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07-18-2011, 12:07 AM   #1
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How Well Does the K-5 Focus With Old Manual Focus Lenses?

How well does the K-5 manage to focus with old manual focus lenses?

Perhaps I should say, how easy is it to focus with old manual focus lenses?

07-18-2011, 12:23 AM   #2
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I would say its the exact same as any other DSLR body
However the higher resolution Live View and magnification can really help if its convenient.
07-18-2011, 12:27 AM   #3
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The focus confirmation on the K5 is a lot more accurate then the one on the K20d, that's for sure. I didn't even bother installing a catzeye anymore.

I recently put it through a real stress-test. Photografing parachutists mid air, and even standing in the door of a flying plane. I used a manual focus 800mm f8 mirror lens. The viewfinder is quite dark with this lens attached, but the focus confirmation - together with the catch in focus - worked brilliantly!
07-18-2011, 12:49 AM   #4
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If you use AF.S, "Catch in Focus" and depress the shutter button while focussing, the answer is "superbly" as the camera will fire when both focus is achieved.

07-18-2011, 01:48 AM   #5
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exactly as the K-7 does - which is to say very well indeed.
07-18-2011, 03:58 AM   #6
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Well, the stock focus screen is limited to f/2 (as are almost all focus screens out there), so if you have fast lenses, you may experience some problems with proper focus... As the focus screen only shows a f/2 rendering of the scene, you don't really know where your f/1.4 focus really is in this f/2 image.

Personally, I use a Canon Ee-S focus screen that has two nice features:
- it is able to render a f/1.4 DoF, so manual focus with fast lenses is really easy!
- it is perfectly linear in regards to stop-down metering (contrary to the strange brightness optimization done on the stock screen), so using those old manual lenses is a breeze...
07-18-2011, 08:54 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Clavius Quote
The focus confirmation on the K5 is a lot more accurate then the one on the K20d, that's for sure. I didn't even bother installing a catzeye anymore.
I think this is likely subject to calibration. ie, my experience is the opposite. K-5 catch in focus is off whereas my K20D is spot on. I'll likely get it calibrated when I send it in next spring for CLA, but based on what I've seen this does seem to vary between units.

I've also found focus confirmation to drift at larger apertures, Which usually ends-up being unreliable by f/2. - However, Live View really fixes all of that and so it hasn't really been an issue for me so far.

The only thing I can think of that would make the Pentax LV a killer with MF lenses would be a magnification hold feature. And that's where if we pressed and held(for example) the Fx button, the LV would magnify to a desired magnification. Then when we left go, it would return. So this way, we could drop in adjust and take the shot very quickly during composition.
07-18-2011, 09:08 AM   #8
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If you are used to an old MX, LX, or even Spotmatic, manual focus on any of the new digital cameras is pathetic. My old H1a (1961) is still much better. Yes, you "can" fit the lenses and use them, but it is nothing like using them on cameras designed for manual operation.
My K-5 is very nice, and gives great images, but manual lenses are frustrating if you are used to the old cameras. So I ended up with a couple of new lenses for the K-5; but still primarily shoot film, and use my old lenses on the old cameras.

07-18-2011, 09:15 AM   #9
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replace the stock screen with a K-3 and add a loupe?
07-18-2011, 11:50 PM   #10
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One thing that is cruelly lacking in Pentax' Liveview is a decent refresh rate...
I bought a NX100 some weeks ago (for the madam), and man! Liveview on this small thing is near instantaneous!!! No lag, no delay, no choppy feedback...
Manual focus using LV is actually easier on the NX100 than on the K5!!!

And the NX100 has the same sensor than the K7, so we know such a liveview can be made for our DSLRs...
07-19-2011, 04:26 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by dlacouture Quote
Well, the stock focus screen is limited to f/2 (as are almost all focus screens out there), so if you have fast lenses, you may experience some problems with proper focus... As the focus screen only shows a f/2 rendering of the scene, you don't really know where your f/1.4 focus really is in this f/2 image.

indeed. I have this problem bad with my A 50/1.2 - I use live view now.
07-19-2011, 09:39 PM   #12
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I have virtually given up using those all primes due to awful focus issues with both K10 and K20.
I have 50mm 1.7/1.4 & 1.8's and a 135mm and they are all as good as useless frankly. Wasnt able to facilitate any kind of fix and in the end gave up out of frustration. For me the retro compatibility of those old lenses re the Pentax system is not something that holds much water from my experience... unless of course one likes that OOF look!
07-20-2011, 02:23 AM   #13
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use the split prism, Luke!
07-20-2011, 04:11 AM   #14
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Initially, I found manual focusing to be difficult, regardless of the lens. The flat, matte screen just seemed to wash out at critical focus areas, and the focus confirmation always seemed to be aimed at something it saw, not me, so shallow DOF images were not always spot on.

I use the Katz eye, which causes some differentiation in the screen, some contrasting image rather than the flat matte of the original screen. This helps my tired eyes.

I also use the Pentax magnifying eye-cup, which also helps me.

With this combination, I make great use of my old A series lenses, and get some really great, sharp images off the old primes.
07-21-2011, 05:16 AM   #15
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Switch the focus point slection on and set to centre point - indicator seems more accurate than when set to spot - then practice - static subjects are easier at first and it becomes easier when on the fly.
On some of the old lenses where hyperfocal point is marked you don't even have to focus... e.g. Super Takumar 35 3.5 - makes for a pretty good point and shoot for street shooting.
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