The Sub 50 Lens Guide


noddywithoutbigears

Link Posted 23/06/2010 - 08:39
Right here we go, the Chancellor has tightened the country's budget, so we'll all be skint for the next 5 years. So I thought I'd start a thread for sub 50 lenses, so we can all get a clearer picture of what a 50 budget will get you, good and bad. The one condition is you must have owned and used the lenses. Of we go:

THE GOOD

Pentax M 50mm f1.7 - just superb all round and 25 of fleabay.

Pentax M 28mm f2.8 - as above.

Super Tak SMC 135mm f3.5 - lovelly colour rendition my favourite, I rate this above the Pentax M 135mm f3.5, 25 again of fleabay.

Helios 44-m 55mm f2 - what can I say, one of my real favourites for peanuts.

Over to you guys to fill in the rest.

THE BAD

Pentax 40-80mm f2.8-4 - Ok but does suffer from severe barrel distortion, particularly on buildings.
A poor life this, if full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare. W.H Davies

robbie_d

Link Posted 23/06/2010 - 09:31
You can get a DA 18-55mm mkI kit lens for 25 from certain places (SRS, Park).

As far as kit lenses go it's pretty good.

Even better is the DAL 18-55mm lens. Basic construction but same optics as the DA II/WR kit lenses.
If you can't say something nice about Pentax, you won't say anything at all.

Apparently.
Last Edited by robbie_d on 23/06/2010 - 09:37

mowog

Link Posted 23/06/2010 - 09:33
The good:

Pentax 50mm SMC-A. Tiny, sharp and beautiful. 25-ish.

Pentacon 50mm f1.8. Dirt cheap, good and very close focus.

CZJ Tessar 50mm. As above, but getting expensive.

Any Komine or Kino made Vivitar 28mm. Usually found for under 50.

Any Hoya HMC prime. beautifully made, high quality lenses. Usually ignored on ebay and had for peanuts.

Any Chinon MC prime. As above, but people have clicked and they're getting pricey.


The bad:

Just about any of the countless long Zoom lenses ever made!
No man is worth his salt, who has not been banned from at least one Forum, and two Flickr groups.

Mowog.

robbie_d

Link Posted 23/06/2010 - 09:35
mowog wrote:
The good:

Pentax 50mm SMC-A. Tiny, sharp and beautiful. 25-ish.

Pentacon 50mm f1.8. Dirt cheap, good and very close focus.

CZJ Tessar 50mm. As above, but getting expensive.

Any Komine or Kino made Vivitar 28mm. Usually found for under 50.

Any Hoya HMC prime. beautifully made, high quality lenses. Usually ignored on ebay and had for peanuts.

Any Chinon MC prime. As above, but people have clicked and they're getting pricey.


The bad:

Just about any of the countless long Zoom lenses ever made!

Which Pentax SMC-A 50mm are you getting for 25? 1:2 I assume.
If you can't say something nice about Pentax, you won't say anything at all.

Apparently.

Mongoose

Link Posted 23/06/2010 - 09:37
This is tricky because a lot of lenses which I bought for under 50 now fetch higher prices but:

The Good:

Pentax SMC-M 50mm f/2 - Bottom of the range keeps prices down but like almost all 50mm primes it's actually a fine performer.

Pentax SMC-M 200 f/4 - I got mine for 30, suspect it's now a little over the 50 but there are a couple on fleabay BIN for 79. Faster than a zoom and nice performance.

The Bad:

Centon 500mm f/8 Mirror - I only paid 50 for mine brand new, and it wasn't worth it. Bearing in mind that the SMC-FA 80-320 isn't that great at 320, I still got better images by cropping the 80-320 than from the Centon 500.

Sirius 18-28mm zoom - Possibly the worst lens I've ever owned. Almost impossible to focus, horribly soft at all apertures and all focal lengths.
you don't have to be mad to post here



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JonSchick

Link Posted 23/06/2010 - 09:50
Many of the SMC-M lenses can be found below 50 and the 50/1.7 must rank as one of the best c30 bargains out there. The 35/2.8 is a nice lens too, but harder to track down. 135/3.5 is a great lens for the money and often can be found in excellent condition for 50 or less.

Sometimes you just have to keep your eyes open and be lucky. This weekend I picked up an almost mint Tamron Adaptall 200/3.5 complete with PK adapter for 35 after spotting it in local camera shop window. I'm very impressed with how sharp it is, even wide open. Colours are perhaps not quite as nice as the Pentax 200/4, but stick a PKA adapter on it and the lens becomes much more usable on a new body. Given the adapter it came with could probably sell for 15, I paid 20 for the lens - a result methinks.

mowog

Link Posted 23/06/2010 - 10:11
Yes. Sorry, Robbie. Of course I meant the f2. The f1.7 has crept above the 50 mark, now.

Also forgot to mention. Any standard f2 or f1.8 Takumar... Obviously!
No man is worth his salt, who has not been banned from at least one Forum, and two Flickr groups.

Mowog.

petrochemist

Link Posted 23/06/2010 - 11:01
As my lenses are nearly all in the sub 50 bracket I won't try to class them as truly good or bad.

However I've been plesantly supprised with these:

Tokina 80-200mm (SZ-X 200) PKA f4.5-5.6 macro zoom (15 e-bay)
Cosina PKA 100mm f3.5 Prime MACRO Lens (50 Rocky cameras)
Pentax F100-300 AF f4.5-5.6 (45 e-bay)

I've not used these enough to form an opinion on them, so far they have given a mixed bag with some pleasing shots:

Mirage 28mm f2.8 PKA Macro (21.50 e-bay)
Rioch XR 600 reflex f8 mirror PK (50 from this forum)
28mm f2.8 M42 Photax Paragon (5 charity shop - with case & 58mm skylight filter)
PENTAX SMC FA35-80 f/4-5.6 A/F (28 - ebay)

This has been disapointing (OK as a scope but not as a lens):

Tasco world class f16-f64 zoom telescope & T2 photo adapter (47 e-bay)

And this is proved to not worth the space it takes up in the house let alone a camera bag!

NEEWER filter mounting 2* tele adapter (10 e-bay)



I guess the lenses that have been in the family for years don't really count
Mike
.
Pentax:K5ii, K7, K100D, DA18-55, DA10-17, DA55-300, DA50-200, F100-300, F50, DA35 AL, 4* M50, 2* M135, Helicoid extension, Tak 300 f4 (& 6 film bodies)
3rd Party: Bigmos (Sigma 150-500mm OS HSM),2* 28mm, 100mm macro, 28-200 zoom, 35-80 zoom, 80-200 zoom, 80-210 zoom, 300mm M42, 600 mirror, 1000-4000 scope, 50mm M42, enlarger lenses, Sony & micro 4/3 cameras with various PK mounts, Zenit E...
Far to many tele-converters, adapters, project parts & extension tubes etc.

.[size=11:].Flickr WPF Panoramio

Mongoose

Link Posted 23/06/2010 - 11:53
oooo you reminded me,

Good:

Pentax SMC-F 35-70 - Yes it was the kit lens in the SFX era, but its tiny and shockingly good for what you pay for one. Secret bonus tip, reverse it and it makes a surprisingly good cheap introduction to macro.
you don't have to be mad to post here



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GrahamW

Link Posted 23/06/2010 - 12:04
The Good:

Tamron Adaptall 2 28mm F2.5 (comparable to the Komine and Kiron made Vivitars. I got mine for 2 at a car boot sale).
Tamron 80-210 103A f/3.8-4 Adaptall2 (dirt cheap and very good).
Meyer Optik Lydith 3.5/30 (also known as Pentacon 3.5/30 - near perfect normal on APS-C and pretty sharp).
Pentax SMC (K) 1.8 or 2.0/55 (different to the M50 1.7 but has a devoted following)

The Bad:

Sigma 28-80 F4-5.6 macro AF zoom (purports to do lots of things, but did none of them particularly well)

Pentaxophile

Link Posted 23/06/2010 - 12:52
The good -

Pentax M 50 1.7 (25). This is probably the sharpest of all my lenses.

Pentax F 35-70 3.5-4.5 (22). Just a great bargain.

Pentax A 80-200 4.5-5.8 (30). I have had the 200mm f4, and the 55-300mm, and sold them both, because this plasticy zoom is so nice! It's small and light, no zoom extension, and just as sharp within it's range as the 55-300 to my eyes. And A LOT better at full zoom than the 55-300!

I've also had the cosina 100 macro - excellent lens for the money and a good macro lens for cheapskates.

The bad-

Cosina 70-210 m42. I have no idea why I bought this lens, but it wasn't very good. Green fringing all over the place.
[link=https://500px.com/will_brealey/[/link]
Last Edited by Pentaxophile on 23/06/2010 - 12:55

hefty1

Link Posted 23/06/2010 - 14:05
Good: Steinheil Cassar 50/2.8

Bad: Meyer Domiplan 50/2.8
Joining the Q

MrCynical

Link Posted 23/06/2010 - 14:21
Good: Helios 77M-4 - an update of the 44 series, it's a 50mm f1.8 (as opposed to 58mm f2 for the others) and supposedly has the best resolution of the lot. But then you don't really buy these if you're a measurebator.

Dangermouse

Link Posted 23/06/2010 - 16:46
I have seldom spent over 50 for any lens, but here goes:

The Good:

Any of the original SMC Pentax lenses (known here as the K series). Not commonly found for under 50 but it does happen, I paid 8 for the 55mm f1.8 which has to be the bargain of the century - it's apparently almost as good as the new DA 55mm which costs about 540 more!

Any Pentax-M lens you can lay hands on. Generally the faster the better, although the 28mm f3.5 is better than the f2.8 IMO. I have to disagree strongly about the 40-80mm zoom, I have one and it's great. The macro feature is very useful and I've taken very sharp photos with it on digital. Also worth looking at the M 35-70mm - faster than its successors and does appear cheaply on occasion if you like "cosmetically scruffy, optically perfect" lenses as I do. The 35-70mm is probably the better lens but if you see the 40-80mm cheap then go for it.

Any Pentax-A lens with SMC coating, especially the primes. I have the 50mm f1.7 and 200mm f4 from this range which I would only replace with AF versions of both - the optics are perfect.

Pentax-F 35-70mm (well worth owning as a compact walkabout lens, it's a solid performer with a surprisingly useful zoom range). I now seem to flip between this and my M 28mm f3.5 for walkabouts depending on whether I want AE and AF or if I'm not too bothered. That's probably the only SMC Pentax-F lens you'll see for under 50 though!

The Power Zoom 28-80mm is a surprisingly handy performer despite the poor reviews, I bought one with a view to acquiring a cheap Z1 and playing with the Power Zoom tricks but it's actually very usable as a plain AF zoom on my K-m.

The Bad:

Pentax-F 35-80mm - do not buy this lens, you can do far better for the money. I found it lifeless and dull. In its favour it's small and light, but you won't spend much more for the F 35-70mm which is a much better lens.

Pentax-F 28-80mm (the non-SMC one, also sold as a Takumar-F). Feels well made but lacks vibrancy due to the different coating. Again, keep watching and you'll do better for the same money, as with the Power Zoom 28-80mm. The same goes for the Pentax-A 28-80mm (again non-SMC, again also sold as a Takumar).
Matt

Shooting the Welsh Wilderness with K-m, KX, MX, ME Super and assorted lenses.

robbiec

Link Posted 29/06/2010 - 23:14
If you can find a K55 f1.8 for under 50, buy it without hesitation. Rock solid build, lovely tactile feel to the focus ring, and dark lustrous colours with buttery bokeh.
Vivitar 24s or 28s made by Komine are found in this price range as well, look out for the close focus versions. Every now and again a f2 version will show up.
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[url=http://pentaxphotogallery.com/Robbie Corrigan]ppg[/url]
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