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05-06-2019, 12:15 AM   #1
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I am done with m42

Hi all,

I think I am done with m42 lenses due to 2 things, one is trouble to adapt, the other is metering problem.
I used mainly Russian m42 lenses due to they are plentiful in the used market and cheap, but also used some CZJ, they both
'suffer' from the same problem.

Everybody knows there are 2 types of m42 adapter for the Pentax SLR/DSLR, one is 'flush' type that fast to install and remove but does not focus to infinity, the other is 'sink' type that slow to install and remove but can focus to infinity, I have been struggling between the two for long time. I was using Nikon before Pentax, I used a 'flush' adapter with corrective lens built in to allow infinity focus, I don't see this type available for the Pentax, I would not use it due to the added glass degrades the image quality. Since Russian lenses has simplier design sometimes there is room for adjustment, for example the Jupiter 37A 135/3.5, I can simply remove 2 screw to force the lens to focus 'pass infinity', so that it can be used with the 'flush' adapter without problem. If I must use the 'sink' adapter I will remove the spring of the adapter so that it will not lock in the camera, and then I screw the lens in to get to infinity focus and glue the two together, if the back of the lens is wide enough to cover the locking pin, I will drill a hole at the back of the lens that touches the pin, with this little mod I can use the lens just like any regular K mount lens, but I still have a problem, the metering.

I shoot wth K3, I tried all modes including the 'green' mode and both spot and center weight for stop down metering but it didn't work as expected. I first meter wide open, say F 3.5 and take a shot, and then I stop down to F 8, meter again with the green button and take another shot, the 2nd shot always over exposed by 1-2 stops, I tried different m42 lenses with the same result, the over exposure was not by huge amount across stops it was just little over without washout the whole image. In order to get the best result I must shot wide open, or reduce 1-2 stop with compensation to hope it will come out right, since I shoot many close up flowers and bugs I must stop down quite a lot to cover the distance, this problem is particular trouble to me. Some said the problem was due to the focusing screen was not designed to meter stop down with uncoupled lenses, I don't know but this is the main problem stopping me from using m42 lenses, I wonder how you guys deal with that ?

05-06-2019, 12:38 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by lotech Quote
I shoot wth K3, I tried all modes including the 'green' mode and both spot and center weight for stop down metering but it didn't work as expected. I first meter wide open, say F 3.5 and take a shot, and then I stop down to F 8, meter again with the green button and take another shot, the 2nd shot always over exposed by 1-2 stops, I tried different m42 lenses with the same result, the over exposure was not by huge amount across stops it was just little over without washout the whole image. In order to get the best result I must shot wide open, or reduce 1-2 stop with compensation to hope it will come out right, since I shoot many close up flowers and bugs I must stop down quite a lot to cover the distance, this problem is particular trouble to me. Some said the problem was due to the focusing screen was not designed to meter stop down with uncoupled lenses, I don't know but this is the main problem stopping me from using m42 lenses, I wonder how you guys deal with that ?
I presume your M42 lenses stop down the aperture as you turn the aperture ring.....ie looking through the viewfinder it will darken as you stop down ?

If this is the case you should use Av mode. No need for stop-down metering with the green button as the lens is already stopped down.
05-06-2019, 01:01 AM - 2 Likes   #3
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I have different approach to metering. I only use green button to get into the zone. Then I take test shot, check histogram and adjust if needed. After that I just keep following histogram, adjust if needed and reshoot. I try to keep everything between pure black and white so that I have all the information to adjust in post where I set the final exposure as I like. I know it's not how it's done with the film, but that's the workflow I have find most useful in digital. Of course this is only usefull for RAW shooting and if you want to fine tune all shots anyway.
05-06-2019, 01:17 AM - 1 Like   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by lotech Quote
Hi all,

I think I am done with m42 lenses due to 2 things, one is trouble to adapt, the other is metering problem.
I used mainly Russian m42 lenses due to they are plentiful in the used market and cheap, but also used some CZJ, they both
'suffer' from the same problem.

Everybody knows there are 2 types of m42 adapter for the Pentax SLR/DSLR, one is 'flush' type that fast to install and remove but does not focus to infinity, the other is 'sink' type that slow to install and remove but can focus to infinity, I have been struggling between the two for long time. I was using Nikon before Pentax, I used a 'flush' adapter with corrective lens built in to allow infinity focus, I don't see this type available for the Pentax, I would not use it due to the added glass degrades the image quality. Since Russian lenses has simplier design sometimes there is room for adjustment, for example the Jupiter 37A 135/3.5, I can simply remove 2 screw to force the lens to focus 'pass infinity', so that it can be used with the 'flush' adapter without problem. If I must use the 'sink' adapter I will remove the spring of the adapter so that it will not lock in the camera, and then I screw the lens in to get to infinity focus and glue the two together, if the back of the lens is wide enough to cover the locking pin, I will drill a hole at the back of the lens that touches the pin, with this little mod I can use the lens just like any regular K mount lens, but I still have a problem, the metering.

I shoot wth K3, I tried all modes including the 'green' mode and both spot and center weight for stop down metering but it didn't work as expected. I first meter wide open, say F 3.5 and take a shot, and then I stop down to F 8, meter again with the green button and take another shot, the 2nd shot always over exposed by 1-2 stops, I tried different m42 lenses with the same result, the over exposure was not by huge amount across stops it was just little over without washout the whole image. In order to get the best result I must shot wide open, or reduce 1-2 stop with compensation to hope it will come out right, since I shoot many close up flowers and bugs I must stop down quite a lot to cover the distance, this problem is particular trouble to me. Some said the problem was due to the focusing screen was not designed to meter stop down with uncoupled lenses, I don't know but this is the main problem stopping me from using m42 lenses, I wonder how you guys deal with that ?
A third technigue is to use the infinity adapter but removing the little spring first. It then stays with the lens rather than requiring separate removal. The downside is it does not lock in place in the home position like the non infinity adaptor. But in practise it works fine.

05-06-2019, 01:27 AM - 7 Likes   #5
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I keep a cheap adapter on each lens, with the spring clip removed and a dab of the lowest strength Loctite to keep the adapter tight on the lens. And I've never trusted through-the-lens metering on any camera, so I either use Sunny 16 or my incident meter.

Truthfully, I'm so used to shooting with M42 lenses that it now seems completely natural and just the right way to do things. Whenever I try shooting with a modern lens with no aperture ring and autofocus it all feels like a ridiculous hassle, and I end up missing shots that I would have got with one of my Takumars.
05-06-2019, 02:41 AM - 1 Like   #6
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As I am really not satisfied with the metering of my K10D regardless which lens I am using I always check the histogram and use the exposure compensation afterwards. Usually +0.5. With my M42 lenses I use manual mode and the histogram with very satisfying results.


However if you are really in shooting macros of moving objects like bugs I would recommend a good AF macro, like my Sigma EX DG 2.8 70 mm.
05-06-2019, 03:38 AM   #7
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Manual metering on the K-3 is very easy compared to manual metering on a film camera or some other brands. For me, the easiest way is to use AV and exposure compensation. You need to learn which lenses need what compensation, then you can just dial that in and shoot. I also usually shoot RAW with a touch of underexposure, so I can correct later and reduce the risk of blowing highlights.


But in the end it is more difficult than an automatic lens. The reward for this effort is being able to use these lenses and get their unique rendering...and save a lot of money in the process. If that's not rewarding for you, then manual lenses are not for you.
05-06-2019, 03:53 AM   #8
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The "sink" adapters have openings that can let light into the mirror box when using narrow barreled lens such as most of the Russian built lenses. Either tape over the openings with opaque black tape, slip an appropriate sized O-ring or hair band ring over the barrel and down over the openings.

I don't have the metering issues you describe with my K10D. The K10D doesn't have the best stop-down metering performance to begin with.

And take note that with non-A or K-mount lenses the body will default to Av with all modes (including Green) except M, B and X.


Last edited by Not a Number; 05-06-2019 at 04:39 AM.
05-06-2019, 04:22 AM - 1 Like   #9
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or a third method: buy a camera for only-M42 purposes, put the OEM Pentax adapter on the camera and be done with the hassle of swapping adapters, etc...

I have no metering issues with my K-5 IIs and I'm using it with a multitude of M42 lenses, Takumars to Helios and everything in between....
05-06-2019, 05:59 AM   #10
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And this is not is not a General Photography subject, it's about Lenses, so I've moved it to the Pentax Lens discussion forum
05-06-2019, 07:31 AM - 1 Like   #11
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The camera that was a real pain with M42 was my K-r. I wrote this piece about it. Basically if there wasn't an electrical connection with the data contact on the camera mount (that's the 7th one at ~half-past) metering in Av was so out is was just about at the limit of the compensation (+3). Both my K5 and my K3-ii have been way better. These are some quick test results with a photax 35mm f3.5 prime (f3.5; f5.6; f8; f11), this is a typical M42 lens with a black anodised base and an A_M switch (and a sticky iris, but flicking the A-M switch takes care of that). Results are a bit inconsistent, tending to increasing overexposure, but not excessively so.

It's very difficult in actual use to distinguish this sort of variability from other metering issues due to patchy light, light/dark subjects, reflections, glare etc.

Not in order note the shutter speeds.
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05-06-2019, 08:01 AM - 6 Likes   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dartmoor Dave Quote
I keep a cheap adapter on each lens, with the spring clip removed and a dab of the lowest strength Loctite to keep the adapter tight on the lens. And I've never trusted through-the-lens metering on any camera, so I either use Sunny 16 or my incident meter.
Yup, I have a cheap m42 adapter (with the spring removed) on each lens, friction-fit, and that works just fine for me. I've had 2 bad adapters out of a dozen or so. And I know my light and exposure triangle well enough to get workably close exposures.

But, y'know, if you don't shoot fully manual frequently, I can understand why a person just wouldn't want to go through the hassle of m42.


It would be tough to give up my Tak 200/3.5...



05-06-2019, 08:07 AM - 5 Likes   #13
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Using M42 adapters is a pain. Shooting any old lens that does not have full electronic communications with the camera is a pain too. However, shooting charming old lenses with absolutely unique renderings makes it all worthwhile. There's no free lunch...
05-06-2019, 09:29 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Fenwoodian Quote
.
Using M42 adapters is a pain. Shooting any old lens that does not have full electronic communications with the camera is a pain too. However, shooting charming old lenses with absolutely unique renderings makes it all worthwhile. There's no free lunch...


That just about covers it
05-06-2019, 09:43 AM - 2 Likes   #15
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M42s are lovely I have 20+

Some czj lenses (i have a silver preset tessar 50mm that is one)need an infinity adapter with a flange to press in the pin or it always shoots wide open.

I use either my K3 or K30 and always use Av.
All the lenses share one characteristic and that is that exposure varies depending on aperture so I keep this in mind and use exposure compensation. F2 requires 2 stops, f11 requires one. I just remember when I change aperture to change ec at the same time.
Using M42 lenses forces you to slow down and think. Don't give up and sell up unless you need the cash. These lenses are becoming increasingly rare and they are capable of spectacular images. Sometimes I have nothing new to photograph so I will take out an M42 just to practice technique. They are also good for street because you have your hyperfocal distance scales on the lens. Don't throw in the towel, if you don't appreciate them now, you may in a year or two.
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