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Old Jun 3, 2006, 9:23 AM   #1
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My Pentax equipment is made up of what I bought and what my father bought and gave to me. I hadn't paid all that much attention to our 50mm lenses, since they were both 50mm and both manual lenses (I didn't know as much about lenses back then). At the beginning of the school year, before I bought the DS, I loaned the ZX-M camera, along with one of the 50mm lenses, the 24mm and the 135 Takumar tomy niecefor a photography class.

I got everything back last weekend and thought that I'd do some comparison shooting, so I started really looking at the lenses. I discovered that one of them (the one I happened to keep) was a 1.7 while the one my niece had was a 1.4. Is one of them significantly better than the other (realize that the 1.4 is faster)? I think I'll spend some time this morning finding out.
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Old Jun 3, 2006, 11:58 AM   #2
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There isn't much difference between these two lenses. I think I prefer the way the camera handles the 1.4, but only slightly. I took a couple of pictures of the grapevine, both lenses wide open and at f22. The wide open ones weren't that useful - the lenses had focused on slightly different spots and when you are talking about that little DOF, it's hard to make a comparison on sharpness. I ended up taking a picture of the house behind and across the street, with the hillside beyond (hillside is probably a mile away). I took them at f8, used infinity for the focus. It seemed to my eyes that the 1.4 is a hair sharper and the grass a hair more saturated. I don't know if these pictures will show what I saw when I was looking at them in photoshop - I uploaded the comparison photo onto photobucket and could see absolutely no difference (I find that when I upload photos I often lose some tones and contrast). I'll upload them to this site and see if the very slight difference is lost here too (the differences were very slight).
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Old Jun 3, 2006, 12:00 PM   #3
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Photo taken with the 1.4 - both these photos were taken using jpg and have only been resized, no usm, no levels or other contrast adjustments. The comparison photo is 100% crop.
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Old Jun 3, 2006, 12:01 PM   #4
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The 1.7 lens
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Old Jun 3, 2006, 12:03 PM   #5
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I'll stick the 1.4 in my walk-around camera bag and stick the 1.7 on the shelf in case my niece wants to borrow the ZX-M again.
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Old Jun 3, 2006, 12:10 PM   #6
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Definitely two high quality lenses. But I agree that if there is a difference it is in favour of the 1.4. I think also the hillside is a little punchier with that lens. Is the very small difference more visible in the originals, or is it only because I've got a 1.4 that I want to see some kind of difference to defend my buying it?

Kjell
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Old Jun 3, 2006, 6:27 PM   #7
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i agree w/both of you. the 1.4 is a tad better, but, which is sharper wide open. i know , so don't say it. close the 1.4 down a click and shoot a test then.. i'm curious as i've the M1.4. had it since 1978. in new orleans we did the french quarter scene and this lens was ideal in and around the joints.. now it would be even better because it's a 75mm f1.4. great for low light, inside candids. i love my 1.4 as well as the 28mm f2.8.
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Old Jun 3, 2006, 8:48 PM   #8
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I actually did try to take a picture with both lenses wide open (anc closed), but I was focusing on a branch about 5 - 10 feet away and didn't get the lenses to focus at the same point. What WAS interesting is how an otherwise boring photo of nothing but branches and pine needles shot at f22 jumps out at you with a tiny DOF. I almost didn't believe it was the same scene taken with the same lens.

I also did a comparison between the Kiron 80-200 (K-Mount), the Pentax DA 50-200 and the Takumar 135 (K-Mount, not the screw mount), taking photos of a back-lit grape leaf (the 2 zooms set at 135). I didn't notice a huge difference between them under these conditions, except for one thing with the Kiron. I had a Tiffen UV filter on the Kiron and didn't bother to use the lens hood - got quite a bit of flare. Took the filter off and it was less, used the lens hood and it was fine. I did the same thing with the DA lens, but it didn't seem to matter much whether the hood was on or not. It seems to me that the DA lenses do add some functionality when it comes to handling light.
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Old Jun 4, 2006, 1:36 PM   #9
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I find that the DA kit lens has the best flare resistance of any of my current lenses, however all of the SMC lenses (even my old M-series) are very good.

I own an old M 50mm f1.7 and I have been wondering if I should invest in a 1.4, this example is swaying me in that direction. I would however prefer an A, F or FA lens so that I preserve the exposure automation. The AF lenses do tend to be fairly pricey while the A series lenses can be a real bargain so I continue to practice my focusing skills.

Ira

Here is an example, shot yesterday, with the 18-55 at 18mm. No filter used and the bright spot in upper right is the sun behind minimal cloud cover. This image has not been processed in any way besides rotating and resizing.


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Old Jun 4, 2006, 1:50 PM   #10
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And here is one shot with the F1.7, note that resizing, levels, desaturation and some sharpening have been applied this time. The lighting was a single overhead 100W incandescent and this was shot at ISO 1600 at something at or near wide open (sorry, M-series does not communicate to the camera so the aperture was not recorded).

Ira


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