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01-07-2014, 05:58 PM   #1
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Which camera for old manual lenses?

The long story short: less than two month ago I bought my first DSLR. And now here I am: looking for the second one!
Seems like it's going to be expensive hobby.

A few days ago I read about old lenses on modern camera and want to try it. I used to have film camera Zenit and made my best pictures with it. Now I would like to have that "old style" pictures with the convenience of digital technology. I'm a bit annoyed with all digital perfection, and try something else.

Searching for the best option on budget to buy used Pentax camera for my first manual lens, Helios-44K-4, which I bought on ebay with old Zenit. I would not like to use adapter, and Pentax gives lots of options for K mount lenses as I read.

I've never used Pentax cameras before, and there is no way I can go around and play with them. Unfortunately, many photo stores were out of business in our area, and big stores don't have Pentax.

What camera is better? I can buy 6.1 mp on budget, or it's better to skip that and go to at least to 10?

My first choice was ist DL.
Now I'm thinking about K-x, or K200D.
Help please.

01-07-2014, 06:02 PM   #2
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I would stay away from the ist DL haha, no offense to it but it is an extremely basic camera by modern standards.

The best bang for the buck, image quality wise, is probably going to be the K-x.

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01-07-2014, 06:10 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
I would stay away from the ist DL haha, no offense to it but it is an extremely basic camera by modern standards.

The best bang for the buck, image quality wise, is probably going to be the K-x.
Offense not taken The only thing I was doubtful about ist-s in general is their small sensor. What else will be a trouble since I'm going to use only manual mode and manual focusing?
I have my new canon for modern standards. Do I really need all modern features for shooting with old lenses?
Perhaps it's may be stupid question, but I really don't know.
01-07-2014, 06:12 PM   #4
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can not edit typos, sorry.

01-07-2014, 06:17 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by micromacro Quote
Offense not taken The only thing I was doubtful about ist-s in general is their small sensor. What else will be a trouble since I'm going to use only manual mode and manual focusing?
I have my new canon for modern standards. Do I really need all modern features for shooting with old lenses?
Perhaps it's may be stupid question, but I really don't know.
All the Pentax cameras work more or less in the same way with old lenses. The only significant difference between various models would be the size/brightness of the viewfinder (all recent cameras since the K-30 have a "big" pentaprism viewfinder), presence of a DOF preview button, and of course the image quality of the sensor and resolution of the rear LCD.

Newer cameras like the K-30 or K-500 give you focus peaking in live view, so that's very nice to have. And their viewfinders rank among the best in the APS-C realm.

Check out this DSLR comparison for all the specs:
Pentax Cameras | Pentax K-3 vs. Pentax K-50 vs. Pentax K-500 - Pentax DSLR Comparison - PentaxForums.com

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01-07-2014, 06:32 PM   #6
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I use live view very seldom. It's usually bright outside, so it's pretty much useless outdoors, imo.
01-07-2014, 06:38 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
I would stay away from the ist DL haha, no offense to it but it is an extremely basic camera by modern standards.

The best bang for the buck, image quality wise, is probably going to be the K-x.
This is a rarity for me , as Adam usually thinks along the same lines ass I do, but in this case, I disagree, if you want to do "Everything possible" with manual lenses.

The *istD, and DS have both P-TTL flash and also TTL flash, which can give full flash capability to manual lenses where as P-TTL needs to have PK-A lenses as a minimum,

This can be a big deciding point actually for flash flexibility, the original *istD is the best body out there, but the image processing is sllooowww compared to today's cameras, and the rear display is minuscule by comparison
01-07-2014, 06:44 PM   #8
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I just bought my 2nd Pentax: a K-01, with one shutter activation, for $290 on eBay. Same sensor as my K-5, so lots IQ bang for the buck! I have a specific plan for it, taking advantage of mirrorless to reduce/eliminate vibrations from mirror flap for making stitched panoramas. Eventually I'll get the pano head once I decide which one I want. Now in the meantime if I can just learn to stop bringing the camera up to my eye!!!

01-07-2014, 07:02 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
the original *istD is the best body out there, but the image processing is sllooowww compared to today's cameras, and the rear display is minuscule by comparison
How about istDL processing ?
01-07-2014, 07:05 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by EssJayEff Quote
I have a specific plan for it, taking advantage of mirrorless to reduce/eliminate vibrations from mirror flap for making stitched panoramas. Eventually I'll get the pano head once I decide which one I want. Now in the meantime if I can just learn to stop bringing the camera up to my eye!!!
That camera looks weird I make panoramas with my phone, haha! That's all I'm capable of.
Funny you mentioned view finder habit. I had the opposite problem with DSLR, it took time to get into view finder and start holding the camera properly, especially with pancake lens.
01-07-2014, 07:13 PM   #11
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I used several M42 lenses on my K100D (using a Pentax Made in Japan K-M42 mount adapter) quite successfully. My favorite was the Chinon 55 1.7.


My M42s mounted on my K-01, on the other hand, never impressed me. But the K mount lenses like the Ks, Ms, and As performed very well on the K-01. And the 3" screen makes manual focusing a breeze.


I had to buy and install a split prism focusing screen for my K100D in order to focus the M42s. This worked great except for when I was stopped down and the viewfinder darkened up too much for me to discern the prisms. Mine was a cheap focusing screen from China. The Katzeye might perform better. I don't know.
01-07-2014, 07:21 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by micromacro Quote
How about istDL processing ?
I think it is faster, but the DL might not have TTL flash, and I think the DL is a penta mirror not prism, and not as good. I have the *istD which I think is the best overall of the 6MP bodies due to many features not found on the other bodies, BUT it takes CF cards, not SD. You can, however get an SD-CF adaptor, and use SD cards in the *istD
01-07-2014, 07:56 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by kharry2012 Quote
I used several M42 lenses on my K100D (using a Pentax Made in Japan K-M42 mount adapter) quite successfully. My favorite was the Chinon 55 1.7.
How K mount lenses are on K100D? I'm interested in K-mount lenses only. At least for now. That's why I'm here, I'm searching for Pentax because Pentax camera are K-mount ones.
01-07-2014, 07:57 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
I think the DL is a penta mirror not prism, and not as good
Well, that' too much for me. lol.
Could you please explain in very plain English why it's not good practically?
01-07-2014, 08:23 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by micromacro Quote
Well, that' too much for me. lol.
Could you please explain in very plain English why it's not good practically?
Best way is the following

pentaprism vs. pentamirror - Steve's Digicams Forums

The use of penta mirrors was brought about to reduce costs, the entry level DSLRs have all gone to penta mirrors.

If you are going to shoot manual lenses, perhaps with a stopped down lens, a prisim is a big advantage over a mirror due to the brighter viewfinder
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