My First 135

There was a line at the counter of the photo store when I stopped to pick up some developed film a few weeks ago, so it gave me an excuse to browse the used gear case. I need an excuse.

Our little Mom & Pop camera store has a pretty decent selection of used SLRs and lenses. There's a community college in town that has a photography program that requires students to learn film photography first, so they do a good business selling simple film cameras. Naturally, the top seller is the Pentax K1000, so there's always a shelf full of Pentax K-Mount glass. I wasn't really looking for anything in particular when I noticed, popping up tall among the 50 primes, a decent SMC Pentax-A 135mm f/2.8. Doesn't it always seem when you see something in a display case that interests you, the price tag is always upside down? It was on this 135, so I motioned for some help. "How much for that K-Mount 135 there?" In my mind, I was thinking about a buck a millimeter, so I was surprised when the sales associate handed me the lens and I saw the price at $50. That's very affordable for a reasonably fast prime telephoto lens. 

I haven't found a Pentax film era lens yet that didn't feel expensive and substantial and this lens was no exception. I asked to try it on a K1000 body. Focus action was superb and the f-stops nice and clicky. The glass on this lens looked exceptional and after a few minutes thinking about what my Portra 400 processing and scans were going to cost me that day, I decided to pick up the lens too.

The first weekend I had to try my new lens consisted of attending a college graduation and oodles of errands I had been putting off. I did get to put the 135 through some basic work outs, mounted on my LX body and shooting Kodak Portra 400.

I mostly shoot standard primes, so this is a first for me. The only lenses I have in my collection that would be considered telephotos are my 85s. And 85mm on a full frame film camera seems barely telephoto. This is a nice lens though. It's not big and balances well on the LX and on my ME Super, making it a good walk about lens. And after this first roll, I am inspired to experiment more with this focal length.