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02-27-2014, 06:45 AM   #1
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M 28mm 3.5 vs K 28mm 3.5

I see that the K version of this lens is much better reviewed than the M version. My question is to anyone who has ever owned both at the same time or close to it. Do you really see a huge difference?

02-27-2014, 07:05 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by millsware Quote
I see that the K version of this lens is much better reviewed than the M version. My question is to anyone who has ever owned both at the same time or close to it. Do you really see a huge difference?
I have both currently in my possession. I did a "quick and dirty" test of shooting around the house and couldn't find any obvious differences. I've always thought my M lens was pretty great, and the K version did have some fungus that I cleaned out. So maybe that explains the equality?
02-27-2014, 08:39 AM   #3
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I have both lenses. While I wouldn't describe the difference between the lenses as "huge," the K 28/3.5 is clearly better. The differences are more in the rendering, color rendition, and particularly in the microcontrast. In terms of resolution, they are about the same (although the K 28 is a little sharper toward the edges). The K 28 simply tends to produces contrastier, richer, aesthetically more satisfying images than the M 28 2.8.
02-27-2014, 11:25 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by northcoastgreg Quote
I have both lenses. While I wouldn't describe the difference between the lenses as "huge," the K 28/3.5 is clearly better. The differences are more in the rendering, color rendition, and particularly in the microcontrast. In terms of resolution, they are about the same (although the K 28 is a little sharper toward the edges). The K 28 simply tends to produces contrastier, richer, aesthetically more satisfying images than the M 28 2.8.
I agree with you and like to add that my K28 produces slightly brigther pictures wide open than my m28.

02-27-2014, 11:37 AM   #5
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I have both and I think both are good lenses. The K28's image quality is a tiny bit crisper than its M brother. According to http://www.takinami.com/yoshihiko/photo/lens_test/pentax_28-30.html , the first generation M28 at f:11 has pretty near equal resolution to the K28 at f:8.

The M28 is as common as dirt and can be had for ~$50. The K28s are fetching ~$150 on eBay these days. Is the K three times better than the M? I don't think so.

Here's a couple of samples from the M at f:8



02-27-2014, 11:43 AM   #6
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I owned both and sold the M.

The M is very compact, the K is quite large. But worth it, no contest for me.
02-27-2014, 03:01 PM   #7
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The M28/2.8 has been mentioned and some other responses seem to refer to it too. Note the OP asked about the M28/3.5.

I have both but only recently acquired the M and haven't used it enough for a meaningful comparison.
02-27-2014, 03:18 PM   #8
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I had both at the same time, now I have only the K, because I found it to be superior, though it's much larger. I did a comparison here (which also includes a couple of other 28mm lenses):

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/10-pentax-slr-lens-discussion/193250-manu...k-vivitar.html

I kept the K as a high-quality lens, and the M 28/2.8 vII as small, faster lens for travel, though I'm likely to get rid of that now I have an M 35/2.

The M 28/3.5 is not a bad lens. It's almost as sharp as it's older brother, much easier to find (and cheaper) too, but I found it lacking a vibrancy and sharpness that the K has.

02-28-2014, 08:17 AM   #9
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Had 2 of the M version and 3 of the K version (not all at the same time) - the K's were sharper and I preferred the colours they produced. The M's were not bad, but the colours seemed a little less punchy, flatter overall and not quite as sharp - but still not a bad lens at all
02-28-2014, 08:25 AM   #10
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I've never owned the K, but I have the M, and a couple of 3rd party 28's. I find the M28/3.5 colors to be very vibrant, almost 3-D looking at times. It gives the skies an unusual purplish tone, which is quite striking imo. I'd love to find a K sometime, but for now I'm quite satisfied with the IQ of my M28/3.5.
02-28-2014, 08:45 AM   #11
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Your 28mm test is a great contribution here, Jonathan Mac: It's a very good example of a few pictures being worth a thousand words... or more. For my personal* requirements (landscapes, in particular), I find the plusses you demonstrate for the SMC "K" version of the 28mm to be a bit more than "subtle" (as some have suggested). But I think there's a good argument for keeping an "M" version on hand, too, for traveling light.
02-28-2014, 08:45 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by millsware Quote
I see that the K version of this lens is much better reviewed than the M version. My question is to anyone who has ever owned both at the same time or close to it. Do you really see a huge difference?
I have both. Wide open the K is a bit better than the M towards the edges. Stopped down a bit, I find them virtually indistinguishable. You would really have to work hard to identify one as being consistently superior to the other. In various head-on comparisons, I have not detected the differences in microcontrast etc. mentioned earlier in the thread, or at least not to a significant degree. Minor variables in shooting conditions are far more significant than any difference between the lenses. Given that the M is smaller, lighter, and cheaper, it's the winner, in my view.
03-01-2014, 09:14 AM   #13
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When this sort of friendly back-and-forth comes up, I always wonder about the sample to sample variations. And the fact that folks typically don't specify the camera they're using to arrive at these judgments. Roger C., at his lensrentals.com blogspot, has documented this issue clearly and repeatedly with respect to even highly regarded, fresh-from-the-factory contemporary glass. Since Roger buys lenses 20 at a time and is a very clever guy, with proper testing set-ups and protocols at his disposal , I have to regard his results as authoritative. I like the practical advantages of a film era 70-150mm MF zoom so much that I have nine examples of the Nikon-E f.3.5/Kiron f.4/Vivitar f.3.8 "first cousins" (with "matched multipliers") in N-AI and PK mounts to compare, including four of the Series-E. This is economical in the long run.

---------- Post added 03-01-14 at 11:18 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by timo Quote
I have both. Wide open the K is a bit better than the M towards the edges. Stopped down a bit, I find them virtually indistinguishable. You would really have to work hard to identify one as being consistently superior to the other. In various head-on comparisons, I have not detected the differences in microcontrast etc. mentioned earlier in the thread, or at least not to a significant degree. Minor variables in shooting conditions are far more significant than any difference between the lenses. Given that the M is smaller, lighter, and cheaper, it's the winner, in my view.
I find it very, very hard indeed to call Jonathan Mac's comparison results at f.8 "virtually indistinguishable".
03-02-2014, 12:29 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kayaker-J Quote
When this sort of friendly back-and-forth comes up, I always wonder about the sample to sample variations. And the fact that folks typically don't specify the camera they're using to arrive at these judgments. Roger C., at his lensrentals.com blogspot, has documented this issue clearly and repeatedly with respect to even highly regarded, fresh-from-the-factory contemporary glass. Since Roger buys lenses 20 at a time and is a very clever guy, with proper testing set-ups and protocols at his disposal , I have to regard his results as authoritative. I like the practical advantages of a film era 70-150mm MF zoom so much that I have nine examples of the Nikon-E f.3.5/Kiron f.4/Vivitar f.3.8 "first cousins" (with "matched multipliers") in N-AI and PK mounts to compare, including four of the Series-E. This is economical in the long run.

---------- Post added 03-01-14 at 11:18 AM ----------



I find it very, very hard indeed to call Jonathan Mac's comparison results at f.8 "virtually indistinguishable".
Well, Kayaker, I have had another look. I must be missing something. Sure the K landscape shot is a bit less exposed/darker than the the M one, giving an impression of greater contrast. Beyond that I find it tough to see any material difference. In the 'wide open' comparison of the rock, the foreground/corner flowers are sharper in the K version. Maybe it's the focus, maybe it is (as I said earlier) that the K is a bit better at the edges wide open. Having both lenses, I'm unbiased - but I can't see in that comparison the justification for the higher price, greater weight etc. of the K. (When I come to sell mine, it will be a different story )

(Incidentally my own comparison is based, most recently, on use with a K5 and Lightroom.)
03-02-2014, 01:43 AM   #15
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While I no longer have the M to take more comparison shots, my decision to sell it was also based on results from both lenses in general use. I prefer the K, but both lenses are extremely sharp. My preference is based on colour and other less easily identified and tested qualities. Despite being slow, the K is capable of the mystical 3D effect, while the M is not.

My K cost double what the M did, and I consider that fair for the IQ, I'd recommend the K.
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