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12-06-2014, 10:08 PM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by Badger Logic Quote
I have been a photographer pretty much my entire adult life. I am now a retired educator and ready to expand my skills. While I have always been a student of photography, I truly believe you cannot declare yourself to be any kind of an expert until you have taken thousands of pictures and taken the time to closely analyze why some pictures work and why others never come close to your aesthetic threshold. With that in mind, I purchased my K-3. I have a Kx and a couple of lenses that I purchased over the past couple of years. I am on a fixed income and one of the things that had great appeal for me was the notion that I would have access to all of the old K-mount lenses from the period when film was king. They are inexpensive and some of them have marvelous glass in them. I realize that these lenses do not have ability to utilize all of the great features built into my K-3, but I am truly okay with that fact. I will save my money and eventually buy some nicer lenses that have all the bells and whistles, but most retired teachers do not have the extra money to buy them.

So that brings me to what I feel is a bit of a camera cultural divide. Of course it could just be me, but I thought I might start a thread and see if anyone besides myself has felt that there are several factions in regards to the uses of older lenses. I do not wish to single anyone out, but I am somewhat surprised when a fellow photographer brashly comes out and pronounces that all of these old lenses are a pile of rubbish, inferior in every way and unworthy of consideration. This is generally followed by a somewhat revealing bit of logic. I read today that you should forget those lenses...after all, for just a few dollars more than you paid for the body of the K-3, you could have a really decent (not top f the line) lens and take some real pictures. Uh, I took an extra job temporarily to earn enough to buy my K-3. It felt as though the author was saying, and I am interpreting here, "Hey pal, do not buy anything that is beneath the K-3. If you ain't got the cash, you need to get out of the game."

Others spend a great deal of their time talking about the value in these "mechanical marvels" with their finely ground glass lenses. They seem interested in promoting the use of these older units, providing you are careful to look for haze, oil and mold. But even then, these frugal types are quick to share tips on just how to spot a bad unit before you waste your money. They rarely go out of their way to criticize the owners of newer and more expensive lenses.

Do not get me wrong, if there is a divide, I can live with that. I have acquired a number of these old gems and I am getting some fantastic results despite what some have said. I just thought the question needed to be asked. Is there a divide between those that have the best and most modern lenses and those who choose to use vintage lenses while they save for newer ones. Or are there others who choose to use both and take advantage of old glass when they have the time or inclination. Just thought I would see what others thought.

Robert
I personally have not seen the type of divide you are speaking about in this forum. I have seen some say that "many" of the older lenses aren't all that good. I would have to agree but there are many older lenses that are really good, both from Pentax and other manufacturers. One that comes to mind would be some years of the old 70-210 Vivitar series one lenses. Plus a lot of great FA lenses. One of my biggest disappointments has been that one of the main reasons I got into Pentax was the legacy lenses you always here about. The problem is they are generally quite expensive and not that easy to find. A lot of people talk about the millions of great legacy lenses you can get for great prices but I guess I have been looking the wrong places because the "really good ones" don't come cheap at all in my experience. I did find a nice 50mm 1.7 Takumar all manual for $50. But I finally gave up and bought new. You can find good deals on used modern lenses like the Tamron and Sigma 17-50 zooms and I did see a used Pentax 100mm macro for $500 which I would have loved to get but had just purchased a new 90mm macro Tamron. Also as one poster put it I have seen what I consider to be a fair amount of prime snobbery. Then again I like high quality zooms so maybe I'm the snob.

12-06-2014, 10:45 PM   #17
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I am really enjoying the responses. I never used the word snob, but I can understand why people might have thought that I was going that direction. The overriding message seems to be that as long as the image is good then how you get it is pretty much okay. This is all seasoned with a healthy portion of "Nice shot, but I would have done it differently."

Cheers
12-06-2014, 11:30 PM - 1 Like   #18
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Hi Badger,
I'm strictly a new and AF lens type. I do own a Pentax A 50, but never use it: because it is not good enough? No. Because my eyes aren't good enough.
To those who love their old M and A lenses, good luck to them and I regret not being able to join them.
12-06-2014, 11:48 PM   #19
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Hi, I can probably say that I own prime lenses far, far beyond my skill and talent warrants. With that being said, as I'm not a "pro" (whatever that means), and this is just a hobby, albeit an expensive one at that, my idea is to simply enjoy what I have, what I can afford without discrimination, snobbery or "divide". After all, it's probably a gross understatement that perhaps more than 90% of the forum members here will provide a technically and artistically better images with a beat down kit lens, scratched and all, than I would with any of my best glasses. That doesn't mean I enjoy the hobby any less.

12-07-2014, 01:12 AM   #20
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I do not use manual focus lenses on my DSLR simply because I have a hard time focusing with them due to the smaller viewfinders. I still shoot with my MX film camera and with its brighter viewfinder its just natural and very easy to focus. There is nothing wrong with the older lenses some are in fact fantastic.
12-07-2014, 01:58 AM   #21
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Im in the same boat......Legacy Primes is all I really shoot and own. I do have a DA 18-135 WR but hardly use it.
I have the K30 and now the K3. Seems almost a waste to have a camera that is very capable , yet never taken off of M Mode.
Ive noticed the divide , but ist more like a "look at all the DA glass I have" VS people like us that produce nice images with the old lenses and shoot alot.
Too much auto everything shortens the learning curve of actually "Understanding" photography.
There are those that go out with all the latest and even very expensive glass that bang away with their setup and get some nice pics. Then there are those that rarely shoot much of anything , but have it all.
Then there are the learners that have more basic equipment and a desire to learn and do so. And last but not least we have the guys like me that hunt down old glass because we really wish film was around , shoot some with a degree of having a plan and idea , and hate photo shop.....lol.
I may be ignorant and inexperienced with all the newer lenses , but then again there are plenty here that are the same with legacy glass !
Who knows what each diffrent fraction is missing , but we are all here for the same thing......an enjoyment of Pentax cameras , photography , collecting , trading , and showing off whether its look what I did , look what I have , or look how talented I am.....its still a mutual enjoyment we share.
But....when some Azzhat starts dissing old glass and proclaims how wonderful his XYZ gear is....its nothing more than gas in the wind !
Look at the reviews on the lens below.....its on par with anything recent and hard to beat the image quality.
If a FF pentax/Ricoh ever shows up at my door ? ......Im set !
I noticed how prices are quickly creeping up on Ebay on older primes.....geeze.....I wonder why ?
Yeah....there is a divide , but it seems to be a friendly one....so far anyway.
I say have fun with whatever you shoot , just be repectfull and expect the same.

Last edited by Dlanor Sekao; 01-19-2015 at 12:04 AM.
12-07-2014, 04:00 AM   #22
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I don't use old lenses just because I don't do manual focus. So, it is modern lenses for me, but certainly there are amazing results turned out by older lenses.

There are some things that have really improved over the years. For one thing, newer zooms are better, both straight of camera and with the availability of correction features that fix distortion and vignetting. The other thing is that coatings have improved quite a bit. Pentax has always had good lens coatings, but they really have reached a pretty high level now. Also, there aren't many old wide or ultra wide angles out there and what there are pretty expensive.

That said, I don't see most people bashing older lenses. You just have to be honest if you are willing to go through the trouble of manual focusing and maybe stop down metering. If you are, then there is some amazing glass (and deals) out there waiting for you.
12-07-2014, 05:57 AM - 1 Like   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
I don't use old lenses just because I don't do manual focus. So, it is modern lenses for me, but certainly there are amazing results turned out by older lenses.

There are some things that have really improved over the years. For one thing, newer zooms are better, both straight of camera and with the availability of correction features that fix distortion and vignetting. The other thing is that coatings have improved quite a bit. Pentax has always had good lens coatings, but they really have reached a pretty high level now. Also, there aren't many old wide or ultra wide angles out there and what there are pretty expensive.

That said, I don't see most people bashing older lenses. You just have to be honest if you are willing to go through the trouble of manual focusing and maybe stop down metering. If you are, then there is some amazing glass (and deals) out there waiting for you.
For me Manual Focus Lenses are best for Cameras designed around Manual Focus with split Image Rangefinders. With Autofcus Cameras I find that, because of eysight problems, that Autofocus Mode works best for me using, obviously, Autofocus Lenses. Manual Focus with Bleep assistance really only works for me when the camera is on a Tripod being focused on a subject that is perfectly still. What I would really like is a DSLR or Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera with some kind of Rangefinder which would come in when Manual Focus was being used.

As far as Primes versus Zoom, I think that Primes are best but convenience and normal subject matter means that Zooms are on my camera most of the time.

I sometimes still hanker for the old days when technology was much simpler and Autofocus was not even a dream. Then I think of the advantages of Digital, even if you need a degree course in photoediting plus an artists eye and skills to make the best of it!

12-07-2014, 09:25 AM - 2 Likes   #24
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I own three M42 Super Taks and while I love the 55 F/2, I have yet to warm to the others. Still, I bought them all for reverse mount macro work and I shoot them mounted normally as often as I do macro with them. Much to my surprise actually.

A good lens is a good lens regardless of when it was made or how old, or new, it is. Autofocus is nice but imperfect and it's nice to be able to blame the machine for less than stellar shots. On the other hand, I do feel some extra amount of pride for the shots that turned out good that were manually focused.

This is one of my favorite shots that I've ever taken and it was manually focused. Taken with the 55 F/2 Super Tak.


A lot of people that are active on the internet on photography forums and websites are more gear enthusiasts and collectors than photographers. There's a lot of overlap between computer guys and dslr guys. So it's unsurprising that there's a contingent of people that assume that only the newest is worth using and everything else is crap.

The biggest reason that I love these forums is how friendly and open minded people generally are and, while we love to ohh and ahh over new gear, people generally seem to know that it doesn't really matter how old or new your gear is, if you know what you are doing you can take great pictures with anything.
12-07-2014, 09:56 AM - 1 Like   #25
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There is an advertising industry out there that spends billions trying to convince us that the latest/newest is best .... they wouldn't do that if it didn't have good effect!

On average however I would tend to agree with the proposition that the modern lenses are on average technically (optically) better than older lenses, and particularly so for zooms. But that ignores cost, and for me thats decisive when considering between a good vintage lens that I can acquire for tens of $$ () or a new lens for 100's. And it's always worth bearing in mind the wry comment from one of the contributors on Luminous landscape:
QuoteQuote:
95% of lenses are sharper than 95% of photographers
... even vintage lenses.

Now if only pentaxes worked really well with the legacy lenses instead of all the exposure/firmware/technical issues we have to learn to deal with.
12-07-2014, 11:39 AM   #26
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For me, I have a full set of DAlimited lenses, but my Takumars just hold a different charm for me. I really like that I can get different rendering straight OOC.
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