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08-15-2012, 04:03 AM   #1
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To buy or not to buy: Old (second hand store) K-mount lenses?

Hi everyone,

Yesterday I walked into the local second hand store and I saw a Pentax ME Super, and a couple of K-mount lenses (which to be honest sparked more interest with me than the body, I immediately noticed it had too many auto functions for my preferences/expectations of an old SLR) .

Anyway, I was wondering... At the prices averaging 6.50 euros for each lens, could and should I give them a try on my Pentax K-5 or not? Or would they be worth buying to sell them on here? Note: The lenses were not all Pentax ones, I believe there was a Panagor amongst them and another aftermarket brand.

PS: The ME Super body+35?mm lens was 20 euros... All the funny information stuff going on in the OVF seemed to work and the shutter seemed to close nicely etc... Is that worth buying there and selling it here?

08-15-2012, 04:14 AM   #2
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Read this:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-lens-articles/59245-pawnshop-lense...ers-guide.html

Then look up the lenses in question in the lens database on here on Pentax Forums:

Pentax Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

Pentax Lenses by Sigma, Tamron, Zeiss, and more - Reviews and Specification Database - Pentax Lens Review Database

And look up prices for completed listings on eBay.
08-15-2012, 04:20 AM   #3
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I'd buy them, try them to see if you like them, and if you don't like them, sell 'em.
08-15-2012, 04:28 AM   #4
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I'm with Gibby. At those prices, I'd buy them and test them out. If you don't like them you can sell them on.

I would take a small flashlight with me and look down each one. If it has fungus it's a pass nearly 100% of the time. Other than that look at the glass for damage. Good luck.


Last edited by Docrwm; 08-15-2012 at 07:21 AM.
08-15-2012, 06:36 AM   #5
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I would have left the store with all if they were primes
08-15-2012, 06:40 AM   #6
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I would do all of what is recommended above, in reverse order: 1) buy the lenses since this sounds like your first foray into old manual lenses on your K-5, and you are curious, and these are darn cheap enough to satisfy your curiosity, and 2) read the excellent Pawnshop article and lens database. If you resell the lenses, especially on the PF Marketplace, you will need to describe the condition of the lenses, e.g., is there any fungus, how much dust inside, how clean/snappy the aperture blades are, etc., and the article will tell you how to assess that.
08-20-2012, 08:00 AM   #7
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Thanks for the advice everyone! Unfortunately I was too late to get the Pentax lens or the ME Super, but there was still a Vivitar 28mm F2.8 lens with a K-mount, a Makinon 28mm F2.8 lens with an OM mount - a very nice addition to my collection for the Olympus OM-1, I only had 50mm and 80-230mm for the OM-1 before!

I tested both of them and they felt good and are working, though the Vivitar clearly has seen a tough life: The front glass is pretty scratched and even the rear one has slight scratches. Also, the focus ring felt very tight but loosened up completely after moving the focus ring back and forth a few times. However, it gets worse: There is a rattle of a small loose piece in there! I think there may be a loose screw in the lens somewhere? What could it be? It seems to work fine (and my K5 body is also still fine) but I don't want to potentially damage it while using an old lens!

Besides the offerings for my current cameras they also had a Screwmount 35mm from Pallas and a Praktica MTL5 body with lens that was supposedly broken. For 6.50 euros for the three lenses and just 2.50 euros for the Praktica body+lens I couldn't help thinking it could be fun to buy those other two lenses as well - they wanted to get rid of the Praktica body and included it!

My father told me something (a long time ago) about the Praktica he had (I believe it's even the same type)! The shutter got stuck at times and he'd just give it a good beating on the top and the shutter would spring back. On inspection the shutter was indeed stuck. It seems I can get the mirror flipper down again by forcing the arm a little bit that gives you the next piece of film to make a picture on. However, it gets stuck, again and again. Does someone happen to know these cameras and/or know if it can be fixed? It would be cool if I can get it working again cheaply. Otherwise I'll just give it away for parts to an interested photographer or something

Edit: I don't know how I did it, but the shutter doesn't keep hanging anymore after a shot. It seems to be working just fine now! I also found out there was a film roll still in there! I probably ruined what was already on there, but I guess that's better for the previous' owner's privacy as well! With 36 shots in total (and it looks like only half of it was used) I can keep going and have it developed anyway.

Last edited by Origineelreclamebord; 08-20-2012 at 08:44 AM.
08-20-2012, 09:49 AM   #8
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It's probably one of the little flanges that work inside. I've had to take the back off and repair those a few times. Any problems with the aperture dial? If it's stiff that might be your problem.

08-20-2012, 10:41 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by magkelly Quote
It's probably one of the little flanges that work inside. I've had to take the back off and repair those a few times. Any problems with the aperture dial? If it's stiff that might be your problem.
It's my first try taking apart a lens... These inner workings are a piece of art, I absolutely love it!

Anyway, the aperture ring is stiff, but not excessively. I've taken out the parts that control the aperture settings and I still hear a rattling noise in the barrel. I've also taken off the zoom ring and the outer barrel. It's the core part with the glass and aperture rings that has the rattling noise going on!

I don't really know how I should continue from here... I have a feeling that taking it further apart will mean doing something I can't fix/put back together as I'm inexperienced.

I did fix some other stuff though. First of all, I got the sand and dirt out. Also, I found that the screws holding the zoom ring were loose - which caused some play I felt. I tightened the screws and this is now solved.

Whilst doing all this I noticed one thread that I think should have a screw in it whilst it's not. I also noticed one of the screws that adjusts the aperture mechanism is not straight - If there is/should be a nut on the other side, that may be the rattling part inside the lens. So... what should I do? Take it further apart?
08-20-2012, 11:26 AM   #10
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By all means pick up a cheap old lens or two. But don't get too excited and just start grabbing everything in sight until you have an idea of what you are doing. It is easy to find old lenses in pawn shops etc. They're everywhere, and a high-percentage of them are broken or with haze, etc etc. Or are just worthless crap. The prices are all over the place, but do notice that often times people that don't know better will put high prices on the most worthless stuff and lower prices on the better stuff. I think they look at big old zooms (usually worthless) and are impressed by the size and think they are worth something and some small prime they let go for less because it doesn't look like much. But unfortunately mostly people just mark everything way too high.
08-20-2012, 12:03 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Origineelreclamebord Quote
Hi everyone,

Yesterday I walked into the local second hand store and I saw a Pentax ME Super, and a couple of K-mount lenses (which to be honest sparked more interest with me than the body, I immediately noticed it had too many auto functions for my preferences/expectations of an old SLR) .

Anyway, I was wondering... At the prices averaging 6.50 euros for each lens, could and should I give them a try on my Pentax K-5 or not? Or would they be worth buying to sell them on here? Note: The lenses were not all Pentax ones, I believe there was a Panagor amongst them and another aftermarket brand.

PS: The ME Super body+35?mm lens was 20 euros... All the funny information stuff going on in the OVF seemed to work and the shutter seemed to close nicely etc... Is that worth buying there and selling it here?
at 6.5 euros each ($10 canadian) i would take the lot there are many good K mount lenses out there, and this is a bargin
08-20-2012, 01:22 PM   #12
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Thanks for the heads up VonBaloney - I've looked at the lenses though and the signs I saw were good: overall a working lens it seems, smooth feeling and moving aperture blades (no sticking or visible oil), no fungus, dirty glass but I cleaned it successfully by now, revealing that one lens has some scratches but overall the lenses don't seem to have big imperfections in the glass - I felt for 22 euros total for 4 lenses and a body (which already seems to be up and running again) it's worth a small gamble I guess?

In the worst case scenario I can disassemble a broken lens and make a nice piece of art of it to hang on the wall (exploded view, section view etc).
08-20-2012, 10:54 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by vonBaloney Quote
I think they look at big old zooms (usually worthless) and are impressed by the size and think they are worth something and some small prime they let go for less because it doesn't look like much. But unfortunately mostly people just mark everything way too high.
There are big old zooms that are worth going for though, I recently picked up a Komine made Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm f2.8-4 at a local thrift store. Came in a box with a K1000 with an M 50mm f2 mounted, an M 28mm f2.8 and an M 35mm f2.8. The Vivitar, the 28 and the 35 are all perfect, didn't notice until later that the 50mm has some nasty fungus, but I really didn't care about that one. There was also a Vivitar 2x teleconverter, which I have gutted to make an extension tube, a Vivitar 285HV that is digital safe at 8 volts and some other random stuff like filters and a flash bracket.

I didn't know anything about the Vivitar zoom and didn't know if the flash was safe, but I figured the 28mm and 35mm were worth the asking price of $95, so I jumped on it. When I got home I realized that the Vivitar was more than worth the asking price alone and the nice primes and everything else was just a bonus.

One thing that just occurred to me, the 50mm was the only one with fungus, it was mounted to the camera and in one of those "Eveready" style cases. I would almost bet that is what caused it by trapping moisture, since all of the other lenses are clean. A while ago I picked up a Rexatar 135mm f/2.8, it was in one of the faux leather cases, it also had fungus that caused haze. So I'll be more wary of any lens in a case, especially one that smells like a musty old attic. I should have noticed the fungus in the Rexatar, but I was more interested in the Super Lentar 21mm f3.8 that was being sold with it, identical to a well regarded Vivitar lens, which was totally clean.

If anything, a bad lens, as long as it is cheap enough, can be a great learning experience. You can attempt to fix things like stuck aperture blades, gummy focus helicoids or even try cleaning the fungus out of one. If you fail, it isn't a big loss and you have some spare parts for later. That Rexatar has given up the ball bearing that makes the aperture ring click to replace the one I lost while repairing a tight aperture ring on my Vivitar 200 f3.5.

Last edited by elliott; 08-20-2012 at 11:01 PM.
08-21-2012, 07:44 AM   #14
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I will usually buy any Pentax or K mount/M42 lenses I come across with low prices like what you found as long as they appear to be in decent condition and functioning. Actually, I buy any lenses I find these days. I can usually find a home for them. Coffee and a danish at Starbucks will cost more than 6.50.
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