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05-12-2009, 01:37 PM   #1
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SMC Pentax 1:2/28: the poor man's Distagon?

Some of you may know that Zeiss, for a very short time, worked in cooperation with Asahi Optical Co. from Japan. One of the products of this cooperation is the design of the Pentax K mount. But the companies also worked together in optical lens design. The cooperation did not last long; Zeiss quickly went to Yashica and the result (the Contax RTS with the excellent series of Zeiss lenses) is history.

Now, I'm also sure that some of you know of famous Zeiss lens designer Erhard Glatzel's 28mm f/2 Distagon (also nicknamed "Hollywood"). In the early stage of their cooperation, Asahi used the design of the Distagon in its SMC Pentax 1:2/28. The lens was a 1:1 copy of the Distagon. So, the SMC Pentax 1:2/28 IS technically speaking a Distagon, with its floating element.


Dr. Erhard Glatzel

Now, why did I mention the "Poor man's Distagon"? Well, because tonight I bought the SMC Pentax 1:2/28 with its original case for 190 euros. It's only missing its front lens cap and it has a small nick on the front ring (absolutely nothing serious) but the rest of the lens is easily Excellent++. It's a great price becausse usually this lens is not seen for years. It's very rare... And I'm delighted to have saved it for future generations.





Some results (partly shot on the way back home):

1.


2.


3.


4.


5.


6.


7.


And finally...

8.



Last edited by Asahiflex; 05-12-2009 at 02:12 PM.
05-12-2009, 01:45 PM   #2
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Beautiful! I have to get by with the 28/3.5 which is a great lens. But this seems in a league of it's own.
05-12-2009, 02:08 PM   #3
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The bokeh on that lens is awesome.
05-12-2009, 02:10 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by lunelson Quote
The bokeh on that lens is awesome.
Indeed; I'd love to compare it with the FA 31mm f/1.8 Limited (which I still do not own )!

05-12-2009, 02:13 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Asahiflex Quote
Indeed; I'd love to compare it with the FA 31mm f/1.8 Limited (which I still do not own )!
Congratulations on the amazing find! A few people here on the forums have run across them at very decent prices.

Someday I hope to as well!
05-12-2009, 03:10 PM   #6
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Congrats Peter for the lens,
like the red clamps with the mosquito, looks 3D-ish.

I have taken the lens scheme from Dimitrov's page and from Zeiss Archived Lenses and put them side by side

If you can't see the pic please click here,

I wonder what would be so different in the Zeiss to justify its price.
Best, Georg (the other)
05-12-2009, 03:15 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by georgweb Quote
Congrats Peter for the lens,
like the red clamps with the mosquito, looks 3D-ish.

I have taken the lens scheme from Dimitrov's page and from Zeiss Archived Lenses and put them side by side

If you can't see the pic please click here,

I wonder what would be so different in the Zeiss to justify its price.
Best, Georg (the other)
Thanks Georg. It must be said that I was very lucky; if I had to pay eBay prices for the Pentax then I would have chosen the SMC Pentax-FA 31mm f/1.8 Limited instead. Luckily, the SMC Pentax 1:2/28mm is relatively unknown so bargains can be had... If you manage to find one of course, this is the first one I have seen in my area in my 20 years of using Pentax.

If I'm not mistaken the last incarnation of the Distagon (the Zeiss 28mm f/2.8 Distagon ZK T*) can be bought new for 899 euros.
05-12-2009, 05:35 PM   #8
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The 15/3.5 was a Zeiss design, too, correct?

05-12-2009, 11:46 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by mabelsound Quote
The 15/3.5 was a Zeiss design, too, correct?
Yes; you can also find this lens as the Leitz Super-Elmar-R. The main difference though is that the Pentax has an aspherical element while the German lens does not.

By the way, someone I know from another forum also owns the Pentax Distagon, but also the later, much smaller and optically completely different, SMC Pentax-M series version. Here they are, next to each other:



05-13-2009, 06:26 AM   #10
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as you can see, zeiss lenses are not known for their compactness
05-13-2009, 06:39 PM   #11
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I'm one of the lucky few to have a copy of the great K28/2. I was pleasantly surprised when I looked at my first test shots to see how well this "golden oldie" performed, especially when stopped down a bit. I paid somewhat more for my copy than Peter did and it's not in as good condition as his is, unfortunately. :<(

Yes, It's long and heavy compared to more modern designs, but I won't be selling my copy soon...

Regards, Jim
05-13-2009, 08:54 PM   #12
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Very nice bokeh for such a wide lens!

According to takinami's test results. the later M28/2 is even sharper than the K28/2, which is already a very sharp lens itself.
http://www.takinami.com/yoshihiko/photo/lens_test/pentax_28-30.html
05-14-2009, 11:22 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by jamesk8752 Quote
I'm one of the lucky few to have a copy of the great K28/2. I was pleasantly surprised when I looked at my first test shots to see how well this "golden oldie" performed, especially when stopped down a bit. I paid somewhat more for my copy than Peter did and it's not in as good condition as his is, unfortunately. :<(

Yes, It's long and heavy compared to more modern designs, but I won't be selling my copy soon...

Regards, Jim
Thanks Jim! I really like the lens because it can deliver "3D" results (as in: separating the subject from the background). Users who have this lens (or the Distagon) know what I mean...

By the way, haven't you, in the past, received a SMC Pentax-M 28-50mm lens from a fellow Dutchman? If so, then that was my very copy which I sold to him and he exchanged it with you I believe. Kind of fun that one of my former lenses is now in the hands of Jim King himself
05-14-2009, 11:26 AM   #14
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Fantastic stuff! Maybe the Distagon is just the rich man's Pentax 1:2/28
05-14-2009, 11:26 AM   #15
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A few more SMC Pentax 1:2/28 shots. Nothing serious as I lack time because we will be moving in two weeks...





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