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08-29-2010, 10:54 AM   #1
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Help with choosing lens brands

I'm looking for a tele for my newly acquired K-x and I'm looking at used lenses on my city (there's plenty offerings, most people selling their film Pentaxes with gear).

I have the option to buy 3 different 100-300mm lenses. One is a Pentax original, other is a Sigma and other is a Takumar. Aside from the obvious differences on apertures (all are around f/4 max), which brand is better? I'm looking for people more experienced than me that can comment on their optical and construction qualities.

Thanks

08-29-2010, 10:58 AM   #2
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Are they all K mount?

Also, Takumar IS Pentax, and is probably an older M42 screwmount. Make sure you list all the specs here for the best help.
08-29-2010, 11:01 AM   #3
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Also, you really can't make generalizations like brand X lenses are better than brand Y. All lens brands have some above average lenses, some below average, and all points in between. You'd need to compare *specific* lenses. And see the Lens Review section of this site for some already posted ratings and comments on most lenses.
08-29-2010, 11:51 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ira Quote
Are they all K mount?

Also, Takumar IS Pentax, and is probably an older M42 screwmount. Make sure you list all the specs here for the best help.
Yes, it's K-mount, as I wanna avoid using adapters.

I didn't knew Takumar was Pentax, thought it was a rebranded model like the Quantaray (which from what I know, is Sigma).

Here are the models:

- Pentax 100-300mm f/4.7-5.8 SMC FA
- Sigma 100-300mm f/4.5-6.7 UC
- Takumar 80-200mm (not sure on the aperture)

I know the Takumar is a different range, but I'm interested in complementing my 18-55mm range for outdoor photography, so I guess any of those cut it.

I have those 3 as used offerings at about the same price (~$90, but I'm in Brazil), so I'm looking forward for anyone that knows or owns any of those lenses and can comment on their image and construction quality.

From what I understand, the Pentax one would have AF, but I'm unsure about the others.


Last edited by hcarvalhoalves; 08-29-2010 at 12:02 PM.
08-29-2010, 11:54 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
Also, you really can't make generalizations like brand X lenses are better than brand Y. All lens brands have some above average lenses, some below average, and all points in between. You'd need to compare *specific* lenses. And see the Lens Review section of this site for some already posted ratings and comments on most lenses.
Thank you, I'm checking the lens database. Problem is it doesn't include those other brands, although I was able to check the specs and reviews on the Pentax one (and if the Takumar is just a rebranded Pentax, also the equivalent Pentax model).

Last edited by hcarvalhoalves; 08-29-2010 at 12:11 PM.
08-29-2010, 12:04 PM   #6
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I use all older, manual focus and metering lenses, and don't know much about older auto focus Pentax lenses. But I think you're right, that the FA is autofocus. I can't swear by it, though.

However, $90 U.S. for the Pentax and Tak seems like a good price, and you have to look at the lens database on this site and compare the optical qualities of the two, and balance the autofocus benefit of the Pentax, if it is indeed AF.
08-29-2010, 12:09 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by hcarvalhoalves Quote
Thank you, I'm checking the lens database. Problem is it doesn't included those other brands, although I was able to check the specs and reviews on the Pentax one (and if the Takumar is just a rebranded Pentax, also the equivalent Pentax model).
The Tak ISN'T a rebranded Pentax:

All Pentax lenses were originally called Pentax Takumars, until they dropped the Takumar years and years later.

In other words, the Taks are older, more classic glass, and as such, are more collectible, but mostly if they're really the older Taks.
08-29-2010, 12:13 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ira Quote
The Tak ISN'T a rebranded Pentax:

All Pentax lenses were originally called Pentax Takumars, until they dropped the Takumar years and years later.

In other words, the Taks are older, more classic glass, and as such, are more collectible, but mostly if they're really the older Taks.
Thanks for clarifying. I would expect good build quality if they are older then

08-29-2010, 12:26 PM   #9
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There's a Pentax review database and there's the third party data base: Third-Party Lenses for Pentax - Pentax Third-Party Lens Review Database

Here's the Sigma zoom page: Sigma Lenses for Pentax: Zoom Lenses - Pentax Third-Party Lens Review Database

Most Takumars can be found under the M42 part in the Pentax database: Pentax M42 Screwmount Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database

However I think I found the specific one you're looking at on the bottom of the page in the "other" section: Pentax Non-SMC & Other Pentax Zoom Lens Reviews and Specifications - Pentax Lens Review Database
08-29-2010, 01:32 PM   #10
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As mentioned, Takumar is a 'legacy' name for Pentax-made lenses. It's the same tradition as Olympus lenses being named Zuiko, or Minoltas being named Rokkor. Of the lenses you're interested in, I have the Takumar-A 70-200/4, which is a rather good manual zoom, and the SMC Pentax-FA 100-300/4.7-5.8, which is highly underrated. (The 'A' designation on a Pentax/Takumar lens means the camera can control the aperture. An 'F' or 'FA' or 'DA' label indicates autofocus.)

There are two FA 100-300's, and you've picked the good one. AVOID THE 4.5-5.6 VERSION!! Both the Tak-A 70-200 and the FA 100-300 are keepers for me, but in different realms. I underpaid (US$9) for the Tak and overpaid (US$120) for the FA. Both deliver good images; I happen to prefer the results of the FA. Of course, they're rather different functionally -- the Tak is 'faster' (wider aperture) but a bit slower to use, and the FA looks cheezy but works fast and clean. Depending on your openness to LBA, it's good to have both.

Comparisons: I use the Tak-A (660g) when I don't want to carry the weight of the Vivitar Series 1 Version 1 70-210/3.5 (880g). And I use the FA (380g) when I don't want to carry the weight of the Lil'Bigma, Sigma APO DGL 170-500/5-6.3 (1270g). Yes, weight is sometimes a consideration.

Last edited by RioRico; 08-29-2010 at 01:41 PM.
08-29-2010, 01:55 PM   #11
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Just remember that Bayonet Takumars do not have SMC coatings. The Takumar will be more prone to flare than the equivalent Pentax.
08-29-2010, 06:39 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
As mentioned, Takumar is a 'legacy' name for Pentax-made lenses. It's the same tradition as Olympus lenses being named Zuiko, or Minoltas being named Rokkor. Of the lenses you're interested in, I have the Takumar-A 70-200/4, which is a rather good manual zoom, and the SMC Pentax-FA 100-300/4.7-5.8, which is highly underrated. (The 'A' designation on a Pentax/Takumar lens means the camera can control the aperture. An 'F' or 'FA' or 'DA' label indicates autofocus.)

There are two FA 100-300's, and you've picked the good one. AVOID THE 4.5-5.6 VERSION!! Both the Tak-A 70-200 and the FA 100-300 are keepers for me, but in different realms. I underpaid (US$9) for the Tak and overpaid (US$120) for the FA. Both deliver good images; I happen to prefer the results of the FA. Of course, they're rather different functionally -- the Tak is 'faster' (wider aperture) but a bit slower to use, and the FA looks cheezy but works fast and clean. Depending on your openness to LBA, it's good to have both.

Comparisons: I use the Tak-A (660g) when I don't want to carry the weight of the Vivitar Series 1 Version 1 70-210/3.5 (880g). And I use the FA (380g) when I don't want to carry the weight of the Lil'Bigma, Sigma APO DGL 170-500/5-6.3 (1270g). Yes, weight is sometimes a consideration.
Thanks, it's good getting testimonials on those. I'll keep those under the radar, specially the 100-300 FA.

I also found a used Vivitar 100-300mm f/5.6-6.7 for a bargain. f/5.6 sounds a little too slow for a tele, is that right? Anyone who can comment on the quality of those lenses?
08-29-2010, 07:44 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by hcarvalhoalves Quote
I also found a used Vivitar 100-300mm f/5.6-6.7 for a bargain. f/5.6 sounds a little too slow for a tele, is that right? Anyone who can comment on the quality of those lenses?
I can't talk of the that Viv specifically, but in general -- fast zooms are rather more expensive than slow zooms. Many lensmakers are likely to expend much fewer resources in making slow, cheap zooms, and invest much more in making fast, profitable zooms as sharp as possible. BUT... stopped down a bit, even slow glass can look quite good. As long lenses have thin DOF when wide open, stopping-down may be necessary in many applications.

The main limitation of any slow glass is that it needs more light. I don't use my SMC Pentax-FA 100-300/4.7-5.8 in dark places without a flash or tripod. A slow zoom has more limited use than a fast one. If you can exploit those limitations, great!

Last edited by RioRico; 08-29-2010 at 08:19 PM.
08-29-2010, 08:06 PM   #14
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A little bit of clarification:

Takumar, Super Takumar, Super-Multi-Coated Takumar, and SMC Takumar are all M42 screw mount lenses, were made by Asahi Optical Company (later Pentax), and were among the finest lenses made during their time (1950s through early 1970s).

Takumar-Bayonet, Takumar-A, and Takumar-F are all K-mount bayonet lenses and represent a lower (discount) range below the SMC Pentax lenses of the same time period. They lack the SMC coatings and were made by Pentax for export only. Performance and build are similar to off-brand lenses of the same vintage. The value of these "Takumar"s, without exception, is much lower than SMC Pentax or the M42 Takumar lenses.


Steve
08-29-2010, 09:51 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by hcarvalhoalves Quote
Here are the models:

- Pentax 100-300mm f/4.7-5.8 SMC FA
- Sigma 100-300mm f/4.5-6.7 UC
- Takumar 80-200mm (not sure on the aperture)
Focus on the Pentax 100-300 - it's a very good lens.

QuoteOriginally posted by Ira Quote
All Pentax lenses were originally called Pentax Takumars, until they dropped the Takumar years and years later.
Takumar is an older brand than Pentax. The Pentax brand only started being used on K mount lenses. Even the bayonet Takumars don't use Pentax on the same line as Takumar. The company name was Asahi both for the Takumars and for the early Pentax lenses. Later Asahi changed their name to Pentax and now Hoya owns the Pentax brand.
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