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Old Apr 17, 2007, 1:32 PM   #11
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i have the 50-200 and have been generally satisfied although I haven't had a chance to really put it through its paces.

I have used the 18-55 a lot. In many situatuions, I have been very pleased. Others not so much, but it's better than all the other kit lenses. And much better quality than the nikon superzoom kit (18-135?) but that's a given because of the smaller zoom range.

The 200$ Pentax 50mm/1.4 completely outclasses every competing 50mm.

The 250$ Pentax Limited 40mm is referred to as "brutally sharp" and is a pancake lens..... AFAIK no other manufacturer offers anything like it at that price.

The other limited lenses, $600 and up generally stand alone in terms of build and image quality.

If you go to previous generations (manual focus), you generally can't go wrong. Some of the best glass out there and it works with the latest greatest DSLRs. And they can be had for pennies on the dollar.

Pentax has got plenty of stinkers too. Some older zooms (100-300 for example) have been fairly awful, but then, you can find them for under a hundred bucks.

Next generation of pentax lenses (DA*) appears to be very good from some of the pics posted, but starting at 800 bucks isn't what I'd call cheap.

Anyway, long story short, you can get a lot for your money and can easily use 50 year old lenses you can buy for chump change, something no other manufacturer can claim. For example, I bought a soviet "Industar" 50mm/f3.5 lens. It is TINY. and the image quality is excellent. It cost me 10 bucks. But then, manual focus kinda stinks when you've used autofocus before.


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Old Apr 17, 2007, 2:49 PM   #12
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There is no sensible answer to this.

All manufacturers make better and worse lenses. Price is a reasonable approximation of how good they are, taking all characteristics into account.


P.S. I get so utterly bored with the Pentax marketing ploy (that all the Pentax owners seem to repeat ad-nauseum) that you can use any of the lenses they have ever made - now upwards of 80 million. Well guess what? Canon have made over 100 million lenses since they changed to the EF autofocus mount in 1987, you can use any of those on current EOS bodies and ALL of them are autofocus.


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Old Apr 17, 2007, 6:45 PM   #13
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Roughly how long have Pentax and Canon eachbeen making lenses that are designed for digital SLR sensors?
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Old Apr 18, 2007, 1:48 AM   #14
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I think you're missing the point. Your question follows from the premiss that it is possible to say one brand is better than another. That premiss is flawed and your question is therefore meaningless.

You simply cannot say that one BRAND is better than the other. Both manufacturers make some fantastic lenses and some stinkers. How much money you are willing to pay is far more relevant than which brand you choose.

If you have a specific focal length in mind you may be able to make some meaningful comparisons. You should also keep in mind that Sigma, Tamron and Tokina all make some fine lenses too (as well as some rubbish) and they make them in Nikon, Canon and Pentax mounts. For a given set of requirements; price, focal length, speed, etc. It may be possible to say that Pentax lens X is better than Canon lens Y, but Sigma may have a lens Z that is better than both.
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Old Apr 18, 2007, 7:11 AM   #15
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peripatetic wrote:
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I think you're missing the point. Your question follows from the premiss that it is possible to say one brand is better than another. That premiss is flawed and your question is therefore meaningless.

You simply cannot say that one BRAND is better than the other. Both manufacturers make some fantastic lenses and some stinkers. How much money you are willing to pay is far more relevant than which brand you choose.

If you have a specific focal length in mind you may be able to make some meaningful comparisons. You should also keep in mind that Sigma, Tamron and Tokina all make some fine lenses too (as well as some rubbish) and they make them in Nikon, Canon and Pentax mounts. For a given set of requirements; price, focal length, speed, etc. It may be possible to say that Pentax lens X is better than Canon lens Y, but Sigma may have a lens Z that is better than both.
Thanks for your input peripatetic! The reason why I asked for a comparion between similarly priced and focal length Canon and Pentax lenses is because I recently purchased a K100d, I bought it because after spending a long time researching dSLRs, I concluded that while the K100d is by no means the best camera, for the money it does a great job and the I liked thefact that it can use older lenses, allowing one to buy good, cheap older lenses. However, now I have learned that newer lenses are specifically designed to work with digital sensors and that theytypically outperform the older lenses. So, considering this, Iaskedthe questionif you only consider Pentax lenses that are actually designed for digital sensors, is the Pentax still the very affordable deal I thought it was? And, additionally, I wonder howlong (and how many)Canon has sold lenses designed for digital sensors. I assume that Canon has been making lenses designed specifically for digital sensors for much longer than Pentax has, thus I would figure that there are many more used Canon made-for-dSLR lenses than used Pentax made-for-dSLR lenses. If this is the case, when looking at usedmade-for-dSLR, I wonder if perhaps Canon would actually be at worst the same cost to buy (used made-for-dSLR)lenses for. Either way, I love my K100d, yet before I begin to invest money into good lenses and such, I want to completely understand where Pentax stands amongst the competition. I thought I understood this when I made my purchase, but I failed to realize the complexity of all the various factors when it comes to dSLR photography.
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Old Apr 18, 2007, 7:33 AM   #16
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Contriver wrote:
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However, now I have learned that newer lenses are specifically designed to work with digital sensors and that theytypically outperform the older lenses.
I would say this is true of CONSUMER GRADE lenses. And it is true in the sense that the newer lenses are SHARPER. Sharpness is not the only factor in performance. The top end lenses fron Canon, Nikon, Sony, Pentax whoever made for full frame cameras are FANTASTIC lenses. Which is, of course, why pros still use those lenses. So, I wouldn't disregard full-frame lenses at all. The comments being made here are right on the money - you CANNOT make global categorizations. Don't get caught up in the hype that only made-for-DSLR lenses are worth buying. That's complete rubish. Every lens I use is full-frame (for a number of reasons) and I am confident they're of the same quality as images taken from other shooters of similar skill using made-for-digital lenses.

By the way - I'm not bashing the made-for-digital lenses at all. The concept makes great sense - why put more glass in there then you actually need. I'm just saying I think you're worrying over nothing. Heck, all those great Pentax lenses you can get cheaply are full frame.

The question you SHOULD be asking is: for your next lens or lenses, what are the requirements. Then see whether or not you can get the lenses in Pentax. For example, say you love shooting wildlife. OK, reach is a huge issue there - you need at least 300mm, preferably 400mm or even longer. Focus speed is also critical. So, you would start looking at specific lenses that were 300mm or 400mm and have a good reputation for fast focusing (and don't let people mislead you - focus speed is also an attribute of the lens not just the camera). Or let's say you like shallow-DOF portrait work. Well, max aperture is key there. As is the BOKEH the lens produces - the quality of the background blur. Guess what? You won't see that plotted on an MTF chart. But it makes a big difference in REAL WORLD performance.

So, I'd suggest figuring out what you need out of your future lenses in a more specific nature - then look for specific lenses that fit your needs. Then see if Pentax has them available (either thru their own lenses or third party). If so, then don't sweat what they don't have that you don't need. And don't be mislead into thinking that just because it's made for full frame it's inferior. In real world performance, MTF charts are only part of the equation.
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Old Apr 18, 2007, 7:34 AM   #17
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TCav wrote:
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Comparing a top-of-the-line Pentax lens with a consumer grade Canon lens is hardly fair, andit ignores the excellent lenses available from third parties for both cameras. When you buy a dSLR, you're not just buying a camera and a lens, you're buying the first part of what might become a system, and it is the merits of those systems that should guide your purchasing decision, not one very small piece of the available systems.
However Pentax can say one thing Canon can not.... their current K DSLRS can use virtually ANY lens EVER made for Pentax... and some of that old glass is REAL fine, and can be found used cheap. ... if you don't mind manual focus, or you want to go to the real old, full manual.

And like you said plenty of third party stuff (like Sigma/Tamron) that is quite decent, and good value stuff to if not an anal perfectionist (or pro that can cost it off), that doesn't think twice about spending 3x camera cost on one lens.

I have a P K10D and a couple of current AF zooms but also a number of old A series primes now.
(meaning AE but manual focus) and that's not a biggie when you are talking $20 for a fast 2.0 normal- standard wide (50-28mm) prime lens.. ZOOM and MF can be messy/tricky, but a just MF prime is easy.... and sharper and faster


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Old Apr 18, 2007, 7:45 AM   #18
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peripatetic wrote:
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P.S. I get so utterly bored with the Pentax marketing ploy (that all the Pentax owners seem to repeat ad-nauseum) that you can use any of the lenses they have ever made - now upwards of 80 million. Well guess what? Canon have made over 100 million lenses since they changed to the EF autofocus mount in 1987, you can use any of those on current EOS bodies and ALL of them are autofocus.
Yup same with Pentax.... just you can also use all the lenses that virtually go back to just post WWII Japanese reconstruction emergence of these companies too. Canon (nor youngster in the US Nikon) CAN'T say that. (Though ODDLY enough there ARE (3rd party of course) PENTAX M42 adapters for BOTH.... so even the Big Boys appreciate the old Pentax glass)

And by the way AF is often as much a hiderence as it is a help, so personally especially with a prime lens MF is no big issue.... really preferable in a DOF complex shot.
(Where AF often irritatingly screws up)
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Old Apr 18, 2007, 8:09 AM   #19
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JohnG wrote:
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Contriver wrote:
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However, now I have learned that newer lenses are specifically designed to work with digital sensors and that theytypically outperform the older lenses.
I would say this is true of CONSUMER GRADE lenses. And it is true in the sense that the newer lenses are SHARPER. Sharpness is not the only factor in performance. The top end lenses fron Canon, Nikon, Sony, Pentax whoever made for full frame cameras are FANTASTIC lenses. Which is, of course, why pros still use those lenses. So, I wouldn't disregard full-frame lenses at all. The comments being made here are right on the money - you CANNOT make global categorizations. Don't get caught up in the hype that only made-for-DSLR lenses are worth buying. That's complete rubish. Every lens I use is full-frame (for a number of reasons) and I am confident they're of the same quality as images taken from other shooters of similar skill using made-for-digital lenses.

By the way - I'm not bashing the made-for-digital lenses at all. The concept makes great sense - why put more glass in there then you actually need. I'm just saying I think you're worrying over nothing. Heck, all those great Pentax lenses you can get cheaply are full frame.

The question you SHOULD be asking is: for your next lens or lenses, what are the requirements. Then see whether or not you can get the lenses in Pentax. For example, say you love shooting wildlife. OK, reach is a huge issue there - you need at least 300mm, preferably 400mm or even longer. Focus speed is also critical. So, you would start looking at specific lenses that were 300mm or 400mm and have a good reputation for fast focusing (and don't let people mislead you - focus speed is also an attribute of the lens not just the camera). Or let's say you like shallow-DOF portrait work. Well, max aperture is key there. As is the BOKEH the lens produces - the quality of the background blur. Guess what? You won't see that plotted on an MTF chart. But it makes a big difference in REAL WORLD performance.

So, I'd suggest figuring out what you need out of your future lenses in a more specific nature - then look for specific lenses that fit your needs. Then see if Pentax has them available (either thru their own lenses or third party). If so, then don't sweat what they don't have that you don't need. And don't be mislead into thinking that just because it's made for full frame it's inferior. In real world performance, MTF charts are only part of the equation.
Thanks John! You make a lot of great points.
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Old Apr 18, 2007, 8:15 AM   #20
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Hayward wrote:
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peripatetic wrote:
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P.S. I get so utterly bored with the Pentax marketing ploy (that all the Pentax owners seem to repeat ad-nauseum) that you can use any of the lenses they have ever made - now upwards of 80 million. Well guess what? Canon have made over 100 million lenses since they changed to the EF autofocus mount in 1987, you can use any of those on current EOS bodies and ALL of them are autofocus.
Yup same with Pentax.... just you can also use all the lenses that virtually go back to just post WWII Japanese reconstruction emergence of these companies too. Canon (nor youngster in the US Nikon) CAN'T say that. (Though ODDLY enough there ARE PENTAX M42 adapters for BOTH)

And by the way AF is often as much a hiderence as it is a help, so personally especially with a prime lens MF is no big issue.... really preferable in a DOF complex shot.
(Where AF often irritatingly screws up)
Hayward, I totally agree with you on MF. This K100d is not only my first dSLR, but my first camera that has MF (well, the Canon A520 I have has MF, but it lacks a focus ring and can really only be used for macro shots of still or slow moving subjects) and I find myself using MF alot more than AF. However, I must admit that for action shots (which I don't do alot of), continous AF is a great thing to have.
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