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Comparison Shots: 28mm Super Tak vs 18-55WR Kit Lens
Posted By: Piscator, 12-28-2013, 09:46 PM

Found myself with time on my hands when I ran out of chit-chat at a family function. Sooo...Here's a really un-scientific set of comparison shots I wound up taking using my M42 Super Tak 28mm 3.5 vs my trusty kit lens.

The impetus behind the experiment is that I sometimes wonder why the fuss about the vintage glass. I was lucky enough to acquire a nice collection all at once: The 28 I was using today, a 55/2, an 85/1.9, and a 200/3.5. As often as not when I play around with them, I blow the focus. I'm sure I could get better with practice and perhaps some camera tweaking, but is it worth it? Is there really pixie dust to be found at the end of that trouble? Thus the following shots. You'll see what I mean about the blown focus right away.

No tripods here. All shots straight out of camera. And I goofed up the orientation on one set--oops. Still, curious what others make of the results. For each pair of images, the first is the kit lens.

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12-29-2013, 03:10 AM   #2
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I prefer the colour rendered by the 28.

What was the body you were using? The issue I see could be the light in the viewfinder resulting from whether it is pentamirror or pentaprism.

I think it is worth you persisting to get it right.
12-29-2013, 03:56 AM   #3
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the tak are good for color rendition and highlights bokeh, quite typical in the 2nd picture IMHO
12-29-2013, 07:39 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by tim60 Quote
What was the body you were using?

The issue I see could be the light in the viewfinder resulting from whether it is pentamirror or pentaprism.
Sorry--Should have mentioned I was using my new K-5iis. I previously used these lenses with my K-7 and Q, both of which I sold to get the new body.

I'll have to research the mirror/prism difference--I'm guessing it has been discussed previously, along with recommended camera tweaks to compensate?

QuoteOriginally posted by aurele Quote
the tak are good for color rendition and highlights bokeh, quite typical in the 2nd picture IMHO
I agree on the bokeh wrt the second shot, and the color wrt the sky shot. In the "chives" picture, I actually prefer the color of the kit lens.

Thanks for the replies!

12-29-2013, 12:40 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Piscator Quote
Sorry--Should have mentioned I was using my new K-5iis. I previously used these lenses with my K-7 and Q, both of which I sold to get the new body.
With K5iis you have the pentaprism - which is much better than the mirror method. (I am using K100DS with the mirrors.) I recently had a chance to try a Tak 135/2.5 on a K5 and was most impressed with how easy it was to focus and how bright the view finder was. You should have the same benefit.

I would suggest you look into two things, in order of difficulty:
1. The setting of the dioptre correction - it is easy to knock off correct setting. This is easy to do and gives your eyes the best chance.
2. Do a focusing screen calibration, like to check if the shims are correct. It could be that it is not set exactly right.
12-29-2013, 05:21 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by tim60 Quote
I would suggest you look into two things, in order of difficulty:
1. The setting of the dioptre correction - it is easy to knock off correct setting. This is easy to do and gives your eyes the best chance.
2. Do a focusing screen calibration, like to check if the shims are correct. It could be that it is not set exactly right.
Tim,

If I understand what you're suggesting with regards to the focusing screen, both of your suggestions are related to my own perception of the focus. What I actually rely upon is the camera's perception--I get the little red square indicator plus the audible beep when the camera believes the object to be in focus. If I were to rely upon my own eyeballs, I would require a split-screen.

Sooo...I hear about people adjusting their camera bodies' focus for particular lenses. I will research that angle. I am concerned, however, that I will throw off the focus for my modern lenses. Unless that is something that can be saved as a user setting. Time to research!

v/r,

Rick
12-29-2013, 10:14 PM   #7
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Rick,
I have not yet had the pleasure of a more complex camera that enables adjustment of the auto focus. I have been using split image which is a real struggle in low light, which tends to be when I am most active taking pictures. Both my ideas are ones which have caused me trouble in the past.

I have always had to wear glasses when doing pictures because of astigmatism (pretty bad experience on days of temperature over 40C with the sweat getting on the glasses). Then one day I woke up and that was not good enough. I now use corrective lenses with variable focus - that is probably part of my challenge and I should take some time to learn techniques to get around the problem. But
I do like the old Takumar lenses - and collected many of them. Only the very rare or expensive ones are still not in my collection, and they are at extremes (mostly) that I would not find it justifiable to buy.

In the K100DS I sometimes use the focus indicator but have not found that particularly reliable either.
01-04-2014, 08:31 AM   #8
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If you were shooting with the kit lens on P or AUTO then the apertures may not have been the same between your shots. And on #3 - shooting from different distances?

I also wear glasses but I can't deal with bumping them against the camera. I eventually found a -3 diopter lens on ebay these are otherwise unobtainable in the UK. (the -2.5 on the camera being just insufficient).

I often find myself double checking my focus in live view. Most often I'm pretty on with my split prism (essential IMO), my judgment with it and the in camera cues coinciding, but quite often live view is prompting a more accurrate fine tuning of the focus. For me LV is the most accurate tool on the camera - providied the lens has good enough res and contrast that the lcd image is good at magnification.

When things go right then I prefer the images from my Sigma 24/28, smc-m 50. tak 55

01-04-2014, 10:53 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by marcusBMG Quote
If you were shooting with the kit lens on P or AUTO then the apertures may not have been the same between your shots. And on #3 - shooting from different distances?


That's a good point on the "P" mode. I've seen where others have posted photos on this forum and there is a "view EXIF data" link included. Anyone know how I add that option to my photos here? That way, it would be an easy thing to check!


As for the different distances--yes, I think you're right. I'll admit, this wasn't a terribly scientific comparison. Mea culpa.
01-04-2014, 04:11 PM - 1 Like   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Piscator Quote
As for the different distances--yes, I think you're right. I'll admit, this wasn't a terribly scientific comparison. Mea culpa.
I like the quote from one of the contributors to Luminous Landscape:

"95% of lenses are sharper than 95% of photographers"

It's certainly true that although we can credit that the primes are better than the kit lens, realising that extra quality is not a given - takes work, practise and understanding.
01-06-2014, 08:27 PM   #11
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Which ST 28/3.5 are you shooting with, the earlier version with 58mm filter thread or the later version with 49mm filter thread? I own the 49mm version and its performance is much better than your examples above. At one time I also had the 58mm version, but could not get a sharp photo from it. On close examination I found that the lens had been damaged due to improper cleaning of some of the internal elements. I sent it back to the seller and it may be possible that copy made its way into your possession.


Steve
01-07-2014, 05:28 PM   #12
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Steve,


Mine is the older version. I doubt seriously it is the same as the one you briefly owned, because this came from a collection that had never been parted out. I'm not ready to blame the lens yet!


v/r,


Rick
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