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02-01-2019, 03:07 PM   #1
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Kiron 28mm F2 MC or SMC K Pentax 28mm F3.5 ?


I use a Pentax K-5 with an Smc 18-35 and I want now a better lens but for not a lot of money. That is why I want an old manual lens. Manuel is not important for me.

I read everywhere that the Smc pentax-k 28mm f3.5 is a very very good lens but it is a little much money for me. So I founded information's on the Kiron 28mm f2 and I have the temptation to buy it also because it is a f2, more sharp I imagine ?

If the Smc is very much better than the Kiron, I will do an effort to buy the Smc, but if the Kiron is not so far of the Smc, for the pric I will preffer the Kiron.

Please can you give me an advice about this question for help ?

Thank you very much in advance !

02-01-2019, 03:25 PM - 3 Likes   #2
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I’ve had 15 different 28mm lenses. The SMC K 28/3.5 is the only one I’ll never sell. Although slower, I rank it just below the FA 31 Limited!
02-01-2019, 03:33 PM   #3
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Dont have the k 28mm smc but have both the SMC 28MM 3.5 TAKUMAR Which is similar to the Kmount version if not the same . Great pictures arise from it. Also have the Vivitar Kiron 28mm f-2 is is a fantastic Lens. You wont go wrong either way.
02-01-2019, 03:34 PM   #4
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You probably wonít get better sharpness with the Kiron. Certainly not as a result of the wider aperture. That just means itís faster...

You may appreciate the extra light and depth of field control, however.

The Pentax 28 f3.5 has something of a cult following here. I have an A28 f2.8 that Iím generally happy with, too.

My experience with third-party 28mm lenses has been less positive. I still have one in M42 because it has weird bokeh, but Iíve had better luck with Pentax.


02-01-2019, 03:39 PM - 1 Like   #5

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The only reason that faster lenses are sometimes sharper than slower ones is most budget lenses have pretty slow apertures. But that does not apply the K 28/3.5. When that lens was released in 1976, there were no faster 28mm lenses in Pentax's lineup (that would come a year later with the K 28/2 and the inferior M 28/2.8). The K 28/3.5 was designed specifically to have very good edge to edge sharpness for a wide angle lens of that time (although that's more an issue on FF).

I know very little about the Kiron. I'm sure it's a nice lens, but I doubt it would be as good as the Pentax.

A cheaper option (and also easier to find) would be the M 28/3.5. It's (reputedly) nearly as sharp as the K 28/3.5, with very nice contrast and color. While the M 28 lens can't quite match the K 28 in terms of overall image quality (rendering, color, contrast), it's reasonably close.
02-01-2019, 03:40 PM - 1 Like   #6
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I would rate both the pentax 28mm f3.5's, and the kiron/vivitar 28mm f2's, as good 28's. In general I would say that 28mm, as a wide angle, f2 vs f3.5 isn't so important, particularly for landscape you're going to be stopping down anyway. However on apsc the FOV is not so wide angle, quite close to normal, so having f2 could be more significant, especially for manual focus by eye (more than 3x as much light in the viewfinder at f2 vs f3.5). Personally I use magnified live view a lot to confirm focus for eg landscape.

The pentaxes will be more consistent lenses, much sharper wide open at f3.5 than the kiron wide open at f2. The kiron however is pretty competitive with the pentaxes stopped down I can suggest. The "K" 28mm f3.5 is relatively overpriced, it has acquired a particular cachet and when it comes up for auction it regularly bids over £100 (here in UK). The "M" 28mm f3.5 is much better value (£30-50 typically) and really most of the time there is little difference in results.
The kiron can also be found as a vivitar (28mm f2's with 22xxxx serials). BUT, whether vivitar or kiron watch out for ones with gummed up iris's - a common problem. There are also komine made vivitar 28mm f2's (28xxxx serials) these can be equally recommended actually, a vivitar 28mm f1.9 (tokina - 37xxx serials, sample pics here), and there is also a petri 28mm f2 that looks like a good lens that's made by cosina.

See the reviews for more info on all of these.

Last edited by marcusBMG; 02-01-2019 at 04:18 PM.
02-01-2019, 04:24 PM   #7
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I have no experience with the SMC Pentax 28mm F3.5

SMC Pentax 28mm F3.5 Reviews - K Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

I own a Kino Precision Japan Kiron 28mm F2.0 MC in the rare PK/A mount and like it a lot.

more info if you follow the link " For contemporary magazine reviews of this lens see here. " in the review

sample photos can be found in the User Reviews

Last edited by aslyfox; 02-01-2019 at 05:16 PM.
02-01-2019, 05:02 PM   #8
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Pentax-M 28mm f/2.8 (first version, with silver decorative ring) is excellent stopped down to f/11. The second version (without silver ring) is excellent at f/8.

02-01-2019, 05:11 PM   #9
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S-m-c supermulti Coated 28mm 3.5

Sample shot save your money and get one of these
Attached Images
View Picture EXIF
PENTAX K-50  Photo 

Last edited by niceshot; 02-01-2019 at 05:13 PM. Reason: MIS SPEELED
02-01-2019, 05:14 PM   #10
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in addition to photos found in the user reviews of the Pentax and Kiron,

it might be worth the time to review this thread for photos using various 28mm lenses:

DSLR fun with 28mm: Club for any 28mm lens -

it might take a while, currently over 50 pages
02-01-2019, 05:27 PM   #11

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Controversially I'm going to say that the best Pentax 28mm lenses in order of merit are:


There really isn't much separating the last three on that list - not much at all. If you can get the F28/2.8 for a really good price I would go for it (AF, size) otherwise go for the K (it is bigger heavier, not AF and not electrical contacts). The M28/2 is better than the Kiron.
02-01-2019, 06:09 PM   #12
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Here’s an old thread from @rparmar Robin Parmar (who hasn’t been here since 2016) that links to a massive database of 28mm Vivitar manual lenses and a thread that discussed whether one of the 28’s could be a poor man’s 31/1.8 Limited (and briefly whether the FA35/2 could be, which is timely!).

The Great Vivitar 28mm Bestiary -

If you’re not doing anything else this weekend spend an afternoon reading some PF ancient history

Frankly though, buying on of the Vivita2 28/2’s with clean aperture blades while keeping an eye open for a bargain K28/3.5 is your best bet. You should be able to sell the Vivitar for what you paid.

Last edited by monochrome; 02-01-2019 at 06:15 PM.
02-01-2019, 06:11 PM - 1 Like   #13
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This web page has good comparitive data on many Pentax lenses : Measured Resolution Numbers | The K-Mount Page
As stated on that page : Do not compare results from different testers!
I refer to the extensive tests by Yoshihiko Takinami and not those by Frederick Wasti.
In examining the resolution number and basing a ranking on their center to edge sharpness drop off and central sharpness, some observations can be made. The sole macro lens tested by Yoshihiko Takinami (FA 50 2.8) is way ahead of the rest of the field.
As far as variation from the center to the edge sharpness goes, good wide angle lenses for landscape photography would have high central sharpness with minimal drop off to their edges. With that in mind, my top five list for landscape photography, based on a spreadsheet analysis is:

1. FA 35 f2
2. K 28 f3.5
3. K 35 f3.5
4. K 30 f2.8
5. K 28 f2

Of course none of the resolution data takes into accont chromatic aberrations (fringing), distortion (pin cushion / barrel), vignetting nor bokeh. In that list, the K 28 f2 is the most expensive (and the heaviest). It was based on a Distagon design. The K 28 f3.5 had a differing optical configuration of its predecessor in using 8 elements in 7 groups (M42 Takumar SMC 28 f3.5 used 7 elements with 6 groups) and its successor (Pentax M SMC 28 f3.5 used 6 elements in 6 groups). The K 28 f3.5 center to edge variation in sharpness is relatively small with good central sharpness. Perhaps that is why it is considered a "cult" like lens.

As far as the Kiron 28 f2, I took a look at the 30xxxx series data since one was available recently. The lens (and associated ones) can be seen on this page : Great Vivitar 28mm Bestiary: Details. In the end, it seems to be a good performer too.
02-01-2019, 06:48 PM   #14
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The SMC Pentax 1:3.5 28mm is indeed an excellent lens. In addition to excellent sharpness at all apertures and notably good field flatness, it is also a superlative lens when used reversed for macro. As Tony said, it's a keeper. That said, 28mm prime lenses tend to be good performers as a class, and if all you need is something to perform well when stopped down to f/8 or f/11, then it's hard to go wrong and you can save some money. Personally I really like the M-series 28/2.8 (first version), small and inexpensive and excellent when stopped down.
02-01-2019, 06:50 PM   #15

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QuoteOriginally posted by JVi Quote
This web page has good comparative data on many Pentax lenses : Measured Resolution Numbers | The K-Mount Page
Wow, and sorry to be confronting, but those numbers are very misleading. First, 'average resolution' - what does that mean? Average result across all apertures? So, the result for the K28 f2 shot wide open has no compare with the K28 f3.5 yet its results is added to the average calculation? Not well standardised if this is the case. Also, the K28 f2 is BEST at f16 (yes, f16). Its optical design is all about close focusing and massive depth of field.

Be careful with these numbers is all I can say.

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