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01-15-2010, 10:16 AM   #1
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Old camera lenses - need help/opinions

Hello, new guy here.

Little background on me: Currently, I'm using a P&S Canon SX1 IS. Although I really enjoy all the features of this camera, the high ISO performance is pretty bad. My 14mo old daughter moves too fast so I'm constantly blinding her/bouncing a flash in order to get a decent photo. Since our walls/cieling aren't white, each image needs to be PP to correct the color. Since the SX1 can capture the action at ISO 600-800 and look decent (although with tons of noise), I'm thinking a new Pentax K-x would be a great solution to all the indoor photography our family is doing right now without using the flash quite so much and a great chance to get into dSLR photography.

After playing with the K-x in the store, I discovered we've been pretty spoiled with the 560mm zoom on the SX1 so it would be hard to give up that reach. Then I remembered my wife has some old camera gear stored away, so I got that out to see if maybe it could be adapted for use. If my research is correct, the following use an M42 mount and can be adapted to fit the current K-mount dSLR cameras as long as I remove the pin so it doesn't "lock" the lens to the camera....correct? I understand it will probably be manual everything for taking pics (I would more than likely use the K-x's kit lense for the indoor shots of my daughter so it would be easier (more automatic)), but I'd like the ability to possibly use these lenses when out just playing around taking pics of nature, etc.

Also, I'd like your opinions on whether any of this would be worthwhile for mounting if it is compatible.

Here's the gear:

(the lense in the last pic on the right is Sears Mod No 202 7374300 28-200mm 1:4.0-5.6)

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Canon PowerShot SX1 IS  Photo 
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Canon PowerShot SX1 IS  Photo 
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01-15-2010, 10:55 AM   #2
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Welcome to the fray! Looks like you've already done a bit of research, and the short answer is those lenses will work with the caveats you've mentioned. They aren't anything special, though. There's one setting in your camera you need to change to allow older lenses to work (something like "Set Aperture Ring to Permitted" or some other equally cryptic wording). Search here for how to use manual lenses and you'll find lots of detailed info.

As for the zoom range on your Canon, I too came from that realm and missed that at first. For indoor shots of your child, you obviously don't need that reach. The kit lens will work okay if you bump up the ISO. You need a lens with a larger maximum aperture (which means a smaller F number, f/2.8 or lower) to allow more light into the lens. This will allow the camera to use a faster shutter speed and freeze your child's actions, without blinding her with flash.

Also, the color cast you're seeing is from the lighting in your house. Try setting your white balance to tungsten or incandescent and see if that works better. Auto white balance just doesn't work well under these lights. If you're going to post-process your shots, then I recommend shooting in raw to get the most information out of the shot. In that case, you can set the white balance AFTER you shoot, in the computer.

Anyway, hope this helps. Most of all, have fun and take lots of photos. The "film" is free!

EDIT - I just noticed that your 55mm lens is an f/1.4, which will work great under indoor lighting. Of course, you'll have to manually focus, but it's not that hard, and many people actually enjoy it. This will work until you decide (if you decide) to buy an autofocus lens with a larger aperture.
01-15-2010, 11:18 AM   #3
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You don't need to remove any pin for M42 glass; that only applied to late-series ricoh K-mount bayonet lenses that supported body-controlled aperture (a.k.a. program or shutter-priority autoexposure).

Not sure what that mid-size lens is in the last picture but my suspicion is that between the three, the 55/1.4 is probably the one you'd get the most out of adapting due to its speed--good for portraits without flash, and assuming it's of pretty decent quality. I think you'll find the zooms relatively inconvenient to use and quite bulky & heavy; I'd have to think you'd be much happier with the inexpensive kit pair of 18-55/3.5-5.6 and 50-200/4-5.6.
01-15-2010, 11:23 AM   #4
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If you are looking to buy a M42 adapter for the lenses make sure you are buying an actual Pentax adapter. There are 2 types of generic adapters that sell for a few dollars on eBay. One has a flange that runs around the rim and prevents infinity focus. The other requires a tool to remove from the camera and has been known to get stuck. The real Pentax adapters will say Pentax on the front, if it is old enough it will say Asahi Pentax. A new adapter from Pentax will cost about $31. I bought an Asahi Pentax adapter on eBay a few days ago for less than $20.

One small correction about your post. You do not need to remove the pin on the lens. The "Ricoh pin" that occasionally causes problems with Pentax AF cameras is only on the Ricoh XRP mount. The pin on the M42 mount operates the aperture on auto aperture screw mount cameras.

01-15-2010, 11:37 AM   #5
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First off: you wife has to be one of the top all time wives to have such a beautiful camera. That is one excellent set up! The old Rikenons are good lenses.

Re the pin - the above comments are right on the money... with M42's the thing to look for is whether the lens has an Auto/Manual switch - which the Rikenons have. Put it on "M" when using the *authentic Pentax* adapter. (On lenses without the swtich, you have to somehow disable or keep the aperture pin pushed in)
01-15-2010, 12:07 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Nesster Quote
Re the pin - the above comments are right on the money... with M42's the thing to look for is whether the lens has an Auto/Manual switch - which the Rikenons have. Put it on "M" when using the *authentic Pentax* adapter. (On lenses without the swtich, you have to somehow disable or keep the aperture pin pushed in)
I disabled the pin on my tamron adaptall to M42 adaptor by placing a small spacer on the pin between the base and the mechanism.

the ideal spacer turns out to be a small cutting off the end of a ball point pen refil.

It is easily sliced and stif enough that when you slide it over the pin it won't come off.

depending on th elens, this may be relitively simple, without too much dismantling.

your 300mm F5.5 looks OK, it has an auto manual switch. I can;t tell on the others.
01-15-2010, 12:40 PM   #7
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In case you did not figure it out from the above comments:

Don't Touch The Pin On Your Auto Rikenon 55/1.4 or the Sears 300!!

It will not jam on your camera, nor does it need to be modified or shimmed in any way.

To use on your dSLR
  • Enable aperture ring for the camera
  • Use the official Pentax M42 adapter
  • Move the A/M switch on the lens barrel to the M position
  • Shoot in Av mode
  • Enjoy!
In regards to the TLS 401...While not quite a collector's item, it is a rugged and unusual camera and probably worth bringing back to life with a CLA. With any luck, the battery compartment is clean as well allowing use of the meter with an appropriate battery (I use silver cells with the C.R.I.S. adapter).

Steve

(BTW...mileage may vary using stop-down metering on the K-x. Be prepared for significant underexposure wide open...)
01-15-2010, 12:48 PM   #8
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I forgot to add. While the Auto-Rikenon 55/1.4 is "not anything special", it is a pretty competent fast 50 and ranked ahead of some well-regarded competition in Sean Carpenters's "Normal Lens Shoot-out" (Link). (Relabeled as Sears Auto 55/1.4)

Steve

01-15-2010, 01:50 PM   #9
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The lenses will work well on your kx.

You may be interested in Amazon.com's $644 deal for the kx + 18-55 + 55-300.
01-15-2010, 01:58 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
I forgot to add. While the Auto-Rikenon 55/1.4 is "not anything special", it is a pretty competent fast 50 and ranked ahead of some well-regarded competition in Sean Carpenters's "Normal Lens Shoot-out" (Link). (Relabeled as Sears Auto 55/1.4)

Steve
I should have known better than to make a definitive statement like that. My ignorance towards those lenses translated into "not anything special" and that wasn't correct.

Seems like I'd know better when one of my favorite lenses was a Sears 135/2.5 that I bought for $5! Heck, they're ALL special in someway.
01-15-2010, 03:36 PM   #11
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Thanks a lot for all the input. This has me excited to buy the K-x and adapter and get started.

I messed up and attached a wrong pic above. I meant to attach the pic below of the medium sized lense, Sears 28-200 4.0-5.6.

The 2 lens kit on Amazon is very tempting...
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01-15-2010, 05:51 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Hemi345 Quote
Thanks a lot for all the input. This has me excited to buy the K-x and adapter and get started.

I messed up and attached a wrong pic above. I meant to attach the pic below of the medium sized lense, Sears 28-200 4.0-5.6.

The 2 lens kit on Amazon is very tempting...
This one is not as interesting as the other two or the TLS 401, but still might be usable.

Steve

(Thinking that the TLS 401 is beyond cool...)
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