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02-05-2012, 10:21 PM   #1
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My Pentax SMC-A lineup for K20D, whats missing?

I only use Pentax SMC A series zoom and prime lenses, my friends tell me I am too young to be this obstinate but its really just because its what I started with and I like them. Can't afford the * series ones but I don't buy the variable aperature ones or any of the slower cheaper ones.

I inherited my first lens, a 50mm 1.4 which is my fast lens in like new shape with my old Super Program 35mm.

My second is a 35-105 3.5 which I love to death for its versatility and the macro function, picked it up for $50 or $75 back in the 35mm era when it shoulda sold for at least $200 because it had been dropped hard and the filter ring was stoved in, didn't damage the optics though and I just pushed the ring back out though the filter threads are hosed, I just recently replaced it with an honest to god like new one that even came with the caps and leather boot, payed $164 shipped for it because I am stubborn, wanted it and had my tax return already.

The third I will soon have is a like new 70-210 f4 (not the variable one) because I need a quality zoom and the 105 just isn't long enough. Haven't bought it yet but the wallet is open and I am willing to overpay for the one I have targeted if necessary.

Anything above the 210mm is out of my price range I think, and I've started sniffing around the super low range but it looks like all the A's that are significantly below 35 (without a full frame sensor to go wide I hafta go REALLY wide so 28 wouldn't be worth it I think) cost enough to make the high end zooms look cheap.

Thought I would ask here for suggestions as to where to go next. I rather like even just collecting the good A lenses, even if some of them would overlap a bit like the nice primes with the zooms. I guess I could consider other brands if they are of equal quality with the same coated optics and such, especially something to fill the wide angle gap for now since 35mm with the small sensor size isn't so wide.

EDIT: Haven't got the hang of these lenses 100% on the K20D yet, any advice on camera settings would be appreciated. (back or front focus, over or under expose ect.)


Last edited by PPPPPP42; 02-05-2012 at 10:27 PM.
02-05-2012, 11:06 PM   #2
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because old lens are designed for full frame, so even an old 24mm wide lens become not so wide on DSLR
so DA lens is still the way to go for wide angle lens
u can get da 16-45 f4..it is relative less expensive
so u collection will cover 16-45 f4, 35-105 f3.5, 70-210 f4, 50 f1.4..
pretty good range and quality glass
02-05-2012, 11:16 PM   #3
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I get a lot of use out of the 28mm even if they aren't wide.You might find a good deal on the A version of a CPC or Cosmicar.
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02-05-2012, 11:27 PM   #4
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Get the A28/2.8 for your DSLR, it has the same angle as the FA43 on Film
If you want a wide angle lens, get the 16-45. It's cheap and decently good.

02-06-2012, 02:53 AM   #5
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Maybe a price indication does help us. Compare anything to a A*1200 and it's cheap.

An 28mm is a beautiful standard focal length on APSc. You can try to find an A24-50/4; not extremely wide but it might do for you and according to the database reasonably priced (I think).

BTW, I don't have any idea of prices of A-glass.
02-06-2012, 03:04 AM   #6
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The A24/2.8 is quite good. It was a favorite of mine, but I consolidated when I got the FA20, FA28, and FA31. It yields nice colors, and the focal length often seemed perfect.

The A24-50/4 is also quite good, or the F version which is essentially the same with AF. I still have both of these.

Finally, don't miss the A100/2.8 (non-macro). Very nice IQ, and it's so small people won't even notice it when you have it on the camera (meaning they'll have no clue you're using a telephoto lens).
02-06-2012, 03:19 AM   #7
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As for tips, sometimes you just need to use Live View to get the best focus. See the K20D manual for details. You can zoom in while in Live View mode for focus accuracy. I find this very helpful on my K-5, when I have time to setup the shot. It's especially useful with a fast lens like your 50/1.4, or a long lens, since they both can have narrow DOF.
02-06-2012, 07:49 AM   #8
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A-series has a lot of really nice glass, so I can easily understand your dedication. FYI I've seen the A 400/5.6 go for as little as US$350 on eBay recently. I have a copy and think it's a very good lens, though slow.

28mm lenses are ubiquitous and hence there are some good values to be found there, but primes wider than that get expensive quickly. Agree with the above comments that a good 28 is a must-have as it is the perfect "normal" focal length for the K20D. As to manually focusing fast lenses, you might want to check out an alternative focusing screen, either the Katzeye or the Canon S-type: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-k-5-forum/142241-best-screen-ever-...anon-ee-s.html Although I was reluctant to put money into my K10D to make that upgrade, I'm glad I did.

02-06-2012, 09:11 AM   #9
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Its a sign on my inexperience that I don't understand half of what was said in that focusing thread you linked to. I have whatever came stock with the camera I suppose, don't think the previous owner changed it. So far I just look through the viewfinder and adjust till it looks focused, not that I wouldn't love to have what I had in my old Super Program with its split thing in the middle and the fuzzy ring around it, but changing that all sounds rather complicated and has odd side effects for lighting for some reason judging from what I just read. I guess I don't understand what the camera uses the focusing screen for. I will start a thread in the beginners forum for this I think.

EDIT: found my answer on that Russian guys K lens site, why oh why didn't they put the damn light sensor farther down in the body, what a hassle. That said after I get my 70-210 here soon I think I may divert funds from a wide angle to a fully optioned KatzEye and just figure the lighting mess out. So THATS what I was missing from my lineup I guess.

As far as lenses I don't think id bother with a 28 considering what I have already, too close to the 35 bottom end on my 1st zoom. If I found a SMC Pentax-A 20mm F2.8 Reviews - A Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database for less than the price of a small car I'd be all over that however.

Last edited by PPPPPP42; 02-06-2012 at 09:50 AM.
02-06-2012, 12:19 PM   #10
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I use the S-type screen and I haven't had a problem with metering. Then again I tend to do a lot of checking and chimping anyway. I expect there are good reasons for why the camera internals are arranged as they are, and guess that it is all optimized for autofocus lenses.

Yes, the A 20/2.8 looks very attractive based on those reviews, so I decided I wanted one too. It didn't take all that long before one came up at a price that was less than I was expecting, so maybe it's not as rare as reputation suggests. I haven't had a chance to do more than some quick test shots so I don't have much of an opinion about it yet.
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