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03-25-2015, 01:26 AM   #1
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Which standard lens and flash to complete my KX kit ?

Hi guys,

I've recently been looking for a flash and a K standard lens as new companions for my KX. I already got one of those perfect K 28mm f3.5 lenses and I have a well-known M 50mm f1.7 but i'd like to go full K series.

Regarding the lenses i'm currently debating if i wanna go for K 50mm f1.4 or K 55mm f1.8. I have of course read all the comments in the reviews section (multiple times actually) but i'd like your input and experience about the difference of use between those two lenses. On one hand the 55mm would be cheaper, the little bit longer focal fits nicely between 28mm and 85mm (i will have someday but too expensive for now), it seems to stick to the K series principle : build like a tank, providing steady images. The 50mm on the other hand is a bit more expensive, but it provides more light and so a shallower dof. I feel like the f1.4 allows to produce more specific images, and like the lens overall has his own touch.
Even if I know the two lenses may be complementary, i'm looking for an efficient kit. That implies : only one standard focal lens. That's why i'm asking what are your thoughts about those two.

About the flash : I don't quite understand what kind of flash I should go for. I went through the pentax guenine flash section reviews. Lot of flashes seem to require "TTL automation". Does the KX have it ? I don't think so. I know for a fact its flash sync' is 1/60s but i'm not sure still which kind of flash I should be looking for, a purely manual one ? Also i know flashes which bounce provide more natural light with indoor situations. Would, for example, a Pentax AF 280T work nicely with the KX ?

Thanks very much, Karénine.





03-25-2015, 01:37 AM   #2
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My KX which I bought new in 1975 came with the SMC Pentax 55mm f1.8 lens. So I'd recommend that.

As for a flash. No TTL Automation on the film KX. I'd go for a Pentax AF-280T for it's shear versatility. Set it on one of the selected aperture values and let it work out the flash amount or go fully manual.

Regards

Chris
03-25-2015, 05:51 AM   #3
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I'd be tempted to look for one of the nicer fast 135mm and a 70-210 zoom from that era or slightly after. Then again, some of the Vivitar Series 1 lenses would be really good on the KX. It is a pretty camera, for sure.
03-25-2015, 07:56 AM   #4
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The KX is a great camera and my daily shooter (I have four of them). I recommend the K-55/1.8. Also, the 135/2.5.
I have a SunPak 422D that has served me well for over 20 years with my K-body cameras.

Regarding f/1.4: If you need it, get it. But you may not need it. If light is low enough that you need f/1.4, you may be better served with a tripod or a flash instead. The tripod and the flash are useful in more situations than an extra half-stop of aperture. With the KX, I find the maximum 1/1000 shutter speed to limit me far more often in daylight shooting than f/1.8 has in any situation.

03-25-2015, 08:45 AM   #5
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Unless you really need the extra 2/3 stop of aperture or the higher iris blade count, the K 55/1.8 is my recommendation over the K 50/1.4. Both are great lenses. As for flash, any auto-thyristor (detector on flash body) flash will work nicely. The classic for the time would the vintage Vivitar 283 (not the current flash with same model number). Take care with the 283 around any modern camera. The trigger voltage through the hot shoe will fry the electronics of many modern cameras.


Steve
03-25-2015, 11:47 AM   #6
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The 1.4 is pretty much superior in every way. Faster, just as sharp, better color rendition, better aberration control, wider field of view, etc. Price aside, the 1.8 only has two things to recommend it. It is a bit rarer, and it is sharper wide open. But if you look at the lenses, the 1.8 goes right from 1.8 to 2.8, whereas the 1.4 has an additional stop at f/2. That f/2 is only negligibly slower than 1.8, and in my experience is just as sharp as the 1.8 at wide open.

Looking at it another way, these K-series lenses are optically identical to their SMC Tak counterparts; while the 1.8 Tak is a well-respected lens, there is a reason that it is the 1.4 that is always in the discussion of greatest Japanese standard prime ever produced.
03-25-2015, 12:11 PM   #7
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I got my KX in 1975 and choose the K55/1.8 as my standard lens and have had no regrets. Since then I have picked up the K50/1.4 and K50/1.2, but the 55/1.8 is up there with the faster boys.

As for the flash, the Pentax AUTOROBO was the standard flash for the KX when it was released in June 1975.

Phil.
03-26-2015, 12:52 AM   #8
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Thanks guys for the comments, I now get the sense of which flash I should look for. As for the lenses i'm not sure yet ahah. I saw a pack with 55 1.8/28 3.5/135 2.5 (plus another black kx camera etc.), i think i can manage for 150eu. I'm very tempted. But as Dcshooter stated : the 50mm 1.4 can do pretty much everything the 55mm 1.8 does, with a little bit extra in specific situations, doesn't it ? For example Gofour, you said you started with the 55mm, but now if you go out with a standard lens which one do you pick the most ?
In the hand to hand market in France there isn't much price difference between the two. I mean it's around 80eu for 50mm 1.4 and maybe 60 for the 55mm. Still have to think about it i guess.

As for the M 50mm 1.7, i'm kinda OCD with K series lenses. I figured i wanna go full K. I guess i can blame Gofour for that. Though it's a great lens, I think my copy is in bad shape, I got it for 10 euros ... But some of the picture dramatically lack contrasts. And since i need to pick another one I thought i'd rater go for a K lens.

03-26-2015, 05:06 AM   #9
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The M50/1.7 is quite similar to the K55/1.8 in performance (IMHO)
If you do not already have a 50/1.4 go for it.
However the 55/1.8 is so sharp it hurts
03-26-2015, 07:20 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Karénine Quote
As for the M 50mm 1.7, i'm kinda OCD with K series lenses. I figured i wanna go full K.
I am sure we can appreciate that perspective.

This was the Pentax ad published with the release of the KX showing it with a 50mm f1.4.



I believe another member (Jean Poitiers) here is from your neck of the woods, and it seems he has come upon a few startlingly great deals that way like this one -> 50mm f1.2 for 90€
03-26-2015, 08:13 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Karénine Quote
For example Gofour, you said you started with the 55mm, but now if you go out with a standard lens which one do you pick the most ?
I use the K50/1.4 & K55/1.8 equally when I travel, around home (Vancouver) I mostly use the larger K50/1.2. I also have the K55/2 which I never use.

Phil.
03-26-2015, 09:01 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by dcshooter Quote
Price aside, the 1.8 only has two things to recommend it. It is a bit rarer, and it is sharper wide open.
?????

The K55/1.8 is incredibly common and was the lens more commonly sold with the K-series cameras as a kit. The f/1.4 was an additional cost option.


Steve
03-26-2015, 09:04 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by LesDMess Quote
I am sure we can appreciate that perspective.

This was the Pentax ad published with the release of the KX showing it with a 50mm f1.4.
FWIW, camera makers almost always advertised their bodies with premium lenses attached. Both the K 55/1.8 and K 50/1.4 are equally authentic and characteristic of the KX.*


Steve

* Mine has the K 55/1.8 mounted. I have no desire for the K 50/1.4. The camera is heavy enough with the K 55/1.8
03-27-2015, 04:35 AM - 1 Like   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
FWIW, camera makers almost always advertised their bodies with premium lenses attached. Both the K 55/1.8 and K 50/1.4 are equally authentic and characteristic of the KX.*
Steve
* Mine has the K 55/1.8 mounted. I have no desire for the K 50/1.4. The camera is heavy enough with the K 55/1.8
And if you look at the KX manual, it lists quite a few equally authentic lenses for use with the KX too.

Of course Pentax promotes the premium lenses since they just spent some money developing this new line of lenses with the release of their K mount bodies. The Dec 1975 Modern Photo mag also shows the K 50mm f1.4




Here is the Nov 1975 Modern Photo mag review of the three 50mm lenses as a point of reference but of course these lenses are used and no guarantee of their performance.

03-27-2015, 08:57 AM   #15
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I have a Pentax brochure that has a KM bundled with the K50/1.2!

These are the October 1, 1975 CDN list prices for the standard K Series lenses. You can see why most folks went with the 55/1.8.

K55/1.8 - $124.95
K50/1.4 - $199.95
K50/1.2 - $299.95


Phil.
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