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Showing all 10 reviews by rdeloe

Review of: SMC Pentax-FA 645 150-300mm F5.6 ED [IF] by rdeloe on Thu March 5, 2020 | Rating: 10 View more reviews 
smc_Pentax-FA_645_150-300_4_5.jpg

Views: 35652
Reviews: 9
My Fuji GFX 50R serves mainly as a medium format back on a Toyo VX23D camera. Iím using Pentax 645 lenses with this setup because theyíre excellent and provide a large enough image circle for shifting and tilting. I also occasionally use my Pentax 645 lenses with a Fotodiox P645 to GFX tilt-shift adapter. Overall, this is an excellent lens. The extremely negative review it received from one reviewer is wildly out of line with my experience. Given the focal lengths it covers, itís a ďlightĒ 645 zoom lens. The hood mounts reversed, and the case is well made, so it transports well. Packed in its case it is a bit bulky, but thatís relative to the smaller Pentax 645 lenses I also use. When Iím not planning to do long lens work, but want a ďjust in caseĒ telephoto option, I carry my tiny SMC Pentax-A 645 150mm f/3.5. Otherwise this is now my go-to telephoto option. At the time of writing this review, my other Pentax 645 lenses are manual A lenses. I was concerned that manual focus would be a problem on this FA lens. Itís not. The focus ring isnít as smooth and pleasant to use as the A lenses, but itís perfectly fine. It has hard stops at either end, which I appreciate in the age of focus-by-wire lenses. I wouldnít mind a slightly stiffer zoom ring like the one on my SMC Pentax-A 645 45-85mm f/4.5. The zoom ring on the 150-300mm is not loose, but I have accidentally zoomed when changing the aperture in the tight space of my recessed VX23D board. In the focal lengths covered by this lens, I have two other telephoto lens against which I can compare this zoom: the SMC Pentax-A 645 150mm f/3.5, and the long end of the SMC Pentax-A 645 80-160mm f/4.5. I compared my copies of these lenses side-by-side at various distances and types of scenes. The 150-300 is quite a bit better at 150mm and 160mm than the 80-160. At f/5.6 the 150/3.5 is sharper, but from f/8 on the 150/3.5 and this 150-300/5.6 are very close. Depending on the scene I often think the 150-300 is a bit sharper and more contrasty. Depending on the scene, even f/5.6 pictures on my GFX 50R can be used because they respond very well to a bit of texture and contrast in Lightroom. At f/8 contrast and detail are much improved across the frame, and problems at the extreme edges have disappeared; f/11 is even better. I found f/16 to be very good and even f/22 is quite usable. I also evaluated resolving power of this 150-300mm zoom lens at 180mm, 200mm, 225mm, 250mm, and 300mm to see how it performed at all apertures between f/5.6 and f/22. Performance seemed the same as at 150mm, in other words, softer at f/5.6, much improved by f/8, excellent at f/11 and still very good at f/16. I have no complaints. Wide-open, the 150-300/5.6 can have extremely small amounts of chromatic aberration in some places (and I do mean extremely small); CA is effectively gone by f/8. The 150/3.5 has quite a bit more CA at f/5.6, and CA is still present at smaller apertures; thatís not to suggest the 150/3.5 has a major CA problem Ė it just has more than the 150-300/5.6. The lens may show a small amount of simple barrel distortion at 150mm. I didn't evaluate this at other focal lengths because it's so minor. As mentioned at the outset I use this lens as part of my tilt-shift outfit. I only tested shift performance at 150mm because the image circle doesnít change (see below). It offered excellent shift performance out to 10mm. Shifting 15mm is possible at the 150mm focal length, but itís starting to vignette. The SMC Pentax-A 645 150mm f/3.5 is a better shift lens; it provides excellent shifts out to 18mm with no noticeable vignetting from f/8 on. On my SMC Pentax-A 645 45-85mm, the image circle is smallest at 45mm, significantly larger at the mid-point of the zoom range, and then smaller again at the long end (but still larger than at 45mm). The image circle of the 150-300/5.6 does not change across the zoom range (which is a shame for shift purposes). One caution for people planning to use this lens on any kind of adapter: check for ďdroopingĒ that causes a bit of undesired tilt. On my setup, the lens mounts to my Toyo VX23D using the front part of a Fotodiox Pentax 645 to Fuji GFX adapter. Lighter lenses are held solidly by the springs in this adapter, but the 150-300/5.6 is both heavy and long. That combination overwhelms the springs in the adapter that are supposed to hold the lens mount flush to the adapter when itís mounted. My 45-85/4.5, which is also heavy, does not have this problem. I mitigated the drooping by tightening the springs on the adapter (an easy adjustment to the adapter if youíre comfortable taking it partially apart to get at the springs). Importantly, on my Fotodiox P645 to GFX tilt-shift adapter, the lens mounts properly and doesn't droop. All in all, I highly recommend this lens. Itís an excellent professional-grade photographic tool that is available for ridiculously low prices.

Review of: SMC Pentax 67 / SMC Pentax-6x7 45mm F4 by rdeloe on Sat September 28, 2019 | Rating: 9 View more reviews 
SMC_Pentax67_45mm_F4.JPG

Views: 91514
Reviews: 18
I needed a 45mm lens with a generous image circle that allowed for shifts and tilts on a 33mm x 44mm sensor (Fuji GFX 50R). I'm using the GFX 50R as a "medium format back" on my Toyo VX23D (a "technical camera" -- basically a scaled-down view camera with full movements on front and rear standard). The P67 45mm lens was the only good option I could find. The image circle on the P645 45mm lens is a bit tight (and that lens has performance issues); also, lenses that work well on technical cameras with flangeless medium format back don't fit on my setup because the GFX has such a longe flange distance (26.7mm). Mounting the P67 45mm lens on my Toyo camera was a bit of a challenge, but my solution works very well. I pulled the screws in the Pentax mount, and then used longer M1.7x8 screws to screw the lens directly to a flat lens board. Of course, you can also keep it simple and use it on a Fuji GFX camera with a tilt-shift adapter. I'm really pleased with how this worked out. I also use the Pentax-A 645 35mm f/3.5 on this camera. As others have noted, the P645 35/3.5 A is an excellent lens. It's definitely resolves a bit more than the P67 45mm, but that doesn't mean the P67 45mm is "soft". For my purposes, it's plenty sharp. More importantly, as a shift lens it's very good. I notice extremely little distortion when making shifts, even large ones; in contrast the P645 35mm has complex distortion that becomes obvious as you shift more, and is hard to fix. The P67 also allows for much more shift. I can get 10mm of good quality shift on my sensor with the P645 35mm lens, but the P67 45mm allows for up to 25mm (with noticeable illumination falloff at the edges, some correctable colour shifts, and purple fringing); very good 20mm shifts are possible, and 15mm shifts are usually excellent. That more than meets my needs. The Achilles's Heal of the P67 45mm is chromatic aberration, specifically strong purple fringing on large shifts. At 0mm (unshifted), there's none that I can see. At 15mm, a small amount is noticeable under some conditions. At 20mm, it can be quite strong, and at 25mm it's very strong. For context, a 25mm shift is double what a typical shift-adapter allows. If you're using a shift adapter that only allow 12mm of shift, you may never see the problem. Most of the time I'm able to clean up the CA in Lightroom with little damage to the image. As a bonus, the lens is quite small and light for a P67 lens, and very pleasant to use. My copy came with the clip-on lens hood. Although a bit flimsy, this design is perfect for my situation because it allows me to easily position the hood to align with the long edge of the sensor; on my camera the lens stays still and the camera is switched between portrait and landscape orientations, so the lens hood has to be able to switch orientations too. All in all, if you need a 45mm retrofocus shift lens on a 33mm x 44mm sensor, this is an excellent choice. Highly recommended.

Review of: SMC Pentax-A 645 75mm F2.8 by rdeloe on Tue August 23, 2016 | Rating: 10 View more reviews 
SMC_Pentax-A_645_75mm_F28.jpg

Views: 63979
Reviews: 15
On my Sony A7r this is a short telephoto lens. I bought it to use on a pair of Mirex tilt-shift adapters, so that I can get a full range of camera movements. It's an important part of my "light" kit (along with the 35mm and the 150mm, and sometimes the 55mm). All the reviewers who describe it as sharp and nice are absolutely right.... But the only reason I didn't give it top marks for sharpness is that the SMC Pentax-A 45-85mm f/4.5 that I also use (when I can carry more or need critical sharpness) is even better! The zoom is simply astonishingly sharp for a lens of its era. Unfortunately, the 45-85mm weighs a lot and is not as easy to carry around -- so I'm happy to also own the 75mm for times when I need an excellent lens that doesn't weigh a lot.

Review of: SMC Pentax-A 645 35mm F3.5 by rdeloe on Fri August 19, 2016 | Rating: 10 View more reviews 
SMC_Pentax-A_645_35mm_F35.jpg

Views: 84279
Reviews: 17
I'm using this lens on a Sony A7r with dual Mirex tilt-shift adapters. The first Mirex adapter is P645 to EOS, while the second is EOS to Sony E. I'm also using the SMC Pentax-A 645 55mm f/2.8, 45-85mm f/4.5, 150mm f/3.5, and 75mm f/2.8 -- plus some non-Pentax lenses. The 35mm f/3.5 is the best of the bunch. It shows a bit of barrel distortion, which corrects well in Lightroom if I feel the need. Sharpness across the frame is fantastic. It's a bit soft wide open, but it's quite usable at f/5.6, and outstanding at f/8 and f/11. I'll use it at f/16 in a pinch. I find that f/22 is loosing a lot of resolution to diffraction. Colour is typical Pentax. The lens is nice and contrasty to my eye. Bokeh isn't really what this lens is about. The large image circle of the 645 lenses relative to the size of the A7r sensor give me lots of room for camera movements. Through careful positioning of the adapters I've been able to get 17mm of rise and all the tilt needed to get everything sharp using the 35/3.5. One side benefit of these Pentax-A lenses is that they are easy to fix. My copy of the 35/3.5 came with a slightly wobbly focus ring. I heard a screw rattling around inside. It's easy to get access to the internals of the lens for cleaning and repair. I got mine back to perfect working order quickly and easily. Bottom-line: this is an outstanding lens. Its reputation is well-deserved. Highly recommended. =================================== I reviewed this lens a couple years ago when I used it on a Sony A7R with Mirex tilt-shift adapters (see above). My general opinion about the quality of the lens hasn't changed, but my setup has. In case anyone else wants to go down this path, I'm sharing some experiences. I'm now using it on a Fuji GFX 50R -- so a larger sensor: 33mm x 44mm. Additionally, I'm using it with a Toyo VX23D view camera so that I have a full range of camera movements. If you need a wide angle lens that can tilt and shift on a Fuji GFX 50R/S camera, I think this is your best choice until Fuji comes up with its own wide angle T/S lens. I compared the A version that I own to a good copy of an FA. The FA was slightly sharper in the central area of the frame, but slightly softer towards the edges. In a shift application, I think it's preferable to have even resolving power across the frame -- so the SMC Pentax-A 35mm was a good choice. It's also a bit smaller, lighter and cheaper than the FA 35. People who have used both the Mamiya C 35mm (N version) and this lens usually say that the Pentax is better; I have not tried the Mamiya, but it's an option. It is physically possible to shift the SMC Pentax-A 35/3.5 12mm on a shift adapter mounted to a GFX (or on a tech camera setup, e.g., my Toyo VX23D, or a Cambo Actus GFX). However, you probably won't be happy with the results. The 12mm shifted frame still falls within the image circle of the lens, but barely. Image quality at the edges on a 12mm shift on a 33mm x 44mm sensor is not acceptable in my view, except in cases where there's no detail at the edges (e.g., sky). Even a 10mm shift on a 33mm x 44mm sensor is problematic at the edges. Less than 10mm is fine. This means that the lens is not suitable for making uncropped flat-stitched 4:3 images using three frames (centre, shifted left 12mm, shifted right 12mm). Image quality may well be satisfactory if you crop into that 3-shot flat-stitched image. Things get more complicated when you use this lens on a technical camera like a Cambo Actus GFX or my Toyo VX23D. The Cambo has P645 lens mounts, so it's easy to attach. I had to build a custom mount for my VX23D. This involved some machining. The lens sits on the first 12mm of a Fotodiox P645 to GFX adapter. That piece of the adapter is attached to the deepest Toyo recessed lens board (model W4F 1640); the recess is about 27.5mm. This arrangement makes it awkward to operate the aperture ring, but it's manageable. You won't have this problem on a Cambo outfit. One complication when using the lens on a technical camera is that it has floating elements for improved close focus performance. For distances beyond about 1 metre, I put the lens on infinity and focus using the rear standard focus knob. The floating elements are not relevant at these distances, so it works extremely well. For distances less than 1 metre, you can focus this way, but edge quality is bad because the floating elements are not being used. The solution is to put the lens at the proper flange focal distance (i.e., the distance it would be from the film plane on a Pentax 645 camera), and then focus using the lens's focus ring. Using tilt changes the rules again. As tilt increases, it becomes necessary to set the focus ring to infinity and focus using the rear standard even when the nearest part of the image is closer than 1 metre. I expect this all sounds rather awkward -- and it is. However, it's worth it for me because I have not found another option in this focal length for good quality images on a technical camera that has a Fuji GFX 50R/S as the "sensor". There are much better short focal length lenses for digital view cameras, but they don't work on my setup because the Fuji GFX flange focal distance is 26.7mm; those lenses are designed for medium format backs where the FFD is basically 0mm. This is not a problem unique to my Toyo setup. Cambo Actus GFX users are in the same boat.

Review of: SMC Pentax-A 645 55mm F2.8 by rdeloe on Wed August 17, 2016 | Rating: 8 View more reviews 
SMC_Pentax-A_645_55mm_F28.jpg

Views: 55229
Reviews: 10
Note: The forum doesn't allow multiple posts. I've had this lens on two different sized sensors (full frame and 33x44mm), with two different experiences. I've downgraded my evaluation based on the GFX 50R experience, documented below, but I left the original review. On the Sony A7R This is a really good lens. I was nervous about buying one because reviews are not unambiguously positive, and it's not spoken of much outside this forum. I'm glad I took the chance. I wanted something faster and lighter than my fantastic 45-85/4.5 SMC Pentax-A 645 zoom. This fits the bill. Iím using this lens on a Sony A7r with a pair of Mirex tilt-shift adapters. The Pentax 645 to Canon EOS Mirex adapter plugs into a Canon EOS to Sony E Mirex adapter. Pentax-A 645 lenses on this setup give me a large range of camera movements. I tested this lens against an ISO 12233 chart, for close performance, a brick wall, for medium distance, and a distant landscape, for infinity. To get a comparative perspective, I duplicated all tests on my SMC Pentax-A 645 45-85mm f/4.5 at 55mm and my Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 55mm f/1.8 lenses (both terrific lenses). Colour is typical SMC Pentax-A 645. Bokeh is very smooth. In terms of sharpness across apertures, on my A7r, f/2.8 is not terrific. I'd describe it as soft and a bit "glowy". However, f/4 is much better (at all distances). It doesn't have a click stop in between f/2.8 and f/4, but you can still set a half-way aperture, and it's already much less soft and glowy than f/2.8. The best apertures are f/5.6 and f/8, at close, medium and infinity. However, I would not hesitate to use the lens at f/11 for critical work at any distance. Even f/16 is quite usable at all distances. I find that f/22 is too soft, even for emergencies (due to diffraction). The previous reviewer wrote about field curvature issues in the extreme corners when focused at infinity. I looked hard for this problem, but didnít notice anything I found objectionable or even unusual. To be fair though, I almost never focus at infinity because Iím using the lens with tilt-shift adapter (and I shoot a lot of landscape). The previous reviewer wrote also about difficulty hitting infinity with his copy. On my copy, I hit the infinity mark right at infinity Ė which is actually unusual in my kit. On my Mirex adapter, some of my other SMC Pentax-A lenses focus past infinity and some hit it bang on. The SMC Pentax-A 645 45-85mm f/4.5 is a really strong performer at 55mm, so itís a good baseline. The 55mm f/2.8 SMC Pentax-A 645 is on par. I really didnít see any significant differences at all distances and common apertures. Comparing against the Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 55mm f/1.8 reinforced for me how good that lens is. It might even be sharper in the centre than the 645 lenses at f/8. The Takumar doesnít have strong corner performance until f/8 Ė but it costs a fraction of what the 645 lenses cost. In conclusion, Iím glad I took a chance on the SMC Pentax-A 645 55mm f/2.8. Itís a nice addition to my set of 645 primes. ---------------------- EDIT: After additional real world use and some more testing and comparison against other lenses, I've determined that if you need absolutely every last bit of sharpness, use the SMC Pentax-A 645 45-85mm f/4.5. It's a bit sharper overall at 55mm (but honestly you really have to look closely at the test chart!). The 45-85mm lens is also a bit better in the corners than the 55mm. I compared both of these to the SMC Pentax-A 35mm f/3.5, and that's unquestionably better everywhere (centre, edges, corner). The bottom-line remains the same though: the SMC Pentax-A 645 55mm f/2.8 is a solid performer -- not as good as the 35mm f/3.5, but few lenses are. On the Fuji GFX 50R A lot of what I said for the A7R still holds true, especially the mechanical side. It is a very nice lens to use. Unfortunately, where it performed quite well on an A7R, it does less well on the larger GFX 50R sensor. It's quite sharp in the centre portion of the frame, but it never gets excellent in the corners. It's quite usable unshifted at f/11, but that's not really acceptable. Things don't improve when shifting -- the further you shift the worse it gets. It will shift 15mm in the long direction, which is very good. But the edges and corners get worse. If you're not shifting it, and you don't care about corner performance, then you can be happy with this lens. But I bought it to give me a light option at 55mm for my tilt-shift outfit, so I need solid image quality everywhere. This lens doesn't provide that. If you need something in the 55mm range in Pentax 645, get the 45-85mm f/4.5 zoom. It's an excellent performer on the GFX 50 sensor. I don't love the weight of the zoom, but it does not let me down. From f/5.6 on it's a strong performer from the centre to the corners, and image quality stays strong during shifts. My copy is an A.

Review of: SMC/S-M-C/Super-/Auto-/Takumar 55mm F1.8 by rdeloe on Sat August 13, 2016 | Rating: 10 View more reviews 
Super-Multi-Coated_TAKUMAR_55mm_F1_8.jpg

Views: 501128
Reviews: 84
I'm rating the Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 55mm/1.8. It came attached with a Spotmatic that I bought to get my daughter interested in film cameras. I already owned an SMC Takumar 55/1.8 (the later version). My Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 55mm/1.8 is either a rare and special one... or this lens design as a whole is just incredible. I simply cannot believe how good this lens is even on my Sony A7r, which is unforgiving. It's not really usable at f/1.8 (soft, glowy, bad corners). Even f/2.8 is a bit dodgy. By f/4 the centre is nice and sharp, but corners are still soft. By f/5.6 I'm only worried about extreme corners if something really important is happening there. By f/8 I'm not worried about the corners anymore. Incredibly, it's still entirely usable at f/16; there's definitely a bit of diffraction, but if I need depth of field more than I need sharpness I'll use f/16 and be happy. I find the out of focus areas to be a bit nervous. There's a bit of purple fringing at f/1.8, which is gone by f/4. Like the other Takumars in this design, it's an all metal beauty. The focus ring is beautifully damped and the aperture ring clicks smoothly. In comparison, my SMC Pentax K lenses feel rough and clunky. My main 55mm lens is my SMC Pentax-A 645 45-85mm, which weighs a ton and lives on my Mirex tilt/shift adapters. The Takumar 55/1.8 is my everyday lens. I did a side-by-side comparison recently, and yes, the professional-grade 645 lens is of course better in every way -- but the Takumar is still amazingly good. I wouldn't hesitate to use it for critical work if I didn't have my big 645 handy.

Review of: S-M-C/Super/Auto Takumar 35mm F3.5 by rdeloe on Sat August 13, 2016 | Rating: 9 View more reviews 
SMC_Pentax_Takumar_35mm_F35.jpg

Views: 331713
Reviews: 70
I'm rating the Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 35mm/3.5, as used on Sony A7 and A7r cameras. I got it for a good price, but had to buy the hood separately. You will want the hood to cut down on flare and ghosting. This is a really nice lens. Colour and contrast are very nice -- classic Takumar. The lens is a joy to use. Aperture and focus turn smoothly and it's easy to focus. It's soft at f/3.5, usable at f/5.6, excellent at f/8, very good at f/11 and (remarkably) still usable at f/16. I compared it to my main 35mm lens (SMC Pentax-A 645 25mm/3.5), and the Takumar is a credible contender. I carry it with me when I want to travel light.

Review of: S-M-C/Super Takumar 24mm F3.5 by rdeloe on Sat August 13, 2016 | Rating: 0 View more reviews 
SMC_Pentax_Takumar_24mm_F35.jpg

Views: 134511
Reviews: 13
I owned the Super-Multi-Coated version. The harsh rating is for use on a modern digital camera (Sony A7 and A7r). I can't speak to how this lens does on film. Mechanically, this is a very nice lens. The ergonomics aren't quite as good as the 28mm Takumar, but it's still a joy to hold. I loved it, and I really wanted it to be a lens I could use. Unfortunately, I had to sell it again because it was weak on my camera in comparison to other film era 24mm lenses I used (Canon FD -- prime and zoom). Optically, it's better than the 28mm (which is terrible on a modern digital sensor), but not nearly as good as the Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 35mm/3.5, which is still entirely usable today.

Review of: S-M-C/Super Takumar 28mm F3.5 by rdeloe on Sat August 13, 2016 | Rating: 6 View more reviews 
Pentax_Super_Takumar_28mm_F35_Early_Version.jpg

Views: 355479
Reviews: 55
I owned the Super-Multi-Coated version. The harsh rating is for use on a modern digital camera (Sony A7 and A7r). I can't speak to how this lens does on film. Mechanically, this was the nicest lens in my bag. The build quality is outstanding. The ergonomics are incredible. It's a joy to hold. I loved it, and I really wanted it to be a lens I could use. Unfortunately, I had to sell it again because it was just terrible on my camera in comparison to the SMC Pentax K 28mm and the Canon FD 28mm, which I also had.

Review of: SMC Pentax-A 645 45-85mm F4.5 by rdeloe on Tue May 24, 2016 | Rating: 9 View more reviews 
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Views: 23445
Reviews: 3
This underappreciated lens is a very strong performer. I'm using it on a Sony A7R with dual Mirex adapters; one adapter gets me from Pentax 645 to Canon EOS, and the second adapter gets me from Canon EOS to Sony E. This allows for considerable camera movements (shifts, tilts, rises, falls). The lens is excellent at all focal lengths except 85mm, where it just a bit softer (but still absolutely fine). Wide open (f/4.5) there's a bit of chromatic aberration, but that starts to clear up nicely by f/5.6 and is effectively gone by f/8. Unsurprisingly diffraction is a serious problem at f/32. I'll use f/22 if there's no choice, and I won't think twice about shooting at f/16. The sweet spot is around f/8 to f/11. Across focal lengths and f-stops, corners are a touch softer, but not enough to cause me any concern in normal shooting as opposed to ISO test charts. Mechanically the lens is typical Pentax-A 645: solid, well built, and smooth. It uses separate zoom and focus rings, which I like. At every focal length on the zoom scale you can find sharper lenses with marginally better IQ. For example, my Voigtlander 90mm SL is unbelievable sharp at every aperture. However, this is nitpicking. The Pentax-A 645 45-85mm f/4.5 is an excellent all-arounder lens, and if you want to use it for tilt-shift photography it's an excellent addition to your bag. I also own the even sharper Pentax-A 645 35mm lens and the very capable Pentax-A 645 150mm lens. The three together give me a huge range of camera movements on an outstanding digital sensor when those are needed. The only thing you really have to watch for is flare. I don't have the lens shade (yet). Severe degradation of image quality results from flare because the big front element is not recessed at all. This is easily controlled with my wide brimmed hat!



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