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10-12-2010, 01:59 PM   #1
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New to Pentax Forums, new to 35mm! Help!

Sorry for the length!

I am a 21 yr old college student majoring in Print Journalism. I love photography and have several cameras. I use a Nikon Coolpix L6 and L18 as a point and shoot, a Panasonic Lumix L10 DSLR, and I recently inherited a Sears KS-2 35mm ... and a LOT of lenses, including a sweet 1000mm telephoto, filters, the original manual for the camera and a flashgun.

Reading off the #'s in front of the lenses: (the zero with slash through it substituted as *)

-Sears Multicoated 1:3.5-4.5 f=28-85mm 62* Auto Zoom
-Sears Multicoated 1:2.8 f=135mm 52* Auto
-Sears MC 1:1.7 50mm Auto Sears 52*
-Focal MC 2x Converter (sounds like sand is in it when tumbled between hands...guessing it's toast?)
-Sears Multicoated 1:4.0 f=80-200mm 55* Auto Zoom
-HQ optics 1:16 f=1000 (original box says HQ Marketing, still has price tag of $1383.00)

>What can you tell me about these lenses?

The KS-2's translucent screen above the mirror is smudged and it seems it will not come off; I took it to a camera shop and he tried q-tips with water, and I think rubbing alcohol, but I may be mistaken because he might have said not to use rubbing alcohol ...?) Anyway, it's still smudged, and the film teeth don't wind properly - last time I tried inserting film, I read through the manual, added said film, took and advanced all the pictures, rewound and opened the back only to find the film not rewound and completely exposed. There is foam on the film back that seemed to be an environmental protective gasket of sorts that has kind of...melted and made it all sticky. This too, after hours of work cleaning has yielded few if any results in focused areas.

I am looking into buying a new camera. I was thinking a Nikon D3000, which was awesome when I followed its debut in 2006/2007, but cost about 3x as much as I'm seeing them now.

>I was also thinking (if at all possible) about getting a digital camera back so I may utilize all the 35mm K-mount lenses I have for the KS2. I have looked up and found, to my dismay, digital backs for 35mm lenses that cost an exorbitant wad of cash. Are these the holy grail of what I am looking for, or could I maybe get a converting section for the Nikon so that I can add the K-mount lenses and just turning the auto-focus and variable focus settings off? Does such a product exist? If I could get something like that, I would be able to use all the lenses plus have a fully functional variable-focus DSLR.

My main push for a new camera is developing costs and a lack of patience with 35mm. If I could take 500 pictures in one go, then review them on a computer, I would be much more apt to learn more about the F-stops, W/B settings, lenses, etc that I need to learn more about. Don't get me wrong, I love 35mm, but it costs money every picture I take and I just don't get the functionality that I can get from a DSLR at this point in my hobby.

>Help?

10-12-2010, 02:23 PM   #2
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If those lenses are k-mount they should fit on any Pentax DSLR. You don't need a full frame (35mm) body to use them.

And welkom to this forum,

Remco

Last edited by Fries; 10-13-2010 at 01:21 PM. Reason: Forgot my welcome...
10-12-2010, 02:37 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kilsimiv Quote
I am looking into buying a new camera. I was thinking a Nikon D3000, which was awesome when I followed its debut in 2006/2007, but cost about 3x as much as I'm seeing them now.
I think you're confusing the Nikon D300 (released a few years ago, for about 1400 IIRC) with the Nikon D3000 (released this year, about 400 IIRC).

As far as lenses are concerned, my brief googling suggests that your camera was manufactured by Ricoh. If that is the case, then there is a compatibility issue with your lenses: some of them might use a Ricoh-specific pin for aperture control, so they will not have auto-aperture on a Pentax DSLR. More importantly you would need to remove the pin before using them otherwise the pin could do something nasty, I think to the mirror but I'm not 100% certain.

The other general issue to consider is that when using your lenses on any digital SLR (regardless of brand), focusing manually will be more difficult than it is on your film camera (to summarise, it's because the viewfinders on digital SLRs are less well-optimised for MF use because of the ubiquity of autofocus).

Last edited by MrCynical; 10-12-2010 at 02:42 PM.
10-12-2010, 02:43 PM   #4
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the lenses are probably all K mount, you should look to see if there is an A on the aperture ring of the lenses as this impacts the modes you can use.

If there is no A on the aperture ring, then you need to use manual exposure. If there is an A you can use auto exposure modes.

I would advise that you also get the kit lens with the camera you purchase because it will go wider than anything you have at present but otherwise you are pretty set for longer lengths as long as you do not mind manually focusing.

10-12-2010, 03:37 PM   #5
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Kilsimiv, not to worry. 40+ yeqrs ago most of us would have been delighted to have those lenses and camera. But for someone just starting today in the world of point-n-shoot, that package can seem overwhelming when us ol' farts try to tell ya how to get it workin'. Your time is better spent today learning how photos can help you -- not just please you.

For the time being, just invest in a used, older Pentax DSLR and a DA 18-55 kit lens and learn how to make the most out of what photography can offer for what you're doin' now. You're on the right track with 'shoot a lot and learn'. The learning curve will be high and you'll advance quickly. Trust your instincts -- and bank account.

If you learn what photos can actually do for what you want to accomplish you'll bypass most of the nonsense about fancy gear and you'll know where you need to go with equipment -- it really isn't as esoteric as it seems when you remember what you do with the resulting image is the objective. And don't upgrade 'til you're limited by gear -- demographics sez there's gonna be a lot of good stuff sold cheap one of these days by those that inherent.

H2
10-12-2010, 04:17 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by pacerr Quote
Kilsimiv, not to worry. 40+ yeqrs ago most of us would have been delighted to have those lenses and camera. But for someone just starting today in the world of point-n-shoot, that package can seem overwhelming when us ol' farts try to tell ya how to get it workin'. Your time is better spent today learning how photos can help you -- not just please you.

For the time being, just invest in a used, older Pentax DSLR and a DA 18-55 kit lens and learn how to make the most out of what photography can offer for what you're doin' now. You're on the right track with 'shoot a lot and learn'. The learning curve will be high and you'll advance quickly. Trust your instincts -- and bank account.

If you learn what photos can actually do for what you want to accomplish you'll bypass most of the nonsense about fancy gear and you'll know where you need to go with equipment -- it really isn't as esoteric as it seems when you remember what you do with the resulting image is the objective. And don't upgrade 'til you're limited by gear -- demographics sez there's gonna be a lot of good stuff sold cheap one of these days by those that inherent.

H2
I would agree with possibly getting an older DSLR and Kit lens, as I already recommended getting the kit lens because of its focal length range.

the other points I would disagree very strongly

going with new auto everything lenses and equipment simply speeds up the confusion process, because unless you have a good understanding of how things work, all that auto everything does is let you make the same mistakes faster with no re-enforcement of good and bad,.

I had the opportunity this weekend to spend time with two yuoung friends of my nephew who were taking up photography.

they did not understand white balance, or even where to find it on their cameras, color temperature, general exposure, etc. but were quite proud to say they shoot RAW, but I am sure they had no idea why, other than someone told them no mater what you do wrong you can fix it in photo shop.

Perhaps the auto functions are OK for them to learn composition, and get adequate technically exposed shots, but it will teach thjem nothing at all about proper exposure control,

A long time ago, in fact when my same nephew took a photograhy course in high school, he had to use a manual focus film camera in manual mode. Why would this now be soo confusing? and not worth someone's while at the beginning to learn how manual functions work. people today are no dumber, are they?

p.e. someone once stated "intelligence of the world is a constant, the population is increasing"

I hope your argument is not because this is true
10-12-2010, 05:00 PM   #7
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As noted above, the lenses you have are all competent optics and if not the best, certainly are workable. As for the body, the Sears KS-2 is a re-branded Ricoh XR7. I own the Ricoh XR7 (bought new in 1982) and still consider it to be superior to the Pentax ME Super that I did not buy. The smudged focus screen can be cleaned by a competent repair person and is worth doing (along with fresh seals) if you have any interest in film photography. Pick up a used Pentax-M 50/1.7 and you will have a fast, compact, and light setup that is a pure pleasure to use.


Steve

(Putting on my asbestos suit after having 'dissed the ME Super...)
10-12-2010, 05:47 PM   #8
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Lowell offers good advice about photography. I was addressing the USE of photographs.

A lot of how you learn will depend on your personal approach and what you already understand. There's nothing better than a compatible, personal tutor that can key off both bases. Ask around and watch others; the best instructors don't necessarily advertise!

H2

10-12-2010, 07:15 PM   #9
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@ Fries Thanks

@ MrCynical I wikipedia'd the discrepancy, and found you to be correct, however, the Nikon USA site confused me even more. The D3000 is ~$500 and is 10.2 megapixels, the D300s is 12.3 megapixels and cost ~$1700. I could have sworn I remember the three-thousand model as the one I earmarked and drooled over in 2007, but I remember it being about $1700 at the time, so I may have been mistaken. Thank you for your observance. However, I would still be looking at a D3000.

Also, I think you are correct, there does seem to be a pin-like tab protruding from a rotating ring located at the male end of each of the lens bodies. However, they seem to only be an aluminum material, held in by light tension springs. If absolutely necessary, I'm sure it wouldn't be too difficult to remove the pin or just remove the entire ring altogether.

If it's harder to focus due to the digital internals using these lenses, should I even be considering getting a DSLR, or just scrap the idea altogether and keep this as it is (after some proper maintenance), and just get a DSLR for other applications? ...And you said "regardless of brand" - does that mean that Lowell's comment about the lens kit would cover not only Pentax DSLRs but any DSLR that I could find the appropriate K-mount (adapters, sic)?

@ Lowell Goudge The aperture ring doesn't have an A on it, just the f-stops and a PK on each one. I don't mind manual focusing and what would you suggest as a wide lens? I mean, the D-series from Nikon come standard (well, some do) with a 18-55mm, and I wouldn't necessarily use a fish-eye enough for it to be worth it (would be cool to have though..). So what size would you suggest, good sir?

@ pacerr Thanks! I agree with you, 40 years ago this camera was a marvel of technology and is still pretty amazing. I still can't believe I got all this dropped in my lap. I've gotten a few books about working with 35mm film and cameras in general : John Hedgecoe's New Introductory Photography Course, Ailsa McWhinnie's Reader's Digest Complete Photography Manual, Henry Horenstein's Black and White Photography. I've read a chunk out of each and I've only gained so much knowledge. I've taken introductory photography classes in Highschool as well as some digital editing classes (self-taught Photoshop WHOO!), and I've taken visual communication classes through the Journalism curriculum and have pretty much learned the same, boring stuff. How to use a D40/90, the rule of thirds and all about shapes, lines, blah blah blah.
I was using the rule of thirds without even knowing it when I was 8 years old, using up roll after roll of 35mm in my $20 non-disposable camera when I was living overseas in Japan. I spent 68 rolls going across country from NY to Seattle when I was 13. Then my parents decided to get the Lumix, which I love - but it's the family camera. Right now I have this KS2 and my Nikon P&S. I have outgrown my equipment and don't have the money to really get the KS2 down as it is. I need to get a quality DSLR eventually and would love to utilize all these lenses with it (especially if I can get to working with the 35mm in the meantime).

These links include some selects out of my portfolio, sans some awesome, repeat: awesome portraits I took with my ex girlfriend. I took 486 TIFFs in one afternoon, maxing out three SD cards. I had her in different poses around my yard, in the grass, on a swing, against a tree, with my puppy ... a week later she couldn't decide between 22 of them to use as her high school photo for the mantel/yearbook. She ended up just randomly picking one of the prints out of a pile. I took them down from the internet after we broke up, but I still have them saved on a CD and wouldn't hesitate to include some shots in a professional portfolio, which is where I want to be heading in a few years. I also had a work-friend of my father insist that I be the only photographer at his retirement ceremony, even refusing the company-supplied photographer. Sadly, it was in a huge, dark auditorium and almost all the pictures are really grainy. I detached from the tripod and saved the day by taking about two dozen shots from much closer. I felt so horrible!

I have a friend who photographs weddings and started her own studio after working at a local studio helping with weddings. She also specializes in high school and family portraits. I'm a bit of an entrepreneur, so that seems like a good fit. I would also like to get into some photography contests soon with some of these pics.


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Any feedback would be very much appreciated!


@ stevebrot Thanks! I will definitely find a place that could work with it ... I wasn't sure if it was repairable/cleanable or just fubar.
10-12-2010, 07:19 PM   #10
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Thanks all by the way! Great feedback, just what I was looking for!
10-12-2010, 09:45 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kilsimiv Quote
... and what would you suggest as a wide lens? I mean, the D-series from Nikon come standard (well, some do) with a 18-55mm, and I wouldn't necessarily use a fish-eye enough for it to be worth it (would be cool to have though..). So what size would you suggest, good sir?
A 18-55mm mounted on a APSc camera (all current Pentax dSLR as well as e.g. the Nikon D3000) will give you more-or-less the same field-of-view as the 28-85mm mounted on the film body that you already have. So if you're happy with the field-of-view of the 28-85 on the filmbody, you will be happy with an 18-55mm on a digital body.

A note on the flashgun:
Older flashes have a high voltage on the contact; this can fry a modern camera. Do your research regarding trigger voltage
10-12-2010, 09:53 PM   #12
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To me, one major decision you will need to make eventualluy, is whether you want to shoot 35mm film with a Ricoh mount camera (like your Sears) or not. If you do, then you should probably keep the Ricoh pins intact, and stop thinking about using those lenses with a DSLR.

If you are willing to give up on that option, then you should figure out which of your lenses have that option (PK I think) and remove (or file down) the special Ricoh pin on those lenses. Until you have done that, it is not safe to put any of these lenses on an autofocus body, such as a DSLR.

Note that, if you want to use your lenses for film and digital, you can always find a (used, inexpensive) Pentax film body which will use your lenses just fine without the Ricoh pin. Also note that if you do want to use manual-focus lenses like these, one of the Pentaprism bodies (such as the K10D) will make it easier to focus, with a bigger, brighter screen. A used K10D is a bit less expensive than the k-x.

No matter how you decide to pursue your photography, have fun!
10-12-2010, 11:18 PM   #13
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@ sterretje That is quite interesting. I haven't gottten the flashgun to work on the KS2, which probably correlates somehow with how I can't get the back of the casing off ...

@ Impartial I will definitely consider that. Re-reading advice that I have already received above has already taught me that I could
A - fix said 35mm camera
B - buy adapters to allow for use in conjunction with a DSLR camera
C - pick a lens and modify it so it may be used with a DSLR, keeping the others strictly for 35mm.

Where can I find adapters for the K-mount? Would they all require me to use manual focus? Would they require me to take off the Ricoh pins as well? How do you pronounce Ricoh? (rye-ko, ree-ko ...)?
10-13-2010, 12:00 AM   #14
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theatre of noise: Ricoh Lenses On Pentax Cameras -- The Ricoh Pin Fix

>>Just found out that I do NOT have the dreaded Ricoh pin on any of my lenses! Now what does that mean about finding a suitable Pentax DSLR/Nikon with adapters? Is that even possible? (Getting a Nikon and finding an adapter)

Any suggestions as to what would be a similar DSLR to the Nikon D3000 found here:
I'm looking for similar specs and price, MSRP <$500~700

D3000 from Nikon
10-13-2010, 02:19 AM   #15
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The Ricoh pin and A-position issues as I understand them:

Ricoh pin: on Pentax bodies with the AF drive shaft the Ricoh pin will/may get stuck on the edge of the AF shaft cavity on the mount (both the pin and the shaft are spring loaded). This is *bad* as it the only way to separate the two may be dismantling the camera or the lens. The pin can be removed or filed down for use on Pentax bodies as it is not used by them. Obviously, it won't serve its orginal purpose on a Ricoh body after that. Note: only some - not all - Ricoh lenses have this pin so please take a deeper look at the issue before grabbing the file :-)

A-position on the aperture ring with Pentax DLSR bodies: in the A-position an electrical contact is made at the mount, and from this the body figures out that this is in fact a lens where the aperture can be controlled by it with the mechanical lever on the lens (this is the one protected by a flange going into the mirror / sensor cavity in the body). With this the body is in total control of the aperture as long as the ring stays in the A-position, and

- auto-metering modes work (*),

- the aperture value is shown on the display(s) and is included in the exif data, and

- the largest aperture is in effect while composing/focusing with bright viewfinder, the body sets the lens to a smaller aperture for the duration of the exposure only.

Lenses without the A-position on the aperture ring work differently in that the body only controls the exposure time. Only M and Av modes work, but the body now assumes that it has no control of the aperture. As the body doesn't know the aperture value it is not displayed nor recorded in the exif data. In M-mode "semi-automatic" metering is available: pressing a button (**) causes the aperture lever to be released, metering takes place, and, finally, the lever is pushed back to fully open aperture; the exposure time is now set based on the metering with the aperture in the position set by the aperture ring. This same "stop-down" routine is carried out during exposure in M-mode as well, resulting in exposure at the aperture setting from the aperture ring. Lenses without the aperture lever (such as M42 lenses mounted with an adapter) obviously use whatever aperture is mechanically set on them all the time as the body's attempt to release/push a non-existing lever has no effect; with these the Av mode with an assumption of no aperture control by the body makes sense in that it results in dynamic, automatic setting of the exposure time to match the aperture set on the lens. In this case the photographer typically opens the aperture fully to compose and focus with a bright viewfinder and switches to the desired exposure aperture just before operating the shutter.

(*) possibly with limitations: for some reason my k-x will not use multi-segment metering, only CW and spot are available.

(**) For the k-x this is the green button, I seem to recall reading that some bodies use the AF-L (?). For the k-x one has to enable the "allow the use of the aperture ring", custom setting from the menu, also, the green button needs to be configured for this ("A-line" on k-x, this was the default though) - see the manual for details / specifics for other models.

Last edited by jolepp; 10-13-2010 at 12:30 PM. Reason: fixed typos & otherwise polished the text
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