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04-13-2012, 11:19 AM   #1
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What would be a good collection of MF lenses

I have been buying Canon and Pentax MF lenses to go with my Sony 5n and Samsung GX20 (K20D equivalent and still going strong with 16-45, 35 F2, and Sigma 70 F2.8 plus MF lenses). I am sure others must wonder what would be a good group of MF lenses to have for either Pentax or any Mirrorless System cameras. Pentax does offer some of the best MF lenses available and currently at affordable prices - eg Ffordes...

04-13-2012, 11:36 AM   #2
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04-13-2012, 11:45 AM   #3
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I'm a big fan of the "M" series. In a perfect world I would have the M 20mm f4, M28 f2, M35 f2, M50 1.4 & 1.7 + the f4 macro, m 85 f2. So far all i got is the M50 1.7 and the M85 and those two barely gets off the camera(dslr and slr).
04-13-2012, 02:27 PM   #4
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I would have to say any of the Takumar 85mms, as I have the Auto-Tak version and it is a very sharp and magical lens. Its rendering reminds me of my FA43. Also, the Helios 44M-4 is a joy to use, very sharp, with fantastic bokeh, which can about $40 on Ebay.

04-13-2012, 04:52 PM   #5
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Manual Pentax Lenses?

Hello Dave, Welcome to the Forum!
You'll surely get lots of different answers to this query, since Pentaxians are proud of the K-mount legacy-with good reason.
And each seems to have a favorite series of lens. Mine is the "M".
With that qualification in mind and working around the lenses you've listed, I'd suggest the M 50mm f/1.7. Beautiful rendering, great IQ, small, light and legendary focusing action. Depth-of-field at full aperture isn't as razor-thin or fussy as the f/1.4. Reasonable prices.
The M 85mm f/2.0. Another fantastic and useful lens, solid feel and beautiful tonal range, colors "pop" out and fine bokeh. Not cheap nowadays, but a lens you'll never part with.
The M 100mm f/2.8. Another small, unobtrusive telephoto with tack-sharp rendering, stunning color realism and perfect handling.
If you're interested in macro, I'd also suggest the M 100mm f/4.0 Macro, somewhat larger than the f/2.8 and heavy, but not uncomfortably so. To my mind, the best $100 (USD) macro you can buy.
JMO,
Good Luck!
Ron
04-13-2012, 05:04 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by rbefly Quote
Hello Dave, Welcome to the Forum!
You'll surely get lots of different answers to this query, since Pentaxians are proud of the K-mount legacy-with good reason.
And each seems to have a favorite series of lens. Mine is the "M".
With that qualification in mind and working around the lenses you've listed, I'd suggest the M 50mm f/1.7. Beautiful rendering, great IQ, small, light and legendary focusing action. Depth-of-field at full aperture isn't as razor-thin or fussy as the f/1.4. Reasonable prices.
The M 85mm f/2.0. Another fantastic and useful lens, solid feel and beautiful tonal range, colors "pop" out and fine bokeh. Not cheap nowadays, but a lens you'll never part with.
The M 100mm f/2.8. Another small, unobtrusive telephoto with tack-sharp rendering, stunning color realism and perfect handling.
If you're interested in macro, I'd also suggest the M 100mm f/4.0 Macro, somewhat larger than the f/2.8 and heavy, but not uncomfortably so. To my mind, the best $100 (USD) macro you can buy.
JMO,
Good Luck!
Ron
I have Kmount primes starting with an 8mm samyang fisheye and ending with a Vivitar 400/5.6. In M42 I start with a zenitar 16mm fisheye and end with a takumar 200/3.5 preset. Both kits have 13-15 lenses with half or mor Pentax and are quite fast with many lenses well below F2.8 below 135mm. There are literally a ton of MF options out there
04-13-2012, 05:23 PM   #7
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I've chosen the road less traveled (or have I gone full circle) with Ricoh's old PK-mount lenses. If nothing else it's a great way to invest on a budget! I have Rikenons 28 and 50mm, and their 70-150 zoom. Each of these impresses in every way except flare resistance, but old lenses tend to be that way. Add a Pentax-M 200mm to this and for the budget user you're set. I also have SMC-M 40mm and 135/3.5 and they are excellent choices also.

I'd like a short option like the Samyang 8mm, but other than that one any truly wide lenses are seldom in my budget. The SMC-M 20 would be a great one to have. I had a Vivitar 24mm f/2 that was quite nice, but it didn't get enough use.
04-14-2012, 05:23 PM   #8
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I think this is a really good set up for MF glass. The Pentax A lenses are very good and pretty easy to use compared to the M glass, which can meter poorly using the green button (I've missed a lot of shots due to improper metering).

NB: There is no good wide angle for your DSLR. You will need to buy a DA zoom for that sort of thing (but the kit lens at 18mm isn't that bad). DA 16 - 45 is good. I like the DA 15 but that is not a cost-effective solution. There are also great zooms that go ultra wide: Pentax 12-24 and Tameron 10-24.

1) A 28mm f2.8 --> Extremely sharp stopped down, good bokeh for a film wide angle. Very flare prone. Put a hood on this one. ALT: Vivitar close focus 28mm f2.8. Sharper than the pentax, but busier bokeh (I find). I'm not sure which one I like better (I'm having trouble selling mine). Handles flare better. This lens will be your "normal" lens you can use for convenient snapshots and general photography. I find them super useful (and they are a lot of fun on a film camera too).

2) A 50mm f1.7 --> Once again super sharp, cheap, and good bokeh for portraits. Approximately similar to the old 85mm f1.4 lenses pros will use on a full frame for portraits. This is an excellent low light lens, because it is actually sharper than the 50 1.4 wide open. I like the 1.4 better myself, because I like the way it renders, but I only paid 50 dollars for my old A 50 1.7. I paid much more for my 50 1.4.

3) Skip the 85mms, they are expensive. Buy an old A 100 - 135 (either prime), which are cheap and really fun. I've had a hard time finding a vintage MF zoom that looked good and was easy to use (hence my F 70-210), but I also don't use those focal lengths as much as things below 50mm. I have no other recommendation here, but surely someone else does.

04-14-2012, 05:31 PM   #9
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For an expanded view of MF lenses, see the Manual Focus Lenses Forum. Be prepared to be shocked and awed.

Last edited by RioRico; 04-14-2012 at 06:17 PM.
04-14-2012, 09:51 PM   #10
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Rather than naming specific lenses I suggest you consider a collection of focal lengths that will meet your needs for the kind of photography you plan to do. It will be your decision whether to pursue the "Best of Breed" Pentax lenses, "Cult Classic" third-party lenses or just average lenses (which can be as good as the best lenses for most of us).

Here's a link to a discussion (under Section 2. Interchangeable Lenses) of several basic kits of prime focal lengths. The complete Equipment Recommendations Sections describe a basic but complete photography equipment list for the economy-minded.

24-50-100
28-50-100
24-35-50

Etc.

Last edited by monochrome; 04-15-2012 at 08:04 AM.
04-15-2012, 01:03 AM   #11
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For what I've used or tried.

K24/2.8
Takumar 35/3.5
Any fast 50
Revuenon 55/1.2
M85/2
K135/2.5
04-15-2012, 01:58 AM   #12
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Here are some things to consider: Is much fine glass CHEAP at 28-35-50-55-58-100-135mm, even fast glass. Good MF lenses wider than 24mm (and fast 24s) generally aren't cheap; wider than 14mm, are almost non-existent. Much of what's available at 18mm or wider are fisheyes. Decent 28s, 35s, 50s, and 135s abound. As mentioned, 85s and 90s tend to be pricey. But you could get lucky!

Brands to look for include Asahi-Pentax-Takumar of course, and Vivitar (but read the reviews -- Vivs are variable). I like Focal (K-Mart) and Sears; I've yet to use a bad prime with those brands. Look for Meyer|Pentacon, Lentar (Tokina), Sigma, Tamron, Toyo|TOU, Soligor, Enna. Look for the Russians: Industar, Jupiter, Helios, Tair, Mir, Zenitar, but beware of those with L39 mounts for rangefinders.

The absolute best deal in optics is the SuperTakumar 55/2. I could list other favorites but it would get tedious. (And I'm still trying to get some of them myself!)

Last edited by RioRico; 04-15-2012 at 02:05 AM.
04-15-2012, 02:43 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dave Deacon Quote
What would be a good collection of MF lenses
I think my lens range is pretty good.

But it really would depend what your doing with your camera and for what purpose, as this could really alter your lens requirements and the budget involved.

Be warned, I sense LBA is lurking nearby.
04-15-2012, 09:12 AM   #14
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As you can see from my signature I have a lot of old manual focus M series lenses. Optically this series is very good and probably the cheapest Pentax lenses you can find. As they lack the A setting there are not as desirable as the A series.

As to what would be a good collection it would depend on your needs and interests. Back when I was buying M series lenses for my MX in the film days they used to recommend you start with a 50mm and double the focal length as you added lenses thereafter. For example a typical “system” might start with a 50mm and then add a 85 or 100mm for portraits and 135 and 200mm for telephoto applications. On wide angle end a 28 or 35mm would be the norm. Usually a macro and zoom rounded things out. Still pretty good advice if you are collecting M series lenses. As you can see from the lens review section there are no really bad M series lenses with some like the 85/2 reaching near cult status.

If you want to go much wider or longer in the manual area you have to look at the K or A series lenses.

Tom G

Last edited by 8540tomg; 04-16-2012 at 04:38 AM.
04-15-2012, 01:44 PM   #15
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Nothing wrong with collecting lenses I reckon. The M's are a great starting point as they were so popular, there are loads of them, and they're cheap. I am toying with either collecting a mirror copy of my M lenses, but in the Super Takumar range, or alternatively going the Contax route. Ultimately, image quality is limited by format size, in case that's your concern.

From a shooting point of view, 28mm - 135mm is a sensible focal range, you could add a 2x tele converter in for something longer. Wider is impossible without a wider lens, but they get expensive. In my experience, there is little or no difference between the K 24/2.8, M 28/2.8 and M 28/3.5. The M 40/2.8 isn't as useful as the M 35/2.8, which in turn isn't as useful as the M 50/1.7. The normal lenses are awesome, with a technical reason that the double gauss design naturally fights aberations, like process/enlarger lenses. The M 50/4 is excellent and the M 100/2.8 is razor sharp. The M 85/2 is beautiful, but undercorrected for spherical aberation. The M 135/3.5 is also great. The M 200/4 is sharp, but heavy.
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