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06-30-2009, 03:52 PM   #1
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What's a good cheap 135mm to look out for?

I have searched a bit and looked through the reviews, but I still can't seem to narrow down my search. I don't think I can afford any of the Pentax brand lenses, so an off brand is my best bet. I'd like to spend about $50 or less (give or take).

I am OK with it needing to be stopped down for good sharpness. For comparison, I have a Sears 50mm F1.7 Auto MC that is very sharp from about F2.8 and on, with decent contrast and appealing bokeh. I paid about $12 shipped from eBay. I don't expect to necessarily find one that cheap, but who knows?

I have two Sigma lenses - 24-70mm EX F2.8 Macro and 70-200mm EX HSM F2.8 Macro. But, as you probably know, they aren't the smallest lenses. I just want a cheap 135mm to toss around with the 50mm.

Any suggestions on what to look for?

06-30-2009, 03:58 PM   #2
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Pentax-M 135 F3.5. This is a very high quality compact prime. It is very sharp even wide open and very lightweight and compact.
06-30-2009, 04:32 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by pentaxman Quote
Pentax-M 135 F3.5. This is a very high quality compact prime. It is very sharp even wide open and very lightweight and compact.
Thanks for the suggestion. That one is actually in a reasonable price range.
06-30-2009, 04:55 PM   #4
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Vivitar 135/2.8 Available in both M42 and K-mount. Should be available for under $50 USD.

My review of and some images from an early M42 version:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/51785-new-arri...rst-three.html
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/56834-few-more...135-2-8-a.html
Steve

P.S. The lens looks huge in my product shot, but is really quite compact.


Last edited by stevebrot; 06-30-2009 at 05:04 PM.
06-30-2009, 05:33 PM   #5
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Another great 135mm lens - Rikenon XR 135/2.8 It is a K mount, so it fits and operates perfectly on all Pentax SLRs. It can sometimes be found very cheaply and is a top of the line lens both mechanically and optically.
06-30-2009, 05:54 PM   #6
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i picked up the 'a' version of this sears lens... from a fellow pentaxian... for about 25 bucks...
PentaxForums.com Third-Party Pentax Lens Review Database - 135mm f2.8 Auto Multicoated.. and
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/60263-sears-13...-question.html
for a few bucks... it's worth a shot... (lol)....
06-30-2009, 05:55 PM   #7
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I've got the 'Takumar' Bayonet 135 2.5, which is sometimes findable even cheaper, but due to less-sophisticated coatings, is probably a lot less consistent. Fun, though, and that's really why I grabbed one:entertainment value and potential quirkiness. They can come cheap (There are SMC versions that are more expensive, generally.)

Gives an interesting look in B&W and a few nice surprises in color if the lack of coatings doesn't trip it up. I wouldn't expect 'contrasty,' though.

I keep meaning to try it with a proper hood (the built-in one isn't very deep) ....and eventually do a review on it, but I've mostly been just toying with it occasionally.

There are also more third-party 135s out there than you could likely count, some better than others.

Some of the ones made for department store brands are actually pretty nice. (Quite often they'd be entirely different makers over rime) I'm looking on Ebay, and I'd suggest avoiding Focal (That's K-Mart's brand, I seem to recall those being Korean made when you wouldn't want to touch Korean lenses) Sears had some nice ones over the years (watch out for the Ricoh pin.)

With a cheaper one, you actually probably have as good a chance going by appearance as anything else. Ones made for screw mount are often nicely made.

Oh, and I used to have an old Soligor I liked, for my old Mirandas as a kid. Made a nice people lens, and I liked it. Not highly contrasty or really razor-edged, but made nice photos. Probably best stopped down. I don't know if it ever came in K mount.
06-30-2009, 06:26 PM   #8
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Steve,

Thanks for the reply and suggestion. I do recall coming across your examples... very nice indeed. I see a few of these on eBay, maybe I will see if I can grab one.

Joe



QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Vivitar 135/2.8 Available in both M42 and K-mount. Should be available for under $50 USD.

My review of and some images from an early M42 version:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/51785-new-arri...rst-three.html
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/56834-few-more...135-2-8-a.html
Steve

P.S. The lens looks huge in my product shot, but is really quite compact.


06-30-2009, 06:28 PM   #9
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Hey - you never know. I really like my Sears 50mm F1.7 and I used to own a Zuiko 50mm F2.0 Macro which is known to be one of the sharpest 50's wide open. Sears isn't that crisp wide open, but at 2.8, it's pretty close. Maybe the 135 is another low cost champ.


QuoteOriginally posted by dcmsox2004 Quote
i picked up the 'a' version of this sears lens... from a fellow pentaxian... for about 25 bucks...
PentaxForums.com Third-Party Pentax Lens Review Database - 135mm f2.8 Auto Multicoated.. and
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/60263-sears-13...-question.html
for a few bucks... it's worth a shot... (lol)....
06-30-2009, 06:31 PM   #10
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Thanks for taking the time to reply. You have given me some things to think about. I remember reading about the so-so coatings on some of the Takumars and I probably will try to stay away from them.

What's the Ricoh pin you mention?

QuoteOriginally posted by Ratmagiclady Quote
I've got the 'Takumar' Bayonet 135 2.5, which is sometimes findable even cheaper, but due to less-sophisticated coatings, is probably a lot less consistent. Fun, though, and that's really why I grabbed one:entertainment value and potential quirkiness. They can come cheap (There are SMC versions that are more expensive, generally.)

Gives an interesting look in B&W and a few nice surprises in color if the lack of coatings doesn't trip it up. I wouldn't expect 'contrasty,' though.

I keep meaning to try it with a proper hood (the built-in one isn't very deep) ....and eventually do a review on it, but I've mostly been just toying with it occasionally.

There are also more third-party 135s out there than you could likely count, some better than others.

Some of the ones made for department store brands are actually pretty nice. (Quite often they'd be entirely different makers over rime) I'm looking on Ebay, and I'd suggest avoiding Focal (That's K-Mart's brand, I seem to recall those being Korean made when you wouldn't want to touch Korean lenses) Sears had some nice ones over the years (watch out for the Ricoh pin.)

With a cheaper one, you actually probably have as good a chance going by appearance as anything else. Ones made for screw mount are often nicely made.

Oh, and I used to have an old Soligor I liked, for my old Mirandas as a kid. Made a nice people lens, and I liked it. Not highly contrasty or really razor-edged, but made nice photos. Probably best stopped down. I don't know if it ever came in K mount.
06-30-2009, 06:45 PM   #11
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Here is a link with photos of the Rikenon 135 F2.8.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/sold-items/46445-sale-sold-ricoh-rikenon-...ount-lens.html
06-30-2009, 06:54 PM   #12
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I have a "Made in Japan" Focal 135/2.8 and it's pretty good. Better than the Beck 135/2.8
06-30-2009, 07:03 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by dcmsox2004 Quote
i picked up the 'a' version of this sears lens... from a fellow pentaxian... for about 25 bucks...
PentaxForums.com Third-Party Pentax Lens Review Database - 135mm f2.8 Auto Multicoated.. and
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/60263-sears-13...-question.html
for a few bucks... it's worth a shot... (lol)....
Sears = Rikenon (in general)

Steve
06-30-2009, 07:12 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by joeyc Quote

What's the Ricoh pin you mention?
Rikenon-P/Sears P as well as third-party lenses labeled KR, PK/R, KA/R, etc. have a spring-loaded "pin" on the mount face that can jam into the AF drive gear of a Pentax AF body. In the worst case, the lens may have to be cut off the camera. Best case is that it causes no problems (certain designs only). These lenses can be distinguished by the presence of the pin and the "P" setting on the aperture ring.

XR Rikenon, Rikenon, and M42 screw mount Auto-Rikenon don't have this problem (all without the "P" setting on the aperture ring). Think "P" is "pin" is bad. There are illustrations on the Web (Google "Ricoh pin") that show the pin along with instructions on how to (hopefully) get remove your stuck lens.

Steve
06-30-2009, 07:36 PM   #15
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No reason to look for any lens other than a Pentax. As mentioned above, Pentax 135-m is commonly available on Ebay in excellent condition for about $50. I picked up one myself a few months ago in mint condition for $46 on Ebay.
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