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08-04-2009, 05:07 AM   #1
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Which K-series lenses equal * quality?

I am sorry if this has been discussed before, but I'd like to know which K-series lenses are considered equal in quality to the later * -lenses? I beleive the first *-designated lens came with the M-series. I'm hoping for contributions from the K-series vets who have the knowledge and have also used the later *-lenses from M- and A-series and later.

In a similar vein, which of the m42 -threaded lenses could/should be considered worthy of the *-designation?

I've spent a lot of time in the Pentax lens review section and that's why this question popped up. Also, I've just purchased a K 200mm f2.5 and was wondering whether it could be close to *-quality.

Best regards,
Riku

08-04-2009, 06:34 AM   #2
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I believe the 50 f1,2, 150 f3,5, 135 f2,5 would probably fit the bill, but it depends on each user's opinions. Reading the ens review database is probably your best bet to pinpoint the best K lenses, I think.
08-04-2009, 06:39 AM   #3
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Also do not forget the SMC Pentax 1:2/28. This is the very same lens as the 28mm f/2 Carl Zeiss Distagon designed by Erhard Glatzel! This lens and the 15mm f/3.5 are the result of the (short) cooperation of Asahi and Zeiss (the K-mount itself is also from Zeiss, but that's another story).

To my knowledge most K lenses are of * quality. At later times you had to pay to get * quality, but in the screwmount- and early K-mount period most (if not all) lenses were individually checked at the end of the production line). The K-series is generally better built than the M-series (although the M-series is not bad at all, far from it).
08-04-2009, 06:47 AM   #4
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Riku,

I can't speak to all the K series lenses but the ones I have used a lot are very good. The K24/2.8 is very good as is the K 135/3.5 although it hasn't got the "legendary" reputation of the K135/2.5. The K 200/2.5 is my favourite manual focus lens and some have suggested it would have been a * lens had Pentax used that designation when it was produced. I tend to agree. I'm sure you will enjoy it I think it is a great lens. The K 300/4 is prone to CAs and PF, as are all telephoto lenses of this vintage, but is capable of fine results and is the best bang for the buck 300mm on the used market.

It is possible to be overly concerned about the "quality" issue here. There are very few if any poor lenses in the K, M or A series. The various clubs on the Forum illustrate this fact. All are capable of delivering remarkable images. The * lenses such as the A 85/1.4 and A 135/1.8 have "legendary" reputations and carry astronomical prices as a result.

As to which of the older lenses deserve the * designation it is a matter of opinion. The lens review area is good in that it provides opinions from photographers or various degrees of skill as to how well these lenses perform. Opinion from this area and the price of the various lenses on the used market will provide guidance as to which lenses are the better ones.


Tom G

08-04-2009, 02:02 PM   #5
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Thanks guys. Sounds like I need to start collecting K-series In addition to the 200mm f2.5 which is being shipped to me right now, I only have the 200mm f4.0 which has pleased me regarding optical quality. It's a tad too slow though.
08-04-2009, 03:00 PM   #6
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My favorite topic K series lenses!!

I have a whole bunch of them, so here is what I consider the best optically.


Wide Angles:
K28/2 – As “Asahiflex” mentioned this is a thing of beauty, with a floating element design to eliminate aberrations. Until recently the one and only Pentax floating element lens. Very rare & costly, but optically one of the best Pentax wide angles ever.


Standards:
K50/1.2 – Still the fastest Pentax lens ever.

Telephotos:
K85/1.8 – Fast portrait lens, with a soft focus area.
K135/2.5 – One of the best 135mm that Pentax has made.
K200/2.5 – The fastest 200mm that Pentax has made and one of the best.

Macros:
K50/4 – Even thought it is slower and does not have 1.0x magnification without using an extension tube, it’s still one of the sharpest lenses that Pentax has made and one of the best macros.

Phil.
08-04-2009, 04:54 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Boucicaut Quote
Thanks guys. Sounds like I need to start collecting K-series In addition to the 200mm f2.5 which is being shipped to me right now, I only have the 200mm f4.0 which has pleased me regarding optical quality. It's a tad too slow though.
I don't think you will be disappointed if you follow this path. I have a lot of M series lenses and they are very good. However, I prefer the size, build quality and IQ of the images generated by my K series. However, they are all manual focus, you have to live with no AF or AE and that can be a drag at times.

Cheers

Tom G

Last edited by 8540tomg; 08-05-2009 at 08:28 AM. Reason: typo
08-05-2009, 07:38 AM   #8
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I second the vote on the K 50mm f/1.2 - it's really THAT good.

08-05-2009, 08:12 AM   #9
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K 35 f/3.5
08-05-2009, 10:26 AM   #10
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And I'll second the compliment on the K24/2.8.
08-05-2009, 02:45 PM   #11
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Is $100 a good price for the K24 /2.8? I have been contemplating getting one.
08-05-2009, 02:47 PM   #12
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$100 is a good price for ANY Pentax 24mm lens! So run, don't walk and buy it!
08-05-2009, 07:14 PM   #13
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Yes $100 is a good price they usually go for twice that.
08-05-2009, 08:07 PM   #14
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The K85/1.8 and the K30/2.8 are my most used K series lenses and I'd highly recommend either... (I have a few....and reading this posting isn't helping the LBA..lol). Has anyone compared the 24 or 35 to the 30?....I'm not sure if the 30 is "legendary" but it sure seems to produce.
08-06-2009, 09:19 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by smc Quote
I'm not sure if the 30 is "legendary" but it sure seems to produce.
In my comparative testing, the SMC Pentax 30mm f/2.8 gets a firm boot in the arse by the Pentax 31mm f/1.8 limited. - and I tested them on full frame. I keep the 30mm mainly because it's in between 28 and 35mm... it's a bit of an oddity( I have a soft spot for things that are a bit weird). 30mm lenses only recently became back in vogue since the market realised that reduced frame DSLR cameras were going to be dominant in photography.
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