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SMC Pentax-M 135mm F3.5 Review RSS Feed

SMC Pentax-M 135mm F3.5

Sharpness 
 8.5
Aberrations 
 8.2
Bokeh 
 8.3
Handling 
 9.3
Value 
 9.6
Reviews Views Date of last review
106 357,945 Sun December 29, 2019
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
98% of reviewers $47.92 8.56
SMC Pentax-M 135mm F3.5

SMC Pentax-M 135mm F3.5
supersize
SMC Pentax-M 135mm F3.5
supersize

Description:
The SMC-Pentax M 135mm F3.5 manual telephoto lens is slightly lighter than its K-series predecessor.


SMC Pentax-M 135mm F3.5
© www.pentaxforums.com, sharable with attribution
Image Format
Full-frame / 35mm film
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
Yes (no A setting)
Diaphragm
Automatic, 8 blades
Optics
5 elements, 5 groups
Mount Variant
K
Check camera compatibility
Max. Aperture
F3.5
Min. Aperture
F32
Focusing
Manual
Min. Focus
150 cm
Max. Magnification
0.11x
Filter Size
49 mm
Internal Focus
No
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 12 ° / 10 °
Full frame: 18 ° / 15 °
Hood
Built-in, slide out
Case
Dedicated hard case
Lens Cap
Plastic clip-on
Coating
SMC
Weather Sealing
No
Other Features
Diam x Length
63 x 66 mm
Weight
270 g
Production Years
1977 to 1986
Engraved Name
smc PENTAX-M 1:3.5 135mm
Product Code
23460
Reviews
User reviews
Features:
Manual FocusBuilt-in HoodAperture RingFull-Frame SupportDiscontinued
Price History:



Add Review of SMC Pentax-M 135mm F3.5
Author:
Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 31-45 of 106
Veteran Member

Registered: July, 2009
Location: Mount Joy, PA
Posts: 542
Lens Review Date: April 16, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $75.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Great construction and feel, overal sharpness, light
Cons: Wide-open corner sharpness, but that's being picky
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 9    Camera Used: *ist 35mm   

I have always liked the feel and performance of the Pentax M and A series lenses.

In college, the 135mm 3.5 was my go-to lens for portraits. I especially liked the fact that, with my *ist 35mm body, the combination was light. Back then, I could walk around and not feel pressured to take pictures to justify lugging around the weight. The sharpness at 3.5 is good and only gets better as the lens is stopped down. Considering the low weight, comfortable size, and good sharpness, this lens is a great performer for the price.

While some people find the built-in lens hood to be a gimmick or simply not helpful, I like this feature. A built-in hood is one less accessory I have to look for. On a cropped, digital body the hood might be a bit shallow, but the good news is the filter thread is only 49mm. This means picking up a metal tele-photo hood like the Kalt variety (as opposed to the rubber, collapsible type which are too wide) are quite inexpensive.

Like other M lenses, the 135mm 3.5 has a dampened focusing ring with the "just right" amount of resistance.

The focal length and fast-ish maximum aperture can create some interesting images; getting low to the ground with street-photography gives compressed and flat images with a small slice for depth-of-field. I would say the bokeh is better than average, although it's not the most creamy-smooth performer, either. Depending on working distance, out-of-focus items in the background can be a little "nervous", as some might say, but still good. Wide open, the highlights are nice and round.

While I haven't tried it, the Pentax-M 135 3.5 might be a good specimen to try a "bokehrama" - basically panoramic images stitched from several shots at the maximum aperture of the lens. The result is an image with very, very narrow depth of field. The most common lenses for such a project are the 85mm f/1.4 variety. Few people have the budget to experiment with that kind of lens. Furthermore, the 135mm 3.5 is much lighter and therefor easier to handle.

If I had to think of a con for the lens then it would be the softer corners found in images shot at the widest aperture. When used for portraits, though, this isn't typically a problem. As another reviewer pointed out, the contrast can be a bit lower when used wide-open, but it can be fixed in post-production. Also, as one can expect there are some chromatic aberrations in back-lit and high-contrast situations. Again, it's nothing that can't be improved with RAW processing software.
   
Site Supporter

Registered: March, 2014
Posts: 38
Lens Review Date: March 25, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: small, light, well built
Cons: none from my perspective
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: Pentax Kx, MX   

I gave this lens an 8 for sharpness, but on a DSLR give it a 9. Reason? You're using the central area of the lens on the CMOS sensor, not the full frame, so the falloff in the corners is not noticeable. It's gone by f5.6 anyway on a full frame film camera.

I use this as a travel lens, and thus, outdoors, I'd seldom be using anything but f8 or 11, unless I was isolating a subject, and at these apertures, it is as sharp as anything I've used. Wide open, it gives more than acceptable faces, and a nice bokeh. It really is about an average lens of this type, but it is smaller, lighter and handier than other 135mm f3.5s, so you're not going to get my copy.

This type of lens is still sharper and pictorially superior to a 135mm setting on a zoom or varfocal, it is common and therefore pretty cheap. If you are like me and use you camera on manual, and prefer manual focussing, I'd not look farther than this neat little piece of glass.

********* ********* ********

As a PS, I recently some of the accompanying duties at the BC Old Time Fiddler's Competition which was held in Prince George this year. Never one to leave a camera or two behind even if participating in events, I took along three lenses and my Pentax K10 and Kx - the 77mm f1.8 Limited, the 50mm Pentax-M f1.4 and the Pentax-M 135mm f3.5

The following pictures were taken with the 135mm Pentax-M 135mm f3.5, and were all handheld at 1/25th at f4, from about 26 feet away. I'm pleased with the results - the lens was very easy to hold steady, and the images produced very sharp and clear. After this experience, like my Mastercard, I won't leave home without it!










   
New Member

Registered: February, 2014
Posts: 7
Lens Review Date: February 22, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Build quality, handling
Cons: Could be sharper wide open (center is ok though), 2.8 would be nice of course..
Sharpness: 8    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 10    Camera Used: ME   

Borrowed a copy of this for a few rolls, so did not comment on price / value.

Nice lens.
Really well made. Neat, compact. Funny little built-in lens hood.

It's not super-sharp, at least not towards the corners wide open. Maybe not super contrasty wide open either.
I think it makes for a nice portrait lens though - center is pretty sharp, and bokeh is nice.

Here's a scan of an analog photo of a poster - full 35mm frame on the left, 100% crop on the right -

   
New Member

Registered: October, 2013
Location: Naples
Posts: 10
Lens Review Date: November 1, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $40.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: cheap, comact and light, well built, good fo potraits
Cons: soft wide open
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 6    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 8    Value: 9   

The classic cheap but quite good medium tele of M era... good for potraits and tele shots. A good kit tele lens.
   
Veteran Member

Registered: February, 2009
Location: Arlington, VA
Posts: 3,758
Lens Review Date: October 18, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $90.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, lightweight, small, solid construction, incorporated hood
Cons: a bit soft wide open
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-x, K-30   

I paid more than the usual price for my copy, because it's new/old stock.
A while ago I had another copy of this lens, which I sold and then regretted selling it... For me, it's the perfect travel tele-companion. The best tele-range for me, besides 85mm. I've tried AF tele-zooms, and, in addition to having almost twice the weight of this all-metal jewel, all of them have had some decentering at some focal length. No such problems with my two cheap 135mm primes. I have a good copy of JC Penny 135mm f2.8, but that lens is about 150 grams heavier and longer. The M 135mm f3.5 is significantly smaller than the typical 135mm lens, which is a good thing when taking streets photos--people are less intimidated by small lenses, and they tend to think that small = wide.
The Pentax may be a bit softer at f3.5 than my JC Penney at f2.8, but at f4 sharpness improves quite dramatically, and at f5.6 it is superb. (For travel f3.5 is not that important, so I'm fine with it. And the softness I'm talking about isn't actually bad--the lens can easily be used for portraits wide open.)
Just a tiny bit of CA wide open in contrasty situations.
Typical "M" rendering, which I like. Beautiful, realistic colors, with great micro-contrast.
Good copies can be had for around $50: a no-brainer.

A few pics:








   
Senior Member

Registered: November, 2011
Location: Chicago
Posts: 124
Lens Review Date: September 11, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $45.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: SMC, focus ring feel, good sharpness wide open with smooth bokeh
Cons: none so far...
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 9    Camera Used: Pentax K-30   

I've had this lens for a few months, I bought with a few other manual focus lenses. I've just gotten around to properly using it. It took a few shots to adjust to the focal length since I'd been shooting 24mm for the last month or so, but wow!

This lens feels great: excellent construction, focus ring has just the right amount of resistance, fairly small compared to other lenses in this length and at 3.5, it's nicely sharp. Good bokeh, as well.

View Image Here:
https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B6mckxNUr6b0UjkyRWpwYUZTUVE/edit?usp=sharing
   
New Member

Registered: April, 2013
Posts: 3
Lens Review Date: August 26, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $10.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Cheap, light, compact, good performer at short telephoto distance
Cons: Not that good wide open or at infinity
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-r   

Picked mine up for 5 GBP so cannot complain on any front. Great at distances up to 20m on portrait subjects but does struggle wide open and at infinity but this may be more to do with my K-r or me! Even taking into account current ebay prices $75 or so, this is a no brainer.
   
Site Supporter

Registered: November, 2011
Location: Vancouver, WA
Posts: 809
Lens Review Date: June 28, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $21.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Compact, inexpensive, attractive, built-in hood
Cons: Tough to focus with DSLR, not as sharp as I like
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 10    Value: 9    Camera Used: ME Super, ZX-M   

Bought this to use with my ME Super (mostly) but use it with my ZX-M too. I shoot B&W film only with these cameras. For what I paid on the used market it's a nice enough lens. It takes a little getting used the shallow DOF. I tried to use it with my K-x and I found it difficult to get a sharp focus without the focusing ring like the film cameras have.

I haven't used this lens enough to know if I like it or not but I can see it growing on me. I'll update this after I get more time with it. I'll be doing mostly landscape with it and it seems to be happiest with plenty of light.
   
New Member

Registered: February, 2012
Posts: 15
Lens Review Date: June 14, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $30.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Tiny, light, handles nicely
Cons: Lacks contrast and sharpness wide open.
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 8    Camera Used: Samsung GX-20   

I confess to being disappointed by this lens.

In its favour, it is tiny, light, and well made.

However, contrast is lacking wide open, so it is difficult for me to focus it by eye; I have to rely on the focus confirmation. It is possible that it seems soft because I have missed the focus slightly, but my pictures with this lens wide open are soft.

At f5.6, sharpness and contrast have improved significantly. Sharpness gets close to the CZJ 135mm f3.5 Sonnar when the CZJ is wide open, contrast is still behind.

Switching to the CZJ, I notice how much more easily the CZJ snaps in to focus.

The Pentax bokeh is inoffensive, as is the colour, and fringing is minimal, but the images lack 'Wow' factor.

The Pentax works well with the Pentax 1.7x AF adapter, but it since the lens still needs to be stopped down to f5.6 to get an acceptably sharp image, it is restricted to bright sunlight only.
   
Pentaxian

Registered: September, 2010
Location: Manchester, UK
Posts: 2,569

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: May 12, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $25.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Size, build, sharpness, handling.
Cons: Minimum focus distance.
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-7   

Some lenses are just right, others can be real dogs. This one falls into the just right category. eBay seemed to be flooded with copies of it going cheap, so I could not resist a quick snipe.

In its day it was the 'standard' telephoto to have, probably churned out by the thousand. There are faster 135's about, but this one has that intangible old Pentax M build quality about it.

It is small, even with the sliding built-in hood extended. The focus is well damped and the focus travel angle is perfect at about 225 degrees end to end. The aperture ring has half stop clicks and feels very precise. The sliding hood is quite short, certainly too short on APS to be really effective. But it is yet another nice little design touch.

My copy has blueish SMC coating on all the elements, including the rear one.

Image quality is very good. There is practically no distortion and only very little CA. There can sometimes be a touch of purple fringing in high contrast areas. Contrast could also be better but this can be easily fixed in post-processing. The lens is actually sharp and perfectly usable wide open at f3.5 and becomes very sharp at about f5.6. Colour is slightly on the cool side compared to modern DA Pentax lenses. Bokeh is superb, especially when wide open - very smooth and not at all intrusive.

A quick comparison with other lenses at 135mm f5.6 is here.

The more I use this lens, the more I like it - it definitely grows on you. It is so small that one can shoot unnoticed - ideal for those sneaky street shots. Also it seems easy to get the elusive '3D' effect, with the subject in focus against a just slightly blurred background and foreground. It is happiest in gentle light, overcast sky or 'golden hour' shots - contrasty scenes can provoke purple fringing.

Most of these shots were taken at f3.5 :





   
New Member

Registered: November, 2012
Location: Sandvika
Posts: 6

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: May 7, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $65.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp, smaller then kit, built in hood
Cons: Maybe 2.8 could be great but it`s ok.
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-5   

I got it from a friend of mine. It`s cheaper then A version (but A is F/2,8). Price and performance are wonderfrull. If you find a clean, without problem, just take it.

Compare size with a kit lens, smaller. That `s make it great.
Many things has been told, I have noting to add about it. I am happy to have it.

   
Site Supporter

Registered: April, 2011
Location: Lost in translation ...
Posts: 17,725
Lens Review Date: April 21, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $45.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Sharp, build, compact, hood ...
Cons: Min. focus distance ...
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-5, K-r   

Bonjour,

I finally found a M 135/3.5 in very good condition, and I really appreciate the design of this lens. Compared to the other 135mm's that I have, the M is most overall pleasing as per build, feel, size, etc.

Quite sharp and good contrast, it's a joy to use. I cannot add much more than what has been previously written, so my contribution will be an image of this lens upon the K-r so that one can get an actual idea as to the convenient size of this 135mm.

Salut, J

   
Moderator
Man With A Camera

Registered: June, 2010
Location: The Great Pacific Northwet
Posts: 20,973
Lens Review Date: April 14, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $50.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Compact, well built, sharp, that great Pentax quality.
Cons: Really?

I went on a tear in March and decided I needed some manual lenses to hone my photographic skills. I also know that using a bellows or extension tubes for macro work required the use of manual lenses, and after much reading and review the M looked like a great choice.

This is the longest of the 3 M lenses I bought, and it has proved to be a winner. I expect that I will get many years of satisfaction from it, and it will likely get used on more than one Pentax camera.
   
Veteran Member

Registered: November, 2009
Location: Iowa
Posts: 2,275

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: February 2, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $38.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp, good colors, lightweight, small, built-in hood, cheap
Cons: Minimum focus distance of almost 5 feet, some PF
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: Pentax Q   

The 135 on the Pentax Q:

I bought this lens to use as an adapted super-tele (with the Fotodiox adapter) on a Pentax Q, and for that purpose, it's quite good. With the 5.6x crop factor of the Q, this lens is the equivalent of a 756mm lens on a 35mm!

I wouldn't recommend shooting wide open with it on the Q, but stopped down to F:5.6 image quality is ok with some purple fringing. F:8 is the sweet spot, with the best IQ and fringing virtually disappearing. I leave my copy set at F:8 pretty much all the time.

Ergonomically, it's a perfect little package. The focus throw is just right, aperture ring action is smooth and precise, and the built-in hood is very cool. It's compact size and light weight (about the same as the 18-55 kit lens) make it the perfect long tele for the Q. You'll need a steady hand to shoot handheld with it on the Q, though. 135mm is my personal maximum for a handheld tele on the Q. Anything longer would be very difficult to hold steady.

One criticism I have is the minimum focus distance is nearly 5 feet. On a film camera or DSLR, this could be a dealbreaker, but on the Q, it's no big deal. Just don't expect to do any macro shots without a closeup lens on the end, but for general shooting, birds, wildlife, etc., this lens is just the ticket on the Q.

Not to mention, it's cheap! I bought mine from fellow forum member GhoSStrider, who reviews this same copy a bit further down the page.

To summarize: While not the ultimate in sharpness and lack of PF, it's tiny size, light weight, low cost, and solid performance on the Q make it an excellent choice for a handheld super-tele on the Q.
   
New Member

Registered: January, 2013
Posts: 9
Lens Review Date: January 23, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $40.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Nice colour rendition
Cons:
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 9    Camera Used: k-30   

This is one of the firs timages I took after getting the 135 3.5 . Creates smooth bokeh and can be wonderfully sharp at f3.5. Slight saturation increase and minimal cropping on this image.

Add Review of SMC Pentax-M 135mm F3.5



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