5 Great Pentax K2 Lenses

By Nathaniel Stephan
Last Updated: April 9, 2020
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The Pentax K2 is a very good 35mm single lens reflex (SLR) camera. This page will go over the 5 best lenses for the Pentax K2, as well as a small number of alternative lenses.

In a hurry? Here is the 5 best lenses for the K2:

  1. Kit Lens - SMC Pentax-M 50mm f/1.7
  2. Wide Angle Lens - SMC Pentax-M 28mm f/2.8
  3. Portrait Lens - SMC Pentax 135mm f/2.5
  4. Zoom Lens - Vivitar Series 1 28-90mm f/2.8-3.5
  5. Macro Lens - SMC Pentax 100mm f/4 Macro

The best Pentax K mount lenses are categorized by type of photography and cost. There are a number of suggested possibilities to pick from that have a wide range of prices ideal for the value of the camera.

Standard Lenses

Here's an assortment of 50mm focal lengths that are compatible with the K2. Back when the camera was being sold as new, there was often an offer including a 50mm lens as kit for a reduced price.

The 50mm is regarded as a standard lens because the angle of view is close to what people see with their eyes.

SMC Pentax-M 50mm f/1.7

  • "Kit" lens for the K2.
  • Terrific value.
  • Light, small, and compact.
  • 49mm filter threads.

Also found at: eBay, KEH, Adorama

If you do not already have it, a really good first lens to get is the SMC Pentax-M 50mm f/1.7. The 50mm f1.7 is easy to find, has very good photo output, is cheap, small, and lightweight. More images have been shot with this lens than all other lenses.

The second version, the SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/1.7, is also a good buy.

SMC Pentax-M 50mm f/1.4

  • Exceptional optics.
  • Optical multi-coatings to improve output.
  • Easy to find.
  • Comparatively economical.

Also found at: eBay, KEH, Adorama

The SMC Pentax-M 50mm f/1.4 is nearly a stop faster than the f/1.7, at the added burden of increased weight and size. Expect to pay more than you would for an f/1.7 or f/2 lens. The prior version, SMC Pentax, and subsequent version, SMC Pentax-A, will both work with the K2.

SMC Pentax 50mm f/1.2

Just like competing camera brands, Pentax made a very fast 50mm lens. The resulting SMC Pentax 50mm f/1.2 is a pricey, fast, and very large piece of glass.

The lens can be difficult to come across since it can be used on Pentax DSLRs so the appeal extends beyond usage with film cameras. If you want to track down one you will need to check and look at what is available in the market through weeks or months.

Find at: eBay or KEH

More Options

Down below are just a few other good lenses that are comparable possibilities. Along with 28mm or 35mm focal lengths.

SMC Pentax 50mm f/1.2AmazoneBayKEHAdorama
SMC Pentax 50mm f/2AmazoneBayKEHAdorama
SMC Pentax-M 28mm f/2.8AmazoneBayKEHAdorama
SMC Pentax 35mm f/3.5AmazoneBayKEHAdorama

Wide Angle Lenses

SMC Pentax-M 28mm f/2.8

  • Great combination with a 50mm lens.
  • Super Multi Coating (SMC) to improve output.
  • Many copies can be found.
  • Relatively low cost.

Also found at: eBay, KEH, Adorama

Not the best option, the SMC Pentax-M 28mm f/2.8, is still a good choice. In fact, many do not even consider it a wide angle lens. Then again, it is substantially more affordable when compared to any wider alternative.

There are plenty of wider focal lengths to pick from, but they're frequently significantly more expensive or third-party alternatives have visible amounts of barrel distortion. On top of that, it is easy to see chromatic aberrations and other optical problems in third-party offerings.

More Alternatives

With regard to cost, the relationship is straightforward. As the field of view gets wider, the lens will be priced higher. Lenses with large apertures will also have higher prices.

Be aware that vintage wide angle lenses do not incorporate corrections that modern wide angle lenses have. The most obvious issue with vintage wide angles is going to be apparent barrel distortion.

SMC Pentax-M 20mm f/4AmazoneBayKEHAdorama
SMC Pentax-M 28mm f/2AmazoneBayKEHAdorama
SMC Pentax 18mm f/3.5AmazoneBayKEHAdorama
SMC Pentax 24mm f/2.8AmazoneBayKEHAdorama

Portrait & Telephoto Lenses

SMC Pentax 135mm f/2.5

  • 85mm substitute.
  • Excellent value.
  • Relatively inexpensive.
  • Widely available.

Also found at: eBay, KEH, Adorama

85mm focal length lenses were not as commonly used as they are today in comparison to when the K2 was initially released in 1975. Thanks to being cheaper, 100mm and 135mm focal lengths were more frequently used.

The difference in price can be seen when checking available listings online.

More Options

There are many telephoto lenses to choose from. 85mm and focal lengths longer than 135mm are going to be expensive.

SMC Pentax 85mm f/1.8AmazoneBayKEHAdorama
SMC Pentax 85mm f/2.2 SoftAmazoneBayKEHAdorama
SMC Pentax 105mm f/2.8AmazoneBayKEHAdorama
SMC Pentax 120mm f/2.8AmazoneBayKEHAdorama

Zoom Lenses

Prior to the release of autofocus, in the early 1980s, there were a few lenses produced by third-party companies that performed better than Pentax's offering.

Quite a few of the best performers were released with the Vivitar brand. Zoom lenses with the Vivitar Series 1 branding are going to have the best optics you'll see from an older zoom.

Sadly, obtaining copies of these lenses in good condition can be very hard. Keep in mind, no older zoom offers exceptional performance. If you see one available for purchase that is inexpensive enough, it could be worth picking up.

Vivitar Series 1 28-90mm f/2.8-3.5

  • Covers a popular zoom range.
  • Great for portrait or wildlife photography.
  • A rare time when a third-party lens is the better choice.

Also found at: eBay and KEH

More Alternatives

Here are more alternatives that you can take a look at if you really want a zoom for your K2. None of them are going to be spectacular, and you would most likely be better off purchasing a couple of Prime lenses.

SMC Pentax 85-210mm f/3.5AmazoneBayKEHAdorama
Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm f/3.5AmazoneBayKEHAdorama
SMC Pentax 45-125mm f/4AmazoneBayKEHAdorama

Pentax Macro Lenses

Macro lens choices for the Pentax K2 suffer from availability problems. The supply of Pentax K mount options is small, which pushes prices higher than you will pay for comparable Canon FD mount or Nikon F mount lenses.

SMC Pentax 100mm f/4 Macro

  • Ideal focal length for 1x magnification.
  • Widely available.
  • Mediocre value.

Also found at: eBay, KEH, Adorama

A small number of people online have run into balsam separation of the front doublet. This is concerning because even a small amount of separation will grow over time and make it unusable. If you see any signs of balsam separation, avoid that lens and continue shopping.

Vivitar 55mm f/2.8 Macro

Vivitar 55mm f/2.8 Macro Lens manufactured by Komine

  • The second best vintage macro lens I've used.
  • An outstanding lens for close-up photography.
  • Can achieve life-size magnification without needing an extension tube.

Also found at: KEH and Adorama

The best vintage macro lens I've used, the 90mm Vivitar, was made with a variety of camera mounts. However, it's challenging to obtain a copy that has got a Pentax K mount.

The Vivitar 55mm is my second favorite vintage macro lens. An important difference is that it does have a shorter working distance compared to the 90mm. It is great for close-up and tabletop photography, but a longer focal length will be better if you would like to capture macro shots at 1x magnification.

Both Vivitar macros were built by Komine and were released under several brand names. If you look for a copy also look under the Rokunar, Spiratone, Quantaray, Elicar, and Panagor brand names.

There is a Vivitar 90mm Macro Review and a Vivitar 55mm Macro Review.

For capturing images at macro magnification (1x), 90mm-105mm focal lengths will be the best option. You'll have a large enough working distance to allow the use of flash, while staying away from excessive weight and increased costs that longer focal lengths have.

More Options

SMC Pentax-M 50mm f/4 MacroAmazoneBayKEHAdorama
Lester A Dine 105mm f/2.8AmazoneBayKEHAdorama

Used Pentax Lenses

Prices change all the time depending on interest and supply in manual focus glass. During the past several years, shooting film has grown in popularity, which has caused prices to go up.

More upwards pricing pressure comes from Pentax DSLR users purchasing and collecting lenses. Third party manufactures tend not to manufacture products for the K-mount, unlike the Canon EF or Nikon F lens mounts.

Economic conditions are continuously changing, and sudden changes can lead to price movements. However, the relative prices between alternatives should be similar.

Taking a look at a few websites is a sensible way to get reliable pricing. If you are lucky enough to find a terrific deal, get it since the best deals do not stick around.

What Lens Mount Does the Pentax K2 Use?

The Pentax K2 uses the Pentax K lens mount.

Introduced in 1975, the Pentax K mount is still being used in current cameras. It replaced the M42 screw mount that was used by previous cameras like the Asahi Pentax Spotmatic. Over time improvements have been done to add electronically controlled apertures, CPU contacts, autofocus, and metering information.

As long as a lens has an aperture ring, it will be backward compatible with Pentax film cameras. However, it isn't a good idea to spend money on expensive features that are not going to be be used by the camera. The exception would be if you also own and use Pentax DSLRs.

It is also possible to use the older M42 mount lenses by using an adapter. The previous Takumar lenses would be best to use in this situation. Even so, I wouldn't encourage doing this as finding them without tight focus rings can be challenging.

Lens Cap Size

The standard lens cap and filter ring thread diameter used on the majority vintage manual focus Pentax K mount lenses is 49mm. Lenses were originally sold with slip on caps, not the more typically used center-pinch design today. If you shop around at what is available, you'll find a small number of lenses sold with matching caps.

Bear in mind large front elements will need larger caps and filters.

The advantage of using a standard filter thread size is that you only need a single set of filters.

Pentax-M vs Pentax-A

Pentax-M and SMC Pentax lenses were designed with a stop-down coupler that is built with a mechanical linkage to the camera. The stop-down coupler will allow the camera to know what the aperture is set to so the light meter can meter properly without being required to use stop-down metering.

The Pentax-A series introduced the capability for the aperture in the lens to be set by the camera. This means that cameras that are compatible with the Pentax-A changes have the ability to do shutter priority and aperture priority modes.

Having said that, because that feature is not supported by the camera, it does not make financial sense to spend money on features that the camera cannot use.

Related Posts

That is it for info on the best lenses for the K2. Here's further info that will provide you with more info about the camera can be found below:

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