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02-02-2013, 02:19 AM   #1
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vintage M and K lenses verses modern lenses

Hi everyone, just thinking aloud here....but I have my k20d in for repair and when I get it back I am going to upgrade to a k5iis. I also planned to upgrade my lenses (sigma 18-200 & Pentax limited 40 DA Limited is what I have now).
I have been cursing that my camera is still in the repair shop but now I think I am glad. It has given me time to think about what lenses I really want and need and to read lots of reviews etc..
What I discovered by reading lots is that the old Pentax K and M lenses are as popular or even more popular than the modern lenses.....and at a very small fraction of the price.
So in the last two weeks i have purchased on eBay, 1 x K mount 135mm f2.8 for $180 and a super takumar 50mm 1.4 for $120....both in excellent/near mint condition.
The only modern lenses I will get are a limited DA 15mm and a sigma 120-400mm. I will keep my 40mm limited also.
All I need now is my camera back so i can get the k5iis!!!!!!!!

The point being........the old lenses are as good as the new ones at a fraction of the cost.
I like to compose my shots.....I don't require auto-focus and other mod-cons.
Picture quality is the main thing.
Any comments????????

02-02-2013, 02:31 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by cadart Quote
........the old lenses are as good as the new ones at a fraction of the cost.
Very true for primes. Pentax has a superb vintage prime lens line up.

But I would disagree with the zoom lenses. The newer zoom lenses are worth to consider, better AF, lighter mechanics, for the same or better IQ.
02-02-2013, 02:51 AM   #3
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I agree, that's why I am getting the sigma 120-400. But for primes.....'they don't make'em like they used to!!!'
I can't wait to try these primes on the k5iis..
02-02-2013, 03:59 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by cadart Quote
1 x K mount 135mm f2.8 for $180
Is that the SMC A 135/2.8?

02-02-2013, 04:40 AM   #5
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The flare resistance of modern lenses are generally better than the old lenses. Auto exposure modes for A / F / FA / DA etc are definitely a plus!
But the build of these old lenses is simply wonderful and makes them nice to use (other than manual exposure - auto focus does not worry me as much). .
02-02-2013, 05:53 AM   #6
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I've noticed that many of my older lenses worked great on the *istDS andK10D, but not so much on the K-5 IIs. The increased resolution of this camera demands the absolute best glass, otherwise showing the flaws of a lesser lens. Granted, most of my old lenses are the lower end of Pentax glass--the higher grade stuff will perform much better. That said, a couple of my old lenses are superb on the K-5 IIs.
Of course, another factor is choosing the proper settings on the camera, and shooting in the best light.
I think one reason folks like the old glass is the feel of the lens and the novelty of using decades-old lenses. That's why I like it. And it still works great on my film cameras.
02-02-2013, 05:54 AM   #7
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Modern lenses are coated on the rear elements to reduce sensor ghosts (reflections between the sensor and the rear element).
02-02-2013, 05:54 AM   #8
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A couple of points here just to note. The takumar 50/1.4 is an M42 screw mount so you need an adaptor to use it with your camera. No big deal but get an original Pentax adaptor for this lens.

The second point to consider is that the K10 and K20 do not meter well with legacy lenses, due to partially to the focusing screen they use, get an *istD screen. LL60 I think it is in place of the LL80 of the K20, or for manual focusing get a split image focusing screen

Here is how different cameras meter with a fast 50mm



Lastly, while Pentax coatings have always been good, in recent years every one else has caught up, so modern third party lenses while not equal to pentax's current coatings are perhaps better than older Pentax coatings. Technology has to some extent passed the lenses by. However, using a good and long hood on a lens, and protecting it from direct light can still yield excellent shots with the old beauties. Note however that the lenses from the K and M series lack the ED glass and complex lens profiles of modern lenses and therefore exhibit more lateral CA than newer designs. This does not make them in useable, but just be prepared for what you see as results

02-02-2013, 06:02 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by kcobain1992 Quote
Is that the SMC A 135/2.8?
To kcobain, yes it is the smc 135 f2.5.
02-02-2013, 06:07 AM   #10
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I was aware of the ca I might get with these lenses but I think I did get some of Pentax's better glass.
And yes, I will also order an adapter for the takumar.
Thanks for your replies.
02-02-2013, 10:16 AM   #11
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I too have gone in the same direction, maybe not as deliberately. There are tradeoffs, that have been touched on here. The coatings, the rear element coating, being somewhat limited to shooting in either Av or M modes, etc. The one aspect that bothers me the most is the lack of lens identification embedded in the EXIF - especially when I have 2 lenses at the same focal length.

One thing that I do wish that Pentax would do is to go back into their extensive lens library, choose the designs that were the absolutely the best, the ones that can stand up to the K5IIs increased resolution, update the coatings, come up with a barrel design (like the FA 31Ltd), and reissue them. Perhaps have two versions - the (improved, fixed, repaired) SDM and then a non SDM for us non-believers (leaving the screw drive in). If they come out with a full frame body, they are going to need to do something like this anyway.

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