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03-02-2010, 06:15 PM   #1
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SMC M vs. A lenses for ME Super

I am a little familiar with film photography and I am starting to use an ME Super/50mm SMC-M 1:1.4 I bought new years ago but rarely used, having shot no more than probably 30 rolls of film through it. I have been using a Canon Elan II sparingly for the last few years but want to get "back to the basics" and delve a little more into photography as a hobby. I know the Canon can be used in "manual" mode but it just ain't the same.

Here is my question: as I acquire a few more lenses for the ME Super, probably a 28mm WA and some sort of zoom (80-200mm?), should I buy the Pentax "A" lenses or stay with the Pentax M series in the Pentax brand. I intend to purchase a digital camera in the next couple of years, and it is my understanding that the "A" lenses that will work with the ME Super (in manual focus only I understand) would work with the Pentax digital cameras and utilize the auto focus function.

My little bit if research so far indicates that the currently available "A" lenses to work with my ME Super are a little more expensive than the SMC-M lenses but my thinking is that the little more investment now would be worth it to continue using the lenses with a digital in the future, and have the auto focus feature already in the lenses.

I would appreciate some simple guidance please, in layman's terms, and some clarification if my assumptions on compatibility are incorrect. I have been to the lens/camera data bases/charts/catalogs/etc. on this forum and I may have misinterpreted some of my findings. Thanks in advance for the help.

03-02-2010, 06:29 PM   #2
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I agree with your conclusion - when you have a choice, go for the "A" version for better compatibility with a DSLR.

All exposure modes work with "A" lenses on a DSLR (P, Av, Tv, etc.), whereas with M lenses you will be restricted to Manual exposure mode and stop down metering - and no flash automation (the flash will always fire at full power rather than adjust its output to what's required (unless you're looking at the now ancient *istD and *istDS DSLR's - they handled M lenses better)).

Also, exposure accuracy is spot on with A lenses - and not pretty with M lenses (again, unless you use an *istD series...).
03-02-2010, 11:17 PM   #3
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Thanks so much for the help!
03-02-2010, 11:24 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by NRV Shooter Quote
I am a little familiar with film photography and I am starting to use an ME Super/50mm SMC-M 1:1.4 I bought new years ago but rarely used, having shot no more than probably 30 rolls of film through it. I have been using a Canon Elan II sparingly for the last few years but want to get "back to the basics" and delve a little more into photography as a hobby. I know the Canon can be used in "manual" mode but it just ain't the same.

Here is my question: as I acquire a few more lenses for the ME Super, probably a 28mm WA and some sort of zoom (80-200mm?), should I buy the Pentax "A" lenses or stay with the Pentax M series in the Pentax brand. I intend to purchase a digital camera in the next couple of years, and it is my understanding that the "A" lenses that will work with the ME Super (in manual focus only I understand) would work with the Pentax digital cameras and utilize the auto focus function.

My little bit if research so far indicates that the currently available "A" lenses to work with my ME Super are a little more expensive than the SMC-M lenses but my thinking is that the little more investment now would be worth it to continue using the lenses with a digital in the future, and have the auto focus feature already in the lenses.

I would appreciate some simple guidance please, in layman's terms, and some clarification if my assumptions on compatibility are incorrect. I have been to the lens/camera data bases/charts/catalogs/etc. on this forum and I may have misinterpreted some of my findings. Thanks in advance for the help.
Sorry to disappoint, but SMC-A lenses are not autofocus. You only gain the ability to have your DSLR control the aperture, when you would have to do it manually with the M series lenses, thus allowng you to use all the exposure modes in the DSLR. Worth getting the A series lenses for that alone IMO, but no autofocus

03-02-2010, 11:50 PM   #5
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Also, with both lens you can use the little green button to 'cheat' a little with setting exposure and such.

I like being able to set the ap with the ring on the lens, but with the K-x I don't have a dedicated ap button on the body, so perhaps this is why I like it, adds the on the fly flexibility in a good spot.

Auto focus starts with the F and DA lenses.
03-03-2010, 11:07 AM   #6
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Some KA lenses (manual focus lenses with A position on aperture ring) that would work well on both cameras and not be too expensive:

Sigma 24mm f2.8 Superwide II manual focus (the "II" identifies the KA version)
Pentax-A 28mm f2.8 (Sigma Miniwide II is OK too)
Pentax-A 50mm f1.7
Pentax-A 70-210mm f4 zoom

I would also get a Pentax-M 135mm f3.5. They don't have the KA mount but you can work around it as described above, and it's a great 135 on film and digital.
03-07-2010, 08:59 AM   #7
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Thanks again. My mistake on the "auto focus" aspect of the "A" lenses.
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