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04-07-2014, 03:20 PM   #16
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Thank you all for such great and helpful responses.

After taking a look at some of the product offerings, I think I've settled on some guidelines towards where I want to go.

- Since I have primes at 35mm, 50mm and 77mm I want to find something below 30mm but above 10mm. (I don't really enjoy shooting landscapes. I prefer people/portrait/scenes ('capturing the moment' kind of stuff)
- I would like to shoot for something still being manufactured. (It can be used, but if it's still being manufactured at least there's still some support for it)

With regard to the M42 adapter, what features am I losing compared to the body it was originally made for? I've read sometimes you lose autofocus, and something regarding focusing to infinity (not too familiar with these).

Again, thank you all for the awesome replies.

04-07-2014, 03:32 PM   #17

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QuoteOriginally posted by ravenorxs Quote
With regard to the M42 adapter, what features am I losing compared to the body it was originally made for? I've read sometimes you lose autofocus, and something regarding focusing to infinity (not too familiar with these).
M42 lenses did not have AF in general, barring the bizarre:
Sigma M42 Autofocus Zoom - Classic Manual Cameras Forum

With the genuine Pentax adapter, you can still focus to infinity.

The main problem is having the lens open to focus,
and then having to stop down to the taking aperture
by moving a lever on the lens (to simplify a complex topic).
04-07-2014, 04:19 PM   #18
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To add another general point to my earlier, because of the crop factor on APS-C, with a few exceptions the vintage lens usage on pentax dslr is oriented to standard to TP focal length lenses. To get the equivalent FoV to 28mm on 35mm film (28mm being the standard wide angle that everyone had) you need ~18mm focal length. Vintage lenses of this focal length were considered ultra wides and were, and still are, expensive (and a bit scarce). And more pertinently, the optical/photographic advantages that they offer over the designed -for-APS-C kit lens are less clear - if any!.
But if you fancy a bit of bird photography, then you can pick up an optic of the quality of a tair 3 for not much more than a hundred bucks (or not even if you're smart at bargain hunting), 300mm = 450mm equiv FoV on APS-C actually I think back to my days drooling over the offerings in camera shops at the time I acquired my ME super, all too expensive for me, and now I look at my not so little collection and contemplate how much (little) I paid for them...
04-07-2014, 04:32 PM   #19
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All my primes under 100mm are Pentax (of some vintage or other) except for the Sigma 70/2.8 Macro and the Sigma 24mm f/2.8 Super Wide II, which as johnyates notes is pretty exceptional.

04-07-2014, 04:56 PM   #20
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Wide and Wider?

Hello ravenorxs,
Looks like you're getting lots of good advice so far, I'll chime in again regarding the wide-angle selection.
As mentioned by Marcus, prime lenses wider than 24mm (or so) were considered 'ultra-wide' in the past, and are quite rare and expensive.
If you want a wide-angle lens that's still manufactured or supported, here's your choices in 3rd party offerings;

Samyang 13mm f/2.8 Aspherical- $350 (also available as Vivitar Series 1)
Samyang 14mm f/2.8 IF ED UMC- $360 (Also available as Rokinon, Bower)
Sigma 15mm f/2.8 EX DG Fisheye- $600
Samyang 16mm f/2.0 ED AS UMC CS- $400 (Also available as Bower, Rokinon)
Zenitar 16mm f/2.8- $200
Sigma 20mm f/1.8 EX DG DF RF Aspherical- $630
Sigma 24mm f/1.8 EX DG DF- $550
Rokinon 24mm f/3.5 Tilt/Shift ED AS UMC- $1,000
Samyang 24mm TSL-P Tilt/Shift
Samyang 24mm f/1.4 ED AS UMC- $670 (Also available as Rokinon, Bower)
Zeiss 25mm f/2.8 ZS Distagon m/f- $950 (M42)
Sigma 28mm f/1.8 EX DG DF Macro- $450

As you can see, most are $400 and up. Genuine Pentax lenses in this range are similarly priced.
But, you can easily find a Sigma Super-Wide 24mm f/2.8 in PK for about $200 used. Manual focus, usually auto-aperture (look for 'A' or 'Auto' on the listing, it will also have a small drop-down button on the aperture ring) and Sigma is still around, FWIW.
24mm is a LOT wider than 35mm, the difference is suprising. And, 20mm is wider still than 24mm.
I have the Sigma 24mm and also a Miranda 24mm f/2.8, with auto-aperture, manual focus. I do prefer the Miranda (they're close), but hesitate to recommend it. It's very scarce and even moreso in PK mount.
Also as mentioned earlier, you might want to keep an eye out for a fast (f/2.8) telephoto too. The DA zoom is f/5.6 at 135mm, so a 135mm f/2.8 prime would be two full stops faster (f- 2.8, 4.0, 5.6, etc.). Those extra stops (and, a substantially brighter image in the viewfinder) will make life much easier, giving you options for depth-of-field, shutter speed and ISO. In lenses, there's no substitute for speed (wider max aperture). None.
More ideas for you!
04-07-2014, 11:29 PM   #21
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An advantage quality wise is the smaller APSC sensor hacks off a large percentage of the outer part of the image from a FF lens which is the worst part of the image anyways, so a fair number of older lenses that were described as having poor edges at wider apertures would do much better on the crop body.

Negative things to remember:
1. Metering:
2. The big stupid beak on the front of Pentax DSLR's partially blocks easy viewing and changing of the aperture ring, you will notice all the film bodies were flat in this area.
3. The camera will ask you for the focal length when you turn it on so it can set shake reduction and correctly report focal length in exif data. Shake reduction for manual focus lenses only works correctly with prime lenses because as soon as you change the zoom on a zoom lens the camera is correcting for the wrong amount of shake. With a short range lens like a 24-50 you can usually get away with picking a middle number but something like a 70-210 has too much of a difference in shake so it either over or under compensates.
You can just turn SR off, but what you couldn't see in the film era shows up in the digital age as a lack of sharpness, it seems we all shake more than we ever realized but grain and image size masked it too well to notice.
4. If you have the stock focusing screen you will have to focus using the green "in focus" indicator or other electronic means because the stock screen is basically garbage for optically manual focusing, the viewfinder is just too small for even good eyes to consistently get perfect focus with that type of ground glass especially on less than really fast lenses.

In short only do primes and get used to the funky metering and setting of aperture.
04-08-2014, 07:10 AM   #22
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For the range you are looking at, "below 30 but above 10", I have two sigma lenses that fill that range. A 28mm and a 10-20mm. Both are excellent, fun, lenses. And both are still being manufactured.

Both lenses have a very short minimum focus distance which allows you to stick the lens right up in the face of the thing you're photographing. My only complaints are that they both are a bit soft at the edges of the frame. But, center sharpness is very good and I think the edge softness contributes to isolating subjects in the center of the frame anyway. They are both rather large lenses as well, which can be deal breaker for some people. And the 28mm is a screw drive lens so it's sort of noisy. Focusing speed is good though.

Here's a link to my review of the 28mm Sigma 28mm F1.8 EX DG Aspherical DG DF Macro Lens Reviews - Sigma Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database There are three pictures in that review. I haven't got around to writing a review of the 10-20 yet.
04-08-2014, 10:42 AM   #23
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After looking at some sample pictures, I think 24mm is the sweetspot that I want to aim for.

I'm taking a look at the sigma 24mm 1.8, samyang 24mm 2.4 and sigma 24mm 2.8.

I'm also looking into potentially getting a katzeye viewfinder upgrade. I almost pretty much never use manual focus in my shots and I think this would be a good excuse to do so.

A used Sigma 24mm 2.8 seems like a good cheap lens and I might be leaning more towards that.

04-08-2014, 03:29 PM   #24
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updated post - vintage lenses guidance

I wanted to add a couple of points/corrections to my original post and ended up doing a bit of a rewrite....

- vintage Pentax OEM (Asahi, takumar etc) MF generally all good. Distinction between K mount and M42 in the technicalities of how they work on camera. PK easier (no adapter, all work the same*), P-KA easiest! but M42 lenses normally offer the option of using Av mode with the aperture range, stop down metering.
*but PK T-mount are more like M42

- vintage primes generally to be preferred to zooms. Specifically, the older the zooms the less likely they are to be any good.

- generally speaking the OEM lenses are great ie Nikon, Canon, Minolta ... The ones most specifically of interest are those that were in M42 mount eg Yashinon (Yashica), Fujinon. otherwise OEM options means mount swapping/adapting/changing which is a whole different ball game. But there are many out there who will swear by Rokkors/Hexanons... not to mention the premium topend marques: Carl Zeiss, Leica... There are commercial options: a Spanish company has specialised in adaptions. But overall, if you want to go down this road, you're much better off with (whisper)... a Canon dslr (due to the registration distances - Canon has the shortest which leaves the most space for adapters for all the other lenses).

- the multifarious generic brands typically dating from the 70's - 80's boom period of Japanese lens production are typically not as desirable and these days I doubt I would bother with any except where I have specific information/insight as to quality. Some of the more common names are Photax, Hanimex, Paragon, Optomax, Prinz-galaxy, Sirius, Soligor (Soligor are one of the best actually, Tokina made a lot of Soligors), Vivitar, Makinon, Miranda.... but there are absolutely loads of different names.

- I got to know the names of the main manufacturers: Tamron, Tokina, Cosina, Kiron (Kino Optical), Sigma (these all produce/produced lenses under their own name/brand), Komine, Hoya, and started picking up on how to id their premium "pro" lenses, and the good lenses under other marques (Vivitar is a classic example) that they had made. mflenses forum is the best source of that sort of info.

- for bargain hunting, being able to visually id the main mounts, and to distinguish between M42 and PK, and PK and P-KA, are essential skills!

- Russian/former Soviet bloc lenses tend to be good (very good!). Lots of classic primes often based on classic Zeiss designs. Tair, Helios, Jupiter, Mir, Meyer Optik, Pentacon..... et al.

- Other companies got in on the slr boom with their own PK mount cameras (Chinon, Cosina, Ricoh) and generally their lenses are pretty good, particularly Cosina

- Tamron have a particular cachet with their (now discontinued) Adaptall range. Swappable mount means they can be mounted on any camera (pretty much). Lots of quality in the adaptall range.

Then the other perspective is what sort of lenses to go for. I bought and sold a variety of mostly zoom lenses before focussing, correctly IMO, towards prime lenses that offered clear/specific advantages over the kit lens. First (and best) example: a decently fast "nifty fifty" (update - I c you have one ). One of the classic f1.4/1.7/1.8 50mm or 55mm pentax lenses will give you ~ 3- to 4 stops advantage over the kit lens at 50/55mm, better IQ and the creative possibilities that the range of depth of field offers.

Other suggestions:
- a classic 135mm eg a sonnar, lots of quality options in this focal length.
- a quality macro lens. Some are better suited to general use than others, all are sharp.
- 35mm, 28mm, 24mm classic primes offer respectively 51mm, 42mm, 36mm equivalent FoV on Pentax dslr. 24mm is probably the most desireable. Personally I quite often find I am using my Sigma Miniwide and Superwide almost interchangeably, they have a very similar character.
05-02-2014, 04:44 AM   #25
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In the category of newer 3rd party lenses, I've been pleased with my Tamron 28-75. It's not a do-all lens, but it's a good general purpose lens and I have gotten some admirable results with it.
05-02-2014, 09:27 AM   #26
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There are some good results/reviews on the Samyang/Rokinon/Bower/Vivitar wide lenses.

Rokinon 14mm flavor (same as Samyang, but ~$60 less, $80 less than Bower) for $299
Rokinon 14mm Ultra Wide-Angle f/2.8 IF ED UMC Lens FE14M-P B&H

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