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12-15-2016, 11:04 AM   #1
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Using Pentax S Screwmount Lenses with K-Bayonet Bodies

Hello, Pentax Forum:

First-time poster seeks to resurrect a long-dormant love affair with photography begun in 1967 with a Spotmatic and the following Super-Takumar screwmount lenses: 1:3.5/28; 1:3.5/35; 1:1.4/50; 1:3.5/135; 1:4/200.

As I understand it, a Pentax Mount Adaptor B allows these lenses to be used with DSLR bodies. Never having owned a DSLR, I'm relatively clueless about how to choose a model with features that will serve me well as a beginner, and yet not restrict me too much as I become more proficient.

Any suggestions would be very much appreciated, and thank you in advance for helping me out.

Tango Mike (Tosh)

12-15-2016, 11:08 AM   #2
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The KS-2 and K-70 are Pentax' current entry level camera. If they were Nikon's they would be considered mid-level...

Pentax K-S1 vs. Pentax K-S2 vs. Pentax K-70 - Pentax Camera Comparison - PentaxForums.com

The KS-1 was a more restrictive entry level camera, but that was discontinued in the past year.

To use the Takumars in the same way as with the Spotmatic (full field of view) you would need the K-1...

Pentax K-1 - Pentax K-mount DSLRs - Pentax Camera Reviews and Specifications
12-15-2016, 12:16 PM   #3
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Stop down aperture priority is the mode of choice with M42 lenses. Use the A-M switch to stop down at the moment of taking the picture. Basically this is the mode for all the pentax dslr's.

More particular considerations are whether the black non-conductive mount causes issues. Common issues are: green button doesn't work (but that's not a problem if using Av and stopping down manually); catch-in focus doesn't work; exposure is way off (my old K-r see here). However in respect of the latter point its normal to have to "chimp" and adjust the exposure compensation for each camera/lens combo.
While the pentax M42 adapter is recommended, there can still be issues with some lenses, especially if the mount is smaller in diameter than the diameter of the K-mount. The lens may not be very stable and there can be light leaks. this thread discusses these points.
Some taks can be "modded" to be used with a flanged M42 adapter, making it like a K-mount lens and eliminating these little glitches, by adjusting the position of the rear lens group slightly and then retuning the infinity focus (will post link when I find it..) In any case I find having a flanged M42 adapter a useful or even an important accessory if using M42's..

Update: found it - review by PRS here
https://www.pentaxforums.com/lensreviews/Super-Multi-Coated-TAKUMAR-Super-Takumar-85mm-F1.9.html

Last edited by marcusBMG; 12-15-2016 at 04:16 PM.
12-15-2016, 12:58 PM   #4
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That's some good advice already offered, I'll just say welcome to the forum.

12-15-2016, 01:37 PM   #5
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Hello Tosh, and welcome to the forums!

Those old lenses are easily adapted using one of several good quality third-party adapters. Regarding the comment from @marcusBMG above about the risk of light leaks when using narrow-neck lenses, my solution to that is to use a flexible black rubber ring sitting round the base of the lens, and pushed up against the adapter when the lens is mounted, so that the cut-out areas on the adapter are covered. That works perfectly with my Russian MIR-1 and Helios 44-2 lenses. Alternatively, a little black tape can be attached over the cut-outs... that works well too.

As for choosing a DSLR, my recommendation would be to buy a good used camera first, and see how you get on. The K-5 and later variants (K-5II & K-5IIs) are really excellent cameras with fantastic image quality, and were flagship models for Pentax - so the build quality and feature set is really excellent. You can pick one up in excellent condition for much less than a new entry-level camera. Although I mainly shoot the K-3 and K-3II now, I still have my K-5 and use it regularly - in fact, it's the camera I tend to use with my adapted M42 lenses
12-15-2016, 01:50 PM   #6
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Fantastic suggestions, thanks to all. I've got some reading to do, and I really appreciate the links with all the details.

One thing for sure, Mike, is that I'll be looking for a K-5. My only concern is being unfamiliar with the source and trusting that I'll be getting what I pay for. Any advice in that regard?

Tosh
12-15-2016, 02:29 PM   #7
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K-5s come up for sale quite often right here in the Marketplace...

A quick look shows a K-5 and a K-5 IIS for sale right now...
12-15-2016, 02:54 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by TangoMike Quote
One thing for sure, Mike, is that I'll be looking for a K-5. My only concern is being unfamiliar with the source and trusting that I'll be getting what I pay for. Any advice in that regard?
Our Marketplace is a good place to look. For extra peace of mind you might want to see if the seller has previous, all-positive feedback. Also, sellers that have been members here for a little while and have hundreds or thousands of posts are likely here to stay and will not want to risk a poor reputation by exaggerating the condition of equipment for sale.

Shutter count is often a good indicator of basic condition, so always ask the seller what the camera's shutter count is. The K-5 shutter is rated at 100,000 actuations (if I remember correctly), but really you'd ideally get one with under 20,000 (no science to that - it just means there's a huge amount life left in it). Look at the exterior condition in the photos... is it clean, free of significant marks to the entire body and screen (the odd little nick or small scratch is nothing to get too concerned about), lens mounting plate in good condition, no button labelling worn away? Ask if the viewfinder and mirror are clear, and the mirror box clean. Does it have all the original accessories (perhaps even the box?) - and if not, does it at least have the charger and a good battery? Also ask if the camera is known to have any significant issues with front or back focusing. Oh, ask if the seller will accept a return (you would have to pay return shipping) and ideally pay by PayPal or another method with buyer protection, just in case.

I've seen some very nice K-5 and variants on our Marketplace with low shutter counts (5,000 and below) in really excellent condition with charger, cables etc. - so no need to buy the first one you see unless it looks good

12-15-2016, 04:08 PM   #9
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More great advice, thank you. Without intending to bite the hand that offered it, I'd be interested in your opinion of the following:

An extended family member is a professional photographer, and I queried him about buying a used K-5. He provided what might be a caution worthy of note, which is the potential for problems getting service/repairs done on a discontinued model.

In the days of analog cameras, he had lots of mom-n-pop repair stores available that could work on discontinued models because they were simple machines with no computer guts. In his opinion, most of the repair shops still around are going to ship the camera back to the manufacturer for anything more than routine cleaning or meter check because modern DSLRs are too complex for the majority of locally available expertise. The money saved initially could become expensive if the used camera "gets jukey," which at some point will likely happen. His suggestion is to consider starting off with a model currently being sold and serviced by Pentax.

When comparing a used K-5 with the least expensive current model entry-level choice, which might have as much or more capability than this (old) amateur will ever need, are these considerations worthy of nudging the decision toward buying new?

I hope I'm not being a pest, but I really appreciate the opportunity to learn from the varying perspectives of experts.

Tosh
12-15-2016, 04:50 PM   #10
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IMO the Pentax flagship models have considerably fewer known problems than the entry level models. The K-30/K-50 both had aperture control block failures. No one knows if the K-S2/K-70 have fixed that or not...

The biggest problem I can recall the K-5 having was the lens release button falling off.

A Pentax warranty is one year. The extended warranty (2 extra years) is a question. It used to be ~$20 and could be purchased within 30 days of the camera purchase. Now it seems to be $100. But you can still get it for less...or not, I can't seem to figure it out...

The US service provider is Precision Camera. You won't find many who here who are happy about that whether the item is in warranty or out...their site shows service back to the K-20D (2008) fwiw. But it's usually cheaper just to replace an older camera...

I should also point out that KEH offers flat rate repairs. $250 for a DSLR. (Used cameras purchased from KEH have a 6 month warranty. Though they never seem to have Pentax bodies in stock anymore.)

Last edited by boriscleto; 12-15-2016 at 05:16 PM.
12-15-2016, 11:58 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by TangoMike Quote
I hope I'm not being a pest, but I really appreciate the opportunity to learn from the varying perspectives of experts.
You're not being a pest at all... Experts we may not be, but there's good experience within these forums, and it's worth researching a purchase like this properly

There is always some risk in buying a used camera without a warranty - no doubt about it. But, consider the following:

(1) The K-5, K-5II, K-5IIs, K-3, current K-3II and K-1 are all "flagship" models - they were / are top-of-the-range cameras designed with heavy use in mind, and high shutter life stated in the specifications.

(2) Models such as the K-30, K-50, K-S1, K-S2 and current K-70 have no published estimated shutter life data. You can argue that these entry-to-mid-level models are less-well-suited for long-term heavy use (although all are excellent cameras).

(3) As has already been mentioned, the K-30 and K-50 are known for potential aperture mechanism failure. The majority of users remain unaffected, but too many have had the problem to ignore the possibility, and reports suggest that it can be age-related rather than being due to heavy use, with some bodies failing after only 1,000-2,000 photos in extreme cases. It's possible that some K-S2 bodies may have been affected too, or may be affected in future. We don't know if the problem has been resolved with the K-70, but it comes from the same lineage. If I was buying a new K-70, I would want the longest extended warranty available, just in case.

(4) Whilst few, if any, cameras (from any manufacturer) are entirely immune to the odd problem or two, the flagship Pentax models (with the exception of the K-1, released just this year) are all long-established and fully proven - there are very few known problems. It's a reasonable assumption that a used-but-not-abused copy has already displayed any design or manufacturing-related problems it may have and has been fixed, so it should continue to operate well for some considerable time. In this way, a slightly-used camera can be really good option, as it's a known quantity. So long as you ask the seller to disclose any current or previous issues, frequent or intermittent, I'd suggest the risk of the camera failing is pretty low.

(3) A used K-5 might set you back around $350 (for just the body - no optional accessories such as battery grip, lenses etc.). That's just over half the current cost of a new K-70. If the camera were to develop a significant problem, I'd guess you could sell it - with full disclosure to the buyer - for $150, leaving you $200 out of pocket. Even if you paid out another $350 for a replacement K-5, your total investment would be $550... still considerably less than a new K-70.

I'm not saying you shouldn't buy new, and I have no doubt you would be delighted with a K-70 - by all accounts, it's an incredible camera, and for peace of mind during the warranty period, you can't beat that option. But if you do your homework on the seller and the camera, a sensibly-priced used K-5 can be an excellent value, limited-risk proposition.

Last edited by BigMackCam; 12-16-2016 at 12:30 AM.
12-16-2016, 07:18 AM   #12
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It may be decision time

Thanks for the detailed perspective, Mike.

After considering the all-important question of used versus new, I'm leaning toward the latter based upon a lifelong preference for taking a purchase out of the box for the first time, treating it well during use, and keeping it forever. My Super-Taks haven't been used all that much over the years, but they're absolutely pristine. I've read reviews about these lenses on this forum and been impressed with how knowledgeable photographers appreciate the differences between them and their newer counterparts. To resurrect them from storage in a camera bag and give them new life as I learn about digital photography will be my Christmas present to me.

I understand the logic of your advice and counsel about purchasing a used body. When comparing that to the uncertainties about the longevity of a new body that has no track record with regard to reliability, both options present down line risks, and it boils down to a matter of which set of potential problems causes me the least concern.

All of that said, the basic issue of having to use an adapter and the details of how that alters the steps required to take photographs inserts a more significant challenge, Without understanding that anywhere near to the degree I'll need to, the only way I'm going to find out is by learning for myself (and hopefully with the guidance available on this forum) what limitations are introduced by the marriage of the old and the new.

In comparing the K-S2 with the K-70 and trying to make sense of the differences in the long list of specifications, I'm leaning toward the latest model out of a basic faith, which I admit may be unwarranted, that the name Pentax stands for something other than building cameras that fail prematurely. At this point, I can only trust the brand and hope I'm right.

Tosh
12-16-2016, 07:55 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by TangoMike Quote
After considering the all-important question of used versus new, I'm leaning toward the latter based upon a lifelong preference for taking a purchase out of the box for the first time, treating it well during use, and keeping it forever.
...
In comparing the K-S2 with the K-70 and trying to make sense of the differences in the long list of specifications, I'm leaning toward the latest model out of a basic faith, which I admit may be unwarranted, that the name Pentax stands for something other than building cameras that fail prematurely. At this point, I can only trust the brand and hope I'm right.
That's great - you're closer to a decision

If you can stretch to the K-70 rather than the K-S2, I'd advise it. The K-70 has some significant improvements, most impressive of which is its image quality in low light (better even than the K-3II). In fact, image quality generally is better. And if you can stretch just a little further, consider an extended warranty. Since you intend to keep the camera long-term, you may as well give yourself peace of mind for as long as possible
12-16-2016, 08:13 AM   #14
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Copy that, Mike, and now the mind-tussle begins!
12-16-2016, 08:22 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by TangoMike Quote
Copy that, Mike, and now the mind-tussle begins!
welcome to the forum

one thought if you are looking at buying new, there is a tie in between some suppliers and the forum that you may want to explore, you can get benefits from the forum if you use either of them.

you must place the order online as I understand it


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