Best price/performance used primes?

Started Apr 10, 2012 | Discussions
SenorBeef
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Best price/performance used primes?
Apr 10, 2012

I'm looking to get some used primes (I can't afford the freshly more expensive new lenses at the moment), and I'm wondering which ones are considered the best bang for the buck. They can range anywhere from $20 to $200+, but which ones are worth it? Autofocus is preferred when possible but I'll learn to shoot manually too.

I hear good stuff about the various versions of the 50 1.7 (with the faster 50s being pretty pricey). Is there any particular version of that lens that's the best one to get?

What about other lenses? I'm mostly interested in primes, but if there's a good zoom or two, I'll grab those too.

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Russ Houston
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Re: Best price/performance used primes?
In reply to SenorBeef, Apr 10, 2012

I was going to say the manual 50mm f/1.7. You can find that for a song.
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steephill
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Re: Best price/performance used primes?
In reply to SenorBeef, Apr 10, 2012

There are fewer AF primes than MF ones so your choice is more limited and because they are fully functional on digital bodies prices stay fairly high.

One lens which is an ideal starting point for a life of primes is the DA35 f2.4 AL - probably the best value lens in the current line-up. You could pay a lot more for the FA35 f2 but they are essentially the same lens.

Two early AF zooms worth looking out for are the F35-70 http://kmp.bdimitrov.de/lenses/zooms/medium/F35-70f3.5-4.5.html and the F70-210 http://kmp.bdimitrov.de/lenses/zooms/long/F70-210f4-5.6.html

There are lots of MF 28mm's around, AF versions are harder to find. Other MF favourites include the 135mm f3.5 and 200mm f4 lenses.

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MightyMike
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Re: Best price/performance used primes?
In reply to SenorBeef, Apr 10, 2012

PM sent, I have 70 items for sale on the other forum
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Brentliris
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Re: Best price/performance used primes?
In reply to MightyMike, Apr 10, 2012

I really like the 28mm FOV I have a M28 2.8 and M28 3.5. Apparently the 3.5 is better corrected for distortions, but on the otherhand it is also darker, the 3.5 is also bigger and feels like it's a better quality.

I think I paid 70 usd for it used in a shop. Then when I was out one day I lost the thing!!! So several years later I bought it again in mint condition from the UK for around 80 bucks.

I also recently bought the K 55 1.8 $80 a well regarded lens. Heavier and more substatial than the m 50 2 and the A 50 1.4 that I already have. I like it alot.

I have had the M 100 2.8 for years. It's a great performer and very small. It should be available for around 100 usd. I paid quite abit for it used here in Denmark from a highend photostore back in 1990 !

The 135mm lenses 3.5 are plentiful and quite small. I don't have one, but it's on my list..

Should should be able to find all of these somewhat cheaper in the states..

I really like working with these lenses, it's a treat to work with the smooth focus rings which aren't possible of AF lenses. AF lenses are damped but still much too easy to turn in my experience.

Hope this helps

Brent

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rogerstpierre
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Re: Best price/performance used primes?
In reply to SenorBeef, Apr 10, 2012

Hummm, can you narrow it down a bit... Ultra Wide Angle, Wide Angle, Normal, Short Telephoto, Telephoto ?

In MF I currently have and like: K24/2.8, K28/3.5, A50/1.7, M150/3.5, SMC K135/2.5 which I all like.

In AF DFA50Macro which I paid $200 used, which was a great deal.

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Joseph Tainter
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Re: Best price/performance used primes?
In reply to steephill, Apr 10, 2012

steephill wrote:

Two early AF zooms worth looking out for are the F35-70 http://kmp.bdimitrov.de/lenses/zooms/medium/F35-70f3.5-4.5.html and the F70-210 http://kmp.bdimitrov.de/lenses/zooms/long/F70-210f4-5.6.html

I second these recommendations. Just be sure to get the SMC F 70-210.

But the F 35-70 may not give you the wide angle you could need. Think in terms of what focal lengths you need for your type of photography.

The various versions of the 50 F1.7 are excellent. But in APS-C, it is a short telephoto lens, best for portraits, not so good as an all-around lens. For a "normal" lens, you might look for a copy of the FA 28.

Joe

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SenorBeef
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Re: Best price/performance used primes?
In reply to rogerstpierre, Apr 10, 2012

rogerstpierre wrote:

Hummm, can you narrow it down a bit... Ultra Wide Angle, Wide Angle, Normal, Short Telephoto, Telephoto ?

I need everything. All I've got now is the 18-55 kit lens.

I definitely want something wide, in the 14-22 type range, a normal lens (30-40), short telephoto/portrait (50-70), and probably something longer, maybe 85-125. I don't know if I'll need any long telephoto primes.

The other thing is that I don't know when to buy the F version of a lens, but stay away from the FA version, etc.... just all the different versions, which are gems, which aren't that great, which are a steal for their price.

I'd like at least one very few lens (f2 or better) in the normal-to-short telephoto range, 35-55ish.

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SenorBeef
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Re: Best price/performance used primes?
In reply to SenorBeef, Apr 10, 2012

I meant very fast, not very few. I'd also like a fast wide, like a 20mm f2 or f2.8, but I know fast and wide is relatively difficult to do and hence rare and expensive generally.

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HozicEmir
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Re: Best price/performance used primes?
In reply to SenorBeef, Apr 10, 2012

buy fast fifty first no mater which one, or maybe DFA 50 2.8 macro, most underrated extremely high IQ lens for macro and also portraits and maybe product photography.
DA35 is something like that just more pricier.

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Roland Karlsson
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This one is highly regarded
In reply to SenorBeef, Apr 10, 2012

This one is highly regarded

http://camerapedia.wikia.com/wiki/Helios-44

And its fun to use an old soviet lens!

Best is the 44M-7, there are lots of them on eBay for reasonable prices.

And you will need an M42 adapter

There is also an 44K-4 if you a K mount lens - but the last digit is resolution. So 7 is better than 4.

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Wanganuilad
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Re: This one is highly regarded
In reply to Roland Karlsson, Apr 10, 2012

M42 adapter
Super Takumar 105mm f2.8 with hood

Pete

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Wanganuilad
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The one I won't sell :)
In reply to Wanganuilad, Apr 10, 2012

attempt to change header double post sry
K-5 some Len

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miles green
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Re: This one is highly regarded
In reply to Roland Karlsson, Apr 10, 2012

The helios has funky bokeh! Not bad, but funky: you gotta see it to know if you'll like it. Its big brother, the helios 40 (85mm f/1.5) is on my "want" list, but i wouldn't replace my 77.

If you get a fast MF lens in this range, I'm sure you'll want a focus-screen upgrade.

You might want to look for a macro lens too, in the 100mm range. The manual focus ones are just as nice anyway.

I recently got a Petacon 135mm f/2.8 with 18 blades, I like it a lot. There are many old long lens with many blades.

With wider lens you'll run out of options using old, and therefore full-frame lens. You're not going to find anything wider than your 18-55, unless you're prepared to pay for it! A Sigma 10-20 might be the best option. I have the 8-16. I think tokina makes a nice wideangle.

Don't be afraid of M42, once you get used to it, it's great.

Good luck!
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Col K10d
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Re: This one is highly regarded
In reply to Roland Karlsson, Apr 10, 2012

Just be careful the 44M7 does require a little surgery on the Auto pin.
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Roland Karlsson
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Re: This one is highly regarded
In reply to Col K10d, Apr 10, 2012

Col K10d wrote:

Just be careful the 44M7 does require a little surgery on the Auto pin.

You mean to keep it in?

Because there is no A/M switch?

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moving_comfort
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Best bang/buck
In reply to SenorBeef, Apr 11, 2012

SenorBeef wrote:

I'm looking to get some used primes (I can't afford the freshly more expensive new lenses at the moment), and I'm wondering which ones are considered the best bang for the buck. They can range anywhere from $20 to $200+, but which ones are worth it? Autofocus is preferred when possible but I'll learn to shoot manually too.

.

I may bump up to the top of your $200+ price ceiling, but...

F/FA 50 1.7 ($175 - $250) - one of the best 'cheap' fast-50's ever made, probably the best.

M 100 f/2.8 ($75 - $150) - very small, sharp, green button makes this a fantastic little telephoto.

M 85 f/2 ($180 - $280) - My favorite MF prime. Small, solid, wonderful sharpness even wide-open, sweet bokeh. Equal IMO to my FA 77ltd in IQ.

M/A 50 f/1.7 ($40 - $80) - MF version of the best 'cheap' 50.

M 28 f/2.8 ($40 - $60) - I love the colors and sharpness - a great walkabout hyperfocal choice.

K 55 f/1.8 ($35 - $75) - Beautiful, soulful rendering, interesting and artful bokeh.

... but if there's a good zoom or two, I'll grab those too.

The Pentax 16-45 f/4 ($200 - $250) is an incredible bargain, if you ask me - very sharp, that incredible DA contrast, a nice wide FL range and constant aperture. There are those who haunt this forum who liken it to an 18-55 kit lens - it's not. It's actually closer to the DA 15ltd in spirit and performance, IMO.

Have fun! despite the recent price hikes, pentax can still be a used equipment gold mine and bring a lot of fun to someone who's willing to learn the craft with these older gems.

.
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brandrx
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In reply to SenorBeef, Apr 11, 2012

You can glean a lot of information from the following two links:

Cheers.

Ron

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Col K10d
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Re: This one is highly regarded
In reply to Roland Karlsson, Apr 11, 2012

Exactly that.

Roland Karlsson wrote:

Col K10d wrote:

Just be careful the 44M7 does require a little surgery on the Auto pin.

You mean to keep it in?

Because there is no A/M switch?

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Roland Karlsson
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Re: This one is highly regarded
In reply to Col K10d, Apr 11, 2012

Col K10d wrote:

Exactly that.

Ouch! Seems like only old ones has an AM switch. Not optimal image quality.

Hmmm ... then 44K-4 is probably the best choice. K-mount.

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