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Old Jun 4, 2007, 9:38 PM   #1
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Over the years quite a number of manufactures have created lens with Pentax M42 and the various K mounts. I am sure that Pentax probably manufactured some of these brands as an OEM (Honeywell for example). I have been plying ebay for quite a while and have tried to figure out what "brands" are good and what are not. So here is a list (probably very incomplete – but from scanning the ebay ads for "pentax lens" yesterday) of the "vendors or brands" and what I know (or guess) about them:

Which ones are worth the pursuit, and which ones are not worth the time and inclination. :?
  • Albinar –
    Alpa –
    Asahi – The original Pentax prior to changing their name to PentaxAubell –
    Beck –
    Carl Zeiss - A famous camera name – lens quality on par with Pentax/Asahi
    Centon –
    Chinar –
    Chinon –
    Cosmicar –
    Five Star –
    Flektogon MC Zeiss Praktica -
    Focal –
    Fujinon –
    Gamma Tfrragon –
    Hanimex –
    Helios – Soviet lens
    Honeywell – Rebranded for Pentax/Asahi
    Instascope –
    JC Penney –
    Jupiter – Zenit brand name – Soviet lens
    Kimunor –
    Lecia – A famous camera name – lens quality on par with Pentax/Asahi
    Makinon –
    Mamiya –
    Meyer-Optik Orestegor -
    Opteka –
    Pancolar –
    Pentax – The Pentax as we know it today
    Petri –
    Phoenix –
    Praktica –
    Promaster –
    Prospec –
    QTII –
    Quantaray –
    Quantaray –
    Revuenon –
    Ricoh –
    Rokinon –
    Samyang –
    Sears –
    Seikanon –
    Sekor –
    Sigma –
    SMC Pentax – Super Multi Coating Pentax – a branding of Pentax lenses by Pentax
    Soligor –
    Spectrum –
    Sun –
    Super Takumar – Asahi Lens with a forerunner of the SMC lens coating.
    Takenaka –
    Takumar – A brand name used by Asahi for their lenses
    Takumar Bayonet – a lower price Takumar brand??????
    Tamron –
    Tefnon –
    Tessar – a Carl Zeiss Lens brand - A famous camera name – lens quality on par with Pentax/Asahi
    Tokina –
    Vivitar -
    Volna – a brand name produced by Zenit
    Zenit – Soviet lens
    Zenitar – Soviet lens
Actually after getting the list together - I amazed at the actual number. Which ones are first tier, second tier, third ...... junk?????


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Old Jun 4, 2007, 10:17 PM   #2
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Vivitar Series 1 105mm Macro lens is a very popular lens. But some of the other vivitar lens are garbage.
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Old Jun 4, 2007, 10:36 PM   #3
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OK, here is what I can add to that. Soligor, Vivitar, JC Penny, Sears, and probably several others sold lenses that were made for them by other companies. Vivitar in particular is known for gems and lemons but that would be true of all of them. The early Vivitar Series 1 lenses were their best of the line, the current Series 1 is simply an attempt to profit from a once legendary trademark.

Once Pentax brought out the SMC lenses and the K mount they dropped the Takumar name. They then brought it back as a bargain line within the K mount of cheaper lenses without the multi-coating. Takumar bayonet lenses generally do not get high marks though Harriet has shown her 135 is quite capable.

If I understand correctly, Five Star is a Korean lens maker that also markets lenses under the Phoenix and Promaster names (or maybe those companies simply buy rebadged lenses).

I don't think you will be able to narrow down first, second, and third tier makers too well. While it might be rare of a bargain basement company to produce a gem, I am sure it happens (several people here using the Phoenix 100mm macro lens to good effect) and even the best makers have designed less than stellar lenses. The bigger third party lens makers produce lenses aimed at two or three different markets, from inexpensive to pro. I think you will, in the end, still have to search out reviews on each individual lens you are interested in.

Tim
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Old Jun 4, 2007, 10:36 PM   #4
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Double post. Steve's is running slow again, hopefully we are not headed for another crash.

Tim
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Old Jun 5, 2007, 12:39 AM   #5
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Another manufacturer to add is Kiron.

As I understand it, one of the companies that made lenses (good ones) for Vivitar was Kino, and later on they started selling lenses under their own brand - called Kiron. Their 105mm macro lens was sold under several other names and is considered a top lens. I happen to have their 80-200 macro lens but always thought it was soft - not surprising because there's oil on the aperture blades and so it always shoots wide open. When I got it to stop down a bit it seemed sharper than I had thought. Might be a good buy for very little money (they run around $30 last time I looked), as long as you check the aperture blades.

P.S. It's late and I need to get to bed, but isn't Tokina Hoya's brand name? Think I read that somewhere when I was reading about the merger. But as tired as I am, I could be way off on that.

I don't think Phoenix actually makes the 100mm macro I have - the same lens is sold under several different names.

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Old Jun 5, 2007, 7:51 AM   #6
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mtngal is thinking of cosina that produced her macro rebadged as various names. even pentax has one of these with their name on it. i know a lot about many of the brands you have listed. can i tell you about them- not much because i don't type.
as tim said, you can't hardly go wrong with the vivitar series 1 lens(the older ones)but there are some dogs. what you need to do is research the brands. it takes a lot of reading. many of the lenses branded 'sears' 'jc penny' are really decent lenses, you just don't know.

roy

here's a good starting place for vivitar.
http://www.cameraquest.com/VivLensManuf.htm
one of the sharpest lenses i have is a tele vivitar screw mount. it's not a series 1
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Old Jun 5, 2007, 3:00 PM   #7
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A few comments from personal experience:

For macro lenses, Panagor 50 & 100mm(sold under several othe names, including Ricoh, and maybe Vivitar) were excellent, as was the 90mm Tamron SP Adaptall (and the Pentax 50 & 100 macros). The Vivitar Series 1 90-180 Flat Field Zoom was unique and one of the most remarkable lenses ever made. I suspect it was made by Kiron (only for Vivitar, which designed the lens) as it had the same solid heft and fine mirror-like finish as other Kirons. After that lens was discontinued some people wanted one so badly they would buy a camerain whatever mount they could find the lens in (when I got the K mount, I sold my screw-mount toa Nikon ownerwho was told by a professional photographer - also Nikon -to buy it and get a Spotmatic body to use it on, and she was so anxious to get it that she drove 60 or 70 miles just to pick it up!).

Kiron zooms (28-85 & 28-210) and Seikanon 28-105 (by Kiron) were excellent (but heavy).

Quantaray lenses were (are?) made by Sigma.

I had a PS 400 mm Telesar which was excellent (very simpleoptical formula).

Tamron, Tokina, and Vivitar Series 1 lenses were also good, but I only owned ones that were well reviewed.

STAY AWAY FROM OLDER SIGMA LENSES - the electrical connector was soft brass and did not retract when the lens was set on automatic, and sowas shaved down by the poorly finishes edges of the recesses for the contacts on the Pentax body lens flanges. Carefully inspect any lens you are contemplating buying for wear on that pin, and ALWAYS take the lens off automatic before mounting or dismounting it. If the pin fails to make connection with the contact, the diaphragm will stay open and the lens cannot be used as an automatic, but can be used as a manual only.
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Old Jun 6, 2007, 6:51 AM   #8
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Pentacon/Meyer Optiks has some very nice lenses. Espcially the "zebra" M42 versions are excellent in sharpness and colors.

Carl Zeiss Jena, of which the above brands made (good) copies.

Kiron made the wodnerful 105mm macro, and other good lenses.

The SP series from Tamron are great too: http://www.adaptall-2.com/lenses/SP_...LensIndex.html

Vivitar has some nice ones, but stick to the series 1. I have a 400mm from them (not series 1) and it stinks.

Most of the time, you can trust that Sigma and Tokina make decent stuff too.

Plenty of glass for pentax out there

Tom
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Old Jun 9, 2007, 4:29 AM   #9
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NonEntity1 wrote:
Quote:

Once Pentax brought out the SMC lenses and the K mount they dropped the Takumar name. They then brought it back as a bargain line within the K mount of cheaper lenses without the multi-coating.
Not completely true most all the Takumars I've seen are Multi coated (MC) they just aren't SUPER Multi coated (SMC)
Though some of the later early ones were, after SMC introduced and before the name went away for a while.
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Old Jun 9, 2007, 4:41 AM   #10
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The ones you want to be wary of (leaving optical quality aside... but PHYSICAL issues) are the Ricoh or made for their cameras lenses (usually labeled PK-R mount or K-R.) Actually in the case of this lens.... Labeled PK-A/R (being an A lens).... but if intended for Richo the R will usually be there.

They have an extra spring loaded pin that can get stuck in the AF drive socket and jam the lens on the Pentax digital cameras.

Others for Ricoh have a ball bearing protrusion serving the pin's function (whatever that was) and because of its larger and spherical shape, it does not cause the jaming problem the straight pins do.

I have a Samyang 28mm (quasi) Macro lens (1:6) that is labeled as a PK A/R mount, but is not a problem as it is the ball type protrusion.

The pin type can be modified, but is detailed jeweler screwdiver, magnification level work to do removing back of mount and the pin then reassemble
.
If you make the mistake of mounting one and it jams, they can usually be coaxed off with a very fine (automotive) feeler guage slipped between lens and camera body.

Below is an example of the ball vs pin (R)icoh mount..... just to the left of the A/AF contacts and flange at bottom is the ball or where pin will be. But there is a thin narrow (like 1/4 or less diameter) straight cylindrical pin there instead of a ball it will more than likely jam on your Pentax digital. Some were made to serve both... some only the Ricoh, and maybe not an issue until AF came along.




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