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04-06-2008, 10:25 AM   #1
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Budget Wide Pancake Alternatives?

My brother just got my old DS2 for his birthday with kit & 50-200. He's been using a P&S and prior to that used to have some Pentax MF with a 50mm. He'd like to add one more lens to this gear to have an option for a similar low-profile setup to the old Pentax and P&S.

REQUIREMENTS: small form; KA mount (he definitely wants the auto aperture); indeterminately modest price (like <$100 I think)

PRIORITIES (not deal-breakers): angle of view similar to or preferably wider than 50mm on film (so 20 or possibly wider, up to 35, ideally)

NOT PRIORITIES: Auto focus (he's used to MF); super wide aperture (although he did like the f/1.7 on his 50 and would appreciate the speed); zoom capacity (used to fixed and he's got the 2 lenses giving good zoom range already); super IQ; Pentax brand

THE THINKING WE'VE ALREADY DONE: So, the DA 21 Ltd would be ideal--except for it's price. The DA 40 Ltd, FA 43 Ltd are both too pricey (even the DA is over what he wants to spend) and a bit long, though if there were magically a great price out there for them he'd probably be happy & find uses for the longer focal length. The M 40 would fit for size & price but of course lacks the "A"... The FA 35 would be just about small enough but while a great deal for its IQ (e.g. compared to the 31) it's again over his budget.

SO, it's looking like a ubiquitous 28 f/2.8 is the affordable alternative that comes closest to fitting the bill, but I'm hoping members here will come up with a more inspired idea. Ideally something a bit smaller (higher priority) while keeping under the 21 Ltd price range. And frankly, I'd like to see him get something with faster aperture & better IQ than the kit lens, so there's more than just small form that he's getting out of this purchase.

Comments on what 3rd party 28's are OK and which to avoid would be helpful, as the world seems full of 3rd party 28's, many by manufacturers I don't know at all.

Of course, members are also welcome to take this as a WTB and make some offers! ANY DEEPLY DISCOUNTED 21's (e.g. with non-functional or poorly functioning autofocus?)?

04-06-2008, 10:49 AM   #2
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hey david, i think based on your restrictions the F/A28 2.8 is probably the best lens for your brother. if he didn't mind the Auto Aperture, the M28 3.5 would be a good choice, i just picked one up off this forum and anxiously waiting for it to arrive. the other good thing about the pancake is because it's designed for Digital, the lens can be smaller than a FF lens, so most of the lenses around won't be as small as the DA21.

there was a Tokina 24mm 2.8 sold on the forum recently, just have to keep your eyes open
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/photographer-s-marketplace/24437-fs-k100d-super-lenses.html
04-06-2008, 11:00 AM   #3
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Any one between the Pentax FA 28/2.8, F 28/2.8 and A 28/2.8. The FA is the sharpest but most expensive of the three.

Kiron 24/2.8, 28/2.8, 24/2 and 28/2 have a very good reputation and they are available in KA mount. Any Vivitar whose serial number starts with 22 is a rebadged Kiron

I have a Vivitar 28/2 MC Close Focus made by Komine (serial no 28xxxxxx) that it is very good, but not so small: it is almost 5cm long.
04-06-2008, 12:53 PM   #4
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Thanks both.

QuoteOriginally posted by k100d Quote
the other good thing about the pancake is because it's designed for Digital, the lens can be smaller than a FF lens, so most of the lenses around won't be as small as the DA21.
Yeah, I made the same observation to my brother. That's why the standard 28/2.8 approach is not the ideal compromise, but for the price may be how he'll go.

And yeah, now that I know he's after it, I definitely have my eyes peeled for options like that Tokina 24 you pointed out.
QuoteOriginally posted by davide78 Quote
Any one between the Pentax FA 28/2.8, F 28/2.8 and A 28/2.8. The FA is the sharpest but most expensive of the three.

Kiron 24/2.8, 28/2.8, 24/2 and 28/2 have a very good reputation and they are available in KA mount. Any Vivitar whose serial number starts with 22 is a rebadged Kiron

I have a Vivitar 28/2 MC Close Focus made by Komine (serial no 28xxxxxx) that it is very good, but not so small: it is almost 5cm long.
All good info, thanks. It've heard good things about other Kiron but wasn't sure how consistent they are. And that Vivitar practice of getting various makers to put out lenses for them of highly inconsistent quality is a nuisance.

Is there a Vivitar Series One 28 in Pentax KA? I see there's a K-mount 2.5...

04-06-2008, 04:28 PM   #5
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If you want something wider than 24mm, look for a Tokina 17/3.5. It is a very sharp lens but you will need to watch out for flare. It has been tested on Photozone. However it is a M/K lens, so no auto aperture.
04-06-2008, 04:40 PM   #6
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Well with the crop factor, the 28mm can barely be considered as a wide-angle. There is a seller in the B&S letting go of a manual focus 24mm in PK-A mount. Cheap and wide enough. If not, stick with the DA 18-55mm kit.
04-06-2008, 04:58 PM   #7
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Another alternative is the Tamron 24mm f2.5. I used to use one on my Contax system before I was able to afford the Zeiss 25mm. It wasn't as nice as the Zeiss, but I think I paid $150 with the adaptall mount and hood. I wouldn't be surprised if you could find one now for less than $100.

Here's a link with some info on the lens

Tamron Adaptall-2 24mm F/2.5 Model 01B

Last edited by Groundloop; 04-06-2008 at 05:00 PM. Reason: Added link to information page
04-06-2008, 05:08 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Groundloop Quote
Another alternative is the Tamron 24mm f2.5. I used to use one on my Contax system before I was able to afford the Zeiss 25mm. It wasn't as nice as the Zeiss, but I think I paid $150 with the adaptall mount and hood. I wouldn't be surprised if you could find one now for less than $100.

Here's a link with some info on the lens

Tamron Adaptall-2 24mm F/2.5 Model 01B
Yeah, that looks to be another contender. Though I gather that Adaptall 2 KA mounts are a bit hard to find and may go for >$100, at least if you're impatient and take the first eBay offering that comes along

I was so excited yesterday to see a Tamron Adaptall 2 WITH MOUNT for <$100--I didn't want the lens but thought it would be a great way to get a KA mount, only to realize it was a K "no A" mount

04-06-2008, 05:42 PM   #9
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If you decide to go the Tamron route, try getting in touch with Amplis, which is the Canadian Tamron distributor. The service department might have K/A Adaptall mounts laying around, just looking for a home.
04-06-2008, 07:03 PM   #10
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QuoteQuote:
All good info, thanks. It've heard good things about other Kiron but wasn't sure how consistent they are. And that Vivitar practice of getting various makers to put out lenses for them of highly inconsistent quality is a nuisance.

Is there a Vivitar Series One 28 in Pentax KA? I see there's a K-mount 2.5...


If it were happening now, with a current company, that practice would be exhasperating... (did someone say 16-50?

As it is, I find it a charming and interesting fact about Vivitar's past, and it's fun to look for and find the good pieces made by Komine (sn 28..) and Kiron (sn 22..).

I have a Komine-built Vivitar 28 f/2.8 Close Focus. It's multicoated, and very sharp. I'd recommend that for your friend.

More of a 'normal' on DSLR than wide angle, but it's a small, sharp close focus prime that goes on my camera when I need something sharp, wider than 50mm and I don't want to lug around my 16-50.

Here are some quick handheld snapshot (cropped) showing sharpness you can expect from this little bugger:






Uncropped:





Cropped:






More shots --> H E R E



.

Last edited by jsherman999; 04-06-2008 at 10:29 PM.
04-07-2008, 09:44 AM   #11
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Nice shots! And in the other shots from the link, some nice illustrations of shallow DOF too.

Yeah, I agree even 28, which sounds wide (to old Film ears) = standard rather than wide on digital. That's OK. My brother has little interest in tele and some use for wide, but as long as he has the ranges covered by his two zooms, I think that a small prime is the important thing, standard vs wide FOV less so as long as it isn't so extreme to be too limiting.
04-07-2008, 03:01 PM   #12
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Depending on how good a copy of the kit lens he got, getting MF primes might not be worthwhile:

1) The kit lens is already quite small
2) The kit lens is AF (and thus auto aperture)
3) The kit lens is fairly fast at the wide end and good wide open at all settings (if you have a good copy).
4) You already have the kit lens.

Any affordable prime is probably going to be F/2.8 or slower which is at best a stop faster, except at 50mm (which you already have covered). And it might not be particularly useful at F/2.8 depending on what kind of lens you select.

That way, instead of spending small amounts of money on fairly redundant lenses, he can save up and get a good AF or A lens which should prove to be more useful.

I used to have a handful of Takumar and M lenses and most of them are now gone, however fun they were to use.
04-07-2008, 03:59 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by jslifoaw Quote
Depending on how good a copy of the kit lens he got, getting MF primes might not be worthwhile:

1) The kit lens is already quite small
2) The kit lens is AF (and thus auto aperture)
3) The kit lens is fairly fast at the wide end and good wide open at all settings (if you have a good copy).
4) You already have the kit lens.

Any affordable prime is probably going to be F/2.8 or slower which is at best a stop faster, except at 50mm (which you already have covered). And it might not be particularly useful at F/2.8 depending on what kind of lens you select.

That way, instead of spending small amounts of money on fairly redundant lenses, he can save up and get a good AF or A lens which should prove to be more useful.

I used to have a handful of Takumar and M lenses and most of them are now gone, however fun they were to use.
I'd be with you, and certainly the "A" function is a requirement for my brother--limiting his options for cheap oldies considerably--but my brother is quite keen on even a modestly smaller lens. I think part of it is just the retro feel of wanting something that'll be like his old SLR MF set-up.

I am encouraging him to get at least f/2.8 and ideally faster, and at a good IQ, to make sure it has a clear advantage over the kit lens, so that he'll want to keep using it once he adjusts to what after all is a very small DSLR (he's using the DS2) & zoom.

And with that, I thank everyone who has posted here. Feel free to keep commenting--I will keep an eye out--but I have now opened up a WTB on his behalf, shaped by the feedback here:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/wanted-items/24640-wtb-pancake-esque-20mm...-ka-mount.html

Thanks everyone.
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