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01-18-2018, 09:00 PM   #1
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Using old SMC Pentax-A lenses with Pentax DSLR

Hi All,


I'm new to this site and thinking about entering the world of DSLR photography and I want to buy a mid-grade DSLR body to use with my old SMC Pentax-A lenses from the old film SLR days (LX and ME super). From reading different sites I know that they will attach and that the automatic aperture control will work, but I'd like to know from experienced users any tricks of this trade.


When looking at available features and pricing...I was thinking about going with the K-50 as a mid-grade "non-throw away" DSLR body (I can't afford pro-grade stuff) to use with a newer autofocus lenses and to be able to manual focus with my old SMC Pentax-A lenses. Any advice along these lines will be much appreciated.



Best Regards,
Mike

01-18-2018, 09:25 PM   #2
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And why not , spent more time composing and less time doing snap shots. You will get fine results with the A Lens.
01-18-2018, 09:51 PM   #3
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Hi niceshot,


I've read focusing can be trickier than with film SLR cameras...I hope I get good results!
Best Regards,
Mike
01-18-2018, 09:56 PM   #4
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Backward compatibility is the beauty of Pentax.

01-18-2018, 10:00 PM   #5
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Hi E-man,


That's why I won't consider any other brand of DSLR...Like my old stuff too much!


Best,
Mike
01-18-2018, 10:08 PM - 1 Like   #6
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I have a number of Pentax 'A' lenses that got used with the my k-3 and now with the K-1. Excellent results and they work fine. There are two limitations: first you will need to manually set the focal length so SR can work properly. The camera will prompt for that when turned on with an 'A' lens attached. And second, of course you need to focus manually. And that is not as easy as it was with the big bright viewfinder of your film camera. The focusing screens used in manual focus film cameras were optimized for manual focusing, but the ones in DSLRs are optimized for auto-focus. After a bit you get used used to it, but it is definitely a draw back.
01-18-2018, 10:12 PM   #7
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Hi jatrax,


Thanks for the tips...much appreciated.
Mike
01-18-2018, 10:27 PM - 1 Like   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by mlucas9 Quote
Hi All,


I'm new to this site and thinking about entering the world of DSLR photography and I want to buy a mid-grade DSLR body to use with my old SMC Pentax-A lenses from the old film SLR days (LX and ME super). From reading different sites I know that they will attach and that the automatic aperture control will work, but I'd like to know from experienced users any tricks of this trade.


When looking at available features and pricing...I was thinking about going with the K-50 as a mid-grade "non-throw away" DSLR body (I can't afford pro-grade stuff) to use with a newer autofocus lenses and to be able to manual focus with my old SMC Pentax-A lenses. Any advice along these lines will be much appreciated.



Best Regards,
Mike
The K-50 is a good choice, but its aperture actuator does suffer from some quality control issues. I would therefore recommend going to the K-S2, which is one model newer and should be a really good value second-hand. The K-S2's articulating screen can also help make manual focusing easier.

As for A-series lenses, they work just like modern lenses regarding exposure, so no worries there. You just need to focus manually. The camera does offer aids: focus confirmation / catch in focus when shooting through the viewfinder, and magnification and focus peaking in live view.


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01-18-2018, 10:43 PM   #9
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Hi Adam,


Thanks...good advice, sounds like manual focusing just takes getting used to...


Best Regards,
Mike
01-18-2018, 10:57 PM - 1 Like   #10
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Welcome to the forums! Yes, manual focusing on a DSLR takes a bit of practice, esp coming from film cameras with their huge viewfinders. You might consider adding a VF magnifier O-ME53, which makes things a bit easier. Good luck
01-18-2018, 11:08 PM   #11
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You can also use live view for focusing; e.g. with focus peeking and magnification. Not absolutely convenient for handheld but good if you are using a tripod.

And there is something called catch-in-focus where the camera will take the photo only if it thinks that the subject is in focus (itiggt get it wrong though).
01-18-2018, 11:31 PM   #12
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If AF is not important, a used K-5 (likely about $250 from KEH or B&H) would get a lot of bang for the buck; however, no matter which model--if you are using fast glass wide or close to wide open--a replacement screen (likely from focussingscreen ) would be important. I find I cannot adequately focus w/o one.
01-19-2018, 12:21 AM   #13
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Depends on budget too. I have a K30, the K50s predecessor and I use manual lenses quite often. I have also had the actuator problem which is currently being fixed. Expensive but I feel it is worth it as like the K50 it is such a good camera. While I was deciding I priced up alternatives. Amazon in the uk are currently doing the Ks-2 for £599 with an 18-50 &55-300. If your budget is lower you might consider a K5-II, by all accounts a great camera that doesn’t suffer from the actuator fault. you can get a barely used body for £250 with warranty from ebay stores
01-19-2018, 04:57 AM   #14
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Focus peaking is a real life saver with manual glass. In combination with an articulating or flipping screen, even better. I would consider getting a K-s2 or K-70.
01-19-2018, 05:39 AM   #15
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I'm using a K3II, but assuming similar performance, I find the focus confirmation works well to help me with manual lenses. Basically holding a half press on the shutter release while focusing, and when it is in focus, you get a beep confirmation. As others have said, the screen isn't oriented towards manual focusing like they had been, but this function helps to make up for it. Catch in focus is pretty neat too. Hold the shutter release and focus, and the camera fires when it senses focus.
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