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Showing all 2 reviews by cdmuhlb

Review of: SMC Pentax-D FA 100mm F2.8 Macro WR by cdmuhlb on Wed May 2, 2012 | Rating: 10 View more reviews 

Views: 430063
Reviews: 103
After using this lens for the past 6 months, Iím comfortable in saying that it is the first lens Iíd recommend to a Pentax shooter looking to expand his or her arsenal. It is simply a joy to use and produces fantastic results in a wide variety of situations. The build quality is excellent with a metal barrel, weather sealing, and a fabulous focusing ring with 290 degrees of throw. Once you take advantage of Quick Shift on this lens, youíll cringe when you have to go without (Iím talking to you, DA 35 F2.4...). Using this lens makes taking pictures fun, and if youíre an amateur like me, thatís about the highest praise a lens can ask for. But it doesnít stop there. The optical quality is excellent as well, with lovely bokeh thanks to 8 rounded aperture blades (circular through F5.6). Contrast and sharpness are high, and the fast max aperture makes manual focusing a breeze while really letting your subject pop. The only complaint I have optically is its susceptibility to purple fringing, but Lightroom 4.1 should make that an issue of the past. The main reason I recommend this lens so highly, though, its its versatility. Able to focus on subjects less than a foot away, you can use this lens for anything. Itís my first choice when it comes to portraits, and when flowers are blooming in Spring, your pictures of them are guaranteed to be beautiful. Nature or product photography? No problem! In general, whenever you need your subject to pop, this lens will do the job. In fact, if youíre a beginning photographer, Iíd go so far as to claim that this lens alone will help improve your compositions. With a long focal length and close min focus, youíll be forced to get in tight with your subject, cropping out distracting elements. So whatís wrong with this lens? Well, using a polarizer is certainly a pain (since the inner barrel extends, a window in the hood wonít do the job), but otherwise the only major problem is Live View autofocus. Unless youíre very lucky, contrast-detection AF will scan the whole macro range, a process that takes 10 whole seconds even on a K-5. Without a focus limiter, youíre better off doing it manually. Now Iím generally opposed to grade inflation and feel a bit hypocritical giving this a 10/10, but of the 8 Pentax lenses I own, this is the one that stays on my camera. What else is there to say?

Review of: SMC Pentax-DA 35mm F2.4 AL by cdmuhlb on Wed May 2, 2012 | Rating: 8 View more reviews 

Views: 728123
Reviews: 156
This lens has such potential that I always feel a bit disappointed when I take it out. Make no mistake - this is a DA L lens when it comes to build quality. But optically it belongs in a much higher class. Letís start with the good: this lens has outstanding color and contrast. This is worth saying again - the color and contrast of photos taken with this lens, without any digital enhancement, are remarkable! And while 6 aperture blades doesnít sound like much, I can report that the bokeh of this lens is quite pleasant and smooth. Sharpness is excellent as well, and I havenít had any problems with flare or CA. Simply put, your photos will look great when taken with this lens. However, thereís more to a lens than its optical qualities. This lens is all plastic, and while this makes it remarkably lightweight, the feel just doesnít inspire a lot of confidence (and screwing metal filters into its plastic threads makes such a terrible sound). Thankfully, the focus ring feels surprisingly good given its construction, but the lens lacks any form of focus markings. Worst of all, though, is the absence of Quick Shift. Whatís the point of lightning-fast AF if you have to flip a switch before you can tweak it? This missing feature is why I occasionally consider replacing this lens (and why Iím a bit nervous about investing in any FA Limiteds). Thereís more to gripe about too. In terms of price and focal length this lens is fulfilling the role of the classic ďfast fiftyĒ. Yet at F2.4 itís not all that fast, nor is it particularly small (being larger than several of my full-frame primes). Also, the front and rear lens caps are of the cheap variety and make the lens all the more annoying to use in the field. These optics deserve better. But with the FA 35mm F2.0 out of production (and over twice the price at B&H), this lens is currently your best choice for a normal prime that wonít break the bank. And if you can live with the mechanical shortcomings, the photos you take will rival lenses costing far more.

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