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10-29-2013, 11:17 PM   #1
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Extension tube PK mount

I would like to try at macro photography. As I can't afford a true macro lens right now, extension tubes came into my consideration. I know there have been threads on those here before, and I have read some of those. I saw there was a certain degree of confusion in some of those earlier threads, and so I would like to ask you, members of Pentaxforums, to clarify (again), if you can, as I am still a bit unsure of what the options are. This is my understanding of the available:

1. Super cheap tubes off of eBay, as here: Macro Extension Tube for Pentax Q 645D K 30 K 01 K 5 K R K 7 K 20 K x K M K20D | eBay Not even the ability to focus wide open per no aperture linkage.

2. Original Pentax K-mount "auto" tubes, as seen here: PENTAX Auto Extension Tube Set K reviews - Pentax Camera Accessory Review Database With the ability to focus while wide open. Using the Green button for stop down metering, just like a K or M lens. Somewhat rare at $50-100, used.

3. Kenko tubes with electronic aperture contacts, with automated metering available. Currently unavailable for K mount, very rare used, and expensive.

4. Various TC's, taking out the optics. Maintains metering, and AF. I have not looked into this route much, seems like butchery.

Am I understanding the options?


Last edited by pixie; 10-30-2013 at 12:07 AM.
10-29-2013, 11:26 PM   #2
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Going with option 4 while maintaining AF would be expensive, you can get them with A contacts for metering pretty cheap though. You don't really need AF for macro anyway and it would probably not work very well anyway. I've done it with the simplest teleconverters, no contacts for metering, it is the cheapest way to get something with an aperture linkage so you aren't trying to focus at f16.
10-29-2013, 11:32 PM   #3
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I have 1 at the moment but would really like 2. 1 is ok as long as you have a lens with manual aperture control. Trouble is you need to set it open to see through your viewfinder but then ideally you want to close it down before shot but the movement to do that can mean you lose focus very easily. Therefore all my macro is done at between f2.8 and 8 ish so I can see through viewfinder. Ideally I would probably want f11 onwards though.

With a DA lens with no aperture control it becomes impossible as it stays closed and you can't see a thing.
10-29-2013, 11:34 PM   #4
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Meant to say, you can look at my flickr and you'll see a bunch of more recent pics taken with a Tamron 28-75 and some option 1 tubes. There are some older flower ones that were just a Da 55-300 so ignore those.

I also bought a reversing ring and a cheap a28 lens to do some reverse lens macro stuff but not tried that out properly yet.

10-29-2013, 11:52 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by elliott Quote
you can get them with A contacts for metering pretty cheap though.
Can you point me to one, please.
10-30-2013, 12:10 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pentaxpixie Quote
Can you point me to one, please.
They are on eBay, you just need to look for them:
Katana 2X Tele Converter Fits Pentax K Mount | eBay

For one with A contacts anything under $20 is pretty good. Each of these equals roughly 25mm of extension, so for around $60 you could get 75mm of extension with full metering.

For a fully manual one I've never paid more than $5 for one.
10-30-2013, 01:25 AM   #7
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Number 2 is ur best option if u have lens with aperture ring to use with it. Any PK macro tube will do, no need to be pentax brand. But look that tubes have that lever so u can focus manually wide open if needed, if not have lever then aperture stops always value that selected in ring.

Somebody should make new af macro tubes for pentax...i want one also.

10-30-2013, 04:53 AM   #8
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Another option is a bellows. The Pentax K-mount bellows units offer a sort of compromise between your #1 and #2 options: focus with the lens wide open, then stop down using the supplied double cable release, then shoot. You can even do this with the lens reversed, something you can't do with an extension tube and reverse adapter. (If you're using an older film body the double cable release lets you do both at the same time.) Of course a bellows is more cumbersome than extension tubes.

What lens(es) do you currently have that you are thinking about using, and what kind of magnification range are you interested in?
10-30-2013, 10:40 PM   #9
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Thank you all for your input. After reading what was said here, I bought a set of Pentax tubes for $50 on eBay. I thought that was a good price, and they will allow for some versatility, I will first try at home with my FA 50 f1.4, on a tripod, shooting some coins, coffee beans, etc. Then I would like to go out and see if I can manage some catch-in-focus shots of bugs. Thank you all for your help.

Last edited by pixie; 10-31-2013 at 09:44 PM.
11-02-2013, 09:30 AM   #10
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How are you getting on?

I just bought a set of Sunagor auto tubes that have the mechanics to keep the lens iris open until you take a picture. However, stop down metering with green button does not work. I am using an old lens with aperture selection.

If I just use lens on its own then stop down metering works fine.

If I use tubes stop down metering does not work.

I then put some tin foil between tubes and camera contacts then stop down metering works. Sometimes it also works differently where in M mode I can tell it the aperture I'm using but can't get it to do this consistently. Must just be that the tin foil moves slightly and shorts some but not others.

Anyway, is this a case where I need to file the black paint off the tubes?
11-02-2013, 02:33 PM   #11
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Ok, figured it out now. The random behaviour I was seeing is because the foil must have been crumpled in just the right place to make the indented pin on the camera mount think I had an A mount lens on.

I eventually found this thread which explains it all and gives some good options: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/116-pentax-k-r/178928-kr-short-contacts-c...-m42-lens.html
11-06-2013, 05:33 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by thechumpen Quote
Ok, figured it out now. The random behaviour I was seeing is because the foil must have been crumpled in just the right place to make the indented pin on the camera mount think I had an A mount lens on.

I eventually found this thread which explains it all and gives some good options: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/116-pentax-k-r/178928-kr-short-contacts-c...-m42-lens.html
I moved from the K-r to the K-30 and one of the first things I did was short the A pin the same as I did in the above referenced thread. Check out this post for more on this topic:
PK/A extension tubes? - PentaxForums.com

Be sure to scroll down a couple posts and see the pictures.
11-07-2013, 01:00 AM   #13
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Great thread, thanks Jim. I might buy myself a cheapish A zoom lens so that I can do the shorting thing as like you say, it only practically works if you use the same lens.
11-07-2013, 05:54 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by thechumpen Quote
Great thread, thanks Jim. I might buy myself a cheapish A zoom lens so that I can do the shorting thing as like you say, it only practically works if you use the same lens.
Your tag line indicates you have an A 50/1.4. It would work just fine. Many folks doing macro always use the same lens, and a prime is going to be so much better than most zooms, especially at the corners.
11-07-2013, 07:17 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by JimJohnson Quote
Your tag line indicates you have an A 50/1.4. It would work just fine. Many folks doing macro always use the same lens, and a prime is going to be so much better than most zooms, especially at the corners.
Yes I have been playing around with that one a bit. So far I have mostly used my Tamron 28-75 as that has an aperture ring on it. However, I'm thinking that as I'll be stuck to one lens I might eventually get something with a bit more range so I can go a bit longer. Will certainly just stick with what I've got for now though as my next step is trying out some reverse macro which is going to be far more awkward...
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