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02-26-2013, 06:27 PM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by tobinobin Quote
Thanks everyone, I'm still a little uncertain. Why are lenses that produce images only comparable to modern lenses in the $500+ price range so cheap? Is it just that it's dated technology?
No auto-focus is a deal breaker for a large majority of photographers. With anything earlier than the 'A' series you also have manual exposure as well, with stop down metering. For photographers that learned on those types of systems it is no big deal, people who have never used anything but an automatic camera will be lost.
And the third issue is the lens coatings, modern lenses have better coatings which reduce flare and help with contrast.

Also, older zooms are in general not as good as their modern counterparts. I have a good collection of vintage primes but I avoid vintage zooms with only a few exceptions. IMHO the saving in cost on an old zoom is not worth it. On primes it is.

02-26-2013, 06:43 PM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by tobinobin Quote
Two lenses that appealed to me (from examples) are; SMC Pentax-M 50mm F1.7 KMZ Helios 44-2 58mm F/2
On APS-C, both these lenses can be seen as portrait lenses.
For general purpose, something shorter (28-32mm) would be more useful, for landscape probably even wider.

Also, I own the Helios 44K-4, which is not M42, but PK. As far as I know, only the 44-4 was sold also with PK bayonet. It is tak sharp in center, wide open not so concerning borders and corners. But this doesnt't matter for portraits, sometimes may even be an advantage.
02-26-2013, 07:50 PM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by tobinobin Quote
Thanks everyone, I'm still a little uncertain. Why are lenses that produce images only comparable to modern lenses in the $500+ price range so cheap? Is it just that it's dated technology?
Some supply and demand too. Few people want to shoot film any more, so they sell the old camera with its old lenses. The typical set of lenses used with film cameras are also the cheapest: 50, 28, 135. Not that many people bought a 20mm or even 85mm, so they are more.

I think everyone should try a fast 50 as if it was a cheap photography class. The actual lens or focal length doesn't matter, fast 50s are just cheap and easy to find. Figure out if you can use it, because that's not for everyone. Then try to take some decent shots with it. I think manual focus skills give you an alternative when AF doesn't work, useful all the time.

It is not a crime to hate it and go back to lenses that you like better. You can sell the lens to someone else and have a very small loss, but gaining knowledge. If you like using the lens, it opens up a lot of other doors for you. Saving money is possible, but you could also get some expensive lenses like Zeiss, or some fast modern designs from Samyang, or focal lengths unavailable in AF like 120mm.
02-26-2013, 08:14 PM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by Just1MoreDave Quote
Not that many people bought a 20mm or even 85mm, so they are more.
And on APS-C they are very popular focal lengths. One of these days I've got to get myself a Jupiter 9...

28, 50 & 135. The old standard kit. AFAIC everyone should have these 3 focal lengths. I have multiples of these lenses, and only 1 is AF. After you have those 3 then you start to add the 35, 55, 200, a macro or 2...

When I want convenience I grab my As (28/2.8, 50/1.4, 50/2.8 Macro, 135/2.8). Now that I have the FA50/1.7 the 1.4 gets used a lot less. More often I grab my zooms (F35-70, F35-135, FA28-105, DA18-55WR, DA55-300) Even more often just the 55-300...

When I want to play I grab my M42s (28/2.8, 35/3.5, 35/2, 50/1.4, 55/1.8, 55/1.4, 58/2, 135/3.5). Maybe my set of extension tubes...

The most expensive lens I own cost me less than $300.

02-26-2013, 08:26 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
After you have those 3 then you start to add the 35, 55, 200, a macro or 2...
Then the 20, 24 and 105.........
02-26-2013, 08:28 PM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
Then the 20, 24 and 105.........
Not if you want to keep costs down. I have limited funds The only reason I have the FA50 is because I got it for $100.
02-26-2013, 08:51 PM   #22
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I walked around this weekend with a 50/f2 on my k-30. well except for when the M80-200 was on it I agree with the others Legacy glass is to much fun to pass up.
02-26-2013, 09:08 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by Arvid Quote
As I understood it, this is just a question of the right adapter. Looks like you've got the wrong kind.
Probably because I went for the cheapest one No one to blame but myself.

02-26-2013, 09:43 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
Not if you want to keep costs down. I have limited funds The only reason I have the FA50 is because I got it for $100.
I was attempting an LBA joke.

I was fortunate enough to acquire most of my collection before the prices went up. These days I rarely bother, though occasionally a thrift shop or estate sale still comes up with a gem.
02-27-2013, 02:01 AM   #25
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I bought my K-30 body-only and opted to skip getting a WR lens (for now).

I find it does wonders with the mountain of (cheap) legacy glass I've collected over the past few years. As far as AF lenses go, the only two that have found any significant time on the K-30 for me have been the Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 (which is an unbelievable lens which happened to cost almost the same as what the camera did - it was my treat for myself) and my old FA 28-90mm. Its a clunky, plasticy, noisy thing, but the AF is zippy with the K-30 and it works well enough for its purpose (which is to shoot snaps of my 2-year old and 9 month old).

If you do go for legacy glass, my biggest suggestion would be to focus on the primes as the zooms tend to be not worth the trouble. You need to dial in the focal length ahead of time for SR (which with a zoom is self defeating as you'll be, well, zooming), and the quality just isn't quite 'there' so to speak. If you DO get a zoom, I'd go for a legacy AF lens. Old FA's, Sigmas, etc which have the A setting on them. Again, with zooming you'll tend to be all over the map with metering so that A setting will save you a lot of work constantly having to stop meter. You can pick up some old AF zoom lenses very cheaply if you look and are patient about it.
02-27-2013, 05:38 AM   #26
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Go for the legacy glass, most of what you list. Subjects will benefit. We're legacy lenses will fall short (actually they fall not short enough, pardon the pun) is that you are very limited in ultra wide, which can hurt for architecture. But, from a cost vs fun perspective legacy lenses a relatively cheap. I paid $12 for my Helios 58/2 and 30 for an M50/1.7 so yes you can get a great lens for little money. These lenses will be sharper at any aperture than the kit lens at the respective focal length, and are at least 2-3 stops faster.

Going wider than 24mm however can be expensive in legacy lenses.

Also, if you intend to use flash, an A lens is better because you can use the P-TTL flash supported by current Pentax DSLRs. Manual aperture and M42 lenses can only be used with a flash that supports AUTO mode with its own sensor, or in full manual, by doing flash calculations , although learning how to do that is of some use

A for cost, I put together an entire M42 kit, which is up to something around $1300 at the present time. This sounds like a lot, but consider
16/2.8 fisheye, 24/2.5, 28/2.5, 35/2, 50/1.4, 50/4 macro, 55/1.8, 58/2, 85/1.9, 90/2.5 macro 105/2.8, 135/2.8, 135/3.5, 180/3.5, 200/3.5, 200/4, 200/4.5, 300/4.5

When looking at this list there are some repeat focal lengths, but in these cases I have both preset (with round iris) and auto aperture lenses typically with hexagonal apertures. The preset lenses for unique out of focus rendering. My last 2 lenses, the 180/3.8 and the 200/4.5 are both preset lenses, found in a pawn shop for a whopping total of $25. I have posted a shot using the 180mm lens in the lens sample photo archive.

My most expensive lenses to date are the 16/2.8 zenitar fisheye (purchased brand new for $175) and the super takumar 85/1.9 at $200. No other lens in the entire collection cost over $100, and there are at least 6 lenses that cost $15 or less

You can go out and have a ton of fun with old lenses

Btw. I have LBA

Last edited by Lowell Goudge; 02-27-2013 at 05:45 AM.
02-27-2013, 06:38 AM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by tobinobin Quote
Will manual focussing be too much of a pain
I sincerely hope not, cos that's what I do all the time.

It's tricky at first, but with practice it will come naturally, but hey, I was a photographer before auto focus was invented.
02-27-2013, 09:12 AM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
My most expensive lenses to date are the 16/2.8 zenitar fisheye (purchased brand new for $175) and the super takumar 85/1.9 at $200. No other lens in the entire collection cost over $100, and there are at least 6 lenses that cost $15 or less
My all time bargain lens is an Auto Sears MC 50mm f/1.7. Cost me $10 after shipping. It might be easier to find as the Auto Chinon MC 50mm f/1.7 outside of North America. Another is the Computar MC 28mm f/2.8 that was available on eBay recently. $17 after tax & shipping.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-price-watch/215195-bnib-28mm-f2-8-...light=computar

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/215564-computa...light=computar

The Ricoh Rikenon XR 50mm f/2 has a good reputation. I picked up one with a Ricoh KR10 for less than $40 shipped recently.
02-27-2013, 09:41 AM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
No auto-focus is a deal breaker for a large majority of photographers. With anything earlier than the 'A' series you also have manual exposure as well, with stop down metering. For photographers that learned on those types of systems it is no big deal, people who have never used anything but an automatic camera will be lost.
Yep. I learned on really old school gear (not even a built-in meter!) so I don't have a problem using manual focus lenses, though I do prefer lenses with an "A" setting. (I do occasionally use "A-less" lenses, though.) I'm glad I learned the way I did. I understand how a camera works much better as a result.

QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
Also, older zooms are in general not as good as their modern counterparts. I have a good collection of vintage primes but I avoid vintage zooms with only a few exceptions. IMHO the saving in cost on an old zoom is not worth it. On primes it is.
There are at least a couple of exceptions in my collection: The Tamron SP 23A 60-300, and Pentax A 35-105 are both excellent performers by about any standard. I also once bought believe it or not, an old MF Sakar (I know!) 28-200 superzoom here on the forum for $20 that really surprised me. I let it go with a camera I sold, and kind of regret it... though I have a Tamron AF superzoom that's at least as good. There are admittedly a lot of truly crappy old zooms, though. I've owned more than a few of 'em. :-)
02-27-2013, 10:07 AM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by GibbyTheMole Quote
The Tamron SP 23A 60-300, and Pentax A 35-105 are both excellent performers by about any standard.
I have a Pentax M 75-150 f/4 that I have kept and like but most of the older zooms that have passed through my hands have been no better than cheap modern ones, so for me no real advantage. On the prime side, though it lets me use glass that I could never afford to buy the modern equivalents of, if they even exist. For example my S-M-C Takumar 85/1.8. Not sure what the modern equivalent would be but I doubt I would want to pay the price.
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