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Pentax 43/1.9 LTM - info?
Old 11-10-2005   #1
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Pentax 43/1.9 LTM - info?

Does anyone have experience with the Pentax 43mm f/1:1.9 lens in Leica Thread Mount? I'd like to find out more about this elusive piece of glass, specifically:

* Is it identical to the SLR lens with the same specifications? I figure the LTM lens should be smaller, since it doesn't need to compensate for the mirror box etc.
* Does it have a long focus throw, like typical SLR lenses, or a short one, like most rangefinder lenses?
* What range does it focus down to?
* Allegedly this lens has absolutely superb image quality. What does this mean? Is it merely tack-sharp, or does it have creamy bokeh too?
* Does it balance the lines of a typical rangefinder body when mounted, or does it look like a clunky SLR lens stuck on an elegant RF?
* Could it obscure part of the rangefinder window on smaller bodies, such as the Leica III series or FED-1/Zorki-1?
* Does it have an accessory finder? (It should, considering no camera in the world has 43mm framelines!)
* Where the heck can you buy this lens? I've never seen one for sale anywhere.

Thanks!
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Old 11-10-2005   #2
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Old 11-10-2005   #3
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Hi,
I haven't used or seen the LTM version but I do have the K mount version and it is a superb lens. So much so that one of the major UK publications (AP) started using it as thei benchmark lens. However to try and answer some of your questions (gained froma quick search on Google/MSN):

1. The lens is physicaly bigger as it has a 20mm extension on the back to compensate for the reduced film plane/lens flange difference:

2. The focus through depends on the optical formula not what camera it is used on. The through is quite small on the normal version. (It is different on wide angles because SLR's have to use a retrofocus design for the mirror box which is an inverted telephoto hence the longer through.)

3. Said to be the same optical formula so 0.45m

4. My version is not only superbly sharp but excellent colour rendition as well.

5. Don't know

6. Unlikely, it is no bigger than my CV 1.5 Nocton thogh the hood might infringe a little. The pentax lens is very small for an SLR lens.

7. It came with a finder but the R3a should cope with it's 40mm framelines and CV do a 40mm finder.

8. Said to be a very limited production of 2000 to be sold in Japan only similiar to the LX2000. They will have been sold out long ago and it would be very rare to find one for sale though I did find one archive posting for one. ($600 http://66.249.93.104/search?q=cache:...43mm+LTM&hl=en)

Other references:

Performance: http://www.photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-...?msg_id=0070dA
One from RFF! http://www.rangefinderforum.com/foru...read.php?t=420

Hope this helps

Kim
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Old 11-10-2005   #4
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Thanks, especially to Kim for that elaborate answer! I'm hoping Doug will also contribute his opinions.
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Old 11-10-2005   #5
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Here's one of Doug's photos taken with that lens. http://www.rangefinderforum.com/foru...achmentid=6705
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Old 11-10-2005   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hoot
Does anyone have experience with the Pentax 43mm f/1:1.9 lens in Leica Thread Mount? I'd like to find out more about this elusive piece of glass...
Hi Hoot-- I do have one of these, purchased used two years ago from a fellow RFF member who's no longer active here. He had gotten it from someone he knew in Japan, I believe, as the lens was apparently marketed only in Japan. I'll include a snap of it mounted on my M2...

Despite what I said earlier about quantities produced, my notes say there were indeed only 2000 made, 800 of these being silver finish, 1200 black. Original retail in Japan was •150,000, about $1385 then I gather, $1274 today. It includes a built-in extensible shade and a nice accessory viewfinder with framelines for both 43mm and 50mm lenses. Very high quality fit and finish.

I believe it's the same glass as the SLR lens, designed to give room for the mirror box, so the optical elements still have to mount the same distance from the film plane, and thus is physically longer, with the rear element recessed. So, like the new Zeiss ZM lenses, it may therefore be well-suited to use on a digital RF!

The lens barrel with focusing helix and aperture is totally different from the SLR lens, with control directions the same as Leica. There is a focusing tab and the throw is about the same as for a Leica lens. The minimum marked focus distance is 1m/3.3ft, but it does rotate a bit closer, perhaps down to 3ft or so.

The lens probably has an aspherical element, but Pentax is known for not always mentioning this detail. It has 7 elements in 6 groups, with 9 diaphragm blades. It's very sharp, contrasty and flare-resistant, and I notice a small amount of barrel distortion. I speculate about similarities in design to their 75mm f/2.8 Aspherical for 67-series cameras, released around the same time, which also has exquisite optical quality and that same trace of barrel distortion. It has a 61-deg angle of view, though, vs 53-degrees for the 43mm.

You might see that trace of barrel distortion in the B&W shot below, and the color shot of the gas station.

Coincidentally, my very first camera had a 43mm lens too, a Kodak Brownie Super 27!

I have a quote from Amateur Photographer saying that what makes this lens so special is its focal length (most users prefer it over a 50 mm lens) and its bokeh ó exceptionally smooth and pleasing at all apertures, rendering light sources at night especially beautiful, and making pictures seem very natural and "3-dimensional."

I expect the lens's optical signature is the same as Kim's KA mount version.

The photo below of my favorite local store mannikin has some bokeh to show... and I just like the last one and hope you enjoy looking at all of them!
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Old 11-10-2005   #7
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I don't use mine as much as I should, since it's a really nice lens. What's that about too many normal lenses?? I seem to recall seeing a link (from a photo.net thread, maybe?) to some published MTF lens test showing it came in last in a field that included a group of 50s -- Summicron, M-Hexanon, Pentax K (I think), Nokton, I forget exactly which others. Anyway, it may not be the last word in sharpness, according to the experts, but I've always thought it gives lovely images, and plenty sharp too. I agree that it gives a very natural feel to images. Doug, I'd be very interested to see the AP review -- was that of this lens, or of the SLR version?

It handles beautifully. Yes, it's not compact, but it's not bad. It has a focus tab and a very usable focusing ring. The M42 Pentax Takumar lenses have a beautifully damped feel to them, I find -- this handles exactly the same. (And, this is a touch I happen to like a lot -- the distance markings are in the same light yellow and light blue that those Takumars had.)

I haven't used the accessory finder so far, since with my Hexar I can just toggle between 35 and 50 framelines and know it's just about halfway between the two. But, it's a great finder -- very bright framelines (clearly labeled), nice generous rubber eyepiece (adjustable diopter!), and offset to align precisely with the lens axis of screw mount Leicas and Canons (presumably the FSU cameras too; haven't checked).

The front and rear caps are heavy gauge metal; no cost-cutting there. The front cap has a felt lining. Maybe the only thing less than perfect in construction with this lens (mine, anyway), is that when you screw in the front cap fully, the Pentax engraving is not horizontal. How's that for fussy?

I got mine from a guy who got his in Japan, and must have decided he wasn't using it enough. You may have to look in Japan for one, since I bet that's where most remain.
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Old 11-10-2005   #8
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Nick, you need to bring this for "show and tell" when we get together for coffee with Huck and Rover
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Old 11-10-2005   #9
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I would say this is a loser in term of lens barrel design
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Old 11-10-2005   #10
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Thanks again to everyone who responded. Doug, your photos are superb. I don't know why I never browsed your gallery before, but that is something I have to amend soon.

My excuse for needing this lens is because I'm in love with 40mm and I want to switch from an M-mount body to a screwmount body while continuing to use this length (with external finder).

So, anyone wanna sell me theirs?
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Old 11-11-2005   #11
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Another question to owners/users of this lens:

would you say that 43mm is significantly wider than 50mm? Is it comparable to 40mm, or is it noticably narrower? This is, of course, a slightly philosophical question, for which I apologize. The reason I'm asking is that if 43mm is practically like 50mm, I'll pass on it and just use the Jupiter-8 instead.

Also, if anyone wants to sell me their 43mm LTM, feel free to post your offer.
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Old 11-11-2005   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hoot
Another question to owners/users of this lens:

would you say that 43mm is significantly wider than 50mm? Is it comparable to 40mm, or is it noticably narrower?
Approximate angles of view with lens focussed at infinity:

40mm: 56.7ļ
43mm: 53.3ļ
50mm: 46.7ļ

There's not much difference between the 40mm and 43mm fields of view. The Pentax lens is just a very high quality Tessar. Might as well get a Rollei 35 original or Rollei 35T. They're only f/3.5, but the Tessar doesn't perform very well at wider apertures anyhow.
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Old 11-11-2005   #13
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Hoot: You have an Oly SP, right? It's a 42mm focal length, so you should be able to compare it with a 50. I find it enough wider to be very useful, and prefer its look to the 50 in many situations. It fills that gap where 50 is too long and a 35 is too wide.

If I had the scratch to purchase this lens, I wouldn't think twice about it being too close to a 50.

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Old 11-11-2005   #14
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It's true that the character of the lens can be as important as the focal length... ask anyone here who has more 50mm lenses than... er... anyone else. And the Jupiter-8 definitely has a different 'look' to it than the Pentax-L... different bokeh, different sharpness, different contrast... as well as noticeably narrower angle. I think the 50mm Skopar would get you closer to the look of the Pentax (other than the angle).

As to focal lengths and angles of view, I think it's worth noting that the Contax-G Planar 45mm is actually 46.9mm... Just as one example that actual focal lengths can and do vary from their nominal value. Some 50mm lenses are 52, 53, or even 48mm. It seems lenses, when they vary much from their nominal value, are usually off in the long direction.

It seems particularly bad with zoom lenses, perhaps to the point of actual deception... like buying a 28->100mm that is actually 31.5->94.2mm or some such.

Anyway, the other Contax-G lenses are within tenths of a mm of their nominal focal length, and I fully expect Pentax's 43mm is really really close to being 43mm. So if you compare the 43 to a nominal 40 that's actually 42, there isn't much difference, and if you compare its angle of view to that of a 50mm that's really a 53mm, then the difference is accentuated.

I mentally group my Pentax-L with 40mm lenses. My CLE's 40mm Rokkor is definitely a little wider than the 43, though, as I've noticed I have to be a little more careful with the 43 on the camera to get everything I want within its framelines. But the difference is small, and I use the Pentax lens only on the CLE.

I have a 40mm f/2 Ultron too, in Pentax KA mount, but my 40mm f/1.4 Zuiko can't really count since it's for the Pen F and there's a "crop factor" to consider. But I guess I should include the 60 and 65mm lenses for my 645 format cams and the 75 for 6x7 as in the same 40 category.

Even though I do like the 40mm lens's angle of view, a good "normal" lens for me, it was hard to justify the Pentax-L 43mm f/1.9 as it virtually duplicates the 40mm f/2 Rokkor for use on the same camera. But I did it anyway just out of sheer curiosity when an attractive opportunity presented itself. I'm a Pentax fan too!
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Old 11-12-2005   #15
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Thanks, everyone. (Trius - no, I've never handled an Oly SP, though Todd Hanz almost convinced me to get one.)

Doug - I still want it. My 40/2 Rokkor (CLE version) is perfect, but it only mounts on M bodies, and I really want to use a screwmount body (preferably the Zorki-1) while retaining this focal length. So the Pentax-L is my only option, really. With all the "normal" lenses you have, I'm sure you wouldn't miss one...
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Old 11-12-2005   #16
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If you can live w/a maximum aperture of f/2.8, another option is the Rollei 40/2.8 Sonnar, made for the 35 RF. It is a screw mount lens (but comes w/a 50mm LTM-M adapter).

Quote:
Originally Posted by hoot
. . .

My 40/2 Rokkor (CLE version) is perfect, but it only mounts on M bodies, and I really want to use a screwmount body (preferably the Zorki-1) while retaining this focal length. So the Pentax-L is my only option, really.

. . .
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Old 11-12-2005   #17
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Furcafe, I didn't know of the existence of this lens. So it seems the Pentax isn't the only 40ish lens in LTM. That's great; I'd be fine with either one (the Rollei has favorable reviews on pnet). The question is, where to get one? The auction site doesn't even list a single example. This seems to be as rare a lens as the Pentax...
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Old 11-12-2005   #18
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The Rollei is available from B&H in the U.S. & Robert White in the UK (don't know about continental Europe).

Quote:
Originally Posted by hoot
Furcafe, I didn't know of the existence of this lens. So it seems the Pentax isn't the only 40ish lens in LTM. That's great; I'd be fine with either one (the Rollei has favorable reviews on pnet). The question is, where to get one? The auction site doesn't even list a single example. This seems to be as rare a lens as the Pentax...
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Five a Second. Chicago's Bell & Howell Co. (cameras) announced that it would put on sale this fall the world's most expensive still camera. Its "Foton" will take five 35-mm. pictures a second, sell for $700. Bell & Howell, which has found that "families of both low and high incomes now spend over $550" for movie equipment, hopes to sell 20,000 Fotons a year.

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Old 05-09-2006   #19
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Hi Hoot,
I don't know if you are still interested in the Pentax lens or how deep your pockets are but try these:

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.d...e=STRK:MEWA:IT
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.d...e=STRK:MEWA:IT

For non-european members:
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.d...e=STRK:MEWA:IT
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.d...e=STRK:MEWA:IT

Kim
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Old 05-09-2006   #20
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I have a silver LTM Pentax 43/1.9 that I do not use much that I might sell. Do not know about the going price though...

I bought it new via a friend in Japan a couple of years ago and it has not been used much. It is a very nice combo with my blue Bessa T101 which I might also sell, do not know about the going price for those either..

/HŚkan
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