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09-16-2011, 07:44 AM   #1
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Old lenses getting rare... and expensive

A year or two ago i remember someone in some tread saying that we should buy up the old lenses we wanted soon, because they are going to become hard to find, and start going up in price.

I am experiencing that right now.

Not only are new Pentax users buying them up because there are great deals on some great glass, but even Canon video people are looking for some m42 glass. I know because I am doing that for work. We shoot video with a 7D at work, and I recently discovered the m42 to EOS adapter. Saw a Pentax 50mm mounted to a 5D and said... yes please. So I'm reading reviews of primes here in the database, and doing searches for them... those that I find are going for double what the average prices used to be. And even at that cost, the prices are so much lower than the new glass for any DSLR that these will continue to be popular and get rarer.

(I was in a local brick and mortar camera shop with my boss yesterday and he was pricing personal Nikon lenses. They want $800+ for what now? No wonder people are looking for the less expensive alternatives.)

I watched a 105mm Super Takumar f 2.8 SMC go for $212 last night on a popular auction site. I grabbed a non SMC version of the 105mm for just over $100, and felt lucky to get it at that.

The same goes for K-mount as well. The interwebz are littered with the old junk lenses now. A few short years ago I could easily find a Kiron-made Vivitar of every variety. Now I'm wading through promaster and Chinon and 5 star to find the gems. They are still out there, but expect to pay more for them. That's not to say that you can't still find tons of Pentax M 50mm f2.0s. But the f1.4s are much harder to find.

On the one hand it's great that these are being appreciated. On the other... I wish I could find great glass on the cheap somewhere besides getting lucky on craigslist.

09-16-2011, 07:53 AM   #2
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I have 1 of each 105 Tak that Asahi Optical made. My favorite is the early Preset Tak followed very closely by the Auto Tak. The trick is to use the hood.
09-16-2011, 08:08 AM   #3
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I've been pretty much out of the trade these last few months (gotta sell some more stuff soon!) but I've still managed some ultracheap decent PK and M42 purchases lately. These are mostly from auctions where the items are badly photographed and described so there's not much interest. IOW it takes a bit of scrying to see the gems. There are also eBay sales where bidders just aren't paying attention, which is how I got a SuperTak 105/2.8 for US$17 (shipped) a few months ago. Persevere and win. I've mentioned my strategy: Bid low; bid often; lose 99% of auctions; don't sweat it, another starts immediately. And wish for luck. Luck is important.

Some alternatives that haven't all been snapped-up yet: Lenses in N/AI, OM, C/Y, and Exakta mounts, which are all easy to mod or adapt for PK. Enlarger and projector lenses for bellows use. And get ready to buy a NEX and grab a bunch of cheap cine lenses.
09-16-2011, 08:22 AM   #4
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The prices of some lenses are being inflated by some greedy sellers that don't seem to know what they are selling. The price of a M40/2.8 goes from $100 to almost $400, a K135/2.5 from $200 to $350? A favorite inflation is the common M50/2 from $20 to $250 and sometimes you see it listed as rare? Oh, and my winning bit for a poor condition M50/2 was cancelled for no good reason... I'm sure it was because the winning bid was too low... $6.45.

09-16-2011, 08:44 AM   #5
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Act soon or you will miss this rare lens. You've heard about the 8 element 50/1.4 Super Takumar. This one is 9 element!

PENTAX SUPER TAKUMAR 50mm 1:1.4 9 ELEMENTS RARE ZEISS | eBay
09-16-2011, 08:52 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Just1MoreDave Quote
Act soon or you will miss this rare lens. You've heard about the 8 element 50/1.4 Super Takumar. This one is 9 element!

PENTAX SUPER TAKUMAR 50mm 1:1.4 9 ELEMENTS RARE ZEISS | eBay

That one came with the special "Pentax" pinch lens cap.

Edit: On a serious note, that one isn't even close to being the 8-element version plus the coating is scratched. $40 tops would be a realistic price for this thing and that is generous given possible fungus or hazing based on the description.
09-16-2011, 09:29 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
Bid low; bid often; lose 99% of auctions; don't sweat it, another starts immediately.
This is the best Ebay advice I have seen in a long time. Seriously, words to live by, but sooo hard to do when you keep thinking to yourself "Self, you could have got that if you just bid $x more...".
09-16-2011, 09:30 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Blue Quote
That one came with the special "Pentax" pinch lens cap.

Edit: On a serious note, that one isn't even close to being the 8-element version plus the coating is scratched. $40 tops would be a realistic price for this thing and that is generous given possible fungus or hazing based on the description.
The IR mark is between the diamond and the 4, and its serial # is certainly lower than mine. But no way in hell is it worth $225, or even $125.

09-16-2011, 09:32 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Philoslothical Quote
This is the best Ebay advice I have seen in a long time. Seriously, words to live by, but sooo hard to do when you keep thinking to yourself "Self, you could have got that if you just bid $x more...".
And totally at odds with the sniper mentality of most eBayers.
09-16-2011, 09:37 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Blue Quote
That one came with the special "Pentax" pinch lens cap.

Edit: On a serious note, that one isn't even close to being the 8-element version plus the coating is scratched. $40 tops would be a realistic price for this thing and that is generous given possible fungus or hazing based on the description.
Looks like an 8-element version to me, what makes you think its not?
09-16-2011, 10:12 AM   #11
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If you shoot with an EOS, then consider the older Nikkors (pre AI, AI and AIS). This site gives some feedback on the lenses and you can find them in the usual on line spots, even Adorama or Keh.



Lens Evaluations



.
09-16-2011, 10:56 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
but I've still managed some ultracheap decent PK and M42 purchases lately. These are mostly from auctions where the items are badly photographed and described so there's not much interest. IOW it takes a bit of scrying to see the gems. There are also eBay sales where bidders just aren't paying attention, which is how I got a SuperTak 105/2.8 for US$17 (shipped) a few months ago. Persevere and win. I've mentioned my strategy: Bid low; bid often; lose 99% of auctions; don't sweat it, another starts immediately. And wish for luck. Luck is important.
The mis identified and poorly described auctions have worked for me in the past as well. And the US only ones help keep the bids down. Desirable lenses available worldwide seem to go for higher prices.

it didn't used to be this much work. Haha.
09-16-2011, 11:34 AM   #13
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..and this, ehm, 'digital revival'.. it is really bad eh?
09-16-2011, 11:35 AM   #14
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I think this needs to be put into perspective.

I am not sure that the lenses are getting rarer, because I am very certain that no one is deliberately destroying lenses, to reduce the quantity in existance, BUT, I do note that the availability in brick and morter stores has definitely dropped.

I attribute this to several influences, at least locally where I live.

1) My favourite haunt International Camera in Etobicoke closed about 18 months ago, and I have since learned that the owner passed away about 6 months ago. He had a good (but ever reducing) supply of pentax lenses right up until he closed. My last visit was to purchase a Takumar preset 200/3.5 and a super tak 50/1.4 (version 1) Previously, over the past 20 years I had bought from him, an SMC 300/4, an SMC 135/2.5, and SMC 105/2.8, an SMC Tak 35/2 and a a super tak 85/1.9 All at good prices relitive to market at the time. The fact is that many good sources of camera gear are older photo shops where the owner wants to retire, There were other shops in the toronto area where the owner either retired, passed away, or sold out to a big chain, store, and as a result the number of stores in an opportunity rich environment (for getting lenses) has dried up a little.

2) E-Bay has caused one Bricks and Morter store, Downtown Camera to sell everything used on Ebay because the prices offered from europe exceed what locals are seemingly willing to pay.

3) Camera makers, especially nikon, have jumped on the band wagon with backwards compatibility, and even on some entry and semi pro bodies, and the supply of nikon glass has also dwindled, but there is still a lot out there.

Henry's Outlet store still sells what they take in in trades, etc, and the possibilities there while mush less than 4 years ago still exist. I have picked up an SMC tak 200/4 for about $70 and an SMC-M 28/2.8 and 135/3.5 pair for $110 in the last few months, as well as a tamron 200-500F5.6 complete with KA mount, 2x Teleconverter front protective filter and 38mm filter in place, and 2 Niokon AI mounts for a total price of $350 which is very good for that monster.

The issue there is stuff comes and goes, almost daily, so you have to keep on top of them to see what is in stock. Most pentax stuff or pentax compatible stuff has a sheld life of about 2 days, but older M42 lenses and off brand K mounts (unless rare items) typically go for $30.

The bottom line is there is still stuff out there, but it is available for much shorter periods because everyone and his brother knows you can use it. Just look, for example at the number of canon owners using taks, even on this forum.

(canon is my insurance policy if pentax stops making bodies)
09-16-2011, 11:39 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
And totally at odds with the sniper mentality of most eBayers.
And sometimes sniping is appropriate. Depends on how much I want the lens. So another rule is, Decide what it's worth and don't exceed that by much. So if I really want something and I've set a limit of US$50, I don't snipe beyond US$65 or so. (This is beyond the upper limit of my usual range -- I'm mostly down below US$20.)

But it's amazing how well my Bid Often+Low strategy works. I'll bid two bucks each on 50 lenses: Pentax, Zeiss, Nikon, whatever. As they start getting bids over ten bucks, I ignore them... unless they stay below twenty. At the end, I'll snipe a couple to US$20-25 and win one for US$17 because OTHER BIDDERS FORGOT ABOUT IT! This happens.
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