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04-27-2018, 07:58 AM   #1
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Manual K-Mount Lens Suggestion Time - Travel Kit

This is a Friday thought exercise. I would appreciate input from folks here that want to make suggestions and discussion pluses and minuses of what gets thrown out.

Premise: Six to eight week trip traveling via motorcycle. Camping at least half the nights I'm gone. Space is at a premium. I don't plan on taking this out in the rain but drizzle happens. This trip is tentatively scheduled for June and July of 2019.

The camera body is a Ricoh XR7. This is an early-80's K-mount body that does not control lens aperture in-body; I need lenses with aperture rings. I'll bring a remote shutter cable as well as a table-top tripod. I am going to try to do some long exposure astro shots, landscapes, pictures with friends and who knows what.

My first thought was an ultra-wide wide and I bought a Tamron 17mm Adaptall from a fellow forum member. The XR7 I bought came with an Access 28-70mm f2.8 to 4.3 zoom. The 17 is nicein that it's so short, although with the hood it's crazy wide. The Access 28-70 IQ seems average at best. And then I started thinking about the M series pancakes, the 20mm f4 and the 40mm f2.8. Tiny! Not as versatile or as wide but tiny.

What would you suggest? Would anyone try to manually focus the Tamron 28-75 f2.8 that you can buy new today? It seems perfect outside of the short focus ring rotation. Maybe the Pentax A-series 28-80 f3.5? That lens seems excellent but kind of rare. Or the Pentax M 35-70mm f2.8-3.5, but I don't like how the wide end of the zoom range has the lens fully extended. I think the Tamron 17 is a pretty good solution for the wide end and am not as concerned there.

Hoping someone suggests something I haven't thought of yet.

04-27-2018, 09:01 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by pres589 Quote
What would you suggest?
For years, my basic kit for everything (including camping, travel, and backpacking) with the XR7 has been:
  • Pentax-M 50/1.7
  • Tamron 28/2.5 (02B)
  • Tamron 70-150/3.5 (20A)
Given that I now have the MC Zenitar 16/2.8 Fisheye and Tamron 24/2.5 (01BB), those may also make it into the bag.


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04-27-2018, 09:28 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by pres589 Quote
I would appreciate input from folks here that want to make suggestions and discussion pluses and minuses of what gets thrown out.
Space is at a premium.
What would you suggest?
Hoping someone suggests something I haven't thought of yet.
Scale down premium to upscaled space. Like renting an motorcycle trailer.
Moby1 C2 Teardrop Trailer

Would enhance the available space and comfort.
Enough space for AF lenses too
04-27-2018, 09:45 AM   #4
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My version of a small versatile high-quality kit for 35mm film would be a lot like Steve's. Same 50, an excellent lens and very compact, almost pancake-size. My 28 would be the Pentax-M 28/2.8, 1st generation. I think it's a much better lens than its reputation in the lens review section here, and it is also very compact. My tele-zoom would be the Pentax-M 75-150/4, reasonably compact for something that goes to 150, and very good quality stopped down a bit (and usable wide open).

Of course this doesn't get anywhere near as wide as the 17 you're considering, but I'm not a fan of ultrawides for general-purpose shooting.

04-27-2018, 10:48 AM   #5
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Yeah, the 17 or a 20 would just be for landscapes. Sort of like the core of my crop digital kit; a DA 15 for what it does well, and an 18-135 for everything else. Surprised at the tele-zoom mentioned, although part of that might be how much time I spent with crop cameras and what a 70-150 would be like there. Still, I rarely shoot past 70mm with my 18-135, and while it's still longer than 70 or 80 on full frame...

I did wonder about a 35mm f2.0 instead of a zoom but I wonder if that's just too restrictive. A two lens kit was kind of the goal here, or three small primes perhaps. 17mm + Kiron 28 f2.0 +, what, a 50 1.7ish? Helios 44k-4? I've wished for a 70ish prime like the DA 70 2.4 but from the film era and they seem to not exist.
04-27-2018, 01:38 PM   #6
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I have the 20mm f/4. It is a pretty good lens, but one needs to pay attention with this lens. It can be kinda crazy on a full frame camera. Landscapes pictures tend to have empty foregrounds and distant featureless backgrounds if you just snap away. With a bit of thought and planning, all is well.

The 40mm would be good companion, but a 50mm f/1.7 is not that much bigger. And it is a lot easier to find, cheaper and probably a bit sharper. Or just go all out and get the 50mm f/1.4 - it is wonderful, especially in low light. But is just a tad bigger and that might spoil things.

Likewise, the 28mm f/2.8 would be a good compromise. Not exactly huge, pretty sharp, easy to find and cheap. A 24mm, if you can get one for a good price, seems like a good compromise. I have never had one, so I can only guess.

So, my choice would be a 24 and a 50.
04-27-2018, 01:40 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by pres589 Quote
Or the Pentax M 35-70mm f2.8-3.5, but I don't like how the wide end of the zoom range has the lens fully extended.
What about the SMC Pentax-A 35-70mm F4? You lose a bit of light-gathering, but covers the same range. I have one, and like it a lot (I use it for many of my Ebay photos, on both a K-1 and a K-3). Check the lens review database.
04-27-2018, 02:33 PM   #8
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AstroDave: Looking just at lens length, between the M 35-70 f2.8~3.2 and the A 35-70 f4, the lens database makes me think the M is actually smaller in that dimension. And it's faster and it seems to review very well. It seems like the big advantage to the A version is the now-normal method for zooming? Anything else?

Wasp: It would be nice to try a 20 for a while on film. I guess that a 24mm on full frame would be more like my 15 on crop, so, there may be merit to your suggestion. I wondered if I should have snagged that inexpensive A 24mm f2.8 that was for sale here about a month ago (do to a missing A pin, which wouldn't bother me in the least). There were a couple 3rd party 24mm f2.0 lenses that might be worth looking into although they aren't usually inexpensive.

I do already have an M 50 1.4 which I wouldn't mind using for this. The reduced size of an f1.7 to f2.0 50 might be nice and some seem very well regarded. The M 50 1.4 isn't maybe the hottest on the IQ front.

04-27-2018, 02:35 PM   #9
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I just shot a roll on my MX with the SMC-A 24-50. It isnít the ergonomic delight of the 24-35 (and itís bigger), but itís a range I enjoy.

There are also some choices in super wide zooms that didnít exist when that camera was new... I have a Tokina 20-35 that is fun, and there were a bunch of cheap 19-35s about 20 years ago if wide is your thing.

-Eric
04-27-2018, 03:06 PM   #10
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In this situation I would definitely have my A 24-50. It’s spent a lot of time on my LX and is a great lens. I would then add something from the 70-135 range, the 77 and M 135 3.5 are both quite compact.
04-27-2018, 04:04 PM   #11
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If you want to do astro shots it's hard not to recommend the Rokinon 24/1.4; it's not small but it's so much better than anything else I know of for astroscapes. Backpacking, recently I've been taking that, the 40mmXS (it vignettes on FF but not bad enough to not bring it because it's sooo small) and the 100mm DFA. I usually keep the 100 on it while walking in case I spot bugs/birds/insects where macro and reach help and swap out to others as needed when time permits.

Now, you need an aperture ring so that knocks out the 40mm and the 100mm I have but you mention there's a tiny 40mm 2.8 M series so there's one replacement if you were going with my 3-prime style. The 100, well I think that depends on your preference. I'd want one other lens longer than 40; I like having a macro, so that means something in that range, but if you don't care about bugs then maybe something closer to 70-85 would be more appropriate for people.
04-27-2018, 04:52 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by angerdan Quote
Scale down premium to upscaled space. Like renting an motorcycle trailer.
Moby1 C2 Teardrop Trailer

Would enhance the available space and comfort.
Enough space for AF lenses too
That is so cool!
04-27-2018, 06:34 PM   #13
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I have just returned from a ‘carry on’ only adventure of Asia for a month (7kg limit). I took my k-1 and four lenses after heaps of thought ( not much room for anything else)

I took the following:

FA20/2.8
FA31/1.8
FA43/1.9
FA77/1.8

What I learned from this surprised me. I expected to use the 20mm lots for landscapes and I didn’t. I used it about 10% of the time and only because it was there. The 31 and 43mm lenses got a workout and the 77mm was definitely nice to have. I never felt the need for anything else.

So, my recommendation would be similar to the above but perhaps dropping the 20mm if you are really pushed. If the FAs are not in your grasp then I suggest the following

K24mm f2.8
K30mm f2.8
M40mm f2.8
M85mm f2

The above will probably cost you the equivalent of the FA77 but are very nice lenses and are very compact.

For a little more Tele length perhaps include the M135mm 3.5

Have fun selecting.
04-27-2018, 07:23 PM   #14
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QuoteQuote:
K24mm f2.8
K30mm f2.8
M40mm f2
M85mm F2
Nice kit! From my drawer I would take:

M28/3.5 (sub K30/2.8, sharper, faster lens but hard to find)
M50/1.7 (sub FA43/1.9 - joy in manual, but pricey)
M100/2.8 (easier to find and <$ than M85/2)

Take hoods. The M hoods are common and small.

This kit including your camera will fit in a Domke F5xB with your mini tripod lengthwise under the flap.

Last edited by monochrome; 04-27-2018 at 07:30 PM.
04-27-2018, 09:10 PM   #15
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I suggest the FA43 instead of the 50/1.7, if that's in your budget.
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