I'm entering the world of film photography by buying a cheap Pentax K1000 and a cheap K-Mount lens. Initial research says that the K-Mounts are still in use today, but I'd like to know your opinions for future reference if/when I buy a better camera to use for a longer time. (I know very little about film camera branding/compatabilities).

What are the most popular types of lenses in use today (primarily for film cameras)? Is there one or two brands that everyone uses?


1 Answer 1


Canon and Nikon currently produce the most lenses are are often referred to as the big two. This is just as true for digital and film lenses. Of the two, Nikon's mount is older, dating to 1959 before the invention of autofocus.

While Pentax currently produces a small lineup of lenses, however they have maintained backwards compatibility for lenses for a long time. This makes them an ideal choice for users who do not mind less modern lenses and looking from them on the used market. The mount shape and size have not changed since 1975.

The other is Sony which has never produced a film SLR but has acquired the Minolta mount when it acquired Konica-Minolta's camera business. Sony's defunct DSLR and their latest SLT cameras use the original Minolta AF bayonet mount. This one has a legacy of lenses dating back to 1985 when Minolta produced the first AF-capable DSLR.

  • \$\begingroup\$ So Pentax is good for beginners and secondhanders, whereas a pro would have to choose between Canon & Nikon (and stick with it)? Thanks! \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 5, 2013 at 2:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ @StephenMalone - I don't know about stick with it, changing systems can be done (I just did to Nikon and I had 11 Pentax lenses when I did it), but it's not that common to do given the cost of replacement. \$\endgroup\$
    – Joanne C
    Commented Apr 5, 2013 at 2:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ Not necessarily. It depends on the pro needs. For sheer variety, yes going with Nikon is advantageous. For example, Nikon produces their own Tilt-Shift lenses while Pentax no longer produces one and third-party have very limited and rare offerings. \$\endgroup\$
    – Itai
    Commented Apr 5, 2013 at 3:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ Something else worth considering: Tamron made a number of very fine lenses using the Adaptall 2 mount (particularly the 90mm/2.5 macro, which is difficult to find with the 1:1 tube, but goes to 1:2 without and can be used with standard extension tubes), which would allow one to pick up a lens and just switch Adaptall mounts if you decide to change systems. (Tamron was the optical arm of Bronica at the time, and any of their prime and small-range "SP" zoom lenses are as good as, and sometimes better than, the camera-brand lenses of the day. MF-only, though.) \$\endgroup\$
    – user2719
    Commented Apr 5, 2013 at 3:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ If you're looking for a top-of-the-line ($2000) film SLR, Canon and Nikon are the only ones left, with the EOS-1V and and F6 bodies. But most people who would have been the market for those cameras have switched to digital (reluctantly or not), and if you really want film, pro or not, you're going to go for something more niche (because it's by being unique that you'll stand out). In that case, the normal considerations are pretty much irrelevant. It's only an issue if you want to switch between film and digital, and really want everything to match. (And, why constrain yourself in that way?) \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Commented Apr 5, 2013 at 13:31

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