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Showing all 12 reviews by hjoseph7

Review of: SMC Pentax-DA 15mm F4 ED AL Limited by hjoseph7 on Sat June 13, 2020 | Rating: 10 View more reviews 

Views: 371012
Reviews: 104
This is not one of these lenses where you pixel-peep, shoot charts and boast about the CA you found on certain images. This is a lens you take out the house and have some fun with ! The perspective this lens gives you on a cropped camera is amazing ! You could be standing a few feet away from an object and you are still able to get the entire object in the frame. With most lenses you have to back up to get the entire scene in the frame, but with this lens you actually have to move forward and closer to the subject ? Of course you still have to have to take into consideration things such as white balance, ISO, aperture and shutter speed, but once that is settled, you will be amazed at the pictures you can take with this lens. The distortions are minimal ! The Pentax colors are there, if not the occasional pixie-dust magic. Can't wait to take this lens out at night with my tripod and check out the star-burst ! :)

Review of: SMC Pentax-DA 50mm F1.8 by hjoseph7 on Fri May 22, 2020 | Rating: 8 View more reviews 

Views: 371617
Reviews: 67
I retired this lens a few years ago and never looked back. Actually I'm not sure where I placed it but the funny thing is I don't miss it at all ? The reason why I say that is that to me, the lens lacked character. I know a lot of people rated this lens very high and maybe I just had a bad copy. However, I tested this lens against the 50 mm f1.7 and the Takumar 50 mm f1.4 (8 element) and this lens didn't stand a chance. It couldn't even beat out my Takumar 55 mm f3.5. It's a good lens if you are on a budget and are just starting out it's just that there are better options out there like I just mentioned. The lens is sharp enough, it's just that the Pentax colors and rendition are not really there like in my other lenses. The Bokeh is "Meh", nothing to write home about. I took this lens out and tested in all sorts of lighting because I really wanted to like it. Once in a while I would get a keeper, but at other times the images just looked dull and lifeless. It was that inconsistency that made me move up to something better.

Review of: SMC Pentax-FA 50mm F1.7 by hjoseph7 on Thu August 17, 2017 | Rating: 9 View more reviews 

Views: 233671
Reviews: 39
I had this lens for about 2 months and was wondering what everybody was raving about. The lens seemed sharp enough especially at long distances but I was not really impressed. I also own the DA 50 1.8, but I wanted something a little better in the 50mm range which is about a 75mm equivalent on my K-5 IIs. The other day I decided to test this lens against my manual 8 element 50mm f1.4 Takumar lens. I could not believe how much sharper my Takumar lens was and this at every single aperture ! I wondered what the heck the reviewers were talking about, or that maybe I got a bad copy ? While testing this lens, that's when I noticed that everything that was a few inches behind my subject was in sharp focus, but my main subject was slightly out of focus. I tried closing down the lens, but unfortunately, that did not work. That's when I decided to try my hand at Fine Focusing. This is the first time I had to do this for any of my lenses.I adjusted my lens all the way up to +10 to bring it up to speed. When I was done, the difference was like night and day ! Right now I can say that I'm a happy camper.:) This lens renders more smoothly than my DA 50mm f1.8(and is quite a bit sharper) and less clinical than some of my more expensive lenses. I would not hesitate using it on portraits. The colors are not dramatic, but very accurate and clean. Again great for portraits on an APS-C camera. The Bokeh is not bad either, not as good as my Takumar 50mm which is the King of Bokeh, but pleasing enough. Instead of sitting in my bag, now I have a lens I can trust and be happy with in a variety of situations...

Review of: S-M-C/Super Takumar 28mm F3.5 by hjoseph7 on Sun August 13, 2017 | Rating: 9 View more reviews 

Views: 343101
Reviews: 55
I was a little hesitant about purchasing this lens because of the variations in the ratings. Some people rated the sharpness as high as 10, while others rated the sharpness as low as 6, in any case I took a chance. For the money if I got a lemon, it wouldn't be that much of a deal since I paid less than $100 for it. This is my 3rd Takumar f3.5 series lens, I also own the 35mm and the 24mm. The 35mm is one of my favorite lenses, the 24mm not so much. The thing I found striking about this lens is the accurate colors it produces. Usually after I take a picture I take a quick peak at the LCD playback(chimping) to see if everything came out OK. With this lens the playback image was pretty close to real-life, the colors were so accurate. Sure this lens like all Takumars in the f3.5 series tends to over saturate the reds and the greens, but its not over done where the colors become toxic. Actually this saves me a step in post processing since I like the colors to look vibrant in my pictures. When it comes to sharpness I gave this lens an 8(wish I could give it an 8.5), but comparing it against the Takumar 35mm f3.5, the Pentax 35mm f2.8 macro and the FA 31mm f1.8, the 28mm is underwhelming. It will not give you that special "3D look" that the other lenses I mentioned will give you, although I only had it for a week and did not get a chance to test it under a variety of situations. However the sharpness is adequate enough and certainly does not deserve the low rating of '6' some users gave it(at least not my copy). Being that this lens is only a f3.5 and a wide angle, trying to squeeze any Bokeh out of it can be pretty challenging. Nevertheless, I did not see any harsh, or busy areas in the out of focus backgrounds when using it. Things looked relatively smooth to me. Again I only had this lens for a short time so my experience is limited. Some people might call this an "outdoor lens" because of its limited light gathering capacity, but this lens can also be used indoors if you boost the ISO a bit, somewhere around 400-800, or you can use flash. The soft corners I read about ? You really have to pixel-peep to find them even wide open, most of the time you wont even notice(at least I didn't). My copy came in almost mint-like condition, clean glass with a few small scratches on the casing here and there, but no fading of the paint or anything like that... So I can say I'm pretty satisfied for the price I paid for it. On a cropped camera like my K-5 II this lens gives me the equivalent of a 42mm lens on a FF, which is a little wider than my 35mm and 31mm, great for street photography. I found this lens easier to focus than all my other Takumar lenses, not sure why, but it seems to give you a little bit more leeway as to when the focusing light comes on and off. Also, anything past 20 feet will be in focus as compared to 30 feet on my other lenses. This makes it great for landscape photography since you only have to do minimal focusing if any at all. Point this lens anywhere near the sun and that's where the problems begin ! I have the Super Multi Coated version, but even then, pointing this lens at the sun will surely affect the contrast and colors in your pictures especially without a lens hood. If I had a choice, I would rate this lens "overall" at around 8.7. Adequate enough, but lacking in character as some of my other more renowned lenses. What I do like about it is that its easy to focus, it gives me a somewhat wider look than my other 30 somethings, the colors are accurate, it is really small and well built as most Takumar lenses are and being a manual lens it is quiet.

Review of: S-M-C/Super/Auto Takumar 35mm F3.5 by hjoseph7 on Sun July 30, 2017 | Rating: 9 View more reviews 

Views: 319309
Reviews: 70
This lens(SMC version) has been sitting in my bag for more than 2 years, so I decided to take it out for a spin. This has got to be one of my favorite Takumar lenses due to the sharpness, contrast and the color it renders. I have the 31mm Limited, the 16-45mm, the 35mm f2.8 Macro and the 20-40mm which all fall into that range, but when it comes to colors I think this lens beats them all. It is about as close as a Zeiss lens that you are going to get at this price range. Being a non-AF lens of course can be a little inconvenient if lets say you want to shoot moving subjects. This lens also has a pretty long focusing throw for a wide angle lens which makes it even more inconvenient. However, once it locks focus, the pictures are excellent. I didn't go out and just shoot a couple of flowers and proclaim this lens a "10" as many people do here. I took as many real life photos as I could and the lens performed wonderfully in most situations. I also have the Non-SMC Super Takumar version of this lens, but the SMC beats it when it comes to sharpness. Also the Super Takumar tends to flare more often when pointed at the sun. Another good thing about this lens is that it is very well preserved. I'm not sure if I just got lucky, but both of my copies look brand spanking new ! There are no scratches, dents or faded paint like you see with other Takumar lenses. Now for the bad, of course this is a Manual Focusing lens so if you are not into that, you might not like this lens very much. The lens is "Tiny", so setting the aperture can get a little fiddly if you have large hands, or are wearing gloves. The focusing ring is as smooth as butter though, which sort of makes up for it. Trying to get the focus confirmation light to work past F8 is almost impossible. If you want an aperture of f11, or f16 first you have to open up the lens then you must stop down. This makes this lens a "still-life" lens for sure, since it is not suited for action . Another thing is that the view finder is very dim when using this lens. I'm not sure why, maybe its the coatings ? This would probably make shooting at night, or in dim lighting situations very frustrating although I haven't tried it yet, so I'm just assuming. This lens with a maximum f3.5 aperture makes it rather slow, but the good thing is that even at f3.5 the lens is pretty sharp. I would say f8 is the sweet spot though. Other than that, this is a great little lens for "Pure Photography" ! The 35mm FL gives you the equivalent of a 50mm lens on an APS-C like my K-5 II. This makes it great as walk-about, or street photography lens. Also, because of the rich colors, the lens can double as a Landscape lens on a full frame. I would definitely get a hood especially if you have the Super Takumar version. Just get the 49mm metal hood that also fits the 55mm, and 50mm Takumar lenses on eBay and you are good to go.

Review of: SMC/S-M-C/Super-/Auto-/Takumar 55mm F1.8 by hjoseph7 on Thu July 23, 2015 | Rating: 9 View more reviews 

Views: 483144
Reviews: 83
Surprisingly great lens(1965: Super-Takumar 1:1.8/55 (second version)). I purchased this lens in almost mint condition for $35. I wasn't expecting much despite the stellar reviews but I got to admit, this lens is highly underrated. It is relatively sharp starting from f1.8 and then becomes razor sharp after that. I gave it a '9' as far as sharpness, but that's after comparing it to my 20-40mm and my 35mm Macro. I wish I could give it a 9.5 or something. For portraits it's absolutely great and gives me that extra 5mm missing from my 50m f1.4. So how does it compare to the very popular 50mm f1.4 ? This lens holds it's own and then some falling short by a slight amount of pixel dust and character coming from the f1.4. The build is about the same as the f1.4. Same old Takumar all metal frame, buttery smooth focus ring and snappy but tight aperture ring. The lens weighs a little bit more for its size than the DA and FA lenses, but I don't mind the weight at all. As a matter of fact it makes it feel as if I'm carrying a precise and expensive instrument in my hand not a toy(IMHO). How does it compare to the very popular 50mm f1.7 that in my opinion is highly overrated ? This lens is another league maybe not in sharpness, but in every thing else and I own both lenses. :D

Review of: SMC/S-M-C/Super Takumar 50mm F1.4 by hjoseph7 on Mon July 20, 2015 | Rating: 9 View more reviews 

Views: 778994
Reviews: 108
At first I was looking for the 8 element version of this lens, but decided to settle on this one because it was cheaper. My version is the non-SMC Super Takumar that came right after the 8 element was discontinued with part # 37800. Unfortunately my copy came with a small spot of Fungus on the inside of the lens elements. After some serious testing it was determined that it did not affect picture quality. Nevertheless, I was thinking about returning the lens due to the fungus which was not mentioned by the seller. That's until I decided to take a few pictures... Wow ! this lens let me use selective focus like the lenses of old. The Bokeh was very creamy and the transition between focused and unfocused areas was very smooth. The other thing I liked was the color rendition which was very saturated and accurate. Great for flower pictures ! Lucky for me my version did not come with any yellow tint that is reported often for this lens. The focusing ring was buttery smooth, although not as smooth as my 135 f2.5 and the aperture ring was tight and snappy. Another thing that amazed me was that after f2.8 this lens was razor sharp ! Between f1.4 and f2.8 however, you could produce Studio quality soft-focus, beautiful portraits without any software. Wow, this was too good to be true considering the price I paid for it, so I decided to keep it. I always wanted a 50mm that would outperform my DA 50mm f1.8 and this lens was certainly it ! Don't get me wrong the DA 50m is a good lens, but in my opinion it lacks that "wow" factor, this is why I seldom use it. The only problem I had with this lens was trying to focus in dim lighting with a small aperture. With the lens stopped down, the Focus Confirmation sometimes has trouble latching on to a subject. A few months after purchasing this lens my curiosity drove me to purchase the 8 element version which almost cost me twice as much as this one. I just had to know if everything that was said about the 8 element was true and if I was missing out on something. To my surprise, I could hardly tell the difference between both versions "so far" ? The 7 element is sharper wide open, but after f2.8, the 8 element is slightly sharper. The Bokeh looks about the same to me, some say the 8 element Bokeh is a little creamier... Either way you can't go wrong with any of these lenses they are both stellar in a Retro type of way, and highly recommended.:)

Review of: Super-Multi-Coated TAKUMAR/Super-Takumar 135mm F2.5 by hjoseph7 on Mon July 13, 2015 | Rating: 10 View more reviews 

Views: 274687
Reviews: 36
A few moths ago I purchased the "newer" version of this lens in a Bayonet mount thinking I could save some money by not having to purchase an Adapter. Unfortunately I was not very satisfied with that lens at all, especially being a manual prime lens, so I went on the used market again looking for a replacement. I finally ran into a 6/6 version(6 elements/ 6 groups) on ebay, at a very reasonable price so I went for it ! I could not be happier with this lens. Every thing that was said about it on the reviews is true. Optically my copy showed extreme sharpness starting from post f2.5 to f16. The colors were well rendered and accurate. Bokeh was rather smooth, but not overdone like on other telephoto lenses. The Multi-Coating is what really sets this lens apart from my previously purchased Bayonet mount which is now being used as a book-end, on one of the book shelves in my home. Not only can I point this lens in the direction of the sun without flaring, my pictures do not come out with that washed out look. Optically the lens is worth a lot more than I paid for it, physically this lens is also a gem. At least my copy is ! Made from all metal it's a little heavy, but it balances well on my K-5 II. The focusing ring is buttery smooth throughout and the aperture stops are snappy, but well damped. What more can I say ? I know it's not AF but the focusing aid on the K-5II helps a lot, to the point where you can easily catch moving objects once you get used to it.

Review of: Takumar 135mm F2.5 Bayonet by hjoseph7 on Fri May 8, 2015 | Rating: 8 View more reviews 

Views: 228306
Reviews: 67
I wanted a lens that would fit in the range between 100mm and 200mm. Since I rarely use a focal length above 100 except for sports and wildlife I wanted a cheap lens that would tide me over until I could afford the DA 200mm. The 135mm focal length is the equivalent of 200mm on a ASP-C sensor, which is about as far one can go without carrying a tripod/monopod. After reviewing a bunch of Manual lenses in the 135mm range, I took a chance and settled on this one because it had a K-mount. I didn't want to be bothered by the added expense of an adapter. I purchased this lens from KEH in practically brand-new condition which is not always good, because it could mean the owner ditched it before they even had a chance to get some dust on it. In any case, I was impressed by the build and weight of this lens ! Everything worked smoothly from focus ring to aperture. It took me a while to get the hang of using the Green button to get the aperture, but after a while it became fairly easy. You just have to remember to use it every time the light changes. Despite my eyes not being as good as they use to be, I was able to focus very easily with this lens. Although, the Focus Confirmation light really helped. Like others have said, this is not an easy lens. Depending on where you point it, it can flare up pretty badly. I would say avoid pictures with a lot of bright sky in them, or a lot of bright head-lights and you should be OK. The sharpness is a little duller than on some of my other lenses, but that can be easily improved by just bumping up the sharpness in the camera a notch or two. The contrast is not as good as some of my other lenses, but it's not really a show stopper, because you can boost the contrast inside the camera. Maybe a really good UV filter might also help. At first I was a little disappointed by the pictures tell you the truth, and was seriously thinking about sending the lens back, but after I did this(boost the sharpening/Contrast in-camera) things improved a lot. So I figured, why bother since it's only an intermediary lens anyway. Having said that, for less than 80 bucks I have a decent lens that will take me a little further than my Pentax 100mm f2.8. Optically there is no comparison between the 2 lenses, but that's because the 100mm is an extremely sharp modern Macro lens. The thing I like about this Takumar 135mm Bayonet however, is that it render images with that Retro look, that really smooth look that works great with portraits and certain subjects.

Review of: SMC Pentax-FA 31mm F1.8 AL Limited by hjoseph7 on Sun January 4, 2015 | Rating: 10 View more reviews 

Views: 354413
Reviews: 90
This is my favorite lens out of my collection of Pentax Limited and non-limited lenses. One of the reasons has to do with the focal length which is perfect for my style of shooting. The thing I noticed about this lens, unlike other lenses I own, is that it does not matter where you focus, or place the focusing-point, everything else in the image sort of falls into place in perfect harmony with the main subject that was singled out for focusing. It's hard to explain, but this lens acts like a more expensive Cinema lens than a DSLR lens . The colors are extremely accurate. I rarely have to tweak an image in PP with this lens. The images are great right out of the camera. Another great thing about this lens, is the magical way some of the pictures are rendered. Talk about thrills, you are left excitedly wondering how an image is going to come out, or you can't wait to get home to download an image because you know you nailed it. Even the most ordinary "snap shot" takes on this magical quality. I'm not sure if it has to do with the DOF, but the little added depth gives an image this realistic 3D quality instead of the 'Blahze' 2 dimensional images most of us are accustomed to. This 3D quality is also mentioned in regards to the much more expensive Leica and Carl Zeiss lenses, so the 31mm is in good company. I'm glad that Pentax could achieve this type of quality at a lower price, which by the way is still not cheap by any means. At first I balked about purchasing this lens since I already own the 16-45mm f4 , the 35mm f2.8 Macro and the 20-40mm f2.8-4 which all cover that range, but this lens is so unique, that it stands unchallenged on it's own. Now instead of choosing which lens I will use on a certain day, I choose which additional lens am I going to take with me to complement the 31mm which has been stuck on my camera ever since I got it.:) FYI- I gave this lens a Value of 9 because I purchased it Used, at a little under $800 in Mint condition. However, I think this lens is definitely worth more than that.

Review of: HD Pentax-DA 20-40mm F2.8-4 Limited DC WR by hjoseph7 on Thu December 25, 2014 | Rating: 9 View more reviews 

Views: 216865
Reviews: 54
First of all I can't give an extensive review for this lens since I only had it a couple of weeks. Maybe after a few months I'll update this review to give you a better perspective on how I feel about this lens. I have lusted for this lens for quite a while now, but the thing that held me back was the price. Due to the limited range and due to some negative reviews I was hesitant to fork over that much money for it. A few weeks ago I was looking at the BH website and saw that this lens was selling for only $574 Used in 9+ condition ! This was about the lowest price I had yet to see for this lens new or used, so I got it. I figured I could always send it back within 31 days if I did not like it. So, lately I have been testing this lens under as many real-life conditions as possible, hoping I would not have to send it back. Like I said, it's only been a few weeks if that many, but so far I'm pleasantly surprised. This lens is a marvel of engineering and so fits well with my K-5 IIs which is a marvel of it's own. First I will describe the Aperture which some people have complained about being too slow. At 20mm you can open up to f2.8, at 25-30mm f3.5, at 35-40mm f4.0. Not bad considering that even some limited primes within those focal ranges are not much faster. I compared the Sharpness of this lens against my 16-45mm f4 and 35mm Macro f2.8. The good thing about this lens is that it does not extend much from the body like my 16-45mm does. At 20mm it extends about 2/3 of an inch. at the other focal lengths it does not extend past 1/2 of an inch from the body. The distance scale on this lens is quite limited in that after 5 feet it goes straight to infinity with nothing in between, but that might have to do with lens design for zooms which I now little about From what I can tell, this lens is a tad sharper than my 16-45mm across all focal lengths except maybe the 30mm focal length, why I don't know ? What this lens got going for it, is the way it renders the colors and the contrast. Not artsy, not over-saturated, but amazingly life-like. At 35mm, my 35mm f2.8 Macro is sharper across the length of the frame, but to tell you the truth, there is not much difference between all 3 lenses unless you really pixel-peep. If you really want sharp though, set the camera to ISO 80. Then you start moving into 3D territory... Handling : Although this lens is supposed to be all metal, it is very light to the point where I think it's some kind of aluminum instead of real metal ? Nevertheless it is very well built, but I wish it had the heft of my other limited lenses just my opinion... The focusing is very well damped as well as the Zoom dial. So there is no problem there. One thing is the very fancy lens cap. I am so afraid that I might drop it and lose it (@$40) that I keep it in my left hand when shooting. This lens is light and well balanced enough for me to do that thankfully. Autofocus is nearly silent and pretty quick. You really have to put your ears pretty close to the camera to hear it. This is perfect for places like museums, operas, churches, funerals, where the loud buzzing whirl of other lenses might become annoying. One thing I noticed is that the AF is faster and much more accurate if you limit the auto focusing points. I set my AF to Sel Mode and only use one focusing point, so far this has worked best for me. Bokeh is reasonable mild/smooth a little better than on my 16-45mm, but not better than on my 35mm, or 77mm. I have not had the time to test this much so I can't say much about it. Aberrations: What I like about this lens is this new Pentax Anti Flare coating. This really helps when shooting into the light, not just sun light, I'm talking about street lights and car lights and things like that. This lens does not fall apart like my Limited and other lenses do in those conditions. Another thing I noticed though is that this lens produces a little bit more CA under certain circumstances than my 16-45mm. It could be my copy, but I'm still investigating. If you take all the features into consideration, not just pixel-peeping sharpness, this is a wonderful lens and a marvel of engineering. Time and experience will tell whether I will send it back, but so far so good.:)

Review of: SMC Pentax-DA 16-45mm F4 by hjoseph7 on Mon September 15, 2014 | Rating: 8 View more reviews 

Views: 408242
Reviews: 116
This is a surprisingly sharp lens and the color it produces is outstanding. This is my first Pentax lens, but I recently purchased the 50mm f1.8 and 35mm f2.8 macro. When comparing the 16-45mm against both these lenses the 16-45 holds its own and is about as sharp as the 50mm f 1.8. It does not do as well against the Limited 35mm especially in the corners. My copy wobbles a little but that does not affect picture quality. This lens is the opposite of most zoom lenses in that it extends for the shorter focal lengths. This took a little getting used to but is certainly not a deal breaker. So far, this is my favorite lens due to its flexibility and it stays on my camera most of the time. I just wish Pentax had made it a little longer maybe 16-50mm instead of 16-45mm then I really would have been happy. This lens uses the old screw mount AF so it can get pretty noisy, however it usually focuses fast with minimum hunting. Another added benefit is that you can focus pretty close to your subject about 8" I think. The close focusing allows you to produce pretty good Bokeh otherwise it would have been very difficult to produce Bokeh out of this lens with its somewhat slow aperture. * One more thing I should add after owning this lens for a little more than 6 months is that the anti-flare coating on this lens leaves much to be desired. Even with the hood on if you point the lens anywhere near the directions of the sun, the image loses a lot of contrast sometimes to the point where it is un-repairable in PP.

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