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02-15-2009, 07:52 AM   #1
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Pentax CAT lenses

I'm brand new both to this forum and to the idea of buying a digital Pentax.

While ruminating, I recalled that years ago, Pentax came out with some unusually short CAT lenses (300mm?; 250mm?). Look as I do, I can only find, including in your database, the 1,000 & 2,000mm. I don't put anything Irish in my coffee, so what gives?

Also note that I don't know the differences between various pre-modern prefixes (e.g. K, M, F, FA), so please add the pertinent details so I will comprehend fully.

Thank you.
Leonard Durrenberger

02-15-2009, 10:31 AM   #2
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I don't know about Pentax CAT lenses, but I can help with the lens designations:
  • Takumar (M42): Screw mount lenses from the 50s, 60s, and early 70s.
    • Takumar: Early versions, some with manual, pre-set, or semi-auto apertures
    • Super-Takumar: 60s vintage world-class optics
    • Super-Multi-Coated Takumar: Essentially super taks with the newly available coating
    • SMC Takumar: New lens barrel design with rubberized grips
  • SMC Pentax (aka Pentax-K): First generation K-mount, similar in most ways to the SMC Takumar lenses. Made to match the K-series cameras.
  • Pentax-M: Second generation K-mount. Compact lenses made to match the M-series cameras.
  • Pentax-A: Third generation K-mount with support for body aperture control. Have the "A" setting on the aperture ring.
  • Takumar Bayonet: Budget, non-SMC K-mount lenses. Not to be confused with "real" M42 Takumar lenses.
  • Pentax-F: First generation auto-focus
  • Pentax-FA: Second generation auto-focus
  • Pentax-DA: Designed for dSLRs with image circle appropriate for APS-C digital sensors. No aperture ring.
  • Pentax-D FA: Designed for use on both digital and film SLRs. Have aperture ring.

Special designations:
  • *: Professional grade lenses. The * designation may have somewhat different meaning depending on the lens and lens series.
  • Limited: Professional grade prime lenses with all-metal build. Supposedly produced in limited number. Many are an ultra-compact pancake design.

Steve

(Might have missed something...I think there were some UV light special editions...)

Last edited by stevebrot; 02-15-2009 at 10:47 AM.
02-15-2009, 10:52 AM   #3
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Pentax have made two catadioptric lenses ( mirror lenses ) that I know about, which are listed in a 1982 book on the Pentax ME Super.



But these are 1000 and 2000 mm. Just as your research so far has found.
02-15-2009, 11:35 AM   #4
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Pentax CAT lenses

QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
I don't know about Pentax CAT lenses, but I can help with the lens designations:

Steve
Thank you, Steve. I really need to understand all the ins and outs of Pentax digital because I have to choose whether to leave my current family. The rapid advance and the delightful features are super-attractive to me.

Need to know things like ability to use legacy lenses and which are of superb optical quality (by today's lens standards). Studied flashes yesterday. For example shutter priority automation (ability) is a desirable feature.

If you can think of something you can guess I would want to know but am still too ignorant to ask, please fill it in. Also anyone else out there. I'm being swamped by a whole new world and all its literature. I joined yesterday hoping to be led by the hand to desired information.

What is the quality, especially IQ of the Tamron 500/8 CATs (in Pentax mount, of course)? Are there any other CAT options, especially under 500mm, and what is the difficulty of obtaining them in Pentax mount?

Thank you all for your help. I copy/paste things like Steve's chart into a WP file and save it in my documents folder under useful sub-classifications.

Leonard Durrenberger

02-15-2009, 11:42 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lloydy Quote
Pentax have made two catadioptric lenses ( mirror lenses ) that I know about, which are listed in a 1982 book on the Pentax ME Super.

But these are 1000 and 2000 mm. Just as your research so far has found.
Yes, I did see them, but memory seems good on this point. I was a Nikon nut in College, but when Pentax started showing its stuff and making Nikon look a little silly, I began to take notice of it. MX and ME Super were greatly interesting to me. Also the superior and more expensive Gallium-Arsenide light meter material which nobody else tried to match at all. But my life took a turn and I had to make choices. Left photography till last year when I tried to get into the world of digital. What I'm trying to convey by all this verbage is that I was following Pentax quite closely during those years when I had to attend to other priorities in life. I definitely do recall the one or two short cats.

Ah, speaking of cats: Can anyone tell me about the Katz-eye finder screen used on a Pentax K-10/20? The version with the extra pizzazz (don't recall their nomenclature) is what is meant.

Leonard Durrenberger
02-15-2009, 12:40 PM   #6
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I bought a Pentax 300mm spotting scope about 20 years ago. It is a cat (catadioptric - mirror) lens. Although it came with a prism and eyepiece, when that is removed and a t-mount fitted it can be used as a camera lens. It is, like all cat lenses, really lightweight.
02-15-2009, 01:14 PM   #7
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Looking at a Pentax lens brochure from the mid '90's. Here are the three Reflex (CAT) lenses listed with photo and specifications:

SMCP Reflex 1000mm f/11 catalog #24960
SMCP Reflex 2000mm f/13.5 catalog #24980
SMCP Reflex Zoom 400mm f/8-600mm f/12 catalog #27940

The zoom shipped with hood, seven 40.5mm filters and case. The other two came with case only.

Anybody check Bojidar Dimitrov's Pentax K mount site?
02-15-2009, 01:40 PM   #8
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Here's the page for the 400-600mm Reflex Zoom:
K 400-600/8-12 Reflex

I haven't run across any other CAT lenses for Pentax aside from the 1000mm, 2000mm, and the Zoom.

02-15-2009, 02:38 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by MikeW Quote
I bought a Pentax 300mm spotting scope about 20 years ago. It is a cat (catadioptric - mirror) lens. Although it came with a prism and eyepiece, when that is removed and a t-mount fitted it can be used as a camera lens. It is, like all cat lenses, really lightweight.
Sure - both 300/5.6 and 500/8 versions -










;-)
02-15-2009, 02:53 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by lendur2 Quote
Thank you, Steve. I really need to understand all the ins and outs of Pentax digital because I have to choose whether to leave my current family. The rapid advance and the delightful features are super-attractive to me.

Need to know things like ability to use legacy lenses and which are of superb optical quality (by today's lens standards). Studied flashes yesterday. For example shutter priority automation (ability) is a desirable feature.
Glad you enjoyed the chart.

Easy use of legacy glass is one of the joys of Pentax photography. I spent a couple of hours yesterday with a Vivitar 135/2.8 screw-mount made in 1971. Great lens and great fun using the vintage tools.

A few cautions regarding legacy glass:
  • For M42 screw mount, the quality of k-mount adapter is critical. Any adapter with a wide flange should be avoided like the plague. They do not allow infinity focus. The Pentax brand adapter is the best and worth the extra couple of bucks. The Bower adapter from B&H is not bad, but is harder to fit/remove from the camera.
  • Metering on the K10D and K20D can be an issue. There is a general tendency to severe underexposure at wider apertures and the possibility of moderate overexposure at other apertures. The behavior is lens-specific and also varies with the intensity of the lighting. It is not something that you can just set a constant bias for. There are a lot of theories related to cause and also a few suggestions for cures, but those are beyond the scope of this thread. Fortunately we can make a couple of test shots, evaluate the histogram, and make any needed adjustments. Apparently this type of thing is an issue for Canon and Nikon users as well for stop-down metering.

Regarding the KatzEye screen. I own the KatzEye Plus version for the K10D with the Optibright treatment. I have also owned the same screen without the Optibright. Both are preferable to the stock Pentax screen, though I find that the Optibright version is easier to use with my slower lenses (e.g. 18-55/3.5-5.6 and Tamron 70-150/4). Some users have also had good luck with the product from http://focusingscreen.com/ and various eBay merchants.

Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 02-15-2009 at 03:05 PM.
02-15-2009, 03:04 PM   #11
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CAT & Katz-eye

Wonderful information; thanks, guys. I'll save even the photos. I wonder if the Leupold hunter's scope is a rebadged Pentax? Does Pentax still make the 300 & 500mm CATs?
02-15-2009, 03:20 PM   #12
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CAT telescopes

Those CATs (300mm & 500mm) must be a thing of the past. I couldn't find them at all in the Pentax sporting dept.
02-15-2009, 06:18 PM   #13
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Yup. Fred's 300mm is identical to mine. Nice shots of all the parts, by the way. It came in a nice case with a very usable, ball-head table top tripod (similar to the Leitz Tabletop Tripod).
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