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This lens worth buying

Wayne Ervine , Jul 21, 2011; 02:36 p.m.

After recently being given a Mamiya MSX500 and a few lenses, I find myself perusing local auction sites looking for worthwhile lenses. I did find a Pentor 135 f/2.8 for not much money. Now the question is should I go for it?
Here's the link to the auction. To get an idea of pricing, I tend to work on R10 being equivalent to a $1. (U.S.)


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Rick Drawbridge , Jul 21, 2011; 04:45 p.m.

Pentor lenses are very much an unknown quantity, Wayne. There are only two or three that I've come across, and I've no idea who manufactured them. There's a 100mm f/2.8 which is reputed to be a brilliant performer, and a few longer telephoto lenses about which I've read good reports. This lens has is a six-bladed iris, so don't expect a sensational bokeh...Being a bit of a collector of 135mm lenses, for the money involved, I'd buy it!

Mike Gammill , Jul 21, 2011; 04:47 p.m.

If read my currency converter correctly, that looks to be about 25 USD. In the USA that would be high for a non-name brand lens, but I don't know what the situation is where you live. A typical "off-brand" lens in good condtion should go anywhere from 5 to 15 USD, whereas a name brand (like the excellent Pentax Takumars) might go for 50 to 60 USD and up, depending upon condition. If Pentax, Mamiya, Yashica M42, etc. are available you might see what they sell for before buying the Pentor 135. And since that value appears to be a starting bid, it could even get higher.

Wayne Ervine , Jul 21, 2011; 05:10 p.m.

Mike the main issue is the South African market is way smaller than the States or europe. And while keh or that other auction site may have better prices, on a low ticket item the shipping would kill the advantage. None the less I could find almost nothing about that lens online either. Also this is the 2nd time that lens came up for auction. No bidders last time. So odds are I might not have someone else bidding heavily. Maybe I must just put a lowish bid in and see. Think it would go nicely with the Osawa 28 f/2.8 and Mamiya Sekor SX 50 f/2 I have already.

Peter Galuszewski , Jul 21, 2011; 05:39 p.m.

Along with the venerable 50mm, the 135mm seems to be one of the most sorted out focal lengths out there, and it seems that short of a real train wreck in build quality, most 135's seem to punch well above their weight in terms of bang for the buck. I would be really surprised if the lens was anything less than competent, and would wager a good chance that it will pleasantly surprise you. On the other hand, these lenses were made by anybody and everybody with (most often) very little to set one apart from the other (among the third party, "budget" brands), so I would not go out of my way too much to buy one, as chances are one will come your way at a very good price if you just keep an eye out.

It will round out your kit nicely, and who knows, you may really like the way 135 sees the world - its one of those lengths that seem to take you off-guard, and are actually quite flexible and useful for a variety of tasks. I have a couple (both inexpensive, $5 and $15, a Soligor f2.8 and a Canon FD f3.5) and was really enamored with them once I decided to give them a go, having never really used that focal length very much before.

Michael Linn , Jul 21, 2011; 08:38 p.m.

I agree with Peter, who has given good advice.

The basic idea of the 135/2.8 was worked out many years ago. I have never seen one that was really junk, and did not perform well.

As for the MSX 500, it is a dependable M42 camera. Have you put film through it yet?

If the light seals are good, and the shutter isn't capping at 1/500, you are good to go except for one other small foible of this model. There is a piece of fabric attached to the back of the mirror which can peel off and obstruct the frame. Just remove the lens, set it to "B", open the back, release the shutter and take a look. If it's a problem, you will see it. If so just glue it back up. If not, get some great photos!

Wayne Ervine , Jul 22, 2011; 01:14 a.m.

Thx Michael. When I got the body I saw the seals were pretty shot so sent her in to be sorted. Have put a rol of film through her and all seems good, aside from my need to learn to focus manually. Having pretty much only shot digital for the last year and a half this is a learning curve for me.

H. P. , Jul 22, 2011; 08:36 a.m.

Given that distinct flaring of the front barrel, it might be the same lens that was sold, in the UK, under the Vivitar brand. That would have been from the mid 'seventies to the end of the 'eighties. If it comes from that stable, it should be a very good performer.

Fritz Carlsson , Jul 22, 2011; 07:16 p.m.

Wayne, look elsewhere on said auction site (I am also a South African) and you will see a 35mm camera body for sale, called Pentor Super TL. It is identical to the old (ca 1972) Praktica Super TL that originated in the former German Democratic Republic, i.e. East Germany. The lens is probably made by Pentacon that had some connections with Carl Zeiss (East Germany) although some Praktica lenses back then were made by e.g. Meyer-Optik, Goerlitz . It should be a reasonable buy.

Wayne Ervine , Jul 23, 2011; 06:39 a.m.

This is the body Fritz was referring to. Might it be from the same manufacturer?
Was also looking at this body as well. For the price of a couple of hamburgers, might grab it as well.

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