"K" series lenses


womble

Link Posted 24/01/2010 - 22:44
As many of you know I keep an eye on ebay sales (although not so assiduously as I used to, especially since ebay made it difficult to save images). Two things I have noticed. The first, which many people have commented on, is how the prices of old manual glass has gone up over the last year and half, particularly in the last six months or so. A SMC Takumar 85mm f/1.8 went for £340 today. I know this is one of those cult-status lenses but it still seems pricey. In comparison, the FA 77mm Ltd is going for £750 new, and that lens has an equal cult status I would have thought.

My second observation is the the original k-mount lenses (often called the "K" series lenses) are going for more, on the whole, than the slightly later M-series lenses. In one or two cases I know why (for example the 135mm f/2.5 compared to the M 135mm f/3.5) but it seems to be the case with other lenses too.

My question is: are the K-series lenses actually better than the M-series (despite being, on the whole, heavier and bigger) or is there a developing urban myth that they are which is driving up prices?

Best wishes, Kris.
Kris Lockyear
It is an illusion that photos are made with the camera… they are made with the eye, heart and head. Henri Cartier-Bresson
Lots of film bodies, a couple of digital ones, too many lenses (mainly older glass) and a Horseman LE 5x4.

My website

petercf

Link Posted 24/01/2010 - 22:58
Certainly dont see any reason to get rid of my old K and M series lenses. 200mm/F4 is still good, even with a 2x converter.

I have a 55mm/F2 which is now superb for portrait work.

Peter
Digital: K20D+D-BG2 Grip, K10D+D-BG2 Grip, DA* 300 F4, DA* 50-135 F2.8, DA* 16-50 F2.8, DA 17-70 F4, DA 50-200, FA 100-300, AF540FGZ, F Remote release
Analogue: KM, 200mm M,135mm M, K 2x Conv, 28-80mm A, 55mm M, 28mm M, Vivitar 283
Other: Sony PC Digicam,2x Conv,0.7x Sea&Sea wide conv,Sea&Sea Underwater housing, GreenForce 2 x 50W HID lights + double capacity battery, Fujitsu F31 and Underwater housing, Nikon 7900+Underwater Housing

hefty1

Link Posted 24/01/2010 - 23:01
There's also rarity to take into account - there seem (to me) to be a lot more M series lenses out there than their K counterparts so there's probably a certain collectors' value.
Joining the Q

iceblinker

Link Posted 24/01/2010 - 23:19
I can believe that the extra size enables K lenses to be optically superior to the M equivalents in some cases, and some comments on stans-photography.info backs that up.

SMC K 135mm f2.5 versus M 135mm f2.8 is a good example indeed.
~Pete

Dangermouse

Link Posted 25/01/2010 - 00:10
I have a single K series (55mm f1.8 ), I like it and keep an eye out for others. However, I wouldn't say it's any better or worse than the M series. It's slightly slower than the M 50mm f1.7 which is also smaller and lighter, but I still see them priced at daft levels. I paid £8.50 for mine, it's in excellent condition aside from a few dust particles inside. I can't believe that the £80 one I saw earlier is in better condition!

I think it must come down to the rarity value. There will be millions of M 50mm lenses out there as it was a kit lens for most Pentax SLRs, however the K 55mm was only sold for a few years and presumably only on the KX/KM/K2.

What I cannot fathom is the fact that multiple sources say the M 40mm is not rare, yet I have never seen one for under £50. I wouldn't mind one as I have an MX that would suit it perfectly, but I'm not paying the best part of £100 for an indifferent lens with the same aperture as the cheapest of the 50mm lenses (which is probably better in optical terms).
Matt

Shooting the Welsh Wilderness with K-m, KX, MX, ME Super and assorted lenses.
Last Edited by Dangermouse on 25/01/2010 - 00:11

womble

Link Posted 25/01/2010 - 00:28
Actually the M40 is a little slower being a f/2.8. It isn't rare, there are always a few for sale on ebay but it is popular and the whole supply and demand thing cuts in. Its popularity is due to being a pancake which looks great on an MX, exactly as you say! I believe its IQ is actually quite reasonable (I think John had something to say about this a while back).

Back to the K-series... Yes, I suppose the models which were superseded by M-series version are rarer. I was just looking at Bojidar's website and noticed a 200mm f/2.5 which I have never seen on ebay. Some of the lenses never had M equivalents like the 105mm, one of which went for £156.00 today, and the 30mm f/2.8.

Best wishes, K.
Kris Lockyear
It is an illusion that photos are made with the camera… they are made with the eye, heart and head. Henri Cartier-Bresson
Lots of film bodies, a couple of digital ones, too many lenses (mainly older glass) and a Horseman LE 5x4.

My website
Last Edited by womble on 25/01/2010 - 00:29

johnriley

Link Posted 25/01/2010 - 01:08
The M series 40mm lenses I have owned have all been excellent.

The optical properties of K and M lenses can be different, not better or worse, just different.
Best regards, John

Shaky

Link Posted 25/01/2010 - 07:05
womble wrote:
My question is: are the K-series lenses actually better than the M-series (despite being, on the whole, heavier and bigger) or is there a developing urban myth that they are which is driving up prices?

In my view the urban myth that is driving up prices is the pervasive sentiment that the price of Pentax lenses can never go down.

Of course that was also the view on house prices not so long ago.

johnriley

Link Posted 25/01/2010 - 07:59
Supply and demand. Prices of lenses go up and down over the years and an individual lens may for a while become very desireable.

It's not so long ago that the FA 50mm f1.4 was a Hot Topic!
Best regards, John

axl

Link Posted 25/01/2010 - 08:03
I think there are two reasons for for higher prices of K series:
a) rarity
b) optical construction

a = K series was in production for only 3 years (only few examples like K24/2.8 have been manufactured for longer) between 75-77. Not many were made and hence they are getting rare.
b = optically many of K series are SMC Takumars with M42 thread swapped for K bayonet. Takumars have alwasys been regarded as some of the finest lenses, period.

Now take these two factors, add the fantastic construction quality (My two K series easily rival the FA ltds I have), durability, full compatibility and you have good recipe for price increase

BR
Peter
my PBase --- PPG
K-7 + O-ME53, K-x blue, AF280T, AF240Z, AF160SA
SMC: FA*24 - FA31ltd - DA*55 - FA100/2.8

johnriley

Link Posted 25/01/2010 - 10:33
Tastes change and the SMC Takumar and Pentax K lenses share a different type of image characteristic to the later M series and beyond.

It's all quite subtle, but the earlier lenses perform best at smaller apertures such as f11 and have a distictive "flavour" if you like.

The M series are very compact, allow more leeway in the distortion, and perform best wider open at apertures such as f5.6. They also go for generally higher contrast, at the expense sometimes of the finest resolution.

What I'm less convinced of is that these differences are as visible on digital in the same way that they were on film.

Of course it all becomes impossible when we say something like, "I just love the results I get with my SMC Takumar 105mm f2.8 when I use Tri-X developed in FX-39, then print it using Agfa Double Weight bromide paper developed in D76...."

The permutations possible in similar scenarios could last a lifetime of experimentation. The digital world is somewhat faster than this, especially when we expect cameras to be "ready for print" the moment the image is shot.

Ready for print in what style....is only the first of many questions.
Best regards, John

thoughton

Link Posted 25/01/2010 - 11:31
I was watching that 85mm SMC Tak that went for £340. I was pretty shocked at the price, it made me seriously consider selling mine! I also saw one in a used shop for £250 recently, might buy that as well and put them both on ebay

I read somewhere that the M42 prices are going up because video camera people are buying them?!!
Tim
AF - Pentax K5, Sigma 10-20/4-5.6, Tamron 17-50/2.8, Sigma 30/1.4, Sigma 70-200/2.8, Tamron 70-300/4-5.6
MF - Vivitar CF 28/2.8, Tamron AD2 90/2.5, MTO 1000/11
Stuff - Metz 58 AF1, Cactus v4, Nikon SB24, Raynox 150, Sigma 1.4x TC, Sigma 2x TC, Kenko 2x macro TC, Redsnapper 283 tripod, iMac 27”, Macbook Pro 17”, iPad, iPhone 3G
FlickrFluidrPPGStreetPortfolio site
Feel free to edit any of my posted photos! If I post a photo for critique, I want brutal honesty. If you don't like it, please say so and tell me why!

womble

Link Posted 25/01/2010 - 11:40
The main thing I have noticed using K series lenses on digital is that the auto-white balance gives a very different result than with more modern lenses. As I shoot RAW I can change that pretty quickly, or use one of the preset white balances (either in camera or by selecting it in Lightroom) so it isn't a problem but it does mean that one's initial impression on downloading is less favourable. I wonder why this is? A difference in the multi-coating perhaps?

Whatever the realities, the Ks and the Taks are certainly in vogue at the moment.

I wonder if an example from here is at least part of the explanation. A while back Malo heard that the Vivitar 28m close focus lens was a really nice one to use. So he got one, took some stunning photos and posted them. Of course, 99% of that is Malo being a great photographer but as a result, some of us (i.e., me) went off and bought one too. The internet makes the "fantastic lens" (or "duff lens") rumour spread really very efficiently!

Best wishes, Kris.
Kris Lockyear
It is an illusion that photos are made with the camera… they are made with the eye, heart and head. Henri Cartier-Bresson
Lots of film bodies, a couple of digital ones, too many lenses (mainly older glass) and a Horseman LE 5x4.

My website

thoughton

Link Posted 25/01/2010 - 13:19
womble wrote:
I wonder if an example from here is at least part of the explanation. A while back Malo heard that the Vivitar 28m close focus lens was a really nice one to use. So he got one, took some stunning photos and posted them. Of course, 99% of that is Malo being a great photographer but as a result, some of us (i.e., me) went off and bought one too. The internet makes the "fantastic lens" (or "duff lens") rumour spread really very efficiently!

Oh, for sure I also started keeping an eye on Vivitar 28mm lenses after Martin's flower pic.

And I believe if sites like adaptall-2.com didn't exist those lenses would be worth next to nothing! I bought a Adaptall-2 60-300mm lens based on that sites "prime-like" review. Now I own it I think he was referring to primes with loads of CA and PF and softness at 300mm!!!
Tim
AF - Pentax K5, Sigma 10-20/4-5.6, Tamron 17-50/2.8, Sigma 30/1.4, Sigma 70-200/2.8, Tamron 70-300/4-5.6
MF - Vivitar CF 28/2.8, Tamron AD2 90/2.5, MTO 1000/11
Stuff - Metz 58 AF1, Cactus v4, Nikon SB24, Raynox 150, Sigma 1.4x TC, Sigma 2x TC, Kenko 2x macro TC, Redsnapper 283 tripod, iMac 27”, Macbook Pro 17”, iPad, iPhone 3G
FlickrFluidrPPGStreetPortfolio site
Feel free to edit any of my posted photos! If I post a photo for critique, I want brutal honesty. If you don't like it, please say so and tell me why!
Last Edited by thoughton on 25/01/2010 - 13:21

Mongoose

Link Posted 25/01/2010 - 13:27
thoughton wrote:
womble wrote:
I wonder if an example from here is at least part of the explanation. A while back Malo heard that the Vivitar 28m close focus lens was a really nice one to use. So he got one, took some stunning photos and posted them. Of course, 99% of that is Malo being a great photographer but as a result, some of us (i.e., me) went off and bought one too. The internet makes the "fantastic lens" (or "duff lens") rumour spread really very efficiently!

Oh, for sure I also started keeping an eye on Vivitar 28mm lenses after Martin's flower pic.

And I believe if sites like adaptall-2.com didn't exist those lenses would be worth next to nothing!

/me begins plotting denial-of-service attack on adaptall-2.com......
you don't have to be mad to post here



but it does help
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