A's vs. DA's


Dr. Mhuni

Link Posted 03/03/2010 - 13:24
I have recently acquired a Pentax A50 f2.8 Macro lens and have been interested to note its colour rendition qualities in comparison to my Pentax DA zooms. I was curious to know what other peoples' impressions of A lenses vs. more modern ones.

I find the DAs are much bolder in their rendering - the A50 more subtle. See the following images of the same dog taken around the same time of day (but not the same day) at the same place.

DA55-300




A50




As you can see the A50 has produced a much less saturated image. Not sure yet whether this is a good or bad (or superfluous - it is easy to adjust the colours in pp-ing) thing. I guess there will be times when I want the more subtle approach of the A50. In any case, it's other qualities are undisputed - the sharpness is outstanding. Here, the first image received much more sharpening in pp. It also seems to have some of the fabled 3D characteristics of the Ltds.

As another example of the colour rendition, the following was also taken with the A50:




With a DA lens I would have expected the colours on the front of the bus to be much bolder.
Mhuni

500px

Anvh

Link Posted 03/03/2010 - 13:33
It also depends on the lens so far as I know, it's not really a matter of A vs DA.
I must say that I like the slightly bolder colour of the DA but it's a matter of what kind of photo you shoot if the one is better then another.
Stefan


K10D, K5
DA* 16-50, DA* 50-135, D-FA 100 Macro, DA 40 Ltd, DA 18-55
AF-540FGZ

thoughton

Link Posted 03/03/2010 - 13:45
I can't comment as I no longer own any DA lenses but I like the pics!
Tim
AF - Pentax K5, Sigma 10-20/4-5.6, Tamron 17-50/2.8, Sigma 30/1.4, Sigma 70-200/2.8, Tamron 70-300/4-5.6
MF - Vivitar CF 28/2.8, Tamron AD2 90/2.5, MTO 1000/11
Stuff - Metz 58 AF1, Cactus v4, Nikon SB24, Raynox 150, Sigma 1.4x TC, Sigma 2x TC, Kenko 2x macro TC, Redsnapper 283 tripod, iMac 27, Macbook Pro 17, iPad, iPhone 3G
Flickr Fluidr PPG Street Portfolio site
Feel free to edit any of my posted photos! If I post a photo for critique, I want brutal honesty. If you don't like it, please say so and tell me why!

Mongoose

Link Posted 03/03/2010 - 13:52
I too have found that DA series lenses tend (general rule, so there will probably be exceptions!) to be more contrasty and give more saturated colour rendition than older (eg A series) glass.

I prefer the rendition of the older lenses personally, as I find it more flexible. I believe the newer lenses are intended to give a more "print ready" result, although that is just my assumption rather than based on any real evidence.
you don't have to be mad to post here



but it does help

Dr. Mhuni

Link Posted 03/03/2010 - 14:16
thoughton wrote:
I can't comment as I no longer own any DA lenses but I like the pics!

Thanks Tim. But is your lack of a DA a preference or an accident.

Mongoose - I haven't really had the lens for long enough to reach a conclusion yet but I was wondering, like you, if the A50 might produce images that were more flexible. Colour wise that is - optically the A50 shoots all my DA's out of the water, even the 12-24 which is remarkably sharp for a zoom.
Mhuni

500px
Last Edited by Dr. Mhuni on 03/03/2010 - 14:17

Dangermouse

Link Posted 03/03/2010 - 14:35
I do think the K series glass tends to produce cooler tones than the later series, but I don't really see it as a criticism, more a feature of the glass. I've been told that the coatings on older glass "aren't designed for digital" but this really doesn't seem to bother my K-m.

What amazes me is how good the various 50mm and 55mm lenses still are, considering that they were sold as the standard lens with every 35mm SLR Pentax made for a couple of decades. While the 18-55mm DA L is one of the finest kit zooms out there it just doesn't compare to the old M or A 50mm.
Matt

Shooting the Welsh Wilderness with K-m, KX, MX, ME Super and assorted lenses.

thoughton

Link Posted 03/03/2010 - 15:41
Dr. Mhuni wrote:
Thanks Tim. But is your lack of a DA a preference or an accident.

Mostly coincidence, I don't have anything against DA lenses, but also due to budget e.g. Sigma 10-20 instead of 12-24, Tamron 17-50 instead of 16-50, Tamron 90 instead of DFA100, Tamron 70-300 instead of 55-300 etc. Photography is just a hobby, second best at half the price is often good enough for me. An exception might be the 50-135, I probably would have got that by now if SDM was more reliable.
Tim
AF - Pentax K5, Sigma 10-20/4-5.6, Tamron 17-50/2.8, Sigma 30/1.4, Sigma 70-200/2.8, Tamron 70-300/4-5.6
MF - Vivitar CF 28/2.8, Tamron AD2 90/2.5, MTO 1000/11
Stuff - Metz 58 AF1, Cactus v4, Nikon SB24, Raynox 150, Sigma 1.4x TC, Sigma 2x TC, Kenko 2x macro TC, Redsnapper 283 tripod, iMac 27, Macbook Pro 17, iPad, iPhone 3G
Flickr Fluidr PPG Street Portfolio site
Feel free to edit any of my posted photos! If I post a photo for critique, I want brutal honesty. If you don't like it, please say so and tell me why!
Last Edited by thoughton on 03/03/2010 - 15:46

dynamosh

Link Posted 03/03/2010 - 15:43
Hi Mhuni,

Great to see that the 50mm Macro is getting some use! I love the buses pic in particular, to my mind the colour rendering with the K, M and A series lenses is more natural than the newer lenses - ie. it looks more 'real'.
You certainly seem to being doing more justice to that lens than I ever did!

Mike

Dr. Mhuni

Link Posted 04/03/2010 - 03:29
Cheers, Mike. The lens has found a happy home - I love it!

thoughton wrote:

Mostly coincidence, I don't have anything against DA lenses, but also due to budget e.g. Sigma 10-20 instead of 12-24, Tamron 17-50 instead of 16-50, Tamron 90 instead of DFA100, Tamron 70-300 instead of 55-300 etc. Photography is just a hobby, second best at half the price is often good enough for me. An exception might be the 50-135, I probably would have got that by now if SDM was more reliable.

Interesting - I think I would have gone down your route too if I hadn't got a load of DA zooms in the halcyon days of December 2008 when there was a 50 rebate offer on many lenses and the old (old) prices still applied.

Very nearly got a DA50-135 too before the last price rise when I was in the UK last summer, but in the end decided it was too bulky for me to take with all my other equipment to Sri Lanka (was moving from Ethiopia then). It was probably the right decision at the time, even though I could have got it with VAT refunded for under 500. Am still hankering after it, but like you am a bit wary of the SDM on that lens (others seem okay) and - now - the price. Have you considered the Sigma 50-150? I know the DA50-135 is viewed as a peerless zoom by many, but I've read comments in various places (including those of Mike-P here) which indicate it is of comparable quality image wise (though apparently it tails off from ca.135-50, which the DA doesn't have in any case). It's also significantly cheaper.
Mhuni

500px

thoughton

Link Posted 04/03/2010 - 08:50
Funnily enough I was drooling over the 50-150 on SRS's site last night 500 and change is certainly a lot more palatable! The size of the things worry me slightly too, part of me thinks if I'm going for such a large lens perhaps I should get a 70-200 2.8 instead. I think I would give up the 20mm at the short end for 65mm on the long end if the IQ was similar. Lots more research required
Tim
AF - Pentax K5, Sigma 10-20/4-5.6, Tamron 17-50/2.8, Sigma 30/1.4, Sigma 70-200/2.8, Tamron 70-300/4-5.6
MF - Vivitar CF 28/2.8, Tamron AD2 90/2.5, MTO 1000/11
Stuff - Metz 58 AF1, Cactus v4, Nikon SB24, Raynox 150, Sigma 1.4x TC, Sigma 2x TC, Kenko 2x macro TC, Redsnapper 283 tripod, iMac 27, Macbook Pro 17, iPad, iPhone 3G
Flickr Fluidr PPG Street Portfolio site
Feel free to edit any of my posted photos! If I post a photo for critique, I want brutal honesty. If you don't like it, please say so and tell me why!
Last Edited by thoughton on 04/03/2010 - 08:54

Dr. Mhuni

Link Posted 04/03/2010 - 09:01
Have been going through a similar thought process myself, but am increasingly concluding that I'd rather have a shorter high quality 2.8 and a teleconvertor. A big factor in my reasoning is the fact that the 70-200's constitute a significant (further) step up in size.
Mhuni

500px

Anvh

Link Posted 04/03/2010 - 13:45
I bought my DA*50-135 for the same price the Sigma is now just a year ago so for me it was an easy decision.

It depends on what you want to do if the 50-135 or the 70-200 is better.
For portrait the 50-135 is just perfect but for sports I would go for the 70-200 just that extra reach makes it more useful there. I also consider the 50-135 a better walk about lens, smaller size weather-sealed and wider angle makes it handy.
Stefan


K10D, K5
DA* 16-50, DA* 50-135, D-FA 100 Macro, DA 40 Ltd, DA 18-55
AF-540FGZ

robbie_d

Link Posted 04/03/2010 - 13:52
I find that my A 28mm f2.8 renders colours more "naturally" than my A 50mm f1.7, which is more colour saturated. My DA Fisheye I find to be slightly more saturated than the A 50mm f1.7.
If you can't say something nice about Pentax, you won't say anything at all.

Apparently.

Mannesty

Link Posted 04/03/2010 - 18:12
The A series lenses lack the 'anti-ghosting' treament that is applied to DA lenses and some FA lenses. I think this may be the reason for the less saturated look in the images taken with older lenses.

It's also possible that the formula of the SMC coating may have changed slightly over the years as will the glass used to make them.

I'd label it as a characteristic rather than a problem. Saturation can always be increased in PP.
Peter E Smith

My flickr Photostream

Dr. Mhuni

Link Posted 05/03/2010 - 10:47
The coatings explanation would make sense, Peter. And you're right it is a characteristic not a problem. If anything I'd say the A's gave greater scope in pp-ing (and may well be more natural to begin with).
Mhuni

500px
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