A Jim of All Trades

A “New” Lens

with 4 comments

One of the reasons why I chose to get a Pentax DSLR is because you’re able to use older lenses on them. Many camera manufacturers have updated their lens mounts in the past couple decades, which really hinders one’s ability to use older lenses on newer cameras. It can be done with adapters, but it isn’t exactly convenient or easy to shoot that way. Pentax, however, has used the same “K mount” on their SLRs since about the 70’s, so the old lenses still mount directly and easily to their modern DSLRs. On top of that, Pentax has its image stabilization system built into the camera itself, not into the lenses. So, you still get vibration reduction even when using old lenses.

By keeping the new cameras compatible with the old lenses, it opens the doors for photographers to use a plethora of really good quality old glass. On top of that, they’re cheap! Well, cheap as far as lenses go. Since the lenses are all used at this point, and since many are all manual, they are much cheaper than their modern counterparts. But, they’re still good lenses; a ~40 year old state of the art lenses can still take REALLY good photos today.

I was going to go on from here, writing more about how the lenses work on the camera and what the positives and negatives are, but I assume not too many people are visiting my page to READ about pictures. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me, but I’ll cut to the chase…

I just so happened to pick up a manual prime lens yesterday!

135mm lens s

It is a 1:3.5 135mm. This was never a state of the art lens, but it’s completely usable and is capable of producing good photos.  Here are some pictures I took with it this weekend. None are gallery quality, but for my first weekend running around with a new lens, I’m pleased with the results. Hopefully they’ll only get better…

Axs SophieWindowsillxs Flowersxs

Those were from Saturday. I went to a autocross today (just took pictures, didn’t race) and took a lot of pictures there with it too. Here are just two; after I go through them all I might do a separate post.


And this is my favorite, lucked into getting a shot of a hit cone in mid-air…


My Impressions: It’s adequately sharp stopped down and produces good images with pretty accurate colors and contrast. Not the best bokeh I’ve ever seen, but I do like it. It’s also made out of metal and seems very robust, I am not concerned with it getting damaged. It even has a built in hood! Another plus is the size: It’s the same size as the kit 18-55 lens that came with the camera, so doesn’t stand out, and you’re able to shoot from a bit of a distance without being obtrusive. The image quality isn’t perfect though, all of the above have some post-processing tweaks done to them. Truly not much though. I also wish it was faster. 3.5 isn’t great for indoor/low light shooting, but at least the images are still usable wide open and with iso adjustment and post-processing it’ll work.

The price? $10! I found it on craigslist. They typically sell for $20 or more on ebay, so I think I got a good deal. It’s missing the lens cap and has some external wear, but still works great. I don’t know how much use it’ll get, but it is a great addition to my camera bag and will be very useful in extending the range of the 18-55 kit lens.

I’m on the hunt for a “fast 50” too, so hopefully there will be another post announcing a new lens soon.


Written by Jim

June 9, 2013 at 10:07 pm

4 Responses

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  1. a $10 lens?! Unheard of :) Excellent deal! I love the research you put into buying a Pentax — very smart. This is a very good portrait lens, no?


    June 11, 2013 at 11:48 am

    • $10 seems too good to be true, doesn’t it! :) If it was a higher end lens it would have been more, but still only $50-$100, which isn’t bad at all. Pentax put out some really good manual 50mm lenses in the day which can be picked up for about $50 now. I’m on the hunt for one, but need to cool down a bit because Kristin is going to (rightfully) have a cow if I keep getting camera stuff.

      It feels like it’s a bit long for a portrait lens, you’re a bit far away from the subject. I really have next to no experience with portraits though, so this might be ideal for all I know. Just doesn’t feel right to me. Also, with the minimum aperture being 3.5, lighting would have to be pretty controlled (right?).


      June 11, 2013 at 8:33 pm

  2. Well I think we just proved what I really know about lenses and focal length :) Just about nothin! You’re right about the aperture, too. I must not have read those numbers properly. Thankfully, you know exactly the situations that it’s for and are using it beautifully! I’m glad Kristin let’s you spend a little $$ on such a rad (my opinon….) hobby!


    June 13, 2013 at 4:02 pm

  3. […] mentioned in my last post, last weekend I went to an autocross and took some pictures with my new 135mm prime lens. […]


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