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02-22-2009, 12:07 PM   #1
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jumping into the deep end....going manual

Hi folks. First post in the forum. I've been buying a selection of manual Pentax primes over the last couple of weeks because I've decided to revert to my roots. I'm old enough to remember taking black & white photos on a full manual Minolta and have never really liked relying on zooms in the years sense. I confess they've made me a lazy shooter. ....and they don't allow the technical versatility in setting up shots I have the patience (insanity) to prefer.

Automatic focusing and the DA lenses are nice, but I can't afford a full selection of current primes to fill in the spectrum afforded by my 16-50mm and 55-300mm on my K20D. I've bought the following list so far, and I'd like to improve on it. Obviously, I probably won't need every lens, as I can only carry so much and I can zoom with my feet. And of course, the 1.5 difference with full-frame comes into play. Yet, a quick scan through my digital images shows that I take them at a lot of different focal lengths -- so I will be practicing diligently before my upcoming three-week trip to Melbourne, Australia to determine what I need in my bag.

Here's the list: k17mm f4, k24mm f2.8, a28mm f2, m35mm f2, m50mm f1.2 & tak50m f1.4, m85mm f2, m100mm f2.8, smctak135mm f/2.5, m200mm f/4 and a300m f/4.

I'll probably try to pick up a 200mm f/2.8 at some time. And if everything works out, I'll soon sell my two zooms to help pay for the primes. I guess a DA 14mm would be a good idea to get that extra width for the serious panos I like to do.

I gather at the least I should get the viewfinder loupe, but I'd like to get by with the focusing screen if I can.

Anyway, enough rambling. I've read quite a bit about going commando with the old primes, but if anyone could offer lens suggestions or technique and experience suggestions with the lenses above, I'd welcome your thoughts very heartily. As this is as much an introduction, I look forward to contributing to the forum as my experience grows.

cheers............. paul

02-22-2009, 12:12 PM   #2
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forgot to mention...

I've also picked up a Mamiya/Sekor Auto 135mm f2.8 if anyone would like to comment. Thanks.......... Paul
02-22-2009, 12:27 PM   #3
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hey Paul,

welcome to the forum and to manual focusing! Brave move that can have many rewards. Looking forwards to seeing some shots with and of those new lenses.

that list of recent acquisitions is enough to send anyone in this forum into full LBA relapse!

02-22-2009, 01:12 PM   #4
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Paul, welcome to the forum! There are many in here enjoying manuals.... Hope to see some results from you soon!

02-22-2009, 02:38 PM   #5
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One thing you should consider is the different compatibility of each lens type you have. With screw mounts, you can work in M or Av, with center-weighted or spot metering, either stop-down metering or not, and focus wide-open or stopped down. With K or M lenses, you must use M mode and stop-down metering with center-weighted or spot. With M42, K or M lenses, flash is manual. With A lenses, you can add all the other modes, matrix metering, and I think flash (or is it just TTL flash that works with A lenses?)

I had a very hard time at first changing lenses and changing thinking. Since M mode and center-weighted metering are common to all, and you've probably used something like that in the past, practicing with M mode will help with this hurdle.
02-22-2009, 02:53 PM   #6
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Manual lenses rock. They are made so solid and are much easier to focus. Unfortunately the K20D M mode leaves something to be desired, as I have discovered in another thread. Still, one can control exactly how to take the picture, which is the main thing.
02-22-2009, 04:50 PM   #7
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Manuals may be the deep end but that's where the cool kids play!
02-22-2009, 06:41 PM   #8
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I use the magnifying viewfinder without any custom focusing screen, although I have on and off thought about getting one, the telephoto lenses seem easier for me to find focus with than wide angle lenses. Live view comes in handy at times for focusing when the camera is on a tripod.

good luck and welcome to the forum

02-23-2009, 07:21 AM   #9
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On reading these formus I see many questions/comments pertaining to exposure issues with manual lenses, like under/over-exposure across the f-stop range for all lenses & under/over exposure varing with f-stop from ok to bad for a particular lens.

It might be wise to devote some time/tests aimed at learning how to get proper exposures with your camera/lenses rather than using ad-hoc adjustments in the field.

I feel a little foolish saying this as I certainly haven't done this myself in any methodical way. Maybe I will start today!

Dave
02-23-2009, 07:48 AM   #10
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I woould be considering 2 new purchases, if you don't yet have them,

a split image focusing screen, and a flash with "Auto" capability as well as P-TTL

You will need this flash because your Non A lenses do not work with the P-TTL flash of the K20, it needs to have lenses with "A" because it meters the flash wide open with the preflash, and then calculates the flash necessary when stopped down.

Split image is a must because the DOF of the viewing screen makes it hard to get correct focus, at least in my "limited" experience with manual lenses

"limited" = tamron 24mm F2.5, vivitar 28mm F2.5 (M42), SMC Tak 35mm F2 (M42), SMC 50mm F1.4 100mm F4 macro 105mm F2.8 135mm F2.5 and 300mm F4, Vivitar 400mm F5.6 and series 1 70-210 F3.5
02-23-2009, 07:53 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
I woould be considering 2 new purchases, if you don't yet have them,

a split image focusing screen, . . .
What are the options for the K20d and K200d besides the Katz-eye? I have seen some modified K1000 split image microprism screens modified for the k20d but don't know where to get one installed . . .
02-23-2009, 08:25 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Blue Quote
What are the options for the K20d and K200d besides the Katz-eye? I have seen some modified K1000 split image microprism screens modified for the k20d but don't know where to get one installed . . .
there are a few on E-Bay, Jinfinance for one. there are also people selling as you note modified screens (cut down) from other SLRs, not just pentax ones either but nikon screens cutrdown to fit pentax.

I have not yet decided on which I will get, I have a preference for diagonal split because I have had one in the past on my Ricoh XR2s.

Note also that the spot metering might not work when stopped down due to darkening of the split image, and also that metering on the K20 might change depending on the screen, although it may actually improve over how it performs presently with manual lenses.

as for instalation, it is about a 10 minute job. I swapped (for a test) the screens between my K10D and *istD

It takes a strady hand and some tweesers, but it is pretty simple.
02-23-2009, 08:39 AM   #13
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I installed a $29 split prism screen from Shanghai I found on eBay. It works well on my K100D.

The screen does not influence spot metering as such metering is functionally independent of the screen.

Focus feedback indicators still work even if the split prism goes black.

My prism tends to go black at about f/8 but I find I can prevent this by moving my eye a bit (I think the optic axis of the eye must align with that of the lens system to to assure prism operation at all f/stops.)

This really doesn't affect me much as I almost never use high f-numbers.

I can't think of a reason NOT to have a split prism screen unless one never wants to try precise manual focus.

Dave
02-23-2009, 11:03 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by newarts Quote
The screen does not influence spot metering as such metering is functionally independent of the screen.
dave

sorry to disagree with you but metering does get highly impacted by the focusing screen.

There are a ton of threads about K10D and K20D metering and manual lenses, and to answer the issue about metering and screens once and for all, I swapped my K10D and *istD screens.

just by changing the screen in the K10D to that of the *istD, i could duplicate exactly the *istD metering with a manual lens, on the K10D.

See the attached link. All metering was done with Spot metering on.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/241716-post69.html
02-23-2009, 11:12 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
dave

sorry to disagree with you but metering does get highly impacted by the focusing screen....

See the attached link. All metering was done with Spot metering on.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/241716-post69.html
Thanks, Lowell, it is hard to argue with such nicely taken and presented data!

What's the physical explanation for it? IIRC the screen is not involved in metering; perhaps it is secondary reflections from the screen?


Dave
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