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06-28-2020, 11:31 AM   #1
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Getting Back Into Photography

I've been "away" from photography for quite a while. Back in the day, I had a Pentax MX with a variety of lenses. The MX is gone now, but I still have a bag of manual lenses (SMC Pentax-M). I'm contemplating purchasing a Pentax DSLR and wanted to know if I'll be able to reasonably pair the DSLR with the old lenses. Appreciate any thoughts.

06-28-2020, 11:44 AM   #2
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yes you can:

QuoteQuote:
DSLR Compatibility and Usage:

M lenses are manual focus and have no "A" setting on the aperture ring, so the aperture must be set manually by the user using the aperture ring itself.

On Pentax DSLRs, a relatively simple procedure known as stop-down metering must be used in order for the camera's light meter to correctly set the shutter speed. See our guide to using K lenses on Pentax DSLRs for an in-depth explanation of this procedure.

Most Pentax film SLRs, on the other hand, can sense the position of the aperture ring and can thus provide immediate light meter readings without the need for this extra step.

Click here to view all M lenses

M series highlights:

Generally smaller than K lenses
Manual focus
Manual aperture
Full-frame image circle

Read more at: Comprehensive Pentax Lens Guide - Gear Guides | PentaxForums.com

QuoteQuote:
How to Use Manual Lenses on Pentax DSLRs
Virtually all K-mount and M42 lenses are compatible!
By PF Staff in Tutorial Videos on Apr 29, 2013

Read more at: How to Use Manual Lenses on Pentax DSLRs - Tutorial Videos | PentaxForums.com

there is even a lens club thread

The M Club! - Page 548 - PentaxForums.com
06-28-2020, 12:15 PM - 1 Like   #3
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They are all compatible. But with a MX, you are extremely spoiled (as i was) with it's superb viewfinder.
I was unable to use manual focus with DSLRs like the K100, K200 and K7. Even with a extra diopter on the viewfinder and without my glasses.
Recently i bought myself a FullFrame K1-II. It is expensive, but it is the best thing i have ever done since i bought a MX. And the relief, I finally feel at home again with the viewfinder of the K1-II, it is the same superb viewfinder as you are used to with the MX.

So, yes, all you're lenses are compatible, but using manual focus, with an APC DSLR could be a problem.
06-28-2020, 12:20 PM   #4
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Welcome back. Plenty of us around here do use the older fully-manual lenses on Pentax DSLRs. There are some limitations, which you can read about in the links aslyfox provided. One to consider is that you aren't going to get a beautiful split-image / microprism-matte focusing screen such as you might have had on your MX. When I'm using a manual-focus lens on my K-1 I use Live View for fine focus. It's a different process, and you might find that you prefer autofocus. Or you might consider a mirrorless camera with an adapter for your K-mount lenses, using the electronic viewfinder with "focus peaking" for fine focus.

Edit: Sakura makes the same basic point and beat me to it.

06-28-2020, 01:01 PM - 1 Like   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sakura Quote
They are all compatible. But with a MX, you are extremely spoiled (as i was) with it's superb viewfinder.
I was unable to use manual focus with DSLRs like the K100, K200 and K7. Even with a extra diopter on the viewfinder and without my glasses.
Recently i bought myself a FullFrame K1-II. It is expensive, but it is the best thing i have ever done since i bought a MX. And the relief, I finally feel at home again with the viewfinder of the K1-II, it is the same superb viewfinder as you are used to with the MX.

So, yes, all you're lenses are compatible, but using manual focus, with an APC DSLR could be a problem.
But maybe the new APS-c solves that problem as we are led to believe by the Ricoh/Pentax officials claiming that the new viewfinder will give the same view as on the K-1.
06-28-2020, 02:31 PM   #6
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I use a lot of manual-focus lenses with my Pentax APS-C DSLRs ... once I'd "read the manual" properly and got into the habit of using the "green hexagon" in the viewfinder for focus-confirmation, any problems I had in that regard disappeared. Having the focus-confirmation indicator at the bottom of the viewfinder is certainly not as easy as an image-central micro-prism or split-image, but the thought of having to replace some of my old favourites (or buy a 'foreign' body to use them on) encouraged me to persevere and I'm glad I did
06-28-2020, 03:39 PM   #7
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I use the KP and it is not bad manually focusing, but usually when i am manually focusing it is on a tripod, and i use live view with focus peaking and magnification. I even do that with autofocus lenses if it is dark, or i want real specific part of something to be the main focus point, and I always use it for macro. The viewfinder isn't as big as the K-1, but it is very good.
06-28-2020, 10:34 PM - 5 Likes   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by maxh Quote
I've been "away" from photography for quite a while. Back in the day, I had a Pentax MX with a variety of lenses. The MX is gone now, but I still have a bag of manual lenses (SMC Pentax-M). I'm contemplating purchasing a Pentax DSLR and wanted to know if I'll be able to reasonably pair the DSLR with the old lenses. Appreciate any thoughts.
Indeed you can. I learned my photography with a MX and M-series lenses too.

You have had good advice and I second the recommendation to use Live View for manual focussing where you can. By pressing the OK button the image is zoomed to 100% view and you can accurately focus by eye better than a split prism ever could. Where LV is impracticable, manually focus using the viewfinder is quite easy with the K1. You can use the focus confirmation (green hexagon/audible beep), and what is more you are able to fine tune the AF confirmation to correct for any front/back focus tendency, even with a manual lens like the M series.

I use the old K and M series glass a lot. This was a photo from last month with the M* 300mm f4 lens. Hand held using AF confirmation to focus.......



06-28-2020, 10:53 PM - 1 Like   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by ramseybuckeye Quote
I use the KP and it is not bad manually focusing, but usually when i am manually focusing it is on a tripod, and i use live view with focus peaking and magnification. I even do that with autofocus lenses if it is dark, or i want real specific part of something to be the main focus point, and I always use it for macro. The viewfinder isn't as big as the K-1, but it is very good.
I still use Pentax 35mm film bodies (equivalent to DSLR full-frame or FF) on occasion as I did exclusively for over 30 years, including some MF bodies, and I do agree with the above statement regarding the KP. However, everyone's eyesight, training, and method of using the VF for manual focus (MF) are not the same. Even while still shooting only film, I trained myself to attain accurate focus with the matte part of the screen in the VF, since the newer 35mm AF film bodies went to matte only for focusing. This is still true with DSLR VFs.

The "M" series lenses will be usable on a modern Pentax DSLR, and many of them are quite good, but will have a different angle of view than you have been accustomed to on your film body if used on an APSC DSLR. However, many functions that are available with AF lenses or "A" lenses will not be there with the "M" or older lenses. I would recommend, as long as you are spending money for a modern DSLR to get back into photography, it would be appropriate to get at least one or two good current lenses to take full advantage of the technological advancements since the days of the MX and "M" lenses. As to the choice of a FF or APSC model, the considerations are generally in terms of cost, weight/size, and the kinds of photography mainly drawing your interest.
06-28-2020, 11:56 PM - 1 Like   #10
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Superb rose shot Peter
06-30-2020, 12:15 PM   #11
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Welcome to the forum. Lots of vintage lenses are very highly regarded. I have the Pentax-M 50mm f/1.7 which came with an ME Super back in the day. I've used it on K10D, K-5IIs, and KP DSLR cameras with great results.

Have you checked out the Pentax camera comparison page? Pentax K-1 II vs. Pentax KP vs. Pentax K-70 - Pentax Camera Comparison - PentaxForums.com
It may help you decide which model you want, and has links to in-depth reviews. I can highly recommend the K-5IIs and KP from personal experience, depending on your budget.

If you do decide to get a newer lens, many will advise to spend at least as much on the lens as you do on the camera. (Putting a $10 lens on a $1000 camera will get you $10 images.) Buy the best glass you can afford, and adjust what you spend on a camera accordingly.

Looking forward to seeing some of your images.
06-30-2020, 10:00 PM   #12
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I agree that a top-notch current lens is a great idea, however there are some less expensive lenses now available that can deliver very fine results also. Technology has yielded improvement in both build and performance in the lower expense range since the film era, especially in some zoom lenses, and many of these include weather-resistant (WR) seals. I have some of the best, but still often use some of those having cost less, as I've found them to be very capable and have advantages of their own. It looks like the "M" lenses you've used with the MX are mainly prime lenses. So again, depending on your photographic interests, there are many options available, including some good ones in the more affordable range. Lenses of a similar quality and aperture range providing a similar field of view (FOV) designed for use with an APS-C body will usually be less expensive than will a lens for FF use.

Last edited by mikesbike; 06-30-2020 at 10:06 PM.
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