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5 Vintage Pentax MG Lenses

The Pentax MG is a good 35mm film SLR. This article is going to go into the 5 best lenses for the Pentax MG, and also a few of alternative lenses.

In a rush? This is the list of the best lenses for the MG:

  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 kind of photography and price level. There are many recommended choices to pick that are in price ranges ideal for the cost of the camera.

Standard Lenses

Here is a selection of 50mm focal lengths that are compatible with the MG. Back when the camera was being sold as new, there was typically a discount available to buy a 50mm lens with the camera as a kit.

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

SMC Pentax-M 50mm f/1.7

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SMC Pentax-M 50mm f/1.7
  • “Kit” lens for the MG.
  • Terrific value.
  • Light, small, and compact.
  • 49mm filter threads.
Check prices on: Amazon, eBay, Adorama or KEH

If it was not included, a solid first lens to buy is the SMC Pentax-M 50mm f/1.7. The 50mm f1.7 is readily available used, is cheap, has great image output, light, and portable . More photographs have been taken with this lens than any other lens.

{You can also buy the 2nd version, the SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/1.7|The 2nd version, the SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/1.7, is also a good choice}.

SMC Pentax-M 50mm f/1.4

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SMC Pentax-M 50mm f/1.4
  • Exceptional optics.
  • Optical multi-coatings to improve output.
  • Easy to find.
  • Comparatively inexpensive.
Check prices on: Amazon, eBay, Adorama or KEH

At the added cost of size and weight, the SMC Pentax-M 50mm f/1.4 is almost a stop faster than the f/1.7. Expect to pay more than you would for an f/1.7 or f/2 lens. The former version, SMC Pentax, and next revision, SMC Pentax-A, are both compatible with the MG.

SMC Pentax 50mm f/1.2

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SMC Pentax 50mm f/1.2
Check prices on: eBay, Adorama or KEH

Just like all of the competing camera brands, Pentax made a very fast 50mm lens. The resulting SMC Pentax 50mm f/1.2 is a big, fast, and expensive hunk of glass.

The lens can be challenging to find because it will work on Pentax DSLRs so the desirability includes more than use with film cameras. If you want to find a copy you may need to check and look at what’s offered over weeks or months.

Wide Angle Lenses

SMC Pentax-M 28mm f/2.8

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SMC Pentax-M 28mm f/2.8
  • Great combination with a 50mm lens.
  • Super Multi Coating (SMC) to improve output.
  • Many copies are available.
  • Relatively inexpensive.
Check prices on: Amazon, eBay, Adorama or KEH

Not the best option, the SMC Pentax-M 28mm f/2.8, is still a good choice. In fact, many people may not actually consider it to be a wide angle lens. However, it is a lot more affordable when compared to any wider alternative.

There is an abundance of wider focal lengths to select from, but they’re frequently much more expensive or third-party options have visible amounts of barrel distortion. , it is easy to see chromatic aberrations and other optical problems in third-party offerings.

Alternatives

The rule of thumb for pricing is easy to understand. As the field of view gets wider, the lens will be priced higher. Fast lenses will also have higher prices.

Take into consideration that vintage wide angle lenses don’t have all the corrections that modern wide angle lenses have. The most obvious issue with older wide angles will be visible barrel distortion.

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

Portrait & Telephoto Lenses

SMC Pentax 135mm f/2.5

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SMC Pentax 135mm f/2.5
  • 85mm substitute.
  • Excellent value.
  • Relatively inexpensive.
  • Widely available.
Check prices on: Amazon, eBay or KEH

85mm focal length lenses weren’t as commonly used as they are today compared to when the MG was initially introduced back in DDATE. On account of being less expensive, 100mm and 135mm focal lengths were more widely used.

The price difference is very clear when checking available listings online.

More Options

There are plently of telephoto lenses to select from. 85mm and focal lengths longer than 135mm are going to be expensive.

  • SMC Pentax 85mm f/1.8
  • SMC Pentax 85mm f/2.2 Soft
  • SMC Pentax 105mm f/2.8
  • SMC Pentax 120mm f/2.8

Zoom Lenses

Before the release of autofocus, in the early 1980s, there were a few lenses built by third-party companies that performed better than Pentax’s offering.

A good deal of these top performers were released with the Vivitar brand. Zooms featuring the Vivitar Series 1 branding is going to have the best optics you’ll see from an older zoom.

Unfortunately, finding one of these lenses in usable condition can be very challenging. Keep in mind, no older zoom offers exceptional performance. If you see one on sale that is cheap enough, it could be worth buying.

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

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Vivitar Series 1 28-90mm f/2.8-3.5
Check prices on: Amazon, eBay or KEH

More Alternatives

Here are some more options that you can look at if you would like a zoom lens for your MG. None of them are going to be spectacular, and you would likely be better off buying a couple of Prime lenses.

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

Pentax Macro Lenses

Macro lens options for the Pentax MG suffer from supply problems. The supply of Pentax K mount options is limited, which pushes prices higher than you would pay for similar Nikon F mount or Canon FD mount options.

SMC Pentax 100mm f/4 Macro

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SMC Pentax 100mm f/4 Macro
  • Ideal focal length for 1x magnification.
  • Widely available.
  • Mediocre value.
Check prices on: Amazon, eBay or KEH

Some people online have experienced problems with balsam separation of the front doublet. This is worrying because even a little bit of separation will expand over time and eventually make it unusable. If you see any evidence of balsam separation, avoid that copy and keep looking.

Vivitar 55mm f/2.8 Macro

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Vivitar 55mm f/2.8 Macro
  • 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.
Check prices on: eBay, Adorama or KEH

My favorite vintange macro lens I have used, the 90mm Vivitar, was produced for a variety of mounts. However, it’s hard to get a copy with a Pentax K mount.

The Vivitar 55mm is my second favorite vintage macro lens. A noteworthy difference is that it does have less working distance when compared to the 90mm. It is good for table top and close-up photography, but a longer lens will be better if you would like to capture macro photos at 1x magnification.

Both Vivitar macros were produced by Komine and were marketed under various different brand names. If you look for one also check under the Panagor, Elicar, Quantaray, Spiratone, and Rokunar brand names.

There is a Vivitar 90mm Macro Review and a [/vivitar-55mm-f-2-8-macro-lens-review](Vivitar 55mm Macro Review).

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

More Alternatives

Used Pentax Lens Prices

Prices change all the time depending on demand and supply in manual focus glass. Over the past few years, film photography has expanded in popularity, which has caused prices to rise.

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

Marketing circumstances are constantly changing, and unexpected changes can lead to changes in prices. Even so, the price differences between options should stay the same.

Looking at a variety of sites is a sensible way to get correct pricing information. If you are fortunate enough to come across a fantastic deal, get it due to the fact that the best deals tend not to stick around.

What Lens Mount Does the Pentax MG Use?

The Pentax MG has a Pentax K lens mount.

Introduced in 1975, the Pentax K mount is still being used in current cameras. It’s a replacement for the M42 screw mount that was used in previous cameras like the Asahi Pentax Spotmatic. Over the years changes have been done to add CPU contacts, electronically controlled apertures, autofocus, and metering information.

As long as a lens has a physical aperture ring, it will be backward compatible with Pentax film cameras. Keep in mind, it doesn’t make sense to waste money on pricey features that can’t be able to be used by the camera. An exception would be if you already have a Pentax DSLR.

It is also possible to use the older M42 screw mount with an adapter. The older Takumar lenses would be best to use in this situation. Having said that, I would not recommend doing this as getting them without tight focus rings can be hard.

Lens Cap Size

The standard filter ring thread and lens cap diameter used on the majority manual focus Pentax K mount lenses is 49mm. They were originally sold with slip on caps, and not the more common center-pinch type found today. If you shop at what’s available, you’ll find only a few lenses sold with matching caps.

Keep in mind large front elements will need bigger filters and caps.

The benefit of using a standardized filter thread size is that you only need just one filter set.

Pentax-M vs Pentax-A

SMC Pentax and Pentax-M lenses were designed to include a stop-down coupler which is built with a linkage to the camera. The stop-down coupler will allow the camera to know the aperture is set to so the light meter can meter properly without needing to rely on stop-down metering.

The Pentax-A series added the ability for the camera to control the aperture in the lens. This means that cameras that support the Pentax-A changes have the capability to do shutter priority and aperture priority modes.

Even so, since that feature isn’t compatible with the camera, it does not make sense to spend money on features the camera is not able to use.

That’s it for information about the best lenses for the MG. Here’s additional information that will provide you with more info about the camera can be found below: