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03-31-2009, 09:10 AM   #1
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Older lenses compared to new ones

This is following on from Madhatter's thread really... but having read the guidelines I'm starting a new thread as I feel it's different "enough" to warrant it.

I've just bought myself a K20D with a view to some semi-pro work ( I'm new to Pentax but not even slightly new to photography ). I'm not in the slightest bothered about autofocus or the added weight. The only thing I might be bothered about is aperture functions... but surely if I meter through the lens and adjust shutter speed in manual mode there's nothing to worry about there either? or is this where the fabled green button comes into play?

Are the old lenses genuinely comparable to the new ones in terms of image quality ( this being my prime concern above all else )? If they are then eBay is most certainly going to be my friend...

Apologies if these questions have been answered elsewhere, I'm just keen to get up to speed with a brand I have no experience of.

edit: forgot to mention - the intention is to use primes and I'm not fussed about the EXIF data containing focal length etc...


Last edited by beardybrave; 03-31-2009 at 09:11 AM. Reason: spelling
03-31-2009, 09:47 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by beardybrave Quote
Are the old lenses genuinely comparable to the new ones in terms of image quality ( this being my prime concern above all else )? If they are then eBay is most certainly going to be my friend...
Just go down to the Pentax SLR Lens Discussion forum and check the following threads. Takumar club, The Off-Brand Club!!, The A Club, The M Club! You then come to your own conclusion.
03-31-2009, 09:51 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by beardybrave Quote
...if I meter through the lens and adjust shutter speed in manual mode there's nothing to worry about there either? or is this where the fabled green button comes into play?
Yes, it is. The steps for shooting with a manual (K or M) lens are:

1) Set the aperture ring to the f/stop you want to use.
2) Focus.
3) Press the green button - this briefly stops down the lens, meters, and sets the shutter speed.
4) Press the shutter button to take the picture.

Have a look at my Pictorial Guide to Using Manual Lenses on the DPReview forum. It's written for the K100D Super, but the K20D is very similar. This will give you an excellent idea of the procedure for shooting with manual lenses.


QuoteQuote:
Are the old lenses genuinely comparable to the new ones in terms of image quality ( this being my prime concern above all else )? If they are then eBay is most certainly going to be my friend...
It depends on the lens, of course, but yes - many of the older prime lenses are optically the equal of anything you can get today. The older zooms are generally less stellar, though.
03-31-2009, 10:04 AM   #4
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A good lens is a good lens, it doesn't matter how old it is.
Having said that, a good lens without multi-coating is not going to be as good a lens as a good lens with multi-coating, so watch what you are buying. Digital sensors are not forgiving of uncoated optics.
About the only real difference I've seen when comparing older lenses to newer "designed for digital" lenses is the coatings on the rear element are better at minimizing reflections from the sensor on the newer lenses.
I've had a couple of shots marred by this sort of reflection, so it is a real, though not critical issue.
The lens in question is an A100/2.8 macro which is one of the better lenses that Pentax has made.

03-31-2009, 10:25 AM   #5
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if you are concerned with the resolving power and general IQ of an older lens compared to that of a newer lens... you have absolutely nothing to worry about. in fact , from the threads I have read on this forum, the K20's CMOS censor has shot down a number of modern lenses and made more than a few people fans of legacy glass.
03-31-2009, 11:12 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by beardybrave Quote
This is following on from Madhatter's thread really... but having read the guidelines I'm starting a new thread as I feel it's different "enough" to warrant it.

The only thing I might be bothered about is aperture functions... but surely if I meter through the lens and adjust shutter speed in manual mode there's nothing to worry about there either? or is this where the fabled green button comes into play?

edit: forgot to mention - the intention is to use primes and I'm not fussed about the EXIF data containing focal length etc...
One of the cool things is that Shake Reduction will work with the old lenses as well. If the SR switch is set to ON, and your switch power on with a already installed legacy lens, the LCD window will ask you to enter the nearest FL from a long list of FL. Once that is done, you're set. In fact you can even enter a FL that includes any TC you many have installed.

I like to do night scenes and the Manual mode works really well for that. Once i set the aperture i want, tapping the green button does the metering and suggests an initial shutter time value. Then i adjust from there.

Another neat thing about the legacy lenses is that they have a aperture ring. One can buy a set of extension tubes for about $10 and you can place them between any manual lens and the camera body. This allows close focusing without the expense of a macro. These extension tubes of course have the necessary bayonet connections. With the aperture ring, you can still do manual aperture adjustment without any electrical contacts on the extension tubes. All for small change.

Enjoy!!!!
03-31-2009, 11:39 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sean Nelson Quote
Yes, it is. The steps for shooting with a manual (K or M) lens are:

1) Set the aperture ring to the f/stop you want to use.
2) Focus.
3) Press the green button - this briefly stops down the lens, meters, and sets the shutter speed.
4) Press the shutter button to take the picture.

Have a look at my Pictorial Guide to Using Manual Lenses on the DPReview forum. It's written for the K100D Super, but the K20D is very similar. This will give you an excellent idea of the procedure for shooting with manual lenses.

It depends on the lens, of course, but yes - many of the older prime lenses are optically the equal of anything you can get today. The older zooms are generally less stellar, though.

What if you don't want to meter through the lens? What if you want to guesstimate the exposure, or use a light meter, is it possible to set the aperture and shutter speed without having to hit the green button? My apologies if this is obvious...I am new to photography and have read the articles but did not find the answer to this question.

Thanks,

Doug
03-31-2009, 11:53 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by greentea3 Quote
What if you don't want to meter through the lens? What if you want to guesstimate the exposure, or use a light meter, is it possible to set the aperture and shutter speed without having to hit the green button? My apologies if this is obvious...I am new to photography and have read the articles but did not find the answer to this question.

Thanks,

Doug
absolutely. in M mode you can set the shutter speed yourself and then set the aperture on the lens. if you are using a K mount lens, you will focus wide open (because the aperture stays open regardless of what you set it at) and then when you press the shutter the lens will stop down to the set aperture to take the photo. I use both my K110 and K-m in M with a Sekonic light meter. using the 'green button' metering is for those who don't want to guess, or don't have a light meter. you can use your digital just like any manual SLR.

03-31-2009, 11:58 AM   #9
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Thanks for the info. This is awesome. I researched this on Canon cameras and this is not possible.
03-31-2009, 12:06 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by greentea3 Quote
Thanks for the info. This is awesome. I researched this on Canon cameras and this is not possible.
because of the complete lack of mechanical coupling between lens and camera body I assume?
03-31-2009, 12:39 PM   #11
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These are great responses guys ... one of the reasons I went for the Pentax K20d was that it seemed to me to be the closest thing I could find to the old fully manual film cameras I used to use. This makes it doubly so and all the better for it.

I'll be foraging amongst the used lenses then
03-31-2009, 12:44 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by beardybrave Quote
I'll be foraging amongst the used lenses then
along with a good majority on this forum. happy hunting!
03-31-2009, 12:46 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by greentea3 Quote
Thanks for the info. This is awesome. I researched this on Canon cameras and this is not possible.
Canon cameras have no "Manual" mode? I find that a bit hard to believe.
03-31-2009, 01:19 PM   #14
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Yepp. Unless you get a fancy adapter that pretends to be some EF type lens its all manual mode guesstimate.
Well, i bet Canon thinks it is already much to allow camera to function "without" a lens and not hanging up with some Error 99. That's what they call manual lens support.
03-31-2009, 01:20 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by greentea3 Quote
What if you don't want to meter through the lens? What if you want to guesstimate the exposure, or use a light meter, is it possible to set the aperture and shutter speed without having to hit the green button?
As noted by others - yes this is completely possible. The green button is there to set the shutter speed for you if you want to use it, but you can freely change the shutter speed yourself - either without using the green button at all or by "tweaking" it after seeing what speed the green button has selected.

For manual lenses, setting the proper exposure in manual mode really only differs in the sense that you set the aperture using the lens's aperture ring rather than selecting it via the camera's dials.
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