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Showing all 21 reviews by Clinton

Review of: SMC Pentax-M 28mm F2.8 by Clinton on Mon August 16, 2010 | Rating: 7 View more reviews 

Views: 410822
Reviews: 91
You've really got to hand it to Pentax and how well their primes hold up, even to this day. This lens has good color rendition, if a tendency to PF wideopen. It's a good way to try out medium wide fast glass. It's light, fairly compact, and has has the well dampened focus of the M 50/1.4. It's also quite sharp for a wide angle, as long as you have the depth of field where it needs to be. I got this lens as part of a package deal. Mine is version 2, which probably makes it more of a collectors item. All in all, this is a solid lens.

Review of: SMC Pentax-M 40-80mm F2.8-4 by Clinton on Mon August 16, 2010 | Rating: 5 View more reviews 

Views: 113741
Reviews: 21
I really expected this lens to perform better wide open than it did. If you use it in moderate light conditions, it works out ok, but keep it away from bright light sources or you'll need to stop down substantially. The focus on this lens is nicely dampened, the macro focusing by pulling the lens out is budget, but functional. The color rendition wasn't what I've come to expect from Pentax gear. Overall this lens is ok. I got it as part of a deal with a bunch of other lenses. If you're looking for inexpensive gear, it's not a bad option, but you'll have to play with it to learn its limitations.

Review of: Pentax-A 28-80mm F3.5-4.5 by Clinton on Mon August 16, 2010 | Rating: 7 View more reviews 

Views: 60116
Reviews: 12
I have the Pentax-A (non SMC). My overall impression of this lens is that it's OK. It's not amazing glass, but it's not bad either. On our modern bodies, the lens reports at 3.5 all the time, even though it's 3.5:4.5. It's macro focusing abilities are a nice touch. It's color rendition is nice. It's focusing is smooth, if not dampened like the A50/1.2 or the A* lenses. Overall, not a bad option for some macro shooting for a very inexpensive price.

Review of: SMC Pentax-A 50mm F2 by Clinton on Mon August 16, 2010 | Rating: 7 View more reviews 

Views: 216520
Reviews: 73
I picked this lens up after my experience with the A 50/1.2. The build quality of this lens isn't on par with the A* series or the A50/1.2. It's not bad, but not amazing either. I have taken this lens a few times when I want a pancake like lens on my camera. The lens is surprisingly small when mounted. This lens is an inexpensive way to try quality fast glass. The color rendition is good, the bokeh is fine if not amazing, and all in all, not a bad purchase. If you want to get into fast glass, but don't want to spend a pile of cash, give this lens a spin.

Review of: SMC Pentax-DA 10-17mm F3.5-4.5 Fish-Eye ED [IF] by Clinton on Mon August 16, 2010 | Rating: 8 View more reviews 

Views: 272220
Reviews: 99
Lets face it, you're not buying this lens for it's stunning optical quality, even though it's quite good. You're looking to create a mood, a look, and a unique cast to your photos. For that this lens will do the job quite well. The one thing you'll run into is CA and PF/GF in harsh transition areas, and there's not much you can do about it. Sometimes this can create an additional interesting cast to your photos, however, it's not something you'll appreciate all the time. The ability to zoom is a nicer feature than I expected from a fisheye. I didn't think I'd be using it all that much, but I do use it more often than not. The close focusing of this lens can make for some fun distorted perspective, and you really should try it out. There's no threading on this lens, which means you wont be able to use any creative or protective filters. In fairness though, at 180 degrees FoV, I'm not sure any filter would work out. If you're looking for fun photos, this lens is a good option.

Review of: SMC Pentax Reflex 1000mm F11 by Clinton on Mon August 16, 2010 | Rating: 8 View more reviews 

Views: 36710
Reviews: 5
It's difficult to compare this lens, as there's really not much out there like it. On a recent photo outing, a fellow photographer who was shooing with his Nikon 400mm/2.8 on a tripod asked me if I was shooting with a 300mm lens and I indicated I was shooting with a 1000mm (handheld). He was quite surprised. Here's a fairly tight crop of the result: (Non working link removed) This lens will come in handy during the zombie invasion, as I can keep a weather eye out using it, and if the zombies come too close, I can kill them by using this lens as a baseball bat without fear of harming the lens. It's just that tough. I've had surprisingly good results using this with the Pentax AFA 1.7x TC. Here's a sample moon shot: (Non working link removed) If you're giving this, or something similar a try, use the autofocus in live view. I had much better success (read as any success) using liveview AF than viewfinder AF. Focusing this beast on far away objects is tricky at best and impossible at worst. I strongly suggest using liveview to focus, and zoom to 8x (using the info button on the K-7). When you do this, you'll know when you've hit the mark, especially if you're looking at the edge of something. A few other things of note. You cannot screw in a 105mm filter, even though that is what the front opening measures. The built in ND filters and colored filters are nice. The ability to rear mount a filter is a neat idea, if not overly useful (on this lens) in the field. The ability to rotate your camera on this seems poorly implemented to me. It's tricky to get to work right. Donut bokeh are not fantastic looking. I haven't used this lens for much up close, although it's ability to close focus was a surprising feature. I picked up my copy from a forum member during another purchase, and I appreciate the price he named, because it meant I couldn't turn down the purchase. All in all, if you're looking for something with this much throw, $1000 is probably fair, although I'm not sure I would have bit the bullet at a higher price. The worst trouble is, once you've adapted your shooting to this lens, you'll begin looking for the 2000mm Reflex.

Review of: SMC Pentax-F 1.7x AF Adapter by Clinton on Mon August 16, 2010 | Rating: 8 View more reviews 

Views: 116081
Reviews: 25
This, as with any TC is somewhat of a mixed bag. If you throw it on a lens with already mediocre performance, you'll be sorely unimpressed. If you choose solid glass, this TC will provide you with stunning results. A few notes of caution. I've not had much success with glass faster than 2.8. At that point you're better off just getting your somewhat longer glass out anyway. When attached, this makes your lens behave as an A series lens, and you must manually pick the focal length. Therefore, it's not a great choice with zooms unless you're sticking to one end of the focal length. (It will make your SR over or under correct essentially). The built in AF usually requires you to make a first "close" focus adjustment yourself. This tends to work out fine for me, but your results may vary. It seems to work with 2.8, 4, and 4.5 glass quite well. Although you have to pick the focal length, the TC does adapt the aperture, so it will appear mostly correct in your exif data. Once you understand these limitations, this TC can create some excellent results. One more thing to note, with slow glass, I've found the AF accuracy in liveview outperforms the AF in the viewfinder on my K-7. I was getting surprisingly good results taking pictures of the moon with this attached to my 1000mm F/11 Reflex and letting the TC handle the focusing in live view. Perhaps even better than if I had tried to focus it myself.

Review of: SMC Pentax-FA* 300mm F4.5 ED [IF] by Clinton on Sun August 15, 2010 | Rating: 10 View more reviews 

Views: 90948
Reviews: 19
This lens is surprisingly light. It doesn't have a tripod collar and it doesn't need one. It's also wicked sharp. I hear it's sharper than the DA* 300, but I don't own the lens to compare. In a brick wall test, you wont believe how sharp this is. It's almost certainly sharper than the sensor on the K-7 can record. Which also means that it pairs well with the Pentax 1.7 AFA TC. My only complaint about this lens is with the shooter, not the lens. That I find I'm not shooting at 300mm. I either want something longer, or something shorter. It's easier to pack around than the Bigma, but somewhat less versatile. Still, if you can find one, it's results wont fail to impress.

Review of: SMC Pentax-FA* 80-200mm F2.8 ED [IF] by Clinton on Sun August 15, 2010 | Rating: 10 View more reviews 

Views: 113651
Reviews: 21
This glass really is an engineering marvel. From the results, you may think you're shooting with a prime. Sharpness edge to edge is amazing. Out of focus blur is nice. The AF speed is super zippy. Color rendition is stunning. At 2.8 you hay have some PF/GF, but what glass doesn't. The only downside to this lens is that when you pick it up after holding any of the DA* glass, you'll be daunted by it's weight. I guess if you want 2.8 glass @ 200mm, you best be willing to suffer a little for your art. My copy has a broken power zoom, but I cant think of a reason I would need it with this lens. It's just going to eat power you'll want for pictures. All in all? Buy a copy if you can find one and afford it.

Review of: SMC Pentax-DA* 55mm F1.4 SDM by Clinton on Sun August 15, 2010 | Rating: 9 View more reviews 

Views: 303347
Reviews: 70
I find the highlight of this lens is the out of focus area. With the right background, everything becomes a painted dream. The highlight bokeh this lens produces is fantastic, and in my opinion the primary reason to purchase it over the Sigma. When I was making this purchasing decision, I put together a thread here with a fair amount of details: The AF speed is a smidge slow, but it hasn't proven to be a hurdle in the field. 9 feels like a solid rating for this lens. It could be a little better, but all in all I've been pleased with the results from this lens.

Review of: SMC Pentax-DA 15mm F4 ED AL Limited by Clinton on Sun August 15, 2010 | Rating: 8 View more reviews 

Views: 371012
Reviews: 104
This lens has some impressive color rendition. It's small, as in really quite easy to toss in your pocket if you need a wide angle. It's not 2.8, but most of the time when shooting with this lens, you wouldn't want that anyway. The edge and corner sharpness could be better. It's barrel distortion is better controlled than the DA* 16-50, but the resolution is about the same. The cap that comes with this lens is to be placed in a drawer and replaced with a pinch on cap. For the price, you'll get a great wide angle lens; however, had I purchased the 16-50 first, I'm not sure I could have justified it.

Review of: SMC Pentax-DA 50-200mm F4-5.6 ED WR by Clinton on Thu August 12, 2010 | Rating: 7 View more reviews 

Views: 191624
Reviews: 33
I'd say this lens is on par with the 18-55 WR. It's quite solid, the weather sealing is a plus, and I have shot with it in the rain. The most impressive thing about this lens is how small it is. I can fit it in my holster bag attached to the camera. The IQ on it has been good enough for me, although it's no DA* 50-135, and it's slow at the long end, so you wont be using a teleconverter with this lens. For the price, you can't beat it. You may end up hungry for faster glass later though.

Review of: SMC Pentax-DA 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 AL WR by Clinton on Thu August 12, 2010 | Rating: 7 View more reviews 

Views: 298982
Reviews: 95
Came as the kit lens with my K-7. It was enough to get me started, and I did take some great pictures with it. The subject isolation on it isn't great, since it's aperture really isn't that wide open, but it's also a very inexpensive weather sealed lens. It is however quite small, easy to tote around, and at it's max zoom, it will stop down to F40, which can be useful in the right situations. IQ wise, it's quite nice, stunning really compared to it's price. It's no DA* 16-50, but it is several hundred dollars cheaper. Would I recommend it? Sure. Just understand it's limitations. Oh and get out and shoot in the rain with it.

Review of: SMC Pentax-DA* 16-50mm F2.8 ED AL [IF] SDM by Clinton on Thu August 12, 2010 | Rating: 9 View more reviews 

Views: 475800
Reviews: 135
The only reason this lens isn't getting a 10 is that mine had an sdm failure. The repair under warranty round trip took less than a week, and was mostly painless. What's not to love about this lens? It's almost as sharp at f4 as the DA 15mm Limited. It's weather sealed, it feels solid, and overall I've been very happy with it. The color rendition, build quality, IQ, and bokeh are all on par with the other DA zooms. If you buy this lens, (and it doesn't have an SDM failure), you'll be happy with the results. If somehow mine was destroyed, I'd buy it again tomorrow and hope for no SDM issues.

Review of: SMC Pentax-M 50mm F1.4 by Clinton on Sat July 31, 2010 | Rating: 8 View more reviews 

Views: 540736
Reviews: 107
The build of this lens is impressive. It's all metal design is much stronger and more solid feeling than some of the later A series primes. I find mine to be reasonably sharp at 1.4, and obviously the sharpness goes up from there. Focusing of this lens is very smooth, and it's out of focus blur is pleasing. All around a good lens and a solid work horse. Stop down metering works fine, although really you're going to shoot with it wide open anyway.

Review of: SMC Pentax-DA* 50-135mm F2.8 ED [IF] SDM by Clinton on Sat July 31, 2010 | Rating: 10 View more reviews 

Views: 488557
Reviews: 150
This lens goes with us almost everywhere. It's usually on one of our bodies, and is simply fantastic. At 135mm, it's a great focal length to snap a candid at a party without someone realizing, and with 2.8 glass, you can do fantastic subject isolation and low light. If you don't have this glass, you should be thinking about purchasing it. It's out of focus blur is premium, it's highlight bokeh is immaculate, it's IQ is fantastic, and it's SDM is pretty dang quick. The WR on this lens is simply a bonus. Additionally, I sometimes shoot with this paired with the 1.7x AFA teleconverter, and I'm pleased with the results I get from that combination.

Review of: SMC Pentax-DA* 60-250mm F4 ED [IF] SDM by Clinton on Fri July 30, 2010 | Rating: 10 View more reviews 

Views: 326354
Reviews: 62
This lens is quite remarkable engineering. It's substantially lighter than I expected from an f4 250mm zoom. It's also smaller than I expected. The WR is just the icing on the cake. I can easily handhold this lens, and usually shoot with the tripod mount removed. There's really nothing not to love here. Make sure to tune your glass for AF adjustment. Ours needed +4. Once it was tuned, it went from mediocre pictures wide open to impressive pictures from a zoom. The extending front element isn't as nice as the fixed on the DA* 50-135, however it seems to work out ok all in all. I'd say the rest of the lens build quality is on par with the 50-135. You wont be sorry about having this lens unless you're in low light conditions. It's a good all around lens. For a zoom, I give it a solid 10.

Review of: SMC Pentax-A 28mm F2.8 by Clinton on Fri July 30, 2010 | Rating: 7 View more reviews 

Views: 271551
Reviews: 56
This really is a nice little lens for budget shooting. it's sharp, it's snappy, it's compact. It's color rendition is fine, and 28mm is a useful focal length, being somewhat wide on APS-C. It's also a full frame lens. It's lack of auto focus means that I'm unlikely to put this in the camera bag, let alone on the camera, and will shoot with my DA* 16-50 instead. I picked up my copy to reverse mount for macro, and for that, it's focal length is great. If you're looking for a budget way to try out faster glass, this is a great start. They're common and cheap.

Review of: SMC Pentax-A 50mm F1.2 by Clinton on Thu July 29, 2010 | Rating: 9 View more reviews 

Views: 251955
Reviews: 32
The build quality of this lens is the same as the A* lenses. I'm surprised Pentax didn't give it that designation at the time. The metal focus ring, the smooth as silk focus, and the all metal design really separate this lens from the other A primes I've played with. It's a shame they don't remake it for digital with AF and weather sealing, however, in some of the low light situations that I've used this lens, I'm not sure AF would have been able to see anything. I've been able to take pictures on my K-7 at 3200 ISO in dark dark conditions, usually with people saying "How are you taking a picture without a flash in this light." I can only imagine what another stop of ISO on the K-x would do for me. The DoF on this lens is really fun to play with. I'm a big fan of using DoF to make a picture look how you'd remember it rather than what it actually looks like, and this is a great tool in my arsenal for doing that. The pictures taken at 1.2 are surprisingly sharp, when you nail the focus. I've rarely stopped down this glass, so I cant comment on it';s sharpness stopped down. The highlight bokeh this lens produces is unique, enormous, and quite a feature. The only downside is that it's painfully easy to produce purple/green fringe, and have it blossom. You may be thinking, "there's only a half stop between this and the DA* 1.4" so why should I get this lens? I have both because sometimes I need AF, and more often I need the WR, and the DoF is about the same. However this half stop of light is way more than you expect once it's mounted. Consider that you halve the amount of light for each full stop, so the amount of light lost from the half stop from 1.2 to 1.4 is the same as the light lost going from 1.4 to 2.8. I was pleasantly surprised with the qualities of this lens when I purchased it, and I wont be giving it up any time soon; however it does not get as much use as I thought it would. It's great for making art, and when it's dark, there's no substitute.

Review of: SMC Pentax-FA* 85mm F1.4 [IF] by Clinton on Sun July 25, 2010 | Rating: 10 View more reviews 

Views: 165026
Reviews: 30
I'd like to echo a lot of what Adam said with a few additions. This glass is amazing for subject isolation. It produces fantastic out of focus blur and highlight bokeh. It's color rendition is superb. If I could have only one lens (and it wasn't raining or dusty) I'd choose this lens. It's AF is fast, and accurate, however, you should make sure that you have no front or back focusing issues. Ours needed a +4 adjust. With 2.6 inches DoF at 10 feet, you just don't have room for FF/BF issues. Stopping down will help these types of issues, but you're not buying this glass to shoot it stopped down. I don't have the same complaints about the hood that Adam has. I like the additional protection it offers, and I haven't had an issue keeping it reverse mounted on the lens during trips. It occupies a bit more space, but this lens is already no DA 15 Limited in terms of size. It's quite rare that this lens doesn't make it in the bag on any manner of trip. I wish it was weather sealed as the DA* glass, and I wish the AF was quick shift as the DA* glass. Since I can't get those in a lens, I'll happily enjoy shooting with this one.

Review of: SMC Pentax-A* 135mm F1.8 by Clinton on Sun July 25, 2010 | Rating: 10 View more reviews 

Views: 110087
Reviews: 17
There's just nothing else like this available for our Pentax cameras, and from what I've heard, nothing as fast or as sharp for other cameras. Focusing this lens is a dream, and not a challenge on our modern bodies because of the sheer volume of light it's gathering. The build quality feels more solid than any other A series lens I've held. Your subject isolation abilities with this lens are fantastic, and the backgrounds blur to a painted dream. Some have commented that this lens may be soft, but I would state that the in focus plane, which is razor thin, is tack sharp, and if stopped down, the pictures may actually cut your retinas. In my opinion, this is the holy grail of Pentax lenses. It's rare and has unique properties you simply wont find anywhere else.

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