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07-12-2010, 09:57 PM   #1
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Does lens make a huge difference?

I'm sorry if this question sounds REALLY stupid, ignorant or just straight "retarded" but I was comparing photos between my Pentax K-x 18-55 kit lens to my Nikon D80 18-185 and I find that the photos on the Nikon D80 were much more clear. All settings were on Auto btw.

So my question is am I comparing apples to oranges? Or is the 18-185 lense far superior then that of the 18-55. Both photos were shot at 18mm.

07-12-2010, 10:02 PM   #2
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Most likely it is the lens. The K-x actually uses the same or similar sensor to the D-90, which is Nikon's newer camera. Lenses make a huge difference.

Do you mean the 18-105? Or possibly the 18-200? Both are better lenses than most kit lenses. My Pentax 18-250 is much sharper than the 18-50mm kit that came with my K20D.

Try the lenses at 35mm. The short and long end of a lens' range are usually where it's weakest.

Last edited by mysticcowboy; 07-12-2010 at 10:10 PM.
07-12-2010, 10:04 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by mysticcowboy Quote
Most likely it is the lens. The sensors should be roughly equivalent. Both use the Sony built 12.1 megapixel sensor. The electronics in the K-x are at least three years newer. That's a big difference in current cameras.
Thanks for the fast input!

I was just amazed how the d80, an older camera, could produce a better image quality compared to the new (recent) K-x.
07-12-2010, 11:31 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by phuey Quote
I'm sorry if this question sounds REALLY stupid, ignorant or just straight "retarded" but I was comparing photos between my Pentax K-x 18-55 kit lens to my Nikon D80 18-185 and I find that the photos on the Nikon D80 were much more clear. All settings were on Auto btw.

So my question is am I comparing apples to oranges? Or is the 18-185 lense far superior then that of the 18-55. Both photos were shot at 18mm.
Yes, the lens does make a lot of differences. Most Pentaxians and photographic enthusiasts will tell you that a good lens is worth its price and often more expensive than the camera body itself.

The best IQ is typically with prime lenses: ie, lenses with a single focal length (eg 43mm, 50mm, 90mmm). The zoom lenses tend to be a compromise across the focal length. Some zoom lenses are better than others. While the Pentax kit lens is not bad, it cannot be compared with a good zoom or a prime lens.

Pentax has some very prime lenses: e.g., the "pancakes". The lens database and other lens review sites like www.photozone.de will give you some good insight.




Last edited by hcc; 07-12-2010 at 11:34 PM. Reason: Typos
07-12-2010, 11:46 PM   #5
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Yes, the lens makes a huge difference. The few times I have to, it's painful to use my cheap zoom because the difference in image quality between it and my DA40 & DA70 is just enormous. I only use my zoom now when I need wider than 40 and can't back up enough. Once you use a high quality lens, you'll find it very hard to bring yourself to use the "cheap and chearful" ones. This is why a DA21 is on my shopping list
07-13-2010, 12:13 AM   #6
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In-camera settings for image processing could also be making a big difference. You might be able to turn up sharpness and contrast to get similar images, or tweak to D80 to match the K-x output.

It could also be dependent on who took the pictures (steady hand holding and smooth shutter press). Although, this would be less apparent at 18mm so may not apply.

Lenses can make a difference. It would be my guess that the results can be attributed to something besides a superior lens in this case.
07-13-2010, 07:11 AM   #7
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Don't discount the possibility that you haven't dialed in the AF for your kit lens and so it is slightly out of focus all the time.
07-13-2010, 09:32 AM   #8
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Lens does make a difference, but neither of these lenses is that much better than the other that it should be all tht noticeable. Most likely, it's simple a matter of you comparing apples to oranges - shots under different conditions with different exposure settings and focus points, etc. Take anoter pair of shots without controlling all those variables and the comparison might well come out the other way. You'd have to post the examples to be able to say for sure, but it's about 99% likely the difference is one of technique, and 1% likely it's equipment.

07-13-2010, 09:39 AM   #9
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agree with Marc here, there should not be an easily noticeable differences between the two lenses you mentioned. The 18-185 (odd FL btw) sounds like a consumer zoom so the optical quality is for sure on par or at least quite similar, for the same FL and aperture.

If not, probably there is something wrong with your 18-55mm copy or your K-x settings.
07-13-2010, 09:56 AM   #10
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There is definitely no 18-185. probably really an 18-105.

But I wouldn't say the difference is "settings" per se - that makes it sound like there are some magic settings one would dial in once and forever get better pictures. It just doesn't work that way. On full auto, every picture is taken with different exposure settings, and the camera will choose the focus point differently on every shot, etc. Sometimes the exposure and focus chosen by the camera for one shot may meet with your approval, other times it won't, and that's true of every camera ever manufactured. So it wil always be the case that one random shot from one camera might turn out more to your liking than one random shot from the other camera. Again, you need to post examples - without removing the EXIF, so we can see what exposure settings the camera chose, and also you need to tell us which focus point you selected (or if you failed to select a focus point and let the camera decide that too).
07-13-2010, 07:16 PM   #11
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I would guess that there is very little difference in the performance of these lenses, unless you have a bad copy of the 18-55, which is possible. An 18-200, or whatever that is, is a stretch to design, much more so than an 18-55. You would have to do some somewhat controlled tests with both to see if other factors are involved. You would probably want to use raw, and then compare with and without post-processing.

Paul
07-13-2010, 07:38 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
There is definitely no 18-185. probably really an 18-105.

But I wouldn't say the difference is "settings" per se - that makes it sound like there are some magic settings one would dial in once and forever get better pictures. It just doesn't work that way. On full auto, every picture is taken with different exposure settings, and the camera will choose the focus point differently on every shot, etc. Sometimes the exposure and focus chosen by the camera for one shot may meet with your approval, other times it won't, and that's true of every camera ever manufactured. So it wil always be the case that one random shot from one camera might turn out more to your liking than one random shot from the other camera. Again, you need to post examples - without removing the EXIF, so we can see what exposure settings the camera chose, and also you need to tell us which focus point you selected (or if you failed to select a focus point and let the camera decide that too).
Ah, I stand corrected. It is actually 18-135. And I will do that when I get the chance to upload them.

Thanks!
07-14-2010, 12:32 AM   #13
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"Does lens make a huge difference?"

They do if you think they do.
07-14-2010, 04:48 AM - 1 Like   #14
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At first, you think a lens is something you stick on the front of your camera. After a while you start to understand that a camera is something you stick on the back of your lenses.
07-14-2010, 06:03 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
There is definitely no 18-185. probably really an 18-105.

But I wouldn't say the difference is "settings" per se - that makes it sound like there are some magic settings one would dial in once and forever get better pictures. It just doesn't work that way. .
As the TO wrote, that the Nikon images look "much clearer", I think, that settings may very well make all the difference. Most makes apply much more sharpening, higher saturation and more contrast to the JPGs they produce. That is exactly, what most people would perceive as a "clearer" image.

The Pentax kit lens isn't that bad, that it wouldn't stand up against a superzoom and at standard print sizes, you'ld be very hard pressed to make out any difference caused by the lens.

Ben
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