Friday, September 15, 2006

Love For Pentax's 3 DA Limited Primes (and 67 Lenses, Too)

Maybe it's the Strunk & White in me, but it makes me happy to read a sentence where someone turns a complex argument into a succinct phrase you can't help but agree with, like, "it amazes me that no other manufacturers bother to provide something so basic." That's from Mike Johnston's latest post on Pentax, "The World's One and Only," regarding the announcement for the DA 70mm F2.8 Limited and how it rounds out the 3 prime lens chorus of wide, normal, and telephoto, all for APS-C sensor lenses in tidy little pancake packages. And these are in addition to Pentax's 3 incredible FA prime Limited lens, which are oh-so small, and the DA 14mm, one of the best super-wide angle APS-C lenses ever built. So, Mike was right. There's something special going on here with Pentax's current lens line-up. It's unique and far more impressive than most have noted to date.

This follows another post from earlier in the week by another The Online Photographer contributer, Ctein, who wrote a review of the venerable Pentax 67's 100mm Macro lens. It's a bit more futzy, but his love of Pentax lenses shines through none the less.

Ctein wrote: "The Pentax 67 system is almost four decades old and has been my camera of choice since its introduction. Many of the 67 lens designs are also that old. [...] Enter the next generation: the 100mm ƒ/4 macro lens. It focuses to better than 1/2X with no extension tubes and greater than life-size with a front-of-the-lens converter. [...]I was sufficiently impressed with this lens that I tested it against the normal 105mm ƒ/2.4 lens, a much-lauded optic that is one of the very best in the Pentax 67 line. The 100mm macro matched or bettered the 105mm! It was at least as sharp, if not a touch sharper, and it produced negatives with better contrast. So long as I won't be needing apertures greater than ƒ/4, I could leave the 105mm lens at home and use the 100mm macro as my standard lens."

He mentions later in the blog comments that when Pentax finally releases their digital 645 (nb. later this year, if all goes well), the DSLR should be compatible with 645 and 67 lenses, which hardly make these old wunderkind lenses obsolete. Which is another reason why Pentax, who is doing something notable like supporting all its historical lenses with only rare-rare-rare exceptions, should be making waves when their first medium format camera finally come out.

Links: T.O.P. "The World's One and Only?", Pentax 67 100mm Macro Lens: Review, Ctein's Website

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