Which Pentax lenses to buy?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by James-EG, Jan 23, 2013.

  1. James-EG

    James-EG Member

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    Hi, I currently have a Pentax MX and K1000 along with a Pentax SMC 50mm f/2, Cosina 28mm f/2.8 and Auto Chinon 50mm f/1.7 (I would like to replace all of them). So I would like to know what lenses you would recommend me buying? I would like to get the best lenses I can on my relatively low budget of around £35 for each lens, although I would be happy to pay slightly more for a really good lens. I have a Pentax M42 thread adapter so those lenses aren't excluded.

    I am looking mainly for a few lenses that are good quality and take good quality pictures but also give me a good range in focal length, the only one I have decided to definitely try and buy is the SMC 50mm f/1.4, what is your opinion on the 135mm f/3.5?

    Also, my MX has a lot of damage, including a lot of scratches and a few large dents (to be expected I suppose, I paid £30 or the camera, 3 lenses and a flash), there is also a load of marks like smudges on the focusing screen which I presume were made from cleaning it in the past, though not by me, the foam above the mirror has almost completely gone too (I'm not sure of it's technical name due to my limited knowledge of film cameras so far) this make me a bit afraid to use the MX in case the mirror breaks or something, and I really want to use it!

    So would it be worth buying a new MX? I really like mine so far, especially the size and some extra features over the K1000, or would it be better for me to buy a different body like a KX?
     
  2. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    The MX is a great camera. In terms of lens, I have the 50mm in F 2 and 1.8 in K mount Iand find them to very sharp, I also the 135 3.5 in M 42 and it also a great lens. I also like the 2.8 105 and the 28mm 3.5 which I think is better than the 2.8 all in M42. Some lens are rare like the 120 and 150mms. In your price range you can find 28mm 35mm 105 135 and sometimes a 200. Some of the Pentex zooms were also very good. I have had other 42mm lens such as Vivitar which I think were ok, but up to Pentax qauility. With an adpator you can work many excellent M 42s, including Fuji and Mamyia. Not sure what 3rd party lens are good in K.
     
  3. Griz

    Griz Member

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    Hi James, for in-depth reviews on all Pentax lenses, take a look here:

    http://www.pentaxforums.com/lensreviews/

    Lots and lots of good information, and friendly folks on the forum as well.

    Griz :smile:
     
  4. PentaxBronica

    PentaxBronica Member

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    Personally I'd have the MX serviced/CLA'd. Unless you feel comfortable replacing the light seals and giving it a good clean yourself. Look up Asahi Photo or Harrow Technical.

    Any MX you buy will need new light seals and mirror bumper foam unless they've already been replaced. It's not hard to do though. Look for pre-cut kits on ebay, they usually come with instructions. The grubby focussing screen can be replaced very easily, there was a range of alternative screens made for this camera. Look up the Dimitrov K-Mount Site for more information. Note that while screens made for the LX will physically fit into the camera they will throw the metering out.

    As for lenses you won't find the ones you mention for £35 each. If money is that tight I'd suggest you:

    Keep the Pentax 50mm f2, it's a decent lens when stopped down a bit and perfectly capable of top quality images. If you see the 50mm f1.7 or f1.4 (or the 55mm f1.8 or f2) then go for it, but don't worry too much about replacing this one.

    The SMC Pentax or SMC Pentax-M 28mm f3.5 is brilliant and you might find one that cheaply if you keep your eyes open.

    Telephoto - you can often find a Pentax-M 135mm f3.5 within budget, it's tiny, sharp, has a built-in hood. I prefer my SMC P 120mm f2.8 but you definitely won't find one of them for £35 (I paid £65 and have only seen about three for sale in the four or five years since)!

    There is also the Pentax-M 80-200mm f4.5 or the Pentax-A 70-210mm f4, bigger and slower but if you want a zoom they're decent performers. Also look at the Pentax-M 75-150mm f4 which is a gorgeous little zoom and can often be found within budget.

    As for third party lenses the Vivitar 75-205mm f3.8 is very good, can often be found cheaply.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 23, 2013
  5. LarryP

    LarryP Member

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    Hi' I use the 50/ 1.7 and 135/ 3.5 great lenses. The 50/ 2 is a good lens as mentioned,the only benefit really for the 1.4 is if you need the speed or like shooting wide open to get lots of bokeh. If you like wide the 28 and 35 f3.5 seem to be better as they are sharper in the corners. As to whether or not to keep the mx unless to your eye it's just to ugly to be seen with a good cla from a good tech would be more cost effective. Not sure who in the UK to recommend for that.
     
  6. James-EG

    James-EG Member

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    Thanks everyone for the replies, I've had a look round on various websites and I've found a 135mm f/3.5 for around my price range which sounds good and it's in very good condition, I've also found a couple of 50mm f/1.7s which I will keep an eye on to watch the price. As for a wide angle lens then I will look for those mentioned (28 and 35) as f/3.5, they often seem to be regarded better quality than the f/2.8s. I am familiar with the pentax forums reviews and they are very useful.

    I'll also have a look at some of the M42 mount lenses as they also seem to be quite popular. With the zooms I've been told that they aren't great but I'm nothing of a professional photographer so I'm sure any of the zooms mentioned like the 75-150mm would be great for me, as long as they're a good price.

    Finally with the camera I'll have a look for someone in my area who could service it, but if it is too expensive to repair then I think I could get a new one for a similar price or cheaper on eBay.
     
  7. Pioneer

    Pioneer Subscriber

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    I consider the following to be a terrific lens kit for the cameras you own. SMC Pentax M 35mm f3.5 (a beautiful wide angle), SMC Pentax M 50mm f1.7 (the perfect fast normal for low light), SMC Pentax M 135mm f/3.5 (a marvelous portrait lens), and the SMC Pentax M 200mm f/4 (a light, but very good, telephoto). If you keep your eyes open you can usually pick up each of these at or below your price point. They are very good lenses and are very sharp and effective. Because they are not the "speediest" in the land they don't usually get a lot of attention so can be picked up quite reasonably. I use these lenses a lot with my K1000 and they never cease to exceed my expectations. I think it will be a long, long time before I actually outgrow these lenses, if ever.

    Later, if you want, you can go looking for a nice 50mm Macro though these will typically go for a little bit higher than what you want to pay right now. The only other one I might consider would be the SMC Pentax M 85mm f/2 (a very capable short telephoto.)
     
  8. James-EG

    James-EG Member

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    Thanks a lot, sounds like a great set up for me, although after some searching on eBay I can't find a 35mm 3.5 at all although there are a couple of 28mm lenses for a decent price. The 200mm looks a bit too expensive for me right now but I don't think I would need a lens with that kind of range yet so it's not a problem. I will definitely try my best to get those three lenses!
     
  9. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    You might look up KEH and see what they have.

    Jeff
     
  10. Pioneer

    Pioneer Subscriber

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    You are right, things are a bit dry right now, but with some patience in time you can find them at really good prices.

    Jeff is also right, KEH can also be a good source, as is BHPhoto and Adorama. The advantage of those three is you get an easy return option if things aren't what you expected.
     
  11. PentaxBronica

    PentaxBronica Member

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    TBH the only problem with those Pentax zooms is the weight and relatively slow maximum aperture. Pentax had a habit of sacrificing speed in favour of image quality.
     
  12. Pioneer

    Pioneer Subscriber

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    Another option that you can consider is the Vivitar 70-210 Series 1 Zoom. Back in the early 90s I paid well over $200 for mine but they go for much, much less now. The early versions with the f3.5 aperture are extremely good lenses. I worked with just that zoom and the Pentax 50mm f2 for a good many years before I could afford anything else.
    This is a recent example that is going for $31 with shipping. http://www.ebay.com/itm/VIVITAR-SER...56871878?pt=Camera_Lenses&hash=item3cce299ec6
     
  13. Klainmeister

    Klainmeister Member

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    Best advice here. Better second it.

    I mainly use the 50mm 1.4 and find it incredible--truly a brilliant lens. I did an 11x14 print of an Acros 100 negative and the person I gave it to thought it was from my Mamiya 7. Ha! It's hard to go wrong with the Pentax line up.
     
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  15. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    if you cannot get the 50mm f1.4, get the 50mm f1.7. For reference, check out this informal comparison:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/digitalanalog/5388269877/sizes/o/in/photostream/

    I cannot comment on the wides. For the 135mm, get an SMC, M or A version. Do NOT get the "Pentax Bayonet" lens. They are horribly built and I do not think they were multicoated. The f3.5 is great, and compact as well.
     
  16. jochen

    jochen Member

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    the 135 mm/f2.5 and the 24 mm/f3.5 SMC (in M42 thread version) are a dream as well as the 150 mm/f4.
     
  17. PentaxBronica

    PentaxBronica Member

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    I think you mean Takumar Bayonet?

    These were multicoated, just not SMC. Some of them aren't too shabby, others are horrible. They were sold as a cheap alternative to the full SMC Pentax lenses.

    Especially don't be taken in by the 135mm f2.5, it isn't the same lens as the SMC Pentax or M42-mount Takumars but some people seem to think it's worth a lot more than it is.

    Weirdly the Takumar Bayonet 135mm f2.8 is reckoned to be decent enough. I have the 28mm f2.8 (mechanically and optically identical to the later version of the Pentax-M 28mm f2.8, just with non-SMC coatings) which is certainly sharp but suffers from rather insipid colour reproduction. Use it on a bright sunny day and it's pretty acceptable, but given that you can get a Pentax-M 28mm f3.5 for about the same money now I wouldn't advise buying the Tak Bayonet lens.

    In general if you avoid any lens which doesn't have "SMC" in its name you should be ok. The non-SMC ones can be fun to play around with but if your budget is tight you should aim for a smaller collection of better lenses.
     
  18. James-EG

    James-EG Member

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    Thanks, although the problems with KEH, BHPhoto and Adorama is that the postage is often far too expensive to justify buying the equipment from the UK so for now I think I'll just stick with eBay.

    Thanks again everyone for all the advice, very helpful! I think I will try to get these lenses: SMC 28mm f/3.5, (maybe a 35mm f/3.5 but they seem a bit more expensive), SMC 50mm f/1.7 (or f/1.4 if I find one cheap), and an SMC 135mm f/3.5, or if I can find one an SMC 120mm f/2.8. Does that sound good for me? I think I'll also have a look at some reviews etc. of the M42 mount pentax lenses, as a few of them seem quite good.

    Also I found a black MX with SMC 50mm f/1.7 for £65, it looks in good condition with only a bit of paint loss, especially compared to my MX and has new light seals, is that a good price I should think about? Or shall I wait and see if I can get anything cheaper?

    Thanks
     
  19. artobest

    artobest Member

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    Buy.

    You should also check out some of the bricks-and-mortar shops online, like Carmarthen Cameras and Ffordes - they often have good bargains.
     
  20. James-EG

    James-EG Member

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    Okay I'll try to, and thanks I'll have a look
     
  21. oceanpriest

    oceanpriest Member

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    2 pages and no one mentioned M 40mm f2.8, no love for the pancake? :confused:

    [​IMG]
     
  22. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    Does the camera still work the aperture with an M42 to K adaptor?


    Steve.
     
  23. oceanpriest

    oceanpriest Member

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    still work but it's no longer open aperture metering, it becomes stop down aperture metering with the M42-K adapter.
     
  24. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    No. With Takumar lenses the MAN/AUTO switch is used to close the diaphragm to the selected aperture. Lenses without a switch will have to be used at maximum aperture, unless the lens has been somehow modified.
     
  25. PentaxBronica

    PentaxBronica Member

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    It's a lovely little thing, but probably outside the OP's budget. I've yet to see one for less than £70 in the UK.

    It even makes the larger K series bodies into (coat) pocket cameras, and the field of view is usefully wider than 50mm.
     
  26. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    I have 10 to 12 Takumar lens ranging from 24mm to 400mm I have never seen a Takumar M 42 lens that is not either pre set of have the swith. Does anyone have one?