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06-13-2011, 09:27 AM   #1
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Old manual Pentax prices aren't (that) bonkers

Boring afternoon, surfing the interweb instead of focussing on my work. Dont know whether I am allowed to post a link, but its a completed auction so what the heck. Look at this Olympus Zuiko 85mm:
OLYMPUS ZUIKO AUTO-T 85mm F2 LENS, FILM DIGITAL | eBay UK

Pretty impressive price.

More seriously, I recently ditched my Pentax DSLR and have gone completely over to film, and am now wondering whether other old manual primes are "better" than Pentax, as I have lost the need for compatibility with K mount bodies. I'd consider Nikon and Olympus for example. Any old hands willing to advise me to change systems? I really like the Pentax aperture ring, so I think Olympus would be out from that perspective, but I have read great things about Nikon glass and was thinking about a set of AI lenses from the Series E range, as a taster of what Nikon might have to offer. Thoughts much appreciated!

06-13-2011, 01:45 PM   #2
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You can find quality primes from any manufactures of the old film era. Reliability of the camera bodies after all those years is more significant issue comparing to the optical quality of the lenses though.
Personally I have been using Nikon bodies (F, F2, F3, FM2n and FM3a) and liked them all. On the other hand, although there are also some truly spectacular Nikon lenses, the E range does not belong among them (they are optically fine but not special, mechanically is the E range really poor).
Olympus OM system is very interesting and unique in many points. Quality of the OM lenses is mixed, ranging from average to exceptional (like with any other manufacturer). I have OM2 and love it!

General rule of thumb is that exceptional lenses from any manufacturer are expensive - until you get involved with Leica. Then they do not look so expensive anymore :P
06-13-2011, 02:52 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by hoojammyflip Quote
Boring afternoon, surfing the interweb instead of focussing on my work. Dont know whether I am allowed to post a link, but its a completed auction so what the heck. Look at this Olympus Zuiko 85mm:
OLYMPUS ZUIKO AUTO-T 85mm F2 LENS, FILM DIGITAL | eBay UK

Pretty impressive price.

More seriously, I recently ditched my Pentax DSLR and have gone completely over to film, and am now wondering whether other old manual primes are "better" than Pentax, as I have lost the need for compatibility with K mount bodies. I'd consider Nikon and Olympus for example. Any old hands willing to advise me to change systems? I really like the Pentax aperture ring, so I think Olympus would be out from that perspective, but I have read great things about Nikon glass and was thinking about a set of AI lenses from the Series E range, as a taster of what Nikon might have to offer. Thoughts much appreciated!
In the 70s and 80s glass, I recommend you shoot some from each manufacturer. On slide film, the Pentax primes are amazing in a way that digital cannot convey. They're much closer to the Bavarian marques than the other Japanese makers.

As cheap as film bodies are, why not shoot all of 'em? I mean, for the price of one DA* or FALTD you can build a whole film kit - or buy it in once piece on eekbay.
06-14-2011, 07:48 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by jstevewhite Quote
In the 70s and 80s glass, I recommend you shoot some from each manufacturer. On slide film, the Pentax primes are amazing in a way that digital cannot convey. They're much closer to the Bavarian marques than the other Japanese makers.

As cheap as film bodies are, why not shoot all of 'em? I mean, for the price of one DA* or FALTD you can build a whole film kit - or buy it in once piece on eekbay.
The only reason not to shoot all of them is the bulk of lugging around different systems. You pretty much need to pick one system per shooting trip or you will be packing pretty heavy.

06-14-2011, 08:40 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by GeneV Quote
The only reason not to shoot all of them is the bulk of lugging around different systems. You pretty much need to pick one system per shooting trip or you will be packing pretty heavy.
Yeah, that certainly makes sense. But I mean, if I were going to shoot film again, I'd have several systems to choose from before leaving the house. I saw a Nikon F4 *with* a nice Nikkor zoom sell for $250 on the 'bay. THAT is CRAZY. Heck, I saw an ME Super with Winder and a couple of lenses sell for $159 - the lenses were worth more than the whole kit sold for. It's like the camera has NEGATIVE value.
06-14-2011, 09:06 AM   #6
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The most I have paid for a film camera was $190 shipped. That was for a Super Program with an A50/1.7, A28/2.8 & A135/2.8. Plus a AF 200T all in great condition, except for the seals on the Super Program.
06-14-2011, 05:08 PM   #7
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Maybe the way to do it is keep an eye out for a Nikon manual SLR with a 50mm 1.8 on it, and give it a go, but I have a feeling its the wide angles where I am going to notice most difference to Pentax.
09-14-2011, 12:16 AM   #8
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Re: the topic of old competitors to the Pentax M glass I use, rather than start a new post, I've come back to this one.

What is Contax lens quality like in comparison to Pentax SMC....would I notice the difference, if there is one, if everything else is right (Fuji Acros, tripod, good light etc)? Watching the prices of the lenses on Ebay, some of its pretty expensive, although I saw a Contax RX(?) with 28/50/135 lenses go for GBP 400 the other day, which looked distinctly do-able.

09-14-2011, 03:14 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by hoojammyflip Quote
Re: the topic of old competitors to the Pentax M glass I use, rather than start a new post, I've come back to this one.

What is Contax lens quality like in comparison to Pentax SMC....would I notice the difference, if there is one, if everything else is right (Fuji Acros, tripod, good light etc)? Watching the prices of the lenses on Ebay, some of its pretty expensive, although I saw a Contax RX(?) with 28/50/135 lenses go for GBP 400 the other day, which looked distinctly do-able.
I have acquired 2 Contax Carl Zeiss lenses (C/Y mount) and converted them to the K mount (28mm and 85mm). Here is a post that compares the 28mm to the Pentax 31mm Limited.Not every Contax lens is usable primarily due to the specific lens mount. Only the C/Y mounts are usable on Pentax, and specifically the MM type (and not the AE version), that are modifiable to the K mount through the use of a mount change kit available from Leitax in Spain. Here is some additional information.hope that helps...


Last edited by interested_observer; 09-14-2011 at 07:38 AM.
09-14-2011, 09:37 AM   #10
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Thanks, I am shooting film on Pentax and have a E420 Olympus for digital nowadays, so I'd be using the lenses in a film context. I am concerned primarily with contrast, I guess. The ultimate snap. I wonder how the coatings perform on Zeiss lenses...I am guessing that the resolution is going to be very similar...but I hear the T coatings on Zeiss are very good...are they better than Pentax? I'd just get a 139Q rather than looking at converting the lenses.

Interesting comparison. For what its worth...I prefered the blue in the FA31's skies, and the bokeh in the Zeiss of the railings was significantly smoother...maybe this is the difference of the lens designs?
09-14-2011, 10:21 AM   #11
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You know of course that it's easy to mod N/AI, OM, C/Y, and Exakta-mount lenses for PK mount? So instead of lugging multiple systems, just lug their lenses.
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