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03-11-2012, 05:59 AM   #16
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I agree "A" lenses make manual operation easier - but with one exception my 20+ manual Pentax lenses are M and K series (not counting the M42 Takumars). But the green button metering on M lenses leaves a lot to be desired. I did a series of tripod-mounted shots on my K-5 of the same closeup to show the DOF changes with aperture on a K 50 1.2 lens, and using the green button the shots got darker as they stopped down farther. Metering using the "preview lever" around the shutter release avoided that and gave more consistent results, but is harder to operate. This indicates the green button is too brief and may meter before the lens stops all the way down. (Mainly with smaller than f8 - likely metering before the lens stops down all the way at smaller apertures.)
The K-5 does feel great, and if I were starting fresh in photography and had new lenses designed for it, it would be fine.
But my muscles and reflexes are trained for aperture rings and shutter speed dials, and the tiny, close together controls on dSLRs seem finicky and harder to find and operate. It's too different for my cranky old brain to want to learn.
The Leica M9 works just like all my old film cameras: aperture ring and focus on the lens for the left hand, shutter speed dial for the right fingers - and that's all. I can change between the M9, a film Leica like my M6, my LX or MX or Spotmatic, or even my H1a or Leica M3 without meters, and they all work just the same with controls in the same places.
Changing to a dSLR is like getting into a new car that steers using the feet, has the turn signal as a dial by the radio, and uses a touch-screen for changing speed. If it's the only car you drive, you get comfortable with it. But I have more than 20 film cameras that I use more than the K-5.
So I agree, the K-5 is a nice dSLR. But I'd rather have a digital back for my LX. I'd pay more for that than for another dSLR.
Leica had a digital back for their R9 film camera, and it worked well - but the company that made it folded. As everyone else has noted: the market has moved passed the time when appealing to us old film folk makes sense.

03-11-2012, 08:39 AM   #17
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My guess is that the aperture blades on the lens you tested with are too slow, as I have not observed what you describe with any of my lenses. There is an issue with certain cameras' focus screens where exposures get off as you stop down, but that is also the case using DOF preview.

In any event, whatever metering issue there might be in your particular camera with your particular lens, that has absolutely nothing to do with the existence of automatic mdoes - a camera that was identical except for the absence of automatic modes would not magically work differently than your current camera does while in manual mode. Any improvements that could be made to manual mode could be made just as easily on a camera that also has automatic modes. That includes adding the necessary hardware to allow full use of aperture rings. That has nothing to do whether a camera also allows automatic modes or not. Either the camera has that hardware or it doesn't, and Pentax cameras (both digital and film) built over the past decade or so do not. But this has nothing to do with whether they have automaitc modes or not.
03-11-2012, 11:46 AM   #18
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Marc,

I agree with you: I don't mind the automatic modes being there; rather I miss the control layout that was standard from the 1930s through about 2000. That layout changed for two reasons: as people largely stopped using manual control, these settings became secondary to most users; and the addition of automatic modes and features meant they could offer a lot more customization, requiring more controls. Generally I see most of these new features as "fluff" - but features are marketable (like megapixels...).
Thus they had to re-layout the user controls & interfaces.
I'm one of those who love shooting with film cameras - but (since we largely view pictures now on PCs instead of prints) like the convenience of digital. Thus my ideal combination would be a digital back on a film camera, or "digital film." I'd be quite happy with no LCD on a digital. Just give me dials for shutter speed, ISO, and lens controls for aperture and focus. The Epson RD1 and Leica M9 are as close as we will see to that ideal, and I do love the M9. I just wish someone would make an SLR equivalent.
03-11-2012, 11:55 AM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
My guess is that the aperture blades on the lens you tested with are too slow, as I have not observed what you describe with any of my lenses. There is an issue with certain cameras' focus screens where exposures get off as you stop down, but that is also the case using DOF preview.
A slow diaphragm would cause the photos to be over-exposed, or graduated light-to-dark with the shutter sweep. Others report this issue with green-button metering as well, and I have seen it with every lens I've tried, if I stop down past f8 to f11. Metering with the preview lever gives correct exposure, showing that the lens stops properly during the exposure, so it's the green button action that meters poorly; not synchronized with the diaphragm action. If you don't stop-down beyond f8 you won't see this.

03-11-2012, 04:56 PM   #20
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I was think about a diaphragm that was just slow enough to fool the meter into thinking you had more light while metering, but that was actually fast enough when taking the picture. No idea if that is actually possible. And anyhow, I suppose that's just another way of saying the green button is too fast. But not too fast for all camera / lens combinations - just perhaps the one(s) you tested.

As for the changes in control layout, I think it is due to one thing and one thing only: autoexposure. If the camera is going to be able to select an aperture for you, it won't do to have the aperture ring specifying a different one. So first they moved to having aperture rings with an "A" position, but then they decided it was simpler to just dispense with the aperture ring entirely given that you could control aperture from the camera. Controlling aperture using a ring on the camera isn't better in any obejctive sense; it just happens to be what you are used to. I personally find setting aperture using the thumb wheel vastly preferable, but I had relatively little experience with aperture rings until getting a DSLR.
03-12-2012, 03:26 PM   #21
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"A slow diaphragm would cause the photos to be over-exposed, or graduated light-to-dark with the shutter sweep. Others report this issue with green-button metering as well, and I have seen it with every lens I've tried, if I stop down past f8 to f11. Metering with the preview lever gives correct exposure, showing that the lens stops properly during the exposure, so it's the green button action that meters poorly; not synchronized with the diaphragm action. If you don't stop-down beyond f8 you won't see this."

I have the same problems others have reported for the K20D and K10D when using SMCP-M lenses: the metering changes inconsistently with overexposure if stopped down beyond f8 and underexposure if opened up below f5.6. Even this varies between various SMCP-M lenses. The inconsistencies are ascribed to the LL-80 focussing screen. My impression was that the results were similar for the green button and the DOP preview lever metering methods. Fitting an LL-60 screen improves matters for SMCP-M lenses but makes SMCP-DA lenses underexpose, though the results are more consistent and, consequently, easier to correct with exposure compensation.

That said, I too would like a DSLR which has the analogue feel of film cameras for use with Pentax-M and K lenses. It should, however, have a large bright viewfinder, the aperture applied by the lens ring should be visible in the viewfinder, and the wheel setting the shutter speed should be precise and durable. The camera should give exposure at least as accurate as the LX of yore. I do not insist on a camera exclusively for these lenses.
Chhayanat
03-12-2012, 04:24 PM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by TomB_tx Quote
There are some of us who would rather have a "digital K1000" because it fits the way we want to work. Yes, dSLRs can be used all manual, but they are primarily designed for other modes, so the manual use is a pain compared to cameras like the K1000.
I happily remained a film photographer until a couple years ago because with my habits trained for the controls of manual film cameras, trying to outsmart automation, or manual focus on finders not designed for it, was a pain. I find manual film cameras give me more control, and easier.
But the Leica M9 came out, and it is basically a manual digital camera based on the Leica rangefinder. Yes, it does have aperture-priority auto exposure, but just turn the old-fashioned shutter-speed dial off "A" and you have "match needle" exposure. No autofocus, lenses with simple focus and aperture control. As indicated here, there was no cost savings at $7,000 USD for the body only. I bought one as soon as I could save enough - as I had old lenses it was designed for.
Later I bought a K-5 after hearing that it could be used in manual. My wife mainly uses it, in automatic modes, because manual is an after-thought in the design. Possible? Yes. Nice results? Very, but not intuitive for me. Not worth putting up with when I have film SLRs and the M9 rangefinder digital.
I love using the Leica M9, because it works the way I want. I paid a premium for it, and would also for an equivalent Pentax K1000D. But Pentax won't make it - not enough of us old-timers around.
People think the desire is for something cheaper, or a simple point-and-shoot. Neither is true for me.
Just use an old film camera then.

I'm curious why you think that manual is an afterthought, and how it's non-intuitive.
03-12-2012, 04:41 PM   #23
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My idea of a camera designed as a manual camera must have 1) a dedicated shutter speed dial with speeds labelled and 2) the mount must be uncrippled so the aperture can be controlled from the lens. I agree todays DSLR's are designed with auto-exposure in mind, and I can't blame Pentax for this as everyone but Leica does the same.

03-12-2012, 05:32 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
My idea of a camera designed as a manual camera must have 1) a dedicated shutter speed dial with speeds labelled and 2) the mount must be uncrippled so the aperture can be controlled from the lens. I agree todays DSLR's are designed with auto-exposure in mind, and I can't blame Pentax for this as everyone but Leica does the same.
Agreed exactly. I also can't blame Pentax for designing for the modern market. Leica is unique in having a very small avid user base, and holding to the same basic camera deign from 1955 to 2011. (They still sell the MP and M7 rangefinder film cameras.) True, in recent years they have been popular with the ultra-rich set as a fashion statement; but they have always also sold to strong photographers who use them as workhorses.
Cosina has found a market making lenses that fit Leica (Voigtlander and Zeiss), and even rangefinder film cameras. I believe they also made the RD1 digital rengefinder body for Epson a while back. They've also made K-mount cameras and lenses in different brands. Since they go for niche markets, just perhaps ...a digital of their own for the legacy market?
03-13-2012, 01:40 AM   #25
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I don't agree, IMO Pentax Hyper-Manual is a far more usable and powerful manual mode than a traditional manual mode with separate shuttet speed dial and aperture ring. It's the semi-automatic functions in Hyper-Manual that makes it a much better tool, and more enjoyable to use,

Set aperture and press green button for the camera to set shutter speed by light meter, and use exposure comp. for tuning light meter.

Use ael-button to lock exposure so you only have to change aperture if you want to change DOF, and shutter speed will follow.

For me it would only be for nostalgic reasons to use an old school manual mode, but I would never get a DSLR designed like that (unless it was very cheap). What I would like is a full featured DSLR with uncrippled K-mount.
03-13-2012, 04:47 AM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by TomB_tx Quote
There are some of us who would rather have a "digital K1000" because it fits the way we want to work. Yes, dSLRs can be used all manual, but they are primarily designed for other modes, so the manual use is a pain compared to cameras like the K1000.
------
People think the desire is for something cheaper, or a simple point-and-shoot. Neither is true for me.
I was a happy K1000 user from 1982-1999 (still have the camera in full working condition) and I don't see where the "pain" comes in? With the K1000 I changed exposure using the control wheel and/or the aperture with the aperture ring until the meter needle was level in the finder. And of course, I could then decide to over- or under expose as I wished.

With my current Pentax DSLR's I continue to shoot with those old MF lenses and I do essentially exactly the same (in "M" mode). Only, rather than looking at the needle in the view finder, I have to push the Green Button - but that isn't really a pain, is it?

If you shoot with modern lenses without an aperture ring, things are a bit different and less of "that good, old feel". But that's the great thing about Pentax DSLRs: Full backward compatibility to the K- and M-lenses - and even very useable with older Takumar and other M42 lenses!!!
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