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Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 08-29-2010, 11:07 AM  
Any lens rumors?
Posted By mawz
Replies: 102
Views: 20,411
SMC Pentax-M 85mm f2

Moderately fast 50's for APS-C are a major seller for everybody and Pentax is the only one of the remaining 4 DSLR brands which doesn't have a budget option here. It wasn't a problem back when you could get FA 50/1.4's new for $200 but they're $360USD now.

The FA lenses, including the Limiteds, probably should be discontinued. The FA 31 has a poor physical design for APS-C use due to the integrated hood and is too slow for its cost.

I don't see Pentax dropping the price on the 12-24, which is why I suggested a variable-aperture lens as a consumer replacement (additionally an 11-22 would be wider to match the current fashion for 10-11mm on the wide end of UW APS-C zooms)
Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 08-29-2010, 10:59 AM  
Zeiss ZK updates?
Posted By mawz
Replies: 149
Views: 24,833
Had the C/Y version, it's brilliant and I miss it. I'll probably get the ZK at some point but I've got the FA50/1.4 and a limited budget for now.
Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 08-29-2010, 10:58 AM  
Zeiss ZK updates?
Posted By mawz
Replies: 149
Views: 24,833
One thing I never understood was why Pentax made that and the A* 85, but no 100/2 or 105/2. There's only one fast 90-105mm lens in K mount and that's the ZK Makro-Planar at its somewhat ridiculous cost.

As much as I like the Makro-Planar (and I've shot with one), if I had ~$1800 to spend on a fast mid-tele, the A* 135 would get my dollars.
Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 08-29-2010, 10:56 AM  
Zeiss ZK updates?
Posted By mawz
Replies: 149
Views: 24,833
Great lens. That said it's 1/2 stop slower and a lot weaker in CA control than the Makro-Planar.

It's not hard to find an excellent ~100mm macro in K mount. My personal choice would be the Tamron 90/2.5 or the Lester Dine/Kiron 105/2.8 as the best combination of performance and cost. I don't kid myself that they're competitive with the exotic APO or near-APO designs though.
Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 08-29-2010, 10:53 AM  
Zeiss ZK updates?
Posted By mawz
Replies: 149
Views: 24,833
I've seen comparisons of the D-FA against the Sigma 105 and Tamron 90. I've also seen comparisons of the ZK Makro-Planar against those lenses. The D-FA compares well against the Sigma and Tamron, but doesn't stand out (unsurprising, these are all superb lenses already and in the same price bracket). The Makro-Planar however outperforms both the Sigma and Tamron, quite noticeably at wider apertures (f4 and wider), less so stopped down.

The WR's are extremely well built for their cost. They aren't in the same class as the ZK's, which are extraordinarily well built lenses. I've held both, as well as the Limiteds. Neither the D-FA WR or a Limited lens is as well built as a ZK. Of course neither costs as much either. A case of you get what you pay for.

Because these are the two closest equivalents in optical performance to the ZK Makro-Planar in terms of native K mount Macros, the D-FA 100 is not in the same class as these three lenses. In fact the APO-Lanthar is better (true APO design with essentially no CA) than the Makro-Planar.

The D-FA 100/2.8 is a very good lens itself but it doesn't compete with APO or near-APO designs like the Makro-Planar or APO-Lanthar. As macro's go, the D-FA 100 is very good but not exceptional.


All of these lenses in this post are the top guns and what it comes down to is the end use of the user and personal preference. It essentially comes down to that and what one is willing to pay for them. None of these lenses are cheap per se. Some times people need to remember that there are differences in fact and opinion. Factor in personal preference and art and it isn't so cut and dry.

My perspective in this particular lens is from a macro perspective. f2 at 1:1 and ~12" would be a seriously thin DOF. If I were using it at a short tele, I'd just go with my FA 77. :p

If you want the best performance for Macro work, the Makro-Planar is probably not your best choice, an APO-Lanthar or Leitax'd 100/2.8 APO-Macro-Elmarit will be better (those being the two best Macro lenses in this focal length range, both of which are usable on K mount) given their APO performance and 1:1 capability (of course the Leica requires an adapter for 1:1, but even with the adapter it's arguably the best 100mm macro ever made). The Makro-Planar offers a superb portrait tele and a world-class Macro in the same package, which is a fairly unique offering, for a price which compares well to its closest competition (the APO-Macro-Elmarit runs $2000+ used, the APO-Lanthar is $1000-1400 depending on mount)
Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 08-29-2010, 08:52 AM  
Zeiss ZK updates?
Posted By mawz
Replies: 149
Views: 24,833
The Zeiss lenses are not shipped to Germany for the final QC check, Zeiss has a QC installation at the Cosina factory which does this (Zeiss employees and equipment).

As to the ZK 100/2 Makro-Planar, it is unique in several ways.

1. It is the only K mount lens available near that focal length faster than f2.5
2. It is sharper at wide apertures and better corrected for CA than the D-FA 100/2.8
3. It is significantly better built than the D-FA or D-FA WR lenses.

What it is is an exotic, close-focusing fast 100 with macro capabilities. The 100/2.8's cannot match the wide-aperture performance of the Makro-Planar. That said, if you don't need f2, look elsewhere, this is a specialist lens at a specialist price. The entire Zeiss ZK lineup is pretty much specialist glass. They're almost all best-in-class lenses (even the 18 and 25 are among the best lenses at their focal lengths) and some, like the 21/2.8, 35/2 and both Makro-Planars stand as among the best lenses ever made at those focal lengths. Sure they're good, but unless you need that last 5% of performance, they're probably not what you want. Especially for Pentax shooters as the Z* line is oriented entirely towards FF shooters.

The D-FA and D-FA WR 100/2.8 Macro's are quite good lenses, but they do not perform at the same level as the CV APO-Lanthar 125mm f2.5 or the Makro-Planar 100/2. If you want that level of performance from a Pentax macro, get one of the 200/4's. Of course that's gonna cost similar money to what an APO-Lanthar or a Makro-Planar cost.
Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 08-29-2010, 08:34 AM  
New Tamron lenses in Pentax mount?
Posted By mawz
Replies: 36
Views: 16,157
That co-operation predates Sony's purchase of Konica Minolta's camera division. The Konica Minolta 28-75 and 17-35 were the first fruits of that co-operation and most of the Sony-rebadged Tamron's are hold-overs.

The only real exception is the 18-250, which was never available in a KM version, only as a Sony or Tamron. Of course it _IS_ available as a Pentax DA lens...
Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 08-29-2010, 08:29 AM  
Any lens rumors?
Posted By mawz
Replies: 102
Views: 20,411
550D (T2i) + 18-55 kit: $899.95 USD at B&H
500D (T1i) + 18-55 kit: $689.95 USD at B&H
K-x + 18-55 kit: $499.95 USD at B&H
FA 50/1.4: $359.95 USD at B&H

So the K-X with 18-55 and FA 50 is cheaper than the T2i in addition to being smaller, faster (4.7fps) and with superior high ISO performance. Without the FA 50, it's almost $200 cheaper than the 500D and has an even bigger performance advantage. Note US pricing on the FA 50 is awful.

The Canon's would do better in comparison if they didn't have such awful per-pixel performance and detail-smearing NR. A K-x at ISO 6400 actually out resolves the 550D at ISO 6400 despite having 1/3 less pixels.
Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 08-29-2010, 06:39 AM  
Any lens rumors?
Posted By mawz
Replies: 102
Views: 20,411
Well, there were those old rumours for a 21/2 and 28/2.

What I'd like to see for primes from Pentax, note this is about a years worth of releases, if not more.

Cheap line (Launch at PMA):

DA 35/2
DA 50/1.7 with the latter replacing the FA 50/1.4 in the line (if you need f1.4, there's the DA* 55). essentially the old design in a new barrel. Both could be done as DA L lenses as well (comparable to Sony's DT designs or Nikon's new 35/1.8)


DA 90/2.8


DA* 21/2 or 20/1.4 (Pentax had a prototype 20/1.4 in 1976)
DA* 35/1.4 (replaces FA 31 Limited in line)
DA* 85/1.4 (based on A* optics)
DA* 135mm f1.8 (Based on A* optics)

The last three should cover 35mm, ideally all four should (Olympus's OM 21/2 shows that you can do a fast, good and compact 21/2).

What I'd li9ke to see in Zooms:

DA* 10-18mm f2.8 SDM (Sealed pro-level ultra-wide badly needed, 12-24 is overpriced, under spec and not wide enough)
DA 11-22/4-5.6 SDM (replaces old 12-24 at lower price as the consumer ultra-wide)

And in prep for a FF body (actually, I'd love to see the last two even on APS-C)

D-FA* 16-30mm f2.8 SDM
D-FA* 24-75mm f2.8 SDM
D-FA* 70-210mm f2.8 SDM
Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 03-04-2010, 04:36 PM  
Anecdotal evidence for superior Pentax AF
Posted By mawz
Replies: 64
Views: 17,710
Which version? The first two versions of the 70-200 HSM are known to be poor performers in terms of focus speed, especially the original (which has an aperture ring)
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 02-18-2010, 07:09 AM  
Is there anything to these K-X comparison shots?
Posted By mawz
Replies: 17
Views: 4,926
The guy posting that can't tell the difference between a colour response shift and NR obscuring the detail. The pink is the clue here, if it was NR there wouldn't be a colour shift in the pink.

The detail's clearly there, it's just partially hidden because the K-x is rendering the two Red's closer together than the D90 is.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 02-18-2010, 06:55 AM  
Left my K-x and FA 31 in the back of a cab...
Posted By mawz
Replies: 32
Views: 6,049
There's a fair number of people who like the colour response of a CCD sensor better than that of a CMOS sensor. I personally am not one of them, but the difference exists and it does matter to some people. I suspect this is what you are seeing in the K100D shots that you prefer.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 02-18-2010, 06:52 AM  
KX Advice Sought
Posted By mawz
Replies: 62
Views: 11,330
If you're shooting action, the K-x has several advantages over the K20D.

The K-x has the extra ISO headroom, which allows you to get higher shutter speeds at the same noise level and aperture
The K-x has higher fps, allowing you to capture more shots of the same sequence
The K-x has somewhat better AF (but the K20D allows you to see which AF point is active)
The K-x has a higher max shutter speed, which can matter in bright light with fast movement.

The biggest advantage to the K20D is that it has a larger buffer at max fps, especially in RAW where the K-x has a mediocre 5 shot buffer, if fps isn't important the K-x has an 11 shot buffer at 2fps though.

There's not many areas where the K-x outdoes the K20D, but they basically come down to speed, high ISO, and responsiveness (the K20D feels slow in comparison to the K-x, especially in the menus or in image review)
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 02-18-2010, 06:42 AM  
K-7 vs K-x, 500D, D5000, D90 - Why is the K-7 a better camera?
Posted By mawz
Replies: 101
Views: 17,419

Canon and Nikon users can both use the Zeiss 21mm Distagon as a FF equivalent to the DA 15 Limited, or if size is an issue, the Voigtlander Color-Skopar 20mm f3.5. The latter lens is comparable in performance to the DA 15 Limited, the Zeiss is far superior (and is in fact the best prime available in a SLR mount for that Field of View range). If you're comparing at that FL, Nikon and Canon's current 14's are as good, if much larger (it's the DA 14 which has a performance advantage over the FF 14's on APS-C, of course it also outperforms the DA 15 Limited).

Pentax's selection of excellent primes gives them an advantage when compared to other APS-C and smaller crop systems, it does not do so against FF, especially Nikon, where there simply is a far larger available system of primes. And as good as the DA Limiteds are, they are not up to the performance of the best FF primes of similar FoV (the latter group includes the FA Limiteds IMHO).

Nikon's equivalent to the 70-200 f4L is the 70-300VR, which is of comparable performance through the same focal length range (It's head and shoulders above any other 70-300 on the market except Sony's 70-300G)
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 02-17-2010, 11:49 AM  
K-x green button question?
Posted By mawz
Replies: 10
Views: 4,689
I suspect the K-m and K200D work the same way, it's a legacy of the *istDS and the necessity to implement stop-down metering without a Green Button (the DL and K1x0D's also lacked the green button, although they all used the AE-Lock button rather than the Av button.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 02-17-2010, 11:25 AM  
K-x eats AA batteries??
Posted By mawz
Replies: 62
Views: 11,698
There is some value to this, you don't want to be caught in the same boat as Fujifilm S5 Pro shooters are, with no replacement batteries available for their cameras and their batteries rapidly wearing out (The S3, S2 and S1 all use AA's and/or lithiums). Minolta digital shooters would have been in the same boat if the K10D and K20D hadn't ended up using a rebadged Minolta NP400 battery.

Obsolete batteries definitely become issues, especially if the battery is specific to a smaller maker (like Fuji in this example). You can't get new Nikon D1 series batteries, or new batteries for the Kodak FF bodies, although in those cases there's still enough low-mileage used examples available. But at some point in the not too distant future this will change. The same goes for Canon 1 series bodies which use the older non-LiIon batteries or even one day the BP511's (which will become obsolete when the 50D is discontinued in the near future).
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 02-17-2010, 11:01 AM  
Poll: If you had to pick today, would you get a K7, or a K-x?
Posted By mawz
Replies: 215
Views: 37,857
I went with the K-x. The primary reason being that high ISO work was the primary intended use of the camera, the K-7 just wasn't much better at high ISO than the E-30 it would have been replacing aside from the ISO 6400 setting, the K-x is quite a bit better and also offers 2 extra stops of high ISO range instead of just one.

Most of the limitations of the K-x don't really apply to my use. Dual-wheel isn't a big deal for me (what I'd really like is a G1-style click-wheel) as I tend to work in Av mode almost exclusively outside of very low light and in very low light I set the aperture wide-open and just adjust shutter speed in M, which works just fine with a single-wheel design. I would like the better build, better metering and better viewfinder of the K-7, but the metering and viewfinder of the K-x are already as good or better than the E-30 it was replacing. As to AF points in the viewfinder, I've never found them that useful. I just lock it on the centre point and leave it. The smaller buffer and lack of a locking mode dial are a little annoying, but I can live with them.

Should a K-7 successor arrive with K-x level high ISO, I'll certainly consider upgrading.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 02-16-2010, 07:54 PM  
Those who own the K-7 already, K-x thoughts?
Posted By mawz
Replies: 57
Views: 11,712
A few notes:

Pentax has tended to primarily the body or primarily the image processing but not both with new cameras. The K-7 was a body upgrade, the K-x a sensor upgrade.

It's pretty clear that the K-x is a significantly better performer than any other Pentax DSLR above ISO 800. Pentax seems to have succeeded in getting Sony's column-ADC design to live up to its potential, something which Sony has not quite achieved as of yet.

I'd expect the K-7's replacement to be functionally similar with an updated sensor and processing chain. While I don't expect to see the K-x's sensor, I'm hoping we see the Sony 14.6MP sensor from the A450/A550 (the K-x shares the A500's sensor) which is similar in performance overall.
Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 02-16-2010, 07:32 PM  
645D, K-m2 and NEW LENSES DA*10-16/4 SDM, DA*20/2 SDM, DA*28/2 SDM
Posted By mawz
Replies: 165
Views: 54,163
The E-30 and E-3 finders are good, with the E-3's being comparable to the K-7's and the E-30's to the K-x's. It's the consumer bodies which have a dim window at the end of a long tunnel for a finder.
Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 02-16-2010, 07:02 PM  
Posted By mawz
Replies: 53
Views: 20,738
Because it would require re-engineering the lens barrel entirely and the 50/1.2 is not well suited to a vanilla AF system due to the heavy elements.

It's very easy to remove AF (which Pentax did for the A 35-80/4-5.6 and A 80-200/4.7-5.6), but adding it is another matter.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 08-04-2009, 06:40 AM  
D300S an answer to the K-7?
Posted By mawz
Replies: 78
Views: 12,515
They made a distinct mistake in specifying centre-weighted metering, which will greatly reduce flash accuracy in the (amazingly complex) Nikon i-TTL system, stay in Matrix if you want truly accurate flash. It sounds like their 'standard settings' were developed either for Nikon's older D-TTL system or the film-era TTL systems where it would have been the correct choice.

The SB-800 does have a fairly poor recycling time when running off 4 batteries, which is why it comes with a 5th battery compartment which replaces the battery compartment lid, you can also use Quantum turbo packs if needed. The SB-900 is much faster to recycle off 4 batteries.

Formatting a card on a D300 is significantly quicker to do than on a Pentax. Zoom on the D300 is quite easy, but IIRC the D200 shares the older and kinda wierd zoom controls of the D70/D50, I'm not sure about how the D200 does formating (It's a 2-button press and confirm on the D300, no damned menus).
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 08-04-2009, 06:34 AM  
D300S an answer to the K-7?
Posted By mawz
Replies: 78
Views: 12,515
The P-TTL system is both less reliable and significantly lower capability than i-TTL. i-TTL can control either 3 or 4 flash groups completely independently via wireless control. P-TTL can do one. Nikon's flash system also has a well earned reputation for having the best metering out there and the top-end flashes have features offered in no other system (GN-priority, TTL following optical slaves).

Nikon has far and away the most capable flash system. It's really the only place where a single maker has a major advantage over any of the other brands.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 08-02-2009, 09:00 AM  
K7 question
Posted By mawz
Replies: 29
Views: 4,292
As a former D300 owner and likely soon a K-7 owner, I agree entirely. The D300's a low-buck entry into D3/1D level performance. The K-7 is a high-end semi-pro body without the size tax you usually get nailed with.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 08-02-2009, 08:52 AM  
K7 question
Posted By mawz
Replies: 29
Views: 4,292
The K-7 is by all regards excellent. I wouldn't call it better than the D300, but I'd certainly go for better than the A700 or E-3, the two most similar cameras on the market and better than the 50D as well aside from the 50D's slightly better fps and moderately better AF. There's nothing really comparable to the D300 on the market today.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 08-02-2009, 08:45 AM  
D300S an answer to the K-7?
Posted By mawz
Replies: 78
Views: 12,515
You missed i-TTL/CLS, Nikon's far more capable flash system. Nobody else is even in shouting distance of what Nikon's flash system can do. You also missed the greatly increased battery life you get with the EN-EL4a battery in the grip (2500 RAW shots per charge on the EN-EL4a alone) and the level display on the rear. Nikon also offers a wider selection of sealed lenses than Pentax's 8, although the Pentax's are better sealed. Nikon also offers copyright embedding in files, as well as custom filenames (the latter of which Pentax does not support). Nikon also supports GPS embedding directly (you can plug a GPS unit into the D300s and embedded the data at the time of shooting). The D300s also allows you to use the WT-4/4a WiFi dongle which supports Live View feeds over the wireless network as well as file transfers over wireless and wired networks. You can actually control the D300s fully via Camera Control Pro from a remote location including actual confirmation of what the camera is seeing. And the D300s has on-demand viewfinder gridlines, the K-7 requires a focus screen swap.

Another major capability the D300s has that all the Pentax's lack is the ability to design, trade and load completely custom tone curves. And Nikon's CaptureNX2 software can both apply any tone curve you load in the camera (as well as any additional ones you might have on your computer), create said tone curves, and automatically starts the RAW edit off with the camera-selected tone curve. It's also far more capable as a RAW converter and general image editor than SilkyPIX.

Personally, I'd rather have the K-7. But the D300s's price advantage comes with a significant amount of performance advantages.
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