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01-31-2009, 04:05 PM   #1
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Cheap wide-angle for Program Plus

This is one of my favorite cameras and it has a SMC Pentax-A f/1.7 on it. I would really like a wide-angle lens but I'm not sure which ones will work and still retain auto-exposure. I don't care so much if program mode doesn't work, if aperture-priority shooting works as normal. I noticed the Pentax-M 28mm f/2.8 can be had on KEH for about fifty bucks...that is in my price range, but I don't know if works with auto mode on my camera.

01-31-2009, 04:42 PM   #2
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Yes, the M or K series lenses will allow aperture priority mode. You won't be able to use program or shutter priority mode. I am not sure, but I think you still get the aperture displayed in the viewfinder LCD, even with an M or K lens. That won't happen on a dSLR but the Program Plus has a mechanical connection with the lens's aperture ring.
01-31-2009, 09:14 PM   #3
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My Program Plus doesn't have Shutter-priority anyway. Very good news though, because the M series lenses are way cheaper than the A lenses, at least it seems to me. I don't mind too much if the aperture doesn't display in the viewfinder as long as it works in aperture priority mode. I just don't want to have to like, stop down the lens for metering or anything. I usually use aperture priority mode anyway.

So it makes sense like this: M series lenses have no "A" setting so they don't work with program modes, whereas A series lenses are later and do. So what's with K lenses? What's the deal with those, compared to M ones?
01-31-2009, 09:27 PM   #4
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For Manual M or A lens , you should set to M mode, This allow you to set any aperture you want. If you set at AV mode, it only shoot at wide open aperture. Also M mode give you more control too.

01-31-2009, 10:54 PM   #5
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So you are saying that M lenses DON'T work with aperture priority mode on my Program Plus?

I wouldn't mind manual mode as much if the Program Plus had a proper shutter dial instead of the buttons. In other words, if it was an LX.
01-31-2009, 11:04 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by BetterSense Quote
My Program Plus doesn't have Shutter-priority anyway. Very good news though, because the M series lenses are way cheaper than the A lenses, at least it seems to me. I don't mind too much if the aperture doesn't display in the viewfinder as long as it works in aperture priority mode. I just don't want to have to like, stop down the lens for metering or anything. I usually use aperture priority mode anyway.

So it makes sense like this: M series lenses have no "A" setting so they don't work with program modes, whereas A series lenses are later and do. So what's with K lenses? What's the deal with those, compared to M ones?
"K" lenses are the first-generation K-mount lenses. Most are the same optical design as late (SMC) screwmount lenses. Quality is excellent. They do tend to be larger than M lenses.

K and M lenses have the same basic K mount and will work the same on a Program Plus.

You will have manual and aperture priority metering, but not program or shutter priority. Apertures will not be displayed.


So far as 28mm lenses are concerned, I own both a K 28/3.5 (52mm filter size)and an M 28/2.8 (49mm filter size). The K lens is definitely the better of the two. It is sharper and has much better flare control. In my view it's a superb lens.

Against that the M is faster and in my experience noticeably easier to focus in poor light.

The K lens is much harder to find than the M. There's also an M 28/3.5 but I believe it's relatively rare. There is one at KEH at the moment, though- 56.00 in BGN condition. My guess is that it's the same design as the K 28/3.5 but in a smaller barrel, like the SMC 28/3.5.

The M 28/2.8 is OK but not up to Pentax wide-angle standards in general, although still superior to any off-brand 28/2.8s I have used. It's also very common and therefore inexpensive.

Cheers.
01-31-2009, 11:22 PM   #7
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Inexpensive is very good, since I am very poor. Thank you for further confirmation that the M lenses will work in aperture priority mode. It would be a bonus if the lens was physically small as well. Note that I wasn't looking for a 28mm lens in particular, just a wide-angle one, since all I have ever used are 50mm lenses. I'm not even sure how much the view changes with these shorter focal lengths. It's just that the 28/2.8 M lenses are very cheap on keh.
01-31-2009, 11:52 PM   #8
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While "A" lenses are more expensive than "M" in general, the 28 is actually one case where there is very little difference (the 50/1.7 is another). The "A" might be a little more, but both can be found easily for under $100.

02-01-2009, 12:55 AM   #9
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I agree with Marc that it should be possible to find an A 28mm f/2.8 for under $100 and it is an excellent lens.

28mm is a good choice for a wide angle lens to go with a 50mm. They are quite common and give you a very noticeably wider view than a 35mm lens. You may have already looked around there but wide angle primes show up on the market place here pretty regularly in the $40 to $100 range in good condition.
02-01-2009, 05:41 AM   #10
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My SMC-A (I bought it + Pgm Plus very cheap) 28/2.8 is an excellent lens. If I didn't have it already, I'd happily buy the SMC-M equivalent.

There are a couple of Vivitars you can get cheaper - 2.5 and 2.8... These in my experience don't resolve quite as well (jpeg's are smaller of the same scene) but can have more color density. And they focus much closer, and that's a good thing. Keh tends to sell these as generic 28mm's, and for good reason: many brands share the same physical lens, more or less. The 28 seems to be a focal length where you can get decent performance easy, but excellent performance is harder. I'd also note that many third party lenses are physically larger than the Pentax.

Non-A K mounts work great with the Pgm Plus - you don't even have to change the exposure mode, just mount the thing and select aperture. The camera takes it from there. (I.e. the "AUTO" setting is Av when an aperture is selected, and Program when the "A" setting is selected, or with lenses without aperture ring.) Really very elegant.
02-01-2009, 10:38 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by John Poirier Quote
The K lens is much harder to find than the M. There's also an M 28/3.5 but I believe it's relatively rare. There is one at KEH at the moment, though- 56.00 in BGN condition. My guess is that it's the same design as the K 28/3.5 but in a smaller barrel, like the SMC 28/3.5.
It makes sense, but the Pentax-M 28mm f3.5 is different than the K28/3.5*. Pentax adjusted its 28mm formula frequently. The Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 28/3.5 was not carried over to the K28/3.5 like many other designs were. There were three Pentax-M designs, the f2.8, f3.5 and a very late f2.8 using the Pentax-A design. The Pentax-A optics were also used in the Pentax-F, and the Pentax-FA is completely different.

The Pentax-M 28mm f3.5 is still a good performer, and much smaller than the K28/3.5. I had one that outperformed my K28/3.5 in testing, but I had a real dog of a K, the only one I have ever heard of. I still wonder what was wrong with it. I spent some time owning and comparing 28mm lenses and still can't get down to just one.

*The actual name on these lenses is "SMC Pentax" with no K, but they are commonly called K or Pentax-K lenses because the other series all have letters, and using a K makes it clear that you are referring to that particular series, not all series.
02-01-2009, 10:48 AM   #12
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(EDIT: Deleted comments duplicating Just1MoreDave's post)

The S-M-C Takumar 28/3.5 is good and not hard to find (not exactly the same optical design as the K28/3.5). It might make sense if you're already into m42-mount stuff (otherwise I'd go for the A28/2.8).

Last edited by troyz; 02-01-2009 at 10:54 AM.
02-01-2009, 01:08 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by BetterSense Quote
Inexpensive is very good, since I am very poor. Thank you for further confirmation that the M lenses will work in aperture priority mode. It would be a bonus if the lens was physically small as well. Note that I wasn't looking for a 28mm lens in particular, just a wide-angle one, since all I have ever used are 50mm lenses. I'm not even sure how much the view changes with these shorter focal lengths. It's just that the 28/2.8 M lenses are very cheap on keh.
I looked at some of your other posts and gathered that you shoot film and have it scanned into jpegs. Is that a correct assumption? Do you have a digital SLR body? Sorry for the questions, but they are leading to something!
02-01-2009, 05:51 PM   #14
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I only shoot film. I currently have a giant backlog of exposed 35mm because I am saving up for a photo scanner, since I can't find a lab that doesn't suck. I also have an enlarger now so I may start shooting black and white since I can develop and print that myself. I would need a tank and reels though. In the meantime I have only been using my pinhole cameras since I can also develop and print those at home. I don't have a digital SLR body.
02-01-2009, 06:27 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by BetterSense Quote
I only shoot film. I currently have a giant backlog of exposed 35mm because I am saving up for a photo scanner, since I can't find a lab that doesn't suck. I also have an enlarger now so I may start shooting black and white since I can develop and print that myself. I would need a tank and reels though. In the meantime I have only been using my pinhole cameras since I can also develop and print those at home. I don't have a digital SLR body.
The reason I asked is that a DSLR would free you from the tyranny and expense of processing labs that suck. I know, because I was frustrated for many years with commercial labs. I started to do my own processing and printing, but it is expensive and time consuming (however the results can be very satisfying). A DSLR is a wonderful release from the expense and frustration of film, and it allows you to shoot as many frames as you want with no additional expense. All in all, a great learning tool. Post processing images via computer is liberating, fun, and opens up many creative avenues.

Now, let me explain why I asked. I have a Pentax SMC-A 28mm f/2.8. Frankly, I agree with some of the above posts that it is not the best representative of Pentax lens quality. I have three zoom lenses that cover the 28mm focal length, and all outperform this lens when it comes to contrast and color saturation. Because of this, I am not going to put it in the marketplace for sale. It is in great shape, with close to perfect glass and only some slight paint wear on the aperture ring.

I would like to give you this lens, no strings attached. Maybe with the savings from not having to purchase a wide angle lens, and some additional funds, you could purchase a good used Pentax DSLR body. Your current 50mm f/1.7 would work great with one, as well.

If you want to accept my offer, just send me a PM with your name and shipping address, and I'll get it out to you immediately.
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