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PENTAX Refconverter A

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14 19,738 Sat June 24, 2017
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
93% of reviewers $83.00 9.14
PENTAX Refconverter A

PENTAX Refconverter A PENTAX Refconverter A
PENTAX Refconverter A
PENTAX Refconverter A
PENTAX Refconverter A
PENTAX Refconverter A

The refconverter A (essentially a right-angle finder ) turns the viewfinder viewing angle 90 degrees and is a convenient accessory for situations where it is difficult to get the eye to the viewfinder. The refconverter rotates aound the viewfinder eyepiece. It has a built in, variable diopter correction and it can be switched between 1x and 2x magnification.

It fits all Pentax K-mount DSLRs and most Pentax film cameras (from the M-series and onwards). These cameras have a slightly larger viewfinder frame than the M42 and initial K-mount film cameras (K2, KX, KM, K1000).

It comes with a case and a rubber eye-cup.
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Site Supporter

Registered: October, 2008
Location: Bedfordshire, UK
Posts: 143
Review Date: June 24, 2017 I can recommend this item: Yes | Price: $80.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Crisp image rendering, selectable magnification, build
Cons: None

Great built quality and very clear image rendering. Compatible with the K-1 giving full image of viewfinder including all readings. This is what you call compatibility when a 20+ year old accessory fits and works perfectly with the company's latest camera.

I do not know about other third party angle finders but after experiencing this I would not bother experimenting with the unknown and buy any other.
Otis Memorial Pentaxian
Loyal Site Supporter

Registered: March, 2015
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 6,261
Review Date: April 16, 2016 I can recommend this item: Yes | Price: $140.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Pentax build quality, great optics, excellent for low to the ground shots, excellent for copy stand work
Cons: None for me

This is a very versatile piece of kit. For copy stand or for low tripod work, it is a very precise tool for getting focus. The 1X and 2X magnification options are very user friendly. This accessory has been around for a long time and is still valid today. For low to the ground photography, it is very handy and " almost " replaces the need for an articulating screen. Also very good for hand held portrait photographs to get the camera at chest height as the refconverter rotates negating the need to crouch down. I highly recommend this accessory.
Site Supporter

Registered: December, 2012
Location: Perth Western Australia
Posts: 191
Review Date: December 1, 2015 I can recommend this item: Yes | Price: $32.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Well made, diopter adjustment, clear view, locking mechanism
Cons: none

This review for the Refconverter II reiterates what gofour3 says below except in both Pentax KM and SP1000 I see the whole screen including exposure indicator clearly. Diopter adjustment negates the need for spectacles which is the reason for my purchase.
Veteran Member

Registered: January, 2012
Posts: 1,972

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: October 12, 2015 I can recommend this item: Yes | Price: $149.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Crisp vew, large viewing area ( for Refconverter-A) useful X2 magnification, broad range of diopter (-4 ... +5), solid metal built, 360' rotating
Cons: rarity,price and takes some time to get used to

Review is for Pentax Refconverter - A , which I bought to replace the 'M' version. I did so because M version had too small viewing area and the viewfinder information in my Z1p and K10D were cut off. I am using it with my MX , Z1p and K10D, to assist my low angle photography as well as in other applications. Generally speaking I like using cameras in portrait mode a lot and this ref converter allows me lowering the framing to just the right level with me just looking down , like in waist lever finder . Also low angle photos are breeze with this as well as night shots ( moon shots particularly hard without X2 magnification to nail the focus).
Also another surprisingly useful application is to get sharpness confirmed with super wide angle lenses. On X2 setting each lens' focal length is doubled. Now I can focus much more accurately with my Tokina 17mm because central part of the area in X2 mode gives me around 35mm FOW - which is much easier to focus with split screen.

I also checked it on my fault K1000 and can confirm that this Refconverter-A WILL fit the viewfinder of K1000 with no problem. I don't know why some saying that this will work only with all pentax bodies from M-series. to me K-series also is supported,
In all cases the viewfinder is very well visible with all surrounding areas. Some people complain about dioptre adjustment shifting when magnification switch is changed. That is the case when your Refconverter is not having its dioptre adjusted properly. According to my understanding of the manual you have to:

1) RESET your dioptre adjustment on the camera
2) remove lens
3) attach Refconverter-A and set it to X2
4) rotate dioptre adjustment on the Refonverter until micro-prism or controls in the viewfinder becomes crisp and sharp.
5) attach the lens
6) focus with lens to obtain sharp image in the viewfinder.

I did this for all my cameras in which I have split focusing screen installed and can confirm that there is no shift in dioptre adjustment when changing from X1 to X2.

Great accessory for various application. Very rare to find the A version but I got one from Germany. Pretty expensive at 130 EURO, also takes some time to get used to. But its totally worthy it - especially if you still shooting film or prefer optical viewfinder than live view. Some would say that live view of modern cameras is good enough to confirm sharpness. I tend to disagree. Having the K-01 for 2 years now I just had to have an extra viewfinder loupe ( $60 !!) in order to be focus and frame at all !!
Live view focusing and framing is just silly - especially having a DSLR with optical viewfinder! With Refconverter attached I can firmly hold my camera, focus and frame with no light strays and also having an eyecup of the viewfinder next to the eye also slightly stabilizes the camera. For me live view doesn't cut it and angle finder is just perfect.

What I love most about this one is that it gives great crisp image and having large viewing areas for controls surrounding the viewfinder!
Finally it works with all my Pentax cameras! Oldest and newest! From K1000 through MX , Z1p and to K10D (which has viewfinder accessory attachments the same as modern K3 and other new digital cameras). With pentax not only lenses but also this lives one

Registered: March, 2012
Location: Venice, CA
Posts: 6,463
Review Date: August 9, 2013 I can recommend this item: Yes | Price: $38.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Solidly built, 1-2x magnification, clear properly oriented image
Cons: Diopter adjustment can shift when changing from 1x to 2x depending on diopter adjustment on camera viewfinder

This review is for the Refconverter M. On my K-10D at 1x I can see the entire viewfinder information. On my Program Plus the LCD on the bottom is cutoff. At 2x magnification the view is cropped and I can partially make out the shutter speed and F-stop settings.

This is a wonderful aid for macro photography and the 2x magnification helps with critical focus on cameras without Liveview and focus peaking.

The only minus I found is that the diopter adjustment shifts depending on the diopter adjustment of the camera's eyepiece. I had to change the camera adjustment a couple clicks to the right in order for the Refconverter not to shift when switching between 1x and 2x. This may be because I wear eyeglasses.
Site Supporter

Registered: October, 2008
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Posts: 6,314

2 users found this helpful
Review Date: July 16, 2013 I can recommend this item: Yes | Price: $69.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Well built with a diopter adjustment and 2x magnifier.
Cons: Not as secure when mounted as the older Refconverter II.

This is a review for the Pentax Refconverter A which was introduced in 1983 as part of the A Series launch.

I picked up the Refconverter A for use on my Pentax M, A & P Series film bodies. The A version has a slightly bigger viewing area than the M version, so you can see the shutter/aperture windows on the A Series film bodies. Otherwise the A & M versions are identical.

The 2x magnification switch is the best feature of the Refconverter A and eliminates the need to buy a magnifier for critical focusing. This is a feature that is greatly missed on my Refconverter II.

The rubber eye-cup is also recommended for the Refconverter A and I found the Pentax 6x7 eye-cups fit perfectly.

The only gripe I have with the Refconverter A, is that it just slides over the viewfinder. The older Refconverter II has a locking clamp over the bottom of the viewfinder window, so there is no chance the Refconverter will slide off, even if the camera is turned upside down. Not sure if the Refconverter A is that secure. Also note that even though the Refconverter A will fit on the viewfinder windows of a K Series or Screw-mount film body, the fit is very loose and the Refconverter is likely to fall off. Get the Refconverter II for those older films bodies with a smaller viewfinder window.

The Refconverter A is the best overall of the four released for the Pentax 35mm film bodies. I paid $69.00 for my Refconverter A and it came with the leather case.
Site Supporter

Registered: July, 2007
Location: Jonesboro, GA
Posts: 1,896
Review Date: July 1, 2013 I can recommend this item: Yes | Price: $60.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Low angle shots, using with a slightly shot tripod, ocular diopter adjustment, 2X magnification option.
Cons: None

I bought this for use with my MX, and later used it with my LX, and now with my K5. Invaluable for macro work, with the 2x magnification, and it can avoid bending over to look through the VF on a tripod mounted camera. As someone earlier noted it has that finely machined metal feel too often lacking in anyone's products today.

BTW, for those who have problems finding one the Refconverter for the OM Olympus series fits, at least the Pentax Refconverter fits on my OM 10.
Senior Member

Registered: July, 2011
Location: Indiana
Posts: 170
Review Date: July 1, 2013 I can recommend this item: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Works great for low angle work, Great magnification
Cons: NONE

I have had this since the mid 90's, and don't remember what I paid for it. It works great for macro shots and very low angles. I have used it when my camera is mounted on my telescope and aimed up almost vertical, so it makes it more comfortable for viewing.
Now as I am getting older, I find myself using it more because my joints and eyesight are not as good as they used to be.
I am sorry Pentax does not make the accessories they used to, but I sure am glad I bought most of them a long time ago.
New Member

Registered: March, 2012
Location: northwest Indiana USA
Posts: 15

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: August 12, 2012 I can recommend this item: Yes | Price: $68.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: quality, fit, smooth operattion
Cons: none yet

I previously purchased the similar Seagull item; the Pentax Refconverter A wins hands down for use on my K-5. With the Seagull I just could not get a good fit with any of the supplied adapters and the item nearly comes off the camera with each horizontal/vertical turn. It was a real PITA to work with. Refconverter A has an excellent, snug fit and rotation to different position is very smooth, precise, and positive. I would highly recommend buying this item. Wish I had never bought the Seagull.

Forum Member

Registered: September, 2008
Location: Rotherham, South Yorkshire, UK
Posts: 55

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: October 4, 2010 I can recommend this item: No | Price: None indicated | Rating: 4 

Pros: Good quality manufacture
Cons: Not easy to use

I purchased this item for use with low level photography, e.g. fungi. It is well made but I found the eyepiece needs a taller rubber eyecup. With the eye to the eyepiece it was, as far as I was concerned, unusable. A much better buy is the cheapo Seagull which was available from Hong Kong for around £30 Sterling. It is much easier to use. Its build quality is not so good though optically, it is OK and I am quite happy with it. It comes with a range of adapters for Pentax, Canon, Nikon, Sony and Leica cameras.
Site Supporter

Registered: June, 2008
Location: Florida Hill Country
Posts: 17,292

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: September 29, 2010 I can recommend this item: Yes | Price: $115.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Option of 1x or 2x magnification
Cons: camera positioning

This is a well made Pentax optic. It does take some getting used to using because of the camera position. I got it for macro use when I have the rig on a tripod using either a focus rail or bellows. My unit is the M version.
Site Supporter

Registered: November, 2009
Location: West Cornwall
Posts: 123

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: September 19, 2010 I can recommend this item: Yes | Price: $62.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Does its job perfectly
Cons: none

Found the "M" version on Ebay UK, took a chance on £40 GB Pounds ($62 US) and when it came (48 hrs) it was perfect, clean and in its smart leather case.

Fits my K20D perfectly and shows the viewfinder display... and for posing it looks really good on the camera!

I'm pretty tall, and when using the camera on a tripod or off, it lets me get a lower camera position without having to grovel on the floor or search for extra joints in my neck!

Much better than the K20D "Live View" feature!

BUT... it doesn't get a "10" because, weirdly, it doesnt QUITE fit properly on my old MX... one of the cameras it was designed for!

I'm probably doing something wrong......again!
Senior Member

Registered: November, 2007
Location: Isle of Skye, Scotland
Posts: 262

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: August 12, 2010 I can recommend this item: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Invaluable for low angle work, old-school quality
Cons: Discontinued (in the UK at least...)

I (finally) bought one of these second hand a few years ago. Invaluable for low angle work whether close-up or landscapes (no more lying in the mud or contorting into odd postures...). Build quality is what you would expect from something that dates back to the glory days of the M series film cameras. 90 degree rotation locks positively. Extra magnification useful for manual focus - and if I'm using this I usually am in manual mode.
No real issues as someone who wears glasses - just the usual caveat of remembering to look right into the corners.
Although it isn't something I use every day, when I do, I wonder how I did without it. If you see one at a good price, snap it up!

Registered: February, 2008
Location: Waterloo, Ontario
Posts: 4,462

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: June 14, 2010 I can recommend this item: Yes | Price: $100.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Excellent focuing aid for macro work
Cons: Not really a con but something of a specialist focusing aid

I have the Refconverter M, which was designed for use with the LX, ME Super, ME, MV1 and MX cameras. It was purchased a fine focusing aid for use with my bellows equipment and for that function it works very well. It shows a “unreversed, laterally correct” image and features 1x or optionally 2x magnification. It also features an adjustment ring which according to the manual provides approx. +4 to –4 diopter adjustment. This is very handy for those who wear eyeglasses or those with some vision irregularities.

Originally it came with a leather case and 2 rubber eyepcups. It is identical to Refconverter-A, except the A model has a slightly broader "field of view" so as to show the LCDs below the viewfinder in the Program-series bodies. Refconverter M will block the LCDs if used on P series cameras. I consider this a specialty focusing aid and recommend it for use primarily with bellows and other macro applications. It could optionally be used for high and low angle shots but I seldom used it for these particular applications.
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