The 5 Best Pentax MV1 Camera Lenses

By Nathaniel Stephan
Last Updated: April 9, 2020
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The Pentax MV1 is a great 35mm film single lens reflex camera. This web page will talk about the 5 best lenses for the Pentax MV1, plus a small number of substitute options.

This is the 5 best lenses for the MV1:

  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 cost. There are many recommended choices to choose that are in price ranges suitable for the cost of the camera.

Standard Focal Length Lenses

This is a few 50mm focal lengths that you can use with the MV1. When the camera was available for sale as new, there was often an offer bundling a 50mm lens as kit for a reduced price.

They are regarded as standard lenses since the angle of view is close to what the human eye sees.

SMC Pentax-M 50mm f/1.7

  • "Kit" lens for the MV1.
  • Excellent value.
  • Light, small, and compact.
  • 49mm filter threads.

Also found at: eBay, KEH, Adorama

If it wasn't included, the ideal initial lens to buy is the SMC Pentax-M 50mm f/1.7. The 50mm f1.7 is easy to find, is portable, light, is cheap, and has great image quality. It is the most used lens on the camera.

You can also get the next version, the SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/1.7.

SMC Pentax-M 50mm f/1.4

  • Exceptional optics.
  • Improved performance because of optical multi-coatings.
  • Easy to find.
  • Comparatively economical.

Also found at: eBay, KEH, Adorama

At the increased burden of weight and size, the SMC Pentax-M 50mm f/1.4 is just about a stop faster than the f/1.7. An f/1.7 or f/2 lens will cost more. The earlier version, SMC Pentax, and next revision, SMC Pentax-A, will both work with the MV1.

SMC Pentax 50mm f/1.2

Similar to competing camera companies, Pentax developed a 50mm "halo" lens. The resulting SMC Pentax 50mm f/1.2 is a quite large, fast, and pricey piece of glass.

The lens can be tough to get due to the fact that it can be used on Pentax DSLRs so the appeal includes more than usage with 35mm film cameras. If you want to get a copy you may need to check and see what's offered through weeks or months.

Find at: eBay or KEH

Alternative Options

Listed below are just a few other good lenses that are comparable alternatives. As well as 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 performance.
  • Many copies can be found.
  • Relatively inexpensive.

Also found at: eBay, KEH, Adorama

The SMC Pentax-M 28mm f/2.8 isn't the best option. The reality is, plenty of people may not even consider it to be a wide angle lens. Having said that, it is considerably less expensive than any wider option.

There are plenty of wider Pentax focal lengths to choose from, but they are frequently much higher-priced or third-party alternatives have obvious barrel distortion. On top of that, it is easy to see chromatic aberrations and other optical defects in third-party offerings.

More Alternatives

In terms of price, the correlation is clear. The wider the field of view, the costlier the lens is going to be. Lenses with large apertures will also be higher priced.

Be aware that these don't have corrections that modern lenses have. The issue you are most likely to see with older wide angles will 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 commonly used as they are today compared to when the MV1 was initially introduced back in 1979. Thanks to being cheaper, 100mm and 135mm focal lengths were more frequently used.

You can see the price difference when checking available listings online.

More Alternatives

There are many telephoto lenses to choose from. 85mm and focal lengths longer than 135mm will be higher priced.

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

Before the release of autofocus, in the 1980s, there were a small number of lenses manufactured by third-party manufacturers that performed better than what Pentax was offering.

A large number of the best performers were released with the Vivitar brand name. Any zoom lens with the Vivitar Series 1 branding is going to have the best optics you will see from a vintage zoom.

Unfortunately, obtaining one of these lenses in usable condition can be extremely hard. Keep in mind, no older zoom offers outstanding performance. If you see one available for purchase that is inexpensive enough, it could 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 more options that you can consider if you need a zoom lens for your MV1. None of them are going to be spectacular, and you'd most likely be better off acquiring 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 selections for the Pentax MV1 have availability problems. The supply of Pentax K mount options is small, which pushes prices higher than you will pay for comparable Nikon F mount or Canon FD mount options.

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 problems with balsam separation of the front doublet. This is troubling because even a little bit of separation will increase gradually and eventually make it unusable. If you think you see this, avoid that lens and keep looking.

Vivitar 55mm f/2.8 Macro

Vivitar 55mm f/2.8 Macro Lens

  • 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 owned, the 90mm Vivitar, was produced with a variety of mounts. However, it is difficult to obtain a copy that has got a Pentax K mount.

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

Both Vivitar macro lenses were built by Komine and were sold 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 photos at macro magnification (1x), 90mm-105mm focal lengths will be the ideal option. You will have a big enough working distance to allow the use of flash, while avoiding excessive weight and increased costs that come with longer focal lengths.

More Options

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

Used Pentax Lens Prices

Supply and demand will set the price of vintage manual focus lenses. During the past several years, film photography has risen in popularity, which has pushed prices higher.

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

Marketing circumstances are constantly changing, and unforeseen changes can quickly lead to big changes in prices. However, the relative prices between choices should be the same.

Taking a look at a couple of sites is a very good way to get accurate market information. If you are fortunate enough to find an excellent deal, get it because the best deals do not stick around.

What Lens Mount Does the Pentax MV1 Use?

The Pentax MV1 uses the 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 found 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.

Provided that a lens has a physical aperture ring, it will be compatible with Pentax film cameras. Even so, it does not make sense to spend money on expensive features that are not going to be be used by the camera. The exception would be if you already have a Pentax DSLR.

It is also possible to use the older M42 lenses by using an adapter. The older Takumar lenses are the best to use. However, I wouldn't recommend doing this as getting them without a tight focus ring can be frustrating.

Standard 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. They were originally sold with slip-on caps, not the more common center-pinch design found today. If you shop at what's available, you'll see a lack of original lens caps being sold with lenses.

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

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

Pentax-M vs Pentax-A

SMC Pentax and Pentax-M lenses were designed with a stop-down coupler that provides a mechanical linkage to the camera. The stop-down coupler enables the camera to know the aperture is set to so that the light meter will meter accurately without needing to rely on stop-down metering.

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

Even so, since that capability is not compatible with the camera, it doesn't make financial sense to spend money on features that the camera is not able to use.

Related Posts

That's it for details regarding the best lenses for the MV1. Here is further information that will provide you with more information about the camera can be found at the links below:

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