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11-16-2011, 08:53 AM   #1
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Best Pentax body for manual focus lenses

Hi all,

I am considering getting a Pentax body especially for manual focus lenses.
My priorities are the following features:
bright viewfinder (I read about some hack using Canon eeS on this forum ),
relatively precise metering, good to excellent high iso performance.
I know that the K5 seems to be an obvious answer but at a price.
What about the older models: K20, K10, Kx, Kr?
Am I missing something?

Thanks and cheers

11-16-2011, 09:34 AM   #2
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I think k20d. The K-r is newer then k20d but the k20d more professional.
11-16-2011, 09:34 AM   #3
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The K-5 does a better job in metering then K-7 or K20D did.
11-16-2011, 09:42 AM   #4
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Definitely stick to something on the more "pro" line. I have the Kr and while it is great, manual lenses in low light can be a pain. You'll most likely want to throw in a better focusing screen and you most definitely want a pentaprism not a pentamirror.

I would vote on a K20d if price is the huge issue.

11-16-2011, 09:50 AM   #5
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Original Poster
Thanks for the suggestions.
Price is an issue and that's why I am staying away from the K5 (and K7).
I guess K20 is the best option.
How good is the metering?
I've read horrible things about the K10.

Cheers
11-16-2011, 10:00 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by eagle_fly Quote
Hi all,

I am considering getting a Pentax body especially for manual focus lenses.
My priorities are the following features:
bright viewfinder (I read about some hack using Canon eeS on this forum ),
relatively precise metering, good to excellent high iso performance.
I know that the K5 seems to be an obvious answer but at a price.
What about the older models: K20, K10, Kx, Kr?
Am I missing something?

Thanks and cheers
K-5 hands down. I own several Pentax bodies(including the K20) and the K-5 runs circles around them all in MF. The main functions that push the K-5 ahead are; enhanced info overlay. LV resolution, improved LV zoom, and green button mode(metering) while in live view. Though button more MF metering is most often nothing more than a head start on manual mode adjustments.

PS. we've owned two K-5's for almost a year not without any issues whatsoever and I've seen K-5's as low as 800 in the marketplace lately. My guess is that prices will soon reflect Pentax's upcoming model introduction.
11-16-2011, 10:11 AM   #7
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If cost isn't an issue get the k-5, as it's better than all previous models in pretty much every aspect I'd recommend putting a split-screen focusing screen in it, though. MF is sort of tedious without it, becuase things look sharp until you check out the pics on your pc.
11-16-2011, 10:40 AM   #8
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There is a good thing about K20D with split-image screen. I can set the aperture to f/16 and the view is still as bright as f/2.8. I am not talking about the overpriced Katzeyse screen.

11-16-2011, 10:57 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by eagle_fly Quote
Thanks for the suggestions.
Price is an issue and that's why I am staying away from the K5 (and K7).
I guess K20 is the best option.
How good is the metering?
I've read horrible things about the K10.

Cheers
From what I've heard, the K10 and K20 share the same metering quirks with M & K lenses. The later and earlier models (than K10 or K20) are better. It can be worked around using EV adjustment or in PP. Or, you can opt for an aftermarket viewfinder. The advantage of the 'pro' models (K5,7,20D,10D, *istD) is the bigger and clearer pentaprism viewfinders that make MF much easier.
11-16-2011, 11:04 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by paulh Quote
The advantage of the 'pro' models (K5,7,20D,10D, *istD) is the bigger and clearer pentaprism viewfinders that make MF much easier.
The *istDS also had a pentaprism. If you want to use a flash, consider the *istD or DS, they are the only Pentax DSLRs that use the older TTL in addition to P-TTL. The downside is that they are only 6.1MP.
11-16-2011, 11:23 AM   #11
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don't forget to also get a OM53 magnifier eyepiece. It is very helpfull when working with mf lenses
11-16-2011, 03:25 PM   #12
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The K5 is great from a feature standpoint. As mentioned above, metering is a snap, even with older lenses, thanks to the green button.

That being said, the F part of MF is really critical. Regardless of the body you choose, you will absolutely want a focus screen. I would highly recommend a focusing screen cut from the Canon Ec-A screen. Focusingscreen.com sells them. Of the couple that I've tried, it gives the best impression of what is and what is not in focus. There's a post with more information I created here over here: The Great Focusing Screen Revelation.

I believe someone also recommended the OM-53 viewfinder magnifier. It is quite helpful in seeing that last little detail.
11-16-2011, 06:26 PM   #13
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From my experience, with the exception of ultra ihigh iso and resolution, the *istD is thie best bet, big brought penta prism, TTL flash support and the most accurate metering over the entire aperture range from F1.4 throughF22 of any pentax body.

Want higher iso capability and resolution yet retain metering, get a K20 and put the *istD LL-60 screen into it, but you give up TTL flash

Ultimate iso and resolution go to the K5 but I have not checked metering yet
11-16-2011, 10:37 PM   #14
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The main difference imo is in the viewfinder - i.e. you want a pentaprism, i.e. you want a higher end body.

For anything else, a later body is better because it improves in all other areas.

Metering, for example, gets improved with each release - especially for new lenses But I'd be surprised if the metering of the K-5 with old lenses is finally reliable. Pentax bodies underexpose when lenses are wide open and then overexpose as you stop down - the result is that I always have to use exposure compensation or go to manual mode.
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