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01-17-2009, 10:57 PM   #1
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Best Pentax for M42 lenses?

I've seen some amazing photos taken with Takumar lenses on this forum and I'm pretty excited to try it myself. So I picked up an older Takumar 135mm lens a few weeks ago and now I'm looking to attach it to a Pentax DSLR. I would like to make the process as painless as possible. Can someone out there recommend the best Pentax DSLR for M42 lenses? Thanks!

01-17-2009, 11:12 PM   #2
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If you want a new body, you have 3 choices:

K20d,
K200d
K-M (aka k2000)

They will all do well with the m42 adapter. I have both the k200d and k20d. They are both weather sealed but the K-m is the smallest with the k200d somewhere in the middle. The 2 larger bodies are weather sealed while the K-M isn't. The k20d has a cmos sensor and 14.6 mp while the other 2 have a 10.2 mp CCD. All have in body shake reduction. If I were getting a body soley for m42, I would strongly consider the K-M.

If you want to go the used route, the above would still be included but I would suggest the K10d. It is weather sealed and has a 10.2 mp ccd sensor and in body shake reduction.

Edit: Mike Cash has a nice collection of M42 especially tak lenses and uses a K20D and a k100d digital body that he uses. There are several others on here as well. Monochrome, Woof, jsherman999 just to name a few.

Edit Edit: The price point will be the key thing for your decision.

Last edited by Blue; 01-17-2009 at 11:19 PM.
01-18-2009, 12:04 AM   #3
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Currently, I have my eye out for a cheap ist dS due to its cheapness (lol), pentaprism viewfinder, and higher-ISO capabilities.

Of course this is just my opinion, and I know people don't want "only" 6MP cameras anymore
01-18-2009, 12:06 AM   #4
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.


You can get a K100D Super for under $350 now, maybe as low as $250. It's
a great camera to use with Super Taks, because It's incredibly affordable to
build a kit around - K100DS, your 135, maybe a 28, 35, 50 or 200 - all for
not a lotta dough.

I'd suggest the K100D over a K-m/K2000 at this point for manual focus lenses -
the red focus-target indicator doesn't exist on the K2000, and that's really
useful for MF.

Below was taken with a fungus-ridden, yellowed S-M-C Tak 50 1.4 on a K100D
Super:




01-18-2009, 12:06 AM   #5
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Go ahead and spend a little more on the body if you plan to get into Takumars. The reason being that you won't have to devote as much money toward buying lenses as you would if you were buying more modern or brand-new lenses, so you may as well invest the savings in a body upgrade.

The K20D is very nice and I love using Takumars on it. But to be perfectly honest, it has a lot of modes and features that are entirely unusable for M42 operations. Basically all that is required is Av, M, and B modes. I don't have the K-m but when I first read about it and later picked one up in the store, my thought was that it would probably make a wonderful dedicated M42 body. If it had come out prior to my buying a K20D I probably would have gotten it instead.
01-18-2009, 07:27 AM   #6
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Sufficient body for legacy lenses..

I think that any of the Pentax DSLRs is probably sufficient* for using legacy lenses.

The marginal gains for legacy lens use in going from a K100D to a K20D are fairly small compared to the cost difference.

That's not to say that one shouldn't buy the best body available, especially if you are going to have only one, but if you want to dedicate a body to m42's and are limited in budget, you might look at a used *ist or K100D & use what money's left over to buy another great legacy lens.

Dave

*maybe someone can comment on the match between lens and sensor resolution for SMC's & Takumars? In looking at MTF data for the older lenses I suspect they most may well be outperformed by the higher density sensors on later Pentax DSLRs.

Last edited by newarts; 01-18-2009 at 07:43 AM.
01-18-2009, 07:53 AM   #7
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Every Pentax body will work just fine in Av and M modes with m42 lenses. But only older istD and istDS (IMHO) will meter accurately with Pentax TTL or PTTL (in TTL mode) flash systems with M42 lenses. This cameras have dedicated TTL sensor. They also have brighter pentaprizm viewfinder. Same viewfinder was later used on K10D and K20D cameras.
istD cameras are somewhat slow and hard to find now, I would look for a low milage istDS and fit it with Katz eye split prizm focusing screen.
01-18-2009, 08:37 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by jsherman999 Quote
.

. . .

I'd suggest the K100D over a K-m/K2000 at this point for manual focus lenses -
the red focus-target indicator doesn't exist on the K2000, and that's really
useful for MF.

. . .
I didn't realize the focus target indicator was missing from the K-m.

01-18-2009, 08:39 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by awo425 Quote
Every Pentax body will work just fine in Av and M modes with m42 lenses. But only older istD and istDS (IMHO) will meter accurately with Pentax TTL or PTTL (in TTL mode) flash systems with M42 lenses. This cameras have dedicated TTL sensor. They also have brighter pentaprizm viewfinder. Same viewfinder was later used on K10D and K20D cameras.
istD cameras are somewhat slow and hard to find now, I would look for a low milage istDS and fit it with Katz eye split prizm focusing screen.
I actually considered getting an *istD or DS for use strictly with macro because it can use ttl flashes and I have a brand new ttl ring-flash. I ended up getting the k20d body though due to the price I was able to get it for.
01-18-2009, 09:14 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Blue Quote
I didn't realize the focus target indicator was missing from the K-m.
Yeah - the green hexagon still appears when focus is reached, but the red box showing you where focus is locking is gone. I really miss that when shooting in low-light and want to make sure I'm focusing on the specific point I want.
01-18-2009, 09:49 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by jsherman999 Quote
.Below was taken with a fungus-ridden, yellowed S-M-C Tak 50 1.4 on a K100D Super:
Showoff!!!
01-18-2009, 10:40 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by newarts Quote
*maybe someone can comment on the match between lens and sensor resolution for SMC's & Takumars? In looking at MTF data for the older lenses I suspect they most may well be outperformed by the higher density sensors on later Pentax DSLRs.
Pardon my lack of knowledge but what does MTF mean? I was also wondering if having a higher resolution camera would be helpful or hinder pictures when using the older legacy lenses.
01-18-2009, 10:50 AM   #13
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Thanks for everyone that responded. I love the fact that there is a large and helpful Pentax community and this forum really makes me one to get a Pentax and try it out.

I remember reading somewhere about certain DSLR that doesn't meter properly on some bodies and some people have to resort to using aluminum or something to cover something (sorry if this sounds really ignorant, but I don't really remember what I read and I can't find that thread). Is the metering issue just limited to using flashes?

As for my budget, I'm kind of open about that, although I am an amateur and wouldn't know if I would be able to get the most out of the K20D. I thought it might be better for me to master a cheaper camera first and when I am ready to upgrade, the successor to the K20D might be out by then. But maybe someone can convince me otherwise, I'm very open to suggestions. I'm just kicking myself for not taking advantage of Amazon's offer on the K2000 or K20D back in December, when they were throwing in a bunch of stuff.
01-18-2009, 10:58 AM   #14
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I moved from the k10d to the k20d and he bigest thing I have notuced is the piture quality of my old glass. The Samsung/Pentax sensor seems to do a better job than the Sony sensor in the k10d. I picked up a new k20d for $606 off ebay...if you don't mind looking long enough and are not worried about support.
01-18-2009, 11:09 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by greenboy Quote
Pardon my lack of knowledge but what does MTF mean? I was also wondering if having a higher resolution camera would be helpful or hinder pictures when using the older legacy lenses.
I don't know what the heck MTF means either but I've never let it slow me down.

I think I have gotten better results from the K20D than I got from the K100D, but I couldn't tell you if that is because of the different sensor type, the difference between 6mp and 14mp, that I just got better at taking pictures, or that it's even true at all for that matter. It might just be something psychological where my brain is trying to justify the upgrade.

The K100D requires a bit of +EV compensation for metering with Takumars. That can be reduced or eliminated by using a bit of aluminum foil and scotch tape. Not a big deal at all. The K20D can also be a bit off on the metering and that can be addressed by a bit of +EV as well. Or you can do like I do on mine and not worry about. Any of mine that are off are close enough I can easily correct them in Lightroom prior to output.
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