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06-04-2018, 05:20 PM - 2 Likes   #1
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The lens that suprised you the most.

After reading the thread about the lens you never clicked with I thought of this.
We all buy lenses that we have wanted for a long time. Those specail lenses that we wait excitingly for with the highest expectations. Then there are the ones you purchased with the least expectations but surprised you the most. Every so often you buy that bargain lens or a lens on a whim that ends up becoming a favorite. For me that happened last year. Adorama had some refurbished Sigma 28 f1.8 Macro lenses for 169 US Dollars. I did not really need the lens. I have my DFA 28-105, another lens that just continues to impress me. But for the price I figured I could just sell it. Well that idea ended the first time I used it. The Sigma 28, the DA*55, and DFA 100 Macro are a common trio with the K-1.
So go ahead post that lens you had no expectations of but ended pleasantly surprised you the most. This could be quite interesting along side the other thread.

06-04-2018, 05:25 PM   #2
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The Tamron 28-105 I got for $30. I ended up selling it but I just bought another copy after looking back through the pictures I took with it.
06-04-2018, 05:42 PM - 2 Likes   #3
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10-17 fisheye. It was cheap ($100 ish) so I bought it to experiment and use for playful shots. Turns out I like a really wide angle for landscapes and love using it for that and the occasional macro. I use it a lot more than expected, probably my lens with the most keepers currently.
06-04-2018, 05:44 PM - 2 Likes   #4
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Two come to mind, one I use frequently and one I almost never use.

First the one I use:
KMZ Helios 44M 58/2
It was cheap Soviet junk at the time*, but I was lured by photos I had seen and the sub-$20 price I paid. Build and use is on the utilitarian side of things, but I still totally resonate with this tool.

And then the one that sits on the shelf:
Tamron 70-210/4-5.6 (158A)
I bought this one for $20 to get its like-new P/KA adapter. This lens has wretched build and is not the least bit pleasant to use. The sound and feel of the focus ring are like fingernails on a chalkboard. OTOH, it is admirably compact**, weighs nothing, has continuous focus to 1:4, and performs much better than expected at f/8 and narrower.

No, I have no photos to share despite my being rather surprised by its actual performance.


* That was about ten year ago, before the performance characteristics of the Helios 44 series and other Soviet lenses became well-know.
** 7.9cm min. length (12.3cm full extended) x 6.5cm diameter, with 52mm filter thread.

Last edited by stevebrot; 06-04-2018 at 05:50 PM.
06-04-2018, 05:44 PM - 1 Like   #5
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Sigma 17-70, it;s big and heavy as I knew it would be as I already had the 18-125 cousin. But the quality of the images, gobsmacking.
06-04-2018, 05:50 PM - 2 Likes   #6
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I can't say I didn't expect much of the Da* 50-135mm, but I did hesitate a lot before buying (for the size and weight compared to my other lenses)
But, oh my... It has been practically glued to my K-S2 since I got it, even if is slow as a snail to focus. My beautiful limiteds feel jealous..... What an amazing lens!
06-04-2018, 06:03 PM   #7
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Vivitar 135mm 2.8 Auto Telephoto Close Focusing. It was the "other" lens included in an auction for the 8 Element 50mm Takumar I won (love that Takumar, btw). I opened the box and was like, hhhmm, wonder what this Vivitar is. Had zero expectation for what I was about to experience when I put it on my camera. Almost didn't bother - I was after the 8 element Takumar - this was just a thing in the box I didn't even expect. Wow - what a nice lens!

06-04-2018, 06:14 PM   #8
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A second vote for the 58mm f2 helios, I got one thrown in for free with a zenit 10-15 years ago, over the years it's solidly stayed as my favorite full frame lens bar none. I don't use it as much now, but no way I'd sell it. Mine is soft and fuzzy wide open (kinda drunk woozy), and almost mechanically sharp by f8.
Then there's my 35mm 2.4 pentax, That basically lives on my Kp. small, light and sharp enough for my tastes even wide open - I think I paid $50.
And my panasonic 20mm f1.7 which I had thrown in for free when I brought an Olympus body a couple of years back - actually it's outlasted the body I brought.

In each case they aren't the best lenses out there, but they just work really well for how I do photography - All three work well with the aperture wide open.
06-04-2018, 07:11 PM - 1 Like   #9
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I'm more of a prime shooter, among my lenses are the K 30/2.8, M 50/1.7, Sigma 70/2.8 macro, M 100/2.8, Sigma 135/2.8, K 200/2.5 and A* 300/4. All very nice lenses. I found a M 35-70/2.8-3.5 zoom in pristine condition for a bargain price. After reading the reviews in the review section of the forum, I thought I'd give it a try. To my amazement, I've been more than pleasantly surprised. Actually, I've been blown away with its color rendering, sharpness and handling. Some may say the focal length is not too useful on an APS-C camera but I differ in that opinion, since it provides a field of view of 52-105mm, which I find very useful All in all, an excellent lens.

Last edited by onlineflyer; 06-05-2018 at 05:25 AM.
06-04-2018, 07:13 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by tonezime Quote
The Tamron 28-105 I got for $30. I ended up selling it but I just bought another copy after looking back through the pictures I took with it.
I also bought the Tamron AF (IF) 28-105mm 1:4-5.6, my first was for $40 on an auction, at the same time I ended up winning another labeled as Promaster. My daughter has the Promaster, I ended up selling the Tamron when I got my DA 18-135 (another better than expected lens).I also bought two more of this lens, and still have one. I highly recommend it.
06-04-2018, 07:22 PM   #11
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Rikenon 70-150/4 XR with internal zoom. Rare but often cheap, takes 52mm filters and built-in hood. As sharp as the DAx 55-300 copies that I've tried, and focuses faster
06-04-2018, 07:32 PM   #12
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My SMC Pentax-A 35-70mm F4. I don't even remember how/why/where I got it. Probably a throw-in with a flash or another lens on Ebay.

I use it all the time for my Ebay pictures, on both my K-3 and K-1. The focal range is just right for my compact "studio," and stopped down to f8 or so, it's nice and sharp.
06-04-2018, 08:28 PM   #13
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My Pentax DA 35mm f2.4 plastic fantastic.

Bought in Canary yellow at ~$120 Australian, bargain price, super sharp lens. Best around f4+

Became my walk around lens on my K200D before it migrated to my K70.

Might buy a second one for the K200D so my wife can use it.
06-04-2018, 09:06 PM   #14
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DA 50 1.8. Where my M 50 1.4 is kind of glowy, soft, and more effort to use when I would take it out on my K-5 II, the DA 50 just did everything right. Sharper wide open, more flare resistant, just a generally all around better "head and shoulders" portrait lens. Good AF performance never hurts either.
Honorable mentions; Kiron 28 f2, DA 15 SMC, Sigma 28 EX for all being excellent examples of good prime lenses. Each lets me feel artistic and not like some schmuck hoping something interesting happens in post.
06-04-2018, 09:12 PM - 2 Likes   #15
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For me it's probably fa 43... I thought why would anyone use such a silly focal length, but read the reviews, saw one for a good price and thought I'd give it a try. The rest is history. Now I know why anyone would use such a silly focal length...

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