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04-04-2014, 10:17 AM   #1
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Pentax K1000 lenses

I've been using film cameras on and off for a few years now but I still consider myself a n00b since I don't now how to exactly work everything on my cameras. I havent shot film in awhile and I really want to get back into it this summer. I own a Minolta XG-A & Pentax K1000 and both of them need repairs but I keep putting it off. For my Pentax, the problem is with the lens, so I figure I can at least buy a new lens (plus I prefer it to my Minolta) in the meantime. (I'm at work right now so I can't tell you what kind of lens I currently have at the moment but I'm assuming it's whatever comes standard with it)

There are too many lenses out there and I need some help. I've tried to do research in the past and have started researching again but I'm afraid I don't have enough technical knowledge on the subject to find a suitable lens. I've been looking at lens database (Pentax Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database) while searching for particular lenses on eBay. I just want a good solid lens - no fisheye, zoom or macro lens - and preferably one not too big or heavy . I mostly enjoy taking pictures outside of scenery, I'm not interested in portraits so much. I want to purchase one on the cheaper side for now (under $100) but I would like to purchase a more expensive one in the future.

Instead of just picking a lens with a high rating on the lens review guide, can you lovely people please give me some insight on how to pick a proper lens? Or tell me your own favorites lenses to use? I'm just overwhelmed by all the information out there!

Some of my photos, there's plenty of bad photos in the bunch but some I really enjoy: https://www.flickr.com/photos/electrotecture/sets/72157626343607344/

04-04-2014, 11:28 AM - 1 Like   #2
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If you're looking for a prime lens, there's nothing better than a fast fifty. This one would be perfect for the K1000:
SMC Pentax-M 50mm F1.7 Reviews - M Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

If you want a zoom, I can highly recommend this one:
SMC Pentax-A 35-105mm F3.5 Reviews - A Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

The 35-105mm gives you a convenient zoom range as well as macro capabilities.

Adam
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04-04-2014, 11:29 AM - 1 Like   #3
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An M50 f1:1.7 would be a good standard lens, and should only cost you about $30. You can get an M50 f/2 for less, and those are decent lenses. Look for a screw-on lens hood on B&H or Amazon, though, it will help. If you ask nicely here, you might get a nice bundle of lenses like a 70-200 zoom as well, from Sears or JCPenney etc. they were all rebadged lenses. A nice 135mm would also be worth finding - and inexpensive.

Look here on the Marketplace first, maybe put a "wanted" ad there.

Craigslist is also good, just don't spend too much for these lenses.
04-04-2014, 11:37 AM - 1 Like   #4
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I second the above two replies. I especially love the 50 when shooting film - the "normal" FOV & focal length for FF/35mm shooting.

04-04-2014, 12:19 PM - 1 Like   #5
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Anything with a K-mount should attach to the camera, but the K1000 will only use the most basic version of the mount. That means that SMC Pentax and SMC Pentax-M lenses do everything you need. The other lens series add more features which are valuable to digital SLRs but not a K1000. The SMC Pentax lenses are usually called the K series lenses because everything else has a letter. So limit yourself to K or M lenses for the best value. Those series are comprehensive for prime lenses. You might look at the A series for more zooms. The M series lenses are nearly all smaller than the K lenses, because they were built for the smaller M series cameras.

For lenses of this vintage, I stay with Pentax if I can, because they had a huge lead in lens coatings.

The SMC Pentax-M 50mm f1.7 is a really great lens and fits all your requirements. The other 50mm or 55mm lenses are very close to this lens in performance. You can pay more for the f1.4 lenses or a bit less for the f2.0 ones.

Many film shooters had a 28mm lens and a 135mm lens too, usually f2.8 or f3.5. The 28mm lens was used for wider landscape views. I like the SMC Pentax-M 28mm f3.5 here. It will seem odd that the f2.8 version is cheaper, and the K version is way more. Mostly this is rarity and reputation. At 135mm, the SMC Pentax-M 135mm f3.5 is also a great value.

You might be able to get M series 50/1.7, 28/2.8 and 135/3.5 for just over $100 total, because the lenses were so common.
04-04-2014, 12:51 PM - 1 Like   #6
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I assume the lens you already have is probably SMC 50mm 1.7 or ( less likely ) 50mm 1.4 - in any case you really want to have a fast 50mm lens so the 50mm lens mentioned above is exactly what you want. However - since you've mentioned planning on using it this Summar ( with plenty of light I assume ) - another option would be a zoom lens - one mentioned by Adam above is certainly an option, however - I would personally go for a superb and very versatile SMC-M 35-70mm f2.8-f3.5 - this is giving you a wide angle along with standard lens at 45-50mm and then short telephoto lens at 70. I find this lens to be a superb performer and one of top manual lenses that I have. The only accessory that I can recommend is a short macro tube ( 13mm is ok ) that I am using to shorten the minimal focusing distance of that zoom which is 1m normally. Take a look at my review of this lens - I added few sample shots too. In my opinion this lens is great on digital but even better on film.--manntax
04-06-2014, 07:33 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by manntax Quote
I assume the lens you already have is probably SMC 50mm 1.7 or ( less likely ) 50mm 1.4 - in any case you really want to have a fast 50mm lens so the 50mm lens mentioned above is exactly what you want. However - since you've mentioned planning on using it this Summar ( with plenty of light I assume ) - another option would be a zoom lens - one mentioned by Adam above is certainly an option, however - I would personally go for a superb and very versatile SMC-M 35-70mm f2.8-f3.5 - this is giving you a wide angle along with standard lens at 45-50mm and then short telephoto lens at 70. I find this lens to be a superb performer and one of top manual lenses that I have. The only accessory that I can recommend is a short macro tube ( 13mm is ok ) that I am using to shorten the minimal focusing distance of that zoom which is 1m normally. Take a look at my review of this lens - I added few sample shots too. In my opinion this lens is great on digital but even better on film.--manntax
I checked - I have the pentax-m 1.2 50mm.

Thank you all for your help! I will definitely look into your suggestions!
04-07-2014, 05:41 AM - 1 Like   #8
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It's a little confusing. The standard lens was an M 50mm 1:2 lens, also listed as f/2 on some models. A step up was the f 1:1.7 and there were f 1:1.4 and f 1:1.2 lenses - each more expensive than the last. The f 1:1.2 lens can sell for over $400. the f 1:2 should cost less than $20. That said, if the 1:2 lens is good, it's good. I have one which works really well on digital, it renders rich, full colors.

04-07-2014, 06:19 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by TER-OR Quote
It's a little confusing. The standard lens was an M 50mm 1:2 lens, also listed as f/2 on some models. A step up was the f 1:1.7 and there were f 1:1.4 and f 1:1.2 lenses - each more expensive than the last. The f 1:1.2 lens can sell for over $400. the f 1:2 should cost less than $20. That said, if the 1:2 lens is good, it's good. I have one which works really well on digital, it renders rich, full colors.
So what exactly is the difference between the different lens types - the f # is the largest aperture, correct? And 50mm, etc, is the focal length which is how much of the area is captured. And then zoom lenses have a variable has variable focal length, which seems like that is something I would like to have. I guess what I'm trying to ask is if someone can give me a basic breakdown (explain to me like I'm 5 sort of thing) of what these numbers mean together. Thank you!
04-07-2014, 08:07 AM   #10
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Even though you say you've been shooting for awhile, I can highly recommend Bryan Peterson's book, "Understanding Exposure". He does a great job of breaking down the exposure process in an easy to understand way. Meanwhile, this could help you understand how SLR lenses work: Understanding Camera Lenses
04-07-2014, 12:00 PM   #11
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These 50mm lenses I describe all have the same focal length - so the same field of view. The aperture increases as the number decreases - it's a ratio, and you can find some nice references online. As aperture numbers decrease, the lens will have a narrower focal plane. At each step, the aperture area roughly doubles and so does the light admitted to the film. Beyond that, there were quality differences so even at f1:2 these lenses are not identical. If you're developing 3X5 or 4X6 prints, maybe you'll never notice.

Zooms have a variable focal length range. Common ones from this era are 70mm-200mm and 35mm-80mm so you turn the ring and your view magnifies. They're convenient, though quality can vary wildly - and some are certainly beaten up. The Vivitar Series 1 zooms are lenses to watch for, those are very good - but make sure they're K mount...

If you can find an M:50 1:1.7 that's going to be a GREAT starting lens. The F/2 lenses are also fine, they're just super common so people try to find the less common ones. If you can find an f1:1.4 for under $50, consider buying it but don't go out of your way right now...
04-07-2014, 06:15 PM   #12
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Aperture is the hole inside the lens between the blades that open and close when you look through it (off the camera) and pull the little lever on the camera end.
The number printed on the lens is always the maximum its capable of going to. If you see two numbers printed on a zoom lens its a variable aperture lens where it gets less light to the camera at the longer (more zoom) focal lengths for reasons not worth understanding at this point.
It would help to explain the several reasons why the faster (wider opening with lower aperture number) lenses are better.
For one thing Pentax put far more effort and money into the faster lenses with things like higher quality internal glass elements (sometimes adding more elements to help correct for aberrations) and more aperture blades (improves the appearance of out of focus areas among other things).
Mainly the advantage of wider apertures would be to:
A. Be able to get a narrower depth of field (wider aperture makes less in focus near to far so you can blur out backgrounds).
B. Shoot a picture in lower light with a faster shutter speed (more light getting to film in less time through larger aperture).
C. Lenses basically always produce a clearer, higher quality image when stopped down (smaller hole) one or two stops from wide open so even if the F2 maximum aperture of a 50mm F2 lens was all you would ever need, the 50mm F1.2 would produce a better image at F2 because it would be closed down several stops wheras the F2 lens would be wide open at its maximum.
Sorta like making a fast sports car and a regular passenger car cross the country at 100mph, one could do it easily while the other is giving you all its got and straining to do it thus reducing quality.
The one drawback (other than cost) to faster is size and weight, to make a lens able to capture more light in the same amount of time you have to have much larger glass elements in it so some of them can get pretty bulky. Search for Sigma 200-500 F2.8 if you want to see that taken to the ridiculous, you will think the image is fake but its not.

As far as the which lens, I agree Adam had it in the first reply.
Your 50mm F2 prime lens (prime means single focal length, not zoom) is fine to stick with for now so just put the money into the other one he suggested.
That zoom costs about $150ish but if I were to be told I could only keep one single lens for my film cameras that would be the one for more reasons than I care to get into but basically it does a ton of different things and does them well.
If you decide you want a bit longer zoom later on the A70-210 F4 is a very cheap and capable lens that produces very good results for the cost.
Most cheap long lenses that go out to 300ish usually are either slow in speed or poor in quality (or both) as a compromise.
You will figure out what each focal length (mm number) captures in an image for angle of view and which you would personally use the most as you try different things.

Last edited by PPPPPP42; 04-07-2014 at 06:25 PM.
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