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06-27-2010, 02:24 PM   #1
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Continental Optics Lens?

Let me preface this by saying that I'm very, very much an amateur here, and I do know that this isn't a great lense, but am wondering if it was even worth what I spent on it and if it's better than the kit lenses.

I was at a thrift store and they had a brand new, never opened box of a Special Formula Continental Optics 80mm - 200 mm Multi-Coated, Automatic Zoom lens with built in lens hood for Pentax. I paid $25.00 for it. The sticker on it was from a store called Two Guys and it retailed for $134.99.

I guess i figured if it was that much back then, that it had to be a pretty good lense... after checking around online, I'm thinking it may not be that great.

Does anyone have any info? I'm basically looking to find out if it is worth the $25.00 and if it will be better than a kit lens. It's a perfect lens and hasn't been used.

Thanks for any information.

06-27-2010, 08:01 PM   #2
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Only way to know for sure is to try it out.

Does it look like one of these?
"makina 80-200" - Google Search
06-27-2010, 08:12 PM   #3
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Thanks for replying. Yes, it looks exactly like that...but is Continental Optics. Do you know if something like that (the one in the picture) would be better than the standard kit lens?
06-27-2010, 08:53 PM   #4
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Depends on what standard kit lens you mean. Could *possibly* be as good as the 50-200 (although i rather doubt it - old zooms are seldom very good), but incredibly unlikely doubtful that it would be as good as the 55-300.

06-28-2010, 03:49 AM   #5
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Thanks Mark, I think what threw me off was that the lens was bought for $135.00 - which was back in the 70's, and I think that's quite expensive then. So, I thought it was a good lens. Oh well. It could have been much worse - it was only $25.00.

It's throwing me off though because I'm trying to decide between a purchase of a Pentax k-x and an Olympus e-620. I was leaning toward the e-620, but when I saw the lens this cheap, I thought well maybe I'll get the k-x if I can get a cheaper zoom. So, my head is throwing this zoom lens in the mix when making my decision, but I think I'll just need to rethink as if I don't have it...it really doesn't sound like a good lens at all.
06-28-2010, 04:59 AM   #6
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Hello there,

if you're willing to use older lenses, then Pentax is definitely the way to go. Even though your "new" zoom might or might not be great, you will be able to build a remarquable arsenal of older lenses for Pentax, at a fraction of the price it would cost to get new ones for Olympus. Plus you'll have a lot more choice...

I'll also add that even though I respect Olympus as a brand, their sensors are noisier at higher ISO, and the smaller size means that for a given field of view, the control over depth of field will be more limited than with other brands.
06-28-2010, 05:53 AM   #7
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Thanks bdery, that's actually a great point to consider. I defintely want to have a camera that I can expand (with various lenses) in the future. Seems like at the end of the day, the lenses make all the difference. Thanks again for helping me firm up my decision (pentax!)...
06-28-2010, 08:50 AM   #8
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The current "kit" zooms available from Pentax are auto-focus and the one you just bought probably isn't. As for the image quality, only taking some photo's will determine that. Some of those old lenses turn out to be real gems. Two Guy's was a department store chain in the Northeast that closed up in the late 70's or early 80's. Many stores had a line of lenses they sold which were pretty much the same stuff, just relabeled. Kmart's brand was called Focal and you see them quite often on Ebay. Use it and enjoy! For $25 you haven't invested much.

06-28-2010, 08:59 AM   #9
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Thanks for replying Reeftool, it says that it's AutoFocus, so I'm hoping it will work. Just ordered my k-x, so I should be able to try by the weekend.

I guess I'm confused too because the original price was $134.99 (the sticker isstill on the box) and that, to me, seems really high for about 25 years ago for lens...that's what made me think it was good. The box says Special Formula, Multi-Coated, Auto-Focus.

I'm actually looking forward to playing with it now
06-28-2010, 10:02 AM   #10
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Are you sure it says autofocus? your original decription says only "automatic", but that's not talking about focus - it just means that you don't need to manually open and close the aperture. That much is true of all K-mount lenses (ie, everything that fits your camera, manual or auto focus, manual or auto exposure). Autofocus for 35mm SLR's didn't even exist except as experimental prototypes in the 1970's.

And no, $135 brand new in the 1970's would not have been particularly expensive for list price on a brand new telephoto zoom.

Last edited by Marc Sabatella; 06-28-2010 at 10:07 AM.
06-28-2010, 12:59 PM   #11
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Yes, the key point here is that it was a zoom lens back when a zoom lens meant an expensive lens. So $135 is not that expensive for a zoom from that time. The fact that it's an early zoom, though, is a bigger strike against it than the fact that it is not an expensive lens. However, for $25 dollars for "new old stock," how wrong could you have gone? I say take pictures with it and enjoy what you can get out of it.

I remember Two Guys. They closed up quite a while back, somewhere around 1980 it seems like. This makes me think of Big N and Barkers. Just a bit further back I have memories of White Modell (not sure if that's the proper spelling, it's been so long). It's almost nostalgic to think of Two Guys.
06-28-2010, 05:56 PM   #12
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Mark, I looked at the box about 20 times or so and read it as Auto-Focus, but after your post, I checked again and it was Automatic. Oh well... thanks for all your comments/suggestions... they're much appreciated.
06-28-2010, 06:34 PM   #13
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Non-autofocus lenses often force you to think harder about the image you are taking and the result if often better.

But as you said $25; thats less than a week of Starbucks.
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