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12-26-2013, 08:45 AM   #1
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K-30 and legacy lenses

I just scored a good deal on an SMC Pentax-M 28/2.8 and a Takumar 135/2.5 for my K-30. Along with the SMC Pentax-M 50/1.7 and Vivitar M42 200/3.5 that I already have, that will give me a full kit of decent manual lenses for my bag. I have another bag with my Nex-5R and various FL manual lenses, so I can grab one or the other camera based on my need (or whim) for a day of shooting.

I've had my K-30 less than two weeks, and I like it a lot, but I'm still struggling sometimes with focusing. Sometimes when I'm looking through the view finder, the scene looks clear and sharp, but then I find it is slightly OOF when I look at it on a big screen. I try to bracket shots, taking several photos with slight changes of the focus ring, to give me the best chance of a sharp photo, unless I'm able to zone focus. That is one area where the Sony Nex is, IMO, superior: its implementation of focus peaking.

Anyone else that uses legacy lenses on a Pentax DSLR have any hints to help increase my percentage of keepers with the K-30?

Tony

12-26-2013, 09:14 AM - 1 Like   #2
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I get my best results manual focusing in live view with focus peaking on. If its kind of difficult to see the sparklies in the focus peaking, I'll then turn on the light/dark notification (ie, show the blow out highlights and too dark shadows), as the camera will make the peaks sparkle yellow.

For longer focal lengths, I've also noticed that in automatic mode the camera will refuse to shoot faster than 1/125 of a second unless you deliberately crank the ISO a bit. If you're shooting long, this improves the keeper rate since you aren't shooting 135mm/200mm/400mm etc @ 1/125 because the camera is too dumb to realize that that combination of shutter speed and focal length doesn't work well.


EDIT: Also, if using a zoom, turn off shake resistance and go old school (ie, compensate with a faster shutter speed). I've come to realize that SR and old zooms don't get along, since the camera has no way of telling what focal length you're actually at. While I have no proof, I have noticed I get better results with SR off than on if I'm using a manual zoom. Of course if you're using a zoom strictly at one focal length, you can always keep the SR for that.


EDIT II: I shot this image that way (for example).


12-26-2013, 01:02 PM   #3
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Nice pic. Thanks for the reply.

Tony
12-26-2013, 01:23 PM   #4
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I agree that using live view with focus peaking - typically best at 4x magnification - tends to work best.

If you want to use the viewfinder, I find a high-quality magnifier (not the Pentax OEM) makes a big difference, as well. The best of them can be found here:
1 3X Magnifier View Finder Eyecup for Canon Nikon Pentax Olympus Sony DSLR | eBay
I leave it on all the time, as it is a fine device with an excellent light-sealing eyecup.

12-26-2013, 02:16 PM   #5
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When it is too bright out for the LCD, use the hexagon indicator. Keep adjusting (slowly) until the hexagon stays lit. Bracket from there.
12-26-2013, 05:45 PM   #6
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Thanks for those tips, guys. I've been playing with Live View and Bright/Dark areas turned on, which helps. I need to read up a bit on the hexagon indicator.

Tony
12-26-2013, 07:13 PM   #7
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Update: I am such a dunce. I was so amped to get out taking pics when I received the K-30, that I barely glanced at the manual. After all, I've got a handle on using MF lenses and manual settings on the Nex-5R, so how different could it be, right? (INSERT VISION OF FACE-PALM). I was getting some decent shots, but too many shots that I would have nailed with the Nex were getting dumped. All along, I kept thinking "what is that little flickering green icon?" Five minutes with the manual tonight, followed by running around the house snapping pics of pets and Christmas decorations with the K-30, using the Focus Indicator. Thanks for the hint. I am suitably chastened.

Tony
12-27-2013, 02:19 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by ScooterMaxi Jim Quote
If you want to use the viewfinder, I find a high-quality magnifier (not the Pentax OEM) makes a big difference, as well. The best of them can be found here: 1 3X Magnifier View Finder Eyecup for Canon Nikon Pentax Olympus Sony DSLR | eBay I leave it on all the time, as it is a fine device with an excellent light-sealing eyecup.
That seems an interesting thing, I never thought of it before, can you say more about it!? Doesn't it block a part of view!? I mean reduce the borders and say you have only 90% coverage for framing!? any other info about it would be helpful for me
Thanks.

12-27-2013, 03:37 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by mtux Quote
That seems an interesting thing, I never thought of it before, can you say more about it!? Doesn't it block a part of view!? I mean reduce the borders and say you have only 90% coverage for framing!? any other info about it would be helpful for me
Thanks.
If you frame the shot and your subject is, say, in the lower left corner, you can then use the d-pad on the back of the camera to center your subject you want focused in the screen so you can make the shot.


In other words, say you want to have something in lower left in focus, what you do is you frame your shot, then when it 'zooms' you can use the lower and left arrows to get to the lower left corner so you can see what was down there so you can focus on it.
12-27-2013, 08:36 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sagitta Quote
In other words, say you want to have something in lower left in focus, what you do is you frame your shot, then when it 'zooms' you can use the lower and left arrows to get to the lower left corner so you can see what was down there so you can focus on it.
You mean I can frame my shot in viewfinder with this magnifier, and then press some key to bring something "in the left corner in frame" to center and magnify it to see it clearly! and focus on it manually!?!
I can't still understand how this thing can do all those stuff, but it seems pretty nice to me then.
12-27-2013, 07:37 PM   #11
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I spent a couple of hours today playing with the Focus Indicator, shooting into backlight, sidelight, frontlight, all sorts of situations. Just junk photos to hone the technique. Nailed every pic. Thanks for the help, guys.

Tony
12-27-2013, 08:31 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by mtux Quote
That seems an interesting thing, I never thought of it before, can you say more about it!? Doesn't it block a part of view!? I mean reduce the borders and say you have only 90% coverage for framing!? any other info about it would be helpful for me
Thanks.
I've been using it for years. The eyepiece is large, and does not interfere with any of the VF sight lines into the corners - although you have to get your eye up close. Given the relief it provides (projecting outward away from the body) several people have indicated that it is more comfortable because your nose isn't pressed against the back of the camera. I suppose that's true, but I have used the same eyepiece for many years on various cameras, so I don't remember the old way of doing it.

This is a high-quality eyepiece with excellent coatings and very little edge distortion (a bit, but not a distraction). This brings your viewfinder more than halfway to the quality you get with full frame (my comparison would be the Canon 5D which was in my arsenal at one point). For the minimal investment, several people have commented that its the best cheap upgrade you can make. The only downside would be that it isn't recommended for use with glasses (for obvious reasons).
01-02-2014, 01:25 PM   #13
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It's not really possible to manually focus through the viewfinder. It has to be done with focus peaking and the screen. A split viewfinder might help with the K-30, but it didn't really help in my K-x, and it made the exposures all wonkified with fast lenses.

Now, with my ME Super I can manually focus all day. It's simple, clean, and easy. Why can't a modern dSLR have a focus screen and viewfinder like that?

Charles.
01-07-2014, 10:05 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by ScooterMaxi Jim Quote
I agree that using live view with focus peaking - typically best at 4x magnification - tends to work best.

If you want to use the viewfinder, I find a high-quality magnifier (not the Pentax OEM) makes a big difference, as well. The best of them can be found here:
1 3X Magnifier View Finder Eyecup for Canon Nikon Pentax Olympus Sony DSLR | eBay
I leave it on all the time, as it is a fine device with an excellent light-sealing eyecup.
I see the item on eBay. How does it attach? Does it just slide onto the camera's eyecup mount? It looks like this would be a great convenience.

Thanks,
Rumple
01-08-2014, 08:13 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by rumplestiltskin Quote
I see the item on eBay. How does it attach? Does it just slide onto the camera's eyecup mount? It looks like this would be a great convenience.

Thanks,
Rumple
You can mount it one of two ways. One of the fittings is plastic and slips into the grooves on the side. Easy to remove - it is also easy to knock off as you put the camera in the camera case. Got sick of that so I've attached it along the side of the VF framing using the two supplied steel plates and four brass screws that allow for a very solid, flush pressure connection into the grooves without fear of cosmetic damage to the body. Not terribly elegant, but very much flush and fitted. Paint the brass screws black and its a bit more elegant. Today it was below 0 F again, and stepped out with my warm camera to shoot a hawk and did discover that the eyepiece isn't as fog-proof as I had thought. Getting this shot (taken with a MF Tokina 100-300 AT-X f/4 lens) wasn't as easy as usual due to the fogging; I had to take my eye away slightly - and didn't want to switch to live view in the sunlight. This was the sharpest shot of the lot.
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Last edited by ScooterMaxi Jim; 01-08-2014 at 08:18 PM.
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