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Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 07-28-2011, 08:28 AM  
Pentax F 50mm 1.7mm vs FA 50mm 1.4
Posted By paperbag846
Replies: 39
Views: 27,521
I suppose that is the point I am attempting to argue.The importance of sharpness is way overblown if you ask me. Many wonderful, famous photographs are no where close to sharp. And then there are the photos I take, which are neither wonderful nor famous, but bring a smile to my face. The 1.4 allows me to take what I see to be a more pleasing photograph. Smoother, creamier, nicer colours. The sharpness thing barely plays a part in it for me. The trick with the 1.4 is setting the focus properly... easier said than done.

If this mugshot does not convince you, I don't know what will!!!

f1.4, 1/60th, ISO 1100.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 12-24-2010, 11:56 AM  
45mm FILM
Posted By paperbag846
Replies: 20
Views: 4,359
Sorry, I assumed he was talking about the film K-X SLR.

Pentax KX Film SLR Camera Brochure
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 12-18-2010, 07:45 PM  
DA Limiteds vs. FA Limiteds
Posted By paperbag846
Replies: 120
Views: 19,577
Oh boy, here we go again.

A) I said to compare them at equivilent apertures. If you don't own both, simply go to to see the differences. Since they both score in the very good to excellent category, the statistical difference in sharpness will only matter to some.

B) CA and PF are more prevalent on FA primes used on digital, no matter the aperture. Whether this is a coating issue, or otherwise, is uncertain to me. My hunch is that it is the coatings, at least somewhat. Especially since the lenses render colour so differently, suggesting that the coatings are, in fact, different to a degree.

C) None of this suggests that the FA lenses are bad on digital, period. Many, many, people here use lenses designed before computers were even available to NASA.

I'm not sure what your points here are, but I think I have illuminated the basic differences between the DA and FA lines without stepping on any toes. Lets put it this way:

The DA lenses are fantastic on digital, but are pretty slow for film.

The FA lenses are fantastic on digital, but were designed to be best on film.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 10-30-2010, 08:12 AM  
43mm Ltd vs 40mm Ltd
Posted By paperbag846
Replies: 103
Views: 19,278
I believe when you are comparing two very high quality lenses like the limiteds, you have to understand the rule of thumb with any high end gear - if you pay twice as much, expect 10% better performance. I've experienced this more in the audio-technology side of things, but I believe the principal applies to all technology.

Now I have not shot either of these lenses but I have seen countless fantastic photos from both. I have heard of people who owned both and sold the FA, and others who sold the DA. My thinking is that if you are strapped for cash, buy the DA and be confident you have a very high quality lens.

I might add:

The DA 40 is faster focusing, the FA 43 will work better on your older film cameras (although both will work!)
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 03-29-2011, 09:26 PM  
To 31 or not to 31, that is my question.
Posted By paperbag846
Replies: 137
Views: 17,010
I insist that the OP carefully consider how far he/she can make that 1000 dollars go. If he/she only wants a normal, the 31 works well.

My reply was not only to you, doglover.

I do find it irritating that so many lens suggestion threads turn into buy fa limited threads. Someone needs to speak up.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 06-23-2012, 08:28 PM  
odd focal lengths
Posted By paperbag846
Replies: 76
Views: 7,836
I think you are wrong. Think different etc. 43 might be a "true normal" (whatever that mean in practice) but 31 and 77 were selected for largely arbitrary reasons... the K 30 of yore was just as arbitrary, and the 77 was selected because it is a lucky number. That is what we call marketing. Pretty much every manufacturer created this line of lenses for a long time:

20, 24, 28, 35, 50, 85, 100, 135.

Think of it as an industry standard. I don't think it is a coincidence that NONE of the limiteds are any of those focal lengths. Marketing. Aren't I different? I shoot Pentax.

The point is, as far as focal lengths are concerned, the practical difference between 43 and 50 is nothing, between 31 and 35 is nothing, and between 77 and 85 is nothing. It just sounds hip. Like vinyl, high tops, and mustaches.
Forum: Pentax K-5 11-25-2010, 01:07 PM  
No more tests! just pictures
Posted By paperbag846
Replies: 7,936
Views: 1,309,328
IQ does not equal sharpness. These images are also absurdly sharp. Keep in mind we are looking at web-sized JPEGS... and please take this discussion elsewhere...

here is an appropriate dumping ground where you will find all the answers to your questions...
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 05-14-2011, 01:03 PM  
Have FA 50 1.4 ... do I REALLY need a 43mm?
Posted By paperbag846
Replies: 33
Views: 6,378
only true at close focus. this lens trades bokeh for sharpness, which is not a bad thing... but the 50 makes for a better portrait lens IMHO.

77 beats both (headshots or full-body).
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 07-15-2011, 05:23 PM  
Lens advice for theater/stage
Posted By paperbag846
Replies: 33
Views: 9,511
Try to find an M 85mm f2 lens. They aren't so expensive.

Pentax-M 85mm F2 Reviews - M Series Primes - Pentax Lens Reviews & Comprehensive Database

It's on my list, but I have a M42 mount CZJ 80mm f2.8 I need to try out first (gotta get me one of those adaptors!)
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 07-16-2011, 07:07 PM  
Tamron 28-75 from a da40?
Posted By paperbag846
Replies: 7
Views: 1,909
I've used both. Contrast + colour was about 10% better with the 40 (noticeable). Not so important though. I ended up swapping the 40 for an FA 50 1.4, which ALSO has less desirable colour and contrast. I didn't go for the Tamron because I'm picky and prefer small lenses, plus, his copy was in pretty rough shape by my standards (used).

The versatility of the Tamron is pretty phenomenal and as long as you don't mind lugging around a larger lens, you pretty much have the DA 40, DA 70, and FA 28 in one lens. IQ differences are not at all important if you shoot RAW + post process. Also keep in mind the AF on the Tamron will be slower, but thats because the 40 is VERY fast :cool:.

In short - on a budget, you can't really go wrong with the 28-75. Those are easily all of the most useful focal lengths in one lens... you can pick up something like the DA 21 / DA 15 to round out your kit for something pretty easy (and relatively inexpensive).

IMHO, the more time I spend with my FA 50 1.4, the less I care for autofocus for that lens. Generally speaking, it misses focus about as much as I do when its wide open, and it's not particularly hard to focus stopped down a bit. The M 50 1.4 is a great lens as long as you dont mind manual metering.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 07-13-2011, 01:38 PM  
Pentax lens adavantage
Posted By paperbag846
Replies: 57
Views: 6,665
Yes, but I would argue that this is missing the point.

In Pentax's heyday, they were a top-notch brand with a lot of industry respect. Their M42 mount, and early K-mount lenses, were in direct competition with lenses produced by Zeiss, etc. A SMC Takumar (or SMC - K mount) 50mm f1.4 is an absolute steal at the price, and being able to mount them on a modern DSLR (with such ease) is *not* possible with Canon or Nikon. It is possible with some other brands, but they would be just as "obscure" as Pentax.

Optical technology has not really progressed *that* much in the last 50 years. Camera body technology has. You can get absolutely phenomenal results with a K 24 f2.8 and the K5, or one of the old 50's, or one of the old 85s.

Pentax is also one of the only modern companies that will produce an old-school, full frame, autofocus lens like the FA 77.

Really, pentax is about the primes. And it's not for people who love auto-everything. I'm happy my first camera purchase was a Pentax, because the plethora of old, good lenses (ahem K55 f1.8) forced me to actually learn photography.

I recently went of a trip and rediscovered how manual focus can be far superior to autofocus. And I was using a 50 dollar lens. This is the joy in using Pentax. It's a system for enthusiasts. I wouldn't bother with it if people were paying me to take pictures, but as a hobbiest, I can't think of a single better bang for the buck (and fun) system to use. Pentax is also notable for actually caring about how a camera "feels". Ergonomics are a strong suit of Pentax (with Nikon, and especially Canon, lagging far behind in my worthless opinion).

I mean, you can look at the DA 40 on paper and think "why bother?"... but when you use one, you will understand.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 05-23-2011, 11:55 AM  
43mm... sell my 50mm and 35mm for a 31mm?
Posted By paperbag846
Replies: 60
Views: 9,932
Depends on what you want to do.

The 31 is going to give you a normal, and the 43 a long normal. Pretty close together. They do render quite differently, but if you are looking at shooting portraits, maybe consider something longer (70/77), or something even wider (e.g., the 21).

I would imagine something like the 21 / 43 / 77 or 70 would be more useful in practice, even if the 21 does not really compare to the 31.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 06-25-2011, 08:35 AM  
Pentax 28-70mm f/4 vs kit lens?
Posted By paperbag846
Replies: 23
Views: 7,485
I have *not* used the 28-70, but from reading some reviews (and based on my own experience with the kit lens)

If you want to shoot a lot of landscapes, go with the kit lens. If you prefer people shots - portraiture, go with the 28-70. Better focal lengths for that sort of thing, and a full stop faster between 55mm - 70mm which will come in handy.

The kit lens isn't great at 18mm or 55mm.... I typically find it works well as a cheap normal, but a constant aperture zoom that goes more into portrait lengths would be a nice alternative.

IQ is relative... much more important to know how to use your tool then to have a top quality lens. I would say pick the lens for a function - do you want wide angles (landscapes / drama) or telephotos (portraits / "truer to life").
Forum: Pentax Compact Cameras 06-23-2011, 08:55 AM  
Could Pentax sell you on the Q if they had better lenses?
Posted By paperbag846
Replies: 17
Views: 5,580
No. DOF control with that sensor size is abysmal, non existent. I can understand it as a digital holga-type thing, but the body price is just too much for that sort of toy.

I don't understand... same technology in a large EVIL (the size of those good old film SLRs) with a k-mount would be phenomenal...

That paired with the DA ltds would be unstoppable... the perfect compromise on low-DOF, quality, and size. WHY THIS????
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 06-08-2011, 06:43 PM  
FA 50mm f1.4 or 43mm f1.9? Which do you prefer and why?
Posted By paperbag846
Replies: 148
Views: 17,577
You might be mistaking a critical cost-benefit analysis as "demeaning" in many cases.

Just a thought. You arent the only one who makes that mistake.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 11-27-2010, 03:04 PM  
Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 not as fast (bright) as Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 on Pentax K-x, PICS
Posted By paperbag846
Replies: 38
Views: 13,793
This would not surprise me, really. Almost every lens I have sucks in different amounts of light at a given aperture. The difference between my DA 40 2.8 and A 28mm 2.8 at 2.8 is noteworthy (with the DA 40 being brighter).

Light transmission is dependent on optical construction and the thickness of lens elements. You can see the difference in transmittance, for example, between the DA 35 2.4, and the FA 35 2.0, with the DA 35 being brighter at an equivalent aperture.

I don't know enough to go into detail, but this finding does not look extremely unusual. It's a little unfortunate though, as it keep the 17-50 from being a true low-light wonder zoom.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 06-01-2011, 02:30 PM  
Pixie Dust
Posted By paperbag846
Replies: 529
Views: 49,013
Don't even get me started on audiophiles. Before I spent my time learning about photography on forums (amazing how much I have learned from you people in the last year), I spent my time learning about guitars on forums. Guitar audiophiles are *true* emperor's new clothes victims. They're the same people who spend 100s of dollars on oxygen free wires, and buy hand-made amplifiers because "point to point wiring is made with a better type of metal that sounds better".

On guitar forums, I learned something after about a year - it's not the pickups, it's not the amp, it's not the room, it's your fingers. It's all in your fingers. Flash forward 8 years, and I *can* make a bad acoustic sound good. Tone is in the fingers, and I would imagine that pixie dust is as well.

I've really done some thinking about this. I like, but do not love, my FA 77. No question that it's a great lens in a technical sense, but I do not connect with it. Therefore, very few pictures I take with it have any magic. Looking through my library of pictures, other lenses really *do* have magic (at least when compared with my other work).

The one lens that has the most hits is my K55 1.8. There is no good technical reason for this. It's kinda soft wide open, the bokeh is so so stopped down, and it's not exactly a pleasure to work with in an environment where the lights are rapidly changing. I find it flares up too much, not the best for action, etc.

However, for whatever reason, I connect to the world when I'm looking through that lens. I see in a way that makes sense to me, and I'm able to capture the important stuff (subject / light) more naturally when the K55 (and similarly, the FA 50) is attached to my DSLR. I think it's due to the focal length, mostly, but I'm sure rendering comes into play as well.

The point is that a lens *can* have pixie dust... or maybe more accurately, a lens can *pull* pixie dust right out of you. If you connect with the FA 43, the unique way of separating the subject from the background with a very unique mix of sharpness and impressionistic bokeh, the focal length - then you are going to take some magical pictures. And you will attribute that magic to the lens... but really, it's just the relationship you formed with the lens!

This also accounts for the disagreements about the *best* FA ltd (or DA ltd). That's going to vary a lot depending on how *you* see the world through a camera. Some people want the 31, a naturalistic point of view with a very pleasing blur. Other people want the 43, a sharp-as-hell lens with a "sensationalized* rendering that zooms in just enough to isolate an object. Other people want the 77, so they can literally cut an object out of spacetime and present them in an ethereal light.

Clearly we all have different goals. Maybe I'm thinking about this too much, but I liken it to music. Everyone has a natural tempo. Some people are adverse to fast music, they prefer grungy blues, hip hop, or soul at 80 BPM. Others prefer pure stimulation, seeking out music like metal or electronic music in the 140 bpm range. And of course there's the pop fans who like it right in the middle, not to warm and not too cold. No one can convince the other that their feel is the right feel. I know I get bored as hell listening to folk music, but my good friend gets downright irritated when I show him some tech house. I don't think either of us are right.

So this was a very long winded way of saying: I agree with Marc. It's pretty damn subjective, and the elusiveness of pixie dust might be due to the fact that it's contingent on you developing a relationship with your lens, and as we all know, love is a personal thing.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 05-30-2011, 08:06 PM  
Pixie Dust
Posted By paperbag846
Replies: 529
Views: 49,013
Thats funny, I think the 4th and 6th have the most 3d look!

Great shots. While I think that there is quite a bit of pop to them, I would suggest that has more to do with good DOF control than any specific lens. E.g., Marcs photos / Ash's photo. The biggest difference I see is *post-processing philosophy!*

PS is number 6 the 77?
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 05-25-2011, 08:28 AM  
Pixie Dust
Posted By paperbag846
Replies: 529
Views: 49,013
I would agree pixie dust is a myth.

I think it really means that one likes sharp lenses at wide apertures, something all of the FA ltds. are really good at. I've heard some stuff about colour rendition as well, which is true, but less important IMHO in the age of digital manipulation.

I think skill matter 95% and lenses matter 5%. People on here with real talent make some technically *undesirable* glass just shine... the pixie dust is in their fingers!
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 05-26-2011, 05:12 PM  
FA 50 1.4 on ASPC is pretty similar to the FA 77 1.8 on film
Posted By paperbag846
Replies: 33
Views: 4,888
While there might be *some* better alternatives (there always are), I'm not sure exactly what you are referring to here...

The *glory days* of the 50 have always been about price/performance... have they not?
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 05-09-2011, 04:13 PM  
I'm in a dilema re portrait lens for K20
Posted By paperbag846
Replies: 124
Views: 12,496

No. He said (as I said) that they *are* the best (or some of the best) autofocus lenses in the business. He *also* said that in the realm of digital, the *best* is not really so important anymore (this is the point that is so often glazed over). This is why, I think, when you compare images from the DA 70 and FA 77 on digital, it is hard to call a clear winner.

Point 1) The FA 77 makes a lot of sense if you are shooting film. I've said this so many times. On digital, the differences become very slight unless 2) you require f1.8.

I said very specifically that the FA limiteds are the clear winner if you are comparing the 31 to the 21. No PP will overcome those differences. I think that's why the 31 is the most sought-after lens... no other lens available will get you close to it's look. I don't feel the same is true with the DA 70 and FA 77. Please actually read if you are going to participate in the conversation.

I also compared the 40 with the 43, where I believe the differences are obvious. I think the 43's biggest threat is the FA 50. The decision between the two is simply made: do you prefer creamy bokeh or sharpness?

Marc and Wheatfield have earned authority in my books, because they make *reasoned* arguments that are actually very *logical* and helpful. No one told me to listen to them. They don't dogmatically recommend a specific type of lens to anyone... it's specific to a person's needs.

And as I see it, the FA 77 is a very specialized lens... even within the realm of portraiture. One could have a very good reason for preferring the DA 70 (quickshift, flare resistance), or the DA* 50-135 (flexibility). The FA 77 is *the* lens to use, though, if you need a bokeh machine (f1.8) or film-camera performance.

For some reason, though, you people will keep yapping. Attacking what I say without adding anything of actual substance (saying "it renders better" is not substantiative).

I would be happy to hear an actual contribution, however only Twitch seems to be willing to discuss the actual pros and cons of each lens (perhaps because he has owned both of them?)
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 04-29-2011, 02:28 PM  
50mm/1.4 vs 35mm/2.4
Posted By paperbag846
Replies: 34
Views: 15,854
Back in the day, that's how the FA 35 2.0 was marketed as well. It used to be a 200 dollar lens.

They are very similar lenses. The DA 35 2.4 has creamier bokeh, and therefore, is less sharp. Same goes for the difference between the FA 50 1.4 vs. 1.7. Neither lens is "best" unless you subjectively decide that sharpness is more important than bokeh, or vica versa.

PS 500 dollars for the DA 40 is a bad deal, too.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 04-24-2011, 05:54 PM  
besides bokeh, what makes a great lens?
Posted By paperbag846
Replies: 88
Views: 9,592
In my humble opinion, a good lens makes photography fun. It lets you forget about the technical stuff and just shoot great photos. I personally think that functionality trumps IQ to a point. As long as IQ is acceptable, an easy-to-use lens is going to let me take the better photographs.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 03-27-2011, 05:08 PM  
FA50mm 1.4 or DA35mm f2.4
Posted By paperbag846
Replies: 101
Views: 11,174
HEAHA you are rather obnoxious and ill-informed.

While I would not argue that anyone needs a limited, for you to claim that the 18-55 is better than all of them is just misleading. So is your claiming that the FA 50 is no different from the kit lens (when they are, in fact, about 4 stops different). That's 16x the amount of light available to the photographer.... and while the lens will not take a good picture, a good photographer will make use of that light (and that DOF). The same argument applies to the DA L 35mm, actually, it's just a little less extreme.

I get a little irate at those who jump into every thread and say "buy the FA 31!", but you are just as bad from another direction. There are so many amazing lenses to try... and what better place to compare the merits of 2 lenses than the lens subsection of a forum.

Which brings me to my second point - if you care so little for lenses, what the heck are you doing in the lens discussion area of the board?
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 03-26-2011, 11:23 AM  
K 5 lens...Walkaround
Posted By paperbag846
Replies: 28
Views: 5,079
I would say if you are going to be outdoors a lot in the mountians, you will want one of the wide angles - DA 15, DA 21, or the DA 12-24 (much more versatile, but much more bulky).

For overall versatility in a small package, the DA 21 is going to be the one.

For nice pictures with character, a fast 50 (or 55) would be great. The DA* 55 is the king of them all in my opinion, but if you want to budget yourself, the FA 50 1.4 is a great lens too (USE A HOOD). The fast aperture isn't just about light - it will help you single out people (maybe fellow hikers?)

For wildlife, you will want something long. The K5 has great high ISO, so the DA 55-300 is going be very flexible in not-that-great light. (Consider the shutter speeds you will need at 300mm).

The aformentioned DA 35 macro is expensive for a lens if you aren't going to be using the macro feature IMHO. The DA L 35 2.4 is really good at non-macro. However, I would suggest that a 21 + 50 should have your wide-normal covered pretty well for the out-of-doors (considering you have a lot of flexibility with movement.

Also with the DA 12-24, the 24mm end is essentially a wideish normal, very flexible.

Tough choices! When you are shooting landscapes, people, and wildlife, you need to cover a lot of focal lengths.

Aside - you could safely replace the DA12-24 / DA 21 and FA 50 / DA* 55 with the Tamron 17-50. Paired with the 55-300, you would have a lot of options with only 2 lenses.
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