The Rikenon 28mm f/2.8 was maybe closer to $39, depending on Canada-USA exchange rates - but close enough for my work here! An excellent all-manual lens that has given me several great images like this one:
I recently picked up a $34.99 Sigma/Quantaray 28-90mm f/3.5-5.6 1:2 'macro' lens, and for about $70 both a Promaster 28-200mm and Sigma/Quantaray 100-300mm f/4.5-6.7 telephoto. The two Quantaray lenses are familiar from my SonyAlpha days when they served me well. The 100-300 put out great color and decent sharpness, but its contrast was a bit low; this often looks like softness but is quickly fixed in nearly any software. Come to think of it, the 100-300 also put in an appearance in Pentax mount for a while - it was used here, though this is quite heavily cropped:
I paid $50-75 for earlier copies, so $35 feels like quite a steal.
Then there's this 28-200. I owned a Tamron XR Di IF &c &c in my Alpha days, and above 120mm I did not like it much - images softened and color fringing burst forth. I figured this could attempt to match the 28-90 and have the high end for emergency use, since Promaster lenses are Tamron/Promaster generally, a lot like Sigma/Quantaray in that regard.
This lens surprised me though: it's actually an older throwback than I had expected, with 80 grams more weight and 72mm filter threads (so much for my lonely 62mm c.Polarizer). I shall have to do more work to see where the weaknesses are with this copy, but its 1:4ish closeups are no decent match for the 28-90.
Still, it's a $35 lens - and that seems to be a sweet spot for me. We shall see.
Next time: surprising $70 lenses, featuring the Rikenon 70-150 f/4?