Pentax (Full Frame) DSLR Cameras & Lenses

What are the absolute best value Pentax (Full Frame) cameras and lenses? I’ve narrowed it down to 1 camera and 15 lenses.

Note: prices are in US Dollars based on recent eBay sales (exact prices will depend on your local area).

Best Value Camera:

  • Pentax K-1 ($900 used):
    There are only two full frame Pentax DSLRs, so this wasn’t too hard. Grab the K-1 for most purposes. 36 Megapixels, 5.5 stops of image stabilization, 4.4 fps, 33 AF points, and a tilting LCD. Built-in GPS. 1080i 60 fps video. Very rugged and weather sealed – great for landscapes.

Note: The K-1 II is generally more responsive and offers superior autofocus – it’s up to you if the price premium is worth it. If you see a great deal, why not?

Best Value Lenses:

This is a demanding 36 megapixel sensor – so it helps to put some quality glass on it! Here are some great choices:

Prime lenses (wide):

  • Rokinon 14mm F2.8 IF ED UMC ($180 used):
    Manual focus, doesn’t take filters, and prone to sample variation. Still – there’s no better astrophotography lens on a tight budget.
  • Pentax-FA* SMC 24mm F2 AL IF ($300 used):
    Great performer, with awesome contrast and colors. Good flare resistance. Corners sharpen up properly by F5.6.
  • Pentax-FA SMC 28mm F2.8 AL ($150 used):
    A sharp, compact, and light 28mm lens. Plastic construction, the optics won’t disappoint.
  • Pentax-FA SMC 31mm F1.8 Limited ($450 used):
    One of Pentax’s legendary lenses. Beautiful “Leica-like” rendition.
  • Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM Art ($650 used):
    A high quality, sharp lens – great for environmental portraiture. Beautiful bokeh. Up to you whether it’s worth the asking price (barely made the list).
  • Pentax-FA SMC 35mm F2 AL ($200 used):
    A sharp, compact lens for street, travel, and general use.

Prime lenses (normal):

  • Pentax-FA SMC 43mm F1.9 Limited ($350 used):
    This tiny pancake lens will not disappoint: very sharp, with beautiful rendering and bokeh.
  • Pentax-FA SMC 50mm F1.7 (120 used):
    Looking for a great “Nifty Fifty” for your K-1? This is it! Great for portraits, and excellent from F2 onwards.
  • Pentax-FA SMC 50mm F2.8 Macro ($120 used):
    Sharp and versatile – a great lens for product / reproduction. 1:1 magnification. AF hunts somewhat.

Prime lenses (telephoto):

  • Pentax-FA SMC 77mm F1.8 Limited ($500 used):
    A Pentax classic – perhaps the best portrait lens you can buy for your K-1. Beautiful bokeh and rendering.
  • Pentax-D FA SMC 100mm F2.8 Macro WR ($200 used):
    A truly excellent macro – and an incredible bargain for the price. Easy recommendation for any K-1 shooter.
  • Pentax-FA SMC 135mm F2.8 IF ($250 used):
    A great, sharp, telephoto on a budget. Excellent for portraits, and works well for landscapes / detail shots.
  • Pentax-FA* SMC 300mm F4.5 ED IF ($600 used):
    Don’t let the age of this classic fool you: it’s an excellent lens. A bit soft wide open, it sharpens up nicely by F5.6 and excellent by F6.3.

Zoom lenses:

  • Pentax-D FA HD 24-70mm F2.8 ED SDM WR ($700 used):
    Looking for a true professional fast mid-range zoom? This is the one. Sharp wide open.
  • Pentax-D FA HD 28-105mm F3.5-5.6 ED DC WR ($350 used):
    A great lightweight zoom for the K-1: portable, sharp, and weather-resistant (WR).

Useful resources:

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