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09-18-2009, 08:09 AM   #1
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Manual lens advice.

Hello all.
Im planing to buy a maual prime in the 100-150 range, i recently upgraded my K200D to a K20D, and since the K20D has a way bigger viewfinder i find manual focusing to be much easier.

I have four to chose from and i would like your input on wich one would be the best choice, or maybe they are pretty much the same when it comes to Colors, CA and PF?

The lens i chose will be mostly used for portraits and concerts. These are the ones up for grabs:

Tokina 135/2,8 RMC
Cosina 135mm/f2.8 MC
Pentax 135/f3,5 SMC-M
Pentax SMC 135/3,5

They are all in the same pricerange so price wont be a deciding factor.
Any input is most welcome.

09-18-2009, 09:02 AM   #2
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I don't know the non-Pentax lenses. the two Pentax ones are both good. I think - as is often the case - the "K" version (Pentax SMC, no "M") is considered better than the "M", but both are very good, and the M is quite a bit smaller and lighter if that matters.

However, I'd say 135 is *very* long for portraits, and wouldn't be my first choice for concerts, either - at least, not as an only telephoto prime. I'd be thinking about the M85/2 or M100/2.8 as a better focal length for both portraits and concerts.

Now, don't get me wrong - I *do* use my M135/3.5 a lot for concerts - but only because I also have a DA70, so I can capture a wider view too - and I use them almost equally at this point. But if I were to go back to using just one lens in this range, it would be the 100. That's already on the long side for portraits, but is more usable than the 135 for that purpose, and it's significantly cheaper than the 85 (which I don't have, but have always been curious about).
09-18-2009, 09:08 AM   #3
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I have the M135 (thanks to Marc's suggestion) and am very pleased. I think the M lenses might be among the best value in primes out there. The 135 is very usable wide open, which is important as it's not very fast to begin with.
09-18-2009, 09:46 AM   #4
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Thank you for your input marc and joey.

I forgot to mention that i already have a fa 50mm/f1.4 and a tamron 28-70mm/f2.8 for concert shots and the longer lens would be used for situations when you cant get close enough.

If anyone has experience with the other lenses please let me know what you think of them.

09-18-2009, 10:13 AM   #5
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I used an M 135/3.5 for some ten years, and was very happy with it. I replaced it with an A 70-210/4 with which I am also pleased.
09-18-2009, 11:10 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
I don't know the non-Pentax lenses. the two Pentax ones are both good. I think - as is often the case - the "K" version (Pentax SMC, no "M") is considered better than the "M", but both are very good, and the M is quite a bit smaller and lighter if that matters.

However, I'd say 135 is *very* long for portraits, and wouldn't be my first choice for concerts, either - at least, not as an only telephoto prime. I'd be thinking about the M85/2 or M100/2.8 as a better focal length for both portraits and concerts.

Now, don't get me wrong - I *do* use my M135/3.5 a lot for concerts - but only because I also have a DA70, so I can capture a wider view too - and I use them almost equally at this point. But if I were to go back to using just one lens in this range, it would be the 100. That's already on the long side for portraits, but is more usable than the 135 for that purpose, and it's significantly cheaper than the 85 (which I don't have, but have always been curious about).
I have to correct you on this point Marc.
While the SMC Pentax 135mm f3.5 (4 lenses in 4 groups) is a good lens the SMC Pentax-M 135mm f3.5 (5 lenses in 5 groups) is a very good lens. You may be thinking of the SMC Pentax 135mm f2.5 (6 lenses in 6 groups), which is a great lens that beats both of theses f3.5 lenses. But between the two f3.5 lenses my choise is clearly the M version. It is better optically, more compact (pocket size really) and has a built in lens hood. I've got all these 135mm lenses so I'm speaking of my own experience (don't really know have they came to gravitate to my camera bags). When I go out shooting with the MX I often have a wide angle, a normal and the M 135mm, one lens on the camera, the other two in my pockets. The f2.5 sees more action on the KX.

I don't know anything about Tokina and Cosina lenses.

As for what is too long or short for concerts, it all depends on the concert. Pub schene or stadium or somewhere between? But f3.5 may be slow for many concert situations.

Other lenses you could consider:
SMC Pentax-M or Pentax-A 100mm f2.8, a good lens.
SMC Pentax 105mm f2.8, a very good lens, but heavier than the later 100mm versions. There are also two 120mm lenses, but I haven't even seen one in real life. And of course the 85's, but they cost a bit.

Otherwise I would say that the unbeatable manual concert combo is the SMC Pentax-A* 85mm f1.4 and the SMC Pentax-A* 135mm f1.8. But while I love those two, I've shot more concerts with the A 100mm, when I was young and poor and could not afford A* lenses, and it did well.
09-18-2009, 01:50 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Douglas_of_Sweden Quote
Otherwise I would say that the unbeatable manual concert combo is the SMC Pentax-A* 85mm f1.4 and the SMC Pentax-A* 135mm f1.8.
Wot he said and that's exactly what I do.
09-18-2009, 01:50 PM   #8
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Douglas thanks for your additional input/advice.
I think i will cool down on the buying and wait to see if i can find a Pentax 2.5 or 2.8 What about the pentax takumar line, are those budget lenses?

09-18-2009, 03:41 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by MrAros Quote
Douglas thanks for your additional input/advice.
I think i will cool down on the buying and wait to see if i can find a Pentax 2.5 or 2.8 What about the pentax takumar line, are those budget lenses?
In K mount, they are budget lenses. In M42 mount, all the lenses were labelled Takumar.
09-18-2009, 04:21 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Douglas_of_Sweden Quote
While the SMC Pentax 135mm f3.5 (4 lenses in 4 groups) is a good lens the SMC Pentax-M 135mm f3.5 (5 lenses in 5 groups) is a very good lens. You may be thinking of the SMC Pentax 135mm f2.5 (6 lenses in 6 groups), which is a great lens that beats both of theses f3.5 lenses.
No, I was thinking of the K f/3.5, but I was basing that statement really on just my memory of one web site that did a comparison of it against some pretty high end lenses for other mount and found it to be amazingly good. The M version was not included in the comparison, but based on the company the K was beating, I sort of assumed it was some sort of obscure gem. The K135/2.5 is indeed very well regarded as well, but considerably more expensive.

Glad to hear I wasn't really missing out on anything by not getting the K135/3.5.

QuoteQuote:
As for what is too long or short for concerts, it all depends on the concert. Pub schene or stadium or somewhere between? But f3.5 may be slow for many concert situations.
Of course, those factors relate, as I've described before. Venues that are large enough to make you think in terms of longer focal lengths *tend* to be well enough lit that you can get away with a somewhat slower lens - at least, on a Pentax DSLR with SR. Most of the medium sized clubs I shoot in will give me 1/45" at f/3.5 with decent exposure on a subject who is standing directly in the stage lights, and that gives me better than a 50/50 chance of a picture as sharp as one can ordinarily expect in concert photography. Subjects in shadow are tougher, to be sure. So I'd call 135/3.5 borderline, but usable. Longer ones don't necessarily have to be even that fast. In my experience, venues in which 135mm isn't long enough are often *very* well lit - to the point where I can shoot with my 50-200 (max aperture at 200mm: f/5.6) and still have the luxury of either dialing back ISO or not shooting wide open - or sometimes both.

QuoteQuote:
Otherwise I would say that the unbeatable manual concert combo is the SMC Pentax-A* 85mm f1.4 and the SMC Pentax-A* 135mm f1.8. But while I love those two, I've shot more concerts with the A 100mm, when I was young and poor and could not afford A* lenses, and it did well.
And for the record, that's the same optically as the M100/2.8 I recommended - the only advantage of the M is that is is easier to find and cheaper. The A has the advantage of not only being an "A" (hence more auto support) but also having a built-in hood, which the M lacks.
09-18-2009, 04:52 PM   #11
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I will vouch for the Pentax M135/3.5. It is an amazingly sharp contrasty lens and very compact. You can also find them dirt cheap ~$50.

I also like the Pentax-A 70-210, but it is F4 Actually - this is not much different than F3.5 and much more versatile. It has incredible image quality, but will set you back about $100 for one in excellent condition.

The Pentax M 80-200 F4.5 is nice because it is much more compact and lightweight. It is not auto metering like the A version, though. There are two versions, get the one with 15 elements in 12 groups. These are usually $50-$100.

If you must have a prime, get the Pentax - M 135/3.5
10-14-2009, 12:54 PM   #12
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I found one.

I have found a lens wich currently is making its way home to me.

Its the Pentax-M 100mm/2.8 hopefully it will arrive on friday. Im not working this weekend so it would be a great opportunity to try it out.

Thanks again all for the input and suggestions.
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