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08-16-2012, 08:20 PM   #1
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Film, lenses, digital, body

Hi, I am new to digital. I have an older Pentax 35mm film camera that I originally purchased my lenses for. I thought I read on the internet that my older lenses would work on a newer digital camera body so I purchased a used Pentax K-x digital camera body from eBay this past spring.
The lenses I have are: smc Pentax-DAL 1:35-5.6 18-55 AL, smc Pentax-A 1:2 50mm, and a Takumar-A zoom 1:4 70-200mm. I manually focus my photo in the view finder and then the auto focus blurs out the image and looks like trying to look out of window smeared in Vaseline. I changed the outside to "MF" but my shots are still not clear enough for me. I read on the internet (somewhere) that there is some kind of ring that I can buy to attach to the lenses to bring them into the 21st century. Does anyone know what this ring is and where I can buy it? PLEASE?! Thank you. Sunnie Murphy

08-16-2012, 08:42 PM   #2
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It is impossible to know what is going on without seeing the images, but I'll try my best to help.

The auto focus can't do anything with those lenses, they don't have the necessary hardware inside them for the in camera motor to do anything with them. They work exactly as they did on your film camera as far as focusing. Both of those lenses are known as "A" lenses, they report the aperture details to the camera so auto exposure can work and it does work great as long as the lenses are in "A" mode on the aperture ring. The main thing is the focus screen inside of a modern DSLR is not meant for manual focus, it is meant to be bright and it can show the DOF being deeper than it really is. There are replacement screens that are more like the old manual focus bodies, but with practice using the stock screen, you should be able to get good shots.

There is one possibility that I can think of, shake reduction, if you have the shake reduction focal length set wrong, it can actually cause motion blur in your images. Your 18-55mm doesn't require you to set this value since it has a chip inside to tell the camera all of the details, your old manual lenses do not, so when you turn on the camera it will ask for the focal length. If you are using the 50mm with the shake reduction set for 200mm, the sensor will move too far to compensate for the camera shake, blurring the image.
08-16-2012, 08:46 PM   #3
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Thank you! I was ripping my hair out! So it's manual focus all of the way until I hit the lotto!
08-16-2012, 09:07 PM   #4
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As the owner of numerous manual focus lenses and a single 18-55mm auto focus lens that never gets mounted, I have to tell you, it isn't that bad. Optically, they can be just as good as their modern fully automatic successors. I do have both of the lenses that you do, they are good enough for you to get a feel of manual focus and to see if you might enjoy picking up modern replacements or even better manual replacements. That is kinda what I started doing, started with an M 50mm f1.4 when I got my camera, since an auto focus FA 50mm f1.4 was much more expensive, 20 or so manual focus lenses later, I haven't bought anything but manual lenses.

08-16-2012, 09:46 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by sunniemurf Quote
Hi, I am new to digital. I have an older Pentax 35mm film camera that I originally purchased my lenses for. I thought I read on the internet that my older lenses would work on a newer digital camera body so I purchased a used Pentax K-x digital camera body from eBay this past spring.
The lenses I have are: smc Pentax-DAL 1:35-5.6 18-55 AL, smc Pentax-A 1:2 50mm, and a Takumar-A zoom 1:4 70-200mm. I manually focus my photo in the view finder and then the auto focus blurs out the image and looks like trying to look out of window smeared in Vaseline. I changed the outside to "MF" but my shots are still not clear enough for me. I read on the internet (somewhere) that there is some kind of ring that I can buy to attach to the lenses to bring them into the 21st century. Does anyone know what this ring is and where I can buy it? PLEASE?! Thank you. Sunnie Murphy
I am not sure if this is what you mean, but I am assuming that your takumar lens is this one :Pentax-A 70-200mm F4 Reviews - Non-SMC Pentax Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database
Therefor it is the K-Mount lens. This "adaptor" ring that brings lenses into the 21st century is only for lenses which have M42 mount (screw mount). You don't need this.

Modern DSLRs have a focusing screen which is not much help for lenses with apertures less than F2. So you should be ok using your current lenses.

There are a couple of things that I can suggest:
-Check your diopter adjustment on the view finder.
-use live view to focus if possible as you will have a clearer idea of what is in focus and what is not.
-If it is just the 18-55 lens then you might need to check for front focus/back focus issues
-Make sure that your shooting with a shutter speed of 1/(Focal length) as a minimum. eg when zoomed to 200mm you will need at least 1/200th of a second with steady hands, I aim for 1/(2X focal length generally) eg for the same situation I would aim for 1/400th of a second.
-Next you will want to make sure you "stop down" for best sharpness on the lens. Stopping down means to use a smaller aperture. Generally speaking a lens will be softer when used with the largest aperture Eg F/2 for your A50mm 1:2, it will progressively get better until about F/8-F/11 where it should be at or near it's sharpest. Beyond that a phenomenon known as diffraction starts taking over, making shots look blurred.
-one final thing to check is that you have set your focal length correctly when turning on your camera. This will depend on the lens you use, If you put in say 50mm but use a 200mm lens it wont work properly. When using a tripod, make sure you turn SR off otherwise it will generate blur as well.

I hope somewhere in there you are able to find a solution.
08-16-2012, 10:17 PM   #6
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Dear Elliott, thank you for your help. I appreciate this site and all of the Pentaxians! Everyone writes answers to the questions so that even the beginners like me can understand! Sunnie
08-16-2012, 10:21 PM   #7
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Dear Chaos, thank you very much. I have jotted down the lens info and put them in my camera bag! I love this forum and everyone in it! Sunnie
08-17-2012, 02:08 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Chaos_Realm Quote
This "adaptor" ring that brings lenses into the 21st century is only for lenses which have M42 mount (screw mount). You don't need this.
Not quite The M42 adaptor will still leave you with MF There is a teleconverter that can be used to achieve AF. You pre-focus and the camera / TC can do the rest. Somebody else can give the exact details.

08-17-2012, 05:19 AM   #9
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Lots of good advice above. I particularly like the suggestions to check your OVF diopter setting, select the A position on the lens, and input the focal length for shake reduction. Inputting the focal length for the telephoto is a bit tricky. If you're using it for max tele at 200mm only, it would be best to enter 200mm. If you're zooming in and out, it's best to set it for 70mm. Too little shake reduction is not a serious problem, but too much SR will blur your photo. As someone already mentioned, do not use SR with a tripod.

The Lenses section of this forum is worth a look. It contains user reviews that will help you understand the lenses you are using:
Pentax Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

I bought an O-ME53 magnifier for my K-x, which helped manual focussing accuracy a great deal. It's probably not as helpful as a split screen, but it's easier to install, doesn't have the negative side effects you can get with a split screen and is considerably less expensive.
Pentax O-ME53 Magnifying Eyecup 30150 B&H Photo Video

How are you auto-focussing with the DA 18-55? Are you allowing the camera to select the focus point, or are you selecting it? I use Center Focus & Recompose almost exclusively with all my cameras, but especially with the K-x, which does not indicate which focus point is active.

Last edited by audiobomber; 08-17-2012 at 05:26 AM.
08-17-2012, 05:16 PM   #10
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If not said already be sure to "enable aperture ring" in menu. I use capture in focus with my Kx and am able to catch little league players in motion very well. It takes practice and put your shutter on constant so as to take a series of pictures if subject is in motion focusing as you keep the shutter pushed down. Center spot focus and the camera will trip the shutter when the center is in focus. Works for my and my Kx . I love it.
08-17-2012, 05:52 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by chiggerbyt Quote
If not said already be sure to "enable aperture ring" in menu.
There's no need to "enable aperture ring" with A lenses. In fact I would recommend not enabling the aperture ring, because then the camera will notify you if the aperture ring has moved off the A position.
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