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03-20-2016, 12:42 PM - 8 Likes   #1
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K-1 with the Super-Takumar 50/1.4

Spent a bit of time with the K-1 and a Super Takumar 50/1.4 (8 elements version) today at the UK’s Photography Show, and would like to share my impression of how the camera works with this famous old lens.

First of all, the K-1 was set up with a D FA 24-70mm. I’m happy to report the combination feels like a serious step up from the K-3 and APS-C zooms. For example, the view-finder experience, auto-focus/set-up, and the tilting screen, a very clever piece of engineering that is even more impressive in practice than it looks on paper. The K-1 stand included Pentax’s new monster zoom lenses, and interestingly, a FA 35/2. Good to see – it must be right to remind customers that there are still some excellent FF FA lenses for sale.

Then I tried to persuade a member of Ricoh staff to let me use my Takumar lens on the camera, with my own disk, so I could have a good look at home at the results. Well, they kindly let me use my lens/adaptor, but not keep the photos, as the K-1 was still a pre-production model.

Here are my two main observations FWIW (pretty obvious really)…and unfortunately without the benefits of supporting photos

1. After using fast fifties on a crop sensor for so long, there is a significant change in perspective using a 50mm on FF. It shouldn’t have been a surprise as I’ve used a Spotmatic/film camera a lot, but it still surprised me. Objects look further away – no longer at the 75mm equivalent. The viewfinder at its FF 50mm seemed more cluttered with surrounding objects (Ricoh had installed a display of daisies and other objects to snap), and possibly as a result, the view-finder image seemed darker, even at f1.4. I suspect the best film era 85mm to 135mm lenses are going to really shine on the K-1 for 3D style isolation/bokeh etc. Plus, the wider-angle lenses; the 24mm and below can return to their real extreme WA status. (Should have taken along a wide angle Tak).

2. There could be quite a learning curve using old lenses effectively on the K-1. Personally, I was rather disappointed with my old lens results when I up-graded from the K20D to the K-3. Fewer keepers, with exposure/metering, CA, fringing and sharpness(blur) issues. But gradually, I realised that the extra-size of the sensor, especially at wide open apertures, made accurate focusing, stability and metering more critical, and I needed to step up my game with old lenses. Now, it’s clear the K-3 is much a much better camera than the K20D, and as I mentioned earlier, the K-1 is a serious step up. Today, with my test shots, I wasn't very good at nailing the manual focus hand-held - reviewing the results on the screen - and I’m going to have to up my game again. However, the Ricoh guy really liked the bokeh produced by the old Tak.

Elsewhere...


...the staff at Leica were infinitely patient as I drooled over their Leica M Monochrom. They kept a straight face as I searched my wallet in vain for 8,650 to buy the camera and suitable lenses. Finding myself 8,600 short, I went off to the Lensbaby stand, to look at a much more affordable indulgence. It would have been good to come away with a brochure that explained their different lens options but they told me their Lensbaby brochures had been “held up in customs” (must have looked/sounded racy).

I also did some consumer testing of the Nikon FFs. Nikon had a collection of FF cameras on an elevated podium in shiny Nikon yellow. The view gave us a good chance to take zoom lens photos of people walking around below (like a safari). The skin tones produced by Nikon seemed off on the review screen (I’ve never used a Nikon FF before), so I asked one of the salespeople whether the settings were right on the cameras. Yes, they were right, was the reply. Apparently others had commented on the skin tones today, and Nikon reckoned it was caused by the yellow reflecting off the podium. Sure….

I returned to the Ricoh stand, which was well set out, with very helpful staff, to try the K-1 one more time, and smile at those familiar, excellent Pentax image colours.



Last edited by utak; 03-21-2016 at 05:06 AM. Reason: Monochrom not Monochrome
03-20-2016, 01:05 PM - 1 Like   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by utak Quote
[SIZE=2]Spent a bit of time with the K-1 and a Super Takumar 50/1.4 (8 elements version) today at the UKs Photography Show, and would like to share my impression of how the camera works with this famous old lens.
.........
. Today, with my test shots, I wasn't very good at nailing the manual focus hand-held - .
It would be good if they went the extra mile and included manual focusing screen options... I wonder if a split disc with correct metering is possible?
03-20-2016, 02:04 PM   #3
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Thanks for the informative and tantalizing report. That darker OVF may have me relying on the LCD even more than I already do on the K3.
03-20-2016, 02:30 PM - 1 Like   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by utak Quote
...I realised that the extra-size of the sensor, especially at wide open apertures, made accurate focusing, stability and metering more critical..
That observation, I recall, matches that of many Nikon shooters when the D800 first came out. Which stimulated Nikon to issue the 'D800 Technical Guide' to help Nikon users deal with some of the challenges of upgrading their technique to deal with 36MP (up from 12MP, for many at the time):

https://support.nikonusa.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/18103/~/d800-%2F-d800e-technical-guides

03-20-2016, 02:43 PM - 1 Like   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Transit Quote
It would be good if they went the extra mile and included manual focusing screen options... I wonder if a split disc with correct metering is possible?

Yes, one of the attractions of the manual focusing Leica M Monochrom is its split screen aid. It is so easy to use....but I have no idea about the technicalities for the K-1.

Here's a snap from today by the K-3 and Super-Takumar 50/1.4 (sharp when mastered) of the K-1 and D FA 24-70. (PS I haven't added the red background, the camera was sitting on a red table).
Attached Images
View Picture EXIF
PENTAX K-3  Photo 

Last edited by utak; 03-21-2016 at 05:06 AM.
03-20-2016, 05:15 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Transit Quote
It would be good if they went the extra mile and included manual focusing screen options... I wonder if a split disc with correct metering is possible?
This was discussed in another thread ... but I don't remember which one right now. I believe the conclusion was that the presence of overlays precludes changing focusing screens. When this was discussed in a more generic form at a generic photography forum, most of the members there felt that the modern "focus confirmed" signal is a better solution. My own feeling is that the "focus confirmed" signal on my K-30 does work much better than the split screen ever did on my old Super Program.
03-20-2016, 07:13 PM - 1 Like   #7
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I wasn't really interested in a FF but the more I* see and hear the more I am starting to drool
03-20-2016, 08:19 PM   #8
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As long as you weren't always focusing at the min focus distance you just have to step closer to get the cripes composition. Also moving in closer but with the same composition will give you even less dof.

05-31-2016, 10:14 AM   #9
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Very enjoyable reading Utak
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