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11-20-2007, 03:26 PM   #1
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focus with k10d and smc-m lenses?

Hi! Thinking of leaving my sony alpha system and go with pentax instead. I'm seriusly tempted by the k10d. I have a few old smc-m lenses, and i wonder how easy they are to focus. Is the focus confirmation precise enough to use large apertures? And how well does it work in low light?

All the best,
Erik

11-20-2007, 07:02 PM   #2
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Hi Erik. The K10D is indeed an amazing camera. I recently switched from 4x5 to digital and got myself an SMC-M 50/1.4 to play around with portraiture. I found that though the kit lens seemed to focus quite accurately on AF (and well enough on manual) at ~5.6, the razor-thin DOF on the 50/1.4 highlighted a problem: back-focus. From what I can gather reading posts elsewhere, some cameras (not just the K10D) routinely front- or back-focus when using certain lenses. A few people have been calling on companies to allow user-specified adjustments of the sensor to compensate, but the K10D for one lacks this. If it's minor it can be corrected for during shooting, but if it's major (in my case, REALLY off) then it may be a repair issue. See a recent post of mine (https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/15013-manual-l...t-causing.html).

I suspect few copies of the K10D have this problem, and I'm sure it occurs across companies. It's generated some lengthy discussions elsewhere (link), but I'm not sure the surgery described is applicable to the K10D. Mine was still under warranty, so it's at Pentax now. My best suggestion would be to take your lenses in and test them on a couple copies of the K10D, or be prepared to return one or more for replacements if ordering online. All of this seems strange for me coming from the mechanical, do-it-yourself world of large format, but then again my frames no longer cost $5 a pop either. Good luck!

Kerey
11-21-2007, 05:49 AM   #3
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Sorry to hear about your backfocus problem. But it is not difficult for the repair shop to sort that out. Good luck with that.

But provided that the af sensor is properly aligned, is the focus confirmation in the camera precise enough to work at least at 2.8?
11-21-2007, 10:47 AM   #4
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I've had 'modest' luck manual focusing with aperture values that are wide open (3.5-1.4). I've had to occasionally hunt around to get exactly the right focus that I want (even if the camera is telling me that things are in focus). One trick I've picked up from the good folks on this list is to hold down the shutter button all the way and then slowly rotate the focus ring until the camera recognizes focus has been achieved and snaps the shot. Not completely perfect, but not bad.

In order to improve my results I installed a split-focus screen (about $30) and things have been much better ever since. You could consider using the K10d as is and then upgrade the focusing screen if you start using lots of MF lenses.

Take care.

11-21-2007, 12:03 PM   #5
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You could always wait a couple more months and see what Pentax come out with. The rumored K200D should be good enough to foot it with the current K10 and who knows, they may well have implemented a overhaul to the AF system.

As for focusing, M lenses stay wide open till you take a meter reading with the green button so theres no issue with aperture size or dark screens. Screw mount lenses however, will stop down as you close the aperture so its a little harder to focus.

Last edited by Kaimarx; 11-21-2007 at 12:14 PM.
11-21-2007, 03:58 PM   #6
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Thanks!

I guess f4 and up was about what i expected... And it will probably be enough for me most of the time.

I used a split screen with my minolta 5d, and it was helpful, but it played tricks on the exposure meter. Everything from perfect to 2 stops overexposure. Is it the same with pentax?
11-21-2007, 05:15 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by snigelben Quote
Hi! Thinking of leaving my sony alpha system and go with pentax instead. I'm seriusly tempted by the k10d. I have a few old smc-m lenses, and i wonder how easy they are to focus. Is the focus confirmation precise enough to use large apertures? And how well does it work in low light?

All the best,
Erik

Focus confirmation tolerance too wide but wide open manual focus isn't hard. Most critical thing to have a chance for me was to adjust diopter! After that, a breeze. APS sized sensor with 10MP makes very accurate focusing more critical than 35mm film.

Low light is great if appropriate exposures can be made. Push processing can create very poor results but depends on the subject matter. There, I'm starting to learn that this is true of other cams, too. I've had more chance to use a Canon recently and in low light, proper exposure is just as critical.
11-22-2007, 12:12 PM   #8
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If you plan to use manual focus, Pentax has "Viewfinder Loupe 0-ME53" , and I highly recommend it.

02-14-2009, 12:55 AM   #9
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Can you possibly say why you recommend the Pentax Viewfinder Loupe 0-ME53 as I was thinking of getting one as I find the view finder too small for my eyesight.
02-14-2009, 08:26 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by eaglem Quote
Can you possibly say why you recommend the Pentax Viewfinder Loupe 0-ME53 as I was thinking of getting one as I find the view finder too small for my eyesight.
Instead of reviving 1+ year old threads a simple forum search would have revealed this:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-camera-accessories/50458-o-me53-1-...highlight=ME53
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-dslr-discussion/47178-k20d-o-me53-...highlight=ME53
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-camera-accessories/2808-pentax-mag...highlight=ME53

Just a small sampling of threads with good information about the O-ME53 eyepiece loop.
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