Saturday, February 17, 2007

RiceHigh's Subjective Ratings on Pentax Lenses on Pentax DSLRs

Well, since everyday people keep asking about which Pentax lens(es), I decided to write up a quick summary on what I think about the optical quality and performance of my current Pentax AF lenses (12 nos. of F, F*, FA, FA*, FA Limited, FAJ, DA & DFA), which I have used for more than three years (except for newer models which have not been marketed for so long) on my various Pentax DSLRs (namely, *ist D, DS and K100D).

Indeed, there are various aspects to consider when we talk about the optical performance of a lens. Most novices often concern about how "sharp" a lens is. But actually, there are many more factors to concern for a good lens and "sharp" is actually something which cannot be clearly defined: Does "sharp" mean high contrast and/or high resolution and/or even other things and so on?

Hence, I select the following aspects which I consider to be of prime importance for what a lens should perform, as my ratings, namely: Resolution (centre and corners), Contrast (Macro and Micro), Colour Accuracy, Saturation, Distortion, Bokeh, Flare Control, Chromatic Aberration, 3-Dimensional Feel and Exposure Accuracy.

Do note that I have not put Vignetting as one of the concerned factors as I found that the effect is minimal for APS-C sized CCD/CMOS DSLRs and I don't think it should be bothered in most cases.

So, why are the ratings "Subjective"? It is simply because all these ratings are made based on my personal experiences but not measured by some testing procedures. Despite of this, I have actually tried to make each of the ratings as *Objective* as possible. Indeed, I have put down each of the marks by my best judgement, very carefully, and I added up all these for each lens only after I have finished making all the marks.

After I had added up all the marks, I ranked all these lenses too!

Okay, here is the complete rating table! :-

RiceHigh's Subjective Ratings on Pentax Lenses on Pentax DSLRs

By looking at the above summary, what I can conclude include the following:-

1. Zooms are by no way can match the quality and performance of Primes, optically!

2. Newer Pentax lenses are not as good as older ones, no matter for primes and for zooms!

So, enjoy and hope you find my this summary useful! :-)

And of course, comments are welcome!

12 Comments:

Rob Leslie said...

Interesting. Shame you haven't got the 50-200 DA which is a pretty good lens for the money. Good to see you give the 18-55 'Kit' lens a pretty good rating. It is about the best 'Kit' lens on the current crop of DSLR. I rejected the 70-300 pentax zoom and the Sigma 70-300 APO but find the Tamrom LD Di 70-300 performs very well on my K100
My first impressions of the K10 after the shop let me take it out for a few snaps. No way a proper test just an honest opinion.
http://roblesliephotography.blogspot.com/2007/02/pentax-k10.html#links

Derrick said...

Thanks for posting these ratings on Pentax lenses, hard to come across info like this, and from experience owning some of the glass tested, I agree with your results.

AndrewG NY said...

What is it like to use the F 17-28 fisheye on the APS-C digital bodies? What is the effective field of view? How much of its fishyness does it lose?

Anonymous said...

I also agree with your subjective results. For me is the 3-D Feel the most important point. Have now the FA43, F20-50 and F80-200 - and sold all the DA´s.
Could it be that the plastic aspherical lenses (AL) elements is responsible for the missing 3-D feeling?

RiceHigh said...

> AndrewG NY said...

> What is it like to use the F 17-28 fisheye on the APS-C digital bodies? What is the effective field of view? How much of its fishyness does it lose?

When used at the wide side on cropped Pentax DSLRs, it is just like that when it is used at the longer 2Xmm side on 135 full frame SLRs.

For the effective FoV, when at 17mm, it is actually a little bit wider than that of 16mm of my rectilinear DA 16-45mm but it is still quite "fishy". Of course, you will lose the exaggerated 180 deg. FoV plus the even more "fishiness", when it is used FF. However, at 28mm, you can get more or less a more "normal" lens as the fisheye effect becomes vanished (still not completely, though).

RiceHigh said...

> Anonymous said...

> I also agree with your subjective results. For me is the 3-D Feel the most important point. Have now the FA43, F20-50 and F80-200 - and sold all the DA´s.

The FA Limited's have special 3-d feel, which cannot be found in any of the latest DA Limited's.

> Could it be that the plastic aspherical lenses (AL) elements is responsible for the missing 3-D feeling?

Maybe that's part of the reasons. The FA 31 Limited actually also has an AL element but it does look nice for the images it produces. Also, I bet the AL element has more impact on the bokeh smoothness more than the 3-d feel. So, afterall, the optical formula prevails.

cardinal43 said...

Interesting that in your blog about Pentax as a system, you link to "your" list of Pentax lenses, and then you mention the number "12" lenses, but you never, ever list WHICH lenses you actually own -- if any. You are one slicky-slick writer. All smoke and mirrors.

RiceHigh said...

Haven't you read that in the very beginning of my this article for the sentence contains "my current Pentax AF lenses"? Can you read that?

kuuan / Andreas said...

Hi HighRice,
I would love to read your 'subjective ratings', even if it is from some years ago, but the link doesn't work anymore. Are they still available? Or do you have an update of it?
thank's, kuuan

kuuan said...

sorry, it's RiceHigh, sorry for my error

RiceHigh said...

No problem.

The updated table (last year) can be found below. Btw, I shall update it later and add some more lenses when I have the time.

http://ricehigh.blogspot.com/2010/03/ricehighs-subjective-ratings-on-pentax.html

kuuan said...

thank's :-)

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