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05-11-2012, 09:04 AM   #1
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Prime lens

Hello Folks,

In my meager collection of lenses is an SMC Pentax-A 1:2 50mm lens that came with my K1000. Underneath the lens cap it is marked Tiffen 49mm SKY 1-A Made in U.S.A. I'm thinking of using it on my K-5 (scheduled to be delivered today), as it is the only prime lens I have. Is the quality of this lens good, or should I just buy a good prime lens?

The F-stop ring is marked with an "A" with a little green arrow. Since this lens came on a K1000, I had always assumed it was manual focus. Is this an autofocus lens?

Thanks, Tom

05-11-2012, 09:20 AM   #2
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It is not an autofocus lens, but it does have auto aperture and will work in all modes on the K-5. It became the kit lens for the K1000 as soon as Pentax ran out of M 50/2s.

SMC Pentax-A 50mm F2 Reviews - A Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

It is the second lowest rated A series prime lens in the database.

I would suggest investing in the DA 35/2.4 as it will give you roughly the same FOV on the K-5 as the 50 gave you on the K1000. Pentax also has an upcoming DA 50/1.8.
05-11-2012, 09:27 AM   #3
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Hi Tom! Welcome to the forum.

Your lens is the SMC Pentax A 50mm f/2. All "A" series Pentax lenses are manual focus. You have a Tiffen filter attached to the front, I'd unscrew the filter for use on your digital camera, but you can try it out with it on and off and see what you like. This lens was a standard lens that came with cameras bought during the time it was produced.

The A on the aperture ring means automatic aperture. This means the camera can control the aperture in Av mode. Older M and K series lenses require you to turn the aperture ring to set the f-stop, but not with A lenses as long as the "A" is selected on the ring.

This lens isn't too bad, but I wouldn't ever consider it a sought-after lens. There are better primes and people may give recommendations here, but without knowing your budget I'd suggest you take a look at the lens database here and see if something catches your eye. The database has reviews and specs for each lens in the K, M, A, F (first auto-focus lens series), FA and DA series. Specs include whether it's autofocus or auto aperture, etc. Here's the link to your A 50 review: SMC Pentax-A 50mm F2 Reviews - A Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database.

Again, depending on your budget, I'd recommend the FA 43mm f1.9 Limited lens. It's one of the finest lenses available and my personal favorite. It works well with a K-5 and a K1000.

Edit: I was typing my reply while Boris replied. I also think the DA 35mm f2.4 is a good, inexpensive option. However, be aware it won't work on your K1000.
05-11-2012, 09:29 AM   #4
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The ring behind lens cap is a filter, (1) don't use it. (2) get a hood. (3) The lens is capable of excellent pictures, and (4) later if you decide to do macro (close up using an extension tube, etc.) it should be better than most of the other non-macro lenses. (5) Use it until you have enough experience to decide where you want to go with lenses. If you were a student in a course it would be one of the more strongly recommended lenses.

05-11-2012, 03:23 PM   #5
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You just paid a tidy sum for the K5. The first 1,000 images you take with it is essentially you learning the camera. Use the lens that you have. It is not terrible - actually its quite good. Its just not the absolute best that Pentax ever made, so mount it on the camera and don't worry about it. Take some images, heck take a lot of images and look at them. Figure out what you like and what you don't like - then go back out and fix what you did not like by taking more shots.

You will know when you want to get another lens, and probably have a good idea what the lens should be. Until then, don't worry about it. Actually, if you want to do something that you don't think you can do, just figure out a way to actually do it - with what you have at hand. You certainly will not be camera limited - just thought constrained. For instance, for wide angle, stitch images together using Microsoft ICE (its free - just google it and download). For some telephoto, just crop the image - the K5 has the resolution. The lens has f2, so play around with the depth of field, shallow to deep. For high quality, put the ISO down to 80 and shoot away. For night shots, put the camera on something solid and set the ISO up to 3200 or above with a long shutter time and shoot (and see what it looks like and then adjust).

hope that helps....
05-12-2012, 03:40 AM   #6
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Hi I_O,

You're right, and I'm looking forward to shooting a bunch of shots today. It's a pretty day, the batteries are charged, and I have an 8 GB SD card from my defunct PAS camera that holds 800+ shots at 16MP. So, I'm off to the races.

Thanks, Tom

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