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10-08-2019, 10:34 PM   #1
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Using manual focus lenses on K100D or K20D

I am very much an amateur but I have some old lenses from my ME Super days so the ability to use those on my Pentax digital intrigued me. But I have never had much luck with the outcome. In fact, I think I have deleted everyone of them and given up. But being the stubborn person I am, I want to get a good photo using the old lenses. Any super tricks other than what I can pick up in the manuals?

10-08-2019, 11:34 PM   #3
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Newer bodies with proper live view (i.e. magnification and peaking) are generally going to make your life a lot easier as far as manual focusing goes. But there are some tricks which you can take to optimize image quality when focusing manually.


First, I would aim to shoot at smaller apertures to benefit from depth of field and to squeeze out more sharpness from the lens. F8 would be a safe starting point. Also, to keep shutter speeds in check, I would dial in a higher ISO, as noise is generally favorable to blur (especially with modern noise reduction software). Finally, practice makes perfect- there's no replacement for getting your hands dirty and seeing how things go

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10-09-2019, 12:51 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by slubill Quote
I am very much an amateur but I have some old lenses from my ME Super days so the ability to use those on my Pentax digital intrigued me. But I have never had much luck with the outcome. In fact, I think I have deleted everyone of them and given up. But being the stubborn person I am, I want to get a good photo using the old lenses. Any super tricks other than what I can pick up in the manuals?


The links and info supplied by others are very valid, the key phrases to look for are "Green Button" and "Hyper Manual"! Older bodies may not have a specific "Green Button", but the AE-L can function as such when in Manual mode. This may need to be enabled in the menus, as will the ability to use the aperture ring, if your lenses don't have an "A" setting. See here http://www.ricoh-imaging.co.jp/english/photo-life/technic/002/ for further insight A viewfinder magnifier (Pentax O-ME53) may also help with focussing issues on older cameras that don't have focus-peaking in LiveView. "Catch-in-focus" is another feature that has found it's way into the menus in newer cameras, but has been available as a default feature since before digital, on Pentax cameras ... very useful once you get the hang of it!

Many of us use older manual lenses on our Pentax cameras with great success and satisfaction, indeed the ability to do so was a deciding factor for me when I bought into the system.

As is often the case, if there's a picture you're dissatisfied with, but can't quite figure out why, a copy posted to these forums can often elicit constructive criticism


Last edited by kypfer; 10-09-2019 at 01:24 AM. Reason: afterthoughts
10-09-2019, 02:31 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by slubill Quote
I am very much an amateur but I have some old lenses from my ME Super days so the ability to use those on my Pentax digital intrigued me. But I have never had much luck with the outcome. In fact, I think I have deleted everyone of them and given up. But being the stubborn person I am, I want to get a good photo using the old lenses. Any super tricks other than what I can pick up in the manuals?
If done properly, using the green button in manual mode, etc. the system is not always metering accurately, the degree of which varies from one lens to another and from one aperture to another with the same lens. Unfortunately, the only way to get good accuracy is to shoot test shots with a certain lens at various apertures to find out the degree of inaccuracy. Then you can proceed to get used to how much to compensate with that particular lens at each aperture.
10-09-2019, 05:40 AM   #6
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I used the K110D with manual lenses for some years and it can be a challenge. I even suspected the focus indicator to be off a little.

Try a setup, with tripod and a fixed subject and test various settings and lenses. Keep note of the settings, apparture won't be recorded in exif with manual lenses.

Also, always shoot in raw. Due to the slow saving times I shot jpeg for a while and regretted it years later. The raws are still usable on a 4k monitor today, the jpegs are really hard to edit.

It still can produce amazing photos, so I'd recommend to hang in there and figure out the behavior or issues. It will differ from lens to lens.
10-09-2019, 07:20 AM   #7
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Start with a target that is easy to do. I ran into the same problem initially, but over time got better using manual lenses. Practice really helps.
10-09-2019, 03:29 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by mikesbike Quote
If done properly, using the green button in manual mode, etc. the system is not always metering accurately, the degree of which varies from one lens to another and from one aperture to another with the same lens. Unfortunately, the only way to get good accuracy is to shoot test shots with a certain lens at various apertures to find out the degree of inaccuracy. Then you can proceed to get used to how much to compensate with that particular lens at each aperture.


If problems are experienced, using the digital preview feature with histogram can help give an idea of any compensation that may be needed. Do remember to keep your eye close to the viewfinder when metering. Stray light through the viewfinder, especially in the classic "sun over the shoulder" snapshot situation, can affect meter readings quite considerably

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