Fast Pentax Glass

I’m currently looking for some faster glass for my set of Pentax dSLR cameras. I already have a 43mm ltd 1:1.9 (auto focus) and an old Ricoh 50mm 1:1.7 (manual focus). What I would like is a 1:1.4 or faster. I’ll use this blog to get an idea of the marked. I’ll focus on fast glass and fairly cheap glass. It needs to be as short as possible – 50mm is okay. I may sell the 43mm towards this lens…

Now the standard thing to buy in this situation is the SMC-FA 50mm 1:1.4. Or if possible the SMC 50mm f1.2 A Lens, but that’s way beyond cheap. The problem is that the Pentax 1.4 is hard to find. You will simply not find it by search at price databases like Kelkoo or Pricerunner. But lets take a looks at the possibilities and what we can find at ebay. The used prices are taken from closed auctions, sorry about the different monetary dominations, but that reflects where I found the item. I’m not linking to the auctions as they disappear from ebays site fairly fast…

Name Auto focus Aperture Priority Comment/Price
Pentax SMC-FA 50mm f1:1.7 Yes Yes Used: c$230 (£100)
Pentax SMC-M
50mm f1:1.7
No Yes Used: c$81 (£36); £28;
Pentax SMC-FA
50mm f1:1.2
Yes Yes New: £470
Pentax SMC-A
50mm f1:1.2
No Yes New: 580us$ (very rare)
Used: 462us$ (incl. ZX-M Body)
Cosina
F1:1.2/55mm
? ? Used: 107us$
Pentax SMC-M
50mm f1:1.4
No Yes Used: 98us$; £41; 72€; 64€ (incl. ME Camera body); 70£; 82us$
Pentax SMC-F
50mm f1:1.4
Yes Yes Used: 235€; 260us$
Pentax SMC-FA
50mm f1:1.4
Yes Yes New: 200us$/£165 (back ordered)
Used: 207us$; 229us$ 235us$
Pentax SMC-A
50mm F1:1.4
No Yes Used: 170us$; 152us$
SMC Pentax A*
85mm/1.4
No Yes Used: 455us$
SMC Pentax FA*
85mm/1.4
Yes Yes New: 800us$ (back ordered)
PENTAX SMC Asahi
1:1.4 50mm
No No Used: 50us$; 51€
Sigma 30mm f/1.4
EX DC
Yes Yes New: 429us$ (in stock!)

Some of these prices are crazy and a testimony to the fact that Pentax should kick their production lines into overdrive (without sacrificing quality) and make a huge batch of FA 1.4 50mm lenses in a hurry. People are actually paying more for the used editions, of the autofocus 1:1.4 50mm lenses, than the regular (new) sales prices that the (out of stock) stores advertise them.

An cheaper option is to buy a screwmount lens and adopter, but I don’t feel like messing around with adopters, so I’ve kept those out of the loop, and I really want autofocus, which a screw mount solution will not give me.

The two 85mm’s are really cool, but probably to long for my needs. Even if I can find them

I’ve rather surprised at the prices the old manual focus lenses sell for. Not bad for old pieces of glass.

The 30mm Sigma is the only one that can be found in stock, and a 30mm 1.4 doesn’t sound all bad.

I’ll add more prices as I find them. I already have quite a lot of auctions added to my list, that I’ll check when they have ended. Let me know if you have anything I should add…

p.s. feb 20th 2007: Just got a brand new 50mm f1.4 in the door from B&H. They had them in stock for a couple of hours, and I was lucky to get one.

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