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04-22-2009, 07:34 AM   #16
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While a new focusing screen will help, don't count out manual lenses. The prices are too good to pass up on all that great glass. Even the slightly slower f2 lenses produce excellent pictures and I have seen them going for 25 bucks on Ebay. If you still have the Spotmatic, get an adapter from Pentax and use that lens. You do have a focus assist, its that little green octogon shape that lights up in the viewscreen and it works with manual lenses. It does take some practice but megapixels are free. Take lots of shots. Get a focusing screen after if you think you need one. You can enjoy this hobby without breaking the bank.

04-22-2009, 08:55 AM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by The WideBody Quote
i don't know what good is when using manual focus. when using my dad's spotmatic, it seems quite easy to focus manually. i can't imagine that it is much harder or easier when going digital
The viewfinder on the DSLR will probably be rather smaller than what you are used to. Might well be dimmer too, depending on the specific viewfinder you are accustomed to. Some film SLR's had a "split prism" screen where you focus not just by trying to judge if the images looks in focus, but via a scheme in which objects look they they've been sawed in half and not quite joined together right - the image is in focus when the two halves *do* join together right. That's the kind of focus screen people are recommending to aid with manual focus on a DSLR, because the viewfinder is smaller and perhaps dimmer than film cameras.

Personally, I find that with practice, it just isn't a problem. Even with the K200D viewfinder - which is smaller and dimmer still comapred to the K20D - I can focus well enough, although I do now use the O-ME53 viewfinder magnifier to make the image closer to the K20D in size. It's still a lot smaller than most film cameras, though.

No hurry on upgrading the focus screen or viewfinder though - get the camera, see if you can deal with it OK, and if not, you can get the new screen or the magnifier later. The magnifier is cheap under $50. The focus screens are available in cheap (also under $50) or more expensive (over $100) versions, and there is endless debate on whether the more expensive ones (like the Katz Eye) are worth it.
04-22-2009, 04:40 PM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by The WideBody Quote
i've got to get out the spotmatic. i don't remember which of those images you so kindly pointed me at was representative of what i remember seeing through the spotmatic.
I just looked at my spotmatic (it was purchased in 1969), and it mostly closely resembles #6, the F6-J. It's just two circles and the inner circle is filled with the microprisms.

QuoteOriginally posted by The WideBody Quote
seeing as how i want to go down the manual route, do you suggest i get one of these focusing screens installed on whatever body i end up purchasing? is there a suggested/better screen?
I'm with Marc on this one; get the camera, try it, and then decide if you'd like to get a focusing screen. I got my DSLR in December and thought for sure I'd jump to get a focusing screen, but I've still not purchased one. I'm personally leaning to not getting one for fear of the impact it can have on metering, and because I just don't want to mess with the body if I don't have to. In the mean time I've been using my manual lenses and enjoying them, especially the 135mm.

QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
The viewfinder on the DSLR will probably be rather smaller than what you are used to.
I hadn't appreciated how much smaller it is on the DSLR. I just checked between the two bodies and the image in the Spotmatic is huge compared to my KM.
04-22-2009, 05:26 PM   #19
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Here is the SMC Pentax normal lens resolution test results.

Here is the SMC Pentax normal lens resolution test results. Take a look and draw your own conclusions. Note that this is one of the rare sources of lens resolution that is based on several copies of each lens!

More entertaining: Sean Carpenters Normal lens shoot out.

04-22-2009, 09:33 PM   #20
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There's nothing I think would displease you about the F or FA 50 1.4, very nice, and since they're so common and affordable, you probably really may as well start there. I love the short tele range, so may one day go a bit fancier, like with the new 55, but for now I'm very happy with mostly using that, and a 28 I've gotten hold of, which makes like a 43's field of view, wideish/normalish. which is just another favorite of mine. I think it's not a bad start for prime lens shooters.
04-25-2009, 08:57 AM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ratmagiclady Quote
wideish/normalish. .
Loved the terms!!
04-25-2009, 10:01 AM   #22
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I have the FA50/1.4 and M50/1.7 - for all practical purposes both are very similar. Once when I was extremely bored I put the camera on a tripod and tested both at all apertures, honestly if I didn't know the file numbers I'd be hard pressed to tell which was which.

I don't like using my FA50/1.4 at 1.4 though, I find the overall image is very hazy/fuzzy. It works much better at f/2. If you're after bokeh and want a great lens for cheap, get a SMC Takumar 55/1.8 (Andi feel free to chime in here).

That being said, the FA50/1.4 was the first 50 I bought for my system, and it's worth having for the AF. For indoor work I appreciate the extra speed, even if it's only one usable stop (f/2) over my Tamron 28-75/2.8.

I think Amazon has it for around $200.
04-25-2009, 11:52 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by edl Quote
I don't like using my FA50/1.4 at 1.4 though, I find the overall image is very hazy/fuzzy. It works much better at f/2. If you're after bokeh and want a great lens for cheap, get a SMC Takumar 55/1.8 (Andi feel free to chime in here).
I actually don't own this lens yet... cheap as it is, I find it hard to justify purchasing it since my Tak50/1.4 is already so good (best lens I own) and just doesnt get enough use. It's very easy to go down the hole of collecting fities as there are so many of them and they're (almost) all unique! Although from the results using this lens that I've seen everyone posted, I have no reservations recommending this over the 50/1.4 Tak, especially for the price

I'm actually hunting for a manual film body these days just so i can use the Tak in its proper glory... That CLA-ed Spotmatic F, ESII, or ME Super just isn't coming my way yet

And yes you're right FA50/1.4 is hazy at 1.4. Although I have no tests to prove this, My SMC Tak 50/1.4 seems like a better performer wide open

04-26-2009, 12:09 AM   #24
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I haven't been able to use the 50mm f1.4, but I enjoy shooting with my 50mm f1.7.

I don't know if it's just me, but I don't understand the whole split focusing screen "craze" if I may call it that for use with manual lenses. Is it really that difficult to use the default matte screen?
04-26-2009, 12:27 AM   #25
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Using it wide open or close to wide open, I find it impossible to focus accurately without the split focusing screen with 1.4 or 1.8 lenses on the K100D. If you can use the matte screen, I guess more power to you =)

Last edited by Andi Lo; 04-26-2009 at 01:13 AM.
04-26-2009, 08:10 AM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by Andi Lo Quote
Using it wide open or close to wide open, I find it impossible to focus accurately without the split focusing screen with 1.4 or 1.8 lenses on the K100D. If you can use the matte screen, I guess more power to you =)
I suppose it should be pointed out for the OP that the stock screens are made brighter for slower lenses in a way which gives an artificial depth of field in the viewfinder, which is what can really make the accurate MF hard when actually shooting wide open (And also that most fast lenses are going to be sharper stopped down at least a stop or two in general) So it's not about the particular lens, except by degree.
04-26-2009, 11:12 AM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by samsung Quote

I don't know if it's just me, but I don't understand the whole split focusing screen "craze" if I may call it that for use with manual lenses. Is it really that difficult to use the default matte screen?
Not if the light's bright enough, and your eyes are young enough.

But get yourself on the other side of 40, and in a room lit by a single 60W bulb, and you'll appreciate the aid of a split-prism.
04-27-2009, 11:10 PM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by OregonJim Quote
Not if the light's bright enough, and your eyes are young enough.

But get yourself on the other side of 40, and in a room lit by a single 60W bulb, and you'll appreciate the aid of a split-prism.
Ain't 40 the new 20?
04-29-2009, 11:39 AM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by OregonJim Quote
Not if the light's bright enough, and your eyes are young enough.

But get yourself on the other side of 40, and in a room lit by a single 60W bulb, and you'll appreciate the aid of a split-prism.
I for one, have a very difficult time focusing and getting a clear image with my Pentax-M 1.4 with the standard mat focusing screen. If I stop the lens down it's OK but I just can't get a clean focus with the stock mat screen. So much so that I ordered a split image w/micro prism ring to replace my stock focus screen. I know that the lens is capable of relatively sharp photos at full open aperture because I was able to obtain them when I used the lens on my ME Super, because that camera had a split image prism focusing screen where I could get an accurate focus.

JimH
04-29-2009, 01:16 PM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by samsung Quote
I don't know if it's just me, but I don't understand the whole split focusing screen "craze" if I may call it that for use with manual lenses. Is it really that difficult to use the default matte screen?
I have fairly quick focusing 30 year old eyes, and I'd easily say that it's basically impossible to achieve accurate focus on the default matte screen. If you're relying on catch-in focus it's a bit easier, but still not as quick or accurate as a split screen.

Keep in mind with APS-C we have tiny viewfinders. Try out a proper 35mm camera or a MF camera sometime for comparison.

For the cost of entry ($40) a split screen is well worth it.
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