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09-02-2016, 10:47 AM   #1
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Using a Manual Focus Lens on the K-1

It has been many years since I've used a manual focus lens, and never on a camera as complicated as the F-1. I've purchase a SMC 300 f4 lens for use when I need a long reach in a landscape photo, all use being on a tripod. I discovered how to set the camera so that the green button selects the appropriate shutter speed after the aperture is manually selected . Is there anything similar that will assist with focus? A setting that would cause a selected focus point to light up when the lens being manually focused achieves correct focus, for example. I couldn't find anything on this in the manual. There is the description of Catch-in-Focus shooting on page 110 of the manual but it doesn't appear this would work with stationary objects with a tripod. With auto focus lenses I use back button focusing almost exclusively.

Thanks in advance for any help.

09-02-2016, 10:55 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by wanderer2 Quote
It has been many years since I've used a manual focus lens, and never on a camera as complicated as the F-1. I've purchase a SMC 300 f4 lens for use when I need a long reach in a landscape photo, all use being on a tripod. I discovered how to set the camera so that the green button selects the appropriate shutter speed after the aperture is manually selected . Is there anything similar that will assist with focus? A setting that would cause a selected focus point to light up when the lens being manually focused achieves correct focus, for example. I couldn't find anything on this in the manual. There is the description of Catch-in-Focus shooting on page 110 of the manual but it doesn't appear this would work with stationary objects with a tripod. With auto focus lenses I use back button focusing almost exclusively.

Thanks in advance for any help.
AF confirmation is on by default, so you should see the center point light up when the camera thinks the subject is in focus, even in MF mode.

I'm not 100% sure but you may need to half-press to enable the AF system.

See C9 if you want to permanently enable illumination in the viewfinder (otherwise you'll see a black point instead of a red flash).

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09-02-2016, 10:56 AM   #3
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Hey, welcome! There are some threads with general help with manual lenses. I like to link to this one, but there are others as well: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/54-pentax-lens-articles/110657-how-use-me...k-x-k-7-a.html
But it seems you already have this down.
Note that manual lenses come in different types. Some are manual focus, but have auto-aperture. Others have neither.
QuoteOriginally posted by wanderer2 Quote
Is there anything similar that will assist with focus?
Yes, the little hexagon in the viewfinder should light up when the focus is found. This hexagon is called Focus confirm, and it is just beneath the actual frame in the viewfinder (i think this one only works for centre point). The little red overlays might also light up in the viewfinder, but I find those to be a little less reliable. That said, I don't have a K-1, so I am only telling you about how it worked so far. Maybe the K-1 has been improved in this regard.
Catch in focus actually does work for stationary objects, you just have to turn the focus ring slowly enough and the camera will take photo when it focus is locked. You can even use burst mode with this and it will continue taking photos. CiF only works with lenses that have manual focus and short out the AF contacts. Old Pentax K-mount lenses should all allow it, but modern DA and DFA lenses generally do not allow it (the ones that have AF/MF button or focus clamp button would allow it)

Main problem with focus confirm and catch in focus is if lenses are very low contrast or very soft or have a narrow aperture. Basically if not enough contrasty light hits the focusing mechanism. Using a lens hood will help a lot with older lenses.

Then there is Focus Peaking in Live view. There are some youtube videos about this feature, its not difficult to use. The DoF of the peaking might be inaccurate, though

Last edited by Na Horuk; 09-02-2016 at 11:04 AM.
09-02-2016, 10:58 AM   #4
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There are a few things you can do:

- if you are using a manual focus lens (or an AF lens in manual mode) you can half-press the shutter to do a focus confirm. The little focusing lights will beep if/when they are in focus. So you hold the half-press (or the back AF button if you are using it) as you turn the focus ring, you will get the lights & beep when your subject is in focus.
- if you use Live View you can also turn on Focus Peaking (in the menu under "Contrast Detection AF") which will highlight whatever is in focus. This can be incredibly useful although it requires you to use Live View which may or may not be to your liking.

If you are used to an old-school manual focus camera you may find it difficult or impossible to get a good focus just by eye with the viewfinder. My old Pentax ME Super had a split prism which helped a ton but without it I feel like it's a LOT harder. (And I have 20/20 vision)

09-02-2016, 12:02 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by ajack Quote
- if you use Live View you can also turn on Focus Peaking (in the menu under "Contrast Detection AF") which will highlight whatever is in focus. This can be incredibly useful although it requires you to use Live View which may or may not be to your liking.
If you're shooting on a tripod, Live View is your most reliable way to achieve precise focus.
09-02-2016, 12:07 PM   #6
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Pressing the back button AF as you have it set will also work to activate the focus confirmation. As others also noted, focus peaking is probably the more precise method
09-02-2016, 12:49 PM   #7
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I think you may only get the center focus point with that lens when using the optical viewfinder.

And mine likes to front-focus a touch, which really matters with that lens.

But when it's in focus and not purple fringing, it's an awesome lens on the K1

-Eric
09-02-2016, 02:39 PM   #8
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Manual focus with just the 'beep' confirming AF can really well, particularly for fast paced shooting.

09-02-2016, 03:24 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by johnyates Quote
If you're shooting on a tripod, Live View is your most reliable way to achieve precise focus.
But i think you have to use both Focus peaking and also Digital zoom. Digital zoom opens the aperture, so you get shallowest DoF. The problem is that without digital zoom the camera often stops down the lens (not manual lenses, but DA and other automatic lenses).
It also kind of depends on the lens. With my Samyang 14mm live view is not very useful unless you are very near the minimum focus distance, and focus peaking doesn't help much. I had to learn where infinity is by trial and error, because the distance scales were slightly off and the viewfinder/live view was not precise enough
09-02-2016, 04:22 PM   #10
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Great timing to find this post) my k-1 suppose to arrive tomorrow, and I'm going to be using it with my selection of old primes that I have left after selling my previous system. Most of them are m42 (Vivitar 28 2.5, Yashica 50 2, caspeco 135 3.5 and the helios 44-2), but the helios 44k-4 is in Pentax k mount, so should work right off the bat. Ordered a Asahi Pentax m42 adapter for the other ones. Hope with practice I'll be able to get good focus with those primes. Fishing for an af lens in the meantime)
09-02-2016, 06:46 PM   #11
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Thanks to all of you for the input and advice. I didn't have much time to work on this today and certainly haven't mastered it yet. But I'll have more time to work on it tomorrow.

Thanks again. This is a great forum.
09-02-2016, 07:03 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Na Horuk Quote
The little red overlays might also light up in the viewfinder
This is correct. I switched over my K-1 to use the AF button instead of the shutter release button, but the process is the same. Hit the button (whichever) as you focus and the camera will beep at you and the focus area will blink red when you reach the point of focus. You can keep the button pressed and rock the focus back and forth to see which is your perfect focus point. I do not use multi-segment focus points, just spot (more like the way I used to shoot with film, focus, frame), so I am not sure if other focus points will be active in manual focus. Once you get the process down, it is a breeze!

Regards,
09-03-2016, 02:34 AM   #13
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Focus Peaking + Live View with digital zoom was good enough for me to focus on an Atlas V rocket from 8 miles away at night using my Pentax 67 lens. The final photo was much sharper than I could have done using any other method.

obin
09-03-2016, 11:40 AM   #14
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Got my K-1 today, enjoying the hell out of it. One thing to note - the Olympus EM1 did legacy glass easier imo. Or maybe I'm not setting it up correctly, not sure. Basically, any manual lens can be used in any mode (including aperture priority) on the Olympus camera, and camera would automatically meter the light according to what aperture is used. I guess on K-1 it'll be the same for the non K mount lenses (that don't have that leaver at the bottom that controls aperture), but I found it a bit awkward that I can't meter the K mount lens that I have with the green button in aperture priority, basically have to use the M mode. I mostly shot in Av mode on my previous camera, where it would control the ISO, and I would just adjust the aperture on the lens and use exposure comp to set the image where I want it. Another thing I will miss is the histogram in the viewfinder EVF's are good for some things)
09-03-2016, 01:28 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by awscreo Quote
. Or maybe I'm not setting it up correctly, not sure. Basically, any manual lens can be used in any mode (including aperture priority) on the Olympus camera, and camera would automatically meter the light according to what aperture is used.
You're thinking about this is the wrong way round. The Olympus can't change the lens aperture, your Pentax can temporarily with the green button.

The Pentax focusing can be more precise because it's done wide open, the Oly can't do that.





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