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02-11-2015, 02:00 AM   #1
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Old lenses can break new bodies?

Hi,

after a recent breakdown of my one year old K50, I would like ask others here on their opinion.

The camera started acting weirdly after about half a year of light usage. It seemed that the mirror would lock up from time to time (albeit not very often).
The camera couldn't focus at all and the viewfinder was very dim. Strangely, live view seemed ok.

As it usually happend with a low battery I suspected that that was the issue. But the last time the battery was full and no matter what I did, the camera would not function and even hang and not react to anything (except battery removal;-)

I got it repaired. Service said that the aperture mechanism got broken and confused the electronics. As I have two older lenses I use on the body I suspected they might be to blame and tried to compare aperture pin behaviour on those lenses to my kit 18-135:

The Pentax-A 1.4 aperture is not as easygoing (I'd say maybe 20 % harder) and would not spring back as quickly.
The Pentax-K (not KA) adapted Tamron 19H 70-210 adaptall aperture returns quickly but is about twice as hard to operate than the new kit lens.

The serviceman saw those lenses as well and he said that he wouldn't be operating either of those on the camera and that the broken aperture mechanism is not something common in the Pentax range and that the lenses might have been the cause.

I can't tell you how dissapointing his word were to me as you can imagine how hard it was to find good copies of those old gems for a reasonable price.

What about your old lenses and their aperture pins, are they stiffer than the new digital lenses? Do you think that I just had bad luck with my K50 or did my older lenses really break the body aperture?

Thank you for your comments!

02-11-2015, 03:24 AM   #2
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It's possible that an aperture lever that doesn't work smoothly might break a new camera, but I think it's much more likely that the fault was with the camera. I use many, many old lenses and have never had a problem, and that's after 5 years using my K200D. I don't think I have any lenses with aperture levers that are hard to move though, but I've never checked them.
02-11-2015, 03:52 AM   #3
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Some third party lenses have a bigger than usual shroud around the aperture lever that can cause some interference. Not certain this is your problem but there is a thread on this as this tends to prevent the lens mounting. But may be worth a look.

Here is one link

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/6-pentax-dslr-discussion/99112-can-k-x-fit-all-k-mount-lenses.html
02-11-2015, 03:54 AM   #4
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I've used nearly 100 lenses on my cameras and have not had this problem. I think the lens mechanism would have to be broken to break the camera. Now you may have a little problem with your Pentax-A 1.4 if the aperture is not snappy. I don't think that could break your camera (I could be wrong) but you may be wise to get that lens repaired before it gets worse.

02-11-2015, 04:17 AM   #5
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Yeah, check your lens and camera mount, try to diagnose the problem further. I really doubt the lens would damage the body like that. Only cases of lenses causing problems that I know of are:
- Ricoh pin getting stuck on the camera mount. Doesn't actually damage the camera, just makes it impossible to dismount the lens (similar problem with certain m42 lenses and adapters, I think)
- Some lenses recede into the camera body and can interfere with the mirror. Usually people notice this and change the lens before it actually damages the mirror. This might happen with a given lens always, or only at certain focusing range, depending on the design.

Anyway, I doubt that Tamron was the reason. I think many people use a T/K adapter without a problem. Is the camera still under warranty?
And a lazy aperture is something that is not that uncommon with old lenses. It shouldn't ruin the camera, but it needs to be fixed if you want to use the lens

Last edited by Na Horuk; 02-11-2015 at 05:21 AM.
02-11-2015, 04:42 AM   #6
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...if you strike the camera with the lens hard enough, then yes old lenses can break new bodies.
Especially if you take a sturdy K or M and a plasticky Q...

On a more serious note, I believe something's wrong with those lenses.
I almost exclusively shoot M lenses and the aperture lever is very smooth.
02-11-2015, 05:41 AM   #7
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My old lenses aperture levers are like butter. They are easy to operate and smooth,
02-11-2015, 06:42 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by jarda-wien Quote
Old lenses can break new bodies?
If extreme force is needed to move a lens aperture lever, the mechanism in the camera is stressed more than usual twice: once when fitting the lens (mechanical only), and again when opening the aperture again after shooting (mechanics and the motor).

On the long run, the camera could indeed be harmed.
Not only "new bodies", but also the old film cameras.

You should check what's wrong with these lenses. They did not behave like that when they were new.

EDIT:
Since mid seventies/mid eighties precision manufacturing/quality control (and quality/stability of lubricants) have incredibly improved.
Having worked for near to 30 years in quality control of mechanical components, I could see this improvement all the time.

I guess this is the reason today's lenses can be controlled with less resistance, but equal or even better precison.
30-40 years from now, we will find out whether this precicion is also lasting as long.


Last edited by RKKS08; 02-11-2015 at 07:25 AM. Reason: Info added
02-11-2015, 07:06 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by LensBeginner Quote
and a plasticky Q
Say what?

(FYI: The Q is made of solid alloy.)
02-11-2015, 07:18 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by lytrytyr Quote
Say what?

(FYI: The Q is made of solid alloy.)
kay, me bad...
02-11-2015, 08:16 AM   #11
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I suppose a lens with a broken/stuck lever could conceivably cause trouble, but I also think the aperture mechanism is designed so it won't just force itself to the point of breaking either. So if you've got a broken lens, you know, fix it or don't use it, but don't worry about old lenses in general. The aperture on my K10D broke and needed replacement, and it only ever had the DA 18-250 mounted to it. It happens.

Since then I've used dozens of old lenses on my bodies (although a lot of them are m42s with no aperture levers at all) from just about every brand that ever made Pentax mount lenses, no troubles at all with the aperture.
02-11-2015, 08:23 AM   #12
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I would think that if you have a sticky (or stiff) aperture blades in the lens, it can wear down the aperture lever on the camera. I am referring to k-mount only, m42 lenses does not have same mechanism, therefore, does not apply.
02-11-2015, 08:24 AM   #13
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I have stopped using the Adaptalls adapter on my cameras because of that especially the PK/A ones, had one jam completly the cam motor
and had to take it apart to remove it from the camera.
Some design problem with the Pentax adapter as the nikon ones are very smooth and much easier to move the lever the original ones feel
quite rough.
Have one Ebay knockoff that I use as it does not have any aperture lever so Stop down is a must.
02-11-2015, 09:16 AM   #14
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Try the lenses on a fast shutterspeed 1000th or more if they underexpose alot then there is a problem with the aperture.
The Pentax-A 1.4 aperture is easier than kit lens in my copy so yours may need cleaning
The adaptals have 2 springs in the mechanisms(1in lens and one on adapter) and need more force I suppose than the kit but Ive been using many of them without issue for 5 years
I use Manual lenses practically all the time.

Last edited by Sliver-Surfer; 02-11-2015 at 09:33 AM.
02-11-2015, 09:18 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Na Horuk Quote
Yeah, check your lens and camera mount, try to diagnose the problem further. I really doubt the lens would damage the body like that. Only cases of lenses causing problems that I know of are:
- Ricoh pin getting stuck on the camera mount. Doesn't actually damage the camera, just makes it impossible to dismount the lens (similar problem with certain m42 lenses and adapters, I think)
- Some lenses recede into the camera body and can interfere with the mirror. Usually people notice this and change the lens before it actually damages the mirror. This might happen with a given lens always, or only at certain focusing range, depending on the design.

Anyway, I doubt that Tamron was the reason. I think many people use a T/K adapter without a problem. Is the camera still under warranty?
And a lazy aperture is something that is not that uncommon with old lenses. It shouldn't ruin the camera, but it needs to be fixed if you want to use the lens
I've used a variety of Pentax M series lenses on my K200D and never had a problem. Two other friends do the same with their Pentax DSLRs. Since migrating to a K30, my M lenses have seen limited use, but when I have used
them, I haven't had a problem.

There's lots of people using older Pentax brand lenses on their DSLRs with no problem. That doesn't mean there isn't a problem with your old Pentax lens, but it does sort of make it more likely that the problem is with the other lens.

Way back in the depths of time, I had the opposite problem - I had an old film body 'breaking' a modern lens. It was a brand new Tamron 70-300 zoom that broke when I put it on my old Pentax MX.
I was mostly using a P3N because the meter on the MX had gone flakey, and all was fine. After mounting/dismounting it a few times on the MX, the aperture on the lens stuck closed. I didn't know if putting it on
the MX caused the problem or not - maybe it was just a coincidence. The lens was under warranty so I took it in for repairs. Again, the lens was fine on the P3N, but after some time,
I tried it on the MX and had the same problem again. Once might be a coincidence, but twice was proof enough for me. Obviously, there was some mismatch in the fit, and the MX was
probably bending the aperture lever on the lens and jamming the aperture ( or something along those lines ). So the lens went in for repairs a second time. I never used the lens on the MX again.

The MX never caused any problems with other lenses I mounted on it. Maybe the newer Tamron lens mount was somewhat out-of-spec WRT the mount on the older Pentax camera.

In your case, there might be a mismatch between the mount on your new DSLR and the old Tamron lens mount. Pentax would have designed their new lens mount to be compatible with all their old lenses, but they
might not have accounted for some old third-party lenses that are (slightly) out of spec.

You're in a bit of a tough spot since testing out any of our theories risks breaking your camera a second time. I don't know what to suggest - only you can decide whether or not it is worth the risk to try using these lenses again.
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