16 July 2010

My PK manual-focus lenses (mid-July edition :^)

With 16-45 and 55-300 in hand, I'm satisfied that I have excellent glass that can manage the K-7 resolution. I'd like to have less of a gap, but most of the ways to do that would be incompatible with my style - I really like lightweight optics, so for example going for f/2.8 for telephoto isn't worth its weight in gold or glass. On the other hand, going with manual-focus glass has been fun so far; here's what I have in the bag today!

- Rikenon-P 50mm f/2
This is my gap-filler between the two Pentax zooms. It's small and light, even more than the 50/2 Pentax-A. I believe it to be sharper in focus than the Pentax (which I owned briefly), but the Rikenon shows poorer bokeh in shots thus far. It needs more examination and practice to learn its ups and downs. It takes 52mm filters rather than 49mm like most lenses of this type. It is a gap-filler in more ways than one, as I hope to replace it with a f/1.7 or 1.4 copy some day.

- Rikenon-P 28-100 f/4
Another of the P series from Ricoh, their auto-aperture equivalent to Pentax-A. NOT TRUE - Rikenons must be left off P mode and used in stop-down metered manual with Pentax (or always shot wide open)! This lens had issues that were resolved with a few dabs of super glue, as noted in a previous posting. While it admirably fills the gap between 16-45 and 55-300 lenses, it's quite a burden: at 605g it violates my lightweight-lens policy. Given its range and manual focus design, it will be a specialty lens with trips of its own. Besides its decent equivalent of 43-155mm range, it can focus to about 2" off the front element, a handy feature now and then. I prefer the DA 16-45's close focus at all focal lengths to the Rikenon, which can only do so at 28mm. Flare is devastating to image contrast on this lens, and pretty much all lenses not made in the past 5-10 years; my Minolta lenses from the mid-80s had the same issue. One of the reasons I chose this lens is its 67mm filter size, which matches the 16-45; the DA's hood will not fit on this, but at least it's one less cPL filter to purchase.

- Rikenon XR 135 f/2.8
The third of my Ricoh trifecta, purchased at goodwill online ($11 plus shipping). Many companies have 135mm lenses ranging from f/2.5 to 3.5; when I saw this was available, I decided to split the difference. It's a nice lens but has no P setting(IRRELEVANT, see red note above), so it's all manual all the time. Images are very nice, both sharpness in focus and bokeh are excellent.

- auto-Chinon 28mm f/2.8
This lens has been in my garage for some time, attached to an old Chinon film camera that was supposed to be for astronomy. I pulled it out as soon as I began using Pentax dSLRs again; it works quite well and has a nice minimum focus for sligtly-distorted closeups.

- generic 2x teleconverter
The seller of my Rikenon 50mm threw in a 2x TC, which was a nice surprise; I had considered purchasing a 1.4x for future work, but the price is right on this so for now it'll do. I haven't tried it with the 28-100 or 135 yet, that should prove interesting!

Wish list - every photographer has one, whether it's admitted or not!
I bought the DA16-45 to satisfy my wide-angle tastes, so I do not expect a 10-xx or 12-xx zoom to sweep me away. It's possible that a small prime in the 14-16mm range could do so however, perhaps even a fisheye. On the other end, a long tele could get some use, and I like the compactness of catadioptric mirror designs; maybe some day I'll let a 500mm cheapie into the lineup, though I'd prefer a mythical 400mm version. Neither an extreme wide or telephoto prime would get much use though, so not a priority now that the 16-300 range is covered.