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The second hand lenses advice thread

fractionMan

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I've been looking at ebay for old pentax K mount manual lenses and I came across a few things like this:
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Vivitar-2x-Tele-Converter-Pentax-K-Mount-/180863902850?pt=UK_Lenses_Filters_Lenses&hash=item2a1c542482#ht_500wt_1066

It's a 2x tele-converter.

Now, I have no experience whatsoever with tele-converters, but am I right in thinking that I could use this with an existing auto lens and have the auto focus still work?

Anyway, it's peanuts <£10 and I'm only after a few toys rather than anything 'serious', so is it worth a punt to see how it behaves?

Any other cool/odd/quality old lenses that you can find for little outlay? Any recommendations?
 

weltweit

Well-Known Member
My tip when buying a lens second hand, as I used to do from Jessops, is to buy the condition good as new, rather than the worse conditions. That way you pay a little more but are less likely to end up with a dud.
 

fractionMan

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Amy general lens tips? There are loads of pentax mount manual rooms on eBay atm for not much money. The more light (lower f) the better right? Any tips on good value brands?
 

weltweit

Well-Known Member
THe cheapest used lens I bought was my Nikon 50mm f1.8 which I got for £40.00, but it was a camera shop and I was able to shoot test images on my camera before I bought the lens.
 

weltweit

Well-Known Member
Amy general lens tips? There are loads of pentax mount manual rooms on eBay atm for not much money. The more light (lower f) the better right? Any tips on good value brands?
I don't know much about the Pentax system, but it is possible that used lenses are becoming available because they DONT work properly on the latest Pentax dslrs. I would look into the history of the mount to be sure what the lenses will do on your body. It is possible for example that they may Auto Exposure, but not Auto Focus, or vice versa.
 

ViolentPanda

Hardly getting over it.
Couple of points:
1) The stuff you're looking at is standard Pentax K mount stuff, not K-A mount, so your K-x won't be able to "talk" to the lens to set the aperture. You'll have to do it manually. Basically, K-A compatible lenses have an "A" setting on the aperture dial (see pic below). You set the lens to that, and it can communicate with your camera.



2) Catadioptric/mirror telephotos are great, but are a bit delicate compared to ordinary lenses (if one internal element shifts slightly, the whole shebang is fucked).

3) Bear in mind that because of the 1.5x magnification factor inherent to using film lenses on Pentax dslrs (the factor varies between manufacturers, but they all have them), a 500mm film slr lens is effectively a 750mm lens on your K-x.

BTW, as someone who's taken a few pics with a 400mm K-mount lens (using stop down metering as there's no electronic link between camera and lens), remember to use a camera and/or lens support! :)
 

ViolentPanda

Hardly getting over it.
Amy general lens tips? There are loads of pentax mount manual rooms on eBay atm for not much money. The more light (lower f) the better right? Any tips on good value brands?
Vivitar if the lens is a series one (it'll be marked on the body of the lens). Pentax's own lenses are pretty uniformly excellent. Kiron made some good 80-200mm zooms, and Tamron (if you can find a Tamron Adaptall 2 PK-A adaptor to mount the lens to the camera with) also made many good'uns, including an excellent 28mm/f2.5 prime, their 28-70 zoom and their 80-210. I reckon a real decent one given the multiplication factor, though, would be the Tamron 70-150mm/f3.5, if only because it's a lovely sharp lens, and the 70mm end (105mm on your K-x) falls into the focal lengths (80-140mm, roughly) that are good for portraiture.
 

ViolentPanda

Hardly getting over it.
I don't know much about the Pentax system, but it is possible that used lenses are becoming available because they DONT work properly on the latest Pentax dslrs. I would look into the history of the mount to be sure what the lenses will do on your body. It is possible for example that they may Auto Exposure, but not Auto Focus, or vice versa.
If fractionman reads the manual for his K-x, there's a long list in the back of which lenses will give full aperture function. It's pretty easy to then extrapolate from there that any PK-A, and most other lenses subsequent to the K-A mount will give full functionality, and that you can use those that came before in stop-down mode.

And of course manual lenses won't autofocus, there's no motor linkage! :facepalm:
 

fractionMan

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Just found a fantastic resource for any pentax users out there: http://www.pentaxforums.com/lensreviews/

Tons of user reviews of the older pentax lenses, including the autofocus ones from the film era which can be picked up for not that much. I'm loving the fact that I can get a reasonable lens with autofocus for under 50 quid - payday tomorrow!

I think I'm going to get myself a http://www.pentaxforums.com/lensreviews/SMC-Pentax-FA-35-80mm-F4-5.6-Zoom-Lens.html - I've seen them for 25 quid. A 50-120mm digital equiv sounds like a great wandering about range and will complement my 18-55 kit lens well.

---

In other news, Oooh. Just won a
Tokina 80 - 200 Zoom Telephoto F4
reviews: http://www.lensporn.net/2009/12/tokina-rmc-80-200mm-f4-699-from-ebay.html
http://ferling.net/Sears80-200f4.htm
http://www.pentaxforums.com/userreviews/tokina-80-200mm-f-4.html
for £12.50 inc postage :cool:

No auto aperture or focus, but I don't think it's going to be a massive hassle. Pick a fstop and let the body work out the shutter speed, job done. Anyway, expecting some fun with this one and then might sell it on.
 

fractionMan

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What's a good starting point for decent lowlight shots? f2? f1.7 f2.4?

I can do ok at f3.5 with the kit lens, it's sharp enough but nowhere near fast enough.
 

ViolentPanda

Hardly getting over it.
What's a good starting point for decent lowlight shots? f2? f1.7 f2.4?

I can do ok at f3.5 with the kit lens, it's sharp enough but nowhere near fast enough.
Given the utterly excellent high ISO resolution of the K-x (extremely low noise even at ISO 3200 and above), I'd try an f2. If you were a bit more confident in your manual focusing, I'd recommend a manual focus 50mm/f1.7 SMC Takumar. That'd effectively give you a 75mm lens, so your field of view would be narrower than with a standard 50mm equivalnet that was actually designed for the K-x, but would still give you excellent glass for some photo-project uses.
 

fractionMan

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Given the utterly excellent high ISO resolution of the K-x (extremely low noise even at ISO 3200 and above), I'd try an f2. If you were a bit more confident in your manual focusing, I'd recommend a manual focus 50mm/f1.7 SMC Takumar. That'd effectively give you a 75mm lens, so your field of view would be narrower than with a standard 50mm equivalnet that was actually designed for the K-x, but would still give you excellent glass for some photo-project uses.
Cheers VP. I'm currently bidding on an old manual f1.7 50mm pentax-m which seems to be both a popular and cheap lens. I'll keep an eye out for the takumar but I think that needs an m42 adaptor. (eta: I think we're talking about the same lens)

What I'd really like is the FA 50mm 1.7 or 1.4 - but they're 200-300 quid or so. The 50mm version allows me to do things I currently can't - low light and 75mm shallow depth of field portraiture. I'll keep my eye out for anything auto at f2 as well, should be cheaper than the 1.7 or 1.4 variants.

I thought about the 35mm DA 2.4 which comes pretty well recommended on the pentaxforums as that's only (only, ha!) 130 quid new - it's sort of the modern version of the 50mm film lens with a similar field of view. I'm not sure it's 'different' enough to what I can get out of the kit lens to justify the outlay even if it is way better image quality and speedwise.
 

ViolentPanda

Hardly getting over it.
Cheers VP. I'm currently bidding on an old manual f1.7 50mm pentax-m which seems to be both a popular and cheap lens. I'll keep an eye out for the takumar but I think that needs an m42 adaptor. (eta: I think we're talking about the same lens)
Pentax M is a variant of the K-mount. Chronologically, it goes:

M42 screw.
Pentax K bayonet (first released alongside the K-series of Pentax film SLRs such as the K1000, the K-M etc).
Pentax K-M bayonet (released alongside the the M series cameras such as the ME Super, the MX, MG, MV etc)
Pentax K-A bayonet (released with the A series of cameras such as the A3000).

It's the A series that will serve you best out of the manual lenses, because if the aperture is higher (i.e. the aperture number is lower than f5.6), focus confirmation on your K-x should work when the lens is set to the A (Automatic) position.

What I'd really like is the FA 50mm 1.7 or 1.4 - but they're 200-300 quid or so. The 50mm version allows me to do things I currently can't - low light and 75mm shallow depth of field portraiture. I'll keep my eye out for anything auto at f2 as well, should be cheaper than the 1.7 or 1.4 variants.
Like I said, given the excellent low-light resolving capacities of the K-x, an f2 should be worthwhile, although an f1.7 is more boastworthy. :D

I thought about the 35mm DA 2.4 which comes pretty well recommended on the pentaxforums as that's only (only, ha!) 130 quid new - it's sort of the modern version of the 50mm film lens with a similar field of view. I'm not sure it's 'different' enough to what I can get out of the kit lens to justify the outlay even if it is way better image quality and speedwise.
Worth looking to see if any of the secondary manufacturers (Tokina, Tamron, Sigma etc) are making anything similar at a better price point.
 

fractionMan

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update: won the 50mm pentax-m 1.7 for £10 :cool:

Sounds like an A would have been better, but for ten quid I'm not complaining!
 

fractionMan

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It's the A series that will serve you best out of the manual lenses, because if the aperture is higher (i.e. the aperture number is lower than f5.6), focus confirmation on your K-x should work when the lens is set to the A (Automatic) position.
I've not heard of focus confirmation. Sounds useful, I need to look that up.
 

ViolentPanda

Hardly getting over it.
I've not heard of focus confirmation. Sounds useful, I need to look that up.
Look in the appendix of your manual (if you've lost it, you can download it in pdf from Pentax's website). There should be a section called "functions available with various lens combinations" that tells you how much functionality you'll get from the different ranges of lenses. Under A-series lenses (and newer) it should say "manual focus (with focus indicator). The focus indicator will light up in the viewfinder when you manually put the lens into focus (don't ask me how the camera does this - personally I suspect voodoo!).
 

fractionMan

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Can't wait for it to turn up now. Cheapest FA 50mm I can find is 210 quid. There's no way I can justify spending 200 extra quid on autofocus.

I say that now...
 

fractionMan

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Now looking at constant aperture f2.8 zooms. Sounds like they'll do the most that I want in a single lens for a reasonable price.

Specifically looking at the sigma and tokina versions as they're better value. Not sure if I want a 17-50 (digital) or a 28-70 (film - so more like 45-105). They're both a full 2 stops faster at 50mm than the kit lens, which would make low light soo much easier (It could run 4x the shutter speed for the same exposure, right?)

I suppose it comes down to whether I want to replace the kit lens with something better in terms of IQ and speed (the 17-50) or give myself more options with focal length. I guess in terms of growing my kit the 28-70 would be a better bet, but having a better 'standard' lens would be great. At festivals I often found myself wanting more reach but I don't really want to lose the wide angle on my walkaround lens. Argh.

The samples from the 28-70 look great: http://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/lens-sample-photo-archive/153342-tamron-28-75mm-f-2-8-xr-di-ld-samples.html

17-50 samples: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28183637@N08/tags/tamron1750mmf28/

I guess what I really want is the Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4.5, it's f2.8 up to 35mm and would be a great all round lens for me. Shame it's out of my price range for now (200-250 second hand). http://www.pentaxforums.com/userreviews/sigma-17-70mm-f2-8-4-5-dc-macro-af-lens.html
 

fractionMan

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Oooh. Currently bidding on 3 lenses I really want. I've allocated myself 100 quid max for the lot (including the 10 I spent above).
 

fractionMan

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Ok, so failed to buy any of them and can conclude:

Decent second hand film (non kit) pentax zoom lenses with autofocus go for about 50 quid. Old kit (anywhere from 28/35-70/105) lenses go for 20 quid. f2.8 ones go for at least 100-200. Fast autofocus primes start at about 150-200 second hand. Manual lenses nearly all go for peanuts.

The 50mm manual I got is awesome for a tenner, but wish I'd know about focus confirmation and got an A version.
 
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