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04-01-2016, 04:48 PM   #1
Pentaxian




Join Date: Apr 2013
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FA 120mm Macro vs FA 80-160

Hi,
I am keen to get others opinions on the performance of the FA 120mm macro and the FA 80-160mm zoom.

I have the FA 80-160 and while its ok, its not stellar in the contrast and pop department, however for landscape use, its zoom range is quite good and convenient. I also have the FA 150mm and it is ok, but similar rendering to the 80-160.

I have just sold the DFA 90mm mainly because of the additional weight and it is a little short for most of my work, I found myself cropping a lot with it.

So as a one lens short tele solution I am looking at the FA 120mm macro. Use will be mainly landscape (tripod) and travel (handheld or monopod). Can anybody comment on its strengths for this sort of use?

I have evaluated the 80-160 at both 120 and 150mm and I could easily crop the 120mm images if required on the Z as there is a lot of resolution to work with.

There also may be times when I might want to shoot wider than f/11 which is where I feel the 80-160 is good from. What is the FA120 like at f/8?

Also to mention, I do plan on getting the new tele zoom that is on the roadmap, whenever it comes, but still this 120mm would be something to keep due to its weight and size.

Thanks

04-01-2016, 11:00 PM   #2
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my copy of the 80-160 FA is great at 80 to 120 and then just gets sad and droopy as you continue on into 160. I actually avoid shooting over 120 when ever possible. Others here have also remarked that their 80-160 is much better at the wide end.

I keep a P67 200mm f4 for moderate telephoto work. Needs to be stopped down to around 11 or 13 for critical work.

I have never tried a 120 macro.
04-01-2016, 11:33 PM   #3
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I found the 120mm lens to be wonderful. It is sharp at f/8, but the thread pitch of the focusing helix is quite steep so you have to be very careful focusing things that are kind of close. For infinity, of course that is not a problem.
04-02-2016, 12:44 AM   #4
Pentaxian




Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Brisbane, Australia
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Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by pentaxus Quote
I found the 120mm lens to be wonderful. It is sharp at f/8, but the thread pitch of the focusing helix is quite steep so you have to be very careful focusing things that are kind of close. For infinity, of course that is not a problem.
What do you think about the contrast of the lens? I have found a lot of the FA lenses to be quite flat, compared to other lenses I have used in the past such as Leica and Zeiss glass. Obviously the Z raw files are quite flat because of the huge dynamic range, but you can tell when a lens has great contrast.

04-03-2016, 11:36 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by 2351HD Quote
What do you think about the contrast of the lens? I have found a lot of the FA lenses to be quite flat, compared to other lenses I have used in the past such as Leica and Zeiss glass. Obviously the Z raw files are quite flat because of the huge dynamic range, but you can tell when a lens has great contrast.
My first copy of the A 120 macro used from Japan was lackluster and I sold it. My 2nd copy is top notch, sharper and with better contrast than the 80-160mm (two copies). It is not as contrasty as modern Zeiss designs I've used, and as you noted the Z files import flat due to the extremely wide dynamic range. However, in my Lightroom workflow I am able to get as much global and micro contrast as I wish using the contrast and clarity sliders, and the resulting files and large prints are wonderful. At times I will also use the Huelight high contrast variant profile and that's another nice option for popping the global contrast at the beginning of the Lightroom workflow.

Cheers,
Ross
04-04-2016, 02:57 AM   #6
Pentaxian




Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Brisbane, Australia
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Original Poster
Thanks Ross

I have found a couple of great copies online used, so will take the plunge tomorrow I think.
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