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08-09-2015, 02:55 PM   #1
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Best camera for manual lenses - focus peaking

I appreciate someone has already asked this - but this was a while ago.
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/137-photographic-industry-professionals/1...al-lenses.html

What camera would you recommend for using with Pentax manual focus lenses?

Needn't be a pentax camera. I would like focus peaking. Would be good if it was cheapish. Tilting screen would be a bonus, and probably mirrorless.

Is the K-01 the best option? I've heard the sony cameras have better focus peaking. Not sure if I like them though.(I don't like having to do everything through menus.)

What about the fuji x-e1? Is the focus peaking any good? Does it work well with pentax lenses.

And how do M lenses work on non-pentax cameras, without a green button? I assume you are not limited to shooting at the widest aperture.

Thanks

08-09-2015, 03:31 PM - 2 Likes   #2
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Sony would definitely be worth to have a closer look at. Esp. if you want to go cheap with full image quality. When I bought the NEX5N, I brought back photography to me. My 20D couldn't give me that quality, my Pentax lenses shined as never before, at least on digital.
Lately I bought the A6000, still not overprized for what it offers (500€). Fast, good EVF, many options like remote, back focus, good focus peaking, zebra etc.

Ergonomy is another story though, the menues on the NEX sometimes killed me, A6000 is still no Pentax in terms of ease of use, but can be customized quite good.



08-09-2015, 03:34 PM   #3
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Mirrorless = most versatile no doubt, because the short registration distance means that adaption to all the regular legacy/obsolete mount lenses is straightforward and the chinese manufacture cheap adapters (but of variable quality) for all the mainstream mirrorless camera mounts. Opens up the door to acquire real bargains of noteworthy lenses in mounts like MD, CFD (these don't adapt readily to DSLR), CY. But of course function is limited to stop down aperture priority mode or manual mode (which is how pk lenses would work too).
I recently acquired a samsung NX20 body for a very good price ~100. I think samsungs are one of the bargains on the s/h market they don't have the cachet of eg sony and probably don't deserve it either they are not the top construction wise etc although the pricing new suggests a more premium character. But if you can find a bargain like mine then the bang for your buck probably can't be bettered. Easy handling (though all these mirrorless are for me a tad small in the hand), excellent resolution 20MPx sensor, easy one touch evf magnification for spot on focus accuracy. That and the evf quality, is more important IMO than peaking, I wouldn't make that your deciding factor (and I absolutely wouldn't get a mirrorless without an evf).
From what i've read about them fuji's are premium, but to realise the excellence the recommendation is to use fuji lenses! And thats not any sort of cheapish option from where I'm sitting.

DSLR's? Nikon and Pentax are the ones with backwards compatibility with their legacy lenses, pentax better than nikon. Canon is the dslr most readily adapted to a variety of old lenses.

Sample pic on my NX20, adaptall 200-500mm lens.
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NX20  Photo 

Last edited by marcusBMG; 08-09-2015 at 03:43 PM.
08-09-2015, 03:52 PM - 1 Like   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by rob_k20d Quote
What camera would you recommend for using with Pentax manual focus lenses?

Needn't be a pentax camera. I would like focus peaking. Would be good if it was cheapish. Tilting screen would be a bonus, and probably mirrorless.
a bunch of us use pentax glass on sony bodies, but anything with a good evf is going to be better than a dslr for mf use.

rear lcd screens are barely usable, they wash out in bright light, and they make hand-holding the camera difficult, because it's away from your face.

evf screens are oled, not lcd, and they are shaded, so they don't wash out.

focus peaking is not a panacea, it's just a tool, that takes experience with changes to the settings to get the best use out of.

focus magnification is where the accuracy is, if you have the time for it.

fa35 is one of the best lenses that i've used for focus peaking.

08-09-2015, 03:55 PM   #5
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Of the current Pentax cameras, I would have to say (hands down) my K-3 has been the best for manual focusing because of the focus peaking. This is coming from someone who probably goes manual more often than he uses auto focus.

That said, I would maybe hold off and see what they do with the new full frame - I can't imagine them not having to do something to improve the prism, and I suspect it could hearken back to the old film days for ease of use.

EDIT: As for focus peaking, the trick is to simply enable highlight notification in the options. The peaks will flash as a result making things worlds easier.
08-09-2015, 05:24 PM   #6
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The K-3 or K-S2 from among current bodies, since they make it easier to combine peaking + magnification, and they have the largest viewfinders. Technically the K-S1 too, but it doesn't have as good of an interface.

I'd stick to Pentax bodies if you plan to primarily use Pentax lenses, otherwise Sony is worth looking at too.

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08-09-2015, 06:48 PM   #7
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The advantage with the Pentax bodies would be with A lenses since you can get auto aperture. I have a K-30 and K-50, and love the focus peaking. The only people I know using Fuji or Sony have only been using Fuji or Sony lenses when I have been around them. I was around a Sony shooter a couple of weeks ago that was using Sony autofocus lenses in manual with focus peaking, he thought that is was more accurate. He was using a tripod so he had that luxury. This was at night so I could not see that his liveview was any better than mine. I agree with Adam is you want to use primarily Pentax lenses use Pentax. Otherwise check the prices of adapters for Sony or Fuji before you choose.
08-10-2015, 03:03 AM   #8
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Thanks everyone. Was tempted by the Sony, but based on these comments, I think I will stick with Pentax - and also think that I will stick with my K5ii for the moment (and keep using the trap focus). But whatever camera I upgrade to next, I'm sure it will have focus peaking.

I was very tempted by the K-S2 - particularly with the tilt screen as well as focus peaking - but I think there are things on the K5ii I'd miss.

Thanks

08-10-2015, 03:51 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by rob_k20d Quote
Thanks everyone. Was tempted by the Sony, but based on these comments, I think I will stick with Pentax - and also think that I will stick with my K5ii for the moment (and keep using the trap focus). But whatever camera I upgrade to next, I'm sure it will have focus peaking.

I was very tempted by the K-S2 - particularly with the tilt screen as well as focus peaking - but I think there are things on the K5ii I'd miss.

Thanks
I do MF on both a K-30 and an A7 - but it's a big plus to the Pentax for using lenses without aperture rings.

It's slow tooling around on the Novoflex adapter, carefully noting the exposure meter reading then watching it change as you rotate its short throw ring, counting the stops - and, your subject's now walked off.
08-10-2015, 10:32 AM   #10
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With Pentax DSLR's you get HyperProgram that works with A-series of manual focus Pentax lenses. Also the multisegment metering will work. They are (almost) like an autofocus lens, but only manual of course. I like my K-S2 for everything it does, including manual focus..
08-10-2015, 12:15 PM   #11
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Just a f'rinstance, this was manually focused with the K-3 yesterday. I was only testing something out (it wasn't intended to be a keeper) but I liked the browns of the root beer bottles.

Focus was on the bit underneath the bottle with a cap. Stupidly shallow depth of field (it was at or near the minimum focus distance for the lens). Without focus peaking, I doubt I would have been able to pull this off without resorting to using a tripod and a heck of a lot more work.

f/1.8. ISO 1600, Samyang 85mm f/1.4, 1/50 of a second (thank you, SR)

08-10-2015, 06:52 PM   #12
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Nice and moody, Sagitta!


SR rocks.
08-12-2015, 07:11 AM   #13
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Focus peaking is nice. But if you prefer using a VF, a body that will easily allow a new focus screen is an economical alternative. I use an ist DS for manual lenses, with an S type focus screen. This really helps for lenses f/2.8 and faster, although it gets pretty dark with my f/8 mirror lens.
08-12-2015, 07:15 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sagitta Quote
Without focus peaking, I doubt I would have been able to pull this off without resorting to using a tripod and a heck of a lot more work.
Well, I would have difficulty pulling that off ~with~ focus peaking ~without~ a tripod.

I love using focus peaking on my K-3 when I'm using a tripod while focusing on a static subject. However, I have trouble using focus peaking accurately ~without~ a tripod (at least with any shallow depth of field situation), since I can't hold the cam and lens steady enough with the cam held away from my face -- I am much steadier when looking through the viewfinder, with the cam pressed against my face.

08-12-2015, 11:10 PM   #15
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Why limit yourself to APS-C ? Get a Sony A7 (the first version)! Now that the A7II has been released, it's easy to find the A7 for a very affordable price on the used market because many users dump their cameras to buy the new model. Of course, the A7II has IBIS (built-in stabilization) that the A7 lacks, but they are otherwise pretty identical in their specs. And the A7 is actually smaller and lighter, making it the most compact full-frame camera --almost pocketable. And if you need to shoot in APS-C with some lenses, just toggle a setting in the appropriate menu and your A7 becomes an excellent 10MPix APS-C camera.

Due to the short registration distance of the Sony E Mount, it is possible to use almost any lens on the A7 and there are lots of quality adapters available at very low prices. You can even buy tilt or shift adapters, and also adapters with built-in helicoids, which offer shorter minumum focus with every lens.

Focus peaking on mirrorless Sony cameras is great and on the A7 you also have a high resolution viewfinder that lets you actually see when the image is in focus without using focus peaking ("shimmering pixels").

I use all my Pentax lenses with the Sony A7 without any problem. Adapters for K-Mount lenses usually have a tab that keeps the aperture closed at its working setting, so your M lenses should work better than on the Pentax DSLRs (no need for the green button). You may also need an adapter with a bult-in aperture ring if you have crippled DA lenses lacking the aperture ring.

Cheers!

Abbazz
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