Lens quality [was ricoh slr]

Discussion in 'Ricoh' started by bstephens1ster, Dec 13, 2006.

  1. After last month's discussion of Ricoh SLRs, I just bought an XR2 with
    a small zoom, Tristar flash, expired film <g>, and a nice leather case
    for $37.00.

    Eventually I'd like to get a fast Prime , but for now I'd like to
    learn something about the lens I have.

    2.5 - 3.5

    It claims to be "macro" (I assume it isn't really macro)

    I did a search on Google for "Access lens" but only found a reference
    to a eyeglass lense designed for computer work.

    Does anyone know anything about this lens?

    thanks -Bob
    bstephens1ster, Dec 13, 2006
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  2. bstephens1ster

    bmoag Guest

    What you have is worth $37, maybe.
    What you might be able to do with it could be priceless.
    bmoag, Dec 14, 2006
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  3. Nope. (O;

    But it's probably just like every other 'kit' 35-70 and 28-80 lens of
    that era. OK, but I wouldn't expect good quality (especially at the
    edges) near the ends of the zoom range - the softness possibly won't be
    visible on 6x4 prints, but much larger and you will see it. It probably
    has fairly poor multicoating, which, in conjunction with the many
    elements used for this type of lens, will mean it will flare quite
    badly when shooting into the light and generally will have fairly low
    contrast. There is roughly zero chance it is a true macro (ie 1:1 or
    better) - it will just focus a bit closer in that mode.

    If I was you I would indeed look for some primes, eg the lovely Pentax
    50/1.7, and then one of the many brandname 28 and 135 KMount lenses,
    most of which have quality well in excess of your zoom... Ricoh
    actually make quite good optics by the way - if you can find their
    135/2.8 you will have a fine portrait lens.

    Whack a prime on it, and shoot with some decent film (if you can stand
    slides, try Fuji Astia (general use) or Velvia (landscapes) slide film)
    and prepare for a shock on how good an old camera can be..
    mark.thomas.7, Dec 15, 2006
  4. bstephens1ster

    jeremy Guest

    The sweet spot on his non-OEM zoom lens is probably somewhere around f/8, so
    he should try a few shots at that f/stop to get an idea of the lens'

    I second the recommendation to get a prime lens. The Pentax SMCP-A 50mm f/2
    lens is, as far as I know, still being made and is reputed to be tack sharp.
    Last time I looked it was available for about $60, brand new in a box. That
    lens surely won't be in production much longer--it has a metal barrel for
    one thing--and I don't know of a classic normal lens that can be had at a
    bargain basement price like that. The Leica Summicron 50mm/2 has a price of
    something like $1000.00, and there is no way that lens is 20 times better
    than the SMCP-A.

    Canon has some cheap plasticky normal lens, and I read some horrible reviews
    on the Amazon.com site concerning the lens' build quality. But it makes for
    a good comparison because both the Canon and the Pentax lenses are selling
    for about the same money.

    Pentax also made an inexpensive 35-80? SMCP-A zoom lens that sold for about
    $75.00, if he really wants a zoom, but it is nowhere comparable to a fast
    prime. As I recall its max aperture was something like f/4.5, and it was
    one of those plastic lenses, assembled in some third-world country by
    robots. But it did boast having Super Multi Coating, and it had a decent
    rating when used at f/8.

    Of course, it was inconvenient to carry around, like all zoom lenses are,
    because it throws the camera out of balance when hanging from a neckstrap,
    with the zoom ending up pointing downward and the camera not laying flush
    against one's chest. And then one must be careful of bumping into things
    while walking.

    I carry a couple of those cheap Pentax zooms in my bag, just in case I need
    a focal length other than 50mm in a pinch, but I use the normal lens for
    about 90% of my shots. Wonderful lens. Underrated, but wonderful.
    jeremy, Dec 15, 2006
  5. Thanks,

    I did not particularly want the zoom - that is just what came with it.
    Ideally I guess I
    would like one 50mm and also perhaps a good portrait lense. My wife
    has me on a strict budget <g> so I need to play with the zoom first and
    look for a cheap but good 50mm later.

    I like available light photographs so a lense that needs to be stopped
    down to f 8 is not what I want. However, I have not been active for 20
    years, so first I just need to practice getting good exposures again,
    so this zoom should be fine for that. -thanks
    bstephens1ster, Dec 16, 2006
  6. bstephens1ster

    jeremy Guest

    > wrote in message
    You pay a price for using lenses at full aperture--the images are
    significantly less sharp than when you shoot at their sweet spots--which
    typically are in the f/5.6--f/8 aperture range.

    Leica makes lenses that are optimized for wide aperture settings, but the
    Summicron 50/2 sells for about $1000 and the Summilux 50/1.4 sells for
    nearly $2000.00, so I don't think you want to buy into that camera/lens

    If you buy a Pentax 50mm/1.4 you will get good sharpness at f/4 and
    excellent sharpness at f/8. One way to support using those smaller
    apertures is to use fast film (although that introduces possible problems
    with graininess). Another way to compensate is to use slower shutter
    speeds, and mount the camera in a tripod to avoid shake, but that assumes
    that using a tripod is practical at the particular shooting location and
    that the subject does not move. I utilize tripods all the time for shooting
    landscapes/cityscapes/architectural subjects, but they are all non-moving
    and thus easy to photograph. That would not be the case when shooting any
    kind of moving or active subjects.

    Check the link below to see what can be typically expected in terms of
    sharpness at various aperture settings. The lens in this example is a Carl
    Zeiss, but the example can be applied to almost every other brand of normal
    lens. As you can see, the resolution drops of dramatically when the lens is
    shot wide open. If you are on a budget, the two most cost-effective lenses
    for you would be the SMCP-A 50mm/1.7 purchased USED at KEH or eBay OR the
    SMCP-A 50/2 purchased either new or used, at around $50.00. Those lenses
    were among the sharpest to begin with, so even at full aperture you can
    expect relatively sharp results. There is also a f/1.4 version, but that is
    priced at over $100.00, and it is actually less-sharp than the other two
    lenses (plus it has a bit of barrel distortion, as just about every f/1.4
    lens does).

    If absolute sharpness is your objective, then the 50/1.7 is the optimal
    choice. You might want to try to match it with a 200-speed film and see if
    that combination gives you the low-light shooting capability that you want,
    along with the sharpness that you need.

    Here is the link for the f-stop comparison shots:


    Here is a link to a page that describes the subtle differences between
    normal lenses of different maximum apertures. The examples are of Nikon
    lenses, but the principles apply equally to Pentax:

    jeremy, Dec 16, 2006
  7. Used Leica (& Zeiss) equipment nowadays can go for 1/10 those prices (as
    I've happily found out any number of times).

    If you want lenses which are optimised for wide apertures, then go for
    used good stuff (unless you really think that a new plastizoom is a
    "safer" and more reliable buy)...
    Chris Loffredo, Dec 16, 2006
  8. P.S. Omigod!!!! Jeremy linked Ken Rockwell's page YET AGAIN...
    Chris Loffredo, Dec 16, 2006
  9. bstephens1ster

    Bob Hickey Guest

    Nope, never had one, prolly a Sears or some dept. store lens. Ricoh made a
    line of cameras for them. But I have a Rikonon 35/2.8, and 135/2.8 which are
    excellent and a 50/1.4 which I'm not too crazy about, so I use a Pentax 50/2
    instead. Most times, I tend to only take pictures of things I can see, so
    mostly don't see the reason for really fast lenses, especially when they
    cost a lot more and make worse pictures. I once had a Summicron-R 50/2,
    which is the worlds greatest lens; everybody knows that; "cause somebody
    said so somewhere, and they don't lie; ever. Some of those shots were
    terrible and some were as good as any. I realized I was using a very pricey
    lens to test labs. I really think that CDs have gone a long way to tell the
    difference between the good lenses and the bad, by eliminating prints. The
    name doesn't count for much of anything any more. Bob Hickey
    Bob Hickey, Dec 18, 2006
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