and 50-135 is really similar to the quality that is available with the FA limiteds. If that isn't adequate, then maybe a different system would be in order.

Biggest issues (in particular with SDM lenses) is focus speed, which tends to be poor, but optical quality is good.
Why pay a $800-$1,000 for a lens which has "adequate" sharpness and "decent" bokeh?

The reason to leave Pentax is the lenses. They have the best bodies. It's the lenses that need a lot of work if they are going to compete. 20 years ago Pentax could claim to have some of the best glass in the industry and that was a legitimate reason to shoot Pentax. I don't think that is the case anymore.
09-10-2014, 10:06 AM - 2 Likes   #86
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QuoteOriginally posted by Winder Quote
If they are truly a glass maker first...... then,



Why pay a $800-$1,000 for a lens which has "adequate" sharpness and "decent" bokeh?

The reason to leave Pentax is the lenses. They have the best bodies. It's the lenses that need a lot of work if they are going to compete. 20 years ago Pentax could claim to have some of the best glass in the industry and that was a legitimate reason to shoot Pentax. I don't think that is the case anymore.
I think luftfluss puts it well above: buy only what you consider a pleasure to use. After all, buying anything one doesn't actually like or respect in some way is kind of bonkers. And no pleasure = no point.

Here's a test. What are the three lenses you would really really love to own, in the focal lengths you tend to shoot at and within the kind of price range you can realistically afford. If all three fit one system, then maybe you have your answer. if not, then compromise is in the air - but that still doesn't mean you have to buy what you don't actually care for. Get something else instead that you do care for. If it doesn't work out, chances are you can sell it later for a handsome sum because it will be a quality item in the first place. I think one has to be picky. Your vision as a photographer greatly depends on those three items of glass.

Spending a year, just for example, shooting three lenses you simply love would probably be a lot more productive than hauling around half a dozen you don't feel strongly about.

For myself, I like a good overall balance of qualities with no obvious blemishes. Sharpness is only one. In fact I think the current craze for sharpness is a bit of a sales ramp. Sharpness can be measured, even though that doesn't tell us much, but the result soon becomes rather bogus "science" and "facts" in the hands of the marketeers and today's crop of pros haha on Youtube trying to flog us things we haven't actually seen or handled by appealing to test charts and the like. Beautiful rendering is what does it for me. Subjective I know, but who cares and anyway, it's my cheque that pays for it. Of course if I had specialist requirements - astro, for example - other things might apply, like excellent handling of coma. But I'm a generalist, so mostly they don't.

Last edited by mecrox; 09-10-2014 at 10:18 AM.
09-10-2014, 10:17 AM - 1 Like   #87
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QuoteOriginally posted by Winder Quote
Why pay a $800-$1,000 for a lens which has "adequate" sharpness and "decent" bokeh?

The reason to leave Pentax is the lenses. They have the best bodies. It's the lenses that need a lot of work if they are going to compete. 20 years ago Pentax could claim to have some of the best glass in the industry and that was a legitimate reason to shoot Pentax. I don't think that is the case anymore.
I truly wonder if they have the financial capability to stick with their trademark "quirkiness" or try to rework the lens lineup into something more mainstream.

At the rate it's going now, some of the better offerings for Pentax bodies are going to be from Sigma.
09-10-2014, 10:22 AM   #88
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QuoteOriginally posted by Winder Quote
If they are truly a glass maker first...... then,



Why pay a $800-$1,000 for a lens which has "adequate" sharpness and "decent" bokeh?

The reason to leave Pentax is the lenses. They have the best bodies. It's the lenses that need a lot of work if they are going to compete. 20 years ago Pentax could claim to have some of the best glass in the industry and that was a legitimate reason to shoot Pentax. I don't think that is the case anymore.
I guess I'm not soured on the total package yet. My wife uses a 120-400 Siggy to fill, and now that a PTX is coming, we'll probably buy one, do the side to sides and keep one, sell the other. We do that with all of our lenses. same on K-3 vs K-5s, sold the oldies, upgrade was worth it for both. Damn Birding...

We read the reviews, bench tests, but do our own side-by-sides. Worse case you lose a few bucks on selling a new lens used. we looked at multiple macros, (had the F100 and Tam90 before, 5 years ago grabbed the FA100), the DFA 100WR beat it, so sell the FA.

For a "walkie" she had the 18-250 PTX DA we bought the 18-270 DA SDM, did her side-by sides, sold the 18-250. We looked at multiple 300mm offerings to cut weight/cost, stuck with the 300mm FA* and the DA*, sold the F 300 F4.5 and the Sigma. As long as we sell something off, it's not too hard on the cost, occasional trade-up works for us. We often buy demo/used, but only from known players (B&H, ADO, Garland, ProDig and Matsuiya (FA* accessories), in that order). Never been disappointed with them. Occasionally a collector (FA*s, etc.) exiting MF in 2010 paid for a lot of it. Dumping her FF and film Nikon platform was financially wise. She is much happier with Pentax (a pro since 1989)....

We are generally "platform loyal" but go find what we need. Compacts/ Lumix/Leica... Why? Better mousetrap for that purpose.... Flash? METZ, not even close. The 540-360 FTZ are Great. Metz is tougher and more "predictable" which sounds squishy........
09-10-2014, 10:37 AM   #89
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QuoteOriginally posted by mecrox Quote
In fact I think the current craze for sharpness is a bit of a sales ramp. Sharpness can be measured, even though that doesn't tell us much, but the result soon becomes rather bogus "science" and "facts" in the hands of the marketeers and today's crop of pros haha on Youtube trying to flog us things we haven't actually seen or handled by appealing to test charts and the like.
IIRC from my earl;y days on the Forum, when Hoya ran the show, their man-in-place told the optical engineers to design lenses that would win the 'test' platforms (maybe it was DXO, maybe something else). The engineers, the story goes, argued strongly in favor of 'ethereal' qualities such as rendering (the Pentax Pixie Dust). Shortly there were fewer optical engineers at Hoya Pentax.

You may draw your own conclusions whether 'optical engineers' is code for Hirakawa Jun.
09-10-2014, 10:42 AM   #90
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QuoteOriginally posted by mecrox Quote
Spending a year, just for example, shooting three lenses you simply love would probably be a lot more productive than hauling around half a dozen you don't feel strongly about.
Ha, I spent the last year exercising that theory, and now I've started going to other focal lengths again, and you know what, I like using more than one focal length. And why shouldn't I? They exist, they do different things. To my great chagrin, however, I still prefer the primes.
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