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50mm lens: pentax vs. auto sears?

ellie carson , Feb 18, 2005; 02:35 p.m.

I'm trying to buy a 50 mm lens for a pentax k1000- my options are: pentax-a lens pentax-m lens (has anyone noticed any difference in quality btwn the a and m?) something that says "Ricoh Rikenon" on it, and one that says "1:20 50mm Auto Sears lens Japan"

any ideas? i cant test them cause im buying them online (bad i know, but its cheap and i am broke) please help! thanks!


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Douglas Stemke , Feb 18, 2005; 03:34 p.m.


First I'd highly recommend the Pentax primes, they are generally beautiful lenses. There are several different A and M (even a K) 50mm lenses. You can check them out at


I have personally used the following:

M f1.4 A f1.4 A f1.7 A f2.0

Depending on what your needs are there are advantages to each, although I personally least like the M. The f2.0 A is super light, super cheap and not a bad piece of glass. The A 1.4 is super fast, pretty heavy (for a normal lens) a real joy to use in museums or indoors if you don't use flash. If you plan to reverse the lens for macro work stay away from bioth f1.4.

The 50mm f1.7 A is very light (although not as light as the f2.0) naturaly very fast, and is one of the best lenses Pentax has ever made-in optical tests it is only surpased by Pentax's 50mm f2.8 F macro.

I can't comment on the Richo other than it is obviously slower than the f1.7 and f1.4s. However Pentax normals are some of the best lenses ANY company has ever made so I don't think you can go wrong with any of the Pentax lenses.

Lee Weiner , Feb 18, 2005; 04:43 p.m.

I agree with Doug. The Pentax primes are pretty great. I don't shoot Pentax anymore (I converted to Nikon a couple years ago), but I spent a lot of time with my K1000. I also like the M. The f2.0A doesn't feel right, too light...The M is quite solid.

William Harrison , Feb 18, 2005; 06:01 p.m.


Quite frankly, I wouldn't recommend and/or bother with the Sears or any other off brand lens for you K 1000 - it's a waste of money, time, and effort - just to find out you made the wrong purchase - a non Pentax lens.

Personally, I'd opt for the 50mm F/1.4, which will produce a brighter image in the viewfinder and thus allow for better and more accurate focusing under poor light conditions. Be sure to purchase a lens shade along with the lens as it will reduce flare, improve contrast, and give you better color saturation.

If you wish to visually "see" what a lens shade will do; make use of a toilet paper tube the next time you're sitting on the throne. Hold the tube - much easier with little paper on it - up to your eye and look around the "throne" room. You'll be surprised at the improvement in image quality, etc.

If you find yourself getting into macro work, purchase the 100mm Pentax F/4.0 macro lens - they might be expensive, but just save your hard earned money as it is the lens with which to do the job of macro photography.

Hope this covers all of the bases and best wishes in your photographic endeavors.


Anupam Basu , Feb 18, 2005; 07:42 p.m.

If you plan to reverse the lens for macro work stay away from bioth f1.4.

Douglas, could you explain why? Is this only true about this Pentax prime or faster primes in general. I am askinf because I am planning to use a Nikkor 1.4 reversed. I would appreciate your comments. Thanks.


richard oleson , Feb 18, 2005; 08:08 p.m.

The Auto Sears lens is undoubtedly a Rikenon, as Sears cameras were made by Ricoh throughout the K-mount period. The Pentax lenses are a bit better. The M series lens is a bit more rugged in construction than the A series, optically they are identical so I'd go with the M.


Douglas Stemke , Feb 18, 2005; 10:22 p.m.

Reversed 50mms

I can't speak for Nikon 50mm f1.4 (but I believe it is optically very similar to Pentax's lens) The Pentax 50mm f1.4 is not optically corrected for closeup work-it's actually spelled out in Pentax's lens literature (which I don't have on hand right now). I suspect it is because it is not as flat field as the f1.7 or f2.0 however I maybe mistaken. But I do recall the literature was very specific on this point.

John Shepherd , Feb 19, 2005; 07:11 a.m.

Echoing Richard's comment above regarding the construction quality of the A lenses, my only failure with a Pentax lens was with an A 50mm f1.7 where part of the iris control mechanism became detached internally due to failure of a plastic body part where a mechanical part was riveted on. Although optically excellent, I am not convinced that the plastic based construction is going to stand the test of time as the materials age. A K1000 does not require the Automatic facility offered in the A series so there is no need to buy this type of lens. The M lenses are all optically excellent (I own f1.4, f1.7 and f2.0 variants) and appear more solidly constructed. Personally, as a good compromise, I would search out a Pentax M f1.7 example as a good match for the K1000. It will be brighter and easier to focus than the f2.0 that the camera was generally supplied with when new, (I find focusing a K1000 difficult enough in low light) but cheaper than the f1.4.

Jim Kerr , Feb 19, 2005; 08:28 p.m.

Ellie, I'm no real expert on Pentax equipment as Doug and some others are but I have had long relationship with their cameras and lenses since 1971. I honestly feel that Pentax,during the 70s and early 80s, when they were coming out with the K and M series,plus the LX, they were designing and building cameras and lenses the very best that that they possibly could. The M series lenses I still have work just as well as they did about 25 or more years ago....Jim

David M , Feb 21, 2005; 12:48 a.m.

The Ricoh 50F2 is all plastic! I know I had one on my XR10. The 50F1.7 Pentax lens is the best standard lens. Much lighter and more compact than the 1.4. Most Sears lenses are just rebadged Ricoh or Chinon lenses.

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