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08-05-2009, 01:19 AM   #1
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Buying lenses

Hello everyone I have been doing some reading to understand about Pentax lenses and what the nomenclature is for things like FA, A, DA etc..

After reading all about them I was wondering how much of an issue is it to have an aperture ring or not on a lens? Does the camera make up for it if you do not have it on the lens? Is it a feature preferred by those who do manual modes?

Also what about zoom lock, is it important to have it on your lenses?

I am just looking to get into DSLR and it is really just something of a hobby for me so I won't be purchasing too many lenses. I would like to have a prime such as the pancake lens and the kit lens 18-55 and probably a zoom lens ideally to finish off what I would like to have, at least in my mind that is.

This weekend I will go out and see how all of the Pentax models feel in my hands, right now on paper looking at the 200D or 20D if I can find a good deal on them and picking up some second hand lenses.

So in the end just looking for some advice and info really, thanks for listening and any help you can provide.

08-05-2009, 01:47 AM   #2
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Hi, if a lens doesn't have an aperture ring,that means you won't be able to use it manually. So you wouldn't be able to use it with most teleconverters for example or extension tubes. It would also mean that you couldn't use it on an old film camera.

Zoom lock is there to prevent the zoom part of the lens to move when just walking around or if it is pointing up or down when you are taking pictures. It's useful but not strictly necessary. Some zooms can become loose with age and/or use so a lock is useful in that instance.

Welcome to the forum.
08-05-2009, 01:52 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by mercyreaper Quote
Hello everyone I have been doing some reading to understand about Pentax lenses and what the nomenclature is for things like FA, A, DA etc..

After reading all about them I was wondering how much of an issue is it to have an aperture ring or not on a lens? Does the camera make up for it if you do not have it on the lens? Is it a feature preferred by those who do manual modes?

Also what about zoom lock, is it important to have it on your lenses?

I am just looking to get into DSLR and it is really just something of a hobby for me so I won't be purchasing too many lenses. I would like to have a prime such as the pancake lens and the kit lens 18-55 and probably a zoom lens ideally to finish off what I would like to have, at least in my mind that is.

This weekend I will go out and see how all of the Pentax models feel in my hands, right now on paper looking at the 200D or 20D if I can find a good deal on them and picking up some second hand lenses.

So in the end just looking for some advice and info really, thanks for listening and any help you can provide.
Cameras built after the 1983 Super-A and have the A contacts on the mount will let you (or the auto program) set the apperture even if the lens has no apperture ring, some models will let you set it manually, but...

...with the exceptions of the handfull of full frame FAJ zoom lenses, the lenses missing apperture rings are the DA lenses and they are built for DSLRs and the APS-C format. Some of them cover 35mm film frames well (DA*200 and 300 at least) and some cover it, but with quality losses in the corners/edges, some doesn not cover the whole 24x36 frames. There is a thread somewhere on the forum where members tested every DA lens on film SLRs and submitted test images.

SLRs before 1983 cannot set the apperture without an apperture ring and will shoot fully closed down all the time.

If I were you, I would stick to the DFA/FA/FAJ/F/A/M/"K" lenses for your film SLR.

You look for a kit zoom and a pancake? Here are some tips:

Get the original SMC Pentax-M 40mm f2.8 pancake. It is surprisingly good. Pentax based the present DA40 pancake on this lens solution (and tweaked it for digital and APS-C). But don't believe in sellers calling it rare. There are plenty of them, as it was sold as a normall lens on many of the M bodies. So don't pay too much.
If you have an autofocus SLR get the SMC Pentax-FA 28-70 f4 (constant apperture). It is a bit plastic construction but truly great optics, comparable in all except speed to the FA* 28-70 f2.8 (which is way more expensive and heavier). The FA 28-70/4 goes quite cheap, I recon few understand how good it is. It was sold as the more expensive kit zoom on the MZ cameras. Be ware that some of the other kit zooms with non-constant speed from that time was real dogs.
If you have a manual focus camera, go for the SMC Pentax-A 35-70 f4 (constant) or the SMC Pentax-A 35-105mm f3.5 (constant). They are the best options of kit zooms from the A generation. I don't know much abouth the K and M generation normal zooms, but I don't think Pentax gave them priority, it was all about primes those days.

Good luck!

Last edited by Douglas_of_Sweden; 08-05-2009 at 01:53 AM. Reason: missing clarification
08-05-2009, 01:52 AM   #4
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QuoteQuote:
After reading all about them I was wondering how much of an issue is it to have an aperture ring or not on a lens? Does the camera make up for it if you do not have it on the lens? Is it a feature preferred by those who do manual modes?
Unless you are using old film cameras, it's not really an issue - if there's no aperture ring, camera can either control aperture itself (electronics), or it's a mirror lens - and there's only one aperture I don't know about others, but I have no preference - either use aperture ring (with manual, pre-A lenses), or dial on camera (with A and later lenses, even if they have an aperture ring; I mean, it's there - why not use it?).

QuoteQuote:
Also what about zoom lock, is it important to have it on your lenses?
It's convenient to have it - especially if lens suffers from zoom creep. Lock doesn't help though if you're shooting, say, stars on a tripod and are using a focal length that's not lockable. Usually only the shortest focal length is lockable (or the longest, depends on whether lens retracts or protrudes when zooming to the long end).

QuoteQuote:
I am just looking to get into DSLR and it is really just something of a hobby for me so I won't be purchasing too many lenses.
I thought so too..............


Just buy an old Tamron 75-300

08-05-2009, 02:28 AM   #5
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Thank you for the advice so far, I am looking at DSLR only lenses so film is not a consideration for my SLR camera.

It seems the 1.4 FA 50mm lens is one of the most versitle and popular lenses to have. Do all lenses switch to manual focus once you touch the focus ring on them? I see some have what is called focus shift which I think is the function I mentioned previously, but do they have to say they have that ability for it to work on a K200D, K2000 or K20D?
08-05-2009, 02:29 AM   #6
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With the kind of lenses you are talking about, you have to switch to MF on the camera. Some lenses have a quick shift mechanism so that you don't have to flick the switch on the camera.
08-05-2009, 02:37 AM   #7
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Yes, only the DA series of lenses have this capability, which is handy if you tend to do slight focusing adjustments after initially locking focus.
08-05-2009, 09:52 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by mercyreaper Quote
I see some have what is called focus shift which I think is the function I mentioned previously, but do they have to say they have that ability for it to work on a K200D, K2000 or K20D?
Not all Pentax lenses have this feature but if it did have it, it is special to that lens and works with all the Pentax DSLRs that have auto-focus 'coz the lens characteristic is apart from the camera itself.

There are also ways to disable AF in a DSLR after you have achieved lock focus (with AF enabled) and the lens doesn't have the clutch mechanism to just turn the focus ring with the screw focus mechanism still engaged.
The "ok" button can be assigned as the AF button (not as shutter half-press) or the same "ok" button can be assigned to disable AF to act as a "toggle" MF (manual focus)/ AF (auto-focus) switch (apart from the MF/AF switch at the camera side)..so that if the lens you are using doesn't have that clutch mechanism, you can still fine tune focus by enabling this function (of the "ok" button) and disabling AF.

It's kinda hard and confusing to explain until you get the camera in your hand.

08-05-2009, 12:07 PM   #9
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- Even if a lens has an aperture ring, you won't want to use it on a DSLR, as that disables all auto exposure modes, disables the meter display, disables flash automation, etc. The only time you should use an aperture ring on a DSLR is when using a lens that forces you to, because it has an aperture ring that lacks an "A" position. Any lens with the letter "A" in the name will work fine, including in fully manual mode if you like (using a dial on the the *camera*, not the aperture ring, to control aperture. Only lenses without the "A" in the name will force you to use the aperture ring and give up any possibility of automation.

- Since you aren't supposed to use the aperture ring on a DSLR, that means the only advantage of having an aperture ring is to use it on older film bodies that lack the ability to control perture using a dial on the camera.

- Only lenses with the letter "D" in the name are liekly to have "quick shift" - the ability to be focused manually while in AF mode. And not all "D" lenses are guaranteed to provide this, although as far as I know the DA18-250 is the only exception. Lenses without the "D" cannot be focused manually unless you switch to MF mode.

- If a lens has quick shift, then it will work that way on all Pentax DSLR's.
08-05-2009, 12:50 PM   #10
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Screwmount lenses
  • Referred to as M42 or screwmount
  • Pentax brand are Takumar, Super-Takumar, Super-Multi-Coated Takumar (S-M-C) and SMC Takumar
  • Manual, pre-set, semi-automatic, or automatic aperture stop down
  • Most may be used on K-mount cameras with an adapter
  • Must have provision for manual aperture stop down to be used on a K-mount body

K Bayonet Mount
Here is a good succinct reference:
Pentax Lens Terminology
Steve
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