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02-17-2013, 12:01 PM   #1
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Making the jump to DSLR, bring old lenses?

Hi there -
I'm in the market for a DSLR I plan on taking on an Alaskan trip this summer and am looking at the K-5 (or II, or IIs) primarily because I want a DSLR and have an old 35mm film rig that includes three K mount lenses (50mm, 135mm w macro zoom that I like, and 60-300mm). My understanding is the lenses will mate to the K5 body, but that they would work only in manual modes (e.g. auto focus and auto exposure wouldn't work).

The old camera is from Sears (an SR2000) but think it's likely made by pentax. No clue on the lenses (although they are also labeled sears). I know they aren't worth much, but am more concerned with, as a newbie, whether I'm better off picking up new lenses that will leverage the automation in the body. "Better off" includes balancing buying a more expensive lense (or kit lense even) to overcome learning hurdles. I don't think I'd consider a non-DSLR body, and know I want interchangeable lenses. Primary use will be outdoors, landscape/wildlife - thus the WR is a plus and I'd like something longer than 50mm. So, if you were making the call, what would you think of just biting off an 18-135 and not worrying about the old lenses? Also, if that is the call, would you stick with the K5 body (for the WR) or, since the old lenses aren't in play, open the review up to include other manufacturers?

Thanks in advance!
john

02-17-2013, 01:01 PM   #2
Ari
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I would think about getting the k5 IIs and the 18-135 to start of with. And maybe bring the 60-300 with you (and a good tripod/mount, especially for those nature shots you're going to take up north.
02-17-2013, 01:13 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by missile Quote
The old camera is from Sears (an SR2000) but think it's likely made by pentax.
Ricoh actually.
02-17-2013, 01:48 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
Ricoh actually.
And as such may have the Ricoh pin which can cause problems on new Pentax bodies. It can be fixed, by removing the pin, but they can get stuck if you don't.

A couple of points:
1) The WR is only on the body without a WR lens which your older ones would not be
2) IMHO those old lenses would be a bonus but would not stop me from checking other brands, there is not that much value there (unless the 50mm is something special like f/1.2)
3) One big advantage of newer cameras is the automation built in which you largely give up using the old lenses
4) If those lenses have the Ricoh pin that will need to be corrected, they may not but you need to check

If it was me I would get the 18-135 kit so you have one good modern WR lens and then see if your old lenses work. Or look at other brands, but I think you will find the k-5 (or k-5II) to be hard to beat if you are not already tied into one of the other brands.

02-17-2013, 02:29 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
And as such may have the Ricoh pin which can cause problems on new Pentax bodies. It can be fixed, by removing the pin, but they can get stuck if you don't.
The 60-300 almost certainly will have the 'Ricoh' pin, even though Ricoh didn't make it. The 60-300 is one of the worst offenders, just do a search for "Sears 60-300 stuck" on the forum...
02-17-2013, 06:00 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by missile Quote
Hi there -
I'm in the market for a DSLR I plan on taking on an Alaskan trip this summer and am looking at the K-5 (or II, or IIs) primarily because I want a DSLR and have an old 35mm film rig that includes three K mount lenses (50mm, 135mm w macro zoom that I like, and 60-300mm). My understanding is the lenses will mate to the K5 body, but that they would work only in manual modes (e.g. auto focus and auto exposure wouldn't work).

The old camera is from Sears (an SR2000) but think it's likely made by pentax. No clue on the lenses (although they are also labeled sears). I know they aren't worth much, but am more concerned with, as a newbie, whether I'm better off picking up new lenses that will leverage the automation in the body. "Better off" includes balancing buying a more expensive lense (or kit lense even) to overcome learning hurdles. I don't think I'd consider a non-DSLR body, and know I want interchangeable lenses. Primary use will be outdoors, landscape/wildlife - thus the WR is a plus and I'd like something longer than 50mm. So, if you were making the call, what would you think of just biting off an 18-135 and not worrying about the old lenses? Also, if that is the call, would you stick with the K5 body (for the WR) or, since the old lenses aren't in play, open the review up to include other manufacturers?

Thanks in advance!
john
When you are buying a K5 (or K5II/K5IIs) you can always buy the 18-55 kit lens as well. There's is no good reason not to do that: when you buy the kit lens together with a camera, it is almost given for free. So then at least you have one new lens with your DSLR. If you expect that in Alaska you will have bad weather, you could consider to buy the WR version of the kit lens. It's more expensive, there's no doubt about that, but it's also more useful in rainy conditions. Your old lenses certainly won't give you that WR comfort.

For the rest I expect you can perfectly use your old lenses. Of course a manual focus lens won't become an auto focus lens, and a manual exposure lens won't give you auto exposure just because you start using a digital camera. But when the lenses already have an auto focus and/or an auto exposure then that should still be working on the K5. I own a cheap 35-70 mm Pentax lens of 30 years old and the auto exposure still works on my K10D and my K5. Even the SR of the camera's work with that old lens.

In any case: before you buy new lenses, do some tests with the old ones. When you are happy with them, keep them and use the money for something else (e.g. for a new or stronger flash?). If you are not happy with the old lenses, then you are sure that new glass is a good investment. Try first and decide later.
02-17-2013, 07:25 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by missile Quote
Hi there -
I'm in the market for a DSLR I plan on taking on an Alaskan trip this summer and am looking at the K-5 (or II, or IIs) primarily because I want a DSLR and have an old 35mm film rig that includes three K mount lenses (50mm, 135mm w macro zoom that I like, and 60-300mm). My understanding is the lenses will mate to the K5 body, but that they would work only in manual modes (e.g. auto focus and auto exposure wouldn't work).

john

Welcome to the forum.

Sometimes in our haste to offer the best advice we scare away new people and none of our members mean to do that.

Yes they will all work in manual mode. If you are lucky enough to have an A series it will offer everything except AF. You may need to remove the pin as already mentioned. There are tutorials posted here to help you do that. Some of the Sear's lenses used a ball instead of a pin. I have not had any problems using those on a K-2000 without removing the ball/pin. YMMV.

You are going to love that trip. How are you doing it? Cruise?


.
02-17-2013, 10:31 PM   #8
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It can be a bit overwhelming to get a DSLR and learn everything at once. It's a good idea to have at least one modern lens so you can use a lot of the camera''s features and automation. Sometimes you (or your spouse who knows how much the camera costs) just want a snapshot with the popup flash.

You can use the old lenses for a few things even if they are terrible. (They are probably not terrible anyway, just not spectacular. The biggest lens problem is that it won't do what you want.) Some uses:

- Trying out focal lengths you haven't used yet. How will you know what 300mm looks like until you try? The 60-300 can help you figure out if you might like the popular Pentax DA 55-300.
- Seeing if a prime (single focal length) lens is interesting or annoying.
- Learning how the camera works with a manual lens, in case you want to try a Takumar or something later.
- Cheap macro, like reversing or extension tubes.

I wouldn't base your brand decision on these lenses but if you end up with a Pentax, they have uses.

02-18-2013, 07:58 AM   #9
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You guys rock - seriously.

Terrific insights, I appreciate them greatly.

Ricoh pin was present, now removed, thanks for that! And I now know the lenses are A series. I have a sturdy tripod and a spouse who will be expecting me to be "point-and-shoot" qualified on the gear, so
your counsel makes a great deal of sense, and I'm thinking an 18-135 WR kit might be the ticket for a walk around set up. I'll have time to get used to the rig before the trip, and to see if the old long glass is workable for wildlife. Would love to look into that DA 55-300, but budget would require a bit of a wait on that unless I drop back to a K30, which I'm hesitant to do.

Thanks again, I hope someday I can return the favor. Anybody needs a terrific itinerary for an Alaskan vacation, holler. I spent five years in the USAF up there and want to show my wife and kids what it's like. The vastness makes that a real challenge. They wanted to see the inside passage and the arctic circle (in the same week!). I compromised with a route where we cover no more than 150 miles a day, and go from Anchorage to Talkeetna to Healy to Fairbanks to Tok to Valdez to Seward and back to Anchorage.

Thanks again

john
02-18-2013, 01:50 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by missile Quote

Thanks again, I hope someday I can return the favor. Anybody needs a terrific itinerary for an Alaskan vacation, holler. I spent five years in the USAF up there and want to show my wife and kids what it's like. The vastness makes that a real challenge. They wanted to see the inside passage and the arctic circle (in the same week!). I compromised with a route where we cover no more than 150 miles a day, and go from Anchorage to Talkeetna to Healy to Fairbanks to Tok to Valdez to Seward and back to Anchorage.

Thanks again

john

That sounds like a driving trip and when I go back that is exactly what I have in mind. Take lots of pictures and share them on this board.
02-22-2013, 05:44 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by missile Quote
Would love to look into that DA 55-300, but budget would require a bit of a wait on that unless I drop back to a K30, which I'm hesitant to do.
Why so?
It gets great reviews and has the seals and features... Looks like a cracker to me...
02-22-2013, 06:58 PM   #12
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"Wildlife" usually means 300mm or longer. The best bang for that buck is the Pentax 55-300. With older manual zoom lenses, you will constantly be wondering what focal length to enter for the shake reduction feature. A 17-70 of some variety is also a useful general-purpose range. I always seem to recommend the 12-24 for vacations around town, though.
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