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09-08-2016, 02:42 PM   #1
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Is my K-1 wasted on my legacy glass?

Just watched a youtube video, "Review Pentax K-1, the best landscape camera ever?" The reviewer liked the K-1 for landscape but complained about the lack of available lenses. There is no doubt a greater number of both new and used lenses for Canon and Nikon FF digital cameras, but I don't need that many. Actually I gravitated to Pentax 8 years ago because I could use some of my film era lenses right away on the K20. I did buy a new DA16-45 as it was recommended over the kit lens and I did not have a wide angle for an APS-C camera.

For FF, here is what I now have, D FA 100/2.8 macro, FA 35/2, Sears/Ricoh 50/1.7, SMC M 28/2.8, SMC M 200/4, Takumar 135/2.8. The only one optimized for digital is the 100, which by the way the film era version of this lens is the only one he gave good marks.

After that I have some zooms that I might use in a pinch, a Ricoh 28-100/4 and a Comiscar 70-200/4. Also a Ricoh 16/2.8 fisheye that is a bit prone to flare. The reviewer seemed to place a high priority for fast, expensive zooms, which he felt would only justify the use of a FF high megapixel camera. I got the impression that he felt it would be foolish to use film era lenses on a modern FF digital camera. He believed that the cost of getting these most important zooms for it would add up to the same amount for the equivalent Nikon or Canon kit. He seemed to think that these 3 zoom kits were the most common systems.

My interest is mostly landscapes and cityscapes. Sharpness across the frame is important and at smaller apertures for greater depth of field. Accept for the older zooms I mentioned my older lenses are holding up well in that regard. My manual focus primes do not look significantly softer than the newer AF ones. Though I have not had much time with the 100mm macro. Actually I would hope that it has the edge over all the others from what I have read in this forum.

Since all I have to compare with is the K20, I would be interested in hearing from K-1 users who have experience with both the latest technologies and film era, especially manual focus lenses. Are my older lenses keeping the K-1 from its full potential?

09-08-2016, 02:59 PM - 5 Likes   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by DSLRnovice Quote
Are my older lenses keeping the K-1 from its full potential?
That is not quite the correct question to ask.

Would the K-1 produce a better image with the DFA 24-70 over something legacy like the FA*28-70 f/2.8? Maybe. For some definitions of 'better' anyway. And maybe not if you like the FA* rendering.
Would the K-1 produce a better image with the DFA 24-70 over something like the legacy FA 28-90 f/3.5-5.6? Well, yes almost certainly.

In other words the reviewer is making statements that support his own conclusions. But if the lens was good in the film era it remains good in the digital era. I use a mix of both, including F and A series primes as well as the new DFA 24-70 and the DA*60-250.

If you are happy with your results why would you let some yaahoo who makes a living spouting his opinions change your mind? You have the proof in your hands, he has only conjecture based on a quick "review" that really is only designed to generate clicks on his website.

This is the glass I use most often, it works for me.

09-08-2016, 03:17 PM - 1 Like   #3
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If your lenses are giving you good images on your present Pentax, they will give good images on the K1.


If you can hire one, then try it out....if not, just take your favourite lenses to the closest Pentax dealer and try them out.


There are zillions of reviews of many cameras, they all boil down to the opinion of that particular reviewer.What I do is look at as much youtube and written reviews as I can find, THEN go and handle the camera if I'm still interested.


I own the 50/135/200 that you have and they are good on all my Pentax bodies(as well as the other brands) so what you have is adequate to justify the purchase of a K1.You can always buy other lenses down the track.
09-08-2016, 03:25 PM - 2 Likes   #4
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The main issue with film era lenses, generally-speaking, is inferior aberration control and corner/edge performance. That said, even old primes are often sharper than modern consumer zooms such as the 18-55mm kit lens that's so popular these days.

You don't need super expensive lenses to take good photos, but sometimes they can help


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09-08-2016, 03:45 PM - 3 Likes   #5
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I started this lens club
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/122-lens-clubs/247282-pentax-lenses-ff-club.html

precisely to combat this sort of half truth perpetuated by armchair theorists and non-real Pentax users like the reviewer.
I certainly doubt he used enough lenses to make the claim he made.

Yes, some old lenses (esp ultra wides) don't do as well on the edges stopped down, but often, thats about it.
Wides to 135mm (there are some version that are better than other of course), Pentax legacy lenses do very well still.
09-08-2016, 03:52 PM - 3 Likes   #6
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There are a number of photographers on this forum that take very high standard photographs with legacy glass on their K-1's. Listening to dpreview type reviewers is more likely to hold you back versus legacy glass!

Of course there are great right through to poor examples of legacy glass

One of the key things with any lens is understanding it's characteristics and using it's strengths or avoiding it's week areas (soft corners wide open etc)

Generally, it's most oldish consumer zooms that may disappoint.

I can afford pretty well much whatever I want, and still choose to enjoy a number of older film lenses. On the K-1 I find all my manual older lenses more enjoyable to use then ever and don't feel handicaped with them in any way..... quite the opposite really..... I feel like I'm getting images that are more likely to be uniquish.

Of course nice modern lenses are great as well..... if they suit a need..... I have a few of these.... mostly zooms.

Last edited by noelpolar; 09-08-2016 at 04:31 PM.
09-08-2016, 04:16 PM - 1 Like   #7
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No.

I've only rented a K-1, but I used an old 17mm Takumar, almost exclusively during that period. The pictures came out very well.
09-08-2016, 04:33 PM - 1 Like   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by DSLRnovice Quote
There is no doubt a greater number of both new and used lenses for Canon and Nikon FF digital cameras, but I don't need that many.
That's not true. K-mount has been in production for decades, by various manufacturers, Vivitar, Zeiss, Helios..
Pentax has fewer lenses in the current lineup, true, but like you said, nobody buys all lenses, only a couple that are closest to our wishes. But I'm pretty sure there are more K-mount lenses worldwide than there are lenses in the monunts that Canon or Nikon are using now (unlike them, Pentax stuck to the K-mount, evolving it without ruining backwards compatibility)


QuoteOriginally posted by DSLRnovice Quote
I got the impression that he felt it would be foolish to use film era lenses on a modern FF digital camera. He believed that the cost of getting these most important zooms for it would add up to the same amount for the equivalent Nikon or Canon kit. He seemed to think that these 3 zoom kits were the most common systems.
I wouldn't worry. On a higher resolution camera, all your lenses will appear to be higher resolution as on lower res cameras. Now, sure, a modern day super sharp 70-200mm lens that weighs and costs a lot will outperform an old 1980s budget telephoto zoom lens. It comes down to priorities. Cost, size, weight, aperture, rendering style, features (AF? WR? QS? Aperture ring? Focus limiter? What do you really need?) and optical quality (resolution, flare resistance, CA, fringing control ..).
So if you notice that a lens that you have is always giving you results that you are unhappy with, then replace it. Otherwise, go ahead and enjoy it.

Its like this - You have a nice Porsche, but you don't go on racetracks with it. Only on highway every once in a while, never faster than 100mph. Does this mean the Porsche is a waste, just because you are not a racecar driver, because you don't push it to the maximum speed? That's for you to decide. I don't have a Porsche, but I still don't drive at the car's maximum possible speed I have a digital camera and use plenty of film era lenses, and they give me what I want, so I don't worry about the fact that a lens that is 2x heavier and 10x more expensive would give me slightly more resolution.

You can also do small upgrades, like replacing the M 28mm with F 28mm, which is slightly sharper and has full automation. But I am quite happy with my M 28mm, especially shooting raw and adding some sharpness in post. You can check out the gallery in my sig for some of the photos I squeezed out of the M 28mm, albeit not on FF camera

Just go out, take photos, take test photos, and study them. If a lens keeps 'ruining' photos for you, then get rid of it. Or learn to use it better! I have seen great photos taken with lenses that would not be described as "good." It depends on lens, though. The worst is when a lens is just completely boring, no character, no qualities to speak of.

09-08-2016, 04:33 PM - 3 Likes   #9
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No way. Your legacy glass is no good. Buy new stuff and sell me your useless old gear cheap! 😉
09-08-2016, 04:33 PM - 2 Likes   #10
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I've only scratched the surface with my new K-1 and many old F and FA lenses, but my early results have been very encouraging. And I have plenty of prior, happy experience with Sony's FF DSLR and choice old Minolta Maxxum lenses. Like Ming Thien has written, every lens has its performance envelope, within which it will deliver sufficient sharpness and IQ. Premium lenses may have a wider envelope, gathering more light, reaching farther or wider, but that's only an advantage at the extremes. And modern PP capabilities can fix many of the weaknesses of older lenses.

So yes, by using any lens less than the maximum of quality and cost, you might not get maximum possible resolution out of your K-1, but so what? Most of us are doing art, not photo-reconaissance!

Last edited by Wheatridger; 09-08-2016 at 04:34 PM. Reason: punctuation
09-08-2016, 04:37 PM - 3 Likes   #11
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I'm very slowly compiling an album of sample images taken with these manual lenses. For the most part they were on the better end of the spectrum in the film era, and on K-1 they have very similar rendering and color palette as on film.

Their limitations, if you want to call it that, are three-fold:
  • Changed taste in image character. Film era design taste intentionally gave soft edges and a sharp center to isolate and bring forward the subject in a 3-D effect. Today we value edge to edge sharpness, which makes the image flat.
  • Sometimes these lenses are subject to fringing and CA in high contrast backgrounds. The Tamron SP 90/2.5 Macro (For Sale) produces sensor ghosting. These are design limitations.
  • Earlier lenses sometimes have a less-evolved version of the SMC coating; and lack the modern coatings such as HD and Ghostless that are optimized for digital sensors. In my experience any flare or veiling is well controlled with a proper hood and by controlling the angle of light sources. HD is a real improvement in flare control, but I think it alters color rendition.
In no case does any of my lenses (or most of yours - there's an active thread praising the FA35/2) fail the K-1. What sometimes happens is our expectations of how an image will look are misaligned with the lens character and/or our learned techniques.

It's all good in its own way.

Last edited by monochrome; 09-08-2016 at 04:47 PM.
09-08-2016, 04:40 PM - 2 Likes   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by DSLRnovice Quote
Just watched a youtube video, "Review Pentax K-1, the best landscape camera ever?" The reviewer liked the K-1 for landscape but complained about the lack of available lenses. There is no doubt a greater number of both new and used lenses for Canon and Nikon FF digital cameras, but I don't need that many.
Unlike the Pentaxes, a lot of those lenses don't work on modern Canon and Nikon bodies, DSLRnovices. That whole section of the video where Tony looks at the lineup was particularly weak. His judgement in these matters is pretty lacking ... he believes, for instance, that Pentax should never have made a full frame DSLR. Northrup reckons you should not be able to buy your K-1.

I think you've got the nous to look at all the pictures in this forum of your legacy glass in action.

If you want to be like a Canikon pro and simply build all your shooting around three expensive modern f2.8 zooms, you can do that too.
09-08-2016, 04:50 PM - 5 Likes   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Skidadle Quote
Buy new stuff and sell me your useless old gear cheap!
Wow, I've never read such a selfless honest comment PF, the sacrifices we make for each other are heroic!
09-08-2016, 04:52 PM - 1 Like   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
You don't need super expensive lenses to take good photos, but sometimes they can help
Aaaand can I get an AMEN!

I have done so before and I will continue to preach it... good photos have a TON of elements that make them 'good photos'. The subject matter at hand, the lighting, the composition all come in way before 'sharpness'.

I am not preaching against sharpness by any means. I like it just as much as the next guy but the factors I mentioned are very skill related and a lot less gear related.

1. Are you somewhere around something where something awesome is happening that people want to see?
2. Is the light right? Learning to read light, and what kind of light, and the lack of light, the shadows and all that stuff is an art form unto itself.
3. Did you compose the shot so that it captures those elements in an interesting way? How is the picture visually organized?

Are ANY of those three things gear related? The answer is NO.
09-08-2016, 04:54 PM   #15
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Before you fret about lenses ask yourself what will you do with the images you want to produce. Will you be making large prints? Small prints? Any prints at all? You don't need 36 MP images for a 6"x4" print. Or, are you just pixel peeping? Most computer monitors are around 2 MP. 4k displays only go up to 8 MP. If you are pixel peeping then you are essentially looking at poster size prints in pieces equivalent to your monitor display. The requirements you need to put on a lens all depend on where the image will land.

Most, if not all lenses, will be anywhere from acceptably sharp to razor-OMG-sharp in the center. Performance will degrade toward the edges and corners. Expensive lenses tend to degrade less than lower priced lenses. So ask yourself how important the edges and corners are. If you're doing portraits then maybe you don't care as much compared to a landscape photographer. Now, just because something is old doesn't mean it's bad. The current crop of FA and FA Limiteds are excellent lenses. Pentax knew what they were doing when they released them back in the 80s and 90s. Are they perfect? No, of course not. I can make any lens fail under the right conditions and pixel peeping will reveal all sorts of issues.

Your D-FA 100mm is an excellent lens but it may not always be suitable for landscapes. Perhaps what you need is something like a modern D-FA 28-105 or 24-70 and call it good. Both of those two lenses pack a lot of punch.

Don't take too much stock in what other people say. Everyone has an agenda even if they say they don't. Take the information as a data point and compare it with your experience.
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