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09-04-2015, 02:07 PM   #1
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Standout Pentax film-era lenses for special/vintage/classic look also 3D pop & bokeh

Hello all, I'm a relative newcomer to the world of Pentax & keen to discover which are the film-era Pentax lenses (primes, zooms, 35mm &/or medium format) that users consider to have special or unusual rendering styles; particularly those that lend to a more classic or vintage look (rather than the modern tendency to the clinically sharp & perfect)? Also, those lenses which give interesting or especially pleasing colour or bokeh; or maybe just those with downright weird & wonderful drawing styles! Do any offer the "glow" usually associated with Leica or the 3D Pop of Carl Zeiss? I realise this casts quite a wide net (& will also be considered contentious as these are aesthetic/subjective considerations). But I would be really interested in actual nominations of lenses & their qualities. Also as an aside can anyone pinpoint what are the essential characteristics/signature style associated with Pentax lenses in general? Thanks very much in anticipation

09-04-2015, 02:35 PM - 1 Like   #2
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My two favorites would be the Pentax FA 35 f/2 and the A 35-105 f/3.5. The former has a sense of 3D when compared to any of my other 35mm optics (generally zooms). The bokeh at f/2.2-3.2 is particularly pleasing. As for the zoom, the color rendering is absolutely superb, especially in the reds. Its overall image quality is particularly good from 60 to 105mm, starting right from wide open. If a manual focus lens is acceptable to you for portrait shooting, you really can't do much better than the 35-105 for a soft, vintage look. This isn't to say the lens is soft - it isn't, but the contrast is a bit middling which is nice for portraiture.
09-04-2015, 02:47 PM - 1 Like   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by pentax_rob Quote
Do any offer the "glow" usually associated with Leica or the 3D Pop of Carl Zeiss?
Some, but they don't always come cheap. Look for some fast Takumar lenses. You can also get actual Zeiss lenses in m42 or K-mount (East German Jena Zeiss, or the West German, more modern Zeiss), as well as Soviet Zeiss clones, like Helios 44 series. Samyang makes some great modern primes at affordable prices, but manual focus (Samyang also sells lenses under other names like Bower, Rokinon, Walimex and others, depending on your region).
You should first decide how manual do you want to go. K and M series (manual, but lenses have aperture lever which the camera can move), A series (camera can move aperture lever and also knows the aperture value), or F, FA (practically fully automatic, like modern DA and DFA lenses)? Is the dead K-mount okay (found in some third party lenses like Mitakon, it is fully manual, essentially like a preset m42 lens) for you? How about buying an m42 adapter and using those lenses? Some classics there.
If you don't mind some difficulty, try K and M series. A is a little easier to get the hang of. F and FA are super simple
m42 lenses can be real gems, as well, but you need an adapter. I recommend the genuine adapter, as it has very little chance of failure. We have had some nightmare threads where people got their cheap adapters stuck and so on.

Anyway, you might want to start with one of the Pentax 55mm f1.8 lenses. These tend to have quite nice rendering. Or Helios 44K (Helios 44 come in many versions, some with different mounts). Or Zeiss Flektogon 35mm (m42, allows near focusing, has is own thread). You can also look at older fast 50mm lenses, really difficult to go wrong with any of those.
You might want to check the Soviet lens club, as these tend to be cheapest and some still have great IQ: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/122-lens-clubs/31430-soviet-lenses-club.html

Last edited by Na Horuk; 09-04-2015 at 02:55 PM.
09-04-2015, 03:23 PM - 1 Like   #4
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SMC 28mm f2.0
Has more "pixie dust" than all the FA limiteds combined!
OK, maybe that is going too far...but not by much

09-04-2015, 03:28 PM - 1 Like   #5
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The Auto-Takumars seem to have a very artistic, interesting style about them; the tak 50 1.4 is a no-brainer; the FA ltds..... actually many of the FA primes have a nice, classic quality about them.
09-04-2015, 03:35 PM - 1 Like   #6
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From those older lenses that I'm using, I find that the Super Takumar 1.4/50mm (the old 8-element version) and the Super Takumar 3.5/28mm (again the old version with 58mm filter thread) come closest to your requirements.

QuoteOriginally posted by ScooterMaxi Jim Quote
My two favorites would be the Pentax FA 35 f/2...
This is a fantastic lens but it tends towards "sharp & perfect" IMO.
09-04-2015, 03:41 PM - 1 Like   #7
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This is with the Super Tak 50 1.4 8 element wide open. Could be better with some PP, this is sooc.

09-04-2015, 03:48 PM - 2 Likes   #8
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the lens that comes to my mind immediately is the Takumar 85mm f1.8 or f1.9.....talk about 3D.....Wow !

09-04-2015, 04:53 PM - 1 Like   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by pentax_rob Quote
Hello all, I'm a relative newcomer to the world of Pentax & keen to discover which are the film-era Pentax lenses (primes, zooms, 35mm &/or medium format) that users consider to have special or unusual rendering styles; particularly those that lend to a more classic or vintage look (rather than the modern tendency to the clinically sharp & perfect)? Also, those lenses which give interesting or especially pleasing colour or bokeh; or maybe just those with downright weird & wonderful drawing styles! Do any offer the "glow" usually associated with Leica or the 3D Pop of Carl Zeiss? I realise this casts quite a wide net (& will also be considered contentious as these are aesthetic/subjective considerations). But I would be really interested in actual nominations of lenses & their qualities. Also as an aside can anyone pinpoint what are the essential characteristics/signature style associated with Pentax lenses in general? Thanks very much in anticipation
K28/2 (Joint Pentax/Carl Zeiss creation with 3D results)
K50/1.2 (Best bokeh @ f1.2)
K85/1.8 (Soft focus effect)

Phil.
09-04-2015, 05:18 PM - 1 Like   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by gofour3 Quote
K28/2 (Joint Pentax/Carl Zeiss creation with 3D results)
K50/1.2 (Best bokeh @ f1.2)
K85/1.8 (Soft focus effect)

Phil.
I can vouch for #2 and #3; I am still on my quest to acquire #1.

You would be well served with only those three lenses.

I believe certain lenses best marry a certain range of cameras and lose something on digital, but while I have had very good images with the S-M-C 50/1.4 on an SP-F (I've had that lens for 20 years) and its predecessor 7-element Super-Tak on an orange R SV they're also outstanding on a K-01.

Last edited by monochrome; 09-05-2015 at 03:07 PM.
09-04-2015, 06:05 PM - 1 Like   #11
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For me it's my takumars also. Especially the SMC 50 1.4, auto Tak 55 1.8, the Super Multi Coated 135 2.5 and to a lesser extent (but still very nice) the SMC 28 3.5. They definitely have a unique rendering to them...classic Pentax!
09-04-2015, 06:11 PM - 1 Like   #12
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my favorites:

SMC A 35-105mm f3.5
SMC A 70-210mm f4
SMC A 100mm f4 Macro
SMC M 50mm f4 Macro
09-04-2015, 07:27 PM - 1 Like   #13
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I love my SMC 55mm 1.8 (K series). I know the 1.4 is touted as having better results but bagging it and an SMC M 35mm 2.8 for 60 bucks makes me real happy with the results!

There is a definite 3d quality to it - most likely since it's heritage is the 55mm 1.8 super tak.
09-04-2015, 07:29 PM   #14
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I like my Pentax 35-105 A Macro Zoom.
09-04-2015, 08:14 PM   #15
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It is the K 50 1.2 for me.
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