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Old Oct 18, 2006, 7:42 AM   #1
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I'm planning on getting a Pentax K10D this christmas. Buying the camera will more or less break my bank account, so initially I need to use it with som quite cheap glass.

Today I stumbled over the opportunity to get two old manual and quite quick old lenses from Pentax. First an SMC 50/2.0 and another (slightly slower and wider) 28/2.8.

I seldom do action shots, mostly wide-angle interior shots in low light conditions. Sometimes I do night shots. So I need a fast lens.

My concerns are part image quality and part focusing. I've heard that it's harder to focus with a digital SLR compared to a film-based camera, is that true? What's more, I don't know how good these lenses are compared to their modern equivalents. Regarding the manual setting of the aperture, I consider it a good opportunity to learn.

Is it a good idea to buy these lenses for now, or should I postpone the entire purchase till I can afford a fast modern lens to go with the camera?

Thanks for any advice,
Nils
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Old Oct 18, 2006, 7:53 AM   #2
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first question is how much are they? the 50mm f2 is worth $20, thats what i paid at a local camera store, and ebay will be similar. i also bought a vivitar 28mm f2.8 on ebay for $20 shipped, i dunno how much better the pentax is so couldn't put a price on it.

the optics on these old manual lenses are very good in general, and if they are a good price they are worth it. it really does expand your horizons to go back to a fixed (non-zoom) lens! the optics of a fixed lens will almost always be better than a zoom lens because zooms are a compromise across their zoom range.

for low light shots the f2 does quite well, i actually sold mine when i bought an f1.7 for $30 at the same store. the faster the better! (and more expensive, although $30 isn't really that much). if you shoot wide indoors, the kit lens is still good for that, having 27mm equivalent at the wide end.

whatever you choose, you'll be happy with the k10d i'm sure!
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Old Oct 18, 2006, 8:16 AM   #3
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If one can expect those prices then this definately wasn't a good deal. The seller wanted 500SEK, approximately $75 for both of them. Granted I will have to pay shipping I still think ebay would be a better idea.

A quick look revealed quite a plethora of different lenses and brands of manual pentax-compatible glass. Are there any special classics I should consider or bad samples to avoid?
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Old Oct 18, 2006, 8:28 AM   #4
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Focusing with a manual lens does take some getting used to. I missed having a split screen at first (there are ones you can buy aftermarket) but have gotten used to it now. The camera beeps at you when it thinks the focus is right, so you have a back-up if you aren't sure about things. Just remember to push the button to let the camera meter and set the shutter speed- I sometimes forget and end up with the wrong exposure.

I'musingan M SMC24mm 2.8 that I bought new in the early 1980s, and find it very easy to use. I posted some night pictures I took in Las Vegas a while back, and thought they came out very well, and I often use a M 50mm 1.4.

Quality of the old lenses is often excellent, and they can be a good buy as long as you aren't over-paying for the lenses, and you don't mind the inconvenience of using a manual lens. Make sure that the lens is working correctly - I have an old Kiron lens that the aperture leaves won't close properly, oil can be seen on them.
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Old Oct 18, 2006, 9:14 AM   #5
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there is a ton of stuff on ebay. for awhile i turned it into a sort of 'buy and try'. at $20, $30 or $40 bucks you're not spending a whole lot. i'd buy a lens, and if i like it, keep - if not put it back up on ebay. you'll be out $5-10 maybe at the most. just remember someone else is looking for what you're selling! my feedback went from about 10 before my dSLR purchase to 55 currently. i bought alot of small things on there too - filters, camera backpack, cases, memory card, all kinds of stuff - it is alittle cheaper in general, and you build up a reputation for buying AND selling. i currently have 4 lenses (the kit lens, a 50mm f1.7 smc-a, the 28mm f2.8 vivitar, and a 28-200mm f3.5-5.6 - that was the most expensive, still only cost me $75 shipped, new). i've bought and sold 4-5 other lenses as well, mostly i just didn't use them enough or didn't like them. LBA is pretty fun!

oh, in regards to metering with the manual lenses. i actually ended up prefering the method so much that i use it all the time with all my lenses now. with the camera in M-mode, you meter by pressing the ae-l button. i also switched focusing to the OK button on my ISTDL - i think the k10d has a dedicated focus button, which would be very nice too! the k10d sounds so good, i hope i can get one in a year or two! maybe if my pictures ever start making money...yeah right!
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Old Oct 18, 2006, 10:51 AM   #6
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Välkommen, Nils! Kul med en svensk till på forumet!

Newer lenses are seldom better than older, it's rather the other way around. But there is an important difference between older M lenses and somewhat newer A lenses. Both are manual focus, but the A lenses allows automatic metering, so you can use the Av and Tv and Auto settings. With the M lenses you can only use the M setting, wich can be a little, but only a little, more complicated.

The 50mm f2 goes for nothing on Tradera (a local Swedish auction site), but it's not very highly rated compared to the f1.7 (often on Tradera) and the f1.4 (not so often on Tradera). I'd gladly pay more for any of the latter. Have a look at this (not my auction) http://www.tradera.com/auction/aid_34231022

PS Where in Sweden are you located? (You can add that information in your profile).

Kjell


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Old Oct 18, 2006, 11:06 AM   #7
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I would try to get a hold of a f1.7

I have the "A"-version of it and I simply love it. So amazingly sharp & fast. And for the 35$ I paid for it (after a long search though, on ebay they go for ±50 now) I'm a very happy camper:|
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Old Oct 18, 2006, 11:16 AM   #8
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Some of the older lenses like the Carl Zeis Jena or the Vivitar series 1 lenses are very good. Even some of the Sears and JC Penny lenses are good ones. I have a 135mm Sears lens that is nearly 30 years old that takes as good a photo now as it ever did! Ebay is the way to go. Lots and lots of nice lenses for sometimes a little money. Got a vivitar 80- 200mm lens for $9.99 and shipping and a Tamron AF 28-80mm lens for the same. Both in nearly new condition!

Dawg
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Old Oct 18, 2006, 2:22 PM   #9
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Thank you all very much for your replies.

I will be on the lookout for an SMC-A 50/1.7. Regarding the wider angle alternatives, for example the 24mm Vivitar, how do I know wheter these lenses are of the same kind as SMC-A or -M when it comes to automatic metering?

Can I always assume that lenses without the -A postfix requires fully manual mode?

Again, thanks, I feel very much more comfortable shopping for old lenses now.

Kjell, jag är en fattig student från Lund. Därav behovet av billiga objektiv.
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Old Oct 18, 2006, 2:28 PM   #10
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NilsM wrote:
Quote:
Regarding the wider angle alternatives, for example the 24mm Vivitar, how do I know wheter these lenses are of the same kind as SMC-A or -M when it comes to automatic metering?

Can I always assume that lenses without the -A postfix requires fully manual mode?
Well, the "A" stands for the pentax "KA-mount", meaning the one with automatic diaphragm.

These lenses are indicated by the postfix A in pentax lenses (e.g. Pentax-A or SMC-A)

With third party manufacturers you can look on the aperture-ring, if it has an "A" indication (usually right next to the smallest f-number), it's an A lens. Otherwise it's not.

Watch out for Ricoh & Sears A lenses, they tend to get stuck on the camera and can even cause damage trying to remove them...

TDN

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