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03-27-2012, 12:57 AM   #1
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Pentax 28mm/2.8 primes - A or M?

Hi guys,
I'm considering to get a manual 28mm/2.8 prime. Please advise which is the best option regarding overall image quality - A or M version?

TIA

03-27-2012, 01:06 AM   #2
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There is probably little optical difference between them. The main difference is one of convenience. The A series lets you set aperture in camera, and makes things a lot easier by allowing for all shooting modes and metering modes. With the M series, you're stuck with manual mode and stop down metering (or, as I'm sure some will argue, you can stick it in Av anyway, and have to deal with constant EV compensation to prevent it from underexposing).

If cost isn't your primary consideration, I'd say go for the A series.
03-27-2012, 01:53 AM   #3
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Thanks, though I'm aware of metering differences Initially I was under impression that M version is a bit ahead of A regarding sharpness.
03-27-2012, 01:57 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Philoslothical Quote
you can stick it in Av anyway, and have to deal with constant EV compensation to prevent it from underexposing
Hi Philoslothical, can you elaborate on that? I have no idea what you're refering to and how that could work, but if that could make my life easier that'd be great! Thanks.
Oops, didn't mean to hijack the thread... just a quick answer will be fine!
In response to the OP: I don't own these lenses but from what I've read and the examples I've seen, they are optically "almost" identical at worst!

03-27-2012, 02:07 AM   #5
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I used to have the A series 28mm f/2.8, I found it quite soft and produced very plain results.
Prehaps consider something else?
03-27-2012, 02:41 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by TOUGEFC Quote
I used to have the A series 28mm f/2.8, I found it quite soft and produced very plain results.
Prehaps consider something else?
The more I'm reading about it, the less I like it as well Any advices in similar f. length and manual focus? Maybe some different brands? Haven't look on 'em yet.
03-27-2012, 02:49 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by TOUGEFC Quote
I used to have the A series 28mm f/2.8, I found it quite soft and produced very plain results.
Prehaps consider something else?
Same here, plain and soft were the exact words I had in mind.
03-27-2012, 03:59 AM - 2 Likes   #8
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There are two versions of the M28/2.8. The second version is optically the same as the A28/2.8. The first version (more common) is also 7 elements in 7 groups but is a different formula. I haven't used version 2 but I think version 1 is a fine performer, if perhaps lacking in pixie dust. Sample image (with straightforward processing):



The K28/3.5 is in a similar price range and is a well-regarded lens. I have one but I haven't yet done a comparison between the two. According to Yoshihiko's resolution tests it is similar in sharpness although it peaks at f/8 rather than f/11 for the M lens. The discussion at Stan's Pentax page is interesting. Indeed, on that page Yoshihiko rates the K28/3.5 as one of his favorites.

03-27-2012, 04:57 AM   #9
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I own both. I also own SMC Takumar versions of the 28mm 2.8, and I'm really not sure where folks are coming from saying the A28 lacks something. My copy of the A28 is extremely sharp and renders a very pleasing color, in line with the M and Tak versions of the lens. I will admit that the additional plastic in the lens' build may turn people off, as does the tolerances that crept into the build (mine has a small wobble in the focus ring) but this lens shoots great images that I'd put up against all variants. Along with an "A" setting, this makes this particular piece a no-brainer over an M. If you're looking for a softer more "painterly" looking image, go with the M42 screwmounts all manual and requires the adapter ring, but gosh ... the color rendering can be something to behold.
03-27-2012, 05:57 AM   #10
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I own and enjoy the M-equivalent Rikenon 28mm and think it's great. Pretty sharp wide open but better like this, stopped down to f/5.6 I think. It focuses pretty close, 11 inches I believe; its primary down side relative to Pentax is no half-clicks on the aperture ring. I can live with that.

03-27-2012, 06:08 AM - 1 Like   #11
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I have the M 28 2.8, and i like it a lot. Up until i started reexploring the possibilities of my kitlens, it was my most used lens. I am no pixelpeeper, and i am still only learning the basics, but there is something about the m28 that i really like. Its just so useable for many things, i think. Landscapes, indoors, close portraits. I shot my dog with it while she was running, and since she runs fast and far, the pics did not turn out excellent, but some of the pics i cropped A LOT and it still looked useable to the extent that i wasnt scared of posting them on facebook.

Have not tried the A-variant, but if youre not scared of going full manual, i think an M28 for around 40 dollars is a good investment.
03-27-2012, 06:23 AM - 1 Like   #12
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I, like many here have more than 1 28mm lens, in fact, I have in total 6 i believe

They are the following

in M42 mount, a vivitar f2.5
In an adapted K mount (origonally a minolta lens mount) I have a vivitar 28/2 made by kiron
in K mount I have a tamron F2.5, a vivitar F2.5, and an SMC-M F2.8
I also have a Sigma Mini Wide II F2.8 Macro in KA mount, that I bought because it was KA mount.

I have not played a lot with the M28 but the shots I have taken with it are quite sharp. For ultimate speed, the kiron 28/2 and the vivitar version of this lens are the fastest you will find on the used market, aside from the famous and expensive K28/2 with Fixed rear element.

the other two vivitars and the tamron are all quite capable lenses and the three of them, cost me in total abnout $50 to get (thats why I have so many, 28's are cheap and common)

If you can get an M28/2.8 for $40 it is a fair price and you won't feel cheated

you will note I don't say anything about the sigma mini wide II. This lens, unless you plan to post process every shot, with a photo editor that performs lateral CA adjustment by re-scalling the different color layers, is a waste of time. the lateral CA is so bad off axis that it is just not worht working with, but if you can correct the lateral CA or have the patience to do it. it can be useful for 2 reasons, first, it comes as a KA mount, and second, it does close focus, and have macro magnification scales on the lens.
03-27-2012, 10:15 AM - 1 Like   #13
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I have both the M(1st version SMC Pentax-M 28mm F2.8 Reviews - M Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database) & A.

I think the M has a slightly better rendering than the A, at least on my copies. I usually use the A because of the convenience that Philoslothical mentions.

Mine are not soft wide open they are both pretty sharp!

As others have said they can be inexpensive because there were so many produced. I obtained mine for $20 & $12 (M & A).

Good Luck!
03-27-2012, 10:20 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by victordeamorin Quote
Hi Philoslothical, can you elaborate on that? I have no idea what you're refering to and how that could work, but if that could make my life easier that'd be great! Thanks.
There is some discussion of it in this thread, and there are others but I don't have links handy. I wasn't trying to promote use of Av with manual lenses, I think it's a mistake personally, but if it works for some, power to them. There is some variation in how different Pentax models handle these issues, just something to be aware of.
03-27-2012, 10:36 AM   #15
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Thanks for the hints everybody! Maybe I'd give a chance for a little M 2.8. All in all we've got the mightiest green button in the world, aren't we? ^_<
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