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Thread: Pentax lenses

  1. #1

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    Pentax lenses

    Hi, Yes, I made a thread a few days ago asking about Nikon lenses, but that was when I thought I was getting a Nikon FM2n, since then my Dad visited my Grandfather and was given an immaculate Pentax K1000, so I will be using that now, it has a Bauer E14B flash, 50mm f/2 lens and Konica 35mm lens, which I don't like because it is a screw thread and needs an adapter, and the adapter is really difficult to get off the camera, so i won't be using it, I also got another flash, a Vivitar Zoom Thyristor 2500, which works really well with the Pentax, and my Canon EOS 60D.
    My question is, what lenses should I be buying for the Pentax, I have only found one true Pentax lens, a 50mm f/1.7, is it better than the f/2?

    Thanks, James
    James

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  2. #2

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    Is it better? Just how long is a piece of string? Either will outperform what you ask of it during normal use. To get the best use a tripod and a cable release. Most 'bad' performers were wrongly accredited, simply because of camera shake.

    Most Pentax lenses, especially the mulitcoated ones were good. Over the years I have had a chance to try a lot of them out and really have not found one that I could describe as poor.
    The 200mm F4 was not the strongest of the bunch but good enough to give me a 12x16 mono print and that is all I ask of it. The 300mm was certainly a good lens but on the heavy side. I have not had the chance to use one of the 20mm F4 offerings but I have seen results from them and they were as good as anything else on offer at the time they were manufactured.
    All the others were better than just plain good.
    Last edited by BMbikerider; 09-30-2012 at 09:47 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  3. #3
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    I have several Pentax cameras and I have a bunch of lenses to go with.
    I've got 500mm telephoto/zoom lenses, 28mm wide lenses and macro lenses but 90% of the time I use just the plain, old 50mm normal.

    Zoom lenses can compress perspective in a way I don't like. Wide lenses can cause barrel distortion. How many times do I photograph something close up?

    Also, don't forget that longer and/or more complex lenses lose more light. If I remember, my zoom lens is an ƒ-5.6. If I'm shooting 100 speed film I can end up in a situation where there is not enough light. (God forbid I use 50 speed!) Then, with a big lens, I often end up needing a tripod... more crap to carry around with me.

    I'm not saying that these lenses are bad. I'm just pointing out that everything has its pros and cons.

    Half the time, I don't even bother taking extra lenses with me unless I plan on using them. For instance if I'm going bird watching. In that case, a tele/zoom lens is indespensible.
    The rest of the time, I prefer to travel light. I want to be able to grab and go.

    Just use your 50mm and, as they say, learn to zoom with your feet.

    Generally speaking, all other things equal, an ƒ-1.7 lens is better than an ƒ-2 but, as with everything there are pros and cons.
    The faster then lens the shallower the depth of field gets at wide-open aperture.

    With an ƒ-1.7 lens at a distance of 10 feet, your depth of field be less than 1 foot. At a distance of 5 feet, it might only be a couple of inches.
    In a situation like that, you might have a little gambit to play: Open the lens up wider in order to get enough light to make the shot or stop down in order to get the depth of field.
    You're going to be forced to recompose the shot so that soft focus doesn't matter or you're going to have to move around in order to take advantage of better light. (e.g. put a window at your back.)

    If I had two lenses in front of me but I could only buy one, assuming they were comparable quality, I would probably take the faster one but I would do it with the understanding that wider ƒ-stops often have shallow depth of field.

    Bottom line: Accessories and lenses are great but don't get too wrapped up in them. You'll be better off in the long run if you learn how to shoot the 50mm normal lens and when you are in a situation where you need them, the other lenses will just let you be better prepared.
    Randy S.

    In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni.

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  4. #4
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    The 50/1.7 is regarded as better than the 50/2. I use the f/2 though, and it is good, just not anything special, IMO. The adapter is removed by using the the tip of a ballpoint pen or similar to push in the metal spring clip that's located on the left upper inside of the adapter (looking at it from the front). You can also remove the clip and leave the adapter on the lens and use it like a normal bayonet lens. Just be a little careful, as it won't be locked onto the body.

    I think it's simpler to just buy a K-mount 35mm though, as they are inexpensive in ordinary focal lengths and apertures. Most are less than $100, while some are less than $50. I bought a 28/2.8 SMC Pentax-M for $35 from KEH. I got an 80-200/4.5 zoom off ebay for $50.

    You could get say, the 135/3.5 for very little money, and with your 35 and 50 have a nice basic setup. Or you could go a little wider with a 28mm instead. If you find you want a longer lens the 200/4 is excellent and inexpensive. Third party lenses by reputable makers are even cheaper, and some are very good. Some of their lenses are very well respected.

    One thing about it, you can get basic lenses so cheaply now that if you change your mind on one, you can sell it on and lose very little.

    As stated above, if you only use the 50 to start out with, and really learn what that lens can do for you, you will better be able to use any other lens you acquire. I did that when starting out: I had only my normal lens for the first few years and really wrung it out before getting more. And if I could only have one lens to use all the time the normal lens would be it.
    Last edited by lxdude; 09-30-2012 at 08:59 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    I do use a digital device in my photographic pursuits when necessary.
    When someone rags on me for using film, I use a middle digit, upraised.

  5. #5
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    As stated above, if you only use the 50 to start out with, and really learn what that lens can do for you, you will better be able to use any other lens you acquire. I did that when starting out: I had only my normal lens for the first few years and really wrung it out before getting more. And if I could only have one lens to use all the time the normal lens would be it.
    +1

    I learned on a screwmount Pentax with a 55mm, f2. I love the older screwmount lenses I have (all Pentax). I haven't used any of the ones between those and the most recent lenses from them, however.
    Can't count how many times my dad said to zoom with my feet when I asked about a zoom lens. Really does help you see possibilities, though.

  6. #6

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    Which 50mm f1.7 - a "K", "M", "A", "F" or "FA" version? Also which 50mm f2.0 . . .

    One of the things not commonly assessed is the condition of the used equipment - is it in it's intended condition?

    Here are some of my Pentax K mount 50mm lenses . . .



    Here are the resolution test results for these -> Pentax 50mm res test
    The results are artificially limited to 14.6MP but subsequent tests show they can resolve far more.

    Of course this test doesn't show DOF or quality of bokeh - a consideration for faster lenses. All Pentax K mount lenses uses their pioneering multicoated process and works very well to control flare. Likely, for all photographic purposes, the f1.7 and f2.0 will perform similarly.


    BTW, if you have the Pentax M42 to K mount adapter, then that gives you access to a world of excellent M42 lenses which are plentiful and usually priced right. Of course even older and condition is more suspect.
    Last edited by Les Sarile; 09-30-2012 at 09:28 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  7. #7

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    It's a good idea to simply start with a 50mm lens and learn with that.
    Zoom with your feet isn't the same as zoom with the zoom lens though. Each gives a different effect and one should decide as to which is more desirable in the situation.

  8. #8

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    There's absolutely nothing wrong with the 50mm you have. The f1.7 version is sharper at larger apertures but it isn't worth spending limited funds on changing, you can still take superb photos with the f2 version.

    The main thing to bear in mind is that prices are very stable for all genuine SMC Pentax lenses (as they can also be used on their DSLRs), so you can safely buy, see what you think, and sell if it doesn't suit you. Try searching ebay daily with it set to show newly-listed items first, you can often pick up bargains on Buy It Now items listed cheaply.

    In your position I would look at the 28mm f3.5 (there are SMC Pentax and SMC Pentax-M versions, the former is slightly sharper but bigger and harder to find, the latter is still pin-like but more common) and either the Pentax-M 135mm f3.5 or the Pentax-M 80-200mm f4.5 - try to get the first version of the zoom with the chrome ring between the grip and the lettering as it's reportedly better than the later version without this. All are easy to find and shouldn't cost much, if you later decide you want something more exotic (like the SMC Pentax 135mm f2.5) then you'll get back what you paid for them and can put it toward the new lens.

    In general it's best to avoid Pentax lenses which don't have "SMC" in the name, those without were designed to be cheaper. They are coated but not SMC'd, and were frequently simplified - the 28-80mm zooms for example are best used for anything other than photography! Pentax also reused the Takumar name on some K mount lenses known as "Takumar Bayonet" - also best avoided for now, while a couple of them are decent enough you can do better for the same money or a little more. There are a handful of lenses with SMC which are still best avoided - the 35-80mm zooms and the 40-80mm zoom. The 35-70mm zooms are perfectly decent (I'd suggest the Pentax-A 35-70mm f4 as being the best fit for a K1000) but the 35-80mm in Pentax-A and Pentax-F guise is horrible.

    Don't be caught out by the Takumar Bayonet 135mm f2.5 by the way - it's nothing like the proper Super Takumar 135mm f2.5 or the SMC Pentax version. Some unscrupulous sellers are listing the Takumar Bayonet with a high BIN price in the hope that people will mistake it for the more desirable lens.
    Last edited by PentaxBronica; 09-30-2012 at 09:56 AM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: missing "m" in 80mm
    Matt

  9. #9

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    Thanks very much for the replies and information, I will stick with my 50mm f/2 (I had no idea on the other versions as Les Sarile said, the one if have is 50mm f/2 SMC Pentax-M) but I will eventually be looking for a 28mm, maybe 35mm and a telephoto prime, probably 135mm.

    Thanks again, James
    James

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  10. #10
    lxdude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PentaxBronica View Post
    There's absolutely nothing wrong with the 50mm you have. The f1.7 version is sharper at larger apertures but it isn't worth spending limited funds on changing, you can still take superb photos with the f2 version.
    Well said.

    As to wide angle zoom quality: I have the tiny 24-35mm/3.5, and it's sharp and resistant to flare. It does have more barrel distortion than the wide angle primes, though.
    Last edited by lxdude; 09-30-2012 at 10:47 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    I do use a digital device in my photographic pursuits when necessary.
    When someone rags on me for using film, I use a middle digit, upraised.

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