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06-13-2012, 08:38 PM   #1
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Pentax lens review

I find the Pentax lens reviews in the Forum invaluable in evaluating the quality of Pentax lenses. It has helped me identify lenses that I might want to buy. Recently, I found another lens review that you may want to access to cross-check the Forum reviews. If you Google "What Digital Camera", a British magazine, you will access its webpage. Click on "Find a Review" and select "Type" and click on "Lens". Click on "Brand" and select "Pentax". When you click on "Product" you will be able to select any Pentax lens review that they have listed. I hope you find it useful.

06-14-2012, 04:20 AM   #2
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Or just google 'lens name' + 'review'
Stay with pentax lenses is a safe bet in general.
06-14-2012, 04:50 AM   #3
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Thanks hoanpham. Yes, you can google for an individual Pentax lens review as you say, but you may get a lot of sales stuff associated with the many hits. By accessing the "What Digital Camera" data base you get a whole list of Pentax lens reviews for your selection and comparison, just like the reviews in the Forum. I like the confident tone of your last sentence. Your obviously a real Pentaxian
06-14-2012, 05:27 AM   #4
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But I don't have many newer in pentax line, only 3 FA's, 3 DA's
Unlike old quality of takumar, K, M, A series, quality control of the new lenses and of pentax in general still is an annoying issue.

Also other makers has very good lenses - one need to know what to look for, actually same for pentax lenses.
Unlike other sites, the review db here mostly pointing out which to avoid. In my opinion, very few bad models.

06-14-2012, 06:30 AM   #5
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You raise a good point about lens quality. There are many great classic lenses made by Pentax, and others, but often they stop making them and produce newer lenses with similar specifications that are optically inferior. It would seem to me that it would be cost effective to keep producing those great vintage lenses because of their quality, but with a few added tweaks that shouldn't cost too much money. Instead, you often find there is much fanfare when a new lens is produced but when tested it isn't that great. I suppose that's why we all seek out those old classic lenses that can often be bought for a song.
06-14-2012, 11:47 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by P. Soo Quote
You raise a good point about lens quality. There are many great classic lenses made by Pentax, and others, but often they stop making them and produce newer lenses with similar specifications that are optically inferior.
I'm not sure that newer versions *are* inferior optically, especially those with newer, better coatings. I won't call my FA50/1.4 inferior to my SuperTak version. But newer lenses have much different builds -- and again, whether they're 'inferior' can be argued. Comparable K's may be heavier than both Taks and M's, which may be heavier than A's. AF adds its own complexity. Many deride 'plastic' lens bodies and mounts -- but polycarbonate (ie Lexan) is often tougher and more flexible than metal, less likely to suffer trauma. I've some old 'plastic' lenses that survive quite well.

QuoteQuote:
I suppose that's why we all seek out those old classic lenses that can often be bought for a song.
That's the treat: Good old lenses can be MUCH cheaper than newer counterparts. I now own 240 242 lenses. [Note: I'm an occasional lens trader on eBay. My inventory shifts. I may sell 20+ soon.] Most are MF primes; some are much newer AF zooms. My MF lenses cost an average of US$15 each. My AF lenses cost an average of US$315 each. Three hundred bucks per lens for a drive screw, ay yi yi!

But even the sharpest old lenses don't have modern coatings, which make a real difference. My MF (PK-A) Cosina-made Vivitar Series 1 VMC 19-35 is quite good, rather sharper than my version.1 DA18-55. But I'd rather point the DA into the sun -- better coatings.

Last edited by RioRico; 06-17-2012 at 05:12 PM.
06-15-2012, 04:56 AM   #7
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Rio, you make a good point about the coatings. However, I think there is much satisfaction in taking a great shot with a $15 lens. With a $300 lens you sought of expect it, and are disappointed when you don't get Also, one doesn't take much risk in buying an old cheap lens at a flea market to see if it is a hidden treasure. In fact, I recently bought an old Kodak Signet camera at a flea market in Florida for $5 in good working condition. To induce me to buy, the seller gave me a free Vivitar 70-150 mm, f/3.8, close focussing screw thread lens. The body was all metal and it included a circular polarizer. It's not the easiest lens to use but it is sharp on my Kx, set to manual . There seems to be a dusty area behind the front element but the main problem is that the part of the lens that attaches to the camera is loose, and rattles around a bit. If I jiggle the lens while focussing, the image will will go darker or lighter. This makes it difficult to focus. I've seen some lens reviews for Vivitar lenses with the same specification, but different external design, and they are excellent. Is such a lens worth fixing professionally?
06-15-2012, 05:23 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by P. Soo Quote
It would seem to me that it would be cost effective to keep producing those great vintage lenses because of their quality, but with a few added tweaks
This is the philosophy that Zeiss followed with most of their Z* lenses.

QuoteOriginally posted by P. Soo Quote
that shouldn't cost too much money.
But they weren't so successful with this aspect!

06-15-2012, 05:40 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by P. Soo Quote
Rio, you make a good point about the coatings. However, I think there is much satisfaction in taking a great shot with a $15 lens. With a $300 lens you sought of expect it, and are disappointed when you don't get Also, one doesn't take much risk in buying an old cheap lens at a flea market to see if it is a hidden treasure.
Well, yes. That's why I wrote https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-lens-articles/59245-pawnshop-lense...ers-guide.html

I have a guideline for buying lenses: If it costs less than a burger or sandwich, buy it; if it costs more than a supreme pizza, think hard about it; if it costs more than a fine dinner out with your partner(s), ask here about it! This also serves as a weight-control program, eh?

I often gloat here about my hot deals: Sears-Tomioka 55/1.4 for US$2.25; Vivitar-Komine 90/2.8 macro (1:1), US$3; CZJ Tessar 50/2.8 (alum, 12 iris blades), US$7; Nikkor 85/2, US$9; SuperTak 55/1.8, US$7; Tamron 28/2.5, US$4; Enna Sandmar 35/4.5 and Tele-Sandmar 100/4.5, US$7 each; planar Yashica ML 50/1.4, US$10; et cetera. These are some of my favorites, which also happen to be among my cheapest. Yes, 'tis a great thrill when using a great cheap lens: LBA, lens-buying ADRENALINE!
06-15-2012, 05:52 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by P. Soo Quote
with a few added tweaks that shouldn't cost too much money
Nothing related between production cost and selling price here.
When people are willing to pay more for a manual lens, the price increased. It's about marketing.
Grab the cheap old manual while they still are possible!
06-15-2012, 07:00 AM   #11
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Those are fantastic deals you made, Rio. Did you hold a gun to the head of the seller while negotiating the price
06-15-2012, 07:40 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by P. Soo Quote
Those are fantastic deals you made, Rio. Did you hold a gun to the head of the seller while negotiating the price
Some were bulk purchases with gems hidden amongst the dross. Some were mis-identifications by uninformed sellers. Some were just plain dumb luck in straight-up auctions where nobody contested. A few months ago I got a SuperTak 105.2.8 for US$17, straight-up auction, one other bidder. It usually sells for at least US$100 more. Same with the Tamron Adaptall 28/2.5, US$4 shipped WITH ADAPTER.

My best deal: Someone with a box of M42 "old lenses". Vivitar 2x TC, Sears 28/2.8, Sears 55/1.4, Sears 135/2.8, for total cost of US$9 shipped. All those Sears lenses were by Tomioka. So what if the 55/1.4's front rim was dented? I bent it back into shape.

Or, a camera bag stuffed with stuff for US$33 shipped. Argus (Chinon) CR-3E camera (most advanced M42 body ever built) with 55/1.7 attached. Hanimex 28/2.8, Vivitar-Komine 90/2.8 macro, Hanimex 135/2.8, Yashica Electro 35 GSN, meters, flashes, filters, little tripod, etc. I set the mean cost of each item at US$3.

Or another box with a couple M42s and a batch of Canon FDs. Not cheap: US$99 for 11 lenses. And I had no use for the FDs, including 50/1.4, 50/1.4 SSC, 200/4 SSC, 24/2.8, 135/2.8, 35-70, etc. Those sat on my shelf for a couple years -- then I sold them for an average of US$55 each, up from US$9 that I'd paid. Not bad!

What it takes: Research, persistence, luck. My bidding rules:

* Bid what you think it's worth and don't exceed that by more than 30%.
* Bid low; bid often; lose 99%; don't worry, another will come along shortly.
* No bidding wars. Those are for suckers. Unless you REALLY need the lens...
* If it's worthless now, wait a couple years, it might be worth selling then.
06-15-2012, 07:46 AM   #13
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Fantastic!! Now I know why you own 220 lenses.
06-15-2012, 08:26 AM   #14
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To get back to lens quality, I will soon be returning to SLR photography with the purchase of a K-5 or K-30 body. I used to shoot 35mm on an ME-Super and an MX with (only) nine lenses, including 5 SMC-M primes and one SMC-M zoom. I acquired all of them in the early 1980s when life was much simpler because there was only one Pentax lens range available and they were as good as their equivalents from Canon, Nikon and Olympus. I will use my SMC-M lenses on the new body for macro, general wildlife shots and landscapes, but I want a new wide to short tele zoom and I now find the Pentax lens range confusing and I'm not impressed by the reviews. The kit lenses seem to be very poor and even the higher quality lenses seem to have image quality issues, e.g. DA 18-135, which scores only 7 for both sharpness and aberrations in the in-depth review. Looks like I will have to check out Sigma and Tamron.
06-15-2012, 09:12 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by P. Soo Quote
Fantastic!! Now I know why you own 220 lenses.
241 242 at the moment. Maybe down to 220 in a couple weeks.

QuoteOriginally posted by Stupot1 Quote
I want a new wide to short tele zoom and I now find the Pentax lens range confusing and I'm not impressed by the reviews. The kit lenses seem to be very poor and even the higher quality lenses seem to have image quality issues, e.g. DA 18-135, which scores only 7 for both sharpness and aberrations in the in-depth review. Looks like I will have to check out Sigma and Tamron.
The DA18-55 II isn't "very poor" (see the Kit Lens Club here) but it's not superduper either. The DA*50-135 certainly doesn't rate low; neither do DA16-45/4 nor DA*16-50/2.8. Many folks do prefer the Sigma or Tamron 17-50/2.8s but price may be a factor. No, Pentax doesn't have anything at 70-200 to compete with Tamron and Sigma, but that's a legacy FF range anyway; 50-135 is the APS translation.

Last edited by RioRico; 06-17-2012 at 05:10 PM.
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