5 Inexpensive Pentax MV Lenses

By Nathaniel Stephan
Last Updated: April 9, 2020
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The Pentax MV is a good 35mm SLR camera. This web page will cover the 5 best lenses for the Pentax MV, and also a few of alternative lenses.

In a hurry? This is the list of the 5 best lenses for the MV:

  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 pricing and kind of photography. There are a number of proposed options to pick that have a wide range of prices suitable for the value of the camera.

Standard Focal Length Lenses

Here's a selection of 50mm focal lengths that are compatible with the MV. At the time when the camera was sold as new, there was quite often an offer available to buy a 50mm lens with the camera as a kit.

They are commonly known as standard lenses since the angle of view for the lens is similar to what the human eye sees.

SMC Pentax-M 50mm f/1.7

  • "Kit" lens for the MV.
  • Fantastic value.
  • Light, small, and compact.
  • 49mm front filter threads.

Also found at: eBay, KEH, Adorama

If it did not come with the camera, an excellent first lens to acquire for the MV is the SMC Pentax-M 50mm f/1.7. The 50mm f1.7 is readily available used, has good photo quality, is very affordable, portable, and lightweight. More photographs have been shot with this lens than any other lens.

The 2nd version, the SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/1.7, is also a good choice.

SMC Pentax-M 50mm f/1.4

  • Exceptional optics.
  • Optical multi-coatings to improve performance.
  • Easy to find.
  • Comparatively affordable.

Also found at: eBay, KEH, Adorama

At the added cost of weight and size, the SMC Pentax-M 50mm f/1.4 is approximately a stop faster compared to the f/1.7. Expect to pay more than you would for an f/1.7 or f/2 lens. The earlier version, SMC Pentax, and next revision, SMC Pentax-A, will both work with the MV.

SMC Pentax 50mm f/1.2

Just like all of the other camera manufactures, Pentax released a 50mm halo lens. The resulting SMC Pentax 50mm f/1.2 is an expensive, fast, and a quite large piece of glass.

The lens can be challenging to come across due to the fact that it will work on Pentax DSLRs so the desirability extends beyond usage with film cameras. If you want to find one you might need to check and have a look at what's available for purchase over weeks or months.

Find at: eBay or KEH

Alternative Options

Listed below are a few other good lenses that are comparable alternatives. 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 are available.
  • Relatively inexpensive.

Also found at: eBay, KEH, Adorama

Not the best option, the SMC Pentax-M 28mm f/2.8, is still a good choice. The truth is, plenty of people might not consider it to be a wide angle lens. Having said that, it is a lot cheaper than any wider option.

There are many wider focal lengths to pick from, but they're possibly significantly higher-priced or third-party choices have noticeable amounts of barrel distortion. Also, it is easy to see optical defects like chromatic aberrations in third-party offerings.

More Alternatives

In terms of pricing, the relationship is easy to understand. The wider the field of view, the costlier the lens will likely be. Fast lenses will also be higher priced.

Also, keep in mind that vintage wide angle lenses do not have all the corrections that modern wide angle lenses have. The most obvious issue with vintage wide angles is going to be visible 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

The 85mm focal length wasn't as widely used as they are currently in comparison to when the MV was first released back in 1979. Thanks to being less expensive, 100mm and 135mm focal lengths were more frequently used.

The price difference is obvious when looking at available listings online.


There are many telephoto lenses to select from. Focal lengths longer than 135mm and 85mm lenses are going to be more 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 manufactured by third-party companies that performed better than Pentax's offering.

A good deal of these top performers were released under the Vivitar brand. Zooms that's got the Vivitar Series 1 branding on it is going to have the best optics you are going to see from a vintage zoom.

Unfortunately, getting copies of these lenses in acceptable condition can be rather difficult. Beyond that, no older zoom offers outstanding performance. If you find one available for purchase that is cheap enough, it might be worth purchasing.

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

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

Also found at: eBay and KEH

More Options

Here are several more alternatives that you can consider if you want to have a zoom lens for your MV. None of them are going to be spectacular, and you would most likely be better off purchasing a couple of prime lenses instead.

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

Macro Lenses

Macro lens choices for the Pentax MV have availability problems. The supply of Pentax K mount options is limited, which increases prices higher than you’d pay for comparable Nikon F mount or Canon FD 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 few people online have encountered problems with balsam separation of the front doublet. This is concerning because even a tiny amount of separation will expand over time and eventually make it unusable. If you think you see this, avoid that copy and continue looking.

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 have owned, the 90mm Vivitar, was manufactured for a variety of camera mounts. Unfortunately, it's tough to get a copy that features a Pentax K mount.

The Vivitar 55mm is my second favorite vintage macro lens. Take into account that it does have less working distance when compared to the 90mm. It is great for close-up and table top photography, but a longer focal length will be easier to use if you would like to take macro shots at 1x magnification.

Both of the Vivitar macro lenses were built by Komine and were sold under several different brand names. If you search for one also search under the Elicar, Panagor, Quantaray, Rokunar, and Spiratone brand names.

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

For capturing images at life-sized magnification, focal lengths in the 90mm-105mm range are going to be the ideal option. You'll have a large enough working distance to allow the use of flash, while staying away from substantial weight and high 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 supply and demand in manual focus glass. Over the past few years, shooting film has grown in popularity, which has caused prices to go up.

More upwards pricing pressure stems from Pentax DSLR users collecting and purchasing lenses. Third party manufactures generally do not produce lenses for the K-mount, unlike the Canon EF or Nikon F lens mounts.

Marketing conditions are constantly changing, and sudden changes can quickly lead to large changes in prices. However, the price differences between options should stay similar.

Checking out several sites is an intelligent way to get correct market information. If you're lucky enough to discover a fantastic deal, get it since the best deals usually do not last very long.

What Lens Mount Does the Pentax MV Use?

The Pentax MV has a Pentax K lens mount.

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

As long as a lens has an aperture ring, it will be backward compatible with Pentax film cameras. Even so, it is not a good idea to waste money on costly features that are not going to be able to be used by the camera. An exception would be if you also own Pentax DSLRs.

It's also possible to use the older M42 lenses with an adapter. People like to do this as some of the older Takumar lenses are spectacular. However, I wouldn't recommend doing this as getting them without tight focus rings can be tricky.

Standard Lens Cap Size

The standard filter ring thread and lens cap diameter used on most manual focus Pentax K mount lenses is 49mm. Lenses were originally sold with slip-on caps, and not the more common center-pinch kind found today. Shopping around, you will find not very many lenses sold with original caps.

Keep in mind big front elements will need to use larger filters and caps.

The advantage of using a standardized thread size is that you only need to own only one filter set.

Pentax-M vs Pentax-A

Pentax-M and SMC Pentax lenses were designed to include a stop-down coupler that has a mechanical linkage to the camera. The stop-down coupler lets the camera know what the aperture is set to so the light meter is able to meter accurately without needing to rely on stop-down metering.

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

Even so, seeing as that capability isn't supported by the camera, it would not make sense to spend money on capabilities the camera can't use.

Related Posts

That is it for information on the best lenses for the MV. Here's further info that will give you more information about the camera can be found down below:

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