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07-31-2007, 09:16 PM   #1
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Pentax SMC 135mm/f2.8 lenses

Hullo everybody!

I am looking for inputs on the A and F versions of Pentax 135mm/f2.8 lenses, please. I have been through the lens data base here; that apart, can people here who have used both these lenses advise me about which is a better lens? In terms of image quality, weight, compactness, ease of use, etc. And which will give better results when attached to the Pentax 1.7x tele adapter.

Also, consider the utility and image quality of either lens when compared with the Pentax 100mm/f3.5 macro. If one had to have only one lens which would be the best option?

Thanks to all in advance.

07-31-2007, 09:36 PM   #2
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I can't speak from experience about the A version, but I've heard it's not one of their better 135s, and unless you can get one for a good deal (so you can sell it off for an excessive amount), it's apparently not worth getting.

I had the K135/2.5, Super-Takumar 135/3.5, and FA135 at one point, and the K and FA were quite similar, which is a good thing. The FA focuses about twice as close and is obviously more functional, but in terms of optical quality it's close.

The F version is only cosmetically different from teh FA version so it's a good choice if you can find one.
07-31-2007, 10:14 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Khukri Quote
Hullo everybody!

I am looking for inputs on the A and F versions of Pentax 135mm/f2.8 lenses, please. I have been through the lens data base here; that apart, can people here who have used both these lenses advise me about which is a better lens? In terms of image quality, weight, compactness, ease of use, etc. And which will give better results when attached to the Pentax 1.7x tele adapter.

Also, consider the utility and image quality of either lens when compared with the Pentax 100mm/f3.5 macro. If one had to have only one lens which would be the best option?
I have the FA 135mm f2.8 [IF] and it is a very fine lens. Highly recommended. If you can find one (or the F version), it is probably the best choice for a DSLR.

The A 135mm f2.8 is a 4 element design and a poor performer by most accounts. Even worse is the Takumar A (Bayonet) 135mm f2.5. Of course the A* 135mm f1.8 is a fine lens and the best of the "A" 135s. The M 135mm f3.5 is a decent lens, and the original SMC "K" 135mm f2.5 is reported to be a very fine performer.

The recent Pentax 100mm f3.5 macro was made by Cosina. I haven't used one, but reports are that is a decent lens but with mediocre build quality. It also only goes to 1/2 life size, which may be an issue for you. Any of the Pentax 100mm f2.8 macros (especially the F, FA or D FA) would probably be a better lens.

You pay a premium for the macro capability. If you have an interest in close-up work, then by all means get the 100mm macro. It will work well as a general medium telephoto lens also. If you don't have much interest in close-ups, then get one of the 135mm such as the FA or F f2.8 [IF], the K 135mm f2.5, or on a tight budget the M 135mm f3.5.
08-03-2007, 10:43 PM   #4
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Thank you so much for the detailed responses and advice, Jslifoaw and Gary. Much appreciated!

I am more into close up work than portraits. To that end I have recently purchased a 100/3.5 from another member here (The 1:2 magnification limitation escaped me at that time...!) I shall try it out, adding a 1.7x to see how the combination works. Possibly may have to move on to a 90 or 100mm 1:1 in due course.

Shall keep the F/FA 135mm versions is mind if I ever go the portait way. By the way what is a fair/good price for such a lens in top condition.

Thanks once again.

08-04-2007, 07:37 AM   #5
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I have a SMC-M 135/3.5 and a XR Rikenon 135/2.8. Both very solid and sharp lenses. I find the ricoh a tad sharper but in the world of portraiture, sharp falls behind good colour rendition and dof which the M135 does a bit better.

Hey and you can get M135s for easily $60ish.
08-04-2007, 12:08 PM   #6
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I'd like to put in my 2 cents in favour of the 135mm SMC A f2.8. Not much positive has been said about this lens but my version is quite good. I have some decent lenses in the bag including some limiteds and this lens performs well compared to them. I enjoy using it and wouldn't sell it. That being said I've never used any of the other versions so maybe they are better in some ways. My "A" is well built, smooth focus ring, fast, sharp with good colour and a nice bokeh so I'd recommend this version as well.
08-04-2007, 09:26 PM   #7
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I'll second Peter's opinion. I also have the SMC-A 135 f/2.8 and find that it's one of my more useful lenses. Personally, on at dSLR with the 1.5x crop factor, I think any of the 135/f2.x's are bargains as you get the equivalent of a 200mm f/2.x prime for (usually) well under $100.

Some of my favorite images have come from my 135 f/2.8.
08-05-2007, 03:22 AM   #8
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That poor SMC A 135mm f2.8

There's something very ironic that when your trying to state your case for a lens that I think has been unfairly (at least to some extent) knocked about, Alfred E Newman is the guy that supports your cause!!

I woke up this morning to check my hotmail and noticed this thread had an added comment. When I saw the avatar I laughed. That poor 135mm can't catch a break. I'm tempted to change my avatar to Homer Simpson or something. No offense Russ, just had to say something cause I thought this was very funny. I do like the lens and so in it's further defense I took a very quick shot before I go help a friend repaint his house today.

The second image is a 100% crop of the first. It's not the most artistic shot going but I think it gives some idea of what this lens can do and hope it helps Khukri make his choice. One thing I forgot to mention is the fact that it's an "A" series. That advantage can't be overlooked. Better exposures and a faster lens that allows you to use all the features and settings of the K series cameras. The "M" series lenses do well but I like the fact that the A series offer more flexibility.

This was taken at f6.3 (to keep the FOV narrow and show some bokeh), ISO 200, 1/100 shot in RAW. I didn't 'fiddle' with it other than to crop the image. I'm not saying it's as good as a 77mm Limited because it isn't. But it does a very good job IMO and it's no too bad for a 'bottom of the bunch' lens.

Thanks "Alfred" for the vote !! ROTFLMAO


Last edited by Peter Zack; 01-27-2008 at 03:47 PM.
08-05-2007, 11:28 AM   #9
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Well, since we're posting examples, this is all I've been able to coax from this lens:



Seriously, I think this lens is a good example of how digital and the center crop of the image circle breathes new life into older, "lesser" lenses. I guess any of this lenses deficiencies are mimized by the 1.5x crop. I'm happy with this result.
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