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06-18-2010, 05:35 PM   #1
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Legendary SMC Pentax 85-210mm f/3.5 (K series)

I just happened to pick up a mint copy of this very rare lens recently and I can see why they are so highly sought after. It feels wonderful in your hands. It is big, but not too big. It is heavy, but not too heavy. Most of all the image quality is quite fabulous. Sharp, contrasty, and colorful.

I wasn't even aware that I had purchased it as it came in a lot of some other camera gear that I bought. It appears that this lens was hardly ever used or maybe not even used at all. It is in immaculate shape. Even more rare, is that it came with the close focusing lens attachment and the SMC Pentax Rear Converter K T6-2x bundled with it.

I tried looking up some info online about it and found very little. Only 2-3 other accounts/reviews of this lens (all claiming it to be very rare and very good). This website says that the availability of this lens is once in a lifetime! K 85-210/3.5

As much as I would love to hold on to a truly legendary classic like this (especially in this condition), I am considering selling it to help raise money for my school tuition and maybe some other camera gear. Problem is, I have no clue as to what it is worth. How do you put a price tag on a lens that you have never seen sold before?

So if anyone has any clue as to what would be a ballpark figure of what this lens is worth in mint condition, please PM me and let me know.

Thanks!

06-19-2010, 04:30 AM   #2
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AFAIK not very many of these were made, as zooms in those days weren't as popular as they are today.

Our lens entry has one review, but no price indicated: Pentax Lens Review Database - SMC Pentax 85-210mm F3.5 Lens Reviews You could be the first!

If I were buying this lens out of LBA, I'd price it slightly above the A 70-210mm F4.

Adam
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06-19-2010, 06:43 AM   #3
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Congrats with your deal, Jason. Both the 85-210/3.5 and KT6-2x are quite hard to find! The 85-210/3.5 is an exceptionally sharp zoom! I own one myself, and I'll probably never get rid of it.

QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
AFAIK not very many of these were made, as zooms in those days weren't as popular as they are today.
The weren't as 'popular' because the were expensive, very expensive!
Fast zooms were quite difficult to produce (still are), so they ware pricey!

QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
If I were buying this lens out of LBA, I'd price it slightly above the A 70-210mm F4.
IMHO, that's waaaay to low.

I would pay that for the close focus attachment lens alone! It also fits 4 of my FA*'s and results are stunning!!!

Of course it is very difficult to value this lens without some kind of reference price, but (now knowing the lens, its optical qualities and the high 'lovability'-factor) I would be happy to buy it for lets say € 200-300 (so $ 250-375). The K T6-2x mostly scores between €20 and €40 (or $ 25 to $ 45) sometimes higher (incl lens case, paperwork...).

But if I were in your shoes... would I sell a 'once in a lifetime buy'? No. Would I sell it for a Bigma...? No, no, no, nooohooo way! ;-) Am I an LBA-victim? Hell yes!!!
06-19-2010, 06:44 AM   #4
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This lens was not available in all parts of the world, which probably makes it more rare in some countries than others.
In my country it was never in the Pentax catalog, but somehow I have two copies
It suffers from chromatic aberation at 3.5, but it is a nice lens on a metal bayonet mount camera.
I would not try it on a plastic camera...

06-19-2010, 06:59 AM   #5
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I have the K45-125, also good and rare.
I pursuased it for euro 50 and could sel it for mayby for euro 100.
But to replace it there are no affortable candidates.
The DA50-135 would do the trick but is much more expensive.
To me, the same story is relevant for your K85-210/3.5.
If you like that focal ranche there is no affortable substitute of that quality out there.
So I would hold on to it unless I needed the money for a worthy substitute.
06-19-2010, 07:07 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by frederik9111 Quote
Congrats with your deal, Jason. Both the 85-210/3.5 and KT6-2x are quite hard to find! The 85-210/3.5 is an exceptionally sharp zoom! I own one myself, and I'll probably never get rid of it.


The weren't as 'popular' because the were expensive, very expensive!
Fast zooms were quite difficult to produce (still are), so they ware pricey!


IMHO, that's waaaay to low.

I would pay that for the close focus attachment lens alone! It also fits 4 of my FA*'s and results are stunning!!!

Of course it is very difficult to value this lens without some kind of reference price, but (now knowing the lens, its optical qualities and the high 'lovability'-factor) I would be happy to buy it for lets say 200-300 (so $ 250-375). The K T6-2x mostly scores between 20 and 40 (or $ 25 to $ 45) sometimes higher (incl lens case, paperwork...).

But if I were in your shoes... would I sell a 'once in a lifetime buy'? No. Would I sell it for a Bigma...? No, no, no, nooohooo way! ;-) Am I an LBA-victim? Hell yes!!!
I'd say that the lower end of that range is a pretty good fit.
06-19-2010, 07:33 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
I'd say that the lower end of that range is a pretty good fit.
From our perspective US-prices (in $) are mostly a bit lower than here in Europe. So you're probably right.
06-19-2010, 08:33 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by frederik9111 Quote
Congrats with your deal, Jason. Both the 85-210/3.5 and KT6-2x are quite hard to find! The 85-210/3.5 is an exceptionally sharp zoom! I own one myself, and I'll probably never get rid of it.


The weren't as 'popular' because the were expensive, very expensive!
Fast zooms were quite difficult to produce (still are), so they ware pricey!


IMHO, that's waaaay to low.

I would pay that for the close focus attachment lens alone! It also fits 4 of my FA*'s and results are stunning!!!

Of course it is very difficult to value this lens without some kind of reference price, but (now knowing the lens, its optical qualities and the high 'lovability'-factor) I would be happy to buy it for lets say € 200-300 (so $ 250-375). The K T6-2x mostly scores between €20 and €40 (or $ 25 to $ 45) sometimes higher (incl lens case, paperwork...).

But if I were in your shoes... would I sell a 'once in a lifetime buy'? No. Would I sell it for a Bigma...? No, no, no, nooohooo way! ;-) Am I an LBA-victim? Hell yes!!!
one on ebay at GBP 29.95 now

eBay.com.sg: PENTAX P/K FIT/DIGITAL FIT 85-210mm F3.8 ZOOM LENS (item 360256755691 end time May 27, 2010 04:34:13 SGT)

06-19-2010, 09:02 AM   #9
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Just because it is a Pentax P/K mount does not mean it was made by Pentax. This one was made by Sun; a brand I've never heard of.
06-19-2010, 09:04 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by hangu Quote
Just because it is a Pentax P/K mount does not mean it was made by Pentax. This one was made by Sun; a brand I've never heard of.
Hmmm... missed that, thanks for the correction
06-19-2010, 11:11 AM   #11
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Thanks for all of your replies. I am going to do some testing of this lens against my Vivitar Series 1 70-210 f/3.5 (Kiron) and f/2.8-4 (Komine). I think they would be a decent match-up for the K 85-210 f/3.5 lens.

I have spoken with a couple other owners of this lens as well as a pretty knowledgeable local Pentax dealer who have all told me the lens with the included attachment filter and 2x rear adapter is worth $500-800 (depending on condition) and this one being mint would probably fall in the upper end of that.

Frederick9111 is correct, back then a zoom lens of this speed was very difficult and expensive to create, and therefore was expensive to buy. This lens was only produced by Pentax for 3 months in 1976 and the rumor is there were only 3,000 of them made. Can anyone either confirm or deny that with any evidence?

I will report back after I have had a chance to do some side-by-side testing with the Vivitar lenses.
06-19-2010, 12:29 PM   #12
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The once in a lifetime Smc Pentax 1:3.5 85-210mm - incl. some pictures!

QuoteOriginally posted by JP_Seattle Quote
Thanks for all of your replies. I am going to do some testing of this lens against my Vivitar Series 1 70-210 f/3.5 (Kiron) and f/2.8-4 (Komine). I think they would be a decent match-up for the K 85-210 f/3.5 lens.
Hey! That could be a very interesting test! Hope to see a few side-by-side shots!

QuoteOriginally posted by JP_Seattle Quote
... Pentax dealer who have all told me the lens with the included attachment filter and 2x rear adapter is worth $500-800 (depending on condition) and this one being mint would probably fall in the upper end of that.
Wow! I'm feeling a little bit richer immediatly

QuoteOriginally posted by JP_Seattle Quote
Frederick9111 is correct, back then a zoom lens of this speed was very difficult and expensive to create, and therefore was expensive to buy. This lens was only produced by Pentax for 3 months in 1976 and the rumor is there were only 3,000 of them made. Can anyone either confirm or deny that with any evidence?
Well... let's create some kind of database then?
The serial number of my 85-210/3.5 is 5108639, by the way.

It's a seriously large lens, by the way





Some shots whit the Smc Pentax 1:3.5 85-210mm:








And here some pictures taken with two of my FA*'s and the Dedicated Close Focus Attachement Lens of the Smc Pentax 1:3.5 85-210mm, which almost halfens the minimal focus distance.


06-20-2010, 01:55 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by frederik9111 Quote

Well... let's create some kind of database then?
The serial number of my 85-210/3.5 is 5108639, by the way.
To limit the range, it is usefull to find where the range ends.
Nearest number NOT this lens below the range I know of : 5107277

Lowest number for this lens is frederiks one : 5108639
Highest one is one of mine : 5109344

nearest number NOT this lens above this range : 5113830 (but this is an A series lens)
In the original K series I have this as nearest : 5118565

I noticed that most low volume original K series lenses have numbers in the 50* .. 52* range.

Later low volume K series lenses usually have 73*

Early K lenses have the lens text: SMC PENTAX 1: (Fnumber)/(focal length)
Late K lenses have the lens text: smc PENTAX 1: (Fnumber) (focal length)mm
06-20-2010, 07:54 AM   #14
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Valueing the 85-210/3.5

Found this link trough extensive googling

B&H had 2 on sale about 11 years ago! -> Re: SMC PENTAX 85-210mm f3.5 ZOOM?!

"...
This one-touch zoom was made for just 9 months during 1976. It was sold with
a reversible screw-on metal hood made especially for this lens.

I've noted just three since 1999:

$350 obo, posted Feb. 2, 2001, on
http://camerex.com/discuss/messages/3/249.html?FridayFebruary220010...
$364 EX KEH 6/99
$399 EX+ KEH 6/99
..."
06-20-2010, 05:26 PM   #15
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I've never owned the "K" series, but I have owned a couple of the very similar (in size anyway) M42 SMC 85/210 "4.5", in fact I've just bought another one!
I've also owned the "A" Series 70/210.
I've never compared them "side by side"/optically....all I can say is that there would be very little, if anything, between them.
However, I have found that the more compact nature of the 70/210 "A" made it much easier to handle.....I was doing motorsport & the 70/210 was much easier to "manoeuvre".
Cheers, Pickles.
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