where are all the nice pentax K lenses?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by darinwc, Jan 25, 2009.

  1. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,459
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2003
    Location:
    Sacramento,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    As much as I like the pentax K mount cameras, Ive given up on using it for my 35mm system.

    First off, the nice prime lenses are too hard to find. This is especially confusing because there are plenty in M42 mount.

    Second, because there arent many on the market, K-mount primes demand premium prices. I see no reason to invest in the system when I can buy similar nikon lenses at half the price.
     
  2. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    9,281
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2002
    Location:
    Bergen, Norw
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    everyone is still using them, that's why. Even on d*g*tal Pentax cameras, the old M42 and K-mount lenses work just fine. So everyone wants, and nobody sells. :D
     
  3. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

    Messages:
    20,097
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2003
    Location:
    local
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    keh usually has some, i got mine there ( 135, 100, 28 ),
    but they cost an arm and a leg ...
    i also was able to find a store going out of business about 10-12 years ago,
    and scarfed up 2 - new in box- 50mm f2s for almost nothing!
     
  4. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

    Messages:
    18,093
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Location:
    West Midland
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    They are certainly about, I've bought a few in the last few years for other people. They seem to be kept, so fewer come onto the second hand market.

    A couple of years ago I bought a complete K mount system for a friend's daughter who was studying photography, body & 3 lenses, and that's often a good way to buy them. Fewer people want everything so Ebay bids often remain lowish.

    Ian
     
  5. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

    Messages:
    2,297
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2003
    Location:
    Floriduh
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Their definitely a little pricey but if you have a body you love piece it together as you find them. Just be thankful you don't have a Leica SLR and are looking for cheap lenses.

    I enjoy shooting my K1000 featureless body but won't invest in lenses for it. I'm better off adding to my FD system as I can get some great lenses at practically wholesale pricing and the lenses are tops.
     
  6. davela

    davela Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,785
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2008
    Location:
    Pasadena
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Check out Pentax Forums. They have a lively trading thread over there - all kinds of cool K mount stuff comes along.
     
  7. firecracker

    firecracker Member

    Messages:
    1,954
    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2005
    Location:
    Japan
    Shooter:
    35mm
    In the world of Canon FD/FDn lens system, the prices are even lower. And the new Panasonic mirrorless electronic camera can use these lenses with an adapter, so there's a slightly longer life expectacy for them now. Too bad it's not a full-size image...
     
  8. Katier

    Katier Member

    Messages:
    106
    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2008
    Location:
    Midlands, UK
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Exactly, the BIG advantage of K-Mount lenses ( and M42 ) is that there is a huge range that works on ALL K-Mount bodies. Only Nikon can do the same thing.
     
  9. Hans Voralberg

    Hans Voralberg Member

    Messages:
    1
    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2009
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Not as close though, you'll have quite a bit of a nightmare figuring out lens/body compatibility with the myriad of Nikon lens (Q, AI, AIS, etc.) The K mount is much simpler.
     
  10. phenix

    phenix Member

    Messages:
    218
    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2008
    Location:
    penguin-cold
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Why looking only in Pentax primes for a K mount system? Only for the usual wide-angles and normal lenses: Chinon and Tokina made some high resolution ones, Ricoh and Kiron are on the high contrast, Cosina and Vivitar brought on the market lenses producing images of a particular artistic feeling. Of course, all these lenses (except maybe for Chinon) are very different from the genuine Pentax ones, but difference doesn’t mean poor! Just as an example, I found the worst normal lens to be the Pentax 50/2. Instead, I fall in love with the Vivitar 50/1.7 (made in China!) for its high artistic qualities. Of course, these are my preferences, my perceptions, but everything is subjective when working with images of the reality. K mount lenses doesn’t mean only genuine Pentax – it is a world to explore, where good surprises are abundant and bad ones cheap (so worth to try).
     
  11. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,459
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2003
    Location:
    Sacramento,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    To answer some of the questions and comments..

    Why looking only in Pentax primes for a K mount system?
    Why shouldnt I? Is there something wrong with pentax? I would much rather trust that pentax would make a quality product rather than vivitar or any of the other aftermarket manufacterers.

    "Exactly, the BIG advantage of K-Mount lenses ( and M42 ) is that there is a huge range that works on ALL K-Mount bodies."
    I dont know why you would call it a "huge range" of lenses when there hardly any on the market.
    Lets see.. a search for 85mm primes sold on ebay.. I came up with a handful of pentax K/KM/KA's and TEN TIMES that amount in Nikkor AI/AIS mount. AND the Nikkor's were generally cheaper! And it seems to me that there are more good Pentax M42 lenses on the (used&inexpensive)market right now than K mounts. What happened pentax?

    "In the world of Canon FD/FDn lens system, the prices are even lower. "
    Yes, that is what im into for the moment. (another discussion entirely)

    "high artistic qualities"
    Thats what my LF stuff is for.
     
  12. cooltouch

    cooltouch Member

    Messages:
    598
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2009
    Location:
    Houston, Tex
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I see a couple possible reasons for the dearth of K-mount lenses on the used market:

    The first and most obvious reason, as has been stated previously, is that Pentax owners aren't willing to let go of them.

    Another reason that is probably helping dry up the market is Canon EOS. There are adapters available for K-mount lenses to EOS cameras that allow the EOS user to retain infinity focus. There are also EOS adapters for M42, Nikon, Contax, Olympus, and probably others. EOS users cannot easily adapt Canon FD to their systems, so they look elsewhere. Quite a few of these folks are discovering that AF isn't the entire world, and that they can pick up premium MF glass for cheap. There's lots of EOS users out there, especially of the digital variety . . .

    Best,

    Michael
     
  13. Philippe-Georges

    Philippe-Georges Member

    Messages:
    729
    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2005
    Location:
    Flanders Fie
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Q : 'where are all the nice pentax K lenses?
    A : in my photobag... :smile:
     
  14. Stephanie Brim

    Stephanie Brim Member

    Messages:
    1,607
    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2005
    Location:
    Iowa
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I'm trying to scoop up cheap Nikons now. Building that kit back up is going to be a very, very hard thing to do. I feel your pain.
     
  15. dances_w_clouds

    dances_w_clouds Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,420
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver B.C.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Used my Pentax M42 adaptor on my Richo. I have not a great need for Pentax lenes anymore. M42 for K1000, Ricoh KR-5 Super II. Even an adaptor for my FD cameras. This day and age you do not have to stick with 1 brand. Pentax has a Takumar lens that is top of the line
     
  16. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,459
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2003
    Location:
    Sacramento,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    If using an adapter one must use stop-down metering or use a handheld meter. (correct me if i am wrong)
    Certainly not ideal and not something I am willing to sacrifice.

    If I wanted to use M42 lenses I would buy a M42 camera. (i have one BTW, and its just not for me)

    Does anyone know if Pentax slowed production of prime lenses in favor of zooms when they came out with the K cameras?
     
  17. Stevopedia

    Stevopedia Member

    Messages:
    28
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2008
    Shooter:
    35mm
    No, they made mostly primes from the introductory K era (1975-77) through the M era ('77-'84) to the end of the A era ('84-'88 or so). Those families of lenses are all manual focus, and zooms from those eras (especially M and K) are relatively rare. The great majority of K, M, and A lenses are gorgeous, excellent, manual focus primes. With the autofocus era, however, the emphasis did shift to zooms, but Pentax still maintained a capable stable of primes.

    They're all great lenses, and one of the reasons I love Pentax.
     
  18. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    9,281
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2002
    Location:
    Bergen, Norw
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Just in the unlikely case that someone has managed to miss it:

    http://kmp.bdimitrov.de/ has the most complete list of K-mount cameras and lenses on the internet.
     
  19. Pupfish

    Pupfish Member

    Messages:
    303
    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2008
    Location:
    Monterey Co,
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    If you're talking about the high-end ED Pentax glass or the legendary lenses like the SMC-A macros, K-mount prices have always been correspondingly higher than Nikon or Canon gear. Pentax 35mm use among pros peaked with the Spotmatic and screw mount lenses of the 1960's and has been losing market share almost ever since. Exotic Pentax lenses are relatively rarer than Nikon or Canon, even though the ordinary K-mount lenses were sold in vast quantities.

    The 200mm SMCP-A* f/4 Macro is one such lens, often selling these days for north of $2K when they come up, which is perhaps once or twice a year. They were extremely rare even when new in 1988, too-- something like only 4 had ever been imported into the USA, I was told by a Pentax regional rep back then. Catalog price in the day was, IIRC ~$750. But just try finding one. The non-ED 100mm SMCP-A f/2.8 Macro commonly sells well used for two to three times what I bought mine for in Mint condition two decades ago (at $250, it's been one of my top money-making lenses through the years.)

    That said, of the better "ordinary" primes, the Pentax SMC-A 50mm f/1.4's can be found on eBay all day long selling for right around $100 and will hold it's own with normal primes of any make or model. The build quality and smoothness of the focusing helix is second to none. The manual focus 24's are equally fine and commonly found for $200 at auction.

    The bigger question may be finding a manual Pentax body that still works. Most all 25-30 year old LX's will have the infamous sticky mirror issue by now if they haven't had recent service. The Motordrive LXs that still function are few indeed. The PZ-1s were reasonably good bodies but not pro level gear as they had no dust sealing and 3.5fps motordrives. Pentax dropped the ball on bringing out an LX replacement, IMO. Nikon F5s and Canon F1s are now flood the market and may represent a better bargain, even though they're each nearly half the weight of an Abrams tank.

    Pentax did have quite a following among pros for its medium format bodies. The 645N and NII take not only all the Pentax 645 lenses, but with an adapter all the P67 lenses with full open-aperture metering function . There are also a number of ED teles available. These bodies and lenses are plentiful and cheap and among the best values to be found anywhere in photography just now.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 27, 2009
  20. Jerry Thirsty

    Jerry Thirsty Member

    Messages:
    283
    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2004
    Shooter:
    35mm
    The time to buy relatively cheap (and plentiful) Pentax lenses was about five years ago, when they had pretty much lost the prosumer market with the ZX/MZ series and hadn't yet developed much presence in the digital market. When the *ist DS came out, the price was attractive enough to get a new crowd interested and lens prices and scarcity went up. Pentax has been revamping their lens line, but to some degree this has made demand for the old lenses even worse, because they've dropped the aperture ring and designed exclusively for APS-C sensor coverage. Now you have the people that want to hedge their bets against a full-frame dSLR competing with people that want backward compatibility with their film cameras competing with dSLR users who just want an 85/1.4 (or whatever) any way they can get it.