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02-27-2009, 02:32 PM   #1
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Manual Focus "Kit"?

As of about 9pm tonight I will be inheriting my Mom's superPROGRAM and I haven't shot MF in, well, a very long time. There's a Kalimar (I think) zoom of some sort with the camera, and an AF200 flash, but that's it as far as I know. I have an M50/2 myself but that's my only other MF glass. So, I'm going to want to do a little bit of shopping around to build up a modest kit.

I'm going to be shooting B&W with this camera (TMax and HP5), maybe some slides if I get really crazed, and mostly doing landscapes and urban/architecture. It's going to be the tool that won't let me get in a rush to opening the shutter.

More to that end, rather than having a couple zooms to cover my range for this camera I want to go with primes this time around and cover 28mm to 135mm. Thing is there's "23 million" to choose from and my kung-fu is very weak in the manual focus department. My gut feeling on lenses to start with would be a 28, 50 (got one), 70/77 and a 135. No macros, fisheyes or telescopes - just the basics.

I don't want to break the bank, nor do I want poor optics so I'm aiming for lenses in the "upper-middle class". "A" lenses would be convenient but I don't want to limit selection to just those.

I'm also not in a rush to get everything; it'll likely be a couple weeks before I start shopping and I may need to send the body off to Eric for a CLA as it has been sitting in a closet untouched for probably 20 years. I'm content to be very patient and watch the marketplace and fleabay for the right lens. I will probably start looking at the wider end though as that's one area I am completely lacking in FF glass.

Thanks for reading this far and a big thank you in advance to those sharing suggestions on lens choice.

I'll post some shots of the camera and gear Monday after I get back in town and settled. Btw, anyone that wants to help move a piano on Sunday - there's a free steak in it for ya!

02-27-2009, 02:43 PM   #2
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I think your lens choices don't sound bad. I'd watch these forums closely as a lot of us digital people still use that old manual glass.

In terms of shopping, I've had decent luck with KEH (I know others haven't), but I've found them great for getting some old manual and A glass at a reasonable price and in a reasonable condition. I find their guarantee's reassuring, and they are a bit harsh on themselves when they describe their quality. I'm always a little fearful of Ebay when it comes to lenses. The marketplace seems to be good here, although I haven't tried it yet... mostly because the stuff for sale here tends to be more of what I dream of owning rather than what I can practically own.

As far as lenses go, I suggest mostly sticking with the Pentax branded stuff, although I've gotten some good Vivitar lenses. The reviews and threads, especially in this forum and the "Post Your Photos" forum (for examples) are excellent.
02-27-2009, 02:47 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Venturi Quote
... My gut feeling on lenses to start with would be a 28, 50 (got one), 70/77 and a 135. No macros, fisheyes or telescopes - just the basics...
Your gut feeling would result in a pretty good kit. You might want to round it out with a Pentax-M 200/4 or a Pentax-A 70-210/4. Remember that a 135mm tele is considered moderate in 35mm land.

Steve
02-27-2009, 03:08 PM   #4
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Thanks for the quick replies!

I figured the SMC-A's would be the likely suspects - being they were kinda made for this camera and all - but I have no clue what the 3rd party folks were making then and who was re-branding whom.

105mm and 200mm are both on my list, I'm just not sure if they should/need be on the short list.

Also, can you mount an AF lens to a MF body? Or is that going to cause really bad noises, damaged equipment and broken spirits? I'd honestly never thought about it before now whether the screw drive would get in the way or not.

Thanks again, keep 'em coming and the more specific the better. I gotta hit the road now, I'll touch base again Sunday/Monday.

02-27-2009, 03:09 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Venturi Quote
As of about 9pm tonight I will be inheriting my Mom's superPROGRAM and I haven't shot MF in, well, a very long time. There's a Kalimar (I think) zoom of some sort with the camera, and an AF200 flash, but that's it as far as I know. I have an M50/2 myself but that's my only other MF glass. So, I'm going to want to do a little bit of shopping around to build up a modest kit.

I'm going to be shooting B&W with this camera (TMax and HP5), maybe some slides if I get really crazed, and mostly doing landscapes and urban/architecture. It's going to be the tool that won't let me get in a rush to opening the shutter.

More to that end, rather than having a couple zooms to cover my range for this camera I want to go with primes this time around and cover 28mm to 135mm. Thing is there's "23 million" to choose from and my kung-fu is very weak in the manual focus department. My gut feeling on lenses to start with would be a 28, 50 (got one), 70/77 and a 135. No macros, fisheyes or telescopes - just the basics.

I don't want to break the bank, nor do I want poor optics so I'm aiming for lenses in the "upper-middle class". "A" lenses would be convenient but I don't want to limit selection to just those.

I'm also not in a rush to get everything; it'll likely be a couple weeks before I start shopping and I may need to send the body off to Eric for a CLA as it has been sitting in a closet untouched for probably 20 years. I'm content to be very patient and watch the marketplace and fleabay for the right lens. I will probably start looking at the wider end though as that's one area I am completely lacking in FF glass.

Thanks for reading this far and a big thank you in advance to those sharing suggestions on lens choice.

I'll post some shots of the camera and gear Monday after I get back in town and settled. Btw, anyone that wants to help move a piano on Sunday - there's a free steak in it for ya!

I amn in the process of making up a manual lens kit also, although I am a little more advanced than you as I started with Pentax.

I decided i would ultimately want this to be all fast glass, although I shoot digital mostly now, not film (but still have 3 film bodies)

Here's where I am at present.

24mm f2.5 tamron adaptall II
28 mm F2.5 vivitar (M42 mount)
35mm F2 SMC Takumar (M42)
50mm F1.4 SMC Pentax (K)
58mm F2 Helios (M42)
100mm F4 SMC-M macro (K)
105mm F2.8 SMC Pentax (K)
135mm F2.5 SMC Pentax (K)
300mm F4 SMC Pentax (K)
400mm F5.6 MC Vivitar (K)
Plus 70-210 F3.5 Vivitar Series 1 (K)

I tried to stay with K mounts, but they are hard to find. Still looking for 85mm F1.8/F1.9 and 100mm F2

Depending on what I find in K mounbt or M42 I just might be tempted to get a second *istD and make it a perminant M42 body
02-27-2009, 03:34 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Venturi Quote

...Also, can you mount an AF lens to a MF body? Or is that going to cause really bad noises, damaged equipment and broken spirits? I'd honestly never thought about it before now whether the screw drive would get in the way or not. ..
The short answer is yes. Any Pentax-FA lens will work on your Super Program. The trade-off is that the manual focus ring is not as nice as on the earlier lenses. There is also the matter of plastic build. (Though many of the Pentax-A lenses had a lot of plastic too.) Pentax-DA lenses will mount with some risk of vignette, I am not sure about how well the aperture will work.

Steve
02-27-2009, 04:11 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
The short answer is yes. Any Pentax-FA lens will work on your Super Program. The trade-off is that the manual focus ring is not as nice as on the earlier lenses. There is also the matter of plastic build. (Though many of the Pentax-A lenses had a lot of plastic too.) Pentax-DA lenses will mount with some risk of vignette, I am not sure about how well the aperture will work.

Steve
I have used mmy sigma 10-20 on my PZ-1 apature works fine.

For DA lenses as long as you stay in Av mode you are OK, bit without apature coupling metering cna be wrong.
02-27-2009, 04:29 PM   #8
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I think a nice cheap manual prime set would be:

M 28mm 3.5 (cheaper and sharper than the 2.8 version)
M 50mm 1.7 (very sharp and well built)
Don't really have suggestions from 50-105mm, I have the A 35-105 f3.5 which is really sharp and has great colours for a zoom, but it is quite heavy and my copy is quite messed up by the previous owner (there is a fingerprint IN the lens )
The k 105mm 2.8 is a nice long portrait lens
for a 135mm the K 135mm 2.5 (SMC version) is really great, but a lighter, more compact (built in hood) and cheaper option is the m135mm 3.5.
I also have the M 200/4, which looks like an elongated version of the 135, also a nice lens. On digital it is a little bit too long for my style of shooting though.

02-27-2009, 05:29 PM   #9
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The most widely available cheap but still decent primes to check out would be the "A" series 28/2.8, 50/1.7, and 135/2.8. The latter gets a bad rap, but samples I've seen still look pretty good. It you look into it and feel otherwise, the "K" ("Pentax SMC", no "M" or "A") 135's are considered much better, although they can be harder to find, and often more expensive. Actually, the M135/3.5 is a good compromise - considered better than the A135/2.8, very widely available, and very cheap (well under $100).

Filling the gap between 50 and 135 with cheap-but-good lenses is tougher. If you can find an A100/2.8, that gets my vote - I love my "M" version. But the A is more expensive and rare. The M85/2 would be worth checking out too - it's comparable in price but easier to find than the A100/2.8.

The A35/2 could be a nice lens to have too. But I see one listed at KEH and it's no cheaper than the FA35/2.
02-27-2009, 07:50 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lodewijk Quote
I think a nice cheap manual prime set would be:

M 28mm 3.5 (cheaper and sharper than the 2.8 version)
M 50mm 1.7 (very sharp and well built)
Don't really have suggestions from 50-105mm, I have the A 35-105 f3.5 which is really sharp and has great colours for a zoom, but it is quite heavy and my copy is quite messed up by the previous owner (there is a fingerprint IN the lens )
The k 105mm 2.8 is a nice long portrait lens
for a 135mm the K 135mm 2.5 (SMC version) is really great, but a lighter, more compact (built in hood) and cheaper option is the m135mm 3.5.
I also have the M 200/4, which looks like an elongated version of the 135, also a nice lens. On digital it is a little bit too long for my style of shooting though.
I find the 105 a little softer than expected wide open, what do you think. stopped down, it is quite sharp
02-27-2009, 11:15 PM   #11
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I frequently see Vivitar 28mm f2.8 lenses for sale with A settings. These vary somewhat in quality but in general are good and cheap. The Pentax-A 28mm f2.8 is more expensive and very good. I think the Pentax-A 50mm f1.7 is the best compromise between cost and performance. There's plenty of other 50mm options too. Others have mentioned my first 135mm choice, the Pentax-M 135mm f3.5. Sears had a good 135 too, sometimes available with an A setting.

Filling in the gaps is going to cost more than those lenses. A 35mm or 40mm lens might cost $100 or more. All 85mm lenses are in high demand and very expensive. I recommend a manual 90mm macro instead, a bit cheaper and more useful. The Pentax-M 100mm f2.8 is a nice non-macro prime at a reasonable price, or there are other macros at 100 or 105mm.

A budget of $500 might cover all the focal lengths I mentioned, if you feel that they are all necessary. Just looking at used kits available for purchase, lots of people got along with 28, 50 and 135, with or without a 70-200 zoom.
03-02-2009, 11:09 AM   #12
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I'm back!

Well I have returned from the land of heavy things. The piano, camera and miscellany arrived safe and sound Saturday evening but I fear my back will never be the same again.

The superPROGRAM is in amazingly good condition, basically it's "mint". The only thing missing is the front grip plate. I've got a roll of XP2 400 in it now to run through and make sure everything works as well as it looks.

Mom had the Kalimar 28-200mm/3.5-5.3 zoom and an AF280T flash, and as I was looking through the boxes I noticed one was heavier than I expected. Low and behold there was a bright, shiny, never used SMC-A 50mm f/2 sitting in its original box - very nice. There was also the never used "deluxe" leather camera case, all the original manuals and boxes and a few filters.

Even cooler was finding an October 1984 Accessory Catalog in pristine shape. Boy, there used to be a whole ton more new/current lenses to pick from, eh? I'll be scanning the catalog into PDF and uploading it soon - it's very drool worthy.

Anyway, very happy to have rescued this little gem from going to an estate sale and very much looking forward to returning to my roots so to speak with it. Here's a few obligatory photos...





03-02-2009, 11:21 AM   #13
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Many thanks to everyone that has commented and offered suggestions. I'll be mulling over everything and putting together a shopping list.

I've been all over Dimitrov's site many times but I have to admit I really didn't grasp just how many M & A lenses existed until I leafed through the Lens & Accessory catalog I found with the rest of the camera gear yesterday.
So much for my 2009 "budget".
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