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10-13-2009, 11:45 PM   #1
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Looking for my first 50mm prime

hey guys, ive been perusing the forums for a while and thought i may as well register I have a k200d and after a bit of research and had decided on an old smc pentax-a 50mm f1.7 - i did however just discover the chinon 50mm f1.7 but cannot seem to find if you can set the aperture from the camera or if it is totally manual. Is it a big deal to have to set the aperture manually?

Any help and advice would be greatly appreciated

10-14-2009, 05:14 AM   #2
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No big deal. Just use the aperture ring, then (in K200D) press the green button to get a correct exposure (since the camera can't know the aperture with a manual lens, unless it has an A position, which M lenses don't have), and shoot. Of course, you might want to check the whether the shutter speed is to your liking before shooting.

If you find a Pentax M 50mm 1.7, buy it. It's one of the sharpest pentax lenses--and inexpensive.
10-14-2009, 05:21 AM   #3
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Welcome from Back to the Future...
Good to have you here.
Indeed it's fine doing things manually - not an arduous task on Pentax dSLRs.
Hope you enjoy the forum.
10-14-2009, 06:19 AM   #4
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As stated, it's definitely no big deal having to focus manually. I've got a selection of (nifty) 50s, and none of them are autofocus. Further, all except one require manual setting of the aperture... the closest thing to a downside is having to compose at wide apertures before stopping down if the light isn't great, as the viewfinder can get very dark - hardly a big hassle.

Also, (others please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong) but even if there is no A setting on the aperture ring, you needn't use manual (M) mode and the green button exclusively, you should also be able to use aperture priority (AV). Granted, I can't remember for sure if that works with my M 50/1.7, but is definitely the case with a Takumar so I don't see why it should be any different.

10-14-2009, 08:08 AM   #5
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It is different. With M42 lenses, the aperture ring causes the lens to stop down immediately as you turn down the ring, so Av mode works just fine even though the camera doens't "know" the aperture (it sees the results, and that's good enough). With K-mount lenses, the aperture ring doesn't stop down the lens immediately, so Av mode will always meter witht eh lens wide open and produce the shutter speed that would appropriate for shooting wide open, regardless of the aperture ring setting. Luckily, it is also smart enough to actually 8shoot* wide open, so you do get a correct exposure - but always wide open, regardless of the aperture ring settings.

I'd say for someone not used to dealing with fully manual lenses or shooting in M mode, the A50/1.7 is definitely worth holding out for, as it won't require you to learn a new way of shooting. But if you're willing to get used to M mode and the special idiosyncracies of doing so with fully manual lenses (unlike using M mode with autoexposure lenses, there is no live meter reading unless you do a DOF preview, plus multisegment metering is not available), then indeed full manual lenses are really just fine. I use them much of the time.
10-14-2009, 08:41 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
It is different. With M42 lenses, the aperture ring causes the lens to stop down immediately as you turn down the ring, so Av mode works just fine even though the camera doens't "know" the aperture (it sees the results, and that's good enough). With K-mount lenses, the aperture ring doesn't stop down the lens immediately, so Av mode will always meter witht eh lens wide open and produce the shutter speed that would appropriate for shooting wide open, regardless of the aperture ring setting.
Ah, of course. Thanks for clearing that up Marc. I've just gotten home from the office, and stuck on an M series lens to check. You've got it spot on.

As an aside, while the 1.7 is said to be sharper than the equivalent 1.4s (at 1.8) if you find an A50/1.4 I can highly recommend those too. Until yesterday mine hadn't left my camera in at least a week.
10-14-2009, 09:11 AM   #7
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There is one advantage I noticed using the A lens; which can provide more aperture setting than marked on the aperture ring. For example, between 1.7 to 2.8, you can set the camera to the 1.8 and 2.0. Don't know if these actually have finer control of the aperture on the lens, but the EXIF seems to indicate the aperture used. Of course, on the M lens, you can only go with whatever shows on the aperture ring, that is 1.7 2.8 4 etc..

Marc, thanks for shedding the light for me on the K-mount (no A setting) lens, that I can only have "wide-open" aperture setting no matter what I set on the aperture ring. So that means I can not stop down on the K or M lens. Does this apply to Aperture priority? Would it be different if I use M mode? May be I should try it too.

One thing I am not comfortable with the K or M lens is that I can never get the aperture setting of the shots taken since it is blanked out in the EXIF.
10-14-2009, 09:19 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by aleonx3 Quote
There is one advantage I noticed using the A lens; which can provide more aperture setting than marked on the aperture ring. For example, between 1.7 to 2.8, you can set the camera to the 1.8 and 2.0. Don't know if these actually have finer control of the aperture on the lens, but the EXIF seems to indicate the aperture used. Of course, on the M lens, you can only go with whatever shows on the aperture ring, that is 1.7 2.8 4 etc..
I'm curious about this too. The EXIF says yes, but surely if the lens only has the bigger steps marked on the aperture ring those are the only one's it can actually do. Marc, do you know? Is 1.6 on my A50/1.4 really 1.6?

QuoteOriginally posted by aleonx3 Quote
Marc, thanks for shedding the light for me on the K-mount (no A setting) lens, that I can only have "wide-open" aperture setting no matter what I set on the aperture ring. So that means I can not stop down on the K or M lens. Does this apply to Aperture priority? Would it be different if I use M mode? May be I should try it too.
It would be different if you use the M mode. When using M lenses, when you push the green button the lens stops down so the camera can meter. So while it'll only shoot wide open in other modes, in manual (M mode) you can use the full aperture range.

QuoteOriginally posted by aleonx3 Quote
One thing I am not comfortable with the K or M lens is that I can never get the aperture setting of the shots taken since it is blanked out in the EXIF.
Yeah, that can be a little annoying, but I find that often I stick to an aperture for a long enough time that I can usually remember (assuming of course I dump the photos soon after). Also, on the wider Takumars (M42) I use, I often just set them to f8 and forget about it.

10-14-2009, 10:21 AM   #9
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Thanks, LensScribe, for the quick answers. With the exception of the first question (hopefully Marc would be able to provide further insight to this), I am in agreement with you.

I have recently acquired a cheap Rikenon P lens (with the evil pin - no harm done though) and learned to use it effectively using M mode, green button and/or optical preview to check metering, I am able to get good results. The Rikenon 50mm f2 is pretty sharp, much better than I expected. I am begining to appreciate the MF lens more.

Also, someone suggested this method of focusing with aperture wide open (easier) and then without leaving the viewfinder, turn the aperture ring to the desired aperture (just remember the count without looking at it), hit the green button, check the metering in the viewfinder, focus confirmation light again and then press the shutter. I have yet to get used this procedure, I think it will work. As for preferred aperture range, I usually like to set the aperture between f4 or f5.6.
10-14-2009, 01:17 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by aleonx3 Quote
There is one advantage I noticed using the A lens; which can provide more aperture setting than marked on the aperture ring. For example, between 1.7 to 2.8, you can set the camera to the 1.8 and 2.0. Don't know if these actually have finer control of the aperture on the lens, but the EXIF seems to indicate the aperture used.
Yes, that's an advantage indeed, although most M lenses have "half" stops - clicks between the actual markings. But the first click after 1.7 on the 50/1.7 is actually around f/2.4, no f/2.0 as one might assume. with an "A" lens, you can set f/2.0 if you want.

Another advantage of "A" lenses is that when the ring is in the "A" position, the onboard flash will work normally (and same for external P-TTL flashes, I think) rather than always firing full power as they do if the aperture ring is used to set the aperture.

QuoteQuote:
Marc, thanks for shedding the light for me on the K-mount (no A setting) lens, that I can only have "wide-open" aperture setting no matter what I set on the aperture ring. So that means I can not stop down on the K or M lens. Does this apply to Aperture priority? Would it be different if I use M mode? May be I should try it too.
You should :-). What I said only applies to Av mode. actually, it applies to all modes except M mode - which is to say, all other modes *behave* like this crippled version of Av mode (ie, you can have any aperture you want, as long as its wide open). M mode works as it should - lens stops down when you take the picture (and stops down temporarily for metering using the Green button or DOF preview).

QuoteQuote:
One thing I am not comfortable with the K or M lens is that I can never get the aperture setting of the shots taken since it is blanked out in the EXIF.
True enough. I tend to do most of my shooting either wide open or at f/8 (lazy, yes I know) and it's normally pretty obvious to me which is which, but there are times I wish I knew. Not for any reasons that really matter, of course - just so I can put the right captions on the picture when posting, etc.

BTW, I know nothing about the Chinon lens, but tend to doubt it would be better than any Pentax 50/1.7 or 50/1.4. I also don't know if the particular one supports camera control of aperture, but visual inspection should tell you that quickly enough: if oyu see an "A" position on the aperture ring and/or a series of electrical contacts on the bottom of the lens, then it does. I think it's pretty rare for non-Pentax lenses, though.

And FWIW, the main reason I didn't recommend the A50/1.4 is that it tends to be two or three times more expensive than yhe 50/1.7, but some would argue not any better.

Last edited by Marc Sabatella; 10-14-2009 at 01:22 PM.
10-14-2009, 03:46 PM   #11
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Guy's thanks heaps for all your responses - i won't pretend to understand everything that you guys have been discussing but im learning! I think i will hold out for the A 1.7 since i'll be able to try out both methods I am also trying to find a vivitar series 1 70-210 zoom lens however people keep driving up the auction cost on ebay with 5 days to run!

thanks again guys
10-14-2009, 06:05 PM   #12
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as it turns out, i ended up buying the A 1.2 as it seemed to have good reviews here and it was WAY cheaper - the A 1.7 prices on ebay seem to be bordering on extortion at the moment... im still learning and its only really a hobbie so this seemed like a good option
10-14-2009, 06:14 PM   #13
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An A 50 1:2 will take you a long way. The 1:1.7 version may be a little bit sharper, but its darn close. Enjoy!
10-15-2009, 06:23 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by martymcfly83 Quote
as it turns out, i ended up buying the A 1.2 as it seemed to have good reviews here and it was WAY cheaper - the A 1.7 prices on ebay seem to be bordering on extortion at the moment... im still learning and its only really a hobbie so this seemed like a good option
Is that one of the 1.2s from the bulk lot currently on the Bay of E?
10-15-2009, 07:52 AM   #15
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My 50/f1.7 is great. I shoot it full manual. Great lens, super sharp, great colors.
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