Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
03-06-2011, 07:57 PM   #1
Inactive Account




Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: LaGrange, GA
Posts: 14
A versus M lenses

A while back I asked for some advice about a replacement 50mm for my old M 2.0 and after listening to the feedback and reading through the lens reviews finally ordered an M1.4 a couple of days ago. I didn't sense any real A versus M issues and I prefer the feel of M lenses. Last night I was looking around some other photography sites and found a number of discussions about Pentax lenses and a number of people were saying that the A lenses represented an upgrade--slightly better IQ and better coating. I can't wait to start using the M 1.4, I'm confident that I'll be very pleased and have no intention of scrambling for an A version but I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. Thanks alot.

MARK

03-06-2011, 09:21 PM   #2
Veteran Member




Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Ferguson, Mo.
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,348
Have every right to be confident with M50/1.4 Mark,regardless of its faster/slower
"M" series kin.I can compare two pair of lens... M50/1.4 to A50/2 and M300/4 to
A300/4 also have spankin new to me M1.7(somewhat flawed) but that I had
another copy of originally only to trade in for the M50/1.4 have now,years ago.
Without exhausting test that are virtually meaning-less to me cant notice appreciable
difference.Biggest advantage,and I believe it to be in the "eye of the beholder" might
be that "A" contacts offer more flexibilty when using flash and various auto-exposure modes.
Is very much a personal observation and dont wish to "start any fights"
(got married for that).
Pentax certainly did not render "M" series obsolete with green button.
03-06-2011, 09:34 PM   #3
Veteran Member
Jewelltrail's Avatar

Join Date: May 2008
Location: Rhode Island
Photos: Albums
Posts: 4,180
I like M Pentax lenses, a lot. Comparing the As to comparable Ms, I did not notice any advantages in the As, except, of course, Aperture feedback to the body. But this is only an advantage to those who like/need it, for me it wasn't needed. I sold the As, kept some Ms. The M 50 1.4 is excellent.
03-06-2011, 09:40 PM   #4
Veteran Member
RioRico's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Limbo, California
Posts: 11,264
I think the general consensus is that M-series are a bit better built, and A-series are easier to use on dSLRs (and thus demand higher prices). That's a *very* loose generalization -- some A's are great, some M's are dogs or the excrement thereof -- as are some A's (beware the cheap zooms). Check the user reviews of each lens for details.

03-06-2011, 09:50 PM   #5
Inactive Account




Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: LaGrange, GA
Posts: 14
Original Poster
Thanks guys.

Mark
03-07-2011, 05:13 AM   #6
Pentaxian
8540tomg's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Waterloo, Ontario
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 4,444
QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
I think the general consensus is that M-series are a bit better built, and A-series are easier to use on dSLRs (and thus demand higher prices). That's a *very* loose generalization -- some A's are great, some M's are dogs or the excrement thereof -- as are some A's (beware the cheap zooms). Check the user reviews of each lens for details.

I agree with RioRico on this point. I have a lot of M series glass and I recall when the A series came out in the mid 1980s. My impression at that time was the M series were, for the most part, better built with fewer plastic bits. This opinion was based on the 28, 35, 50, 100, 135, and 200mm lenses I saw in the local camera store. There are a few exceptions of course: A* 200/4 macro, A* 85/1.4 etc. That being said the A setting is a very nice feature to have available on digital.


Tom G
03-07-2011, 06:28 AM   #7
Site Supporter
GeneV's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Albuquerque NM
Photos: Albums
Posts: 9,761
Aside from completely new lenses (like the A*) there are very few A lenses that are upgrades over M counterparts. The only one that comes to mind is the 28mm/2.8, and that is an upgrade to an already excellent lens. (The last runs of the M 28 without serial numbers on the front are the new formula) Most of the time, the advantage of the A is the ability to use the full features of the DSLR metering and P-TTL flash. That is a definite advantage, and it seems that more and more, when I buy an M lens, I primarily have a film body in mind and/or I can't resist the price.
03-07-2011, 06:38 AM   #8
Veteran Member
paperbag846's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2010
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 2,396
Might there also be differences in coatings? I'm pretty sure that the actual optics are pretty much identical.

My inclination is to go with the cheapest lens you can find, since optics are the only thing people see, if you can learn to run with the M series you will do much better (unless you rely heavily on flash).

03-07-2011, 06:49 AM   #9
Site Supporter
GeneV's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Albuquerque NM
Photos: Albums
Posts: 9,761
QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
Might there also be differences in coatings? I'm pretty sure that the actual optics are pretty much identical.

My inclination is to go with the cheapest lens you can find, since optics are the only thing people see, if you can learn to run with the M series you will do much better (unless you rely heavily on flash).
I usually dislike hot shoe or bracket flash as a primary flash both for the look of the photo and the handling of the rig. I'm rather addicted to wireless flash. I can and do certainly pull off the wireless with radio control, and if I am mixing film and digital this is often the only way to do it. However, it is so handy to stand a Pentax flash in a corner for bounce and control or even fill with the on-camera flash that not being able to use the built-in wireless P-TTL is a shortcoming I notice.

Last edited by GeneV; 03-07-2011 at 06:56 AM.
03-07-2011, 10:46 AM   #10
Pentaxian




Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Eureka, CA
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 1,828
QuoteOriginally posted by Mark R Quote
Last night I was looking around some other photography sites and found a number of discussions about Pentax lenses and a number of people were saying that the A lenses represented an upgrade--slightly better IQ and better coating
I don't know about the better coatings, but the lens resolution tests I've seen do suggest that the A series lenses might be slightly sharper, particularly wide open and border to border. Of course, with the exception of the star lenses, neither series quite matches the older K series glass.
03-07-2011, 11:28 AM   #11
Inactive Account




Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Ames, Iowa, USA
Photos: Albums
Posts: 2,965
QuoteOriginally posted by northcoastgreg Quote
I don't know about the better coatings, but the lens resolution tests I've seen do suggest that the A series lenses might be slightly sharper, particularly wide open and border to border. Of course, with the exception of the star lenses, neither series quite matches the older K series glass.
I think "Super Multi-Coated" on Takumars is the same as SMC on later lenses.
03-07-2011, 11:50 AM   #12
Pentaxian
Just1MoreDave's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Aurora, CO
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 4,814
QuoteOriginally posted by newarts Quote
I think "Super Multi-Coated" on Takumars is the same as SMC on later lenses.
Pentax literature suggests that SMC is an "enhancement" over Super-Multi-Coated. Of course, with fewer white engraved letters around the fromt element, there's much less flare. There's almost no information on how the coatings evolved after that, until some recent advertised improvements such as ghostless, aero-bright, etc.

I think RioRico is right. The M lenses are all similar in build quality, except the M50/2, which I'll call consumer-grade. Even the coatings look cheaper on the M50/2. The first * lens might be a little better than the rest. In the A series, build quality can vary a lot, from * lenses to almost all plastic ones. The A35-70/3.5-4.5 feels like a cheap zoom, the A35-70/4 feels very high-quality. The worst A series lenses are late versions that look like F or FA series zooms. The one I had was the A 80-200/4.7-5.6 - gave it away.
03-07-2011, 04:08 PM   #13
Site Supporter
GeneV's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Albuquerque NM
Photos: Albums
Posts: 9,761
QuoteOriginally posted by northcoastgreg Quote
I don't know about the better coatings, but the lens resolution tests I've seen do suggest that the A series lenses might be slightly sharper, particularly wide open and border to border. Of course, with the exception of the star lenses, neither series quite matches the older K series glass.
I'm curious which of the A series are sharper? Most of them seem to be exactly the same optical formula as their predecessor.
03-10-2011, 05:42 PM   #14
Pentaxian
8540tomg's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Waterloo, Ontario
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 4,444
QuoteOriginally posted by GeneV Quote
Aside from completely new lenses (like the A*) there are very few A lenses that are upgrades over M counterparts. The only one that comes to mind is the 28mm/2.8, and that is an upgrade to an already excellent lens. (The last runs of the M 28 without serial numbers on the front are the new formula) Most of the time, the advantage of the A is the ability to use the full features of the DSLR metering and P-TTL flash. That is a definite advantage, and it seems that more and more, when I buy an M lens, I primarily have a film body in mind and/or I can't resist the price.
Gene,

Daniel Cecchi in his book Ashai Pentax and Pentax SLR 35mm Cameras 1952-1989 provides some guidance regarding which A series lenses were derived from earlier models.

“The SMC A lenses became very closely integrated with the SMC Pentax and SMC Pentax M lenses. Together they comprised the equipment for the bayonet mount Pentaxes in the years between 1983 and 1987. The arrival of a lens designed for the automatic exposure program did not always push the older generation lens out of the catalogue, but at the end of the Eighties, replacement was almost complete.”

Here are a few from Cecchi’s listings.


A 24mm/2.8 (SMC Pentax K 24/2.8)

A 28/2.8 (M 28/2.8)

A 35/2.8 (M 35/2.8)

A 35/2 (M 35/2)

A 50 versions 1.4, 1.7, 1.2 (SMC Pentax M)

A 100/2.8 (M 100/2.8)

A 135/2.8 an original design for A series

A 200/4 (SMC Pentax - I assume M series although he wasn’t clear)

A 15/3.5 (SMC K 15/3.5)

I browsed looking for information on lens coatings but there was little to be found save "all Super-Takumars between 1971-1975 benefitted from the multi-coating treatment." (Cecchi 96). There can be little doubt changes and improvements were made to SMC coatings over the years. Some of my M series lenses have a different colour cast to them than others. My M 35/2 has a sort of magenta cast which is quite different from my other M glass.

Source:

Cecchi, Daniel. Ashai Pentax and Pentax SLR 35mm Cameras 1952-1989. Hove, Sussex: Hove Foto Books, 1990. pp. 188-190.

Last edited by 8540tomg; 03-10-2011 at 07:07 PM.
03-10-2011, 07:01 PM   #15
Site Supporter
GeneV's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Albuquerque NM
Photos: Albums
Posts: 9,761
The M 28 2.8 to A 28 2.8 is an interesting story. The A version is a new design that is in fact sharper. However, they were in various stages of converting to the new design in the last years of the M version. Some of the later M versions even have A features. Reputedly, some even have the contacts.

I bought one of the late versions which seems to have the aperture calibration of the A models. My exposure works pretty consistently even with a crippled DSLR K mount.
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
k-mount, lenses, pentax lens, slr lens
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Value of old versus new Super Takumar lenses? travfar Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 2 01-27-2011 02:24 PM
FA versus A 645 lenses matesa Pentax Medium Format 9 05-26-2010 04:04 PM
Old Tokina 100-300mm F4 versus newer lenses whelmed Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 10 04-12-2010 10:11 AM
1.4x TC + 55-300 versus 1.7x TC + 55-300 versus 55-300mm + cropping. Pentaxor Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 9 09-05-2009 02:41 PM
Circle of Confusion: DA versus FF lenses d.bradley Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 46 02-27-2008 02:21 AM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 09:06 PM. | See also: NikonForums.com, part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top