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How to use/meter Manual & M42 Lenses on all Pentax DSLRs (K-1, K-3, K-5, K-30, etc)
Posted By: Adam, 08-12-2010, 04:24 AM

Many Pentax DSLR owners want to use M42 screwmount (Takumar) lenses, or M or K manual lenses, on their cameras because of the low cost and relatively high image quality of these lenses.


If you're wondering whether or not these lenses can be used with Pentax DSLRs (or the K-01), then the answer is yes! Pentax as well as third-party manual and screwmount lenses can easily be mounted on any Pentax DSLR (such as the K-50, K-500, K-30, K-5 series, K-r, K-x, K-7, K10D, K100D, K200D, *ist D, etc.) Just follow this guide!



Modern Pentax DSLRs use the Pentax "K-mount", which employs a bayonet and therefore differs significantly from the M42 screw mount. The older manual M and K (SMC Pentax-M, SMC Pentax) lenses actually use the bayonet, so they will not need an adapter - you can skip straight to the lower portion of this article (starting at "Important!") for information on how to meter with those lenses. Screwmount lenses usually have "Takumar" in their names, and in order to mount screwmount lenses on your k-mount body, you'll need a Pentax k to m42 adapter. Pictured above is the genuine Pentax adapter, which is ideally the one you want to get. Unfortunately, it has been discontinued and can only be purchased second-hand. However, similar third-party adapters are also available. Caution: Many third-party adapters, such as this one, have a protruding flange which will prevent you from focusing all the way to infinity. If you want to buy a third-party adapter (they're generally cheaper), make sure that they don't have this flange. Here's an example of a good third-party adapter.

Once you have your adapter, the next step is to install it on your camera (it can easily be put on and removed on-the-fly). Check out the m42 to k adapter manual. After you've installed the adapter, you'll want to mount the lens. This is done by screwing it into the camera until the lens feels firmly attached. The focusing window and lens ring should line up with the camera just like any other lens. Now that your lens is mounted, let's talk about how to take photos with it.

Important! The hard part is to get the camera to actually fire when a manual lens is mounted. In order to accomplish this, enter your camera's custom function menu, select the "Using Aperture Ring" setting (usually at the end of the menu, #21 on the K-7, #27 on the K-5, #27 on the K-3, #26 on the K-1), and set it to 2 (allowed). Once you do this, the shutter will at least fire, as it wouldn't have with this setting disabled (you would simply have seen an F-- indication on the top LCD/info screen). The setting description should read: 'Shutter will release when aperture ring is not set to the "A" position' when "allowed" is selected. Also note that the mount on the lens must be conductive for electrical current so that it shorts the electrical contacts on the camera body. All Pentax manufactured lenses have a conductive mount, but some third party lenses do not in which case the area of the mount touching the contacts must be sanded down.

K-30, K-50, K-500, K-70, K-S1, K-S2 and K-01 users: make sure you also set your green button "action in M/TAv Mode" to Tv SHIFT. This is found under the button customization menu (page 3 of the main menu) on the K-01 or as a custom function on the K-30, K-50 and K-500. On the K-S2 and K-70, look under the e-dial programming sub-menu under button customization in the record menu.

Finally, ensure that auto ISO is disabled.

Now, let's discuss metering. Since manual lenses don't feed aperture data to the camera, the only way for the camera to check how much light is being passed through the lens is to measure the light while the lens is stopped down. Follow this procedure to properly meter with a screwmount, M, or K lens:

___0. Ensure that the "Using Aperture Ring" custom function is set to "2 (allowed)" (K-30/50/500/01 users must also ensure that the green button is configured to Tv Shift in M/TAv Mode) as described above
  1. Set your camera to M mode using the mode dial (your camera won't fire in other modes*)
  2. Compose and focus your image.
  3. Using the aperture ring (the ring at the very back of your lens; it will have numbers such as 2.8, 4, 5.6, 8 written on it), select your desired aperture setting. Note that the smaller the aperture number is, the more light passes through the lens, and the blurrier the out of focus areas of your photograph will be (and vice-versa).
  4. [Screwmount lenses only] Switch the diaphragm clutch on your lens to "Manual" (you can leave it on Auto when composing and focusing if you don't want a dark viewfinder).
  5. Measure the light by either pressing the "Green Button", or pushing your power button to DOF preview mode (only available on high-end bodies). Your camera will automatically set the shutter speed for you.
All that's left now is for you to press the shutter release button to take your photo. Congratulations- you've now learned how to use M42 and M & K manual lenses with Pentax DSLRs!

*Screwmount lenses may also be used in Av mode since they are always stopped down to the aperture you will be shooting at (unlike M&K lenses, which are stopped down only when the shutter is released or when you meter as described above).

Note: if your aperture ring has an "A" on it, instead of doing stop-down metering as per this guide, you'll want to set the ring to "A" and use the camera's scrollweel to adjust the aperture via Av mode.

Click here if you found this article helpful!

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Last edited by Ole; 02-12-2011 at 11:46 AM.
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11-28-2012, 05:57 PM   #106
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pepe Guitarra Quote
The simple way of going about this is: forget about crop or not crop factor. If the lens is 50mm, then select 50mm. The camera will ask you for the focal length only to make sure it will operated the vibration control properly for that length. THat is it. The 1.5 factor something else.
Ok...so what do you do with a manual zoom? Do I have to go into the menu and change the focal length everytime I change the focal length of the lens barrel?

11-28-2012, 08:52 PM   #107
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QuoteOriginally posted by pentaxian_tmb Quote
Ok...so what do you do with a manual zoom? Do I have to go into the menu and change the focal length everytime I change the focal length of the lens barrel?
No, use the average. All this focal length do is provide some kind of guideline to the camera to reduce the shaking due to movement of the camera. A bit more or less will not hurt. Try not to move your hand too much. I now use Canon, and the cameras do not have SR, some lenses do, but I have lenses without. Just be careful, do not shake and use higher shutter speed.
11-28-2012, 09:39 PM   #108
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I have a question that may have been answered already, but here goes: when you are using the green button to "stop down", how often should it be pushed? I have a feeling I'm doing it too much. For instance, I'll focus on my subject, push the green button, then push the shutter all the way to take the shot. Then, I'll focus on my subject (which hasn't changed or moved much) again, push the green button, then push the shutter all the way down to take the next shot.

Am I pushing the green button two times unnecessarily in the above example?
Sometimes when I do this, my viewfinder goes black (mirror lock-up?).
And sometimes, I get a very hazy shot.

So far, I'm doing better to just open my aperture and expose manually without using the green button.
11-29-2012, 10:23 PM   #109
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QuoteOriginally posted by timmijo Quote
I have a question that may have been answered already, but here goes: when you are using the green button to "stop down", how often should it be pushed? I have a feeling I'm doing it too much. For instance, I'll focus on my subject, push the green button, then push the shutter all the way to take the shot. Then, I'll focus on my subject (which hasn't changed or moved much) again, push the green button, then push the shutter all the way down to take the next shot.

Am I pushing the green button two times unnecessarily in the above example?
Sometimes when I do this, my viewfinder goes black (mirror lock-up?).
And sometimes, I get a very hazy shot.

So far, I'm doing better to just open my aperture and expose manually without using the green button.
I push it every time I am going to press the shutter.

11-30-2012, 08:56 AM   #110
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QuoteOriginally posted by Joryan27 Quote
I was glad for your post. However I have a K5 and I am using a Tamron 30-80 adptall lens that i had with my ME super. The manual focusing is good, pictures are sharp but the exposure is off. Auto correct on the computer fixes it but can it be done before shooting. When you press the shutter button you see F-- in the viewfinder. Does this mean that it is underexposed automatically?
The F---- is as it should be with any manual PK lens. And I assume that your Adaptall Custom Mount is of the fully manual P/K type (without an AE-setting). Your Adaptall-2 lens must be used with the camera in M-mode and you must let the camera determine the proper exposure by pressing the green button. I have several vintage adaptall-2 lenses and they all provide proper exposure that way.

If it is a P/KA Custom Mount (which would not work on an ME) you can use it as an "A" lens and have full program functionality provided that you actually set the mount/lens to AE mode.
12-17-2012, 11:57 PM   #111
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I tried the sugestion below but when in M with a manual lens the K30 does not display the light meter in the view finder and when the depth of field button is presed the shutter closes down but no information is displayed in the view finder.
Pressing the green button does not help.
Any othe ideas?
12-18-2012, 05:40 PM   #112
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QuoteOriginally posted by John J Quote
I tried the sugestion below but when in M with a manual lens the K30 does not display the light meter in the view finder and when the depth of field button is presed the shutter closes down but no information is displayed in the view finder.
Pressing the green button does not help.
Any othe ideas?
Press your shutter button down half way and the light meter will come to life.

There is a custom function option called "meter operating time" (#4 I believe) which controls the number of seconds that the light meter will remain on following a half-press.

Adam
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12-18-2012, 06:25 PM   #113
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Adam, thanks for the help.
I finally found the article below which explained it all. Namely assigning Tv SHIFT to the green button in M mode.
Also very important is to set ASA speed in M mode (to say 400) as if it is left as auto M becomes Av!
The light meter does not actualy display but the speed changes to the correct speed when the green button is pressed.

Using Older Lenses on PENTAX K-30 | Pentax Support

01-12-2013, 01:24 PM   #114
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I recently borrowed several M42 mount Super-Takumar prime lenses from a friend and am trying figure out how to get them to work correctly on my K-30. I must be doing something wrong, though. At least, that's what I hope, because the alternative is that there's a problem with the hardware. I (believe) I've followed Adam's instructions in this thread to a "T". I have the official Pentax M42 lens adapter. But when I follow the steps, here's what happens on every single M42 lens I've tried (three so far):

1) It doesn't matter if I set "Using Aperture Ring" to 2 or if I leave it at 1. Either way, the shutter will fire and a picture will be taken. Is that correct? I do notice that if I set it to 1, SR becomes disabled and I am allowed to set focus points on the LCD. If I set it to 2, SR becomes enabled and the focus points on the LCD becomes just a single white point in the center (if that makes any sense).

2) I've set the green button to Tv SHIFT in M mode. While in M mode, my ISO is set to manual. I press the green button. The shutter speed sets itself to something ridiculous, like 1/4000 sec in dim light indoors. And no matter what I point it at, it stays at that same ridiculously fast shutter speed, no matter how many more times I press the green button. Needless to say, if I take the picture, I get a virtually black image.

3) My Raw/Fx button is set to Optical Preview. When I press it while in M mode, sometimes nothing happens. Other times the exposure meter comes up briefly (like half a second), then disappears, and continues to flicker like that. I can manually change the shutter speed at this point and the metering seems roughly correct. But why the flickering? And why does it only show up sometimes? I basically either get a flickering exposure meter or nothing at all, with no pattern I can discern.

Any help would be appreciated on any of these three issues. I have no problems with my FA and DA lenses, and the M42 lenses seem to work correctly when I'm in Av mode (i.e., the shutter speed sets itself correctly, usually at something that's about 10 times slower than what the green button did in M mode).

Thanks!!!
01-12-2013, 02:25 PM   #115
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A follow-up to my own post. I dug my old K10D out of the box and tried the M42 adapter and lenses on it. Here's how it behaved on the three issues I listed above:

1) Exact same behavior. I could fire the shutter regardless of setting, but SR is turned off if I set it to 1. I'm thinking I just misunderstood what that setting is for. I thought I needed to set it to 2 or else the shutter will not fire when using manual M42 lenses.

2) Green button set to Tv SHIFT in M mode. While in M mode, I press the green button. This time, I HEAR something like a stop-down effect (on the K30, it was utterly silent). Then my shutter speed is set to something appropriate to my dim indoors (like 1/5 instead of 1/500). Not sure why a stop-down sound occurs, since my aperture is in manual mode, but hey, it seems to work.

3) Pushing on the DOF preview switch, I once again HEAR something like a stop-down. In my viewfinder, I see the exposure meter light up and remain steady. The metering appears accurate, too.

I'm afraid this means my K30 is defective? Seems so strange that it should only affect the operation of manual lenses in M mode... would love for someone to somehow point out a stupid user error on my part instead!
01-12-2013, 08:16 PM   #116
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It might help to snap a photo first, see what you have (perhaps markedly over or under-exposed), then press the green button. I wouldn't press the green button right out of the gate ... So after setting your aperture to your best guess for the shooting conditions and taking a test shot, press the green button (you have now told the camera to adjust/compensate for the shot you just took). Next, re-focus and shoot; you should be "stopped down" now. Look at the shot in the review. It should be well-balanced.
01-13-2013, 05:34 PM   #117
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mspoon. If you follow the link in my earlier posting to:- http;//support.pentaximaging.com/node/1280 and follow the instructions exactly (set green button to Tv SHIFT, Using Aperture Ring Enable, camera set to Manual and set the iso to say 400 not as auto) it all should work. When you press the gren button the camera will shut the aperture down to what ever you have set the lens at and the viewfinder display will show what speed the photo will be taken at when you press the shutter button. At no time do you ever see a variable light meter indication that you can alter up and down. The only way to alter the exposure is to then manually set the speed up or down if you think the camera speed selection is not quite right.
Hope this helps.
01-13-2013, 07:40 PM   #118
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QuoteOriginally posted by timmijo Quote
It might help to snap a photo first, see what you have (perhaps markedly over or under-exposed), then press the green button. I wouldn't press the green button right out of the gate ... So after setting your aperture to your best guess for the shooting conditions and taking a test shot, press the green button (you have now told the camera to adjust/compensate for the shot you just took). Next, re-focus and shoot; you should be "stopped down" now. Look at the shot in the review. It should be well-balanced.
Thanks for the suggestion. I manually dialed the shutter speed to 1/25, then took a shot. Then I recomposing and pressed the green button. Shutter speed jumped to 1/500 sec. Took another shot and, of course, this time everything was black. So unfortunately, this did not work.
01-13-2013, 07:49 PM   #119
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QuoteOriginally posted by John J Quote
mspoon. If you follow the link in my earlier posting to:- http;//support.pentaximaging.com/node/1280 and follow the instructions exactly (set green button to Tv SHIFT, Using Aperture Ring Enable, camera set to Manual and set the iso to say 400 not as auto) it all should work. When you press the gren button the camera will shut the aperture down to what ever you have set the lens at and the viewfinder display will show what speed the photo will be taken at when you press the shutter button. At no time do you ever see a variable light meter indication that you can alter up and down. The only way to alter the exposure is to then manually set the speed up or down if you think the camera speed selection is not quite right.
Hope this helps.
Hi, John J. Yup, I actually did follow your link prior to posting. I just reviewed it again to make sure I didn't miss anything. Green button is set for Tv SHIFT in M mode. "Using Aperture Ring" is set to 2 (Enable). I dialed to M mode and manually set the ISO to 400, not auto. I the pressed the green button. I don't hear any sound of the aperture stopping down, but the shutter speed changes to 1/500 sec.

What's interesting is that no matter what I point the camera at, and whatever I change the aperture to, the shutter speed remains at 1/500, even with subsequent presses of the green button. So I could be pointing it straight at a bright light with an aperture of f/4, or at a dark cabinet in a dim room with an aperture of f/22. The shutter speed always sets itself to 1/500.

Update: I just discovered that things DO work correctly in Live View. I get appropriate shutter speeds on the press of the green button, and they change (again, appropriately) if I change the subject. And, here's the weirdest thing, if I then switch back to the OVF and press the green button, I get an appropriate shutter speed. But then it gets stuck at that same shutter speed until I turn the camera off. If I turn it back on and try the OVF again, pressing the green button returns me to 1/500 sec for everything.

Since things work correctly for you, I must have a bad camera. Nuts! Guess it's time to contact the Pentax warranty department... :-(
01-14-2013, 09:21 AM - 1 Like   #120
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I get a black screen every now and again. But for the most part, the green button works for me. I don't use it all the time; in fact, I don't use it very much at all these days on my K-r, having become fascinated with what I can achieve through simply opening and closing my aperture in combination with turning my flash down to -2 and with using fast lenses (Sears 50 mm f1.7, Tak 55 mm f1.8). My conclusion is that using the green button is not an exact science, especially with a touchy camera. My K-r does not seem to like extensive use of the green button. Furthermore, if I "stop down" once, it works for the next several shots. Sometimes. Hmmmnnn ...
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