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08-28-2012, 06:29 PM   #1
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DSLR to go with manual focus lenses

Hello everyone,

I wanted some thoughts/suggestions about what DSLR would be best for a couple of manual focus lenses that I just picked up. 28, 50, 135 and 200 primes are the lenses.

I know all the pentax dslr's will work with these lenses but are there ones that work better than others. (easier to use, nicer focusing screens). I was thinking of the K-01 because of the Live View or does that not make a difference.

thanks for the help

skip

08-28-2012, 06:42 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by ManUtd Quote
Hello everyone,

I wanted some thoughts/suggestions about what DSLR would be best for a couple of manual focus lenses that I just picked up. 28, 50, 135 and 200 primes are the lenses.

I know all the pentax dslr's will work with these lenses but are there ones that work better than others. (easier to use, nicer focusing screens). I was thinking of the K-01 because of the Live View or does that not make a difference.

thanks for the help

skip
The K-30 has focus peaking in live view and also has an optical viewfinder. Perhaps wait and see what is announced at Photokina in a few weeks.
08-28-2012, 06:52 PM   #3
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I've been using my K-30 with manual lenses and it works well, of course it involves a much more deliberate approach. I use the digital preview (assigned to the RAW/fx button) to get in the ballpark for exposure, take the picture, and if the histogram on the review is extremely wide or has little shadow detail, I save it in RAW (+/- button.) The most important thing to have with manual focusing is the magnifier eyepiece- best $40 you'll ever spend.
08-28-2012, 06:58 PM   #4
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Live view works very well if you are on a tripod. I don't think focus peaking adds much, IMHO...

08-28-2012, 07:18 PM   #5
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Batty,
does this magnifier work with all pentx dslrs? if I don't use a tripod very often, is live view still ok to use or is the optical viewfinder better? thanks
08-29-2012, 03:58 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by ManUtd Quote
Batty,
does this magnifier work with all pentx dslrs? if I don't use a tripod very often, is live view still ok to use or is the optical viewfinder better? thanks
The magnifier will work with all Pentax DSLRs, but if you're going to do manual focusing, I think a good focusing screen would be crucial. You might consider getting an older, lower end body (K200D, K-x) and a focusing screen. Depends on how much cash fills your pockets right now.

Live View might be helpful for people with bad eyes. My eyes are 29 years old. Corrected with contacts, they are very good, and so I can afford not to have things like Live View.

Just FYI, I have a K200D with a Katzeye focusing screen (with optibrite) and the magnifier and I have been manual focusing almost exclusively for the past 2 months and I'm pleased with my results. It seems like a higher percentage of my photos are in-focus now, compared to when I autofocus.
08-29-2012, 05:30 AM   #7
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I like the "look" of the standard matte screen, a lot depends on your vision and practice. I use the PENTAX Magnifier Eyecup O-ME53 .

It also gives some relief from the screen for my big nose!
08-29-2012, 06:47 AM   #8
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A keen eye and a K 10.

08-29-2012, 07:01 AM   #9
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Thanks

Everyone,

thanks for all the great info. looks like I might try an older body with a new focus screen with the magnifier. sounds like the best way to get started.


skip
08-29-2012, 03:57 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by ManUtd Quote
Everyone,

thanks for all the great info. looks like I might try an older body with a new focus screen with the magnifier. sounds like the best way to get started.


skip
And don't forget that Pentax DSLR cameras have this wonderful feature called Catch-in-Focus (briefly described: If you shoot in AF.S mode with an MF lens, the shutter can only be released when the subject is in focus).

It works fine as long as the light isn't very low, and I have used it very much on first my *ist DL, then my K200D and now my K-5. I can highly recommend the K200D for this type of photography.
08-29-2012, 04:09 PM   #11
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Hi, Skip.
You raised a good question regarding what body would be best to use. As you said, live view is a crucial aid to achieve proper focus, but it only is a feature on the K20D/K-x and newer models, except K-m. In my opinion it's not really that usable on the first iteration, meaning it got better on the K-7/K-r and then K-5, K-01, K30. The screens are of lower resolution and you can't quite judge focus on them except when magnified at 10x.
You will also need a focusing screen, regardless of the body, except for the K-01. I can heartily recommend the ones from Focusing Screen.
There seem to be two schools of thought here: some of them say "go for an older body with pentaprism (*ist D, DS, K10D, K20D), that doesn't have all the bells and whistles that you won't be using anyway, since you have only manual lenses". Right, in principle, but you get a little worse high ISO performance and DR (dynamic range), as the sensors in these cameras get better with every generation. The others say "get a K-x/K-r, they do have a pentamirror which is dimmer than a pentaprism, and they may not be weather sealed, but they have a great 12MP sensor with nice performance, they are cheap and have LV and movie recording as options". I personally opted for the K-x.
However, the viewfinder on any of these DSLRs isn't really suitable for manual focus as it is. Once fitted with a focusing screen, I don't think you'll notice much difference between a pentamirror and a pentaprism.
08-31-2012, 04:27 AM   #12
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Do you intend to use flash ? If so, although only 6 MP get an *istD they support both TTL and P-TTL flash. This is useful with non A lenses and M 42 lenses
08-31-2012, 05:42 AM   #13
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I'm now in this position, which camera to buy ?

Out of over 50 lenses that I used on my K10 only 3 were autofocus, the kit lens, DA50-135 and a F35-70. The rest are M42 or adapted. I like MF lenses and with the standard focusing screen, standard eyepiece and poor eyesight I got a decent hit rate of sharp pictures. I relied on the focus confirmation a lot, and found that very reliable.
But the K10 has died, I sent it for repair in April and got confirmation today that it's beyond economical repair. Since April I've been using my Sony NEX5 ( and all the film cameras )and have grown to like the NEX a lot, I like the focus peaking, I find that invaluable and very accurate. I like it's size, and I never thought I'd be saying that, I always liked the K10's chunky build.
What else do I like or dislike ? The high ISO of the NEX is great, the K10 was very poor and I rarely used it over 200ISO. The K10 is weatherproof, I've tested that many times, the NEX isn't but it's small enough to fit in a pocket of a waterproof coat - essential this summer ! Do I miss the mirror and the viewfinder of a dslr ? errrr....."no". Now that I've got used to the live view, trust the focus peaking I don't feel the need for all the slr stuff. I've found that a change in thinking has led to me using the NEX in a way I didn't think possible when I bought it - I treat the NEX as a camera on the back of a lens, not a camera with a lens. It's subtle, but it means the lens does the work for me, the camera just captures the work.

Having said that, I'm almost certain I'll replace the K10 with another DSLR - but which one ? I have no interest in video, and I'm not a camera snob, I carry an old Zorki around most of the time ! New or used ? no difference to me, as long as it works. Another K10 ? probably not, the low ISO kills it for me. K20, that's a cheap option. k5 or K7 more likely. More expense....
08-31-2012, 06:07 AM   #14
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I've gone from a K20D to the new K-30. The IQ difference is a tremendous improvement, as is the overall handling. It is significantly smaller, but certainly not pocketable. If you do use live view a lot, get a couple of extra batteries. As for ditching slr viewing, it is a personal choice, it seems many photographers are changing. I use both. K-30 prices have been dropping.
08-31-2012, 06:17 AM   #15
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Lowell,

I don't plan on using the flash. mainly I'd like to use it/practice first on landscapes to get comfortable with all the manual adjustments. then move on from there. I have a feeling it might take me a while. I've seen several K200 and K10 at a reasonable price. I might go that way first and then onto the K-5 or K30 depending on how much I like manual focusing.

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