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12-02-2009, 02:30 PM   #1
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First Telephoto Prime - 135/3.5 or 200/4?

For my relatively new K200D, Iíd like to pick up my first full telephoto prime - I now have nothing longer than the kit 18-55mm zoom.

My first inclination was a K or M 135mm f/3.5. This harks back to my MX days when I rented an M for a bit. If patient, seems one can be had for $40-50.

But then I started reading the reviews in the forum of the M 200mm f/4, and I started to wonder. Per the forumís reviews, finding one for $60 seems reasonable.

Any thoughts on which lens would be more useful for general photography?

Craig

12-02-2009, 02:48 PM   #2
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I find my Sears 135 f2.8 to be pretty usefull, and it therefore is always in my travel kit.
12-02-2009, 03:05 PM   #3
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When I got my DSLR, I thought a 200mm prime would be extremely cool, and it wasn't long before I talked myself into a Pentax-M 200mm f4. I really did not use it. I like 135mm a lot, though, and the Pentax-M 135mm f3.5 is one of my favorites.

If you really can't decide between the two possibilities and don't just buy both, consider the Pentax-A 70-210mm f4 zoom. It should cost close to the price of buying both Ms. Although it's larger and heavier, IQ is probably equal. You get the extra functionality of an A position on the aperture ring (KA versions of 135 and 200 primes are costly). You get more focal length choices. And you get a bit less minimum focus distance.
12-02-2009, 03:45 PM   #4
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I think it depends on what you want to do, and how much weight you want to carry.

For me, unless you start looking at some special shots, 200 is too ling for a general telephoto.

When I travel light I go with 3 lenses, a 10-20, a 28-75 F2.8 and either my 85mmF1.4 (with a 1.7x TC) or my 135 mmF2.5.

What I find is that unless you are out in the country, more than 135 is too long and stays in the bag. Even the 135 is a little on the long side, which is why now I am leaning more to my 85mm plus a TC.

If you are unsure of focal length, as Just1MoreDave suggested why not a zoom. There are lots of 70-200 (ish) zooms out there, including serveral versions of the highly regarded Vivitar Series 1 lenses (but they weigh 2 pounds)

I know suggesting a zoom, when you asked about a prime is perhaps in bad form, but the option is there.

For me, I would take a 135 over a 200F4 any day.

as an afterthought what about an SMC-M100F2.8 or SMC 105mmF2.8

If you liked 135 mm on film these would be about right


Last edited by Lowell Goudge; 12-02-2009 at 04:02 PM.
12-02-2009, 03:57 PM   #5
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I had the M 200/4 for a few months, but I never really used it. Too short for wildlife, to long for anything else. For my style of photography, 135 is even a little long, though.

What about something like the 50-200? I think they are pretty reasonably priced used these days.
12-02-2009, 04:01 PM   #6
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Yet another vote for the 135 as a first telephoto prime - far more generally useful. Also a lot smaller. The M200/4 might be maller for a 200/4 prime, but it's considerably bigger than, for example, the 50-200, which doesn't cost *that* much more. The M200/4 might be nice if you are specifically interested in wildlife, but really, you'd probably be better off with a zoom (50-200 or 55-300 from Pentax, or any of the various 70-300's or 75-300's) to get started there, and ultimately you'd want something longer anyhow. I use my 200 only occasionally - most situations where I need something that long, I'd much rather use my 50-200. But I use my 135 *all the time*.
12-02-2009, 04:18 PM   #7
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Thanks to all for the advice. I guess I needed the pep talk to put down the 200mm. The 135mm was my first choice, but...

To be honest Iíve been a bit snobbish about zooms, thinking they really donít compare quality-wise to primes. But per Just1MoreDave, I checked out the forumís reviews of the A 70-210mm and they were pretty positive. Havenít looked at the other suggestions yet, but that may be for the day I decide I need more than a 135mm.

Now to decide between a K or M 135mm. Thereís a K available in the neighborhood for a decent price, but the M seems more desirable due to itís physical aspects (size, weight and built-in hood).

Decisions, decisions....
12-02-2009, 05:15 PM   #8
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macke,

Why not just get them both?

The K or M series in either focal length are not very expensive and seem to be readily available. Try them both for a while and sell the one you use the least or keep them both. Only you can answer which best meets your needs through trial and error.

Tom G

12-02-2009, 05:54 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by macke Quote
Thanks to all for the advice. I guess I needed the pep talk to put down the 200mm. The 135mm was my first choice, but...

To be honest Iíve been a bit snobbish about zooms, thinking they really donít compare quality-wise to primes. But per Just1MoreDave, I checked out the forumís reviews of the A 70-210mm and they were pretty positive. Havenít looked at the other suggestions yet, but that may be for the day I decide I need more than a 135mm.

Now to decide between a K or M 135mm. Thereís a K available in the neighborhood for a decent price, but the M seems more desirable due to itís physical aspects (size, weight and built-in hood).

Decisions, decisions....
I want to second the vote for the A 70-210. I would likely own one except that I keep buying all these cheap primes...

Steve
12-02-2009, 07:18 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by macke Quote
Thanks to all for the advice. I guess I needed the pep talk to put down the 200mm. The 135mm was my first choice, but...

To be honest I’ve been a bit snobbish about zooms, thinking they really don’t compare quality-wise to primes. But per Just1MoreDave, I checked out the forum’s reviews of the A 70-210mm and they were pretty positive. Haven’t looked at the other suggestions yet, but that may be for the day I decide I need more than a 135mm.

Now to decide between a K or M 135mm. There’s a K available in the neighborhood for a decent price, but the M seems more desirable due to it’s physical aspects (size, weight and built-in hood).

Decisions, decisions....
The big distinction between the M and K 135/3.5 lenses seems to be the build quality and weight. IQ comparisons generally don't recommend one over the other - both are amazingly sharp lenses. Now the K135/2.5 is a different story - best affordable 135 out there.

But I sold mine and use the M100/2.8 as my medium telephoto on a crop sensor K10D, and I don't miss the 35mm on film, either.

Last edited by monochrome; 12-02-2009 at 11:27 PM.
12-02-2009, 11:25 PM   #11
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Another vote for both. + a cheap 135/2.8 for the heck of it, easily found for short $
12-03-2009, 03:37 AM   #12
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I have both in the Super Takumar M42 variants,

I found that the 135mm focal length to be much better ... and i think the optics on my 135 is better than my 200 as well ... it seems to be sharper with much better colour rendering as well.
12-03-2009, 05:49 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by macke Quote
For my relatively new K200D, Iíd like to pick up my first full telephoto prime - I now have nothing longer than the kit 18-55mm zoom.

My first inclination was a K or M 135mm f/3.5. This harks back to my MX days when I rented an M for a bit. If patient, seems one can be had for $40-50.

But then I started reading the reviews in the forum of the M 200mm f/4, and I started to wonder. Per the forumís reviews, finding one for $60 seems reasonable.

Any thoughts on which lens would be more useful for general photography?

Craig
If you can afford it, buy both. I use my 135mm more often than my 200mm, but I am glad I purchased the 200mm.

Kind regards
.lars
12-03-2009, 08:17 AM   #14
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A couple of notes:

The Pentax Takumar 135:2.5 screw mount is superb. The Takumar 135:2.5 Bayonet mount is a different lens & not so highly rated.

An A series lens is much easier to use than a K or M or screw mount (auto exposure and flash options work properly).

Dave in Iowa.

PS If you get a non-A type lens you might consider a small mod to the camera to fool it into thinking the lens is an A type.
12-03-2009, 10:29 AM   #15
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Both m 135/3.5 and 200/4.0 are not so much better than
a zoom like A70-210 or m80-200, so I would say:
go for a zoom or a K135/2.5.
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