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35mm image quality


22 Jun 2008 9:44PM
Hi,

I am using Pentax MZ-50 body as a rule although I have an MZ-60 too. On these I use either the Pentax SMC 35-80mm 1:4-5.6 lens that came with the MZ-50 or a Tamron 80-210mm 1:4.5-5.6 lens as the mood takes me.

For several months I have been less than happy with the quality of my photos. They tend to be slightly blurred and I thought I was letting the camera move. However, over Easter I took several films that turned out brilliantly. Well pleased I was!

Last weekend I was shooting at Durham Regatta and I had the prints developed. To my surprise some of the pics were excellent, crisp and clear, whereas others were blurred. Analysis reveals that the clear ones were with the Tamron lens and the blurred with the Pentax.

In order to confirm this, I took a test shoot with both lenses and both bodies in Durham this afternoon and this confirms the issue - Pentax lens = blurred, Tamron = sharp.

Open and shut case you might think, Pentax lens is shot.

Life is never so simple, however: last night I was at an awards dinner and took 3 films worth of pics using a flashgun and the Pentax lens, and all these were OK, not perfectly sharp but certainly usable.

So, after the rather verbose tale, anyone got any ideas why the Pentax lens should show noticeable blurring in natural light but almost negligible in flashgun pics?

Any idea if this lens can be fixed?

Thanks,

Quentin

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PP e2
13 222 England
22 Jun 2008 10:36PM
Difficult to comment without knowing something about your 'test' methodology, eg was the camera hand held or mounted on a sturdy tripod? Were you using fast or slow shutter speeeds? Is it perhaps the photographer causing the problem, rather than the camera???
22 Jun 2008 11:08PM

Quote:Difficult to comment without knowing something about your 'test' methodology, eg was the camera hand held or mounted on a sturdy tripod? Were you using fast or slow shutter speeeds? Is it perhaps the photographer causing the problem, rather than the camera???


Fully prepared to take the blame! However:

Test shoot was as follows:

Manfotto tripod locked nice and tight, pretty well out of the wind.

MZ-50 with cable shutter release, MZ-60 with 2s timed shutter release (no cable on that model, one of its biggest failings IMHO).

In each case, I used as near as I could to the same zoom settings and for both lenses I took 4 pictures, min zoom, max zoom and 2 in the middle (I could go get the lenses and tell you the actual figures if you like).

Two things spoil the test: there were two different types of film in the cameras and I neglected to note the shutter speeds and aperture settings.

However - the Regatta pics I referred to above were all handheld. and, secondly, if it was operator error (ie me not holding it still enough) I would have expected that to be more apparent with the Tamron lens due to it being longer.

I have the pics from the MZ-50 on my laptop if you wish to have a look. Interestingly, even though these were taken within 1min of each other and no significant change in the weather, the colour is also quite different, warmer with the Pentax than with the Tamron.

Thanks,

Quentin
strawman e2
11 22.0k 16 United Kingdom
22 Jun 2008 11:41PM
Is it to do with the difference between the lens operating wide open or stopped down. Hand held you may have the lens wide open, whilst with flash you may have stopped it down a bit. If yes it could indicate a lens that is soft wide open, or it could be that the greater depth of field is masking a focusing problem.
justin c e2
11 4.6k 36 England
22 Jun 2008 11:52PM

Quote:the colour is also quite different, warmer with the Pentax than with the Tamron.



That's quite normal to have a slightly different colour balance between lenses.
24 Jun 2008 10:15AM

Quote:That's quite normal to have a slightly different colour balance between lenses.


Ah, even though not a total newbie, I've not noticed it before.

Thanks.

Quentin
24 Jun 2008 10:17AM

Quote:Is it to do with the difference between the lens operating wide open or stopped down. Hand held you may have the lens wide open, whilst with flash you may have stopped it down a bit. If yes it could indicate a lens that is soft wide open, or it could be that the greater depth of field is masking a focusing problem.


Not sure. I used the auto settings on the cameras and let them do the work.

Quentin

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