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07-05-2009, 11:22 AM   #1
emr
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Manual lens markings?

Is there a FAQ or some beginner's guide how to undertand the different markings on a manual lens?

For example on my Vivitar 70-210mm f/2.8-4 (Komine) lens the other apertures are written with white while aperture 8 is with green. What does that mean? Is it the aperture with the best resolution or MTF or what? Also after aperture 16 there's a "P" - what does that mean on a lens? (This is the Ricoh K mount version - Ricoh pin removed - hence no A setting like on the Pentax version). The camera body does not recognize the aperture in setting "P", so it doesn't give the aperture data. Then again, perhaps on a Ricoh body it does.

Also there are some converging lines on the barrel, which can barely be seen in this photo below (Image copyright 2003 Frederick Wasti), Komine version is the middle one. What's the purpose of those?

Also, IIRC somebody suggested that some orange markers would indicate hyperfocal setting. No such markings on this lens, but do some have those?

Another manual lenses that I have include a Tamron Adaptall 28mm f/2.5. The smallest aperture is 32, but the same position is marked with "AE" which I assume has the same meaning as the "P" on my Vivitar, but what's the significance? On the Tamron there's a white marker line indicating the position of the focusing distance. But what's the meaning of the paired numbers on its both sides: 32 16 8 "white marker" 8 16 32? There's a small red or orange dot between the white marker and the right side "8" too. Now does that have something to do with hyperfocal?

I'm sure all these are quite obvious for people who've originally used manual lenses but to me they're fairly unclear. And I'm sure there are other such markers that I may see some day, so any hints are welcome.

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07-05-2009, 01:26 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by emr Quote
Is there a FAQ or some beginner's guide how to undertand the different markings on a manual lens?

For example on my Vivitar 70-210mm f/2.8-4 (Komine) lens the other apertures are written with white while aperture 8 is with green. What does that mean? Is it the aperture with the best resolution or MTF or what? Also after aperture 16 there's a "P" - what does that mean on a lens? (This is the Ricoh K mount version - Ricoh pin removed - hence no A setting like on the Pentax version). The camera body does not recognize the aperture in setting "P", so it doesn't give the aperture data. Then again, perhaps on a Ricoh body it does.
I don't know about the green f/8, but the green "P" is the Program mode setting for the Ricoh camera body. When it is set on "P", the body is able to control the aperture.

QuoteQuote:
Also there are some converging lines on the barrel, which can barely be seen in this photo below (Image copyright 2003 Frederick Wasti), Komine version is the middle one. What's the purpose of those?
The converging lines are the DOF scale. At wider focal lengths the lines are further apart. At longer focal lengths, closer together.

QuoteQuote:
Also, IIRC somebody suggested that some orange markers would indicate hyperfocal setting. No such markings on this lens, but do some have those?
Yes, some lenses have the hyperfocal marked in a contrasting color for both the focus scale and the aperture ring.

QuoteQuote:
Another manual lenses that I have include a Tamron Adaptall 28mm f/2.5. The smallest aperture is 32, but the same position is marked with "AE" which I assume has the same meaning as the "P" on my Vivitar, but what's the significance? On the Tamron there's a white marker line indicating the position of the focusing distance. But what's the meaning of the paired numbers on its both sides: 32 16 8 "white marker" 8 16 32? There's a small red or orange dot between the white marker and the right side "8" too. Now does that have something to do with hyperfocal?
Your Tamron 28/2.5 supports f/32 as its minimum aperture unless you are using a mount that supports setting the aperture via the camera body (e.g. Pentax A series, Ricoh P series, and any camera supporting program or shutter priority exposure automation). For those mounts, the minimum aperture is f/22 regardless of exposure mode used.

The numbers on either side of the focus mark are the aperture numbers for the depth of field scale. Back in the day when rangefinder and other non-SLR cameras were more common, all photography courses included a section on using the scale to determine DOF and all lenses had a DOF scale. For example, on your Tamron at f/32 with the infinity mark lined up with the f/32 mark on the DOF scale on the right, the corresponding f/32 mark on the left lines up with 1.5 feet. Soooo...at f/32 the hyperfocal for your lens is 1.5 feet. At f/8 it is about 5 feet. Fun, eh? And for a subject 2 feet away at f/16 everything from 1.5 to 3 feet will be in focus. Note that the DOF scale is accurate for 35mm film. For APS-C (your Pentax dSLR), the scale is somewhat broader.

The little red mark just to the right of the focus line is the focus line for infrared photography.

QuoteQuote:
I'm sure all these are quite obvious for people who've originally used manual lenses but to me they're fairly unclear. And I'm sure there are other such markers that I may see some day, so any hints are welcome.
There are many mysteries grasshopper...with time you will learn them as you are able...

Steve

BTW...The Greek letter phi (Φ) usually indicates the filter size. On your 28/2.5, it is on the side of the lens barrel to the right of "BBAR MC", which stands for BBAR MultiCoating. Right below that is the field of view for 35mm film (75 degrees). I think that pretty much covers the Tamron 28/2.5!

Last edited by stevebrot; 07-05-2009 at 07:27 PM.
07-05-2009, 01:32 PM   #3
emr
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Thanks, Steve. The world of photography is full of wonders!
07-05-2009, 07:39 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by emr Quote
Thanks, Steve. The world of photography is full of wonders!
My pleasure. I actually had the Tamron 28/2.5 in front of me when I was typing the reply.

Steve

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