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08-26-2011, 11:49 AM   #1
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Full circle

I first picked up my dad's K1000 after a huge ice storm hit in Dec 1994. I was 16 and just looking outside something in me wanted to capture the winter wonderland that sparkled out there. I had never really taken pictures before so this was my first lesson from my mom:

"Look in the viewfinder, see that bar on the side? Slide this dial back and forth until you get the bar right in the middle, then use this larger part to focus and when you've got it then hit the shutter. Don't forget to advance the film after each shot with this lever."

We drove around town with my sisters and brother and Gram and I shot a whole roll of ice-covered landscape. I didn't have a real job yet so I used my precious baby-sitting money to develop the pictures for a whole $2.49 and I was hooked!

After that I kind of took over dad's cameras up until I bought my first digital point & shoot in 2001 (Olympus). Since then I have had 2 other digitals (Panasonic Lumix) and my current Lumix FZ18 is the camera I use most of the time. A few years ago I learned about the Pentax K10D and thought "great, I can use all of the old lenses!" so I bought the K10D body and was nothing but frustrated with it. I put it away for a year or two and just recently brought it back out after using a friend's DSLR and remembering how much I missed working with a substantial camera.

My main frustration with it is that the images will look so crystal clear in the viewfinder but when I download them the focus is not actually clear or it's in the wrong place. The only thing I have come up with is that I probably need to adjust my diopter but I don't have any auto-focus lenses with which to do this! That's what lead me to joining the forum and I hope to either learn how to co-exist peacefully and happily with my old manual lenses or be convinced to shell out some $$ for shiny new auto-focus lenses!

I will be lurking for a while trying to find threads by those who use the old manual lenses with the new digital body, but if there is anyone specific I should stalk please do share as I would love to learn how to make these work.

Here are the old lenses that I am working with:

Vivitar 28mm
Pentax 50mm
Sigma 35-70mm (this one has some contacts so it registers the F-stop I believe)
Soligor 70-210mm

I have never had any lessons so I may be a little slow to pick up certain types of lingo so please keep it simple, hopefully I will pick up things fast! I mostly like to shoot nature photos and I have a big butterfly/hummingbird garden that I spend time in every day with my Lumix, I would love to be out there daily with a "real" camera though!

Thanks for reading my long intro and I look forward to learning lots from you guys!

Some shots from my very first photography attempt in 1994:

08-26-2011, 12:35 PM   #2
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Hi, there are lots of us shooting with old MF lenses. I have the K10 (and a K7 and ist ds)
first thing i would suggest is getting a split image prism it will make life a hundred times easier. second is learn to use Catch in Focus it also makes life easier. I shoot manual lenses almost exclusively now and none of them have the A setting (mostly m's and taks)

also read the following Stickies if you haven't already it will save a lot of duplicated questions

Nice film shots
when you come across specific difficulties start a post and ask the question (if it is related to exposure/image quality etc make sure to post an example of the problem)
08-30-2011, 11:43 AM   #3
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Thank you for the welcome Eddie! I have been reading up and making sure I have everything set right on my camera. I am beginning to think that shooting hummingbirds is probably not the way to initiate myself back into manual lenses. I'm also beginning to think that there might be an issue with my Soligor 70-210mm which is what I was using since it was the longest zoom. I took my Sigma 35-70mm out for a while this morning and shot some hummingbirds (50/50 chance of in-focus shots) as well as some flowers and was able to get the flower shots in focus only taking 1 picture of each. My friend laughs at my single-shot *problem* but it's a hard habit to break from when I was first starting out and trying to save money with not using so much film! This continuous shot thing is hard to get used to but I am definitely using it on the hummingbirds.

I'm sure I will run across a thread about it eventually but I have to ask... what is the reason that most people stay with the manual lenses? Is it financial, where they better quality back then, just preference for doing all of your own settings? For me the reason that I chose the Pentax body was that I loved my K1000 and I already had all the lenses. Too I feel like I will be "giving up" if I just go out and buy auto-focus even though I have the money to do it now! It is so tempting to just click the "buy" button and quit worrying about trying to focus but I really want to make it work if I can!

A few of my single-shot flowers from my focus test this morning, no editing at all, just opened and cropped and saved.

08-30-2011, 12:50 PM   #4
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Looks like you are getting the hang of it. Hummingbirds are tough with any lens AF or not. Personally I only shoot MF with fast(er)primes not zooms more light in the VF helps as does the split prism and +3 diopter (getting older sucks sometimes)
But if I was going to try for Hummingbirds I'd be more likely to use my Sigma 24-70 2.8 which has pretty quick AF on my K7
Edit: as for why i stay with manual lenses. Well price certainly doesn't hurt, all 6 of my 50's cost less than $150 in total. But since i grew up with manual focus i never really found it a big deal not to continue with it. Lots of the old MF lenses have amazing IQ so why not. Build as well has something to do with it, the older lenses just feel more substantial (and never really break down/back focus/front focus ....)
To get similar quality to my 3 most used MF lenses (total cost $60) I would have to spend closer to $1500.
And then i may not get the rendering i like on these 3 lenses.
Add that all my Film Bodies are manual focus anyways and i do like using them as well (on trips i'll take a film and a digital body)
Whether I am using Manual focus or AF lenses I still set everything manually (ISO/Aperture/Speed) so that doesn't have anything to do with the lens choice

Last edited by eddie1960; 08-30-2011 at 12:58 PM.
08-30-2011, 07:14 PM   #5
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Welcome to the forum and thanks for the fine introduction.
ou've got some good lenses to work with, and with so much more potential with the Pentax system, you're assured of a lifetime of inspiration in photography.
Check out the forum's articles section for more on this.
09-02-2011, 04:51 PM   #6
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Thanks guys! I have really been trying to soak up some information. I'm so glad I found this forum as I really was flying blind when I bought the digital body and then just tried to wing it since I had been shooting SLRs for years before. I can see all of the things I was doing wrong and I have been spending at least an hour a day out in my garden just practicing and it's getting much easier to judge focus and also learning more about the settings since there are so many more dials and knobs than the old cameras have! I about cried when I downloaded my images and saw this picture... finally!

I took 7 shots of it and several were in good focus but this was the best with lighting and angle.

Since then I have been pleased with a number of others. I am kind of doing a kind of focus-bracketing (is that a term?) by taking the first picture of what I think is in focus and then adjusting a tiny bit back and forth for a few more shots just to make sure I get it! Still trying after the hummingbirds if they make themselves available but mostly trying to practice on flowers and things with fine lines or details. Here are some others from my afternoon practice sessions:

Trying to photography hummingbirds and butterflies was definitely the wrong way to begin with the digital body but I'm so sad that it frustrated me enough to shelve it for a year.
09-02-2011, 05:33 PM   #7
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Catch in focus works well with old lenses. You just have to turn the focus dial very carefully once the image starts to clear. It is a lot like shooting a new gun where you don't know the trigger pull.


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