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12-07-2008, 01:06 AM   #1
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Help with Lens Coding

Hi folks! Just started using Pentax recently and would like to start acquiring lenses but I'm not familiar with the coding of lenses.

ie: DA, FA, K mount and so on so forth. Was wondering if anyone could point me to a resource and help me out here.

Thanks so much.

12-07-2008, 01:10 AM   #2
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Here is a good site:

Summary of the K-Mount Evolution, Names, and Features
12-07-2008, 02:40 AM   #3
axl
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article above is nice but I believe it doesn't answer OP's question. So:
M42 - pre K bayonet lenses (such as the venerable Takumars, Super Takumars)
K - first generation of K mount lenses (basicaly taken off M42 screw and slapped K bayonet on the lenses) being manufactured sometimes between 75-84 +/- mostly though 75-80 (note that the "K" is not official part of the lens! f.e.: lens known as K400/5.6 is officialy SMC 400/5.6!)
M - 2nd generation of K mount, many were opticaly redesigned compared to Ks. As result they are smaller. I believe ED elements were introduced at this stage too. Lenses are still fully manual. years 79-84 +/-
A - A indicates A setting on apperture ring. So the lenses can be used in other than M mode (depends on the body). Opticaly I believe they are the same (most of them) as Ms. years 84-89 +/-
F - first generation of auto focus lenses (other functions as A), different looks too. (K,M,A are all metal and similarly looking). F series looks VERY 80ish. But contains some excellent glass nontheless! years 87-91 +/-
FA - development of Fs. Opticaly the same (I believe). Used more plastics. Some featured power zoom function. years 91-2004 (only few vere manufactured until 04)
FA-J - first generation of lenses without apperture ring! Control of the lens totaly depends on the camera. (f.e.: lenses can't be used with some old bodies which don't have apperture control function! they remain stopped down all the times) only 3 zooms in this group! years 03-reportedly still in production
DA - current lens generation designed for the "crippled K mount". They don't have apperture ring. Opticaly they are mostly new designs with only APS-C coverage! years 04- still in production.

except thes you'll commonly find two another things:
ltd - limited lenses. Top quality, all metal built. Regarded as some of the Pentax's finest. (there are 3 FA ltds, and 3 DA ltds)
* - going through most generations (certainly from M onwards). They are again some of the best lenses Pentax has made. they have exeptional optical qualities, perfect mechanical built, etc... current DA* have weather sealing too (I'm not sure about the older ones)

OK, this is as much as I know. Please if I made mistake anywhere, anybody feel free to correct me.
THX

BR

Peter

Last edited by axl; 12-25-2008 at 02:37 AM.
12-07-2008, 05:16 AM   #4
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Wow! Thank you so much guys, much appreciated. Now I won't be lost and will definitely be guided by these information in seeking lens lens set up.


Thank you Thank you

12-07-2008, 03:37 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by axl Quote
article above is nice but I believe it doesn't answer OP's question. So:
M42 - pre K bayonet lenses (such as the venerable Takumars, Super Takumars)
K - first generation of K mount lenses (basicaly taken off M42 screw and slapped K bayonet on the lenses) being manufactured sometimes between 75-84 +/- mostly though 75-80 (note that the "K" is not official part of the lens! f.e.: lens known as K400/5.6 is officialy SMC 400/5.6!)
Also, for the OP - note that *all* of the subsequent lenses (M, A, F, FA, DA, etc) count as "K-mount" lenses. So it's completely correct to refer to, for example, the DA 18-55 as a K-mount lens. There are basically two kinds of mounts: M42 and K. All the rest are just different flavors of K (including the "unflavored" K mount described above). All K flavors work without an adapter on Pentax DSLR's, but of cours,e ones with no AF won't have AF, ones with no auto exposure mechanism ("A" setting on aperture ring) won't work in auto exposure modes, etc.
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