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Thread: Cheap M42 and pentax K mount lenses.

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    New Member Bionic eye's Avatar
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    Cheap M42 and pentax K mount lenses.

    Recently I was given a Pentax K1000 film camera and it got me thinking about using the 50mm F2 on my canon 550D. I have the adaptor on the way from Ebay.
    But I have found that as well as K mount lenses I can use old M42 lenses as well(I now have a Zenit camera on its way with the helios lens:-)

    Can anyone recomend good K mount or M42 lenses?

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    A while back I got a Soligor 35mm f/3.5 for $20. M42 mount, which means no infinity focus(natively) in Nikon cameras.
    I pulled it to pieces to see what I could do to get it to infinity focus, which was mostly a simple procedure.
    The problem is that I didn't fix the new focus stop properly and kept focusing past infinity which caused a mechanical problem with the aperture mechanism.
    So I can't use it any more(until I can solder a new aperture control arm in place) ... but on the D800 the images even at f/3.5 were pretty sharp and clear.

    I don't know what your definition of cheap is for these types of things ... but for me $20-$50 is about my price range.
    You can find plenty of Pentax 50/1.7's in M42 mount on ebay .. apparently they're quite good. I've been looking for early non multi coated types

    if 35mm is an OK focal length for ya, just do a 35mm f/3.5 search on ebay and you'll get a variety of strange and interesting results.

    I'm getting too lazy to do stuff nowadays(work!) and so instead of figuring out a way to solder this aperture lever control arm in my Soligor lens, I just bought another lens.
    This time it's a Prinzgalaxy 35mm f/3.5 .. $20(just under $40 incl delivery).

    While the specs sound similar, the two lenses are a bit different to each other, but one thing you will notice is a large variety of 'manufacturers' of these types of lenses .. especially in the M42 mount ecosystem.
    I reckon there are two or three original designs made, most likely from Pentax or Zeiss/Practika, and all the other brands are just copies made years after the original.

    So if you see a lens from Photax or Prinzgalaxy with the specs ... 50mm f/1.7 in M42 mount, it's most likely the same design as the Pentax version made in the 50's .. only made years later by some obscure glass maker in Japan. Pentax may have updated to a new lens design and sold off the rights to make the older lens type ... who knows?
    Nikon D800E, D300, D70s
    {Nikon} -> 50/1.2 : 500/8(CPU'd) : 105/2.8VR Micro : 180/2.8ais : 105mm f/1.8ais : 24mm/2ais
    {Sigma}; ->10-20/4-5.6 : 50/1.4 : 12-24/4.5-5.6II : 150-600mm|S
    {Tamron}; -> 17-50/2.8 : 28-75/2.8 : 70-200/2.8 : 300/2.8 SP MF : 24-70/2.8VC


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    For me sub $50 is ideal but willing to pay up to $100.
    I have heard great thing about the soligor. Is it a wide angle?

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    Member Nick Cliff's Avatar
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    The M42 mount Asahi Pentax Takumar lenses can be fun to use in your price range particularly the 50mm f/1.4 Super Takumar and 35mm f/3.5 Super Takumar, and some of the Tamron Adaptall 2 lenses are good too with the M42 mount particularly the SP 90mm f/2.5 macro lens ,I have sourced my lenses from local internet ads so that I can try before purchasing re apertures o.k. and fungus of course ,
    regards Nick.
    Last edited by Nick Cliff; 06-12-2014 at 7:41am.

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    Well a macro is a long overdue addition to my kit:-) Im assuming auto focus would be next to useless doing macro anyway.

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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    No, it wouldn't be useless. It could help for some critical focusing that you can't do any other way.
    CC, Image editing OK.

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    AF usefulness is dependent on how macro you want to go.

    On the Nikon 105VR, up to about 1:3 .. AF can work, but you need to use the focus limit switch to the near end of the focus range.
    But it's at about 1:3 where it becomes quite hit and miss.. usually miss, and it's infuriating.

    The last time I used this lens (on a praying mantis) on a tripod at about the 1:3 range ... about 19 out of 20 shots using AF were useless.
    When when I manually focused through the vf, I got 1 in 4 hits(ie. 3 misses) using focus bracketing in a 4 shot burst.

    MF using Lv was spot on every shot.

    Just a note about the Tamron adaptall lenses. You don't want them in M42 mount, unless you want them strictly for an M42 mount camera!
    Aperture will not work, for example, either on the K1000 or the Canon.
    You are better off getting native camera mounts for them.
    And I can confirm that some of those old Tammy's can work quite well. My 300/2.8 is an adaptall 2 mount.

    Other old cheap lenses you could look out for are M39 mount types too. They are a lot more 'rare' in some ways, mainly due to the fact that M39 is a Leica type mount system, and most M39 lenses have a too short backfocus distance for DSLR cameras. If you do search for M39 type lenses, they almost certainly will be old enlarger/projector type lenses(no focusing) .. but sometimes you get some other interesting hits(on the cheap).
    If you do find any M39 thread lenses that can work on any of your DSLRs, the adapter you need to use them will be a very slim threaded ring, that converts the M39 lens into an M42 lens, which you then mount via your M42 to camera adapter.
    The reason I mention M39 lenses, with the caveat for DSLRs, is that they work perfectly well on almost every mirrorless camera type(eg. Olympuses, Sonys, Panasonics .. etc).
    Note that some of these high quality M39 lenses .. even from 50-60 years ago can come in at extraordinary prices! .. in the multiple thousands range.

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    Thanks guys all great info:-)

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    Got a Zenit E on the way in the post complete with a Helios 50mm:-)

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    Ok so the helios is a 58mm. I love love love it! Ill post a pic tonight:-)

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