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02-26-2016, 06:46 AM   #1
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Lens adapter brands and quality

Hi
I'm new to photography, Pentax and this forum. I just recently bought a K-S2 and I really like the idea of using older lenses or tinker around with technical stuff (e.g. cheap macro solutions). For that I'd like to buy some lens adapters and it seems there are big differences in pricing between the original Pentax lens adapters and generic brands. However, reading comments on various cheap adapters it seems that quality is not only sub-par, but lots of people report damaged lenses/mounts.
I am particularly interested in a M42 adapter and a reverse ring (not step-up/step-down) and maybe I could get some help, insight, experience from you regarding the quality differences (not necessarily flanged/not-flanged and the infinity focus thing) and dangers of damaging equipment.

Thanks a lot!


Last edited by MajorMess; 02-26-2016 at 01:59 PM.
02-26-2016, 07:15 AM   #2
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Quality on the reverse mount rings doesn't seem to be a major issue - there is enough tolerance in the K-mount and the lens filter threads that even the lower cost adapters seem to work.

The main problems with 3rd party flangeless M42 adapters is with the spring clip. Either the clip is badly designed so it jams or the screw is too long and damages the threads on the lens or the spring or screw break cause the mount to jam. Or combinations of all the problems.

The genuine Pentax screwmount adapter can often be found for under $25 on eBay. Since the new prices went up to $40-45 at B&H and Adorama along with availability in the US the prices of used adapters has dropped considerably. Why pay $50-60 used when you can get it for $45 new?
02-26-2016, 09:59 AM   #3
osv
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there used to be problems with some of the 3rd-party m42 adapters hitting the infinity mark.
02-26-2016, 10:37 AM   #4
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I'm using a genuine Pentax M42-K mount adapter, and of course have had zero problems with it. I also have a reverse mount adapter, and took a shot back in my film days of a few table salt crystals that filled the entire 35mm frame.

There are some really fine M42 mount lenses from yesteryear that are available on e-bay for well under $100. If you don't mind manual focus and manual aperture setting, there are some really great bargains on quality lenses. Read through the lens reviews here:
Pentax M42 Screwmount Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database
Vivitar Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database
Pentax Lenses by Sigma, Tamron, Zeiss, and more - Reviews and Specification Database - Pentax Lens Review Database

There are lots of high quality, inexpensive M42 'legacy' lenses out there, and some dogs. The reviewers on this forum discuss their strengths and weaknesses, and ultimate bang-for-the-buck. You'll find that the folks here are very willing to answer any questions you may have. Nice to have you on the forum! Can't wait to see you post some pictures!


Last edited by Apet-Sure; 02-26-2016 at 10:55 AM.
02-26-2016, 11:43 AM   #5
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As noted above, there are potential issues with third-party M42 adapters becoming "stuck" in the mount. In the worst cases a Dremel tool has been required to remove the adapter. Here are the bullet points:
  • The genuine Pentax adapter works consistently well and does not get stuck, but is expensive
  • Third-party adapters fall into two main categories, flanged types that disallow infinity focus and those that fit into the mount like the genuine adapter
  • Third-party adapters are often poorly machined and may be a tight fit. If tight, it defeats the purpose of the original design which fits loosely in the mount. The loose fit allows removal with only the touch of a fingernail to depress the clip. The genuine adapter NEVER comes with a removal tool.
  • The poor machining carries over into the tang design allowing for over-rotation in the mount for some (most?) copies. This is not a good thing and may be related to the "stuck adapter" problem.
  • With the exception of the genuine, brand name is not an indicator of quality or tendency to get stuck. For the most part, the adapters are generic and not made by or specifically for the brand on the box.
  • Third-party adapters usually say "Pentax" on the adapter. This makes it difficult to tell the real from the imposter. The genuine will come in a green-backed plastic pouch. Brand X usually come in a box.
  • Many users of the third-party adapters remove the spring clip to avoid getting the adapter stuck. This works, but comes with the risk of the adapter coming lose from the mount. Some notch or drill the face of their lenses to engage the lock pin on the body when using clip-removed adapters.
  • While the general word on third-party adapters is negative, there are a few that may be worth looking into. The SRB Griturn adapters are reportedly made by/for SRB to a very high standard (LINK). I have read promising reports from users in Europe and no reports of negative experiences. There was also a Japanese adapter that was highly regarded, though fairly expensive. I don't recall the maker, but perhaps another member will fill in the blanks.
I know from experience that I will not purchase a third-party adapter again. Once was enough, though I did manage to avoid the Dremel. Remember the Dremel.


Steve
02-26-2016, 12:53 PM   #6
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My first m42 adapter was a brandless Chinese product from ebay. It was unusable with the spring but worked quite well without it.
I later tried one with the Hama brand (Quite common here in Germany) which was somewhat more expensive but had a few good reviews on Amazon. It was a tight fit, did easily over-rotate and had dangerously sharp edges - I nearly bled on the sensor!

Now I use the genuine Pentax adapter and would not go back.

So I would really recommend the Pentax adapter (or the adapters mentioned by stevebrot above, never tried them), or be prepared to try out a few of the cheaper ones till you find one in acceptable quality, they seem to be hit and miss.
02-26-2016, 01:45 PM   #7
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regarding M42 adapter rings, you can pretty much count on the consistency of the Pentax branded ring.
That said, the best quality M42 rings i've bought were Chinese-made knockoffs and extremely inexpensive...and also the very worst ones i ever got were Chinese knockoffs too. How to tell? You can't and if they are coming to you from afar, sometimes it is not even worth returning a bad one. So back to the point of the consistency of the Pentax ring.
02-26-2016, 01:59 PM   #8
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Thanks everyone for the replies!
I guess it is better to go for the original Pentax M42 to K mount adapter (and to remember the Dremel!) than to gamble on this one.

Maybe there are some more opinions on the reverse mount ring? 'Not A Number' mentioned that production quality is not as critical with those...

02-26-2016, 02:23 PM   #9
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Fotasy usually manufacturers to good tolerances if you're looking for a third-party adapter. Not sure if they make M42-K, but might be worth a look.
03-01-2016, 01:34 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by mikeSF Quote
You can't and if they are coming to you from afar, sometimes it is not even worth returning a bad one.
I chuckled at this. Adorama refunded me for the "Bower" brand generic that got stuck. When asked about a UPS label for return, they just laughed and told me to chuck it in the trash.

QuoteOriginally posted by mano Quote
It was a tight fit
The tight fit for most third-party adapters is problematic. I did not mention in my earlier post, but I initially tested the mount on an easily replaceable film body. It got stuck and when I finally managed to remove it (took several hours of fiddling), I found metal shards in the mirror box of the camera. Not happy.

QuoteOriginally posted by logomancer Quote
Fotasy usually manufacturers to good tolerances if you're looking for a third-party adapter. Not sure if they make M42-K, but might be worth a look.
Fotasy (Rainbow Imaging) does not appear to market a M42-K adapter. Notice that I used the word "market". With very few exceptions, the adapters are not made by the owners of the brands they are sold under. What's worse is that the source for a particular brand (e.g. Bower, Cambo, Dot Line, etc.) appears to vary from time to time. In many cases, the photo does not resemble the item received and even country of origin may vary. My "Bower" was delivered in a plain white box and was simply inscribed "Pentax" on the face.


Steve
03-07-2016, 12:35 PM   #11
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There is a source of wonderful things in the UK who export worldwide, www.srbphotographic.co.uk They are well worth a look for lots of camera-lens combinations.

---------- Post added 03-07-16 at 01:17 PM ----------

Sorry, I don't know how to edit my post, I made a mistake with the website, it should be SRB Photographic - Camera Accessories
03-07-2016, 06:41 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by pentasonic49 Quote
There is a source of wonderful things in the UK who export worldwide, www.srbphotographic.co.uk They are well worth a look for lots of camera-lens combinations.

---------- Post added 03-07-16 at 01:17 PM ----------

Sorry, I don't know how to edit my post, I made a mistake with the website, it should be SRB Photographic - Camera Accessories
Have you used the SRB adapter? I have heard good things, but never first hand. The price of the genuine Pentax is very high in Europe and it would be good to have a high quality option.


Steve
03-08-2016, 05:25 AM   #13
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I sold a genuine Pentax adaptor on ebay for 15 last year, I don't think they are very expensive.
03-08-2016, 12:56 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by pentasonic49 Quote
I sold a genuine Pentax adaptor on ebay for 15 last year, I don't think they are very expensive.
Excellent deal for the lucky buyer. They are not that cheap, even used, on this side of the Atlantic. As an example of price new in Britain, SRS will sell you one for 54.99. For comparison, the same sells for $59 USD at present here in the U.S., though prices are generally about $10 USD less than that.

Have you used the SRB adapter by any chance?


Steve
03-10-2016, 03:40 PM   #15
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I bought the m42 to K adapter way back when I got my first K mount, a P30T, to use Carl Zeiss and Cosina lenses, the novelty soon wore off. I still have some K mount A, F and FA lenses to use with digital.
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