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04-03-2007, 07:08 AM   #1
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'Probably a very simple solution.

Yesterday, I received my Pentax SMCP-FA 50mm F/1.4 lens, and am having (what appears to be) a slight problem with it. The only time that I can get any operation, with it, is if I have the lens ring set to "A". Anything other than that, and I cannot get camera/lens cooperation. Specifically speaking, the shutter button will not activate (under any mode), and the "F" number indicator (with two slashes) on the camera's LCD screen just flashes.

I have gone through the little manual that came with the lens, but (apparently) keep missing something. Does anyone have an idea as to why my situation is happening? or might it be that I have a defective lens? Please let me know your feelings on this, ASAP.

04-03-2007, 07:14 AM   #2
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Because the Pentax DSLRs use a "crippled" mount that does not include the lever that senses the aperture setting, you cannot use the aperture ring in P mode. If you want to use it manually, you'll have to set the "Allow aperture position other than A" custom fuction to yes in the menu.

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04-03-2007, 07:21 AM   #3
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Yep, keep it on 'A' and you'll be fine. The camera manual explains how to use lenses that don't have the 'A' setting. It works, but with some limitations.
04-03-2007, 07:51 AM   #4
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Mo & Egordon99 ~ a huge thanks.

I guess that I expected this Pentax lens (considerably newer than the used one I recently bought) to be fully compatible with the marriageable camera/lens functionalities of my K10D. Am I correct in assuming that the "DA' counterpart, to my new lens, would have been the one to offer what I had expected?

Don't get me wrong; there are no complaints being registered. I (to say again) really do like this lens, and it is good to know that what's happening with it is par for the course; that there is nothing defective about it. This lens has offered some really sharp pics, for what I have had time to do with it, thus far. But my low-light shots just aren't coming out much better than those taken with my Tamron 18-200. I thought that it might have had something to do with the operating limitations, of this lens, that were initially addressed.

But again...maybe it's me .


04-03-2007, 07:55 AM   #5
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HUH? Keep it on 'A' and it is FULLY COMPATIBLE with your camera. There is no DA 50mm prime (yet)

THERE ARE NO LIMITATIONS COMPARED TO ANY DA LENS!!!!!!!!

Oh, and DA lenses have NO aperture ring so you couldn't even do the "Green button" trick in manual mode.
04-03-2007, 07:58 AM   #6
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Tell us more about your low-light shots that aren't coming out better than your 18-200mm? Assuming your 18-200mm is about f/4 or so at 50mm, f/1.4 gets you THREE more stops of light. If your low lights shots aren't coming out better, you're doing something wrong. Or there is something you don't understand about exposure settings.
04-03-2007, 08:01 AM   #7
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They're even coming out badly if you crank the aperture down to f/1.4 at a lower ISO? Compared to the f/4 or so for the 18-200? Is it a focusing problem with the shallow DOF?
04-03-2007, 08:19 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by egordon99 Quote
Tell us more about your low-light shots that aren't coming out better than your 18-200mm? Assuming your 18-200mm is about f/4 or so at 50mm, f/1.4 gets you THREE more stops of light. If your low lights shots aren't coming out better, you're doing something wrong. Or there is something you don't understand about exposure settings.
Hi again (and, thanks again).

You, more than likely, hit the nail right on its head with your last sentence in the above quote. User error is probably the reason behind this whole issue that I am faced with.

Last night, I went outside to shot a couple of shots under the street lights - figuring that such a setting would qualify for my 'low-light' attempts. Only a couple of my shots came out enough to show anything at all, while most of them only caused the camera's LCD screen to remain dark - with the 'Delete' indicator at the lower left side.

I had really wanted to get to shooting some candlelight shots, but knew (from the above shooting situation) that something had to be altered about the way that I was doing things.

I have seen clear & beautiful evidence, here, of what this lens is capable of. So, it is just a matter (I am now sure) of learning much, MUCH more about exposure settings.

04-03-2007, 08:25 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by NLAlston Quote
Mo & Egordon99 ~ a huge thanks.

I guess that I expected this Pentax lens (considerably newer than the used one I recently bought) to be fully compatible with the marriageable camera/lens functionalities of my K10D. Am I correct in assuming that the "DA' counterpart, to my new lens, would have been the one to offer what I had expected?

Don't get me wrong; there are no complaints being registered. I (to say again) really do like this lens, and it is good to know that what's happening with it is par for the course; that there is nothing defective about it. This lens has offered some really sharp pics, for what I have had time to do with it, thus far. But my low-light shots just aren't coming out much better than those taken with my Tamron 18-200. I thought that it might have had something to do with the operating limitations, of this lens, that were initially addressed.

But again...maybe it's me .
DA lenses don't even have an aperture ring, so that's not good in itself, but P mode will always work

I personally think the FA series is the best because of its solid build and good optical quality, especially the FA*'s.

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04-03-2007, 08:28 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Finn Quote
They're even coming out badly if you crank the aperture down to f/1.4 at a lower ISO? Compared to the f/4 or so for the 18-200? Is it a focusing problem with the shallow DOF?
Hello Finn,

I have had this lens at every possible 'stop' setting, and at every possible ISO. As just stated in another reply, all I get (for the most part) is a darkened screen with notification to 'Delete'. I wish that it were just a focusing matter, or concern over the DOF - as I feel that I might be able to find my way around that, without much (if any) shouldering from anyone.

One other thing is that I want to get this lens to 'Auto-Focus' - and this is primarily to make sure that it does as it should. I rather like manual focusing, but just wish to make sure that the auto-focusing will work as it should.

I should be able to quickly gain an answer for this, as soon as I can lend a moment to changing (as I have been advised) a custom setting.

I will try to post a few shots, later this evening, in hopes that they may reveal just what I am doing wrong.
04-03-2007, 08:53 AM   #11
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Here is the 50mm f/1.4 doing "candlelight"


To get a great understanding of exposure, pick up a copy of Bryan Peterson's "Understanding Exposure"

To get started quickly though, put your camera in Av, ISO800. Set the aperture WIDE OPEN (f/1.4). If the shutter speeds fall below 1/60 or so, bump up the ISO. If you are getting pretty good shutter speeds, feel free to go to f/2, f/2.8 or lower the ISO. Remember, at f/1.4, the DOF is really shallow, especially if you're close to the subject.

Seriously, read the book He does a GREAT job of explaining the relationship between ISO/f-stop/shutter speed.
04-03-2007, 08:54 AM   #12
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ohh. Nathan, my guess is that you did make the switch to Manual but you probably didn't stopdown the lens to meter so the camera still thinks you are at f1.4 and thats why you blacked out your shots.

You gotta be on Manual Mode".

Then turn the ring to the desired aperture. Press the "AE-L" to stop down meter. The camera will stop the lens down to take a light reading (uses to calculate proper shutter speed) and then open it back up.

You'll see the viewfinder dim for a split second when you do this. Once the camera meters you'll see the shutter speed change. You can now take the photo. Just make sure everytime you move/light changes/adjust aperture that you retake your light reading by pressing the "AE-L". (on Manual Mode)
04-03-2007, 08:59 AM   #13
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Or just put the lens on 'A', and go into Av on the camera.... Much easier! And the f-stop is saved in EXIF and you can use P-TTL (as well as the matrix metering!)
04-03-2007, 09:12 AM   #14
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I tell you.....you just can't find better than you guys . I mean this; you guys are just super. If I can find Brian Peterson's book locally, I will definitely have it later on today.

Egordon99,

Your candle-light photo is just the type of shot that I hope to achieve. Nice.
04-03-2007, 09:18 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by NLAlston Quote
I tell you.....you just can't find better than you guys .
You mean you don't like all the snarky condescension on the DPR forums?
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