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01-26-2013, 02:21 AM   #1
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Just how hard is M mode

for me, it is hard to get an understanding of the manual process?
One of the attractions of Pentax is the old quirky glass, but the price difference between M and A lenses is quite a jump.
I have a K30 coming in a week, Im upgrading from a K20D as I find manual focus on the K20D hard to get nailed, so focus peaking sounds like a godsend to me.
My only experience of manual is my macro lens, which I have a keeper rate of maybe 1% on - don't laugh, that is 0.9% better than a few months ago!
My understanding of the difference between A and M is that you don't have to set the aperture for A lenses, but why the jump in price just to save having to turn a ring to a value you want, or is there more?
Im guessing Im asking as Im so so tempted to pull the trigger on a cosina or ricoh 55m F 1.2, but im worrying about the whole M bit and wondering whether to get a 50mm A 1.2 instead as that should give me similar bokeh.
I have also seen in the thread for the cosina a post where someone removed the aperture lever on the lens?!? I don't understand what advantage that would give, or why it needed to be done?

Im still tempted as part of me feels that Im not a tog until I can shoot manual

01-26-2013, 02:37 AM   #2
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The jump in value is there because with A lenses, you can use M mode without using stop-down metering, which saves you a lot of time. The aperture value is also recorded in the EXIF info, which is nice.

If Pentax DSLR mounts weren't crippled (i.e. if they had the lever that could sense the position of the aperture ring), then M lenses would be a true joy to use and there would be little benefit to having an A lens (beyond the possibility of shooting in P mode). However, as things are right now I personally avoid M lenses simply because they're a bit of an inconvenience in the field.

Now, a non-crippled full-frame would solve both the metering issue and the focusing issue...

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01-26-2013, 02:46 AM   #3
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Thanks Adam
Does removing the aperture lever make the process any easier?
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/lens-clubs/41357-cosina-55mm-1-1-2-club-7.html#post436139
01-26-2013, 04:25 AM   #4
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I have some converted Contax lenses, they work in AV mode (some EV adjustment is required). I have a M 40mm. and here the green button works great.

01-26-2013, 05:13 AM   #5
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When you say AV mode, do you mean that by removing the lever, the Camera is able to read the Apperture setting as if it was a 'A' lens?
<Also, I did open the Cosina today to perform the auto aperture lever removal and noted the internals on the back side are updated and cleaner than the Porst, but definately the same design. I didn't go further than the helical for now. For those interested, its dead easy.

1) Unscrew the back 4 screws, lift K-mount off.
2) Remove black ring attached with spring (take the spring out too).
3) Replace the K-mount.

Removing the lever ring has no effect on the tension of the aperture ring.

K. >

It can't be that easy surely?
01-26-2013, 05:14 AM   #6
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It really is a pain. I do have a few M lenses and they are fantastic, but usually shot wide open. If you're doing things like landscape, macro, or even portraits where the difference between 2 seconds isn't ultra critical, then they're not bad to use. The two that I use most are a 100mm telephoto which is actually quite convenient because it is so small, and a 50mm 1.7 which is my "nifty fifty". It's about half the size of my DFA 50mm so it is nice for things like videos which is where it gets used the most. Other than that, since I usually shoot in AV mode, having the A setting is nice and realistically worth the premium for those lenses.

I think the other factor driving the M lenses down is the fact that so many were produced. Think of how many K1000's you see out there vs. any other pentax SLR, and combine that with the fact that those cameras were almost always coupled with a 50mm of some sort and generally a 100mm was a relatively inexpensive add-on. Supply and demand. Supply is very high, demand is very low. Doesn't mean the lenses aren't bad, but they take away some of the convenience of shooting a DSLR at high speed. I still keep my M50mm 1.7 with me at all times since it is great for shooting indoors and with video. Oh, with the M lenses using flashes is somewhat of a pain too, just keep that in mind since the camera/flash has no idea what's going on in the lens it just kind of goes and will usually overexpose the crap out of your shot. Makes for some interesting effects, but not what you want for everyday shooting. If you are used to using a manual flash, it is a non-issue and works just fine
01-26-2013, 05:59 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by edgedemon Quote
Thanks Adam
Does removing the aperture lever make the process any easier?
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/lens-clubs/41357-cosina-55mm-1-1-2-club-7.html#post436139
No, that's a stupid thing to do.
If you want the full-manual experience, I'd recommend a good old film camera, either K-mount (pre-ME/ME Super), or M42.
Manual focus on a DSLR with no focus aid in the viewfinder (as you will notice, all old film cameras either have microprisms of split-prisms) is a pain in the ***. MACRO is even harder to nail focus.
Yes, people pay tons more just for the convenience of having auto-exposure.
If you learn to use the green button, you will gain a lot more in the long run.
01-26-2013, 06:04 AM   #8
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I was recently posed a question that I didn't have the slightest clue about...

About how much would it cost to adapt/convert a lens? I'm guessing it would also depend on the type of lens and all, but would there be a ballpark figure with two possible examples. Also, is there a company or person that does this that you could provide a shameless plug for?

01-26-2013, 06:17 AM   #9
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The exposure side of manual lenses have never bothered me. Using the green button was never much of a issue, but I really struggle with manual focusing. Optically, the M lenses I have owned were all fantastic and I rarely ended up with a shot that was so poorly exposed it was useless. I have also used a number of A lens and while getting exposure is easier, I never felt like it was a big improvement in my shooting process.
01-26-2013, 06:41 AM   #10
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Regarding exposure with M lenses, I don't find that much of a bother. Select the desired aperture first, compose, hit the green button, take the shot. I find a lot of my M lenses under- meter about 2/3 stop, so I give the rear wheel on my k-x a couple of clicks adjustment straight after using the green button. Then view the histogram to check after taking the shot.

For focus, I find that coming up from the near focus side, if I stop as soon as the green focus confirm light illuminates, I am generally correctly focused. I won't like to use my standard k-x screen to judge focus though - too small and my eyes are on the limit of the viewfinder diopter adjustment. I will install a better screen when I buy my k-x replacement.The 50mm 1.2 lens I gather are really hard to focus, so maybe you should start out with a more forgiving lens, say one of the M 28mm or the M 50/ 1.7.
01-26-2013, 07:38 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by southlander Quote
The 50mm 1.2 lens I gather are really hard to focus, so maybe you should start out with a more forgiving lens, say one of the M 28mm or the M 50/ 1.7.
I know I should, you are right, but with a new camera coming (K30), Im suffering from a bout of LBA, some of the photo's in the cosina 55mm thread are truly stunning, and I want mine to look like that.
M lenses are scary, but Im thinking that if I can learn to use one well, then I will be enhancing my understanding as well as my skill level in photography.
I have focus peaking to help, and there is always the katzeye screen as well, have been and checked their site, they have a K30 one
If all the extra hassle is just setting the aperture, and then pressing the green button, then Im thinking that the 55mm is actually good value for a F1.2 lens with bokeh to die for

(as with all cases of LBA, I can probably think of a good few more reasons why I should do this!)
01-26-2013, 07:49 AM   #12
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Not quite, the 50 f1.2 lens is probably easier to use than the kit lens since the viewfinder is brighter with the light gathering capability of the f1.2 lens. With the k-mount M lens, the lever is pushed all the way in when mounted on the camera until the shutter is tripped. So, the lens remains wide-open when you focus using the focus ring of the lens. The only reason that it seems harder to focus is when the shots are taken wide open with the shallow DOF; and the problem is accentuated if there is a FF or BF issue with the lens.

On the manual focus lens, I prefer m42 lens over the M lens because I can use Av and TAv mode with m42 lens but not M lens.
01-26-2013, 08:29 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by edgedemon Quote
If all the extra hassle is just setting the aperture, and then pressing the green button, then Im thinking that the 55mm is actually good value for a F1.2 lens with bokeh to die for
If you know you want to shoot wide open, you can use Av mode even with an M lens. So there's another reason for you to get an f/1.2 lens.

M mode is just a tool. Sometimes it's the best choice, even with A-type (or FA or DA) lenses. When you want to keep the exposure constant even though the overall brightness of the scene is changing, e.g. shooting birds in flight, M mode is the best choice. Where M mode works against you is when subject lighting is changing, as when subject moves from shade to sun, especially if you are trying to shoot quickly. Stop-down metering with the Green Button is a nice feature, but uses center-point metering only, and isn't always very accurate, depending on the lens. That's why the A lenses are priced so much higher than their M counterparts, even where the optics are the same -- you gain a lot of options. I love using M lenses but it does take more time to get good exposures consistently.

QuoteOriginally posted by edgedemon Quote
Im still tempted as part of me feels that Im not a tog until I can shoot manual
Actually the best way to learn M mode is with an A (or F, FA, or DA) lens, because then the light meter is always on, and you can control aperture with the e-dial. You can see the effect on the meter as you change shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. So try a session strictly in M mode with one of your DA lenses.
01-26-2013, 09:05 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by edgedemon Quote
M lenses are scary,
Nothing to be scared of .I use several of my M lenses on my DL and K-30. Just look at it as another learning opportunity.
01-26-2013, 10:14 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by baro-nite Quote
If you know you want to shoot wide open, you can use Av mode even with an M lens. So there's another reason for you to get an f/1.2 lens.

M mode is just a tool. Sometimes it's the best choice, even with A-type (or FA or DA) lenses. When you want to keep the exposure constant even though the overall brightness of the scene is changing, e.g. shooting birds in flight, M mode is the best choice. Where M mode works against you is when subject lighting is changing, as when subject moves from shade to sun, especially if you are trying to shoot quickly. Stop-down metering with the Green Button is a nice feature, but uses center-point metering only, and isn't always very accurate, depending on the lens. That's why the A lenses are priced so much higher than their M counterparts, even where the optics are the same -- you gain a lot of options. I love using M lenses but it does take more time to get good exposures consistently.



Actually the best way to learn M mode is with an A (or F, FA, or DA) lens, because then the light meter is always on, and you can control aperture with the e-dial. You can see the effect on the meter as you change shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. So try a session strictly in M mode with one of your DA lenses.
Some interesting points there, I have spent an enjoyable afternoon browsing the lens database, and I also noticed the FA 50mm F1.4 which is actually cheaper new than the 55mm F1.2 costs second hand,
Bokeh isn't quite up there, but I do get all the automatic functions of a modern lens. So I have a lens that gives bokeh that I have fallen head over heels for but might be above my present ability to use vs a more modern lens that is 90% of what Im looking for, cheaper and I know I can use.
My head is all FA 50mm F1.4, but Im still leaning towards the cosina as I have been hit hard by those pics - I don't like 50mm, I prefer the 30-35 range, but the examples I saw made me I had to own a 55mm super fast lens
I think the next step is to google for some more examples of both lens and then try and decide - this lens buying lark is stressful, but strangely enjoyable at the same time
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