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11-14-2008, 04:52 AM   #1
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Are these three lenses worth keeping for a Pentax KM?

I am trying to decide how "well" these lenses will work with a possible purchase of a Pentax K-M (I prefer a small camera I can carry with me every day to work).

I have not used them for about ten years, I was thinking I could buy the body alone, and make a stronger argument for the purchase (my wife says I do not "need" a new camera, she must be the first partner on earth ever to have said this, bless her soul

Here they are. Pardon my ignorance, but the technical aspects are not really what interest me the most, just how well the photo will turns out and how sympathetically it handles light and DOF in a digital body. And are the kit lenses supplied today, as good or better?

- Pentax M 1:1.7 50mm manual focus: I'm really fond of this lens.

- Tamron B BAR Multi C 1:3.5 62mm f=200mm, auto focus, never used it much.

- Tokina SD 70-210 1:4 -5.6 52mm, has an green A and silver auto button on the exposure ring, so it must be an auto focus, never used it much as digital came in just after I bought this second-hand.

I have never had these lenses working with auto focus, as I always used them on a Pentax KM body (which still works beautifully).

Any thoughts appreciated.

(Oh yes, and this is my first post but I hesitate to introduce myself as I do not yet own a Pentax DSLR)

thank you

Stefan Carey
Melbourne

11-14-2008, 05:04 AM   #2
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Hi!

I have barely played with a SMC-A 50mm 1.7, which I think it may be similar to your SMC-M 1.7, and I can tell you that the few images I have (sucessfully manually focused) taken so far are great... yet, I'm still aspiring to be a beginner within the DSLR world, so I am pretty sure someone else would have a much better opinion than I.
11-14-2008, 05:21 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by hahifuheho Quote
Hi!

I have barely played with a SMC-A 50mm 1.7, which I think it may be similar to your SMC-M 1.7, and I can tell you that the few images I have (sucessfully manually focused) taken so far are great... yet, I'm still aspiring to be a beginner within the DSLR world, so I am pretty sure someone else would have a much better opinion than I.
Hi there hahifuheho

Thanks for the thought. I was hoping to hear others have had a not too frustrating experience with the manual lenses.

cheers

Stefan
11-14-2008, 05:28 AM   #4
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Well, in my case it is not the lens' fault, but the photographer's . My skill is still very poor, but I practice on every chance I get!

11-14-2008, 05:41 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by hahifuheho Quote
Well, in my case it is not the lens' fault, but the photographer's . My skill is still very poor, but I practice on every chance I get!
I appreciate your thoughts. I agree practice and experiments, and taking lots and lots of pitures is the best way to learn. Luckily digital is a low-cost way to learn afer you have bought the camera.

cheers

Stefan
11-14-2008, 06:04 AM   #6
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Stefan,
welcome and enjoy your stay here :-)

I have a K100D and the SMC-M 1.7/50 and I would guess that the K-M you want to get (K200D would be an alternative?) is a real walkraround classic with that tiny but mighty lens. I removed the aperture lever from my lens and now have a 'manual' lens, which is a bit easier to use (AV-mode instead of M-mode) for me.

FWIW I'd consider using the Tamron as a decent telelens and expect milky hazy (well crappy) stuff from the Tokina zoom (both never tried but estimating from experiences with similar lenses).

Best, Georg (the other)
11-14-2008, 06:35 AM   #7
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The Tamron and the Pentax 1:1.7 50 are both good lenses for starting out.
What so many people miss I believe with the digital SLR's is experience with a " Normal " perspective lens. like the 50mm. By normal I mean it gives roughly the same field of vision as normal human vision. The Tamron will give great service and does take very acceptable images especially in the mid apertures. As for the Tokina, like anything you get what you pay for. Some of the larger Tokina lenses are great performers. Some of the more affordable ones are the complete opposite. As to functionality with a Pentax digital I use several manual lenses in both Pentax and Tamron that date back to the 1970's and 80's that I purchased for use with Pentax manual bodies. You can set the aperture ring to be used in the camera setup and manual focus is not too much of a problem. Take some pictures and see how it works. One of the real boons of digital is the sheer number of images you can capture. More pictures taken= a better chance of creating the image you wanted to express. Best of luck and keep on shooting.
Oh, and my wife said the same thing about going to the digital body, now she would NEVER let me get rid of the digital body!
11-14-2008, 10:01 AM   #8
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Your title threw me a bit. When you said KM, I was thinking about this KM and not the new K-M!



11-14-2008, 11:02 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Blue Quote
Your title threw me a bit. When you said KM, I was thinking about this KM and not the new K-M!
I think it would make everyone's life easier if people paid attention to the dash and used the correct case when writing the different names:

KM: The classic camera (note no dash).

K-m: The new digital SLR (note the dash and lower case "m").
11-14-2008, 11:11 AM   #10
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I'm nodding my head in general to everything said above.

Just want to amplify: that M50/1.7 you're fond of will work very well indeed on a digital body. You give up a bit of FOV and focus ease, on the other hand you gain the af focus indicator (it lights up when you're in focus) and shake reduction... (I don't actually know if they're available on the K-m, but I'd be surprised if they weren't.)

Pentax didn't make a dog in 50mm, but even so many say the M50/1.7 is one of their better efforts. I have one, and it does have a delicacy I'm not sure is there with my slew of other lenses. And it's well made, as you know.

I think your scheme is an excellent one. You can tell your wife you don't need that other lens
11-14-2008, 11:19 AM   #11
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Calling it the K2000 would probably avoid any confusion... I have the M 50 f/1.7 and it's one of my sharpest lenses and my most oft used 50.
11-14-2008, 11:25 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Stefan Carey Quote

Here they are. Pardon my ignorance, but the technical aspects are not really what interest me the most, just how well the photo will turns out and how sympathetically it handles light and DOF in a digital body. And are the kit lenses supplied today, as good or better?

- Pentax M 1:1.7 50mm manual focus: I'm really fond of this lens.

- Tamron B BAR Multi C 1:3.5 62mm f=200mm, auto focus, never used it much.

- Tokina SD 70-210 1:4 -5.6 52mm, has an green A and silver auto button on the exposure ring, so it must be an auto focus, never used it much as digital came in just after I bought this second-hand.
Welcome to the forum!

Biggest differences between digital bodies (generally, not just Pentax) and your old film bodies are:

-- Field of view (duh)

-- Focusing aids aren't as good in the digital bodies; no microprism or split prism unless you retrofit (and even then, some tweaking may be required to get good focus accuracy)

-- Less tolerance for overexposure than print film, particularly for lenses with high axial chromatic abberation (typically older, longer lenses)

-- Occasional veiling flare (due to light reflected between the sensor and the rear lens element; typically on fast lenses)

You can get very good results with the M50/1.7, although you will need some practice with the focus-confirm light to get good focus accuracy. Exposure on M-series lenses isn't fully automatic on digital bodies; look for the FAQ posting on this site for instructions.

The Tamron and Tokina are worth trying. Are you sure these are autofocus? What you're describing seems like an "A" setting to allow the body to control the aperture (which is still very, very handy for digital bodies).

If you get bad results at first try deliberately underexposing a bit.

BTW: If you're using the DOF scale on a lens designed for film, subtract one f-stop going to APS-C digital (i.e. if you're shooting at f/8, use the DOF scale markings for f/5.6).

Last edited by troyz; 11-14-2008 at 11:33 AM. Reason: Note about DOF scale
11-14-2008, 12:11 PM   #13
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i'm guessing you can't change the focusing screen of the k-m right? that MF lens would be sweet with a split-screen + magnifying eyepiece
11-14-2008, 03:57 PM   #14
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Excellent & friendly advice, thank you

Thanks to all who contributed. And thanks for the warm welcome.

This is exactly the kind of information I was looking for. Sounds like there are two worthwhile lenses, especially the 50mm, which I remember takes beautiful portraits in natural light.

1. Thanks for pointing out the K-M and KM confusion

2. Tokina lens I think is not that great from memory, a little worn out. I think the comment about the aperture lock seems right.

3. Not quite sure I understand why you "... removed the aperture lever from my lens and now have a 'manual' lens, which is a bit easier to use (AV-mode instead of M-mode) for me." Interesting!

4. "I think your scheme is an excellent one. You can tell your wife you don't need that other lens" Photography appears to not only an exercise in creativity, but partnership diplomacy!

5. All the tips will help get the most out of the equipment. The best part is I know what kind of photos I enjoy taking, and this will make any future lens choices easier.

It will be a little while before I can buy a body, but thinking about it is almost the best part: I have been instructed no purchase unless I sell some old furniture first. What a woman!

Last edited by Stefan Carey; 11-14-2008 at 04:08 PM. Reason: typos
11-14-2008, 04:37 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Stefan Carey Quote
3. Not quite sure I understand why you "... removed the aperture lever from my lens and now have a 'manual' lens, which is a bit easier to use (AV-mode instead of M-mode) for me." Interesting!
The K-mount is designed so that a lens normally stays wide open despite the setting of the aperture ring, stopping down to the chosen aperture only when the camera tells it too. This allows you to focus with the aperture wide open, so it's bright and DOF is shallow.

Unlike your current camera, the K-m will not be able to read the aperture ring on your "M"-type lenses. So it cannot meter with them except when you press a button on the body to momentarily stop the lens down to the selected aperture, at which point the camera will meter and set an appropriate shutter speed. With other Pentax DSLR's, you can also hold the DOF preview lever to keep the lens stopped down to get a running meter, but the K-m lacks that feature.

So instead, it might be worth modifying the lens so that it in fact does not stay wide open all the time, but actually stops down immediately as you turn the aperture ring. This complicates focusing - you'd probably want to focus wide open then stop down - but simplifies metering, assuming you do the mods in such a way that the camera actually does run the meter.

Anyhow, I agree, that's a fine lens, and as good as it may have been for portraits on a film camera, it will be even better on K-m, because it will have the equivalent field of view of a 75mm lens.
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