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Old May 25, 2007, 6:59 PM   #1
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There has been a lot of talk on various forums lately as to the rise in cost of older Pentax lenses..A great number of people appear to highly resent this state of affairs...I do not think that this situation will go away any time soon, & my following comments will tell you why I feel that this is so...<

Over the past several weeksI have put together lists for each of the catagories of Pentax bayonet mount lenses (except for FA-J, I'm not interested in these lenses)...This is so as to be able to trackthe lenses on E-Bay, & keep a record of the selling prices..When I am in a position to purchase new "old" glass, I will have data to decide how high I am willing to bid for a lens..<

While compiling the lists & searching for lenses on E-Bay I have ruminated on just why the older optics have accrued in value so quickly..Following are my conclusions>>>>><

First---Pentax has a solid reputation for manufacturing quality glass..This leads to the perception of & the willingness to pay for said quality...<

Second---The vast majority of their lenses, with some exceptions perform well, meeting customer expectations...<

Third---Throughout it's history Pentax has been known as an innovative, often cutting edge company..One example would be the smcP-M 40mm F2.8 "pancake" lens produced between 1979-1984; a lens way ahead of it's time..Unfortunately, until the release of the K100 & K10D that reputation as an innovator suffered (past 10-15 yrs.)...<

Fourth---Having complete backward lens compatibility allows Pentax digital camera owners the ability to use every lens ever produced by Pentax..This is something the other camera companies can not boast about..Although many of the older lenses are heavy & slow by modern standards it allows a level of experimentation not possible with Canon, Nikon, etc..Such usage, especially when shooting completely manual, can only lead to greater competency upon mastering said techniques..Hopefully, this also leads to greater familiarity with the camera, in turn leading to greater appreciation for & loyaltyto the brand...<

Fifth---Taking the forth point a step further, Pentax also allows the usage of all of it's medium format camera lenses to be used on the digital models through the use of fairly expensive adapters (albiet w/ somewhat severe focusing & cropping issues)...<

Sixth---Pentax's inability/ unwillingness to meet the demand for all of it's recent/ most popular smcP-DAdigital lenses...<

Seventh---Expanding further on point six is Pentax's inability/ unwillingness to produce the smcP-FA lenses that Pentaxians would purchase in lieu of the DA lenses..By removing from the catalog many years too soon those FA lenses which bridged gaps in the line-up of the newer digital lenses, Pentax provided for thevalue of those lenses to accrue..For many people including myself the FA lenses would be all that is required to fulfill their needs...<

Eighth---The absolute hysteria that many individuals seem to delight in fostering over the Hoya-Pentax merger..I feel that many people with the means to do so have used this hysteriato snap up the old glass so as to turn around and immediately resell it..That's the marketplace & how the free enterprise system works..<

Now that this merger is "a done deal" hopefully some of the hysteria will begin to subside..Unfortunately, all of the hoopla seems to have served to cause a lot of people to "go crazy" when purchasing older Pentax glass on E-Bay..Consequently the prices for much of the vintage Pentax glass has increased signifigantly over the past year..<

As a result of low supply & great demand many older lenses are put on E-Bay with very high reserves, conpared to a year or two ago..Accordingly if a person new to Pentax wants a particular lens, does not know what the old going price for a lens is; they have no alternative but to bid for the "over-priced" lens if it is what they really desire..<

I DO NOT want to pay a lot more than a lens is supposedly worth "Blue Book"..However, I do not see the prices of older Pentax lenses, especially the ones that I am interested in, dropping any time in the near future...If Pentax "ramps up" it's production facilities to meet world wide demand for the FA & DA lenses in the catalog; as well as producing in adequate quantities any new lenses in or about to be delivered to the pipeline, I still see the old lenses being in demand & selling for good money..This will be especially true for any lens filling a gap in the line-up..<

Anyway these are my thoughts on the subject...I am interested to hear what the long-time Pentaxian digital owners think....<

Bruce
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Old May 25, 2007, 7:54 PM   #2
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I think the biggest factor is the lack of top of the line long telephoto primes and zoom lenses available for the Pentax mount. Even the third party makers have generally not been making their best lenses available in the K-mount. Pentax has a great selection of primes but all of them are below 80mm. Hopefully Pentax will finally release their new DA* lenses and the third party makers will also start releasing more of their better glass in the K mount.

The old lenses are often still bargains, they are just not as much of a bargain now that more people know about them. A new Sigma 100-300 f/4 runs $1000, the MF Tokina 100-300mm I just picked up ran me just under $200. Maybe a year ago it would have been less, but it was still a whole lot cheaper than the Sigma and I am sure the Sigma does not produce pictures that are five times sharper.

I just hope Hoya and the lens companies are paying attention to the ebay market. There is a lot of pent up demand out there if they bring out the right products.

Tim
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Old May 25, 2007, 9:55 PM   #3
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TIM You are absolutely right..Except for a 50mm F1.2, all of the lenses that I would like to have are above 85mm. Especially the long telephoto primes. You are also correct that Sigma & Tamron have lenses in production that only require a Pentax mount that would bridge gaps in the Pentax line..Both of these companies could have sold a significant number of lenses were they available for Pentax.. Bruce
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Old May 25, 2007, 9:59 PM   #4
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I have noticed this too. There are many fewer Pentax lenses being offered on ebay now than one year ago, and the pricesbeing realized have risen inverselywith the supply - I attribute this to the popularity of the new K series of dslrs. Frankly, I have been surprised by the popularity of the MF lenses with owners of these cameras on these forums, as theycannot not utilize autofocus. Perhaps it is because of the relatively lower cost, or the fact that more serious photographers are involved and willing to experiment with the availabile features of these lenses.The array of adjustments available on the K10 makes it particularly adaptable to the use of manual lenses - it puts the photographer back in control as he wasbeforeautomation took over.Any number of digital-only lenses now lack manual diaphragm adjustment, and are therefore more limiting. Whaatever the reason, LBA is resurgent!
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Old May 26, 2007, 2:58 AM   #5
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baltochef920 wrote:
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TIM You are absolutely right..Except for a 50mm F1.2, all of the lenses that I would like to have are above 85mm. Especially the long telephoto primes. You are also correct that Sigma & Tamron have lenses in production that only require a Pentax mount that would bridge gaps in the Pentax line..Both of these companies could have sold a significant number of lenses were they available for Pentax.. Bruce
Bruce, if I were you, I'd do myself a favor and look for a 50mm f1.4 instead of 1.2.

This for 2 reasons:
1: The f1.2 goes for rediculously high prices on ebay. They advertise it as "the fastest lens ..." and charge a fortune for it. If you'd get a 1.4 with only 0.2 stop difference, you'd save money you can spend on other lenses.

2: the f1.2 has been reported to perform less than the 1.4 and 1.7. (see here: http://stans-photography.info/ ) It seems to be less sharp wide open, and why would you need the extra 0.2 stop then, if you can't use it? The 1.4 and 1.7 on the other hand are amazingly sharp wide open. (I have the "A" f1.7 myself, the 1.4 performs equally well)

Trust me, get one of those 1.4 or 1.7 primes and you'll love it



Now, as for the lenses, prices are indeed getting higher for anything pentax-related on ebay...I'm looking for a Tamron Adaptall mount now, and the prices are about triple of what they cost for the Nikon version...


Tom

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Old May 26, 2007, 7:38 AM   #6
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TDN wrote:
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baltochef920 wrote:
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TIM You are absolutely right..Except for a 50mm F1.2, all of the lenses that I would like to have are above 85mm. Especially the long telephoto primes. You are also correct that Sigma & Tamron have lenses in production that only require a Pentax mount that would bridge gaps in the Pentax line..Both of these companies could have sold a significant number of lenses were they available for Pentax.. Bruce
Bruce, if I were you, I'd do myself a favor and look for a 50mm f1.4 instead of 1.2.

This for 2 reasons:
1: The f1.2 goes for rediculously high prices on ebay. They advertise it as "the fastest lens ..." and charge a fortune for it. If you'd get a 1.4 with only 0.2 stop difference, you'd save money you can spend on other lenses.

2: the f1.2 has been reported to perform less than the 1.4 and 1.7. (see here: http://stans-photography.info/ ) It seems to be less sharp wide open, and why would you need the extra 0.2 stop then, if you can't use it? The 1.4 and 1.7 on the other hand are amazingly sharp wide open. (I have the "A" f1.7 myself, the 1.4 performs equally well)

Trust me, get one of those 1.4 or 1.7 primes and you'll love it



Now, as for the lenses, prices are indeed getting higher for anything pentax-related on ebay...I'm looking for a Tamron Adaptall mount now, and the prices are about trile of what they cost for the Nikon version...


Tom
Hey Tom---I only mentioned the 50mm f1.2 as a "wish" lens..I currently own a smcP-A 50mm F1.4--Great lens..I had not read that info about the 50mm F1.2 on Stan's site..Good to know..Your'e also correct about the rising cost of & scarcity of Adaptall K-mount adapters..I recently purchased a second one so that I would not have to change my single 20 yr. old one back & forth all the time..Hard to find & about 5 times the cost of the older one when I purchased it....Cheers Bruce
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Old May 26, 2007, 8:21 AM   #7
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And also the SKYROCKET take off of the 100D and then right after really 10D actualy relased on time as PROMISED (someting C&N have NEVER really done)..... my experience around 12/06... was largely responsible for that.... while the isT's just sort of languished before (not that they weren't good cameras).

Old lenses have only gone up from then.... again limited old supply and suddenly BIG current demand and one of the pluses of the current K's thay can use any of the old lenses.... the A primes are in particuar demand..... just got an old A 1.4 50mmm GORGEOUS is the only word for it... but after first still surprisingly cheap A f/2 (once the film kit lens...why so many around and still cheap.... even the A's) and then a 1.7 surprisingly better by 1/2 stop) but the 1.4 is awesome (a word I rarely use)

"A" f/1.4 about $!20 and. still a bargain....(1.7's arpound $70) . thought the F/2's if you snap one up soon still going around $30..... still fast and PRETTY DARN sharp prime if you don'tr mind MF or need absolute glass speed. Maybe the best Kit lens (though fixed FL where as todqay some zoom is expected even if on 2-3x at low FL) ever put on a Pentax. (And again why som many around vs the 1.7's and 1.4's that were options.... even a few 1.2's but even old A's are going for like $300 for that 1/2 stop above1.4) How much $$$ do you want to spend..... I will on a goergeous olf A LONG nefore I would on a currrent MEGA$$$ DA or FA.... MF on a prime is not a real issue in most cases... especially again K10D gives you and AF blip/blink confirmation even in MF... zoom another matter especially for SR compensation.

And that is ALL ABOUT GLASS... little weight difference betwwen My 50mm A F/2 and 1.7.... but very noticeable when you go to 1.4 I won't swar to twicw as heavy but VERY noticeable...and though just 1/2 stop faster for 1.2 you are talking twice glass optical quality & weight again.... that's why they get so much more expensive.


...., the old M42 screw mounts requiring adapter and and full manual are still pretty cheap but especially the K "A" (still full AE all mode functional....though MF) K mounts are particularly in demand/pricey , and with the K's no matter how long or old still SR on anything..... though manual zooms are problematiic if you want SR (as even A's don't report FL to the SR) ... but primes just a at mount single setting... on K10D by default screen at power up if SR is on

Bottom line if you don't mind MF.... snag even if just F/2 a 50mm A best/cost effective thing you will EVER buy for your pentaxt whille you still can.

And again even if the most prevalent (my first) you can even snag a F/2 A 50mm reasonably cheap don't even think twice.... JUST DO IT they the entire A series SMC all gorgeous lenses. ... and even F/2 is pretty darn fast especially for likely still $50 or less.... and again an A lens fully DSLR functional other than AF

Bottom line ALL other DSLR ,makers in 20006 were flat or saw a loss (Canon 3%) Pentax though low market shaere saw a 25% INCREASE.... thnat says something. (even if that was only 1%.... it was still 25%)

And again explains why the old lenses are becoming both scace and expesive (though still no wheres near NEW) And much of it if you know what you are stumbling on actuall though maybe actually BETTER than modern glass.... in photography the is something to be said for the good old days.
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Old May 26, 2007, 10:54 AM   #8
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Greetings Hayward...Everything that you say about the lenses is correct..I'm not really sure why I like the Pentax A series so much, but I do...<

WhenI look at the images of them on Bojidar Dimitrov's website the lenses just seem "prettier' & more substancial than the F's, FA's, DFA's, & DA's...When I hold one in my hand it just feels good..Part of this feeling, I am sure, is that they are constructed with more metal components & less plastic..<

There are currently two 300mm F2.8 prime lenses being sold, not auctioned on E-Bay..One is a FA-series lens with an asking price of just under $4000 USD..The second is an A-series lensw/ a Pentax 2x teleconverterwith an asking price of just under 2700 USD..Both being sold out of Japan..<

If I had the money, which I do not, I would purchase the A-series lens w/o hesitation, & not just because of the lower asking price....I just like the appearance of the lens more than the FA one..<

The FA lens weighs 1 lb. less & hasfewer focusing features, but how many users in the world REALLY need all of the features that our new digital cameras possess??..I am NOT saying that a digital camera owner shouldn't learn how to use all the features of his/ her camera, they should..But, at the end of the day owning lenses that do not allow you to use all of the features of the camera really is not much of a drawback..<

Manual focus makes you THINK about what is happening between your eyes/ brain & the image sensor in the camera..ENJOY all of the "old" lenses, EVERYBODY!!!<

Bruce
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Old May 26, 2007, 11:09 AM   #9
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And again no matter the f stop the 50mmm SMC A series PERIOD.... even the F/2 cheap as you can sill piick them up still cheaperr than ANY kit lens (which at the time they were) though still in same range but fixed FL of today you will NEVER better.

The A 50mmm series no mattter what the F/stop are all AWESOME again a word I hated when in vogue and almost never use.....

Bang for the buck you can't beat ANY of them..... even though I have bought my way down to 1.4 three steps from F/2..... last a tuely gorgeous thing though again even the still cheap f/2 A is a prety darn nice thing too. (especially still under $50)

And maybe as an example TOTALLY blind shooting litteraly picked up the lens from the PO NEVER used it before..... ended up with THIS? (The second 50mm, 1.7 A)

And this was a RAPID fire fireworks show.... pretty much just clicking away.... K!1D in P MTF mode and the A lens just again I sort of hate the word AWESOME..... 200 hundred shots 180 were spectacular... and those bad were more than a little to my fault.... dim F works and clicking too fast or mistimed/anticipated.... over all though the SR and lens were spectacular FAR beyong my WILDEST expectgations. I have NEVER captured FW like this and hardly even tried.... let alone blind right out of the box with a new lens... and maybe kudos the the K10D as well.... but sorry as capable as it is.... that lens is just IT!!!!... made the shot.

Oh crap I need more A lens competition on EBAY???? :shock:
At least I have my TREASURED 50's and spares. back down to F/2
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Old May 26, 2007, 11:54 AM   #10
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Hayward wrote:
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And again no matter the f stop the 50mmm SMC A series PERIOD.... even the F/2 cheap as you can sill piick them up still cheaperr than ANY kit lens (though still same range and fixed FL) you will NEVER better.

The A 50mmm series no mattter what the F/stop are all AWESOME again a word I hated when in vogue and almost never use.....

Bang for the buck you can't beat ANY of them..... even though I have bought my way down to 1.4 three steps from F/2..... last a tuely gorgeous thing though again even the still cheap f/2 A is a prety darn nice thing too. (especially still under $50)

And maybe as an example TOTALLY blind shooting litteraly picked up the lens from the PO NEVER used it before..... ended up with THIS? (The second 50mm, 1.7 A)

And this was a RAPID fire fireworks show.... pretty much just clicking away.... K!1D in P MTF mode and the A lens just again I sort of hate the word AWESOME..... 200 hundred shots 180 were spectacular... and thise were a little to my fault.... dim F works and clicking too hard/fast or mistimed.... over all though the SR and lens were spectacular FAR beyong my WILDEST expectgations. I have NEVER captured FW like this and hardly even tried.... let alone blind right out of the box with a new lens... and maybe kudos the the K10D as well.... but sorry as capable as it is.... that lens is just IT!!!!
Hayward---I remember the fireworks images from when you originally posted them...They look trully GREAT!!..Your shots have inspired me to try & capture the same kinds of images this 4th of July..In the Baltimore area there will be at least three different fireworks displays shooting off..There will be one in Baltimore's Inner Harbor (w/ all of the ambient street & building lights), & another out at Oregon Ridge in Baltimore County ( w/ a lot less light competition)..Any suggestions??..What F-stop was the lens set at??.. I will be using my K10D& the A 50mm F1.4 lens.. Thanks for your help & inspiration!! Bruce
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