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04-06-2014, 07:24 PM   #1
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Some noteworthy third-party lenses?

I know next to nothing about third party lenses for Pentax. Coupled with the fact that some are no longer being manufactured and there are so many brands I've never heard of makes it especially tough to research.

Could somebody give a run down on some noteworthy lenses under 100mm that are either still being manufactured or are fairly easy to procure on the used market?

Brands I've often heard include vivitar, tokina, Carl Zeiss, voigtlander. I know tamron and sigma are quite popular but I'm more interested in the less popular ones.

I've currently got the DA 35mm f2.4, FA 50mm f1.4 and FA 77mm as well.

Thank you

04-06-2014, 07:51 PM - 1 Like   #2
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New Lenses?

Hello ravenorxs,
Here's a listing from a few months ago, of new, available third-party lenses;
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/10-pentax-slr-lens-discussion/243556-3rd-...available.html
I believe it's still up to date.
For older lenses, what we usually call 'Legacy' glass, you're in for a treat! 6 million and counting, just about every lens ever made in K-mount or M42 will work on your DSLR, and probably each different one has its own fans.
Get ready, this could be a long thread!
Ron
04-06-2014, 08:06 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by rbefly Quote
For older lenses, what we usually call 'Legacy' glass, you're in for a treat! 6 million and counting, just about every lens ever made in K-mount or M42 will work on your DSLR, and probably each different one has its own fans.
You'll never run out of interesting things to try if you start playing with this stuff.
04-06-2014, 08:15 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by rbefly Quote
For older lenses, what we usually call 'Legacy' glass, you're in for a treat! 6 million and counting, just about every lens ever made in K-mount or M42 will work on your DSLR, and probably each different one has its own fans.
Get ready, this could be a long thread!
Ron
Wow thanks a lot Ron. That's exactly the information I was looking for to get started.

04-06-2014, 08:32 PM   #5
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You can also check out the third party lens reviews here on the Forums. It can give you an idea of which ones are rated better
04-06-2014, 09:10 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by patrick9 Quote
You can also check out the third party lens reviews here on the Forums. It can give you an idea of which ones are rated better
Keep in mind that many are rated high due to their cost to the reviewer. Someone might see an average quality lens that they paid $20 for as great, but if they paid $200 it would be terrible. My Sears 60-300 is by all means an average performer, but I gave about $10 for it and it focuses very close for what it is, so I like it a lot.
04-06-2014, 10:17 PM   #7
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The cool thing is that there are literally thousands of compatible third-party lenses that will work nicely on your Pentax camera. The bad news is that there are literally thousands of third-party lenses that will work nicely on your Pentax camera. Finding standouts is not as easy as you might think because most makers made pretty good product. Likewise, find stinkers is also hard.

I would suggest a walk through the various lens clubs on this site. That should at least give an idea where the cult classics are. Several of my favorite lenses fall into this category. They are:
  • KMZ Helios 44-M 58/2
  • KMZ MC Zenitar 16/2.8 Fisheye
  • LZOS MC Jupiter-9 85/2
  • Auto-Rikenon 50/1.8
The first three were made in countries of the former Soviet Union (FSU) and the last was a normal lens option on Ricoh M42 cameras in the late 1960s. Ok, the Rikenon does not have cult classic but it should.

There is a lot more to say on the topic and far too much for a single post.


Steve

---------- Post added 04-06-14 at 10:20 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by elliott Quote
Keep in mind that many are rated high due to their cost to the reviewer.
...or the general inexperience of the user or both. Bottom line, take all high ratings with a grain of salt and carefully consider all low ratings. Reject any review that is shy on details and specifics.


Steve
04-07-2014, 01:23 AM   #8
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One thing to also bear in mind is that for older lenses, their quality depends a lot on how they were treated (or mistreated) by the owner. In other words, out of the box they would have been great, but over time they might have been bashed, dropped etc. So the original review isn't necessarily how they'll turn out. Many older lenses are very good bargains, but I'd avoid the oldest myself. Their coatings were not designed for colour photography.

04-07-2014, 02:00 AM   #9
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To get into the universe of M42 mount lenses make sure to get a genuine Pentax K mount - M42 adapter that will allow infinity focus. They are readily available and not expensive. However there is no cure for the addiction that will follow. :-)
There is still a whole variety of K - mount lenses around if you don't want to go there. An RMC Tokina 17 mm 3.5 is a popular favourite if you can find one and there are several others in that series that perform well. Also take a look at the "Vivitar 28 mm bestiary" for an education in the variety of manufacturers making just one brand of third party lenses.
But most of all ... Have fun!!
04-07-2014, 04:12 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by elliott Quote
eep in mind that many are rated high due to their cost to the reviewer. Someone might see an average quality lens that they paid $20 for as great, but if they paid $200 it would be terrible. My Sears 60-300 is by all means an average performer, but I gave about $10 for it and it focuses very close for what it is, so I like it a lot.
Yeah You do have to read the reviews and learn to read between the lines
04-07-2014, 11:06 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by ravenorxs Quote
some noteworthy lenses under 100mm
This is probably the best manual focus 24mm you can buy. Sharper than the SMC Pentax versions. 24mm is a great focal length on your DSLR.
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/24-photographic-equipment-sale/256986-sal...ns-pentax.html
04-07-2014, 11:14 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by elliott Quote
You'll never run out of interesting things to try if you start playing with this stuff.
True - but you may run out of storage space! Good, (relatively)Cheap, & Fun 3rd party lenses can be quite habit forming - you've been warned!
04-07-2014, 11:44 AM   #13
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If you want to wander off the beaten lens track, so to speak, do a search for old posts by @RioRico on these forums. He's sadly no longer able to participate here, but he's legendary for his knowledge and resourcefulness when it comes to digging up impossible optics and make them work. And finding it all cheap as well.
04-07-2014, 01:04 PM - 1 Like   #14
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A year+ ago I was in the same boat as you, keen to explore this scene but otherwise no clue. After a while (and lots of browsing) I focussed on PK (due to owning a Pentax ME super for many years and a couple of PK lenses), some of the general topography became clearer:

- 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 but M42 more versatile (Av mode).
- vintage primes generally to be preferred to zooms. Specifically, the older the zooms the less likely they are to be any good.
- 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, Optex, Soligor, 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 lenses under other marques (vivitar is a classic example) that they had made. mflenses forum is the best source of that sort of info.
- 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).

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.

But beware, lens buying addiction looms....

You can check out my overview of the tamron adaptalls here

Last edited by marcusBMG; 04-07-2014 at 01:30 PM.
04-07-2014, 01:10 PM - 1 Like   #15
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by far my favourite lens -> Revuenon 50mm f1.4 MC Lens Reviews - Miscellaneous Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database you start to get a noticeable internal reflection at around f/8, but at wider apertures it's better than any other 50mm i've owned.





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