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 Archive 2011 · Best 24mm in Pentax K mount
ayler
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 p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Best 24mm in Pentax K mount

I'm looking for a native or convertible 24/25mm lens for a K5, and would like to get an idea of what in the several K mount variations is good and what other GOOD options (Zuiko, M42, etc) could be mounted on/converted to Pentax.

Criteria:

- cheap if possible (£150-£300) - if nothing out there this cheap, could consider Distagon ZK 25mm if proven to be considerably better than the 'competition'
- sharp corner to corner @ f8 focused close to infinity on a crop sensor
- good control of CAs around f8 in high contrast transitions
- low distortion
- no to low fringing
- good contrast
- don't mind at all if slow (f3.5/4 acceptable)
- good manual focus feel preferable, but not important, since it's to be used around infinity
- small and light if possible
- performance wide open not important

I've checked the Pentax forums and many other fora, and find the information about what's available in K mount insufficient and confusing - there seems to be a general preference for original 'K' lenses, but this seems to be partly driven by the construction quality and focus feel of these, and seems to be contradicted in places by recent tests when 'Ks' placed alongside more modern lenses.

Thanks.

Mar 21, 2011 at 12:16 AM
jcolwell
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 p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Best 24mm in Pentax K mount

You can't go far wrong with any of the SMC Pentax 24mm lenses. The best of the lot is the autofocus SMC Pentax-FA 24/2. I sold one on eBay last year for $590 US. The SMC Pentax 24/2.8, SMC Pentax-A 24/2.8, and SMC Pentax 24/3.5 are also quite good. I owned the SMC Pentax-K 24/2.8, which I found to be better than the Nikkor 24/2.8 AIS, Olympus H.Zuiko 24/2.8 MC Auto-W, and Sigma Super Wide II 24/2.8. It was about equivalent to the Canon EF 24/2.8 (a very nice little lens), which I kept, as I'm an EOS shooter. I haven't owned the SMC Pentax 24/3.5, but I did own the very similar SMC Pentax 28/3.5 and 35/3.5. They were both very small, and very sharp. The SMC Pentax 24/2.8 and -A 24/2.8 are also small and sharp. In comparison, the -FA 24/2 is quite large. Boz Dimitrov's site http://www.bdimitrov.de/kmp/lenses/index.html is the best resource on Pentax lens specs and technology. Stan Halpin's site http://stans-photography.info/ offers information/reviews on Pentax lenses. I've attached below the "24mm" section from an older resource site that's no longer available online; Alex's BOA Gallery. Quoted from BOA's Gallery: Pentax Lenses Review, http://home.att.net/~alnem/html/equipment_review.html Last Updated on Monday, November 08, 1999 \begin{quotation} 24mm K and A 24/2.8's are optically identical. Pentax K24/2.8 is a great lens with very few distortion, high resolution, great color rendition, and good color saturation. There's no M24/2.8. A 24/2.8 is very resistant to flare and ghosting, very sharp when stopped down. A 24/2.8 is reputed to be better than M24-35/3.5 and M24-50. Comparing K(A)24/2.8 and K24/3.5, K(A)24/2.8 has higher center resolution/sharpness and lower corner resolution/sharpness. Both of them are excellent performers. FA24/2 AL IF is said to be an excellent lens, and optically better than both K(A)24/2.8 and K24/3.5. FA version is very well build and exhibits excellent contrast and sharpness. Its handling is very good, especially when used as a manual focus lens due to it's focus clutch mechanism whereby you pull back on the focusing ring, which now has a relatively nice manual focus feel. \end{quotation} I've also owned the SMC Pentax-M 24-35/3.5 mentioned above, and I found that the SMC Pentax 24/2.8 was better. Mar 21, 2011 at 02:08 AM ayler Offline • • Upload & Sell: Off  p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Best 24mm in Pentax K mount jcolwell wrote: You can't go far wrong with any of the SMC Pentax 24mm lenses. The best of the lot is the autofocus SMC Pentax-FA 24/2. I sold one on eBay last year for$590 US. The SMC Pentax 24/2.8, SMC Pentax-A 24/2.8, and SMC Pentax 24/3.5 are also quite good. I owned the SMC Pentax-K 24/2.8, which I found to be better than the Nikkor 24/2.8 AIS, Olympus H.Zuiko 24/2.8 MC Auto-W, and Sigma Super Wide II 24/2.8. It was about equivalent to the Canon EF 24/2.8 (a very nice little lens), which I kept, as I'm an EOS shooter. I

The trouble I have with these lists is that they're all 'film era' and therefore just an indication of how a lens might perform on a digital camera with a sensor area that is smaller but more demanding than the 35mm frame.

I've bought the 'K' 28mm f3.5, but haven't tried it because my K5 has been sent back for a replacement - the dreaded sensor stain defect...

The FA is quite large and at least in this review (http://www.photozone.de/pentax/121-pentax-smc-fa-24mm-f2-al-if-review--lab-test-report?start=1) doesn't seem to perform that well, with sub-par margins and a lot of CAs. Maybe it's better focused far away and not made for mid-range target testing, or Photozone's copy was a lemon. But I'm weary of buying a big and relatively expensive lens that will not bring any improvements over adapting a Zuiko, for instance. The fact that you say that any of the manual K lenses would be worse than the FA makes me thing that they'll not provide the pristine corners I'm looking for stopped down to f8. Then again, you mention that the 'K' 24mm f2.8 you owned is a better lens than any of the Nikon, Olympus and Sigma equivalents you've owned.

I might try one of the SMCP 24mm flavours, but am more inclined to just go with a Distagon ZK, as this is reportedly pristine focused far away and will have the manual focus feel (if not the size) that I'd like as a bonus (and will work in all PASM modes).

Thanks.

Mar 21, 2011 at 11:33 AM
AhamB
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 p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Best 24mm in Pentax K mount

The ZK 25/2.8 isn't a compact/lightweight lens but will almost certainly be the option with the highest contrast. I had the ZF version for a short time and found it to be extremely sharp, but I like the 28mm focal length better so I sold it.

Some nice samples on the pages of this thread: http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/987747/

Mar 21, 2011 at 11:55 AM
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 p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Best 24mm in Pentax K mount

I owned the Sigma Super-Wide II 24/2.8 AF lens for a while (also owned it in F-mount) and it's an incredible performer for the price. The build quality sucks and the AF is noisy as hell, but it's quick and accurate and the IQ is fantastic. Got mine for ~$180 in K-mount and ~$100 in F-mount (Quantaray re-badge). I strongly suggest seeking this one out.

Mar 21, 2011 at 02:40 PM
HerbChong
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 p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Best 24mm in Pentax K mount

i sold mine as soon i as got my first digital body because of large amounts of CA. it wasn't that exciting on film either. it was a major disappointment considering how much i paid for it.

Herb...

jcolwell wrote:
The best of the lot is the autofocus SMC Pentax-FA 24/2. I sold one on eBay last year for \$590 US.

Mar 21, 2011 at 03:01 PM
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 p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Best 24mm in Pentax K mount

That seems to be the general consensus on the FA* 24/2. Shoulda been a FA, not a FA*. Oh well.

Mar 21, 2011 at 04:30 PM
HerbChong
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 p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Best 24mm in Pentax K mount

if you get a good copy of it, the DA 21 Limited is very good. the earliest ones suffered from terrible QC and there were all kinds of miscellaneous focusing problems caused by miscalibration from the factory. the later ones seem to have solved the problem but you need to be sure of your instance. the Zeiss 25 is probably the best available but it is manual focus and on the K5, not that wide.

Herb...

Mar 21, 2011 at 05:03 PM
freaklikeme
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 p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Best 24mm in Pentax K mount

The Oly 24/2 is a very good lens and should price out around the top of your budget. That one can be Leitaxed for PK. I'd say it and the Canon FD 24/2 are the best fast MF 24s available (I'd actually give the edge to the FD, simply because it's more resistant to flare and has less CA issues in heavily backlit situations, but it's also the hardest to adapt). On the cheaper side, there's the Zeiss Jenazoom 24/2.8 Macro (Zeiss branded, but I think the lens comes from a company in Japan or Korea). I've seen and shot with an OM mount version of the lens, but I hear it's available in PK. Nothing particularly special about it, but nothing particularly wrong with it. To my mind, the performance was a lot like the 24/2.8s offered by Minolta, Sigma, Oly, and Leica-R, but can be found cheaper. On the low end are the Vivitar/Kiron 24/2s, which are available in PK, OM, AIS, and C/Y mounts (those are the ones I've seen, there are likely others). These are real Jeckel and Hyde lenses from what I've seen, very soft wide open, decently sharp at f/2.8 and beyond. But if the soft-focus look of the lens wide open doesn't interest you, it's performance from 2.8 on doesn't look to be anything better than any of the other 24/2.8s mentioned.

Mar 21, 2011 at 05:04 PM
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 p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Best 24mm in Pentax K mount

Some photos from the Sigma/Quantaray 24/2.8 AF:

(on K-7)

(on K-7)

(on D700)

(on D700)

(on D700)

(on D700)

(on D700)

Mar 21, 2011 at 05:29 PM

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jcolwell
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 p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Best 24mm in Pentax K mount

My comparison of 24mm lenses described earlier was on 20D and 5D DSLR bodies. I only tried the -FA* on crop factor bodies, where there was no particular problem with CA, as it's one of the few K-mount lenses that I didn't want to leverectomize. In my experience, 'the operation' doesn't affect resale value for high quality Pentax manual focus lenses, but that might not be true for AF lenses. Anyway, soon after getting the -FA*, I decided I'll get an EF 24/1.4L II, and so modding the -FA* didn't make much sense.

Mar 21, 2011 at 08:11 PM
ayler
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 p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Best 24mm in Pentax K mount

Thank you all for your replies. Some interesting thoughts and suggestions. As per the initial post, I'm mostly interested in how the lens performs stopped down to around f8 and close to or at infinity. Everything else is secondary, although I'd prefer a small lens that balances well on the K5 and has a good manual focus feel - and one that's not too expensive if I can have my cake and eat it.

The DA 21mm Ltd is too wide, me thinks, as I'm looking for a normal wide that's equivalent to the classic 35mm FL on a full-frame. I've bought the K 28mm f3.5, but have not tried it yet, but I'll definitely test it to gauge what could be possible from the several manual focus Pentaxes.

Maybe I'll try one or two inexpensive options, like the K 24mm f2.8 or the Sigma and then jump straight to the Zeiss if those are not satisfactory. The 24mm FA seems too expensive for what it is and too close to the price of the Zeiss to warrant attention (I've seen the Zeiss go for around £350 SH). I once owned a Minolta AF 24mm that wasn't too shabby in terms of resolution on a full-framer (A900), but it was all over the place in terms of control of CAs and fringing - terrible actually. That and the soft corners that never sharpen up are what I mostly want to avoid.

Thanks all.

Mar 21, 2011 at 09:23 PM
ayler
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 p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Best 24mm in Pentax K mount

Two questions for deadwolfbones, please (and all others who know the ins and outs of the Sigma Super-Wide):

1) Was there ever a manual focus Super-Wide II in K mount?

I've seen at least one SWII in Canon FD mount, but no idea if there ever was an equivalent in K mount. I'm watching a manual focus K mount Super-Wide, but the owner doesn't know if it's type I or II. Which leads me to the second question.

2) What are the optical differences between the Type I and the Type II Sigma Super-Wide 24mm?

Mar 22, 2011 at 10:18 PM
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 p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Best 24mm in Pentax K mount

I was under the impression the II was the AF version and the I (not labeled as such) was the MF version, but that might be entirely wrong. Here's a thread here on FM on the subject: http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/978445

Mar 22, 2011 at 10:44 PM
jcolwell
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 p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Best 24mm in Pentax K mount

My Sigma Super Wide II 24/2.8 was a manual focus Pentax K-mount lens. I bought it from Mark Hubsand. It's the one that was featured in a 24mm shoot-out on his site, http://www.16-9.net/.

Mar 23, 2011 at 01:06 AM
flashinm
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 p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Best 24mm in Pentax K mount

Three that I'd suggest that fit easily within your budget:

OM 24mm f2.8 - Lovely lens. It's TINY and packs a punch. It has a cool tone, which is the only thing that I don't like about it. I've used it on a 5dII and the resolution and overall performance is superb.

Yashica ML 24mm f2.8 - A bit more rare, but the samples I've seen are very zeiss like.

SMC Takumar 24mm f2.8 - Haven't tested this lens, but if it's anything like the 28 f3.5, you won't be disappointed. Most of the Takumars have a warm tone that I really like.

The distagon 25mm is actually closer to 27mm so if you want Zeiss I'd say get the outstanding Distagon 28mm. It's smaller, cheaper, and has better corner sharpness. When you factor in price and weight, I'd recommend all of the above over the 25 but all are capable of producing outstanding images.

Mar 23, 2011 at 02:00 AM
AhamB
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 p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Best 24mm in Pentax K mount

flashinm wrote:
The distagon 25mm is actually closer to 27mm

The ZF 25/2.8 is 25.7mm. The Contax is 25.9mm.

Mar 23, 2011 at 02:28 PM
flashinm
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 p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Best 24mm in Pentax K mount

I thought that might be off. I just remembered it being over 25mm, thanks.

Mar 23, 2011 at 08:37 PM
ayler
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 p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Best 24mm in Pentax K mount

I've just reread 16-9's 24mm reviews, which I'd completely forgotten about, and the Zuiko 24mm f2.8 seems to trump everything it's put against around the f5.6/8 sweet spot, even the mighty Canon 24mm L. That's some feat for such a tiny and unassuming lens. It's clearly better than the Sigma Super-Wide II, although the Sigma seems quite good on a crop camera, and the Sigma's clearly ahead of the Pentax A 24mm.

This is close to my dream combo, as it's tiny, with excellent corners on a full-frame at f5.6/8, good control of aberrations and a good price to boot. I've decided to try this one before shelling out on the Distagon 25mm. Preferably, I'd like to get the multi-coated version, which I'll then send to David Llado for a Leitax conversion and infinity shimming if necessary.

Can someone please remind me how to distinguish between single and multi-coated 24mm Zuikos? Thanks.

Mar 23, 2011 at 09:59 PM
jcolwell
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 p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Best 24mm in Pentax K mount

Here's the Oly 24/2.8 serial number information that I compiled and posted here, back in 2009. As mentioned earlier, both my Canon EF 24/2.8 and SMC Pentax 24/2.8 were better than my Oly 24/2.8 MC. The EF and Oly were tested on both 5D and 20D, the SMCP on 20D only.

2009-12-16
www.jcolwell.ca

Olympus OM Auto-W 24mm f/2.8

S/N changes between H.Zuiko and Zuiko

H.Zuiko (chrome nose)
OLYMPUS OM-SYSTEM H.ZUIKO AUTO-W 1:2.8 f=24mm nnnnnn
101695 oldest

H.Zuiko (black nose)
OLYMPUS OM-SYSTEM H.ZUIKO AUTO-W 1:2.8 f=24mm nnnnnn
135138 oldest

Zuiko MC (black nose, multicoated)
OLYMPUS OM-SYSTEM ZUIKO MC AUTO-W 1:2.8 f=24mm nnnnnn
183471 oldest <>

Zuiko (black nose, multicoated, but not marked with MC)
OLYMPUS OM-SYSTEM ZUIKO AUTO-W 24mm 1:2.8 nnnnnn Japan
189782 oldest

Notes:
1. S/N overlap between the two newest versions!
2. Thanks to David Earls for supplying S/N update info.

Mar 23, 2011 at 10:36 PM
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