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01-28-2014, 11:31 AM   #1
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Buying a Manual 50

I am thinking about buying a used 50mm lens, but I don't want to spend too much money. I was thinking about getting an older manual lens, and have been doing some research but I thought I would ask for some help as well.

I have a K-x, and I have been researching some about the older lenses and see that maybe the A series is where I should start. Is this correct, and if so is there a particular A series 50mm that is really well regarded?

Thanks for any help!!

01-28-2014, 11:37 AM   #2
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This will be a good start:
SMC Pentax-A 50mm F2 Reviews - A Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

You can also try and look for the 1.4 or 2.8 versions - whatever is cheaper for your pocket.
But I think the 2.0 is the perfect contender as the first.
01-28-2014, 11:37 AM   #3
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A series has f/2, f/1.7, f/1.4 f/1.2. In increasing degree of cost. Pick the one your budget permits.

If you are not used to all manual lens I would suggest staying with A series at first.
01-28-2014, 11:38 AM   #4
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I got a A 50 1.7 to use on my K-x a while back and it's a been a good lens. I have since given the camera and lens to my son who also enjoys it.

01-28-2014, 11:47 AM   #5
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Any of the Pentax-A series have major benefits to earlier, all manual types. Good versions of the mass produced kit 50mm f2 usually sells $30-40, usually won't find anything stellar, but very few are actually "bad" due to those being weeded out (thrown in the trash) years ago. Moving up to the the better f1.7 version will set you back $75-$100 and the pro-sumer f1.4 can usually be found in the $150 or less range fairly often, until which recently they usually went for $150-$200...........that is, until the next lens option was introduced recently. A serious contender should be the new DA-50mm f1.7 which has auto focus, is sold for around $175 brand new when on sale, and is actually one of the highest rated lenses here............not just value wise, but optically!!!!!
01-28-2014, 11:53 AM   #6
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Wow, a bunch of quick responses, thanks!! You all confirmed what I was thinking, and added some knowledge, so I appreciate it. I am thinking about either the A 2.0 or 1.7 depending on what I decide to spend.
01-28-2014, 12:41 PM   #7
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Concur on the A recommendation. Aperture and flash automation are available. M and earlier are more valuable for non Pentax users as they aren't going to get either automation, anyway.

Even the A 2.0 gives you catch in focus and thinner depth of field in portraits than the kit zoom. I have the A 1.4 and don't use it much compared to my F 1.7
01-28-2014, 01:08 PM   #8
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One thing to consider... considering your K-x is using a viewfinder, lenses like 1.4, 1.7 will be hard to focus on anything when you use them wide open - unless you have an aftermarket focus screen.

Since my recommendation for the 2.0... and upper.

01-28-2014, 01:14 PM   #9
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You are on the right track. I have a A 1.7 and A 1.4 and they are great lenses. From reviews / tests I have seen the A 2 is not as good optically but still significantly better than a kit zoom.
The A 1.4 in particular is one of my favourites.
01-28-2014, 01:16 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by mrNewt Quote
One thing to consider... considering your K-x is using a viewfinder, lenses like 1.4, 1.7 will be hard to focus on anything when you use them wide open - unless you have an aftermarket focus screen.

Since my recommendation for the 2.0... and upper.
Would you mind explaining a little further. This will be my first manual focus lens, and I think I know what you are getting after but I am not entirely sure.

Thanks for the help!!
01-28-2014, 01:25 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by london.paul1 Quote
Would you mind explaining a little further. This will be my first manual focus lens, and I think I know what you are getting after but I am not entirely sure.

Thanks for the help!!
Considering that this lens is manual... the way you will focus it is by "eyeball it" basically.

With the lens wide opened, you will have a very "thin depth of field".
What you think is in focus might not actually be in focus - even if the camera confirms it by blinking the little squares inside the viewfinder (usually is a small slack of what is considered in focus).

An aftermarket focus screen replaces your factory one and is basically similar with the old focus screens from manual film cameras - it will help you nail the focus right with a manual lens.
The focus screen that comes with your camera is not really built for manual lenses with apertures like 1.4, 1.7.

Changing the focus screen is not a big deal but is an extra expense and you also want to consider shimming... a whole other discussion.

So in short, if you want to have a better chance at focusing with a manual lens, consider the 2.0 aperture and above.




QuoteOriginally posted by kiwi_jono Quote
You are on the right track. I have a A 1.7 and A 1.4 and they are great lenses. From reviews / tests I have seen the A 2 is not as good optically but still significantly better than a kit zoom.
The A 1.4 in particular is one of my favourites.
2.0 and 2.8 is just as good as the 1.4, 1.7. Optically I haven't really seen big differences... unless you compare them wide open... but then you expect the difference .

Setting all at minimum 2.8, you will get very similar results.
01-28-2014, 01:34 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by mrNewt Quote
Considering that this lens is manual... the way you will focus it is by "eyeball it" basically.

With the lens wide opened, you will have a very "thin depth of field".
What you think is in focus might not actually be in focus - even if the camera confirms it by blinking the little squares inside the viewfinder (usually is a small slack of what is considered in focus).

An aftermarket focus screen replaces your factory one and is basically similar with the old focus screens from manual film cameras - it will help you nail the focus right with a manual lens.
The focus screen that comes with your camera is not really built for manual lenses with apertures like 1.4, 1.7.

Changing the focus screen is not a big deal but is an extra expense and you also want to consider shimming... a whole other discussion.

So in short, if you want to have a better chance at focusing with a manual lens, consider the 2.0 aperture and above.
Thanks so much for the longer explanation! Basically using the larger apertures will be a bit more of a toss up, whereas the 2.0 will give me a little more "room" in my depth of field in case my focus a little off. And, if going larger that 2.0 is not necessary then why spend the extra $ Thanks again!!
01-28-2014, 01:41 PM   #13
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Yeah, the f/2 can be a great little lens. Keep an eye on Craigslist, you can probably get a K1000 and M50 or A50 for $20.

You'll love the colors these older lenses deliver.
01-28-2014, 01:43 PM   #14
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It should also be mentioned that if you have a 1.7 lens you can always stop it down to 2.0 or all the way down to f/22 if that suits the shot.
So having a fast(er) lens just gives you the option of shooting wide open at 1.x but does not require it.
01-28-2014, 01:43 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by london.paul1 Quote
Thanks so much for the longer explanation! Basically using the larger apertures will be a bit more of a toss up, whereas the 2.0 will give me a little more "room" in my depth of field in case my focus a little off. And, if going larger that 2.0 is not necessary then why spend the extra $ Thanks again!!
Yep, pretty much!
Obviously in the end is up to you to decide what you want.

If your eyes are great and you like taking pictures with thin DOF and like those "bokehlicious" pictures, then 1.4 is a great lens. But if you don't need them, a 2.0 will still give you a nice "thin-ish" DOF with very nice "bokeh" as well.

Personally I have 1.4, 1.7, 2.0 and 2.8.
First two I am using them on the K-01 where focus peaking works like magic and helps me get the focus right always. The other two are sitting on different film cameras.

QuoteOriginally posted by mattb123 Quote
It should also be mentioned that if you have a 1.7 lens you can always stop it down to 2.0 or all the way down to f/22 if that suits the shot.
So having a fast(er) lens just gives you the option of shooting wide open at 1.x but does not require it.
Obviously I would say
But as "faster lens", there isn't a huge difference between 1.7 and 2.0.

Last edited by mrNewt; 01-28-2014 at 01:52 PM.
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