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VarioZenitar-K 25-45mm f/2.8-3.5 MC

Reviews Views Date of last review
2 8,880 Sun January 13, 2013
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $235.00 9.00
VarioZenitar-K 25-45mm f/2.8-3.5 MC

VarioZenitar-K 25-45mm f/2.8-3.5 MC
VarioZenitar-K 25-45mm f/2.8-3.5 MC
VarioZenitar-K 25-45mm f/2.8-3.5 MC

It's an interesting wide-angle zoom, 10 elements/10 groups, multicoated, introduced in 1991.
Very good build, fast, not very light but takes little room.
8-blades diaphragm.
Slip-on 60mm filters.
Built by KMZ in Krasnagorsk.
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Senior Member

Registered: July, 2010
Location: Fair Oaks, CA
Posts: 232
Lens Review Date: January 13, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $235.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, easy to focus/zoom compact and lightweight.
Cons: 60mm shap on filter/hood. Although it can be modief to 62mm failry easy.
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 5    Handling: 10    Value: 10   

One of my favorite zooms.
Excellent optical performance just like most Soviet lenses.
I modified my 60mm filter that came with the lens, took out glass, reversed it and screwed on 62mm hood.

Few landscape shots.

Site Supporter

Registered: March, 2010
Location: Bologna, Amsterdam, Chiang Mai
Posts: 448
Lens Review Date: January 3, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: handling, build quality, satisfying sharpness
Cons: weight, moderate contrast
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 10    Value: 10   

I have just added this les to the database of russian P-K lenses.
Unfortunately there is no section for russian P-K zooms (there are three of them, two VarioZenitars - 25-45mm and 35-105mm - and the Granit 80-200mm), so i had to add the lens to the list of russian primes.
The vote of "8" is not a bad one, at least for me, and the evaluation is relative to the category (i.e. wide-angle zooms).
Of course the IQ is not on par with a prime lens which gets the same vote, but i was positively impressed by the optical performance of this lens. My expectations were quite lower.
I am trying to explain a little the ratio of my evaluation: i have seen a bunch of 10's given to screw mount russian lenses which are... well, VERY optimistic. I don't know if M42 optics should have a place here (then, why no Mamiyas, Mirandas, etc. etc.?), but i can't understand why a certain lens, universally considered a dud, averages a vote of "10" on the reviews posted here.
When it comes to Pentax primes. i would give a "10" to just three of my optics (all A*: 1.4/85mm, 2.8/200mm and 2.8/300mm), and a "9" to other three primes (2.8/50mm Macro series F, 1.4/50mm M, and 2/28mm K Zeiss/Pentax floating elements).
All the other many P-K lenses i own don't earn the definition of "outstanding" or "exceptional" (which are a "9" and a "10").
Zooms can't be evaluated with the same severity, because they have intrinsic limits, and some features like focal choice and ergonomics have much more importance.
Of course you can't expect very high contrast from a zoom with a 10E/10G optical layout, but the VarioZenitar withstood a lot of rough use by my girlfriend, and in the end her slides and B&W negs were always on par with those i shot myself, using a good Tokina AF wide-angle zoom (which i expected to be much better!).
The lens is not very light, but it's solid and very well built. More than average, for a russian lens.
My girlfriend used to prefer a minimal equipment, when shooting 35mm film. It was either an MX or a Super-A, with the Pentax-A 35-105mm f/3.5 and the VarioZenitar. Just two zooms and one body.
The Pentax-A 35-105 was no slouch, i guess it's one of the best reasonably priced Pentax-A zooms, though i could not find an evident difference between the two lenses (in the focals where the two optics overlap i had problems telling which lens was used).
Maybe it's also because my girlfriend mostly used "central" diaphragms, shooting with good illumination, so the Pentax zoom could well show a better IQ if used wide open, but that's just a speculation.
I have used this lens very little myself, but from what i have seen it deserves the moniker of "hidden jewel".
Little known, and not easy to find (though you could get it for a nice price, if you happen to find one).
It is a nice do-it-all lens for indoor/events shooting, especially with a 400 ISO film.
It is a true pity that it has no electric contacts, and that its usefulness is greatly reduced if you use a DSLR.
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