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02-21-2009, 11:54 AM   #1
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small aperture lens = dark viewfinder

Hi Guys,

I know this has been beaten to death but I'm having some trouble with my manual lenses and can't seem to find it with the search feature. I'm definitely a n00b when it comes to using the manual lenses on a K200d but, pratice makes perfect, I hope. Just wanted to get that out of the way

I have two lenses that are giving me fits when it comes to focusing and using them and was wondering if it's a case of "just deal with it" or "maybe there is a trick or two".

One is a Super-Tak 35mm 3.5-16 and the other is a Super-Tak 28mm 3.5-16.

When using these lenses and trying to get as large a DOF as possible f11 to f16, I hit the green button to get a correct shutter speed for that f-stop but, the viewfinder is dark enough that I cannot get a focus lock from the camera itself.

Is this normal when using the dslr with older lenses or could I be missing something?

I love the looks and feel of the older lenses and want to get the most out of them as possible. I think they're kinda sexy to use. Any tips or any sites that you can think of would be greatly appreciated.

Here's to the sexy Tak's and older lenses

Thanks in advance

02-21-2009, 12:08 PM   #2
Wheatfield's Avatar

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Compose and focus with the lens wide open and then stop down, meter and shoot.
02-21-2009, 12:23 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
Compose and focus with the lens wide open and then stop down, meter and shoot.
x 2.

Correct. This is how we old farts were taught to shoot with film cameras when those lenses were new.

Pentax called it "Bright Field Focusing" when those lenses were new.

For example, see page 11 here:

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

02-21-2009, 12:24 PM   #4
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As Wheatfield replied: focus with open aperture.

But there is an even simpler recipe. Both are wide angle lenses and both are old manual ones. As such they have a reliable meter scale and depth of field indicators. You can use those to pre-focus for your images. Even if the indicators are not absolutely valid for the smaller APS-C cameras, they give you more than just a hint about what will be in focus, especially as you use small apertures for mximising DOF anyway.


02-21-2009, 02:33 PM   #5
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Join Date: Jan 2009
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Original Poster
Thanks guys/gals

I'm still very wet behind the ears when it comes to the whole manual focus thing. Never really tried full manual when I had all the automatic functions available to me with my film camera.

But after seeing some of the pictures and galleries around, I'm very curious how the pictures are taken and how I might be able to capture that same look or at least try

Thank you for all the replies and if anybody else wants to add, please feel free, i have lots to learn. If I can get a hint or tip that will give me a jump start to learning all this, I'm all ears.

Thanks again
02-21-2009, 03:11 PM   #6
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Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia
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A tip is to use the manual / auto switch to switch between focusing and desired aperture. I find this really helpful sometimes when shooting repeatedly at the same aperture but different angles. Most of the time I just count the shutter clicks though

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