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10-19-2012, 10:06 AM   #1
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minimalist camera rig/best small lenses ever made

Hi all,

I'm looking for lens recommendations. I'm a film-only shooter, and I really like Pentax cameras for their size. My girlfriend shoots an MX and I shoot an ME Super. Neither of us like lenses over 50mm, and we shoot a great deal with wide angles. We do a lot of travelling, and like shooting people and places in cities.

Here's the goal: the best minimalist camera rig that money can buy. What would you recommend for 3 lenses at or under 50mm - one for her camera, one for mine, and one to stick in my pocket?

I'm open to Pentax and non-Pentax lenses--Voigtlander, Zeiss, or anyone else who makes high quality lenses for Pentax.

Size is a consideration; I tend to use small lenses more than large ones, regardless of image quality. For example, I have an M 50/1.4 and an M 50/1.7 and I prefer the 1.7 for its size.

I can't wait to hear your recommendations!

-Jakeblues

10-19-2012, 10:12 AM   #2
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The M 28mm f2.8 and M 35mm f2.8 are nice and small.
10-19-2012, 10:35 AM   #3
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The 40mm pancake comes to mind. Small size, BIG performance.
10-19-2012, 11:06 AM   #4
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Pentax lenses:

M20/4 (30mm long)
M28/2.8 version 1 (31mm)
M28/3.5 (32mm)
K35/3.5 (36mm)
M40/2.8 (18mm)
FA43/1.9 (27mm)

The M50/1.4 is 37mm, so I've stuck to smaller than that. The FA43 is an autofocus lens of course, and is also much more expensive than the rest of this list. Of these, I have experience (on digital) with the M28/2.8 version 1 and the K35/3.5. The M28 is a fine lens and quite small. The K35 is an excellent sharp and contrasty lens, but not so small.

10-19-2012, 11:08 AM   #5
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I've also been looking at small lenses lately. My "small" kit used to be a ME Super with a M50/1.4 (I was shooting in dim museums), and a 28/2.8 in my pocket.

There are two versions of the M28/2.8. The first is about the same size as the M50/1.7. The later version is a little longer, the same as the M50/1.4. If you can tolerate the relatively slow speed, the K35/3.5 or Takumar 35/3.5 (the same optically), are quite small and have a reputation for sharpness. I'm thinking about the M20/4 for a little extra-wide.

There might be some Tessar-based 50s out there that would be small and contrasty (the strange little Industar 50-2 "Russian Pancake" comes to mind). I don't think they'd be an improvement on the M50/1.7.

Last edited by THoog; 10-19-2012 at 04:17 PM.
10-19-2012, 11:29 AM   #6
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It's not that small (medium sized) and an AF lens but I bet that my Pentax F 17-28 would be a fun fisheye on film. I've only used it on crop sensor and it performes well and is fun to use.
10-19-2012, 11:55 AM   #7
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I shoot almost all film as well, But spending a day with my friends Fuji X100 was a lot of fun and it is a great camera for people who love Film Rangefinders.

Not saying you should give up Film (I wont) but that is one camera well worth a long look.
10-19-2012, 11:55 AM   #8
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I have three lenses that I can recommend for film cameras that are very small:

K35/3.5
FA43/1.9
M24-35/3.5 Zoom

Phil.

10-19-2012, 02:55 PM   #9
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More To Try?

Hi Jake, how's Elwood?
Here's a recommendation you won't hear too often; A Miranda MC Macro 24mm f/2.8. It's fairly small, about the size of an "M" prime, sharp, fast, comes in an PK "A" mount and takes 52mm filters.
Best of all, you can find them for about $100.00 USD, or possibly less. I also own a Sigma Super-Wide 24mm f/2.8, and like the Miranda better for color rendition, contrast and overall I.Q.
The M 50mm f/1.7 is an absolute keeper, one of the best fifties ever.
My favorite 35mm (focal length, not film size) after the DA 35mm f/2.4 AL is the Pentax A 35mm f/2.8. Eye-bleedingly sharp and wonderful rendition, small and light.
Although you mentioned you're not looking at teles, you might also consider the Pentax M85mm f/2.0. Hardly bigger than a fifty, about 50% longer FL and legendary bokeh, the circular OOF discs that literally glow, making the in-focus subject pop out. Probably the most expensive of the bunch, but worth every penny.
Just some ideas for you!
Ron
10-19-2012, 04:03 PM   #10
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This may seem an odd recommendation, but the humble M50/2.0 is a pretty good walkaround lens in terms of tradeoff between size and quality.

Although it's no smaller than the excellent M50/1.7, its front element is recessed farther, making it easy to use without a protective filter; so in practice it is a few millimeters shorter. Also I think it's at least as sharp as the 40mm pancake.
10-19-2012, 11:31 PM - 1 Like   #11
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The 17mm f4 fisheye with an M42 adapter on an ME Super or MX has to be the smallest such combination!

10-20-2012, 12:13 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by LesDMess Quote
The 17mm f4 fisheye with an M42 adapter on an ME Super or MX has to be the smallest such combination!
Why has the brandname been scratched from the lens?
10-20-2012, 04:47 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by LesDMess Quote
The 17mm f4 fisheye with an M42 adapter on an ME Super or MX has to be the smallest such combination!
In your kit, perhaps. The K17/4 fisheye is 34mm long, not quite double the length of the M40 "original pancake".
10-20-2012, 05:44 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Clavius Quote
Why has the brandname been scratched from the lens?
I read in a 70's magazine this may have been due to import controls.


QuoteOriginally posted by baro-nite Quote
In your kit, perhaps. The K17/4 fisheye is 34mm long, not quite double the length of the M40 "original pancake".
By combination I meant this is the smallest diagonal fisheye combination I believe of any brand that I have seen. Of course the M40 and this Super Fish-Eye-Takumar 17mm F4 are not in the same league due to their FOV.
10-20-2012, 08:20 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by rbefly Quote
Hi Jake, how's Elwood?
Here's a recommendation you won't hear too often; A Miranda MC Macro 24mm f/2.8. It's fairly small, about the size of an "M" prime, sharp, fast, comes in an PK "A" mount and takes 52mm filters.
Best of all, you can find them for about $100.00 USD, or possibly less. I also own a Sigma Super-Wide 24mm f/2.8, and like the Miranda better for color rendition, contrast and overall I.Q.
The M 50mm f/1.7 is an absolute keeper, one of the best fifties ever.
My favorite 35mm (focal length, not film size) after the DA 35mm f/2.4 AL is the Pentax A 35mm f/2.8. Eye-bleedingly sharp and wonderful rendition, small and light.
Although you mentioned you're not looking at teles, you might also consider the Pentax M85mm f/2.0. Hardly bigger than a fifty, about 50% longer FL and legendary bokeh, the circular OOF discs that literally glow, making the in-focus subject pop out. Probably the most expensive of the bunch, but worth every penny.
Just some ideas for you!
Ron
Elwood's great, thanks for asking. We're on a mission from God.

Thanks for the suggestions. Never much considered a Miranda, but I may pick one up to check it out.

I'm not interested in teles because I have a few and I NEVER use them. I have some pretty great 85's for my other camera systems, and aside from sticking them on the camera when I first bought them, they've been doing nothing but collecting dust. I also have a Super Tak 105 that I never use. My behavior seems to indicate to me that I'm just not a tele shooter. At all.


QuoteOriginally posted by gofour3 Quote
I have three lenses that I can recommend for film cameras that are very small:

K35/3.5
FA43/1.9
M24-35/3.5 Zoom

Phil.
Interesting... I'll have to check these out. Have you by chance used the K 35 against other primes like the M 35/2?

QuoteOriginally posted by Corto-PA Quote
I shoot almost all film as well, But spending a day with my friends Fuji X100 was a lot of fun and it is a great camera for people who love Film Rangefinders.

Not saying you should give up Film (I wont) but that is one camera well worth a long look.
A close friend, also a film shooter, has an X 100 and he says exactly the same thing.

QuoteOriginally posted by LesDMess Quote
The 17mm f4 fisheye with an M42 adapter on an ME Super or MX has to be the smallest such combination!
Ah yes. Either the K or M42 17mm fisheye is quite small.


Has anyone used any Voigtlander lenses on Pentax? For example, the Voigt 40/2 against the Pentax 40/2.8 or 43/1.9? How about the Voigtlander 20mm against the M 20/4, or Voigt 28 against any other 28?
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