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11-27-2012, 09:00 AM   #1
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A-50mm 1.7 vs M-50mm 1.7

Looking for some input here, and trying to fill a gap in my lenses for K5 startup. Anyone have an idea what is best in the SMC 50mm collections? I read the reviews and looks to me like the edge goes to the M series but would invite experiences. Thanks!

Dave

11-27-2012, 09:05 AM   #2
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Optically they are the same, the big difference is that the A series can meter in all modes on a DSLR, the M series is stop down metering in M mode only. So for convenience, you really are better off with an A series over an M.
11-27-2012, 09:52 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by elliott Quote
Optically they are the same, the big difference is that the A series can meter in all modes on a DSLR, the M series is stop down metering in M mode only. So for convenience, you really are better off with an A series over an M.
Thanks Elliott - I also read an issue with the M when trying to fire a secondary flash. I suppose the A handles that without problems also. I really prefer old school manual and it looks like it can be done with the "green" button.
11-27-2012, 10:04 AM   #4
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It isn't just a secondary flash, the pop up flash and any hotshoe flash in P-TTL mode will just fire at full power every time with an M lens. To use flash with an M lens you either need to use the manual power settings on the flash or have one that has its own sensor for auto mode.

11-27-2012, 10:41 AM   #5
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The A series if far more versatile. You get all metering and flash modes, and you can take it off 'A' and use the green button if you want to. And I'm not just saying this because I have 2 that I will be selling in the near future...
11-27-2012, 11:14 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by elliott Quote
It isn't just a secondary flash, the pop up flash and any hotshoe flash in P-TTL mode will just fire at full power every time with an M lens. To use flash with an M lens you either need to use the manual power settings on the flash or have one that has its own sensor for auto mode.
OK, now this is making sense! Looks like the A is my choice - did not know you could disable "A". Also, on the flash issue, I have been considering the Vivitar 383 for this setup - any thoughts from you or Elliott? Thanks for this input!
11-27-2012, 11:48 AM   #7
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Given that you can optionally select A or M mode on the SMC-A lens, and the optics are essentially identical, the most noticeable difference will be in the build and feel of the lens.

The plastic aperture ring on the A has a reputation of needing repair for the spring loaded detents (not difficult or expensive - see Articles>Maintenance forum) and the focus feels "better" on the M to many users.

You might also consider the well regarded Super Tak 55/1.8 with a suitable M42 adapter. There's also references to that lens in the Articles forum and lens reviews.

H2
11-27-2012, 11:59 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bayside Graphics Quote
OK, now this is making sense! Looks like the A is my choice - did not know you could disable "A". Also, on the flash issue, I have been considering the Vivitar 383 for this setup - any thoughts from you or Elliott? Thanks for this input!
Since I have very few A lenses, I don't have a P-TTL flash at the moment, I just have a couple old Vivitar 285HVs and a Yongnuo YN-560. I believe that the Vivitar/Tumax should work well as an on camera flash, however it doesn't support more advanced features like HSS or wireless P-TTL. It has some manual controls, so it could be used off camera with a radio trigger. Right now the Metz flashes are the best value for your money, they support all advanced features and the firmware is easily updateable by the user so when a new body, like the K30, you don't have to send it back to be updated. You'll spend more on a Metz than the Vivitar, but it is a better flash.

11-27-2012, 12:10 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by elliott Quote
Since I have very few A lenses, I don't have a P-TTL flash at the moment, I just have a couple old Vivitar 285HVs and a Yongnuo YN-560. I believe that the Vivitar/Tumax should work well as an on camera flash, however it doesn't support more advanced features like HSS or wireless P-TTL. It has some manual controls, so it could be used off camera with a radio trigger. Right now the Metz flashes are the best value for your money, they support all advanced features and the firmware is easily updateable by the user so when a new body, like the K30, you don't have to send it back to be updated. You'll spend more on a Metz than the Vivitar, but it is a better flash.
I have in my old collection a Starblitz 5000 that seems to only need some corrosion removed from the base locking clip. I am in the process of cleaning it up and see if it still works. With manual power adjustment and double flash it should be a great unit....once again!!
11-27-2012, 12:17 PM   #10
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Be careful with old flashes, many have a high trigger voltage that will damage a modern camera. You can check it with a simple multimeter, just between the ground on the side and the center pin. Pentax never gave an official answer on the voltage, since they don't want to be responsible if an old non-Pentax flash fries your camera. Some say up to 24 volts is fine, I like to stay safe at around 12 volts.

I don't see your particular model listed here, but some of the others seem to be safe so there is a chance yours will be fine.
Photo Strobe Trigger Voltages
11-27-2012, 12:19 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by elliott Quote
Be careful with old flashes, many have a high trigger voltage that will damage a modern camera. You can check it with a simple multimeter, just between the ground on the side and the center pin. Pentax never gave an official answer on the voltage, since they don't want to be responsible if an old non-Pentax flash fries your camera. Some say up to 24 volts is fine, I like to stay safe at around 12 volts.

I don't see your particular model listed here, but some of the others seem to be safe so there is a chance yours will be fine.
Photo Strobe Trigger Voltages
Good point Elliott - just tested it and it now fires like new. Will see about voltage before I set it up - thanks again!!
11-27-2012, 12:22 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bayside Graphics Quote
I have in my old collection a Starblitz 5000 that seems to only need some corrosion removed from the base locking clip. I am in the process of cleaning it up and see if it still works. With manual power adjustment and double flash it should be a great unit....once again!!
ekkkk... Be very careful with old flashes many can damage your Camera!!!!!!!
A link to get you started RiceHigh's Pentax Blog: Which Flash Units are Safe for Pentax DSLRs?
11-27-2012, 12:26 PM   #13
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Just found an old posting in 2005 that someone tested with a mutimeter and found it to be 11 volts on this model. Looks like it's good to go!!
11-27-2012, 12:33 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by riff Quote
ekkkk... Be very careful with old flashes many can damage your Camera!!!!!!!
A link to get you started RiceHigh's Pentax Blog: Which Flash Units are Safe for Pentax DSLRs?
The trigger voltage I found was from Powershot Posts which seems to mention a lot of these older flash units. Will see if there is any other referrence before going there!
11-27-2012, 03:52 PM   #15
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How do you rate the Pentax-M 50 mm f1.4 compare to the 1.7? I have the first, and I wonder if there is any benefit in looking for the more popular f1.7 version.
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