I recently created my holiday wishlist that mentioned two Pentax bodies that are favorites of mine. Specifically, the K-3 (and II) and K-1 (and II). I really like these cameras and believe they offer phenomenal bang for your buck, but the bodies are only a part of the equation. I have owned many and still own mirrorless bodies. Great cameras, but affordable, high-quality glass is not abundant usually. With Pentax that is not the case. While 3rd party glass is not as abundant for Pentax, as with the two big Pentax lenses have been around since the stone age and all work on just about all Pentax cameras film or digital. I could devote an entire post to legacy K and M42 manual focus lenses, but I will focus on AF lenses here. Some newer. Some Pentax. Some 3rd party. Some current. Some out of production. All can be had for a reasonable price fairly easily through local camera shops and common online camera retailers. Lets go.Nifty 50 for less than $150: Pentax SMC F 50mm f/1.7Pros:
Small and light.
Quick to focus.
Acceptably sharp wide open. Very sharp closed down.
Colors and Bokeh so lovely you will apologize to the lens for pixel peeping.
Not a lens to impress aesthetically. It's there to get the job done.
My copy is rough around the edges and makes a bit of noise.
No longer in production, so used purchase only.
ConclusionMy first go around with Pentax I “upgraded” from this lens to a Sigma DG EX 50mm f/1.4. The Sigma was very nice, but I cannot say it produced images that were any better and did not find that extra brightness made a noticeable difference in low light or subject isolation day to day. Plus, the SMC was smaller lighter and focused more accurately in my experience. For my second go around with Pentax I reached for this lens again .Sample gallery link.High-end Macro for not high-end money: Pentax 100mm f/2.8 WR MacroPros:
Quite the looker and built like a tank.
Stellar image quality. My first runner-up for Pixie dust lens.
Sharp everywhere like all good macros are.
Compact given the spec.
Water-resistant to go along with the water-resistant Pentax bodies. I have used this in the rain without a concern and no ill effects.
Very flexible. Great for macro shots, all-weather walkabout, and portraits.
Swift to focus when near its intended focus distance.
Reasonably priced. You can find them used for around $250 in great condition. New they run just over $500 or so.
No focus limiter, so it can take a while between normal and macro focus distances on its own.
Amazing build quality and aesthetics. There are lenses that cost far more that are built no better.
This is my favorite Pixie dust lens ever. It just makes everything look wonderful. Sharpness, colors, bokeh, and contrast are all there. Check out the album below.
Cannot bring myself to give this lens a demerit of any kind.
ConclusionIf you would like to treat yourself with a special lens I can think of nothing better than this one.Sample Image GalleryThis was a very specific list for one lens mount, but if you are looking for a good deal on a stills system and do not have a money tree in your backyard I recommend giving it a look.Happy shooting.
BS in Industrial Engineering. Engineer and IT Professional for multiple Fortune 500 Corporations and major healthcare and educational institutions from NYC to NC currently as a Project Manager at UNC Healthcare.
Mild mannered husband, father, engineer, IT geek, former Pastor, car nut, and singer.
Lover of photography since being introduced to it by his father. Still embraces film with a collection of vintage medium format and 35mm cameras as well as appreciating the convenience and capabilities of digital with experience in many brands and forms of camera from DSLR to mirrorless. Loves to shoot portraits, capture nature, architecture and street environments as well as candid.
Photocred: Edde Burgess, EddeBurgessPhotography.com
Subscribe to KEH Spotlight
Experience the KEH difference
Going beyond retail means delivering more opportunity, security, and flexibility for all.
When every dollar goes further, every exchange brings new ways to create and explore.
Longer gear lifecycles serve more and cost less-for you and the environment.
Every exchange supports the passions and professions of fellow camera lovers.
Turn old camera gear into new possibilities.
Selling your old photo equipment online can be a hassle. We've gotten rid of the risk and made it so you don't have to worry about a thing.