Thoughts on 50-135mm and K3iii

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manual_focus Senior Member • Posts: 1,448
Thoughts on 50-135mm and K3iii

Spent several days in NYC and was shooting with the DA* 50-135 f/2.8 and the K3iii. It was a great place to see how the new K3iii AF system performs with the 50-135mm. The question I was seeking an answer to is, "Should the new DA* 50-135mm f/2.8 simply update the AF motor or should it also be sharper".

I did two primary series of shots. One at the Bryant Park skating rink and then on cyclists that are constantly moving in the city's bike lanes. I used an aperture of 2.8 for all the shots at Bryant Park and to compare sharpness, I also shot with the new DA* 16-50mm PLM at 50mm. To round out the series I also shot a few atmosphere shots at f/2.8 and to compare also at f/4.

After looking at the series of images I have an answer to my question which I'll share at the bottom so as not to influence anyone. I know that Pentax/Ricoh is working on new lenses that are not on the roadmap and I have to believe an update to the 50-135mm has to be one of them. Should they do a simple PLM motor update or also increase the sharpness/ IQ and raise the price and weight?

I would say the new K3iii did very well with it's new AF system. Both series were taken under poor lighting conditions and with everyone wearing a COVID mask and a hat it was very difficult to find anyone's eyes. The success rate was around two-thirds. The cyclists (and skaters?) were traveling around 5-10 mph.


1) Full size crops. Top row was shot with the 50-135mm at f/2.8 at 75mm and 50mm. Bottom row was taken with the PLM 16-50mm at f/2.8 at 50mm. Grey overcast day.

DA* 50-135mm at f/2.8 at 80mm. Notice the focus point was the man in the middle. Normally the K3iii goes for the closest eyes but in this case it may have been that the eyes of the closer woman was too hard to decipher.

3) A series of three. DA* 50-135 at f/5.6 at 122.5 mm @ ~1/200 sec.

The focus point in the first image is hard to place. I almost think it is the last rider. He has the clearest eyes? For the second two images the closest eyes have it.

DA* 50-135 at f/5.6 at 122.5 mm @ 1/200 sec. Not everybody riding is a delivery person! It wasn't until the cyclists got close that they noticed me shooting. The smaller the camera setup the better.

DA* 50-135 at f/5.6 at 122.5 mm @ 1/125 sec. There were no eyes to see but the camera made a pretty good estimate of where to focus.

DA* 50-135 at f/2.8 at 107.5 mm @ 1/60 sec.

DA* 50-135mm f/4 at 90mm. Rose was ~2-3 m away with the sidewalk another 4-5 m further on.

DA* 50-135mm. Top image was at f/2.8 and the bottom at f/4. To show the change in OOF/Bokeh.

I believe they should make the new DA* 50-135mm f/2.8 as sharp as the new 16-50mm. I would pay more and accept some increase in weight to get it. I could see increasing the lens diameter to 77mm but not much more. Having a lens that is easy to handle is also very important on an APS-C camera.

Best when viewed at 'original size'.

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