Find the Right Lens for Your Camera

I've learned a lot about lens and camera combinations since I launched TheFilmCameraShop. And the thing that jumps out at me, is how the right lens for a particular body can make everything click.

Here's an example, I've been film testing a Pentax P30t SLR. It's a very cool camera that I'm surprised isn't more popular on the used market. It has an unique, but very attractive design, programmed exposure with manual option, DX coding, depth of preview button, standard cable release socket, and a memory lock button. The film advance lever is well positioned and very satisfying to use.

I had experimented with a variety of lenses on it, including the metal-clad Pentax-A 35-70mm and the Pentax-F 35-80mm zoom. Neither felt quite right. The older Pentax-A optic was too heavy and pulled the camera down. The lighter Pentax-F was more balanced, but the manual focusing ring was highly unsatisfying. And since the P30t is a manual focus only body, this would not do.

Then by accident, I discovered the Pentax-A 35-80mm f/4.0-5.6 zoom. It was attached to a ZX-M that I actually got ripped off on (being advertised as working when indeed it did not). Even though I was a bit frustrated with the malfunctioning body, I was intrigued by the lens.

The Pentax-A 35-80mm has a polycarbonate body with a metal lens mount. So it's very light, yet sturdy. It has the "A" function on the aperture ring allowing for programmed exposure. But most importantly, its focusing ring is well-dampened and a joy to use. And its modern design is a perfect match for the P30t.

So I mounted the zoom and took it for a spin. It was love at first click. The P30t was reunited with its soul mate, and picture taking was a joy. I leave the 35-80mm on the body, and bring another of my favorites, the Pentax-A 50mm f/2.0, for low light shoots. And that's all I need.

My belief is that cameras, like people, have the perfect mate out there somewhere. Since used analog gear is so affordable these days, I encourage you to find the perfect lens for your body. It makes all the difference in the world.

-Derrick

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