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09-27-2020, 07:44 AM   #1
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usefullness of elder tests

Economical reasons bring many of us to the second hand market. Is a lens that was tested good in e g 2010 still a good lens on a newer body.

09-27-2020, 08:18 AM   #2
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My film-era lenses perform even better on my 24MP K-3 II than they did on my 16MP K-5 II.
09-27-2020, 08:18 AM - 1 Like   #3
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So, Niels. First, there's the word "good". If by that you mean "excellent", then I think it is likely that lens is still excellent. If you actually mean"good", then I think maybe we can be more skeptical. It could still be "good".....but maybe not so much in comparison to lenses coming out today.


Also, I think if we are talking about 21st century lenses, then probably the last 10 years has not made an incredible difference in lens designs. To be sure, some new lenses coming out now are better, but these would be high end lenses, and are they "better" in average shots such that the difference is obvious, or do you have to squint to see any real differences?

With respect to legacy lenses that are not 21st century designs, typically they aren't quite as good, but there are loads of exceptions! Then we get into what is "good" again: I think it's valid that a legacy lens that doesn't do as well on a bench test as a contemporary one may actually excel in ways the user would find useful, making it the "better" lens.
09-27-2020, 08:25 AM   #4
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Within reason, yes. Most lenses tested about ten years ago will likely have been specially designed for digital, if perhaps not for what is now cutting-edge resolution.

None of my early DA lenses have given me major concerns since I upgraded from the 15MP K-7 to the 24MP K-3, and I trust they would continue delivering perfectly fine even on the likely 26MP K-new.

What I would be much more interested in is the physical and optical condition of the used lens, and whether I would get a good copy of it.

09-27-2020, 08:39 AM - 1 Like   #5
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Almost every lens is better on 24 MP.

Yesterday I used an older Sigma 24mm, it did just fine. (Oops, not on APS-c but hey.)


If you want to go even older, my old FA 35-80 it does great as well, But you do find the zoom range somewhat constricting compared to more modern zooms. I do find the older lenses with a lot of range, 70-300s, 18-250 type lenses don't fare as well. My worst lens is my FA 28-200 but it was never rated highly.

My 18-135, DA* 60-250, DA* 200, DA* 55 1.4, DFA 100 macro, FA 50 macro... all amazing lenses on whatever camera you put them on, although my current APS-c favourites, the DA 18-135, and DA 55-300 PLM, are relatively inexpensive. Both can be found fairly cheaply, especially if you go for an older version of the 55-300.

Last edited by normhead; 09-27-2020 at 11:01 AM.
09-27-2020, 08:59 AM   #6
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remember I claim no expertise in photography, I'm just a guy who posts a lot

QUESTIONS

if we are discussing prime lenses

any physical design differences between new lens and older lenses [ especially film era lenses ]

any " coating " differences between new lens and older lenses

how does those issues affect the lenses ?

otherwise

yes what a good " film " era lens can make me very happy on my K 3. K3 II and K 1 II camera bodies

Last edited by aslyfox; 09-27-2020 at 03:23 PM.
09-27-2020, 09:50 AM - 1 Like   #7
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There are many older lenses that are quite 'good', even excellent or outstanding. Here's just one example:
SMC Pentax-F 50mm F2.8 Macro Reviews - F Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

Production ceased in 1990. Average user rating is 9.73. Sharpness, aberrations, autofocus, bokeh, all rated 9.7 or higher. If that's not 'pro' quality, I don't know what is! This lens has screwdrive autofocus, which doesn't bother me in the least. (I have its cousin, the 100mm f2.8 Macro.) Others think it's noisy and 'old school'. There are certainly newer, almost silent AF systems; some are reliable, some are not.

Bottom line - just in the Pentax brand, there are some princesses and some dogs. A ten year old lens isn't really 'old'. Some 20 or 30 year old or older lenses are still very highly regarded in the DSLR era. Some may not be up to modern standards in aberration control, but some photographers actually prefer them due to their 'rendering'. It's just a matter of personal taste.

The second-hand market has some excellent lenses, and some great bargains! Keep an eye on the Marketplace here on PF, and look up the user reviews here as well for a lens that looks interesting to you.
09-27-2020, 10:45 AM - 2 Likes   #8
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The album here was shot with a cheap 35-70 tokina found in a book store for I think $5. Look at the bottle shot in particular.

Single In September 2018 | Flickr

The lie about older lenses is that they will perform worse than on film. The reality is that only in terms of chromatic aberrations like purple fringing is that likely. Newer designs like the DFA 50 will outperform the older lenses, but so what? These lenses still perform well.

09-27-2020, 11:00 AM   #9
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I use one digital-era lens on my K-1 - the D FA 28-105. The rest of them... Well. Several of the others are a good deal older than myself, and they don't seem to mind the 36 MP sensor. The FA77 produces particularly beautiful images and the subject is tack sharp, for example.

What you "lose" in older lenses is, like has been said, mostly aberration control: flare in particular suffers quite a lot (and old Tokina lenses are prone to a "glowy" rendering wide open).
09-27-2020, 11:01 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
The album here was shot with a cheap 35-70 tokina found in a book store for I think $5. Look at the bottle shot in particular.

Single In September 2018 | Flickr

The lie about older lenses is that they will perform worse than on film. The reality is that only in terms of chromatic aberrations like purple fringing is that likely. Newer designs like the DFA 50 will outperform the older lenses, but so what? These lenses still perform well.
additionally, postprocessing can help solve many issues that you may find in film-era lenses...
09-27-2020, 02:26 PM   #11
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More data

Nikon's 'Worst' and 'Best' Zoom Lenses Compared
09-27-2020, 02:58 PM   #12
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There are a lot of really lovely vintage lenses out there. I would look through reviews and sample photos and make a few purchases and see how it all lands. In full disclosure, I suffer from advanced LBA, but there's a reason for that. I've found there's a lot of really neat lenses out there at affordable prices that add to my overall photographic enjoyment. What I will say, as others have, where you are apt to see differences is in the handling of flare and chromatic aberrations. The good thing here is if you're looking at vintage Pentax lenses, you can't go too far wrong with anything that says SMC on it.
09-27-2020, 03:18 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by clickclick Quote
. . . The good thing here is if you're looking at vintage Pentax lenses, you can't go too far wrong with anything that says SMC on it.
and remember that " SMC " changed over the years as well:

QuoteQuote:
The modern SMC coating that DA lenses have been using for about a decade now isn't the same as the SMC coating that Pentax originally launched in the 1970's.
Read more at: HD vs. SMC Pentax Limited Primes Review - Introduction | PentaxForums.com Reviews

what changes, and when they were made, who knows ????
09-27-2020, 03:36 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by aslyfox Quote
and remember that " SMC " changed over the years as well:



Read more at: HD vs. SMC Pentax Limited Primes Review - Introduction | PentaxForums.com Reviews

what changes, and when they were made, who knows ????
Indeed yes, SMC did change over the years, but I think it was always at the forefront of its time for performance.
09-27-2020, 03:48 PM - 1 Like   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by clickclick Quote
Indeed yes, SMC did change over the years, but I think it was always at the forefront of its time for performance.
no argument from me, I just meant that depending on when the lens in question was produced, if it was produced for a number of years, any issue with the " SMC " coating may have been improved over an earlier produced lens
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