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What Does Better Mean?

johnriley1uk

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What Does Better Mean?

3 Mar 2021 7:51PM   Views : 569 Unique : 422

I am thinking in terms of lenses. What is better? Sharper? Faster? Longer focal length? Wider focal length? In a technical sense the answer is probably relatively easy - a lens that passes the technical measurement tests is the better lens. It may have higher resolution, less CA, less distortion, less flare, focus faster, and so on. But take say less distortion. If we want a fish-eye lens, then that breaks down because we want distortion. In fact, if we don't get it then we'll want our money back. How about faster? If we have a 400mm f/2 lens then we know about it and need a fitness regime to train for weilding it. A 400mm f/5.6 might be just the ticket, easier to use and fast enough if we tend to shoot at f/8. Even sharper is not necessarily a given as people are not always impressed by lenses that show up every defect and pore in their skin. A soft focus lens might be preferred.

Of course in general we look for good performance anyway in lenses used for general subjects. Keep our options open. This week I have a case in point. The first lens I'm looking at here is the Nikon Nikkor Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR, just reviewed for EPZ. The second is the SMC Pentax-FA 70-200mm f/4-5.6, review in process. The former is a top class Nikon lens, razor sharp and passing all the technical tests with flying colours. The latter is an old lens designed for film cameras, dating from 1991 and not being too comfortable with digital. But for all of that, both lenses have their place and although the Nikon is the clear winner to buy for regular use, the old Pentax lens has its own character and could have a place for portraiture in particular. Let's have a look at a few pictures and see if at web sizes we can pick up the different character of the two optics.

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