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05-06-2014, 08:48 AM   #1
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Which direction? Auto or manual

So I'll be ordering my K50 body this Friday and was planning on getting the 50 or 35 to start. B&H has a good deal on these lenses with the camera body ($118 and $140 respectively) my budget right now is $700 max but preferably closer to $600. So $618 for the camera, 50mm, and a free memory card is perfect. However, knowing I will be buying a wide angle and a tele in the future is where the issue comes in.

I'm thinking about getting just the body, spending the $100 or so I would save by not getting the 50 on the katseye and buying all smc-m lenses. Or just older manual focus lenses. The money savings would be substantial and I don't see any major drawback in going this route. But I'm new to photography and maybe I'm missing something. I feel like auto is a convenience not a requirement so that's not really a factor. I have a little exp with my brothers d3200 and trying to shoot in manual with just the focus conformation light was kind of a pain. And I have some exp with my dad's old Olympus which had the eye piece focus screen.

So am I missing something or is this a feasible route to go? I'm not sure how the settings are controlled since there's no electronic connections. So am I not going to be able to shoot in anything but manual mode?
(Which I was planning on using mostly anyhow) and if I go this route, am I going to even be able to use the k50 to it's potential? Or will there be some drawbacks holding me back?
Thanks and I appreciate everyone's feedback.

05-06-2014, 08:51 AM   #2
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You're going to miss modern coatings and get CA going that route. I've had manual lenses, but I sold them off because they ended up staying in the bag or at home most of the time.
05-06-2014, 09:04 AM   #3
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Is it bad enough to justify the extra money? I'm getting into this hobby for myself. Take pictures of my kid, some scenery when I go backpacking, insects, flowers. I'll never send my pictures into a magazine or enter them in a contest. I prolly won't even print 95% of them out. But at the same time, I don't want them to come out like crap so I will take your advice into consideration. Thanks for the reply
05-06-2014, 09:20 AM   #4
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I think that it honestly just boils down to your shooting style and budget. I can't afford autofocus lenses of the quality I want, so I have a collection of manual primes. The few autofocus zooms I have are barely ever on my camera.

I say start with a manual focus prime. Easy investment, no big loss if you decide you hate it. And most old primes are far from crap.

Also, I have found autofocus lenses more difficult to focus in manual mode than traditional manual lenses, something about the play and travel of the focusing ring, I think.

05-06-2014, 09:22 AM   #5
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I shoot a lot with manual focus lenses and actually prefer them over my AF stuff for my choice of subjects. The main issue, in my opinion, is the matter of convenience. Yes, you have a high degree of compatibility between your K-50 and almost all vintage glass, but making them work requires working around or disabling much of the automation that your camera provides. In addition, there is also the matter of adding a decent focus screen. In some ways, the manual focus, manual aperture control lenses are more flexible than their modern equivalents, but it comes at a price.

As for coatings, CA, resolution, and such...I guess it depends on the lens. I have found that all lenses benefit from having a hood attached. The hood is a great equalizer in regards to coatings. My brand-new (and highly regarded) Sigma 17-70/2.8-4 has more lateral CA at 17mm than most of the lenses on my shelf. Some claim that the older lenses are more prone to purple fringing (PF). That has not been my experience. I have not been active on the Pentax Photo Gallery (premium gallery Web site sponsored by Pentax) for several years, but 3/4 of my accepted images were taken with clunky former Soviet glass. Go figure.

My advice to most people getting started is to have a good walk-around AF lens that can be used for general photography. The 18-55 kit is not bad in that regards and neither is the DA 35/2.4. The walk-around can be supplemented with a longer zoom and/or a quality wide-angle depending on your shooting style. Ditto for macro gear, long teles, and specialty lenses like the fisheye that is always in my bag. Whether these other lenses are AF or manual focus is a matter of personal preference in my opinion.

What ever you do, please have fun and don't get too caught up in the gear aspect of the hobby/craft/art-form!


Steve
05-06-2014, 09:43 AM   #6
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Thanks everyone for the great info. It's exactly what I was looking for.

Steve, you mentioned that I would need to disable some automation. Are you referring to just like shutter priority and things like that? I would imagine if still have control of all the important things like shutter speed, aperture, ISO, and white balance correct? What about the more advanced things like HDR and exposure compensation? Will my meter still work in the viewfinder even with the kateyez? (Think I spelled that correctly)
Thanks
05-06-2014, 10:19 AM   #7
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Pentax K-Mount Lenses Explained: The differences between various Pentax lens series

Stick with the A series. Functionally they are like the F/FA series but without autofocus. The combination of the A 28/2.8, A 50/1.7, and A 135/2.8 would cost you less than a used DA 18-135.

The Katzeye allows for metering in the viewfinder, but using spot metering becomes impossible. So you would be limited to center-weighted stop down metering with the M or K series.
05-06-2014, 10:41 AM   #8
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I prefer to shoot in manual focus most of the time, even when the lens has AF. A-type lenses are more convenient than M-type for exposure. Being able to quickly focus by hand is a valuable skill to learn and it greatly opens up your options in older (but spectacular) glass.

05-06-2014, 10:54 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
Pentax K-Mount Lenses Explained: The differences between various Pentax lens series

Stick with the A series. Functionally they are like the F/FA series but without autofocus. The combination of the A 28/2.8, A 50/1.7, and A 135/2.8 would cost you less than a used DA 18-135.

The Katzeye allows for metering in the viewfinder, but using spot metering becomes impossible. So you would be limited to center-weighted stop down metering with the M or K series.
Thanks!! This is awesome.
One question though. Should I not get the focus screen or will I not have the metering problem with the A lenses? And if not using the focus screen, how do I know if the subject will be in focus?
05-06-2014, 11:12 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Another dyemention Quote
Are you referring to just like shutter priority and things like that? I would imagine if still have control of all the important things like shutter speed, aperture, ISO, and white balance correct?
Mostly metering mode with K-mount lenses lacking the "A" contacts. In that case you lose bracketing, exposure comp, and any other feature that requires other than M-mode. With M42 lenses you can use Av mode, but then you have to manually stop the lens down to meter/shoot.

QuoteOriginally posted by Another dyemention Quote
Will my meter still work in the viewfinder even with the kateyez? (Think I spelled that correctly)
Yes, with the exception of spot-metering. The center-focus aides throw the meter off in that mode. This applies to all lenses, but much more for those requiring stop-down metering. With lenses lacking the "A" contacts, metering will be limited to center-weighted and spot...no matrix metering and you will have to use stop-down metering (green button).

The Type-S screen has no focus aides and all meter modes (matrix, center-weighted, and spot) should work as advertised. Note that I have not personally tried my Type-S yet with slower lenses or in stop-down mode to see if the metering is appropriate. The Type-S does appear to dim more than either the Katz Eye or the stock screen.


Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 05-06-2014 at 11:28 AM.
05-06-2014, 11:15 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Another dyemention Quote
how do I know if the subject will be in focus?
Like many canikon models, Pentax DSLR is no exception, you can use the camera's AF system to get focus confirmation (ie. when the subject is in focus, the green hexagon will appear in the viewfinder). However, there is some restriction, you can only use the center focus point.
05-06-2014, 11:15 AM   #12
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I would get the Autofocus 35 with the camera, because manual focus 35's aren't really much cheaper. Ge a manual focus 50/1.7 for $40 or $50. I'd advise getting the 18-55 too, since you will want wider.
05-06-2014, 11:40 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Note that I have not personally tried my Type-S yet with slower lenses or in stop-down mode to see if the metering is appropriate.
Now this is sort of interesting. I just put my 18-55 on the K-3 with Type-S installed to see how it meters at 55mm (f/5.6 to the meter cells). How does 2 stops underexposed in moderately dim light sound? The issue appears to be the AF frame option that I ordered. Rather than the fine black lines of the stock screen, focusingscreen.com appears to use some sort of laser scribing that produces a very bright clear set of lines. The emphasis is on the word BRIGHT. That brightness is present even when the frame is fairly dim and appears to be biasing the meter. At least, I think that is what is happening. Not having the non-scribed version, it is hard to tell.

As a result, and lacking a fully detailed assessment, I have to give a tentative and highly qualified thumbs down to the focusingscreen.com Type-S screen with scribed AF lines on the K-3 for slower "A" contact lenses and for stop-down metering with any lens. I can't say how the K-50 might handle it since the two cameras have a different metering system.

More to come once I have a chance to fully characterize this issue.


Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 05-06-2014 at 12:34 PM.
05-06-2014, 12:00 PM   #14
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So to clarify:
1) if I get an SMC-A lens, I won't lose any functionality other than auto focus? I can still use the three different metering modes, bracketing, exp comp.

2) if I use the katseye focus screen, I can only use center metering

3) the S type focus screen with laser scribing stinks.

---------- Post added 05-06-14 at 12:04 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Another dyemention Quote
So to clarify:
1) if I get an SMC-A lens, I won't lose any functionality other than auto focus? I can still use the three different metering modes, bracketing, exp comp.

2) if I use the katseye focus screen, I can only use center metering

3) the S type focus screen with laser scribing stinks.
4) or I can stop being cheap and just buy the 55-300 dal and the 18-55 and not worry about any of it
05-06-2014, 12:09 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Another dyemention Quote
So to clarify:
1) if I get an SMC-A lens, I won't lose any functionality other than auto focus? I can still use the three different metering modes, bracketing, exp comp.

2) if I use the katseye focus screen, I can only use center metering

3) the S type focus screen with laser scribing stinks.

---------- Post added 05-06-14 at 12:04 PM ----------



4) or I can stop being cheap and just buy the 55-300 dal and the 18-55 and not worry about any of it
1. Yes.

2. With the Katzeye you can use Matrix metering or Center-weighted but not Spot. With all manual lenses (non-A), you can only use center-weighted stop down metering.

4. The 18-55 and 55-300 are both good lenses. The 55-300 is on my camera most of the time.

I have an A 28/2.8 and A 135/2.8 that I use with the standard focusing screen and I don't have any trouble focusing them with the AF assist. I use catch-in-focus as a poor mans AF. The K-50 has focus peaking in Live View which makes manual focusing even easier.
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