Personal View site logo
Make sure to join PV on Telegram or Facebook! Perfect to keep up with community on your smartphone.
Please, support PV!
It allows to keep PV going, with more focus towards AI, but keeping be one of the few truly independent places.
Hidden gems among lenses
  • This is topic to discuss completely unknown or extremely cheap lenses that perform admirably (so, no Bokina or Series 1 :-) ).

    First one - Vivitar 28-200mm F3.5-5.3

    1) Buy only original 28-200mm as in picture below. Tokina is absolutely different lens with different optical formula (look at crop from Vivitar box, Tokina have fewer elements).
    2) For Pentax, lens could come either in PK/A or PK A/R mounts. In former you must remoive Ricoh pin. On both you must use file to remove excessive lever protection.
    3) Closed down, lens is PP friend. Good wide open, but as on many old lenses have some abberations. Contrast is lower due to many glass surfaces and not top-notch coatings. Abberations are almost absent if close down (see below).
    4) Corners are controlled quite well.

    Available at:

    Some links:

    Lens and box photos:





    1024 x 768 - 137K
    1024 x 768 - 136K
    1024 x 768 - 89K
    202 x 210 - 16K
  • 136 Replies sorted by
  • That is the one! Be careful to ask if there is any fog on the lens or stuck aperture blades if purchasing on eBay. This lens has very nice color. It is not as heavy as some Vivitars, but not light like the 55mm.
  • What do you mean 'the Ricoh pin' ? and why do I have to remove it?

    I just bought one of these on eBay and also bought a Pentax PK-M43 adapter. I thought with an adapter it would just work....??

  • I just bought one of these on eBay and also bought a Pentax PK-M43 adapter. I thought with an adapter it would just work....??

    You need to remove it if you plan to use in on Pentax. If not, it does not matter.

  • Groovy! Thanks!

  • The Minolta MD 28-mm f/2.8 7/7. There are two similar versions of this lens, a 7/7 and a 5/5. The 7/7 is the better one, but you can only tell the difference by carefully inspecting the front element. Few people know this or bother to check, so it sells for next to nothing on eBay.

    Yes, 28-mm f/2.8 lenses are common and not terribly expensive, but most of them don't perform well or are more expensive than this one. This one is great even wide open, with good contrast and low flare. It was introduced in 1981 in the third revision of the MD line, so the coatings are good even by modern standards.

    There are many different versions of the Minolta lenses, not all quite hidden gems, but with great deals to be had for f/2.8 and faster lenses at 28 mm, 35 mm, 45 mm, 50 mm, and 135 mm. The Celtic line is the budget line, but in many cases the Celtic lenses use the exact same optics as their Rokkor or MD cousins. The 24/2.8, 58/1.2 and 85/1.7 lenses are quite expensive and sought after - not hidden gems at all.

    600 x 400 - 61K
    4976 x 2800 - 8M
  • And of course, the Rokkor 58mm f1.4

    It's a gem because it's 95% of the f1.2 that anyone can afford.

  • And the 85mm 1.7 …

  • Guys, this is topic about hidden gems, with data, specs and link to examples, at least.

    Not about lens you just like :-)

  • This is not only a hidden gem, it's one of my favorites on the GH2: SMC Pentax-M 50mm f/1.7

  • @peternap

    Really, we have other topics about this. 50mm is galaxy away from hidden gem :-)

  • Konica Hexanon 80-200mm f3.5:

    Two-touch, constant-aperture, parfocal zoom with a built-in tripod collar mount


    625 x 250 - 36K
  • OK, here we go: Tamron 90mm 1:2.5 SP Macro – one of the finest macro lenses with beautiful Bokeh. Very sharp even wide open, good for any distance, not only macro. Still under 100 €/$ on Ebay.

    1920 x 1080 - 180K
  • @nomad

    Tamron 90mm 1:2.5 SP Macro

    This is not really hidden gem.

  • Robotar 35mm f2.8 m42 thread, 55mm filter size Very nice sharp japanese lens. Paid 30 eur for it few years ago. I'll post some pics of it, and taken by it.

    It is definitely hidden, not sure if it is a gem, at least because of the name.

  • I'd Recommend Angenieux Mega Zoom Lenses, they're Parfocal, Infinity focus, de-clicked and cost $10,000 + when they were new...

    1000 x 750 - 161K
    800 x 600 - 123K
  • I would add the Takumar 200mm f5.6 to this list. After reading some reviews many prefer this over the faster f4 version claiming better color. I haven't tried th F4 version, but my 50 year old F5.6 looks pretty nice in my humble opinion.

  • @LPowell Do you have any examples of stuff shot on this lens? I see a few deals right now for it. I've been looking for a parfocul constant zoom for a bit now.

  • @lpowell @vicharris - Just used my newly purchased konica AR 80-200 f3.5 on a shoot today.

    Parfocal? The focus was all over the place when zooming? Perhaps I'm not understanding but this lens doesn't seem to be parfocal. On the other hand the constant aperture does hold true.

    Perhaps I got a bad one. For $20 US worth a try.

  • @vapourtrail

    Perhaps I got a bad one. For $20 US worth a try.

    Ya think? Yes, in this case, I'm afraid you've only shortchanged yourself. I tested my well-preserved copy of the Hexanon 80-200mm f3.5 using the AF100's focus peaking feature. Even at f3.5, the red fringes shimmered persistently throughout the full range of the lens' focal lengths. And it doesn't breathe much either.

  • I have the Tokina SZ-X 28-200mm F3.5-5.3. The contrast is unlike any other lens i've ever used. Quite high. Dirt cheap lens.

  • @johnnym

    And most interesting is that Tokina and Vivitar are completely different lenses (while both are 28-200mm F3.5-5.3).

  • Here's my GH2 with a vintage Angie and Red Rock. Parafocal, beautiful.

    4608 x 3456 - 4M
  • @vicharris @vapourtrail

    Here's a demonstration of the Hexanon 80-200mm zooming across its range at f3.5. Sorry it's a little overexposed, I wanted to demonstrate its parfocal ability to hold focus while zooming at its narrowest DOF.

  • @LPowell NICE! Just what I've been looking for. Is the zoom ring hard to turn or does it require some motivation? I see one for $30 right now. Looks like a deal to me.

  • @vicharris where are you finding these deals? All I've been seeing on ebay are in the $75.00 up range. (Buy it now)