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07-08-2008, 12:45 AM   #1
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Searching for a fine unexpensive lense around 300mm

Just thinking about buying a used lense around 300mm. I must say that I dont will use these a lot because I´m not into the bird or sport pic business. I just want to try and play a little around. So manual fokus would be OK.

So what to do?

Ask two photographers and you will receive three opinions.

Some say: Dont buy the Pentax K 300/4, go for the A* 300/4. But over 500 Euros for that lense is mutch to mutch for my pocket. (BTW. If you have 500 Euros for an old used lense, why not take a little more money in the hand and buy the new DA*200 or DA*300??)

Other offered me a Sigma 5,6/400mm (no APO) for 200 Euros.

But whats up with all these m42 srew mount lenses? Do I need an expensive adaptor for my K20D to use them? Are there any famouse lenses in the range of 100 to 200 bucks or euros?

Whats with these old German lenses ore there Russian copies (Jupiter)?

Best,
Rainer

07-08-2008, 01:11 AM   #3
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ZENIT FS-12 Russian Photosniper Tair 3S f4.5/300 on eBay, also Zenit, 35mm SLR, Film Cameras, Cameras Photo (end time 11-Jul-08 10:23:21 BST)

This one is highly recommended.

Anyways. For the tamron you need a PK Adaptall-2 adapter. For the others you need a M42 adapter. The M42 adapters are cheap, just see to it that you get a genuine Pentax adapter.
07-08-2008, 07:10 AM   #4
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Cheap 300mm lens

I have 3 in this focal length, all manual focusing. The best is without doubt the SMC K300 f4, which is no surprise. I paid £95 for mine a year ago, and they are out there for that money if you look carefully. It is a beast of a thing, and needs a monopod if you are out and about but the images are wonderful.

If I want something much lighter I use a Tokina RMC 300 f5.6, which I got for £50. This has surprised me on lots of occasions with it's IQ, which is not too far off the Pentax. I also have Tamron SP 300 f5.6 and 01f converter. This is mainly used as a macro set up, but for telephoto work it is more than acceptable (without the converter). Not up to the Tokina but not too far off either (I was surprised by this). As it is an adaptall lens there are more of them around than the Tokina and they are cheap.

Hope this helps.

07-08-2008, 08:18 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by TKH Quote
Just thinking about buying a used lense around 300mm. I must say that I dont will use these a lot because I´m not into the bird or sport pic business. I just want to try and play a little around. So manual fokus would be OK.

So what to do?

Ask two photographers and you will receive three opinions.

Some say: Dont buy the Pentax K 300/4, go for the A* 300/4. But over 500 Euros for that lense is mutch to mutch for my pocket. (BTW. If you have 500 Euros for an old used lense, why not take a little more money in the hand and buy the new DA*200 or DA*300??)

Other offered me a Sigma 5,6/400mm (no APO) for 200 Euros.

But whats up with all these m42 srew mount lenses? Do I need an expensive adaptor for my K20D to use them? Are there any famouse lenses in the range of 100 to 200 bucks or euros?

Whats with these old German lenses ore there Russian copies (Jupiter)?

Best,
Rainer
Hallo Rainer, noch ein Deutscher…

O.K. The SMC K 300/4 is a good, not superb, but really good lens. It is slow to focus and it delivers some colour abberations, but under most circumstances it is sharp and gives good image quality. There is another lens thread especially about the K 300/4, here, where you may find some examples. You will find, that actually the images are quite as good, as any other 300mm lens will give under real live conditions. – By the way, I would sell mine...

The A* 300/4 certainly is better in terms of image quality. And it is much smaller and lighter. Indeed I would call it diminutive for a 300mm lens! But it will cost you much, much more.

The Tamron 300/2.8 is a wonderful lens, but big and heavy and absolutely more expensive than the K 300/4. On the other hand it may be cheaper than an A* 300/4, but you have to carry three times the weight and bulk.

I can't comment on the Russion 300/4.5 lenses, but you will loose half an f-stop compared to the 4.0 lenses and the Russion focusing helicoids tend to require some work for focusing.

You may find a good condition Meyer Optik/Pentacon 300/4 chaeply. These lenses are really good, but big, heavy and slow to focus, too. Anyway, they won't be cheaper than the K 300/4.

Considering all options (except the AF lenses by pentax, which tend to be very expensive), the SMC K 300/4 gives the most bang for the buck. That is at least my opinion, having all of the above lenses except the Russian modells.

besten Gruß,
Ben
07-08-2008, 08:30 AM   #6
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I don't have much experience in photography, but I do firmly believe that used manual lenses should be bought only if one knows exactly what specification lens he should buy and that lens is either unavailable(out of stock or nonexistant) or too expensive..

If you are not into birds and sports photography, then why do you want a 300mm prime? Why not go for the 70-300mm cheap but good value-for-money zooms? They are meter properly, autofocus and are lightweight too..

I'm not dismissing the usefulness and quality of the old lenses. Infact they are very good, but only if you have specific use in mind and patience to deal with them..

Last edited by hrishi; 07-08-2008 at 08:38 AM.
07-08-2008, 11:41 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by hrishi Quote
If you are not into birds and sports photography, then why do you want a 300mm prime? ..
So there is a new woman in the neigberhood and I like to take pics when she is sitting with her bikini in the garden.

No. Just joking.
I try to go to the zoo and take pics from the animals there. A few of my friends in our Photo-club do with there expansive Nikon and Canon lenses and I like to see if there is a possibility to do that kind pics with old Pentax stuff.

QuoteOriginally posted by hrishi Quote
Why not go for the 70-300mm cheap but good value-for-money zooms?
.
I only have primes in my camera bag and like to stay that way.

Best,
Rainer
07-08-2008, 12:11 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by hrishi Quote
I don't have much experience in photography, but I do firmly believe that used manual lenses should be bought only if one knows exactly what specification lens he should buy and that lens is either unavailable(out of stock or nonexistant) or too expensive..
He did ask for advice on what to get and he got advice. He don't even need to read up. The lenses listed are all great performers. The Tair and Tamron lenses are very very able. And the SMC M or Takumar 300mm 4f is so cheap it would be silly not to have one, just incase.

QuoteQuote:
If you are not into birds and sports photography, then why do you want a 300mm prime? Why not go for the 70-300mm cheap but good value-for-money zooms? They are meter properly, autofocus and are lightweight too..
Why would one want to buy a moped when you get a Ferrari for the same price? They are lightweight because they will break within a few years. I promise you that my S-M-C Takumar 300mm f/4 from 1971 will outlive your plastic zoom. In 50 years someone else will most likely use it, because I will be dead and buried. Yours will be a soda bottle in Denmark.

With the Pentax you get Focus trapping and metering that works perfectly well, sure it take some time to get used to it (I myself don't ever use it, i shoot all manual), but you can compensate for it and you can take test pictures. Not that hard really.

QuoteQuote:
I'm not dismissing the usefulness and quality of the old lenses. Infact they are very good, but only if you have specific use in mind
Excuse me? I used AF lenses for a month after I bought a DSLR. Since then they have been collecting dust in a cabinet. I shoot landscape, street, portraits, sports and everything else with manual lenses. I never know what I will be shooting, I always carry my camera and it always have a M42 mounted and I do fine.

QuoteQuote:
and patience to deal with them..
Why would you need more patience with MF lenses then AF lenses? Thats just some silly idea that people have conformed after equipment hysteria arrived. AF is nothing more then an aid for those that have trouble twisting their arm or very bad eyesight. Nothing else.

I can only see such statements as excuses to justify the massive amount of cash people throw out on new lenses.

07-08-2008, 12:32 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by TKH Quote
So there is a new woman in the neigberhood and I like to take pics when she is sitting with her bikini in the garden.

No. Just joking.
I try to go to the zoo and take pics from the animals there. A few of my friends in our Photo-club do with there expansive Nikon and Canon lenses and I like to see if there is a possibility to do that kind pics with old Pentax stuff.



I only have primes in my camera bag and like to stay that way.

Best,
Rainer
Unfortunately you'll be paying a pretty big price premium for a 300mm prime, especially since it sounds like it's mostly an "experiment" for you.

The Tamron 70-300 is an extremely inexpensive lens ($130-150 USD, not sure how competitive they are in Germany) if you want 300mm but don't necessarily need a fast lens. Pretty much any other option is going to be a new lens 8-10 times the price (DA* 300 is the only 300mm prime available new that I know of), or a used lens if you can even find it. Finding used 300mm glass for Pentax is getting quite difficult, most of the ones in good condition have already been snatched up.
07-08-2008, 12:34 PM   #10
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Here is another interesting one, though almost as much money as the FA* models currently on the bay...


Pentax-M* SMC 300/4 ........ MINT - eBay (item 270219653361 end time Jul-11-08 17:25:20 PDT)
07-08-2008, 12:40 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Here is another interesting one, though almost as much money as the FA* models currently on the bay...


Pentax-M* SMC 300/4 ........ MINT - eBay (item 270219653361 end time Jul-11-08 17:25:20 PDT)
This seller has ridiculous prices for many items he sells (I scrutinize his inventory from time to time). I would never buy the M* for that amount, given, that you can have the A* for 30 % less. The M* might be rarer, being the only M lens with the "*" designation, but optically it is the same as the A* and it lacks the useful A-contacts.

Ben
07-08-2008, 12:44 PM   #12
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Of course, if you really want to impress your friends...


Tamron 200-500 MM Lens HUGE w/ Case - eBay (item 220253796084 end time Jul-12-08 09:00:05 PDT)

Over 16" (50 cm) of impressive length!
07-08-2008, 12:46 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ben_Edict Quote
This seller has ridiculous prices for many items he sells (I scrutinize his inventory from time to time). I would never buy the M* for that amount, given, that you can have the A* for 30 % less. The M* might be rarer, being the only M lens with the "*" designation, but optically it is the same as the A* and it lacks the useful A-contacts.

Ben
Yes, I have seen this seller's listings before as well. He is always WAY overpriced, but his stuff appears to be pristine. I think he caters to well-heeled collectors. The problem with the A* or even the K is finding one. It may be easier to find a fast 200 and a 1.7x TC.

Steve
07-08-2008, 12:54 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Zewrak Quote
Why would you need more patience with MF lenses then AF lenses? Thats just some silly idea that people have conformed after equipment hysteria arrived. AF is nothing more then an aid for those that have trouble twisting their arm or very bad eyesight. Nothing else.

I can only see such statements as excuses to justify the massive amount of cash people throw out on new lenses.
Sorry, I think you got carried away with your statement. First of all, there are a couple of lenses, namely Pentax FA lenses, which have far superior optical performance, than any of the old manual lenses (80-200/2.8 or 28-75/2.8 spring to my mind, but also the 300/4.5, 400/2.8, 600/4 etc. pp) This would be one reason to go for AF lenses. In the MF lens aera, especially long tele photo lenses were severely limited in their performance, because photographic lenses rarely sported ED/SD lens elements. There was the Ultra-Apo Takumar - but that was that. Only late MF lenses (the A* modells) benefitted from low dispersion glass.

Also, there are other good reasons for AF. For once it can be faster, as - again especially with long lenses – the simple mechanical act of focusing takes a lot of time. Old glass usually has helicoids for simply changing the lens-to-film- distance. These require a long travel, usually around 360 degs, a full turn (400/5.6, 500/4.5 etc.). Modern IF (internal focusing) lenses were already much faster to focus, even manually and AF topped that. I think, the discussion, wheter manual or auto focusing was faster, has been decided ten years ago with the modern Canon EOS modells (even pre-digital).

So, in my opinion, AF has its place or quite a few places in photography. It is not about an excuse to spend money. Your rant could be read quite to the contrary, somebody hiding his lack of funds or unwillingnes to invest in modern, at least partly superior equipment, behind this rant against modern AF lenses. I don't think, that this is your motivation, but really, your lines were too pointed. MF lenses might be your preferred choice, but this is an individual choice and not one on general account.

(By the way, I think, you targetted the wrong person, as Hrishi just posted a few nice owl images, taken with the old K 300/4.)

I personally use, whatever is adequate for the images I want to make. If I have time and don't need to deliver within a deadline I even go out with one of my 4x5 cameras. This is slow! At other times, to meet a tight deadline, I fire away with AF lenses and full-speed (as far as possible with Pentax...) And I even use some of my AF lenses manually if it is of advantage...

regards
Ben
07-08-2008, 01:06 PM   #15
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Hi Ben,
sent you a PM.

Best,
Rainer
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