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10-22-2010, 10:30 AM   #1
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Inexpensive lenses to try Manual Focus?

I am new to Pentax. I don't even have a Pentax body, but my K-7 should arrive Tuesday, along with a DA 70/2.4. I am an experienced shooter with Nikon systems, and recently have become pretty comfortable with old MF lenses on my D3. It remains to be seen whether this skill with manual focus will transition well to an APS-C system. That's the main reason why I got the K-7 rather than the K-x (100% VF), and also the reason I decided to start with AF lens. I hope for the 70 to be my go-to lens for portraiture.

But I would like to try some other glass, and not invest a ton of money at first. I want to see if I can successfully manual focus with this camera. I would like to try a 50, something in the 28-35 range, and then something like a 100, or 135 maybe. Not interested in zooms really. I like faster glass (at least 2.8, hopefully). I like solid build quality, with good, fairly heavy focus damping and long focus throw. I'm kind of a maniac for good boke, so lots of aperture blades would be nice. I always shoot in manual exposure mode, so any metering deficiencies are not hugely important, but it's nice if my in-camera meter works in spot mode at least, and it's also nice if the lens communicates some kind of EXIF to the camera (but not essential). Optical quality is obviously of great import.

Hoping I can get a few suggestions from y'all. Thanks!

10-22-2010, 10:37 AM   #2
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A series lenses communicate focal length and aperture to the camera, so it is saved in EXIF. K and M series lenses and M-42 lenses do not.

The lens database has all the info you really need.

Comprehensive Pentax Lens Listings - Pentax Lens Review Database
10-22-2010, 10:37 AM - 1 Like   #3
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A50 F/2, you should be able to find one for next to nothing at a local pawn shop or here on the forums. Usually < 20 bucks. A surprisingly sharp little lens. The M50 1.7 is another great lens you can get for 40-50 bucks and is hard to beat. I'd go with the F/2 first since it is Auto Aperture and easier to use initially.

Here are some from the A50 F/2 in my Single In Sept Gallery
10-22-2010, 10:46 AM   #4
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Thanks to you both. Between those two, the M-lens is definitely looking more attractive, as I am gathering from the reviews that it's got nicer OOF areas, and sharper wide open. How do I find out what the focus throw is for this lens?

10-22-2010, 10:58 AM   #5
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You should also consider the A version of the f/1.7. Much better than the f/2.

More info on K-mount lenses.

Pentax K-Mount Lenses and Lens Accessories

Measured Resolution Numbers

I don't know the exact focus throw for the 50, but it is more than 180 degrees.
10-22-2010, 11:01 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Todd Adamson Quote
Thanks to you both. Between those two, the M-lens is definitely looking more attractive, as I am gathering from the reviews that it's got nicer OOF areas, and sharper wide open. How do I find out what the focus throw is for this lens?
I don't have it in front of me, but the focus throw on the M50/1.7 is pretty large (at least more than 90 degrees from what I recall). It's a great little lens. I also have the K55/1.8, which is another inexpensive lens with high IQ.
10-22-2010, 11:12 AM   #7
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the obvious answer would be to switch the DA 70mm to "manual" focus...
10-22-2010, 11:49 AM   #8
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If you have the stomach for buying a $10 m42-kmount adapter on ebay and "green button" stop-down-metering, I would definetly recommend you check out old 42mm screw mount Takumars. The focus throw, smoothness, image quality and build are stagering. I never thought as a 28 year old, I would walk around saying, "they don't build things like they used to." Once you touch these things you will fall in love.

Specifically you might be interested in:
Takumar 50/1.4, 105/2.8 and 135/2.5

Check out the database, it is my bible. All can be had for as little as $40 but no more than $80 depending on how luck you get on ebay.

10-22-2010, 11:52 AM   #9
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M 50 1.7

I really like the M 50 1.7, which I picked up for approx. $50. The focus ring has a lovely feel to it, and I've been happy with the results (sample included).

Last edited by jva59; 08-15-2013 at 06:14 PM.
10-22-2010, 11:59 AM   #10
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I'd definatly go with the M50/1.7 (or A50/1.7 if you want the added convenience and camera modes); it's well built, incredibly sharp, and cheep (well worth $10 more than the f2 version). In the 135 area, the good cheep lens to get is the M135/3.5. Faster glass in this area will cost a lot more (the K135/2.5 is usually around $225). If you do want something faster in that range and have the money, consider one of the excellent macro lenses (MF or AF) in the 90-105mm range. As for the 28-35mm range, the options are more complex. For lenses made by Pentax, you won't get fast, cheep, and good bokeh. There is the M35/2, which is a bit pricy ($150), and I love, very sharp but the bokeh can at times be quite harsh. In slower lenses, there is the K35/3.5 and the K28/3.5, both of which are superb lenses, and can be had for under $100. Your best bet may actually be a Vivitar 28mm f2.8 lens: some variants of that are cheep, fast, and sharp. See the thread here:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/34654-vivitar-...placement.html

I'll also second bigjonnee about the Takumar lenses (although the genuine adaptors run more like $25), especially the Super-Multi-Coated ones (although these cost more than the K-mount lenses I have suggested). Note that there is also a Takumar Bayonet 135mm f2.5 for the K mount, which is not the lens meant, and is considered very poor.
10-22-2010, 12:34 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by mtroute Quote
the obvious answer would be to switch the DA 70mm to "manual" focus...
Heh....well, I guess I've overlooked the obvious.

Still, I DO want to shoot with other focal lengths. Additionally, I wonder how good the focus ring will be on the 70. With Nikon lenses, generally speaking, the AF lens construction makes it clear that Nikon doesn't expect people to want to focus them manually. The rings are mushy, inconsistent, not well-damped, with short focus throws. Maybe this isn't the case at all with Pentax AF lenses?
10-22-2010, 12:38 PM   #12
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Thanks for all of your replies.....I'll be digging through the database now!
10-22-2010, 01:03 PM   #13
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See, I just learned a new phrase today. Focus throw. Used in a sentence: This Sigma lens demonstrates a very short focus throw.
Thank you. Carry on.

(I like this Todd Adamson already)
10-22-2010, 01:21 PM   #14
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None of the "modern" A/F lenses focus manually as well as the old lenses. Even the FA ltd series are not a patch on the Takumar screw;"K";M;and A series for manual focus. Having said that, the DA Ltd that I own (40mm;70mm) are better than the regular zooms.
10-22-2010, 01:52 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by bigjonnee Quote
If you have the stomach for buying a $10 m42-kmount adapter on ebay and "green button" stop-down-metering, I would definetly recommend you check out old 42mm screw mount Takumars. The focus throw, smoothness, image quality and build are stagering. I never thought as a 28 year old, I would walk around saying, "they don't build things like they used to." Once you touch these things you will fall in love.

Specifically you might be interested in:
Takumar 50/1.4, 105/2.8 and 135/2.5

Check out the database, it is my bible. All can be had for as little as $40 but no more than $80 depending on how luck you get on ebay.
I would second that quote. I have all three of those lenses mentioned above plus several more. Mine are the Super-Takumar version. Smooth focusing great glass and they render beautifully. All metal and glass, no plastic. Pick yourself up a couple, you'll love them!
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