Good short zoom for a Spotmatic?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Michel Hardy-Vallée, Jul 4, 2006.

  1. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    I find myself occasionally shooting people for my workplace, and more and more I find that in the unpredictable contexts I'm shooting I would feel more comfortable with a zoom lens. My last shoot was with primes and I had to change focal 2-3 times during the same session, which is rather unnerving. A while ago I had done the same job with a d****l + zoom camera and the variable focal was a real helper here. I shoot mostly with flash light.

    So I've been looking for zooms in M42 mount that would cover something between 35 to 80 mm focal, and sadly Pentax never did one in M42. They only did an 85-210, which is way too long for my needs. I eventually found a page about someone using a Revuenon 28-70, which would be awesome, if only I could find it anywhere.

    My fear is that most zoom in M42 mount date from the "bad zoom" era, suffering from lots of flare, lack of sharpness, whatnot.

    The other option I could consider is to use a second body. Used spotties go for about the same price as better zoom lenses, so I wanted a second opinion on the matter: zoom or second body?
     
  2. Peter Jones

    Peter Jones Member

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    Have you considered one of the many Tamron adaptalls ? I am pretty sure they did a mount for M42.
     
  3. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    If you're not tied to the spotty name plenty of good M42 bodies for very little. Some even have features that the spotties lack. I've got a Cosina with 1/125 flash sync. I bet on the open market the thing wouldn't get a sniff. But it works fine except for the dead meter. In my hands it actually feels better then the Pentax. The Cosina is bigger and better sized for me. But it's not just the Cosina. You'll find other brands. I'd actually suggest getting a K mount camera. Maybe a Ricoh. Usually very cheap. Then you can stick a K mount zoom on it. Or a M42 adapter to use M42 lenses.

    Either a non Pentax M42 or K mount can be cheaper then a Spotmatic.
     
  4. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    Peter: Yes, there was an Adaptall for M42. Are Adaptall lenses still manufactured?

    Nick: I haven't thought about that. A k-mount zoom body + my prime M42 lenses on my spotty. Given that K mount is still being manufactured, I suppose there would be some sweet zooms I could put on a K1000. Know any names?
     
  5. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    Adaptall lenses are still made. You can even get a 28-105/2.8 if you really want one.


    Tamron's 28-80/3.5-4.2 is a decent, and inexpensive, lens. I'm not sure if that's the range you like, but if you do, it's worth seeking.
     
  6. DBP

    DBP Member

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    I'd second the suggestion to pick up a older K-mount body and associated zoom as probably better than whatever zoom you could find in M42. But I did just check KEH and they have a misc brand 28-70 for $35. Though I have bought off brand K-mount cameras with a 35-70 for less.
     
  7. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    Looked up KEH for Adaptall zooms, and they are cheap! Something like a 35-80 would be small enough and cover most of my needs in these situations, without even needing me to carry an extra body (space savings help). I'd be curious to know how they are quality-wise, though. Don't need to be stellar, but at least so it doesn't make the photos look cheap.
     
  8. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    I'm not sure what lenses the K1000 handles. But unless things have changed you'll get a better deal going with a non Pentax K mount camera. The various Ricohs are usually much cheaper and better featured. They'll handle all the plain K mount lenses just fine.
     
  9. Bill Mitchell

    Bill Mitchell Member

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    The 35-80 is actually a very good lens, certainly better than the one that Pentax makes now (bow-wow). It's only drawback is that, being an early zoom lens, for closeups/macro it only works at the 80mm end.
     
  10. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    I have a zoom that (if I remember correctly) is a Tamron adapted for screwmount. I have a pre-Spotmatic Pentax. I used it a few times, but realized I liked the primes much better. I might be interested in loaning it out or selling it, since I think I used it about 3 times.
     
  11. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    Macro ability is not an important feature for me (I'd rather buy a dedicated macro lens and/or a bellows for that) so it wouldn't matter. The one thing that I would need is the actual Adaptall-M42 ring, so if I can snatch one on eBay it could be a good deal.
     
  12. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    Could be interesting! I sent you a PM about that.
     
  13. Steve Roberts

    Steve Roberts Member

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    No-one has mentioned Vivitar yet and I've never before got beyond the mechanics of them, which always seem rather sloppy and graunchy. However, I bought a K-mount 28 - 80mm zoom (or something around that range) for the simple reason that it was only five pounds in a flea market.

    Sure, it was sloppy and graunchy but I took it along with me for an afternoon's work on a feature article for a magazine and one of the images from that lens ended up on the cover.

    Beware of zooms with anything wrong with them, though. Repairers don't seem to like fixing them and charge accordingly!

    Best wishes,

    Steve (and please let us know how you get on!)
     
  14. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    Vivitar seriers 1s are worth looking at, much better than any of the standard Vivitars, optically as good as many modern lens. Sigma also made short zooms in the 35 to 70 range.
     
  15. Andy K

    Andy K Member

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    I have been watching this auction for a few days, hoping to jump in at the last minute, but an Eb*y noob has gone bid crazy and pushed it beyond what I would pay.
     
  16. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    Andy, I've been watching that one too, but wasn't sure of what to expect of it.
     
  17. stark raving

    stark raving Member

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    Consider the early Vivitar Series 1 35-85 f2.8 varifocal. This was made in M42. They're not common, but show up on eBay from time to time. They are a bit flarey (they have about a zillion lens elements) but are sharp as hell across the whole focal length range. Build quality of the early Series 1 was on par with the Asahi Takumars, i.e. luxury quality by today's standards.