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08-22-2012, 11:14 PM   #1
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Old lens dilemma - SMC Pentax-A 35-80mm F4-5.6

While I visited the local mall, I found this lens SMC Pentax-A 35-80mm F4-5.6 attached to the Pentax MZ-M (ZX-M in the USA). It was priced for 82.7715 US$

I was interested in buying that to start my glass collection. But I haven't really found a lot of review regarding the lens (only 3 on the pentaxforums)

Anyways, I searched again on google and found one, with fantastic sample pics.



"The shots below have been made with the 6MP Pentax *ist DS. The lens works wonderfully on that low-MP camera, but I think it falls short on a more demanding camera like the K-5. Also the distortion at the wide end is really obvious."

The cam I plan on using the lens on is a pentax k-x which has 12MP. Would the image quality really be affected if there's more MP?

08-23-2012, 12:17 AM   #2
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There is a lot better that you could start with for $80, that lens usually sells for around $10, even the F version with autofocus isn't worth much more. Keep in mind when viewing samples that a good photographer can make any lens produce good results, that doesn't make it a good lens.

Old zooms, with certain exceptions, are not typically worth collecting. This lens was basically the 18-55mm of its day, it was the kit lens. The best ones were usually the expensive ones, they are hard to find now and usually still expensive when you do find one.

Last edited by elliott; 08-23-2012 at 12:28 AM.
08-23-2012, 12:38 AM   #3
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Oh, thanks for the input. Looks like for "collection" shouldn't be my priority on this lens. Would it be wise to buy this to improve in photography? or should I spend my $80 on inexpensive flash/tripod?
08-23-2012, 12:56 AM   #4
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What do you have right now, a K-x with an 18-55mm? That is a good start as far as lenses are concerned, it has far better image quality than that 35-80mm.

What kind of shooting do you do now and what would you like to be able to do? This will determine where you should spend any money.

08-23-2012, 03:20 AM   #5
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Yes, I have the K-x with an 18-55mm. I guess I'll be sticking with that if it has better IQ.

Just realized that I'm more inclined on natural lighting candids. I think I'll save my money for DA 35mm f/2.4 AL lens.

Thanks for entertaining my questions have a good day
08-23-2012, 03:53 AM   #6
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Not That One!

Hello Mikolotko, Welcome to the Forum!
I agree with Elliott, I used one of those zooms back in the film days, and it isn't very good.
If you'd like a great short zoom with fast A/F, sharp and small, take a look at the F 35-70 f/3.5-4.5. It has an addtional "Macro" function at the 70mm end which is actually a closeup range, very handy for an introduction to macro. Around $50-$80 on eBay.
And I highly recommend the DA 35mm f/2.4 AL, extremely sharp, small and fast. A bargain by any standard!
Good Luck!
Ron
08-23-2012, 04:47 AM   #7
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The DA 18-55 already focuses very close. It gives better magnification than all of the Rikenon macro zooms I have tried. You know, those zooms with the dedicated macro range on the zoom ring which you need to push a button to access. Mine is the 18-55 WR but I'm sure all the 18-55's have the same close focus.
08-23-2012, 09:48 AM   #8
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just got a DA 35mm!!

Based off of the reviews here:
SMC Pentax-DA 35mm F2.4 AL Reviews - DA Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

I just got it (ebay $192USD) in June and from my initial impression (in manual mode) is it's a different animal altogether from my other lenses: 18-55mm, Pentax-A SMC 55mm, & 70-320mm.

For me the DA gave me much less predictable results. I'm actually in a flux on my overall impression as I recall swapping back to my 18-55mm stock Kx lens and had the impression that the 18-55mm pictures were actually sharper.

I need to go back through my pics and update; will do that soon!!

08-23-2012, 10:03 AM   #9
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Thanks for the welcome and the recommendations. I shall list them all in my future purchase
08-23-2012, 10:20 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Iksobarg Quote
Based off of the reviews here:
SMC Pentax-DA 35mm F2.4 AL Reviews - DA Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

I just got it (ebay $192USD) in June and from my initial impression (in manual mode) is it's a different animal altogether from my other lenses: 18-55mm, Pentax-A SMC 55mm, & 70-320mm.

For me the DA gave me much less predictable results. I'm actually in a flux on my overall impression as I recall swapping back to my 18-55mm stock Kx lens and had the impression that the 18-55mm pictures were actually sharper.

I need to go back through my pics and update; will do that soon!!
The 18-55mm kit lens were a lot sharper? How can that be? Your DA might be a bad copy then?
08-23-2012, 10:32 AM - 1 Like   #11
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The fence tests, all at f/5.6
Go full screen at bottom right

Takumar-A Zoom 1:3.5~4.5 28~80mm
https://www.box.com/s/389e2c60b8121d0d6654

SMC Pentax-DA 1:3.5~5.6 18~55mm
https://www.box.com/s/b051d299249fd47b1b1e

SMC Pentax-A 1:1.4 50mm
https://www.box.com/s/9909c51660b47ccb3c7b

Lokks like the DA kit is way in front of the old 28~80 and almost as good at the prime 50mm
09-13-2012, 03:59 AM   #12
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Update: Oh what a newb I am?!
A visit and insight from a knowledgeable friend made me realize that while in aperture and shutter priority modes I had the ISO setting on auto. I did wonder why shutter would seem fixed at 1/90. :S
Pics are coming out much better!!!
09-13-2012, 09:39 AM   #13
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Just last month I thought I was switching to M mode, but stopped in TAv mode instead. (My excuse is it was dark, shooting the moon.) I was totally confused. One good habit is to return the camera to the same basic settings after every shoot, which becomes a checklist for when the camera suddenly acts peculiar. I think Pentax started putting in the USER mode in the upper-level cameras on the K20D. That's a quick way to return to some baseline of workable settings.
09-16-2012, 06:28 PM   #14
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I own every Pentax-A zoom lens worth owning. (all three of them)

The only real reason to own them in my opinion is if like me you hate auto focus and use film cameras at least 50% of the time.

Despite their excellent build quality, when compared to modern lenses they really are showing their age mainly in areas of chromatic aberrations, though they hold their own somewhat in sharpness because they are meant for a FF camera so you are only using the better center part of the image.
The primes can keep up better especially in sharpness, but the good A primes are so comically expensive now its better just to just get more modern ones for your DSLR.
They also mostly cover focal ranges that are excellent on a FF camera, but annoyingly too narrow on an APSC sensor.
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