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09-30-2009, 06:50 PM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by StevenVH Quote
... decided to skip the loss of auto aperture and that I prefer the more modern, compact design and rubber grip of the A's.
I think that's part of the equation. I don't get auto-aperture either way, so that plus doesn't sway me.

09-30-2009, 06:58 PM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by StevenVH Quote
Hmmm...is this a widely held opinion that I'm not aware of? I would say the A series lenses are better then the F's & FA's I've had or tried (except for the Ltds)
I'd agree with that much. I'd just say that the conventional wisdom is that the M series is better still, as most of the A's have a fair amount of plastic whereas the M's are pretty much all metal. My only A is the 50, and I understand it's a special case - very nice focus ring, but terrible aperture ring.

But in any case, my basic point remains - the M series might not be Pentax *best*, but calling them "cheap" is a bit harsh, since they are still better than most others.
09-30-2009, 07:23 PM   #18
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I'm really not qualified to speak to the best IQ question but my favorite <$200 lens in that general FL vicinity is the SMC-A 35-105mm: in a class with the best primes in terms of sharpness and rendering.
09-30-2009, 07:23 PM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
I am not sure there is much differene between K and M in terms of image quality, I know that they did change, but ot me, the difference is more in the feel.

Every time I tried an M lens, I got the iompression by feel that they were cheap. nothing to really quantify but i guess the most tellingwas the feedback from the focusing ring, the drag did not seem as smooth or consistent as the K lenses.

The basic selling point of the M series lenses was to standardize as much as possible on 49mm filters, and this drove some decisions about maximum apertures.
They might be cheap in as the price,but as for quality,they are well built and a sensational lens to use.I have taken many pictures with my various range of M lenses,and they have not dissapointed me,not one bit.

09-30-2009, 07:58 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by cwm9 Quote
Right: 50mm/1.7, Left: A Sears 49mm PL?
Sears 49mm PL sounds like the filter that's on the lens to me. If I'm to guess I would think that it's another 50mm (most likely), but who knows?
09-30-2009, 08:52 PM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by StevenVH Quote
A series lenses are easily on a par with the Tak's.
With all due respect, I'd be shocked to know that any other member of this forum agrees with the opinion that A lenses are on par with the build quality of the M42 Taks.
10-01-2009, 07:25 AM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by raymeedc Quote
With all due respect, I'd be shocked to know that any other member of this forum agrees with the opinion that A lenses are on par with the build quality of the M42 Taks.
Well, I was referring to the K-mount lenses I've experienced and to functional quality, not perceived quality and feel. I def agree M42 era lenses were/are of exceptional build quality, but so are many of the newer lenses and that's my point.

cheers
10-01-2009, 09:39 AM   #23
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In that I've ended up with a drawer-full of 28's - I will offer to agree with the opinion that A series overall is on par with the Takumars.

Yes the feel is different, there is more plastic... but I do not feel the A is inferior to the S-M-C or Super Tak. The A matches or beats both Taks in image quality, and does so with an extra stop of speed. Finally, on a K mount camera, I get the benefit of automatic aperture stop-down at exposure, not to mention the possibility of Av and Program where the body supplies these modes.

The A lens of course does not mount on a screw mount body which is a limitation...

---

Back to the OP - sticking with various Pentaxes and a Vivitar, if I total up 4 28s, a S-M-C 35 3.5, and a couple of 50/55 Taks, and throw in a couple of bodies (Pgm Plus and a SP)... I still don't break $200. However, a single "MUST HAVE THIS LENS NOW" bid would have easily put me over...

10-01-2009, 09:49 AM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by cwm9 Quote
I think that's part of the equation. I don't get auto-aperture either way, so that plus doesn't sway me.
Auto aperture can mean many things...

a) Aperture priority or Program auto exposure, using the "A" setting. Some feel they must have this, others can get along without. You indicate you can get along without. (me too)

b-1) Aperture sensing metering - i.e. manual metering that knows the aperture of the lens while the lens is wide open. Very convenient to have this.
b-2) Aperture stop down at exposure - i.e. camera stops the lens down when you push the shutter button, and then opens it back up. Again, convenient.
All K lenses provide these two, while screw mount lenses adapted to K do not.

The downside of non A K lenses on a digital body has to do with the need for stop down metering. With the adapted M42's you could live with Av + stopping the lens down yourself.

I'm one of those who has a ton of M42's and lives with the K mount pre-set requirements... However, I get moments of feeling foolish when I want to simply give the camera to someone who isn't in tune with the whole M42 ritual...
10-01-2009, 10:09 AM   #25
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fwiw... if you're comfortable with manual lenses (without 'a' functionality), many of the lenses listed would be great choices... but... if you don't want to diddle with varied settings, as a fully manual lens would necessitate, i'd opt for the smc 50mm 'a' 1.4 or the 1.7...
you can also probably purchase an 'f'or 'fa'50mm for less than 200 bucks....
i have a tamron 28-75mm f2.8... very happy with the results..
also have the 16-45 f4 pentax, but only outside ... also, nice results..
after all, it's only money...lol....
best of luck... dave m
10-01-2009, 10:41 AM   #26
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It seems strange to me that your K50/1.4 should be fuzzy. It should be all but fuzzy! If I may be as bold as linking to my own shootout you can compare the M50/1.7 and the K50/1.4 and see if this matches what you're getting.

Don't know how it compares to the M50/1.4.

Also, if you want image quality and can sacrifice a little speed both the K28/3.5 and the K35/3.5 offer stunning quality, and you can find them cheap.

In the discussion on K vs M vs A vs "the rest" you don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out which I like the most... I get the feeling that M lenses have more effort put on small size than on IQ, not saying that they for that reason are bad.
10-01-2009, 10:53 AM   #27
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For wedding with a prime that is less than $200 with best IQ, I would suggest the following:
  1. Pentax FA 50mm f/1.4 -- a good used copy is the way to go, you can try to find those PF members who can offer you a good deal for the best value prime with AF. It used to cost $200 new. I find AF critical for events especially important in wedding to make the shot
  2. Pentax A 50mm f/1.7 -- you often find this gem for about $40 to $75, you need that 'A' for ease with use and expansion into strobist with a flash -- flash is critical and necessary for wedding
  3. Jupiter9 85mm f/2.0 -- it is a difficult lens to use but a great gem for $90 to $150
  4. Pentax FA 35mm f/2.0 -- this is out of the $200 range, perhaps you can find something close to $225 and up in the used market

Thanks,
Hin

Last edited by hinman; 10-02-2009 at 01:39 PM.
10-02-2009, 04:23 AM   #28
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K 24/2.8

The K, M, A etc. debate has gone on for some time in this forum. It is often emotionally charged and always fun. I have a bag full of old M series glass and I like them a lot. They are fine lenses and very well built but they are smaller and “feel” less substantial than the K series. I used to think the Ms were the best in terms of build until I got a few K series lenses. I suspect this build quality is what Lowell is referring to in his post. This will be immediately evident to you if you hold a K lens in one hand and an M in the other. By extension the K series lenses are less substantial than the old Takumars I have seen. Those puppies seem to have been milled out of solid blocks of aluminium. I don’t have any Taks as yet but I would like one or two. Clearly, to make lenses in this manner today would take vast amounts of time and would result in astronomically high prices.

Within later series of lenses such as the A, FA etc there are a number of optics that certainly have exceptional build quality. My A 100/2.8 macro is the equal of any of my K series lenses and I was very impressed with the build of the A* 85/1.4. I can't claim to have seen/held all the later series but I'm sure others could add to this list. This being said, I think it is fair to say the “consumer” glass of later series, while good, is not up to the general build level of the earlier K and M series. The important thing is virtually any or all lenses from any Pentax series is capable of delivering excellent images. Isn't this the main reason we got involved with Pentax in the first place? Personally, as a group, I prefer the “feel” of my K series glass to any other Pentax series but this is purely subjective. Clearly, Pentax’s latest DA* offerings are very well made.

Getting back to the original question about good lenses under $200. I know you only went down to 28mm but I would like to add the K 24/2.8 into the discussion. It seems to be going for about $200 on EBAY these days. I use it for small groups and about town type shots. It is well worth your consideration.




Tom G

Last edited by 8540tomg; 10-03-2009 at 01:45 AM. Reason: typo
10-02-2009, 09:30 AM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by 8540tomg Quote
The K, M, A etc. debate has gone on for some time in this forum. It is often emotionally charged and always fun. I have a bag full of old M series glass and I like them a lot. They are fine lenses and very well built but they are smaller and “feel” less substantial than the K series. I used to think the Ms were the best in terms of build until I got a few K series lenses. I suspect this build quality is what Lowell is referring to in his post. This will be immediately evident to you if you hold a K lens in one hand and an M in the other. By extension the K series lenses are less substantial than the old Takumars I have seen. Those puppies seem to have been milled out of solid blocks of aluminium.
It's not an emotional issue for me, but an interesting one. What I'm seeing here is a fundamental difference in how one judges build quality. Some see greater weight as a sign of greater quality right there. Others see it precisely the other way around. I'm more in the latter category.

The first type of product I ever really got into at this level was the mountain bike. And there was no question there: heavy meant bad (more weight to have to pedal uphill!). Sure, you didn't want to achieve lighter weight through too much plastic, either, as that would impact durability. But the higher quality bikes were lighter through the use of more expensive materials and more precision engineering, not through the use of plastic. In practice, while it would be *possible* to make a cheap and lightweight bike by making more and more of it out of plastic, people knew there were limits, as you needed it to be strong enough to support rider at least. So they used cheaper heavier grades of steel for parts you really *need* to be strong - where failure means injury to the rider and a lawsuit on your hands - and cheap plastic on the parts where failure meant only "planned obsolescence" and hence wasn't even bad thing in itself from the manufacturer's perspective. Which is to say, cheap bikes were heavy and still more fragile than more expensive bikes. A lighter bike was always a more expensive and better made bike, and of course weight translates directly into performance in mountain bicycling.

I suppose that basic experience has shaped how I think of lenses. Takumars strike me as the equivalent of a department store mountain bike - heavy chunks of cheap grade steel whose greater weight is an indicator of *lesser* quality. Now, of course I realize this isn't a fair comparison, because weight for lenses is not as directly performance-related as it is for bikes. Heavy isn't necessarily bad, although I do prefer lighter lenses, as I don't like carrying more weight than necessary. But obviously, a simple "hold one in each hand" test isn't judging quality in any real sense - it's simply forming a gut impression. And as far as that goes, I'll favor the the lighter lens every time. Of course, I will then check to see that this low weight doesn't seem to have been achieved through use of too much plastic, and if it's both light *and* cheap, I'll also consider whether the low price was achieved through shoddy workmanship, poor design, etc. But my impression with M lenses is that nothing of the sort is the case. The low weight gives me an immediate sense of higher quality than the K's or Takumars, which I know is just a gut impression, but further inspection of the lenses does nothing to dissuade me.

Anyhow, I think it's basically issues like this that explain why people can have such different impressions of lens quality. The very things that cause one to form an impression of higher quality can have the reverse effect on someone else.
10-02-2009, 10:15 AM   #30
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I recommend Tamron 28-75mm f2.8. Since it's for a wedding, I think a zoom lens is more suitable, You don't want to miss any moment while u are changing lens. A nice external flash unit is also recommended. I used my K2000 with DA 40mm last week, the 40mm is very sharp, but I wish i can get my Tamron 28-75mm earlier. so I can get more pics, and I don't have to move around to get the best coverage.

But the Tamron is around $350-$400 now, To fit your budget, The Pentax 18-55mm Kit len I or II is still very nice, and sharp, But a nice flash unit is always needed for indoor. For Prime lens, Vivitar 28mm f2.8 close focus K mount or Vivitar 28mm f2.5 M42 is very nice. For 50mm, Pentax M or A or F 50mm f1.7 is very sharp and cheap.

Last edited by winglik; 10-02-2009 at 10:39 AM.
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