Grabbing the long end…

…using the SMC-A 135/2.8

Most of my pictures are shot with focal lengths below 55mm. But sometimes its fun to change perspective.

Nytorv (1/250, F7,1)

One of the nice things about being a Pentax use is that you don’t have to be a millionaire to try out different types of lenses. Since you can mount any Pentax lens manufactured since 1975 on a present day Pentax DSLR, there is a wide range of second hand lenses to choose from. Some of these lenses are much sought after and expensive – others are abundant and cheap.

The SMC-A 2.8 135mm usually comes cheap. Admittedly, it doesn’t have the best of reputations either. In fact, it’s generally considered to be insufficiently sharp, lacking in contrast and generally best forgotten about.

Langelinie (1/400, F9)
Langelinie (1/1000 F6.3)

My personal experience is, that true as this may be when shooting 35mm film – which is what this lens was designed for some 24 years ago – things get a bit more complex when mounting it on a DSLR. First of all, the APS-size sensor means that you are effectively cutting off the outermost and most soft part of the lens. Secondly, especially when shooting RAW, it is quite easy to fix any issues with contrast in the post-processing.

This doesn’t necessarily change the A2.8/135 to a star performer, but it makes it useable. But what really count in favour of this lens is that it is very compact. To be precise its only 77mm long and weights 340gr. in its classic 1980’s style solid metal build. Mounted on a modern day Pentax camera it also gets the benefit of anti-shake. Result: a lens with a 35mm-equvialent focal length of 200mm with a maximum aperture of 2.8 that can be used handheld.

Fiolstræde (1/200, F5,6)

This opens a lot of creative possibilities. And while you try them out, you can start wondering if they justify spending money on something better in the same focal range….

Leave a comment