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10-17-2010, 12:57 AM   #1
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Best lenses to look out for second hand?

Hi Everyone,

I will soon buy a K-5 and was wondering about older second hand (prime?) lenses. The sort you might find in a pawn shop or the likes.

Are there particular gems that I should keep an eye out for? And what price would be reasonable for them?

Thanks for your help!

10-17-2010, 01:21 AM   #2
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There is a massive number of old lenses out there. Many of them are potentially interesting depending on your personal preferences and many are junk.

Reading through all of the lenses in the forum database is a good place to start. Once you have an idea of what is out there, compiling a list of lenses you may be interested in (or lenses to avoid) and a rough price range for each one would give you a pocket reference guide for when you are out shopping. There are also a couple of threads somewhere on the forum on how to inspect old lenses for common defects.

Comprehensive Pentax Lens Listings - Pentax Lens Review Database

Third-Party Lenses for Pentax - Pentax Third-Party Lens Review Database

I started out with a paper list a couple of years ago and now keep most of my lens notes in my head. Over the last couple of years I've seen several thousand lenses in person at auctions, used equipment stores and camera fairs. The lenses you come across will depend very much on where you are looking, the market in your area, and chance.
10-17-2010, 10:55 AM   #3
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FA Limiteds But you will not likely find them on a flea market or in a pawn shop.

Serious, In my opinion, a specific lens can only be a gem if you have a use for it; else it's just a money waster. So determine your needs first and take it from there.
10-17-2010, 11:27 AM   #4
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Why, old Asahi Pentax Takumars, of course! Actually some good brands you might find offline include Sears and Focal and Ricoh (if in KR-mount, you'll have to deal with the dreaded Ricoh Pin); and Vivitar and Mamiya and Yashica and Fuji and Zeiss and Meyer. Not to mention the Russians: Jupiter, Industar, Tair, Zenetar, Helios, Mir, etc, mostly copies of Zeiss designs.

For help in evaluating lenses, see PAWNSHOP LENSES (and other used lenses) - A Buyers' Guide.

As sterretje says, gems must be used. I put it as: the best lens is one you use, the worst is one you don't. I'll admit to not finding many keepers in pawn or thrift shops, mainly because I already have them! I mostly shop on eBay, and I look for the brands I mentioned above, and Lentar and Tamron and Porst and Petri and Sigma and Pentacon and others. Be aware that Vivitar, Lentar, Albinar, Porst, Spiratone, Hanimex, were/are distributors who badged and sometimes commissioned lenses made by various silicon foundries. Many of their lenses are quire good. Many ain't. Be sure to do your research for the telling details.

EDIT: Let me add that I *have* found some real gems online lately (within the last month), cheap.

* Tomioka-made Sears 55/1.4 for US$12
* Tamron 28/2.5 for $4 and Nikkor 28/2.5 for $11
* Petri 55/1.8 for $7 and Mamiya 55/1.8 for $6
* Pentax F35-75/3.5-4.5 (autofocus) for US$15

NOTE: Nikon AI mount and Olympus OM mount lenses are rather easily modified for Pentak PK mount cameras. If I see those cheap, I grab them. My OM mount Vivitar 35/2.8 was just US$5 a couple months ago, as was a Paragon (Tokina-made?) 24/2.8 in AI mount. Both are quite sharp and I use them regularly.

If you let LBA carry you away, you can find many good deals for a pittance. But you must set your comfort level / pain threshhold. If a good-looking lens costs less than a sandwich, I'll probably grab it. If it costs more than a Chinese buffet for two, I'll think about it.


Last edited by RioRico; 10-17-2010 at 11:46 AM.
10-17-2010, 12:18 PM   #5
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we need more details

do you want MF or AF?

Do you want A series lenses that support all exposure modes, K series, or M42?

What are you intending to photograph?

depending upon the results, the responses can vary a lot.
10-17-2010, 12:53 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
What are you intending to photograph?
...are you insinuating that there are some of us that don't use the the lenses we are hording


Steve

(Remembers, with some guilt, the Vivitar 200/3.5 on the shelf in the closet...)
10-17-2010, 01:33 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
...are you insinuating that there are some of us that don't use the the lenses we are hording


Steve

(Remembers, with some guilt, the Vivitar 200/3.5 on the shelf in the closet...)
I only have 6 bodies (3 film 3 digital) and 31 lenses.

Of course I use them all, when I feel like it.

But muy vivitar 400F5.6 is feeling neglected
10-17-2010, 02:26 PM   #8
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Thanks RioRico, that PAWNSHOP LENSES Buyer's Guide is exactly what i was looking for!

10-17-2010, 02:35 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by secateurs Quote

I will soon buy a K-5 and was wondering about older second hand (prime?) lenses. The sort you might find in a pawn shop or the likes.

Are there particular gems that I should keep an eye out for? And what price would be reasonable for them?
Any of the 50/1.7s would do the K-5 sensor proud. I've been quite impressed with the K 28/3.5 -- sharp and wonderful color rendition. If you're willing try an old manual focus zoom, I doubt can do much better than the A 35-105/3.5.
10-17-2010, 02:42 PM   #10
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And don't forget to keep looking at the Pentax Marketplace. I've picked up some nice SMC-M and A primes with some older film bodies for prices lower than on ebay.
10-17-2010, 03:09 PM   #11
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If you want to keep your expenses low, the A lenses offer a good alternative, because they offer auto-exposure, which is nice. they are manual focus though. I would steer away from the kit lenses from the F and FA lines, they generally are not well regarded. Fully manual lenses are optically great, but trickier to use, so less expensive than A lenses, themselves less expensive than F or FA lenses.

Generally speaking all primes from Pentax are at least good, and many are great.
10-17-2010, 03:25 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
I only have 6 bodies (3 film 3 digital)
Only six! We have got to start working on the CBA. You are obviously not with the program here!


Steve

(2 digitals, 10 film bodies + 2 coming in the mail and I don't know how many lenses...)
10-17-2010, 03:40 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
I only have 6 bodies (3 film 3 digital) and 31 lenses.

Of course I use them all, when I feel like it.

But muy vivitar 400F5.6 is feeling neglected
QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Only six! We have got to start working on the CBA. You are obviously not with the program here!


Steve

(2 digitals, 10 film bodies + 2 coming in the mail and I don't know how many lenses...)
7 film and 1 digital. 32 lenses, including some I've never used. At least 3 are going to KEH next week.
10-17-2010, 03:51 PM   #14
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All kidding aside, regarding how many lenses and cameras, in the tele range I can think of 3-4 things worth considering

#1 is the SMC-F 1.7x AFC great adaptor ad useable on many lenses including DA's with HSM. one of the best all around TCs you can get

#2 again in the long theme, the SMC 300F4. Best bang for the buck in the tele market.

For MF zooms, the Series 1 70-210 F3.5 Macro (version 1) one of the best zooms and reasonably fast.

For AF zooms, a little more expensive (6-700 used) is the Sigma APO 70-200 F2.8 EX (Non DG non Macro) perhaps the sharpest of all sigma zooms, and works great with sigma's 1.4 and 2x TCs.

For portrait work, look for an SMC or Super takumar 50mmF1.4 and if you want a little longer, with Auto exposure and P-TTL flash capability, look at the Samyang (AKA vivitar, bower, pro-optic.....) 85mmF1.4 (manual focus but KA mount)

going wider, an SMC Takumar 35mmF2. relitively common and not overly expensive, but an excellent performer.

going wider with speed will start to get expensive. You can get tamron 24, and 28mm F2.5 lenses relitively in expensive, but pentax mounts are getting expensive.

There are Vivitar and Kiron 24 and 28mm F2 lenses but these are very prone to having sticky apertures. I have a 24 vivitar by Kiron and a 28mm Kiron and both have oil leaking from the focusing helix into the aperture causing it to stick. they are a little soft wide open but sharpen up nicely stopped down (assuming you can fix the sticking aperture)
10-17-2010, 04:13 PM   #15
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F 28mm. Best lens EVER!!! probably not but still a great lens and perfect for everyday street shooting, my opinion. You might be able to find one somewhere.
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