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08-21-2014, 07:03 PM   #1
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Greetings from a long-time forum browser!

Good day Pentaxians!

Although this is my very first post, this forum and accompanied lens-review database has been a major resource to satisfy my constant information addiction for some time

My first encounter with Pentax (and any SLR) was in 2002 when I borrowed a M42 Pentax SLR (model unknown) and accompanied Takumar 400mm F5.6 lens for a trip to a National Park in the Kalahari Desert (South Africa, my country). Focussing with the matt and microprism focusing screen came very natural to me, and I managed to shoot some fine photos of a few leopards with my first roll. Then it was back to digital P&S until 2008 when I got hold of an almost new K100D and kit 18-55mm. Until 2010 I was primarily interested in (amateur) landscape photography, and with the reasonably good kit lens (when stopped down) I managed to do just fine, Until then I was on a photographer's honeymoon! But from 2011 to last year I lost my photographic mojo without any explanation... I obtained a Sigma APO DG Macro 70-300 in an desperate attempt to reignite my passion, but it barely helped.

But exactly a year ago my hobby reached a big turn-around! I got hold of a Pentax-A 50mm f1.7, together with a -M version for $22! It was love at first sight! Luckily enough I had a weekend trip to some spectacular snow-covered mountains the next day, and I churned out one after the other photo that blew my mind! Contrast, colours, bokeh, sharpness, everything was so much better and felt completely new! That weekend also my passion for portrait photography was born

Over the last 12 months I quickly assembled a nice amount of MF lenses (they are reasonably cheap hear in South Africa where I don't have to compete with the rest of you LBA-suffering shutterbugs!

Here is a list of all MF lenses I've collected so far, with a rating of how often I use it (3 stars = my go-to lens, 2 stars = I use it about once a month, 1 star = I've used it less than a handful of times, no star = only done the cliché odd garden-test photo (who haven't done one of those yet? )

*MC Helios 44k-4 55mm f2.0
*MC Jupiter 37AM 135mm f3.5
**Revue Revuenon MC 55mm f1.2
Tamron Adaptall-2 SP 300mm F5.6
***Super Takumar 50mm f1.4
**Super Takumar 55mm f2.0
**Pentax-M 35mm f2.0
**SMC Pentax-M 28mm f3.5
*SMC Pentax-A (and -M) 50mm f1.7
Takumar 135mm f3.5 (preset)
Takumar 300mm F4 (preset)

The Takumars reign supreme in build quality, but I find that M's is just as delightful and smooth to focus. Also, for myself I prefer stop-down metering above Av, for its more precise control over one's exposure settings. This preference makes M's actually more convenient than m42, since I don't have to open and close my aperture manually in between focussing and shooting.

Oh, yes..! Since split-focussing screen's isn't available in my country, I salvaged a screen from a Pentax ME Super with a broken shutter. According to my research it should have been the same thickness as my K100D so that I only had to cut it to the exact dimensions, but to my horror it was too thick! As I was ready to throw this prism screen away, I risked filing away the outer 1mm of the screen with disposable nail files, to make the screen "thinner" (the opposite of what a shim does). I removed about 0.05mm at a time and re-inserted it to test the progress every time (yep, sounds like a almost impossible job to do perfectly). By sheer luck on my third try I had perfect focus according to a numerous ruler tests and the AF confirmation! Even my Revuenon 55mm f1.2 focus accurately with the screen! I was quite relieved that my gamble paid off.

That's about it. Looking forward to having some insightful discussions and photo critique sessions with you guys over the next few years!


Last edited by Photonz; 08-30-2014 at 08:46 AM. Reason: Typo
08-21-2014, 08:04 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forum and thank you for that comprehensive introduction.
08-22-2014, 06:31 AM   #3
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Great to have you on board, Welcome
08-22-2014, 01:15 PM   #4
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Welcome to the forum, there is indeed much pleasure to be had from "older" manual glass.

08-28-2014, 09:32 AM   #5
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Cape Town, South Africa
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Hello and welcome from a fellow Capetonian. This is a great reference site for all things Pentax and photography in general. While you might think you are getting a free pass with not having to compete with others LBA, I might just have run into you in a dark gumtree alley along the way..

Enjoyed your split focus screen conversion. I might try that as I have access to my old MX still. Might work for K200.

Look forward to some of your posts.
08-28-2014, 10:03 AM   #6
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Welcome aboard, that's a great story.
08-30-2014, 08:40 AM   #7
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Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Cape Town, South Africa
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Original Poster
Thanks everyone for the warm welcome!

Lol, KevinR, I'll keep a cautious lookout for the only other Saffer sporting a Pentax dslr and old glass . Ironic enough, on that very first weekend I used manual glass (Pentax-A 50mm f1.7), a Japanese tourist came up to me and with the little English he had complimented the lens
On a second look it was a ME Super that I salvaged, although I think they have the same focussing screen as the MX. These screens work really well, in daylight the split-prism is usable to f8, whereas my Zenit AM2 SLR viewfinder starts to blackout at f5.6 already (and it has a FF, non semi-transparent mirror which supposedly should be much brighter).
08-31-2014, 09:32 AM   #8
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Bonjour from France and welcome to PF, AJ ... Hope to see some images soon. Salut, J


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