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05-11-2014, 11:49 AM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by galaxytab Quote
I have a few questions but they are all related, so I won't bother you by making several threads.

I am looking for an old school inexpensive (<~$100) travel lens for my K-30. I already have some manual focus prime lenses and I love them all. But changing prime lenses on-the-fly is a pain.
I don't want to pay much for a modern hyper-zoom lens. I wonder if it is a good idea to get a manual focus zoom lens and use it on my K-30 instead? Something like a 70-210mm Vivitar Series 1? What's your suggestion?

I found a Vivitar, Series 1, 70-210mm 3.5, MACRO for $40, but it's a Nikon mount lens. I heard that some Nikon lenses mount on Pentax cameras with no modification. How about the one that I told you about? Is that an AI or non-AI one?

Thank you all.
How about a Sigma 28-70 autofocus. 3.5-4.5 AF-e. I find it capable. Cheap. less than 100$

Liz in Calgary

Last edited by Liz_in_Calgary; 05-11-2014 at 03:54 PM. Reason: added the f.
05-11-2014, 02:03 PM   #17
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Here I just added a thread with some samples from my SMC Pentax-M 35-70mm f2.8 - 3.5 : K10D with manual zoom and some action shots.. A mistake ?

If I was to get a longer zoom - then there are two obvious choices for me : SMC -A 70-210 f4.0 - with constant speed f4.0 and macro mode and built in lens hood - an absolute winner. ANd slightly less common Vivitar (Kiron/Kino) 75-205mm f3.8 Macro Focusing - slightly faster f3.8 and great sharpness also macro mode is slightly better as usable with any focal length where Pentax has it only at 70mm end. Vivitar can be had cheaper but it is fully manual lens - SMC Pentax has the advantage of A contacts and built in lens hood - but it's more expensive. The choice is yours - both lenses are equally superb optically !

05-11-2014, 02:32 PM   #18
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My previous notes here were for AF, but MF zooms can be had for sure. My bag has a few that get very little use: a Sigma 28-70mm f/2.8-4 and a JCPenney 80-200mm f/3.5. I have shifted my kit to AF zooms and MF primes, in part so the EXIF / SR tag does not need resetting as often. The big zoom has some color fringing wide open but isn't bad clicked down a bit, and the 28-70 is quite good and decently fast. I tried it on the Q but it's not a great match there.
05-11-2014, 04:25 PM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by kh1234567890 Quote
That heavy lump is grossly over-rated
Maybe you have an inferior copy. Mine is stellar. The original poster wanted a lens under $100 though, so finding the Penax A 35-105 in that price range might be a tall order.

Personally, if I wanted a lens for travel that I wouldn't have to change, and was on a budget, I'd just pick up a used Tamron XR 18-200 AF superzoom for around $140 and call it good. You can take perfectly good travel photos with it. Last I knew there was one for sale on the forum.

Oh, and if the OP is interested, I have this Tamron 70-210 for $20... Don't get much cheaper than that. Very small & lightweight, too.

Last edited by GibbyTheMole; 05-11-2014 at 04:33 PM.
05-11-2014, 05:14 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by GibbyTheMole Quote
Maybe you have an inferior copy. Mine is stellar.
Performance-wise mine is quite good. It is just that the design and the weight (OP was after a 'travel' lens) of the A35-105 are 'wrong'. So it sits there unloved. I did pay well below the equivalent of $100 for it.
05-11-2014, 05:27 PM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by kh1234567890 Quote
Performance-wise mine is quite good. It is just that the design and the weight (OP was after a 'travel' lens) of the A35-105 are 'wrong'. So it sits there unloved. I did pay well below the equivalent of $100 for it.
Yeah, it is on the heavy side, but I tend to look at the performance of a lens as about 95% of it's "goodness". You got a good deal on it. I nabbed mine for $60 at a camera shop.
05-11-2014, 06:45 PM   #22
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To comment on some of the suggestions:
  • I have the Tamron 24-135. Great lens, and does full frame. But, it's AF and more than you wanted to spend. It's also has some heft that you may not want to carry around.
  • The Pentax F35-70 is also AF, but it's a great little lens that you can probably get for cheaper than the M or A 35-70.
I recommend you take a look at some of the old Tokina zooms. I've been impressed w/ the couple of them I've looked at. In particular, I recommend:
Tokina 80-200 SZ-X f1:4.5-5.6

I don't know if it is exactly Vivitar Series 1 70-210 quality, but it's close enough. MF and should be available under $100. You can see from my review on the page that the real wonder of this lens is its small size. This is what makes it a great travel lens. Easy to focus, auto aperture so you can use A mode. Biggest problem is trying to find one... but check out some of the other smaller MF Tokinas.
05-11-2014, 07:40 PM   #23
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Thank you all for the helpful and informative replies. I edited my original question and added all the lenses that were recommended in the replies (I hope none of them is missing). It might be helpful for others who read the thread at a later time. I'll watch local and online markets for a good price and get any of them that I found worthwhile.

---------- Post added 05-11-14 at 08:44 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by dms Quote
I have used the VS1 70-210 mm in both the 2nd and 3rd version, and seen test of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd version. I would suggest you wait for a PKA 3rd version. If you are looking for a long zoom this is excellent and gives you a useful macro range as well. It is optically superb--I think it is as good or better than the Pentax (K) 135mm f2.5 and Pentax Super Takumar 200 mm f/4. But it is push pull which some people don't like--personally I am a huge fan of this kind of construction. And It is not parafocal (i.e., focus does not change as you zoom.)

Version 3 is 62mm, f2.8~4, and the rubber is regular with a strong (standard type) relief pattern. It is not smooth rubber and does NOT have vivitar (and/or series 1?) moulded into the rubber--mentioned to avoid your getting a later (inferior) version of this series 1 lens.[COLOR="Silver"]
You said "Version 3 is 62mm, f2.8~4". But, could you let me know the difference between the other versions of VS1 70-210? How can I distinguish one from the other? How do you compare the IQ?

05-11-2014, 08:51 PM   #24
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The following has the pictures of the various versions, and the modern photography tests.

---------- Post added 05-11-14 at 08:55 PM ----------

I used version 2 w/ film camera--two of them, 1st was quite good, 2nd not so good. It was the longer lens I usually took backpacking. It is significantly smaller than the version1 and version 3.
The version 3 I only use w/ digital and only for my theatre photography. But my gut reaction is the version 3 is significantly better--but no A to B testing. Also I cannot rule out that my version 3 is an outstanding example--but I have seen enough reviews/comments to believe it is generally held in high regard.

Last edited by dms; 05-11-2014 at 09:07 PM.
05-12-2014, 02:37 AM   #25
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Hi galaxytab,
my recommendation for a telezoom is the Tamron Adaptall 103A, a highly underated lens. f 3.8-4.5 80-210mm but an excellent lens not too heavy and quite common thus not expensive. Some of those series one Vivitars are thumpers.
05-12-2014, 03:35 AM   #26
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I had a Pentax A 35-105 that I got for $11 from eBay. Listed as "having fungus issues" my bid of $3 + $8 postage secured me the lens, and after 5 minutes cleaning, it was restored to a $120 lens. Anyway, it was a very good lens, and I only sold it to buy another more expensive lens. I'd recommend the 35-105. At the end of the day though, you will want more expensive lenses. They call it 'LBA', I think..............

05-12-2014, 04:25 AM   #27
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Somewhere out there is a 24-48 pentax lens, which would be much better. I find for general travel that wider is best. In older MF lenses, this is the widest. There are also some third party 20-35 mm lenses if I recall correctly. Same concept here go widest possible. Length is not an issue, you can crop. But unless you shoot and stitch, wider is not possible in post processing
05-12-2014, 04:38 AM   #28
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Samyang zoom

I got a Samyang 28-200 mm f 4.5-5.6 virtually for free with a film camera purchased from eBay. It is of course all manual focus, but does have the A ring for convenient use of all the Pentax modes. Clarity and sharpness are noteworthy, much better than other older Samyang lenses that I have used. I would not hesitate to take this lens with me on my next trip to Serenghetti and other east African game parks. Since it has the A ring and since most game preserve shooting is focussed at infinity, it would be quite easy to use. My copy has the KR designation, along with the Ricoh pin, but it is of the rounded and non-lethal variety, and has never given me any trouble at all.

I do not know how easy it would be to find this lens, but if you come across one, it is worth having
05-12-2014, 05:28 AM   #29
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Just in case your not yet confused galaxytab...

tamron consumer tp's: I am unimpressed with my 103A, the later 46A is better IMO - better contrast and colours. Both common (103A's are always there in auction listings) and very cheap. However less cheap once mount is factored in. If the adaptall range enthuses you then go for one, otherwise a lens that already has PKA mount is a more practical choice.

I had a hanimex branded korean made (?samyang) 28-200mm, it was rubbish!!

Vivitar series one, 75,-205.... hmmm I wouldn't call the VS1's travel lenses, they're all big and heavy (mind you so is the 23A). If you think you fancy a lens of this kind, then look for a kiron PKA mount 70-210/80-200 there are several variants all of pretty similar and pleasing quality.

For me, I'll reiterate what I said in my second post - the tokina SD 70-210mm with PKA mount. Pick it up for not much more than the price of a coffee and donut and check it out, see if you like it. I think its actually quite similar to the Tok SZX one mentioned...

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