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09-17-2010, 07:33 AM   #1
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The dearth of unusual glass and rare items.

As I look around ebay, craigslist, and our forums, it seems in the last 9 months there as been a serious dearth of unusual or rare items popping up.

It would seem the best unusual items Pentaxians have access to are a couple of A* 135/1.8s that are way over priced on ebay.

In the last while we've seen a handful of FA* 85/1.4s, and you can still nab those out of the forums or ebay.

My own quest for an undamaged Pentax 2000mm Reflex has been fraught with a single false start, and an entire lack of glass.

What about items like the FA* 200mm macro. We've seen one of those go one bay this year for a cool $3500 (or was it $3800).

We did see one A* 200mm macro here on the forums this year, and it was refreshing to see such glass.

Also we saw one FA* 300/2.8 go on ebay for $4000 four or so months ago.

One real surprise was the A* 1200mm purchased by a forum member early in the year, and the A* 1200mm that showed up on ebay for a single day for $7300 and then vanished. Since these are listed as once in a lifetime on Bojidar Dimitrov's site I guess I've missed my one chance. In fairness though $7200 is outside any dreams of my recreational spending.

A single FA* 400/5.6 has appeared and disappeared from ebay without being purchased, and for an impressive price.

No FA* 600mm or FA* 250-600mm glass has been seen anywhere in the last year as far as I can tell.

Especially in the last 3 or 4 months, it seems that the rare items have disappeared.

With the likelihood of new shooters coming in on the K-5 and the K-r is our opportunity for rare an unusual glass vanishing with every day?

Is "rare" really becoming unobtainable?

09-17-2010, 07:54 AM   #2
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In many cases Rare is only a state of lack of current production by pentax and probably more due to their marketing and lack of vision into replacing some of the range of lenses that the A, F andFA series lenses offered.

If pentax were to actually build new lenses to fit the holes left, as they have migrated to digital, these rare items would probably become less rare and more obtainable for better prices.

The issue is all about pentax going to the next step. Lack of a real system roadmap for lenses especially has hurt them.

WHile they are doing OK on body development, the reliance on legacy glass is now beyond the realm of availability, not only for the rare items you list, but even for the every day lenses of the past.
09-17-2010, 07:56 AM   #3
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More popular bodies (K-X) would suggest an increase in demand for lenses, but I am not sure how it would affect the market for an A* 135. It may just be attrition of those great old beauties, sad as that is to contemplate.
09-17-2010, 09:19 AM   #4
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People buying the lenses now are users knowing what they are looking for, or collectors not about to release their collections.

Some people (like me) jumped in the Pentax boat a few years too late to take advantage of the really amazing deals. We have to settle for buying nice glass at a fair price. Or buy new lenses.

09-17-2010, 12:20 PM   #5
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I wonder how much sites like this have created much more informed and knowledgeable buyers? Helping people understand they can change a camera preference to enable the use of old lenses, talking up old lenses, providing databases with comprehensive listings and reviews of old lenses... all that knowledge would have been a lot harder to come by 5-10 years ago, but now, it's at people's fingertips, just a quick search term of a few clicks away...
09-17-2010, 12:34 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by nater Quote
I wonder how much sites like this have created much more informed and knowledgeable buyers? Helping people understand they can change a camera preference to enable the use of old lenses, talking up old lenses, providing databases with comprehensive listings and reviews of old lenses... all that knowledge would have been a lot harder to come by 5-10 years ago, but now, it's at people's fingertips, just a quick search term of a few clicks away...
It probably has to some extent, but it obviously had no impact on me. I was a pentax film user, (PZ-1, KX and Ricoh XR2s- the poor mans K2DMD) so me and my 10 lenses were just waiting for a digital body.

What really sells the old lenses, and has led to the rise in price, is the quality of the images that people post here using those lenses.

But keep in mind this is what also has kept pentax in the game to this point.
09-17-2010, 02:49 PM   #7
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There is little doubt forums such as this one have created a more “knowledgeable” group of consumers for the older lenses you describe. That being said the * lenses, regardless of series, have never been common. They have always commanded a premium price and those who own them tend to hang on to them. This combined with Pentax’s commitment to backward compatibility have made then even more desirable and difficult to obtain.

I fear you may be correct in your assessment that the really “rare” Pentax glass just might be nearing the realm of the “unobtainable.” Many of these great lenses were produced in low numbers to start with. Increased demand for these rare items has driven up prices and will likely continue to do so as long as buyers can be found or Pentax releases some new modern equivalents. That being said, money talks and if you are amongst the financially gifted and keep looking I suspect you will be able to find what you are looking for eventually. The bargain boat has clearly sailed on these items though.


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09-17-2010, 02:59 PM   #8
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But Tom, although the boat has sailed from the dock it was not before you off loaded some fine examples yourself , or does the 200F2.5 not count

09-17-2010, 03:15 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
But Tom, although the boat has sailed from the dock it was not before you off loaded some fine examples yourself , or does the 200F2.5 not count
Hi Lowell,

Yes, I got my K 200/2.5 but it was no bargain. I got one in great shape but it was over $500 a couple of years back. This is a bit pricely even by today's standards.
I was willing to pay it as I really wanted this lens and have no regrets.

As I said above the bargain boat has sailed. You might be able to fine that "rare" Pentax lens from time to time but it is going to cost you.

Tom G
09-17-2010, 03:30 PM   #10
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And will the rich collectors, those that collect because they can, get bored and eventually sell their collections?

My bet is they will, so they will be back in circulation again - sometime.
09-17-2010, 04:41 PM   #11
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I must admit I don't understand. It seems to me you are saying "how come rare and unusual gear isn't easily found and/or affordable? The simple answer is that it is rare and unusual. If it wasn't rare/unusual, then it would be easily found and affordable. Is the rare becoming more rare? Sure. There is this thing called entropy, and its a law. There is this other law, called supply and demand that says "as things get more rare they get more expensive" At one time you could get a Honus Wager baseball card when you bought a pack of cigarettes, in the '30's that same card would have cost you $50. Two years ago a Honus Wagner baseball card was auctioned for $2.8 million. That's an extreme case but the principle remains the same. I bought my first Pentax K 135 F2.5 in 2005 for a little over $100, I recently had to replace it (see above about entropy) and got one that was slightly more scratched an dinged for $225. Was it worth it? You bet. I had been looking for about 6-8 weeks for one. How come they aren't as common as they were in 2005? It's a very good lens and there are more pentax shooters. It's that simple. I will go out on a limb here and say that you can probably get ANY pentax lens (if it exsists at all) if you are willing to pay what someone wants for it. Recently a 200mm pentax A macro lens became available on keh. It sold in 5 minutes. So the rare IS available, just not very often and usually for more than I can afford. But such is life.
One final point. In a perverse sort of way, I'm glad that the rare/unusual pentax gear is harder to get. Why? Because it means that Pentax is a more viable and popular brand than it was even just a few years ago. If pentax ever goes down (not that I'm saying that it's likely to) all that rare and unusual will become less rare and maybe downright affordable. For some while at least, until most everybody gets rid of it.

NaCl(be happy it's rare and unusual, the alternative could be dire)H2O
09-17-2010, 04:44 PM   #12
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I've got an early version of the FA43 in the marketplace. Scarce as hen's teeth, priced fairly, fully overhauled by Pentax USA.

/shameless
09-17-2010, 05:01 PM   #13
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I guess I see a different definition of rare. Rare to me means that I can still find it, but usually at a premium price. Rare to me is something more like the FA Limiteds. They don't make many, and they get gobbled up quick, but if you needed one today, you could find one.

What I fear is happening is beyond rare. Lets that the A*135 1.8 for example. I've seen the same two listed on ebay for the past 9 months. Other than those two there have been two more. One at a more reasonable price sold to me, and one other that had been hacked up for a Nikon mount and then tried to be repaired for a Pentax mount that was still broken sold for more than $1000.

Once some yuppie with their new super sexy K-5 buys those last two 135/1.8s on ebay at their exorbitant price, they will be gone and you wont see more of them again. They will be made out of unobtainium, because either they will be in use or collected. In either case, they'll be off the market.

Also, as for rich collectors selling their collections, I think this is unlikely. When you've invested the time to collect a lens that takes months of waiting around for, your investment is more personal than money.

The only chance I see for some of this gear to re-appear on the market is people who were using this gear that leave Pentax for another brand. We see that in our marketplace about once a week; however I haven't seen any of these people leaving that have any gear made of unobtanium.
09-17-2010, 08:00 PM   #14
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Let's hope the recent 35mm lens announcement is simply the beginning of a new series of lenses that fill holes and bring the prices back down. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

I had assumed when I get into Pentax that the influx of glass was due to 20-30 years of Pentax shooters migrating to Canikon and selling their stuff off. Less users + lots of original glass led to a cheap prices (law of supply and demand in it's finest). Now we've seen more people coming on board with the K-x (and hopefully more with the K-r and K5) and people like myself who are getting comfortable with the usage of their gear - and wanting more. Demand is increasing, the amount of glass is not increasing at the same rate, and the price is going up. The only way to fix that is to either reduce demand or increase the glass on the marketplace.


Let's hope the recent 35mm lens announcement is simply the beginning of a new series of lenses that fill holes and bring the prices back down. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
09-17-2010, 08:59 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by NaClH2O Quote
NaCl(be happy it's rare and unusual, the alternative could be dire)H2O
Salty, you got it all right, all points I'd have made, but you beat me to it. Rare rarely becomes less rare except in 'antiques' factories. If something is rare and valuable enough, expect forgeries. Meanwhile, the real rarities just get scarcer. Oy.

How to find them? Footwork. Hit the yard sales and thrift shops and swap meets etc. Today I had my hands on a minty Nikkor 85/1.8 that I could have grabbed for US$50 if I'd felt like lying (but she was too beautiful and decent for me to exploit so).

How many real, expensive, old 'rarities' get snapped up for collections and never thereafter see the light of day? Yes, I have too many lenses (see my ENOUGH FIFTY'S YET? thread) but all those I bought consciously are there to be USED. Would I take a real gem out into the world? I'm nervous enough when outside with a lens that cost US$1k. Who here is willing to go street-shooting in tough urban zones with a ten-grand lens? That's kind of like carrying a cheap laptop in Guatemala -- it's worth enough there to buy a good house, so DON'T LET IT BE SEEN.

Yes, I love unusual glass. That's why I get weird cheap optical materials to stuff into a bellows. Don't take near as much legwork to find, neither.
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