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05-30-2020, 12:03 AM - 2 Likes   #136
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Saturday - I got up at 4 am to check the weather but it was rather cloudy with rain forecasted, so I decided not to go shooting (ok, it was an easy decision as it led me directly back to bed ). Hopefully, tomorrow will be better.

05-30-2020, 11:53 PM - 6 Likes   #137
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May Single In Challenge 2020 with K1ii & M120/2.8

M120/2.8 is the best tele in M series from 100mm to 200mm. M150 gave a competition for the title, but otherwise I've been quite certain for a long time. This month was enough to solve that last step and now I'm ready to publish my opinion.

It's sharpest of them all. At least when comparing my copies. I don't have any test data to back up my opinion. It's based on the feeling from the shots. There's a clear step in sharpness from f2.8 to f4 and therefore I shot a lot at f4. It seems to be the sweet spot for the lens, as it combines sharpness with smooth bokeh resulting in great pop.
Bokeh is among the best in series and transition is smooth and pleasing. If extra smoothness is desired f2.8 provides clearly smoother bokeh than f4, if you are ready to let go some on the sharpness of detail. Lens also handles macro shooting well if you are ready to play with extension tubes. In real life it's often easier to change to real macro thought. Starbursts are awesome 8 pointers, thought I didn't push for nightscapes this month due to lightness. Night comes too late this time of the year. But for sunsets I rather go with M150.

There is CA. Especially wide open. But it's not the worst in series in this regard. It's nothing that stands out. Can ususally been cleared out and most of it is gone when stopped down. I've shot some pretty harsh light conditions during the month and come thru.

Build quality, handling and size are typically great. Small size makes it an easy to carry along on travels to have tele option with you just in case. It has build in hood, which is nice to have, thought I used external hood this month.

For some reason M120 is overlooked lens. Reviews in PF rate it lower than it should be. Also thought it's rare it's cheap. It goes for about same price as M100/2.8 thought stands head and shoulders above it in performance. I think this is the best value in my collection after ridiculously cheap fifties If you're looking for one, you must look elsewhere as I'm not letting mine go in a long time. If ever.

As for mine performance this month, I'm satisfied. I shot daily and delivered shots timely. There's good diversity of targets, styles and techniques in my album. I've done this long enough that daily shooting doesn't feel so challenging anymore. I have the confidence that if I don't have time or energy, I can produce something decent in short time. Commenting was a bit of challenge at times, but I pulled thru most of the shots.

Wide open:




05-31-2020, 05:16 AM - 4 Likes   #138
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Lots of well-justified conclusions; @Ismo.
My month with MC Kaleinar 100/2.8 was a bit fun and boring at the same time. The lens itself is fine and given its condition (some scratches on the back element) the IQ was very good. Shooting wide-open wasn't really wide-open as it was always stopped down by half stop, but still, the IQ was much better than expected. Technically I cannot say anything bad except that the contrast was rather mediocre and usually I had to raise it a bit in pp. OTOH, the lens simply didn't catch on with me - it's not bad but simply I didn't have much fun using it. But it was certainly worth the SiC to make sure what it's worth before letting it go.
Some of my favs from this month. Thanks a lot for the comments and critique!

05-31-2020, 08:11 AM - 3 Likes   #139
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Re-cap time.

The SMC Pentax-DFA645 1:2.8 55mm AL [IF] SDM AW is the "kit lens" for the 645Z. It is relatively small and light, but fully capable of exploiting the capabilities of this remarkable system.

On the "crop" sensor of Pentax's digital medium format cameras, it is a true normal - roughly equivalent to the FA 43/1.9 Limited on the K-1, or a 28/1.4 on an APS-C camera. It is solidly made and weather sealed. AF is silent and decisive and manual focus is smooth - aided by the wonderfully big viewfinder. The hood works as it should, and the 67mm filter diameter is shared with quite a few of my other 645 lenses.

It's pretty hard to fault optically. It's sharp enough wide open, although maybe not to the very edges. Stop it down to f/5.6 and resolution from edge to edge is every bit the match for the sensor, which is saying something. Chromatic aberration is well controlled, and colours are pure Pentax. In a few shots with busy backgrounds, the bokeh looked a bit "digital" (for want of a better word), but I'm not sure whether that is due to the lens or the sensor.

So it's a beauty - essential kit for anyone shooting 645 format.

As for my own efforts - I would say tradesman-like as usual. I missed one day, and got a few decent images, but most were basically snapshots. It just goes to prove that great cameras do not make great photography, but we all know that....

All the shots are HERE if you feel the need to look again.

Thank you all for your efforts. I would particularly like to mention the two M 120/2.8 shooters (Ismo and Clive) for the great images they got out of that old classic, and Keith for his work with the even older Takumar macro. Oh, and Gary's A 24-50/4.0. Dave's Zeiss 25 was also the stuff of envy. And it was great to see Sara back, albeit late!

See you in June, where for many of us it seems wide will be the new normal

05-31-2020, 08:24 AM - 3 Likes   #140
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Whether you use it on APS-C or FF, the FA 77mm is worth purchasing, and at the prices I've seen recently for used copies here on PF, everyone should consider adding one to their kit.
It rewards proper technique , and is extremely capable in every situation.

05-31-2020, 08:27 AM   #141
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sandy Hancock Quote
Thank you all for your efforts. I would particularly like to mention the two M 120/2.8 shooters (Ismo and Clive) for the great images they got out of that old classic,
Thanks. It was fun to have two of these beauties on the run at the same time.
05-31-2020, 09:38 AM - 2 Likes   #142
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May 2020 with the FA 80-320mm

Another month down and aside from a couple of work-induced hiccups all went relatively smoothly so here's the summary.

I bought the SMC Pentax-FA80-320mm F4.5-5.6 new in 2002 to use with my MZ30 for our regular family trips to the local wildlife park and since then it has seen peaks and troughs of use. I bought the 55-300plm in 2016 with a view to replacing the FA but since the arrival of a K-1 at the end of 2017 I’ve been dithering over which to use.
Overall I was pleased with the results from my “Silver Bazooka” at the end of the month. It’s no DA* 200 or 60-250 and it loses out to the 55-300PLM in AF speed; it is, however, light enough on the K-1 not to notice it in the backpack when cycling and that has provided a lot of extra opportunities this month.
Images - they’re good enough for posting online and 6x4 prints but maybe not so much for bigger prints unless you’re using it for landscapes in the 100-200 range. The bokeh is nice from the 8 blades, OOF areas render smoothly and the one occasion I pointed at the sun (top of frame) it handled the flare pretty well.
* Use this lens between F8-16 in the centre of its range and the results are pleasing and sharp across the frame.
Just to run counter to the norm; the lens is perfectly useable above 240mm and is still good at 320mm - but not away from the centre of the frame if shooting at range.
* Use the longer end for closer work with subject isolation and then you get decent pop with that smooth bokeh.
One other “feature” is the aperture.
* The lens acts as a constant aperture (f4.5) zoom in the range of 80-200mm.
* 220mm (my copy has never registered between 200-200mm) through to 320mm is f5.6.
Being used for a whole month bought some challenges, especially with current restrictions on visitor attractions; the long MFD of 1.5m made for some frustrations and I rarely got the lens out to infinity focus. For those days when I needed to be closer to the subject I found the Raynox M150 played well with the lens (I imagine a close-up filter would serve equally well too) so it can double as a pseudo-macro if you really needed it to.
With regard to contrast there were no issues with the images; I do use a third party 58mm rubber hood that looks very similar to the recommended Pentax hood.
To conclude; this is a decent lens when used to it’s strengths and I have found it more comfortable to use on the K-1 than the newer APSC-design 55-300PLM (vignettes badly on FF). Also - it’s silver and matches the silver K-1 very nicely thank you 😊

Favourites from the month

05-31-2020, 01:27 PM - 2 Likes   #143
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Thank you all for your efforts. I would particularly like to mention the two M 120/2.8 shooters (Ismo and Clive) for the great images they got out of that old classic, and Keith for his work with the even older Takumar macro. Oh, and Gary's A 24-50/4.0. Dave's Zeiss 25 was also the stuff of envy. And it was great to see Sara back, albeit late!

thank you, Sandy...

end of month review of the Carl Zeiss Distagon 25mm f2.8 ZK T*

wow - just wow; this is just an amazing lens.... how is it this versatile and capable?

mine is a used copy, with OEM caps and hood, purchased here on the PF Marketplace, and is near-mint condition...

now, buying a Zeiss lens brings all kinds of expectations with it, especially a newer lens like this one....

it should be sharp, the colors should be accurate, it should be able to do pretty much anything you ask of it, etc....

this lens does...

it is a close-focusing monster - you can pull off near-macro levels of focus (it will focus down to about 6")....

colors are a breeze for it - I threw everything I could at the lens, all month long, and it pulled amazing colors everywhere...

bokeh is beautiful - smooth transitions where you want them, crisp defining subject lines...

only one downside that I can really point out - it's heavy.... period... that's it.. a bigger/heavier camera like a K-1 may balance it out a bit better, but if you're shooting anything less than a full-frame camera, you will want a battery grip on the camera for better handling...

oh... and the shots:

and my two favorites of the month:

what a great lens...

here's the rest of the month:

Single in Challenge for May '20 | Flickr

06-01-2020, 02:50 AM - 2 Likes   #144
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So, another month down - down with the KP, and for May, down with the DA 50-200.

I think it's a really good lens, and I've rediscovered it in a way: I've taken to stopping it down, and letting the ISO come up to compensate - whereas before I had left it wide-open, thinking I really needed to, because it isn't actually that wide (at 5.6 most of the time, being that I'm usually shooting with it at the long end). It's a very different lens stopped down to f8 or smaller: much crisper and sharper, and possibly even a better feel overall to the images.

Handles nicely, weather-sealed, quick-shift focus but I never bothered, light as anything. I believe it's a cheapie too - though as a present from mrs tsuken, I didn't actually see the price.

My favourite images from the month:

Belfry needed by -Occasionally Focused-

IMGP2727 by -Occasionally Focused-

Cocky tree by -Occasionally Focused-

Now to the other end of things for June: wider angle (well, “true normal” as per Sandy’s wrap-up post), old, manual and borked focus. xP[COLOR="Silver"]

Last edited by Tsuken; 06-01-2020 at 02:56 AM.

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