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04-27-2011, 09:38 AM   #1
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Other third party lenses

Hi All

Most of the time I see people talk about tamron, sigma, tonkin etc., but very rarely the leica, minolta etc are being discussed. (exception of marketplace where I see people selling and buying them).

For a newbie like me, the cost part of it (presuming they will all be definitely cheaper than the top runners like sigma and tamron likes) makes me inquistive to explore more on their quality.

Please suggest some best lenses in these category that easily works with my K-r for which I have to look for or keep my eyes open for in the market place from both cost point and quality.

Edit: I am interested to know about fast lenses including zooms, long range primes (200mm range) and wide angle primes (like 18mm, 20 mm etc)


Last edited by sany; 04-27-2011 at 09:48 AM.
04-27-2011, 10:15 AM - 2 Likes   #2
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Many lens mounts just will not work on Pentax cameras, except: 1) with optical adapters that lose some image quality; 2) with major surgery or an expensive modification kit; 3) for close-up and macros only. These troublesome lenses include those made for Canon, Leica, Minolta, Konica, Miranda, other fine brands.

Some lens mounts WILL work on Pentax cameras with some slight modification, which may reduce the value of the lens if you try to resell it. These somewhat-adaptable lenses include those made for Olympus OM, Nikon AI, Contax/Yashica C/Y, Exakta, and Petri.

The main limiting factor is what is called the registration, or flange focal distance: the distance from the lens mount to the frame (film or sensor). Longer-register lenses can be fitted to shorter-register cameras and still focus to infinity; shorter-register lenses on longer-register cameras, can't. Nikon is a little longer than Pentax; Pentax is longer than Canon, Leica, Minolta, Konica, and Miranda, and about the same as Olympus OM, Contax/Yashica, Exakta, and Petri. Canon cameras can use many lenses; the Sony NEX mount can accept MANY MANY lenses; Nikon can only use Nikon-mount lenses, or some larger-format lenses.

If you want to use zillions of lenses, get a NEX system -- that's next on my wish-list. But many many fine lenses are available in Pentax PK (bayonet) and M42 (screwmount), so don't worry too much. Old manual-focus prime (fixed focal length, non-zoom) lenses are still available at reasonable prices. I now have about 200 lenses. My ten or so AF (autofocus) lenses cost an average of US$330 each. The rest cost an average of US$20 each. Many of my best lenses cost US$10 or less. But I get lucky! For information on any specific lens or lensmaker, see the Lens Review Database here -- click on the LENSES menu tab at the top of this page. Have fun!
04-27-2011, 12:04 PM   #3
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Thanks RioRico, so do you then recommend me to stick to M42 like Takumars! I prefer to use primes as well one in the longer range and another wide angle. Just my little concern is to avoid changing the lens outdoor particularly in a place where I live is dusty therefore I was also looking for a decent walkaround lens which is decent and not expensive, also since i am a newcomer i dont want any complexity in handling any older lens. Am I asking for too much!
04-27-2011, 12:06 PM - 1 Like   #4
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"Fast third party lenses"? Well I will just excuse myself from this discussion. I am more of an inexpensive, f4 ish lenses of questionable reputation poor old sod.

04-27-2011, 12:53 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by sany Quote
Just my little concern is to avoid changing the lens outdoor particularly in a place where I live is dusty therefore I was also looking for a decent walkaround lens which is decent and not expensive
IMO, For decent and (cost effective) walk-around lens the 18-55mm kit would be a very good choice. If you want something with longer reach then I’d suggest looking into the DA 18-250/Tamron 18-250mm. It may not be the “third-party” you’re looking for but it is an excellent walk-around in my opinion. What is your budget range, if I may ask?
04-27-2011, 12:57 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by sany Quote
... also since i am a newcomer i dont want any complexity in handling any older lens. Am I asking for too much!
Maybe. All old lenses can be divided into classes by starting with autofocus lenses. Those all communicate with the camera about focal length, aperture and other data, so they work in all modes. Only minor inconveniences for some lenses, like blocking the popup flash or not setting the right model name in EXIF data, are in this group.

The remaining lenses are all manual focus. Besides having to focus yourself, you'll also have to set the focal length for SR to be effective. The focus point switches to the center point only. Out of this group, we have lenses with an A position on the aperture ring. That setting allows the camera to control the lens aperture, enabling all modes to work, including P-TTL flash and multi-segment metering.

Now we have all manual focus lenses that can't send any information to the camera. With this group, multi-segment metering is disabled - the camera switches to center-weighted instead. Spot metering will still work. A P-TTL flash will fire at full power. There are lenses with a native K-mount, which should work fine in M mode with stop-down metering (see the sticky above) and focus to the correct distances.

Then you're left with adapted lenses. These may work just as well as the previous group, or may require special techniques to get the aperture adjusted or the correct focus range.
04-27-2011, 01:22 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by sany Quote
I am interested to know about fast lenses including zooms, long range primes (200mm range) and wide angle primes (like 18mm, 20 mm etc)
For completeness, there are some high-end 3rd party lenses for Pentax K-mount incl. Carl Zeiss and Voigtlander. (Voigtlander discontinued its K-mount lenses about 2 years ago but you can still find a few.)

Two examples of high-quality fast primes are:
Carl Zeiss 50mm f1.4
Voigtlander Nokton 58mm f1.4
04-27-2011, 05:57 PM   #8
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M42 Takumars are excellent lenses, but are probably not what you want to start with outdoors in UAE! As K57XR suggested, the DA18-55 kit lens is an excellent introduction to your dSLR, and the DA or Tamron 18-250 is a great all-around lens. The DA18-250 was my first Pentax dSLR lens, and it is still my most-used, although I now have about 200 other lenses. I suggest that you use either or both those lenses, and keep reading here about possibilities.

Before buying photo equipment, ask yourself: What do I want to do that I can't do with what I have? The answer may lead you towards ultrawide or fisheye, or macro, or long fast costly telephotos, or... who knows where?

04-28-2011, 11:08 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by K57XR Quote
IMO, For decent and (cost effective) walk-around lens the 18-55mm kit would be a very good choice. If you want something with longer reach then I’d suggest looking into the DA 18-250/Tamron 18-250mm. It may not be the “third-party” you’re looking for but it is an excellent walk-around in my opinion. What is your budget range, if I may ask?
Hi K57XR and RioRico - I am a bit apprehensive to go for the kit lens as I have read that the kit lens are not optically so great but it is not my personal opinion. This is why when I bought my K-r I just bought the K-r body and I bought the 35mm f2.4 separately as I do not want to buy something now and then go for a proper one later.

So I don't know if I should go for the kit lens of 18-55mm. I personally do not know. And as suggested by RioRico in the last post - Now I feel I need one wide angle prime if possible a third part decently fast. And instead of a long range I wanted to go for a 70-210mm any decent lens which can act as a walk around too.

Mainly, I need a to shoot from a decent distance of my daughter playing near the water in the beach since all that I have now is 35mm which means I need to get closer to her thus chances of water from the waves to fall in my lens.

As an other question, how long (physically in feet or meter) will a 135mm lens cover? will that be a decent range and any decent brand with a nominal price range please.
04-28-2011, 11:28 AM   #10
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You can get a Pentax M 135 f3.5 for around $60 US. Another 135 that is pretty well thought of is a Sears 135 f2.8 that will also give you close focus ability. Those typically run $20-$30 (prices are all plus shipping, taxes, etc of course). Do some research on the Sears (and any other older 3rd party k mount lens) because they are not all created equal. If you want to go screw mount, there are probably 20 of them for every K mount available and most of them are f2.8.

As for the 18-55, it's decent for what it is. Would I give up my 16-50 for one? No. If I were budget strapped and just beginning however and just wanted an all purpose type wide to normal zoom, then yes, I would get one. Make sure that you get the ALII though. With your 35 however, you are already exceeding the best the kit 18-55 will ever do so you May find yourself unhappy with it. That is, you've already spoiled yourself with prime lenses, even if you only have one. If you want wide angle and don't want to break the bank, the DA16-45 is a decent lens. All that said though, the 18-55 may help you settle in on where you want to be with a focal length in that range.

It's always best when discussing 'which lens' to disclose a price range. That way, you'll be better advised.

04-28-2011, 11:56 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by JeffJS Quote
It's always best when discussing 'which lens' to disclose a price range. That way, you'll be better advised.

+1. What is your budget range? Lenses suggested by JeffS are good choices but are you comfortable with manual focusing? While doing your research and decide on old third party lenses, you may want to research "Ricoh Pin" as well. Some old third party lenses have this pin and can get a lens stuck on a Pentax dSLR. The kit 18-55 may not be in par with a DA* but have you by any chance browsed this site and see what the kit is capable of? PENTAX Photo Gallery
For longer reach, albeit slow, the DA55-300 is also a an excellent choice and well worth its cost....then again, how much are you willing to spend?

Last edited by K57XR; 04-28-2011 at 03:10 PM.
04-28-2011, 10:43 PM   #12
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OK, you seem want an all-around lens to use in a not-gentle environment. And you want to shoot your daughter playing at the beach.

If your daughter is 1.5m tall, and you hold the camera in landscape mode (horizontal) and use a lens zoomed to 250mm, your daughter's image will be as tall as the frame when you are 24m away. Step back a couple meters more so as not to cut off her head when she jumps around! Or zoom out a little, so she doesn't quite fill the frame. If you use a lens zoomed to 300mm, your frame-filling distance is about 30m. With a lens at 135mm, the distance is about 13m.

[How did I get those numbers? I googled for IMAGE.HEIGHT FOCAL.LENGTH and found this focal length calculator. Easy, eh?]

I mentioned the numbers 135, 250 and 300mm, because those are the upper limits of some popular zooms. These include the Tamron or DA18-250, DA55-300, and DA18-135. (3rd-party lensmakers also make zooms in similar ranges, but I'm not familiar enough to mention any.) The lenses whose wide ends are at 18mm can take much wider-angle shots than can lenses whose wide ends are 28 or 55 or 70mm. I dislike 55-300mm zooms alone because they are just too long to be general-purpose tools; so if you want wider shots, you must change lenses, which you said you want to avoid.

If you want to photograph your daughter from not-too-close, like 10-15m away, than a DA18-135WR (weather resistant) AF (autofocus) zoom would be an excellent choice. I think the typical cost is somewhere near US$500. If you want to shoot from further away, or to capture faces from a distance, the an 18-250 is just right. Similar (but slightly shorter) 18-200mm lenses also exist. Some of these are no longer made but are widely available on the used market. Typical prices are a bit less than for a new 18-125WR. Although not labeled as WR, they still seal tightly to the camera body.

Yes, budget is important; it controls which of your dreams and desires you may fulfill. Good modern AF zoom lenses, new, are usually not cheap. Older (used) manual-focus zooms may be inexpensive, but usually do not match modern optical quality. So, think about money and distance; and think about the lensmakers Tokina, Tamron, and Sigma; and keep asking questions!
05-01-2011, 07:12 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by sany Quote
Thanks RioRico, so do you then recommend me to stick to M42 like Takumars! I prefer to use primes as well one in the longer range and another wide angle. Just my little concern is to avoid changing the lens outdoor particularly in a place where I live is dusty therefore I was also looking for a decent walkaround lens which is decent and not expensive, also since i am a newcomer i dont want any complexity in handling any older lens. Am I asking for too much!
Not RioRico, but... Do you realize that "fast, prime" Takumars may prove difficult to focus on your K-r, and will not provide even nearly the same automated functionality of a modern lens? If you're actually a novice and are asking about using a Leica or Minolta mount lens, I don't see where your "prefer to use primes" idea came from. Primes are a mixed bag. On the one hand, they can sometimes (but not always) offer better performance and faster apertures than zooms. On the other hand, if you resort to cropping to compensate for not being able to compose precisely, you lose some of the performance advantage (quite a bit on my K100, but still a fair amount on a K-r.)

Paul
05-02-2011, 02:26 AM   #14
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thanks for those inputs, how will adaptall 2 lens fit with my K-r from the budget point of view.
As enquired by many others above my comfortable budget will be in the lines of $200 - $300 same as my new DA 35 F2.4.
In a separate thread under K-r I have opened a topic for Adapatall lens suggestions - you can either post there are here please.
05-02-2011, 09:44 AM   #15
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I have three Tamron Adaptall-2 lenses and a 2X teleconverter. They are the 52BB 500mm f8 mirror lens, the 55BB 90mm f2.5 macro, the 02B 28mm f2.5, and 01F teleconverter. All of them are high quality metal construction. The lenses work very well. I use the macro and mirror a lot. I think the mirror lens is one of the best mirror lenses available. The 28mm doesn't get much use because I have other 28mm lenses that are more convenient.

The Adaptall system is pretty good. You need at least one K-mount adapter. There are two general types. The PK/A adapter allows the camera to control the aperture, so the lens works like a Pentax-A lens. That means manual focus, and you'll also have to set the focal length for SR to be effective. The focus point switches to the center point only. All modes work, including P-TTL flash and multi-segment metering. The P/K adapter and a couple of other models allow the lens to work like a Pentax-M lens, without so many nice features.

In practice, it is much easier to have one adapter per lens. The adapters are $80-100 for PK/A and $15-20 for P/K. My mirror lens is fixed at f8 so I use a P/K adapter there. I prefer using the other lenses with the PK/A adapter.

The lens prices vary a lot and people are not always aware of what they're selling. The 28mm can be inexpensive - I got mine for $20 with the P/K adapter. I got the other lenses for much less than typical prices too. But always remember the adapter price. There are a couple of nice zooms in the system, like a 35-80, 70-210 and 60-300. Look at the Adaptall lens club for examples.

A few lenses in this system are very desirable, such as a 180mm f2.5 and a 300mm f2.8. They will be out of your price range.
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