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03-14-2013, 08:19 PM   #1
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Best 28mm lens for K-Mount?

Hey All,

I'm new here so don't be too aggressive towards me.

I've been wanting a 28mm prime lens that will fit my ME Super, and I've read that the SMC K 28 f3.5 is one of the best ones out there.
I'm also having trouble trying to find the darn lens, and if any of you can lead me towards it, I'll be much grateful.

If there are any other good 28mm K-Mount lens, leave a suggestion!


03-14-2013, 08:32 PM   #2
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i just got yesterday a SMC M f/2.8 that I am using on a K-o1. Cant complain. $79 from National Camera Exchange. The 3.5 is a little harder to come by. They have one right now at B&H and I think they had a 3.5 at Nat camera exchange. I will say, though I only just took it out today for the first time, that it seems a little soft. On the other hand, I was shooting f/8 in full sun using the hyperfocal markings from 5 feet to infinity as a guide for street shooting. My copy may be a tad off, or responds differently to focus peaking on the k-o1 body (something I have noticed with 3 other 28's I have used up till now: a Ricoh manual 2.8, a Vivitar 2.8 with "A" setting, and a Focal 2.8....lets not even go there. The Focal was the worst of the bunch. Very hard to focus and very prone to blown highlights and fringing). I can endorse the SMC M f/2.8 but do not have first hand experience with the 3.5. More shooting will be needed before I can declare the 2.8 "soft"...but I am so far pleased with it after about 300 shots today.
03-14-2013, 08:41 PM   #3
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Used Pentax 28mm f/3.5 M Lens B&H Photo Video

Here's the link to the 3.5. If you get it, let me know how it looks!! I will post sample pics from the 2.8 soon so you can judge for yourself. Thanks!
03-14-2013, 08:43 PM   #4
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My M 28, 2.8 is really disappointing. I prefer the kit lens. I did find a use for it. I put it on my old K10 body as a dust protector.

I am hoping if pentax sells a full frame they will produce a new 28mm. The 31 mm Ltd is really tempting but far too expensive for the use I would give it.

03-14-2013, 09:33 PM   #5
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According to the M28 2.8, 1st version, at f/11 has an equal resolution to the K28 3.5 at f8. I own both lenses and the image tests I have done seem to bear this out. If you want a 28 for landscapes, shooting stopped down, the M28 2.8 would be a good choice.

I also compared the M28 2.8 to the "legendary" K30mm 2.8. I sent the 30mm back as it was no sharper than the M28 in spite of it costing 6 times as much.

Evidently the 1st version of the M28 is better than the second. And yes, the K28 3.5 is a very good lens.
03-14-2013, 09:50 PM   #6
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(1) There are two versions of the M 28/2.8, so in discussing this lens, some care needs to be taken as to what version is under discussion.

I have, from memory, the later version (I'm not at home as I write this post). Colours are good, sharpness is ok but not stunning either. Mine is mis-calibrated on the focus scale so true infinity focus is around the 10 feet marking. So if you rely on the scale for a distance shot without being aware of this, you are focusssing beyond infinity and sharpess and contrast suffers. It took me a little while to realise this. From conversations on this forum, I am aware of another member whose M 28/2.8 also appears to be mis-calibrated. In a quiet moment, I'll look to re-calibrate it. It is a risk that these older, simple construction lenses have been pulled apart at some stage of their lives.

(2) I also have the M 28/3.5 which I have found to be a lovely lens (good colours, sharp) and exbibits almost no bad behavior (ie no PF or CA, good flare resistance). I used it for Single in September 2012 and found it a joy to use.

See this link for my album: southlander's Album: Single in September -

The album consists of my daily best shot with the M 28/3.5 for 30 days. In aggregate, I took approx 900 photos with the M 28/3.5 over 30 days, so I think its fair to say I got to know it well. I tried to use it in a wide variety of settings over that time.

Bottom line: The M 28's are plentiful and not expensive, but I have a strong preference for the 3.5. The 3.5 particularly shine with blue tones, IMO.
03-14-2013, 10:09 PM   #7
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03-14-2013, 11:32 PM   #8
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If you widen your view to include other 28mm you may wish to look at this web page:
Great Vivitar 28mm Bestiary

- Check out the K01 and K02 models...

I have a Pentax 28 3.5 (not sure which version but M42) , the x01 and the K02 - both the latter are highly recommended by others as well as me All have their uses.

Kudos to Robin

Last edited by Arjay Bee; 03-14-2013 at 11:42 PM.
03-15-2013, 12:11 AM - 2 Likes   #9
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There are a lot of 28mm lenses, as it was the film's wide angle lens. Gofour3 suggested the K 28/2 which is a wonderful lens that has the same optical design as the famous Zeiss 28/2 Distagon (Pentax acquired it from Zeiss). There is also the Contax Zeiss 28/2.8 Distagon, which has been compared to the Pentax 31 Limited.It comes down to what you want to spend. I think that you can get a good 28/2.8 in the $100 area. The prices however do have a wide range based on quality and reputation. Highly regarded lenses are going to go in the $300. The good news is that there are a lot of choices. The bad news is that as old lenses, you may need to do some searching to find one.

There are quite a few Pentax choices, along with even more third party choices, ranging from $5 to $800, with ratings from 4 to 10.

03-15-2013, 07:08 AM   #10
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I think most 28s are OK, I rememebr there was a vivitar that was praised a lot, as well as a Zeiss and the Pentax 28/2.0
In the 80s I had the Super-Tak28/3.5 in the spotmatic and then I movd to Nikon so I had the 28/2.8 AIs which is really wonderful.

A couple of years ago I got a M-28/2.8 (v1) as part of a deal once, I had read tons of bad reviews about it so I was quite skeptical about it, used it once or twice and put it in storage.
Then one day I was testing it on the D-KX, and left it on the camera by mistake the night before going on a trip.
So after being forced of using it for a couple of days I can say that the 28/2.8 is not a bad lens, is not as good as the Nikkor 28/2.8 AIs
but it gave me adifferent perspective. Color were fine, sharpness is OK and in the D-Slr i cropped the corners so it wasn't too bad and chromatic aberrations were minimal. I would give it a 8.5/10

03-15-2013, 07:15 AM   #11
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I'll play contrarian here.

I have a Super Takumar 28/3.5, a S-M-C Takumar 28/3.5 (the S-M-C is the same as the K), and a SMC-A 28/2.8.

On its own the SMC-A doesn't have the greatest rep amongst Pentaxians. And I'd say it isn't the most dramatic lens Pentax has produced -- rather, the lens has an even, don't call attention to itself character.

I compared the 3 under controlled circumstances. To my surprise their rendering and color were nearly identical. Resolution wise, my three samples from least to most: S-M-C, Super, SMC-A. But the differences weren't that great; the greatest was from both Taks to the SMC-A.

My conclusion: I like the SMC-A, and it has a speed advantage over the 3.5 lenses. It supports the auto functions of digital Pentaxes. It is a fine lens, and I haven't yearned for anything else.

ps. I have made comparisons to one of the Vivitar 2.5's -- the 2.5 is more dramatic but doesn't resolve as well as the SMC-A. I looked at the S-M-C Tak (the Super is traveling with the Sightseeing Screwmount) vs an early Zuiko 28/3.5, and while the Zuiko had less purple fringing, the Tak was all over it in flare resistance. This was on a NEX C3
03-15-2013, 08:07 AM   #12
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Seems hard to find a truly bad 28 as they have a long optical history. My Rikenon is my best-ever sub $40 lens and only gets less use now because a 24mm smc-a has crowded it
03-15-2013, 08:08 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by interested_observer Quote
There are a lot of 28mm lenses
Good Lord, I would've never dreamed, that there were so many.

Thanks for taking the time to pull out all the links, I'm sure the OP will appreciate that.
03-15-2013, 08:22 AM   #14
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I have the SMC (K) 28/3.5 and have owned the M28/2.8, the S-M-C 28/3.5 and a Vivitar 28/2.5 AWA (though not a Close Focus version). Each was good in its own way, but one observation for any of these legacy lenses - have them serviced as soon as you get them, preferably by Eric.

The Vivitar had sticky aperture blades. I Zippo'ed them myself and sold it (regretably, I later learned). My K28/3.5 was a disappointment at first until I realized the focusing helicoid was misaligned. At hyperfocal distance markings everything beyond about 40 feet ranged from soft to decidedly out of focus.

Along with a K2 I had bought it made a quick trip to Eric for a focus reset and now my copy is lubed and tack sharp.
03-15-2013, 10:28 AM   #15
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A 28mm on an APS-C sensor is close enough to normal that a lot of digital users want it to perform like a normal prime. That is, something fast like f2 or better, smooth bokeh, and of course only $50. On your film camera, you can get that by getting a fast 50 so your requirements are different. Keep that in mind when looking at reviews here, possibly biased towards digital use.

Second caution, there are a lot of lens names that sound really close but are totally different designs. The SMC Pentax-M 28mm f3.5 is not the same as the SMC Pentax 28mm f3.5 or the SMC Pentax-M 28mm f2.8. We commonly refer to the SMC Pentax lenses as the K lenses but you won't find that on the lens itself. There's a couple of versions of the SMC Pentax-M 28mm f2.8 mentioned here, not that easy to tell apart either. Look for the serial number around the front element - no number means version 2. Third party lenses are even harder to sort out. Just be sure you're buying the right thing.

I like the Pentax-A 28mm f2.8 too. I have the optically similar F version. It's really compact on the ME. An oddball suggestion is this one:

Sigma 28mm F1.8 Aspherical II Lens Reviews - Sigma Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database

which you can get in a manual focus version. I have that digital bias, though.

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