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Pentax MX + 40mm pancake - cuts like a knife!
Old 03-05-2019   #1
Huss
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Pentax MX + 40mm pancake - cuts like a knife!

Dang this lens is sharp! I was under the impression it was only handy for its small size.
Full image, then 1:1 crop. Scanned with Nikon Z7, Fuji C200 film, negativelabpro.com



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Old 03-05-2019   #2
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I think its a Tessar-type lens, so the fact that its sharp isn't a surprise. I remember the first time I used a Tessar, on an ancient pre-war Rolleiflex from 1938 that my dad bought for me at a photo swap meet for $75 when I was 15 yrs old. The uncoated 75mm Tessar was bitingly sharp and had wonderful bokeh compared to more modern designs. I wish someone would make a modern one that was native to the Micro Four Thirds system I use now. I'd buy one in a minute!
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Old 03-05-2019   #3
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Pentax MX, 40mm 2.8 SMC, Fuji C200, Z7 scan

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Old 03-05-2019   #4
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Old 03-05-2019   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chriscrawfordphoto View Post
I think its a Tessar-type lens, so the fact that its sharp isn't a surprise. I remember the first time I used a Tessar, on an ancient pre-war Rolleiflex from 1938 that my dad bought for me at a photo swap meet for $75 when I was 15 yrs old. The uncoated 75mm Tessar was bitingly sharp and had wonderful bokeh compared to more modern designs. I wish someone would make a modern one that was native to the Micro Four Thirds system I use now. I'd buy one in a minute!
I think the Pentax 40mm is a 5 element Unar design, which I guess is a Tessar type hybrid?
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Old 03-05-2019   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huss View Post
Dang this lens is sharp! I was under the impression it was only handy for its small size.
Full image, then 1:1 crop. Scanned with Nikon Z7, Fuji C200 film, negativelabpro.com
It's interesting that you should post this Huss. Most reviews of this lens give the impression that it isn't that sharp, which I have often wondered about, and you show that most those reviews are wrong.
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Old 03-05-2019   #7
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It's interesting that you should post this Huss. Most reviews of this lens give the impression that it isn't that sharp, which I have often wondered about, and you show that most those reviews are wrong.
That's why I was quite surprised by my results. And even the obligatory first shot on the roll selfie in a mirror wide open was sharp, with my individual strands of hair well defined.

I guess people repeat stuff they read, w/o actually using it. Maybe on digital it's not so good? But I kinda doubt it as the weak point in my 1:1 crop is obviously the resolution capability of the film, not the lens.
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Old 03-06-2019   #8
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I think the Pentax-M 40/2.8 and Pentax-DA 40/2.8 share basically the same optical design, which makes the DA version a superb little fullframe autofocus lens on 35mm.

This was shot using the DA version, mounted on a Pentax MZ-L film body.


Untitled by Colton Allen, on Flickr
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Old 03-06-2019   #9
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Not that it means a lot but I was goofing off the other day and shot this test target with the M-40 at f/2.8. Not too certain how it will show up at this size.


This was a crop since I was actually photographing something else at the time and my test target became part of the shot in the lower right side. But I found it somewhat interesting. It seems to do all right.


This was f/2.8 with my K1000 on Arista EDU 400 film. Some digital sharpening would probably help since this is pretty much a straight scan with no adjustments other than what the scanner may be doing.



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Old 03-06-2019   #10
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Pentax MX, 40mm 2.8 SMC, Fuji C200, Z7 scan, negativelabpro.com



And 1:1 crop from above:

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Old 03-07-2019   #11
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I've got this combo, of which I have to post results when I get to print or scan in the community darkroom. I really like the 40mm as it makes the set up coat pocketable although I'm not shooting 35mm that much lately.


Negative lab pro looks excellent. Great colors! And camera scanning resolves the negs really well. I'll try sometime in the future.
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Old 03-07-2019   #12
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Yeah I love this 40, it is tiny and excellent. Also I just realized it seems to be distortion free
as I have not had to correct anything.
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Old 03-07-2019   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huss View Post
Yeah I love this 40, it is tiny and excellent. Also I just realized it seems to be distortion free
as I have not had to correct anything.
Damn...now I might have to find one for my MX...
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Old 03-07-2019   #14
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To tempt a weak man like this... I wanted to get out of PK!
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Old 03-07-2019   #15
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I love this lens, first got my hands on one in 1981, back then and mx and eventually a lx where my only cameras, l always shoot this lens around 5.6 and have found it to be sharp enough for my needs. Sometime l feels the focus issues may more to do with the small focus ring as opposed to the abilities of the lens. Nice images by the way, you show the qualities of this lens
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Old 03-07-2019   #16
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Originally Posted by lxmike View Post
..Sometime l feels the focus issues may more to do with the small focus ring as opposed to the abilities of the lens...

Indeed. I think sometimes people mistake an imperfectly focused image for lack of lens sharpness. Someone posts images they took with this lens on whatever digcam they stuck it on, didn't realize that they did not nail focus and/or had camera shake, but then state the lens is at fault.

This tiny lens on a tiny camera like a Pentax film camera is a really nice package. I have performed the same type of tests with my Leica lenses, and do not see any difference on film. But I do see a difference in price!

p.s. thanks for the nice comments!
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Old 03-07-2019   #17
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I have two samples of the Pentax 40/2.8. One gives what one might call normal and respectable sharpness, typical of what one might expect for a much-respected lens manufacturer, nothing outstanding though. In black and white prints it has similar qualities with respect to sharpness, tonal transition, contrast, as my 40/2 Olympus Zuiko lens. But the other Pentax sample is superb, in a world of its own, equal, or very nearly equal in apparent sharpness to my other sharpest lens, the Summaron 35/3.5. My 40/2 Summicron falls mid way between the two 40mm Pentax lenses. They're all good though.
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Old 03-07-2019   #18
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Originally Posted by Swift1 View Post
Damn...now I might have to find one for my MX...
This pic (like all with this lens) has zero correction applied.
Looks distortion free to me.

Pentax MX, 40 2.8 SMC, Fuji C200, Z7 scan, negativelabpro.com


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Old 03-24-2019   #19
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Yeah, I'm going to take my chances and find a decent copy of this lens. My Pentax ME will thank me for it.
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Old 03-25-2019   #20
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Huss, you've probably pushed up prices on this lens with this thread!

A similar bargain for EOS is the Canon EOS 40mm f/2.8 IS STM pancake ($180 new, ~$100 used) on something like an EOS300 (which can be found for $5-$10).
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Old 03-25-2019   #21
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Huss, you've probably pushed up prices on this lens with this thread!
To be fair, the M40/f2.8 has never been a bargain (by Pentax standards anyway).

The average price on PF is noticeably higher than the M50/f1.4, despite the latter being very highly regarded, and the pancake having (by far) the lowest average rating for any of the normal K, M and A series primes.

With respect to the photos posted here by Huss (which suggest that the low rating might not be warranted), the inflated price on the M40mm has never had anything to do with it's IQ...
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Old 03-25-2019   #22
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Ha, I love my Pentax-M 50/1.4. That lens is the bomb! A friend recommends I get the 50/1.7 and the Takumar 58/2 as well.
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Old 03-25-2019   #23
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The M 40/2.8 was on my LX when I bought it, and I've always thought, what a great pairing.
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Old 03-25-2019   #24
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Such a great lens--I've been using it on an ME or even PX-7. I've been looking for a good deal on a black MX for a while, but haven't turned anything up.

Pentax ME; 40mm 2.8 by twvancamp, on Flickr
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