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04-26-2019, 05:43 PM   #1
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Best or most-interesting old manual Pentax lenses to use on a crop body?

The subject line says it all. I'm resisting the urge to buy a K-1 to go with my KP(s), and am curious whether any of the old Taks or Ms or As are especially good on a modern crop Pentax body. Of the few I have, I like the Tak 135/2.5 the best, followed by the 645 A* 300/4.

Could also entertain recommendations for other higher-end manual lenses. Leica R, anyone? Zeiss?

04-26-2019, 05:58 PM - 4 Likes   #2
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I really dislike these threads...

(starts a new list of lenses to track down)
04-26-2019, 06:12 PM - 3 Likes   #3
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Short answer: all of them.

But they'll be even more fun on a K-1
04-26-2019, 06:17 PM   #4
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The SMC Pentax 28/3.5 shift (SMC Pentax 28mm F3.5 Shift Reviews - K Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database) definitely belongs on your list of "most-interesting old manual lenses." The 28 mm focal length is equivalent to 42 mm on APS-C which is useful as a widish-normal lens. The shift then lets you have a lot of fun for: either correcting or exaggerating the effects of perspective in architecture, landscape, or people; making quicky two-tile panorama images; and other mucking about.

The workflow for using this lens takes a bit of practice but goes quickly with experience.

04-26-2019, 06:33 PM - 2 Likes   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by bkpix Quote
Could also entertain recommendations for other higher-end manual lenses. Leica R, anyone? Zeiss?
You lost me at "higher end". I have built my lens collection solely out of glass that punches well above their cost base. Now, if you want to spend a lot of money, I can point you toward any of the Cosina-made Voigtlander or Zeiss lenses in K-mount. Of particular interest might be the highly regarded and much sought-after Voigtander SL 125mm f/2.5 Macro APO-Lanthar.


Steve

(...thinking that the last APO-Lanthar 125/2.5 I heard of in Pentax K sold for about the same as a new K-1...)

Last edited by stevebrot; 04-26-2019 at 06:41 PM.
04-26-2019, 08:16 PM - 7 Likes   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by bkpix Quote
The subject line says it all. I'm resisting the urge to buy a K-1 to go with my KP(s), and am curious whether any of the old Taks or Ms or As are especially good on a modern crop Pentax body. Of the few I have, I like the Tak 135/2.5 the best, followed by the 645 A* 300/4.

Could also entertain recommendations for other higher-end manual lenses. Leica R, anyone? Zeiss?
If you're into long telephoto, the SMC Pentax A-400mm F5.6 lens is wonderful on a crop body.







I guess the thing is, people will interpret "especially good" in various ways. To me, an "especially good" pre-AF lens will provide something that is unavailable or expensive with modern glass. To use the A-400 as an example, it provides me with a longer focal length and greater sharpness than the 55-300, and when I purchased mine it was 1/10th the cost of the DFA 150-450.

Another lens that comes to mind is the Takumar 200 F3.5. It's sharp, handles beautifully (albeit a bit weighty), I like the colorful but slightly muted color rendition, and the bokeh (helped by 18 aperture blades) is smooooth, even when stopped down a bit. The Tak provides an experience and aesthetic that is not duplicated by another lens in the Pentax lineup.





04-26-2019, 08:55 PM - 1 Like   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by photoptimist Quote
The SMC Pentax 28/3.5 shift (SMC Pentax 28mm F3.5 Shift Reviews - K Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database) definitely belongs on your list of "most-interesting old manual lenses."
Photoptimist: Hmmmm. Hadn't thought of a shift lens, but that could be a lot of fun.

QuoteOriginally posted by luftfluss Quote
If you're into long telephoto, the SMC Pentax A-400mm F5.6 lens is wonderful on a crop body.
Luftfluss: Those photos pretty much sell the A-400. I may end up spending more money on this thread than I expected

Thanks!
04-26-2019, 09:36 PM - 4 Likes   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by bkpix Quote
I'm resisting the urge to buy a K-1...
Give up. Resistance is futile. You will love it. They are all better with K1.

I would recommend to look into Takumar 200/3.5. Great lens, pretty cheap and superb bokeh with it's 18 blades. Just recently bought one for myself and haven't yet have much time to play with it.

These are with K1ii:






And one with K30:


04-27-2019, 12:39 AM - 1 Like   #9
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The answer to this question covers a lot of ground. I can only share what I know, but I do have a few classic lenses. Most of them were bought when film was still the only game in town. Unfortunately I don't have a K1, but here goes.

M 20mm f/4: should be wonderful on full frame. It certain was on film. Getting the composition right can be tricky with ultra wides such as this but that is how it goes.

M 28mm f/2.8: very nice. Some say that the f/3.5 is sharper but I don't have one.

M 50mm f/1.4, f/1.7 and f2.0: they are all the same and all different. Get them all and have fun.

A 50mm f/2.8 macro: just wonderful. Goes up to half life size magnification for close up work and very sharp for other work.

M 100mm f/2.8: compact and very useful. It got a lot of use in my film days but these days it is overshadowed by my Rokinon 85mm f/1.4 (try that one as well).

M 200mm f/4: compact and very useful. Probably the one I used most in the film era. Still cuts it in the modern era.

K 200mm f/2.5: big and heavy, tricky to focus. Get it right and it will deliver.

A 400mm f/5.6: just wonderful. I love mine. Modern equivalents are said to be better but the results I get from mine are just fine. I see any reason to get something newer as one doesn't use a lens like this on a daily basis.

If you come across a Ricoh XR lens from yesteryear, grab it. I have a 50mm f/2 that I picked up for cheap. The 50mm f/2.2 is notorious famous for being very bad. I am looking out for one.
04-27-2019, 04:44 AM - 1 Like   #10
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If you could entertain "higher end" manual focus lenses then what about the Tamron Adaptall 2 SP lenses? These can be found cheap, but punch above their weight in terms of optical performance, as well as the pure joy of their ergonomics. With the PKA adapter these will work perfectly with your camera.

Two special zooms that I have are from that range are the 35-80mm and the 60-300mm, and I loved both of them on my K70 (until the 35-80 went foggy and oily last summer). I still use the 60-300mm at full extension, I think it is as sharp as the new Pentax 55-300mm PLM. The 90mm macro is pretty special too, and really sharp at close focus.
04-27-2019, 05:36 AM   #11
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as mentioned above, the Tamron SP line of Adaptall lenses were special...

I have a couple of them and they amaze every time I use them...

I have the 52B and the 72B versions of the 90/2.8 macro lenses and both are stunners...

I also have two versions of the Adaptall-2 24/2.5 lenses (neither are SP) and both punch well above their weight...

for Adaptall lenses, I always suggest buying an adapter for each lens - less fiddling with changing the adapter out each time, plus the 'KA' adapters with the additional contacts are known to be touchy (occasionally) and do best if they are not mounted/removed alot....

I've read where the additional adapter for each lens can be a bit pricey (it can) but I just buy the lenses I want, sell the ones I don't, and figure the cost of the adapter into the cost of the lens itself...
04-27-2019, 05:58 AM - 1 Like   #12
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The OP specified Pentax lenses.

I have used the K135/2.5 and A50/1.2 quite a bit on crop. Both are excellent, but I'm sure other options are legion.

I still maintain that all of them will be better on the K-1....
04-27-2019, 06:01 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sandy Hancock Quote
The OP specified Pentax lenses.

I have used the K135/2.5 and A50/1.2 quite a bit on crop. Both are excellent, but I'm sure other options are legion.

I still maintain that all of them will be better on the K-1....


ah- he did, didn't he....

I was led astray, really I was...
04-27-2019, 06:14 AM   #14
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The high resolution of the current 24 MP APSc sensor in the KP could well affect which classic manual lens will perform best, versus asking the same question for K-1. The SMC Takumar / K-mount 85/1.8’s stand out, and the K or A400/5.6 already mentioned are candidates. I have the Auto Takumar 85/1.8 (which is a different formula from the SMC and K85/1.8) and I also have the K version.

The Carl Zeiss Ultron 1,8 50mm in m42 mount is interesting. Concave front element.

Last edited by monochrome; 05-04-2019 at 03:44 PM.
04-27-2019, 06:16 AM - 1 Like   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sandy Hancock Quote
The OP specified Pentax lenses.

I have used the K135/2.5 and A50/1.2 quite a bit on crop. Both are excellent, but I'm sure other options are legion.

I still maintain that all of them will be better on the K-1....
He will also entertain recommendations for high-end alternatives. “Leica? Carl Zeiss anyone?”
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