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Showing all 18 reviews by edmundrt

Review of: SMC Pentax-M 50mm F1.4 by edmundrt on Fri January 27, 2017 | Rating: 9 View more reviews 

Views: 515161
Reviews: 105
There's little that remains to be said about this lens. Sharp (my copy is even sharp wide open as long as you nail focus), very pleasant rendering, great bokeh, lovely M series handling and great value. On the negative side, you have to contend with a fair amount of colour fringing especially at wider apertures, and this is true of all Pentax 50/1.4s up to and including the FA. It's also a little heavier than its f1.7 and f2 counterparts. It's a very capable lens, although in my opinion the manual focus 50 to have remains the A50/1.7 - easier metering, lighter, startlingly sharp and very little fringing.

Review of: SMC Pentax-FA 100mm F2.8 Macro by edmundrt on Thu January 5, 2017 | Rating: 9 View more reviews 

Views: 158854
Reviews: 28
I got mine cheaply used with the common haze problem on the inner elements. This actually affects the image quality very little, with a little halo wide open that disappears by f4. Sharp enough at f4, excellent by f5.6 with a real 3D pop. Still very sharp for macro from f11-f22, and capable of great bokeh once you get close. Focusing is noisy with the screwdrive, but pretty fast for a macro lens. The limiter is useful and the clamp on my copy doesn't work. AF is accurate on both the K-S2 and the film MZ-6. This lens really suffers with fringing on high contrast edges, especially at wider apertures, but these are easy to remove in post-processing so it's not too bad. What is worth pointing out is that this is a properly heavy and fairly long lens - it feels unbalanced on the K-S2. It is nearly twice the weight of the modern DFA100WR, so if you want to walk about with this lens or take it travelling you may want to consider that. But as long as you can get one for a good price, the FA still represents great value. A quick non-macro sample to give you an idea of this lens' rendering (K-S2, f8, ISO100)

Review of: SMC Pentax-M 28mm F3.5 by edmundrt on Mon December 19, 2016 | Rating: 8 View more reviews 

Views: 196842
Reviews: 48
Not much remains to be said about this lens - it's a good 28mm, nice colours and the build is typical fantastic M series. On film it does a great job at the classic 28mm focal length and I have no complaints. On digital, it's a little more complex. On the older K-m this lens is a stunner and it's a combo I use often - something about the old but colourful 10mp sensor and this bright little lens just makes them a perfect match. Put it on the 20mp K-S2, however, and things start to fall apart - zoom in and even at f8 images look noticeably unsharp everywhere except from the centre, even with the APS-C crop. That is hardly a valid criticism, however - this lens was designed the best part of 40 years before the K-S2 came out, so unless Pentax's designers were particularly forward thinking, they certainly didn't do a bad job. Thus, I recommend this lens, but with certain caveats - namely, if you're using a newer 20mp+ digital camera, you may want to look elsewhere in this focal length. But for the film users, and those (like me) who like to pair their classic glass with an older digital body, this lens will be a valuable addition to your arsenal.

Review of: SMC Pentax-M 75-150mm F4 by edmundrt on Thu November 10, 2016 | Rating: 9 View more reviews 

Views: 161204
Reviews: 54
75-150 is a golden range in the M series anyway - the 85mm, 100mm and 135mm prime lenses are all lovely. This lens is much the same. Everything that can be said has been said, so I will simply agree with it - image quality is great, handling is superb and the focal length really does work for walking around, particularly street shooting. What surprised me when I first got hold of the lens was its compactness, and the fact that it is entirely internal zooming - the barrel does not extend at all when you slide the zoom mechanism. If I had to pick holes, I'd mention that there's a little fringing (but no more than any other old lens, and less than some new ones), and that the built in hood is a bit short to be really effective. But Camera RAW and Lightroom exist for a reason, and metal tele lens hoods are silly cheap. As is this lens, so get out, buy one and enjoy it.

Review of: SMC Pentax-FA 50mm F1.4 by edmundrt on Sun November 6, 2016 | Rating: 9 View more reviews 

Views: 454098
Reviews: 152
I like this lens. I was lucky enough to grab one here in Japan for a very good price in very good condition, and I've given it a good workout on my K-S2 over the last two weeks, including a whole afternoon's portrait shooting. My first observation would be that this lens is still good at f1.4, it really is just a matter of nailing focus. Centre AF points on DSLRs are only optimised for f2.8, so it's important to remember that the camera may well not nail it every time. When it does, though, it's possible to take some ace portraits wide open with this lens. Stopped down it gets very sharp, and bokeh is still acceptable - blades aren't rounded, but there are plenty of them. Colours are Pentax perfect and personally I don't mind the lens being plastic - it keeps it nice and light as a combination with my K-S2, and I don't have any concerns about its build quality. On the negative side, the AF does sometimes hunt if it can't grab onto a a really clear subject first time - my F50/1.7 exhibits the same behaviour, so I'm not going to single this one out for too much criticism. This lens, as you will read elsewhere, does also suffer with some fringing, but I have found it easy to remove in post. Overall, this lens is worth it, although I wouldn't pay too much more than I did for it, especially as the DA50/1.8 is very very good for less. f1.4:

Review of: SMC Pentax-A 50mm F1.7 by edmundrt on Tue October 11, 2016 | Rating: 10 View more reviews 

Views: 486299
Reviews: 137
There isn't much left to say about this lens, apart from to reiterate how brilliant it is and what great value it represents. Performs wonderfully with every film and sensor, smooth handling, nice bokeh, A setting for easy DSLR use, and ever so cheap. In many ways, the perfect fast 50.

Review of: SMC Pentax-DA L 18-50mm F4-5.6 DC WR RE by edmundrt on Fri September 2, 2016 | Rating: 9 View more reviews 

Views: 50379
Reviews: 17
It should tell you a lot that I replaced the 18-135 I got as a kit with my K-S2 with this lens. The 18-135 was not worth the large amount of money I paid for it - terrible CA and edge and corner performance, heavy and unbalanced on the K-S2. This lens is better in every regard optically, and is much lighter too. The only point at which I've found the kind of fringing that annoyed me on the 18-135 at every focal length is at 18mm on very high contrast edges, and it's been very easy to correct using ACR. The focusing is silent and fast, and the WR is very nice to have too. Overall rendering and sharpness won't set the world alight but it is good, particularly for the price. Distortion is present at wide angles but is easy to correct in software. The handling is ok, although I'm rather undecided about the retractable barrel. The compactness is great, and makes the camera easy to pop in a bag when you want to take it out. Extended, it is pretty solid - I haven't noticed any barrel wobble. The retraction itself is a little clumsy though - the turn is a little too far for one twist of the wrist, and it sometimes binds a little on the retraction if you don't release the button as soon as you're past the 18mm mark. I also worry that I might smack the small, exposed extended end on something. Overall, I like this lens quite a lot. It certainly makes a better kit than the 18-135 - save yourself the money with this one and buy a second, better lens for longer focal lengths.

Review of: SMC Pentax-DA 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 AL by edmundrt on Wed August 31, 2016 | Rating: 7 View more reviews 

Views: 147952
Reviews: 92
For what it is, this lens is good. It's inexpensive, light and it produces nice images with good colours. If you pixel peep it won't astound you, it vignettes a little, and it feels a bit cheap compared to some other Pentax lenses (it is cheap, however). Good things about the green-striped DA version are quick-shift focusing and supplied hood which does a good job. There's not a huge amount to say about this lens really, except that it does what it's supposed to in a competent way. If you've got it it makes a useful walk around lens, especially if you want a light package. Don't spend more than 30/$50.

Review of: SMC Pentax-DA 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 ED AL [IF] DC WR by edmundrt on Fri August 26, 2016 | Rating: 6 View more reviews 

Views: 522215
Reviews: 130
When I got this lens in a kit with my K-S2, I wanted to love it but I just can't bring myself to. The silent focusing is nice, the WR is convenient and the range is pretty good. But it is expensive, especially bought on its own, and the lack of corner sharpness and horrific fringing which seems to be a different colour in every photo and is often hard to completely remove in Camera RAW, mean that I look at a lot of photos thinking how good they could have been if I hadn't used this lens - even if I'd had to use a shorter but better lens and crop. It also makes the K-S2 front heavy, and it hangs awkwardly off the strap. You would expect some compromises in a long range zoom, and I accept that, but my copy of this lens, at least, does badly compared to my Tamron 18-200 Di II. The Tamron also struggles with fringing, but its corners are much better and it cost a third of the price of this lens. My 1st generation 18-55 gives the same quality photos as the 18-135 within that range. If this lens was cheaper, I would overlook a lot more of its optical issues. But since it commands such a price premium over other long range zooms and the 18-50, I can't recommend this lens at current prices.

Review of: SMC Pentax-A 50mm F2 by edmundrt on Sat August 13, 2016 | Rating: 9 View more reviews 

Views: 208397
Reviews: 71
This lens (along with its M sibling) gets a bad rep, which seems to be mainly based on the fact that it's slower and cheaper. It really is still an excellent lens. Sharp (in fact, sharper and more usable wide open than my A50/1.7), nice bokeh, lovely Pentax handling and colours, and so tiny it's essentially pocketable. The A50/1.7 is probably my favourite Pentax 50mm prime, but if I only had the f2 version instead I certainly wouldn't be complaining. Wide open on K100D:

Review of: SMC Pentax-F 50mm F1.7 by edmundrt on Sat August 13, 2016 | Rating: 9 View more reviews 

Views: 300415
Reviews: 92
Takes lovely photos. Softish wide open but quickly sharpens up from f2.8 onwards, super crispy at f5.6 or f8. Classic Pentax colours and rendering that just makes you smile. Some color fringing wide open, bokeh can be a little bit scratchy thanks to the 6 blade aperture (but that's no different to its M or A series predecessors), but in general this is a lens that just produces keeper after keeper. Cons: the filter/hood ring is notoriously flimsy and the one on mine is broken. This is not a problem for me since I am not a heavy filter user and I find the front element to be well enough recessed to do without a hood. However, if you are a heavy CPL or ND filter user you might want to avoid this one because it will probably break eventually. I have seen them with the standard ring fully removed and an empty filter ring or step-up ring glued on in its place. Secondly, this lens sometimes hunts like mad while autofocusing - this happens on all the cameras I've tried it on (I also tested it against the DA50/1.8, which doesn't hunt like this one). This is a bit annoying but not enough to stop me from rating it 9 for the lovely images it produces. Overall highly recommended.

Review of: SMC Pentax-FA 28-80mm F3.5-5.6 by edmundrt on Tue August 9, 2016 | Rating: 8 View more reviews 

Views: 87147
Reviews: 17
This lens is nothing special, but for the price you can't complain. It is not the crispest or sharpest lens, it's a bit slow at the long end and it feels cheap. But it is cheap, really cheap. And for that cheapness you get very nice Pentax colours, quick and snappy AF, decent bokeh when you close focus and a lens that you won't mind bashing around in a bag. Don't go out looking for this lens, but if you see one going cheap then it's certainly worth snapping up.

Review of: SMC Pentax-A 35-105mm F3.5 by edmundrt on Tue August 9, 2016 | Rating: 10 View more reviews 

Views: 276142
Reviews: 73
There's not much more to be said about this lens, so I'll just concur that it's brilliant. It's heavy but that's the price you pay for constant aperture, good zoom range and tasty metal construction - it handles much better on beefier cameras that balance it out nicely. I find the handling of the lens itself to be uniformly good and I actually like the slide up into macro/close focus feature - it's much nicer than having to shove through a bump stop at the end of the zoom range on many other Pentax zooms. It's also available at all focal lengths. The image quality that this lens puts out is simply stunning, particularly the 3D 'pop' of the photos. Contrast and sharpness is uniform and good wide open, bitingly crisp from f5.6 onwards on both digital and film.. No particularly unpleasant fringing or distortion. Although it's relatively expensive for an old zoom lens, what this lens gives you makes it the bargain of the A series range. I can't think of anything that would make me advise against buying it. I wavered for ages, but as soon as I took the first few shots with it I knew I had something special in my hands.

Review of: SMC Pentax-DA 40mm F2.8 XS by edmundrt on Sun July 31, 2016 | Rating: 10 View more reviews 

Views: 165745
Reviews: 46
This lens is a gem. So light and compact, it makes small cameras like the MZ-10 almost pocketable. The focal length is nice both on APS-C and film, and the lens works fine on all film cameras from the A series onwards. It's worth using on them, too, since the focusing ring, while small, is pleasantly damped and f2.8 is easily bright enough to focus using a split image. The focus throw is very short (presumably to help it focus on the K-01 for which it was designed) but this isn't a problem in practice for manual focusing, and means the AF is very snappy. Image quality is fantastic right from f2.8 - sharp and clear with great colours and nice bokeh, which remains pleasant when stopped down, thanks to the rounded blades. I really feel like I can't recommend this lens enough - it's an absolute steal at current prices, even here in the UK where gear tends to be a bit more expensive. If you see one, grab it.

Review of: SMC Pentax-M 100mm F2.8 by edmundrt on Sun July 31, 2016 | Rating: 10 View more reviews 

Views: 215782
Reviews: 50
Sharp and contrasty pictures from f2.8, compact, classic M series quality, ideal for portraits, flowers and longer street shooting (I use it for street with black and white film a lot, and it really shines). Even for 100 in Exc+ condition I think it's a bargain. Definitely recommended. Get a cheap 49mm tele hood for best results. K1000, Fomapan 100, f4:

Review of: SMC Pentax-DA L 50-200mm F4-5.6 ED WR by edmundrt on Wed July 13, 2016 | Rating: 9 View more reviews 

Views: 66296
Reviews: 11
Punches well above its price. Image quality is consistently good (I have found that f9 is its sweet spot), not bad wide open either, AF is quick and accurate on my K-7 and K-S2, the supplied hood is effective and WR makes it an easy companion when you want to venture outside and need some telephoto reach. It's plasticky but that means it's light, and for the price I'm really not going to complain about that. People often recommend the 55-300, which I'm sure is also an excellent lens, but don't discount this pocket rocket, especially since it's such a bargain.

Review of: SMC Pentax-M 135mm F3.5 by edmundrt on Sun February 22, 2015 | Rating: 10 View more reviews 

Views: 366028
Reviews: 107
I bought this lens for 10, and I don't think I've ever known better value. My copy is quite dirty, dusty inside and a bit beaten up, but it takes the loveliest pictures. There is just something lovely about its rendering - the colours are great and images are sharp straight out of the camera. Meters perfectly using green button on my K-01. Obviously bokeh isn't incredible, but it's perfectly nice for what the lens is. Absolutely no complaints handling-wise, either. Usual M-series quality and very compact, too. I love this lens and given the prices it goes for, it's not hard to recommend it. f8, 1/125, ISO100 on K-01:

Review of: SMC Pentax-M 200mm F4 by edmundrt on Thu July 24, 2014 | Rating: 9 View more reviews 

Views: 245309
Reviews: 65
I picked up a boxed, new old stock example of this lens in a charity shop last weekend for 20. It seemed like it was probably bought as part of a kit many years ago and never saw any use. The glass and body are spotless, so I really feel like I'm reviewing an untainted lens here. And boy, was it worth that 20. With the built-in hood extended colours and contrast are well controlled and my copy is sharp enough at f4, and faultless from f5.6 onwards. The aperture and focus rings have that usual solid Pentax feel, and are a pleasure to operate. This lens' appeal lies not only in its image quality but the feeling that you are handling a precision instrument. Find one of these for a good price and it's an invaluable addition to a lens collection. Sample images taken on an Olympus E-510 with a K mount adapter.

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