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01-27-2008, 02:55 PM   #1
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Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Grand Junction Colorado
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Old manual lenses and the K10D

I know that there have been several threads regarding older lenses on the Digital Cameras, but I thought I would like to start a new thread on the topic.
Of course, they will mount and a picture can be taken and, yes, they can offer a different rendition to the same scene as newer lenses. However, the one area the annoys me is CA both in new and older lenses.
I have started testing some lenses using the old USAF charts which give me a good idea as of resolution. curvature of field and the amount of CA adjustments required. I have found that determining the CA correction required for each of my lenses reduce the time required doing RAW conversions. Of the lenses I have tested to date that excel in all the above are:

SMC Pentax 55mm F1.8 - an excellent lens when stopped down to f5.6 to f11. Resolution is very high, flatness of field excellent and CA are not an issue.

SMC Pentax 28mm F3.5 - a very good performer when stopped down a little. Resolution falls off at the corners a little but is still very good. Like the 55mm f1.8 CA is not an issue

Super Takumar 50mm f1.4 (original 1964 8-element design). This one was a real shocker! Not in a negative aspect. Compared to all the 50mm F1.4s I have tested, it had the lowest contrast but, CA hare hardly detectable. Corner resolution is very good to excellent. I have had and used this lens since I bought it used in the late 60s and have used it professionally when I was a sports photographer. I always assumed that the later 50s were much better but my testing has put a "spanner in the works" and aroused my curiosity and I am planning on mounting it and using it exclusively in the near future. An old friend - 40 years on.............?

These are my "Old All-Stars" so far with many more lenses to check for use on the K10D. What are your All-Stars and why?


01-27-2008, 11:52 PM   #2
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Melbourne
Posts: 10
I really liked using the pentax M 50 f1.4 on a samsung GX-10 body.
Used it to great effect for a few years on a K1000, and loved the quality of its images, but never really appreciated its resolution until I put in on a digital camera. Going from 1mb photolab scans to 10mp camera was a revelation.

BUT, some of my night shots revealed a problem with internal reflections which I didn't get with film. I can only guess that it was caused by light bouncing off the sensor and back onto the lens???. Was happy with all of its other characterisitics, though (CA was controlled above f2, out of focus rendering, corner resolution was good etc)

I've been reasonably happy with the M 28mm f3,5
Really easy to use with its DOF, resolution is good.

My favourite though, would have to be the m42 85mm f1.9
This is an amazing lens for portraits. The extra distance away from the subject that's needed when mounted on a digital camera helps DOF issues, though focussing is still triky wide open
But the resolution, especially over f4 is really impressive.
Its subjective, but I love the bokeh and colour rendering, and I think that there's something about the transition from the out-of-focus to in-focus areas. Hard to define, but it gives a bit of a dreamy look to portraits.

I think that its performance as a portrait lens comes at the expense of sacrificing its usefulness as a general purpose lens though - there's nothing special about this lens when focussed at infinity, and its depth of field is savage for middle distance shots.

Still, its my first choice for people shots and lets not forget the other big consideration, its a joy to use such beautifully crafted gear. Its smaller than a kit zoom, but cant believe how much the thing weighs.

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