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03-28-2009, 10:26 AM   #1
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K20D breathes life into classic glass

I just took ownership of a new K20D and shot a hand full of test material, both inside and outside. Saving the standard accolades everyone has givenabout this body here, I must add something. My gosh, this camera shows just how good old Pentax glass really is, even compared to modern lenses!

I started with test stuff using my DA40 just to make sure everything worked.... great shots as expected. Then I noted for the first time that my Sigma 17-70 didn't look all that hot wide open....hmm. Looked okay stopped down a bit, but wide showed a softness that I had not seen before. I hadn't noted that on my K10D

But then I broke out two bits of older glass: SMC A 50 1.4 and my SMC Takumar 135 2.5 M42, the nice one: part number 43812. Holy smokes, what a difference! These lenses looked wonderful on my K10D, but the K20D's greater resolving ability makes these 30+ year old lenses look like a million bucks.

Good news is great old glass is even greater on the K20D, but it seems that modern glass considered "good" might not look all that hot.

It's great that a high end camera body like this can breathe a whole new level of performance into decades old lenses.

I just bought my K20D for 669 USD. If you're still on the sidelines, time to jump in.

Just my 2 cents.

germar


Last edited by germar; 03-28-2009 at 10:28 AM. Reason: fixed price typo
03-28-2009, 12:05 PM   #2
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I have to agree, at the moment the widest lens I have for my K20D is an A 50mm f2, and as much as I worry about not having a wide-angle when I'm sitting at home looking at the marketplace, when I'm out shooting I never feel like I'm being shortchanged. All I really want now is a katzeye or something... the focus-confirm isn't always very precise.
03-28-2009, 03:25 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by germar Quote
Then I noted for the first time that my Sigma 17-70 didn't look all that hot wide open....hmm. Looked okay stopped down a bit, but wide showed a softness that I had not seen before. I hadn't noted that on my K10D
You're not the only one. I noticed that as well and I have to stop down a bit more than I did w/ the K10D...
03-28-2009, 06:12 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by germar Quote
But then I broke out two bits of older glass: SMC A 50 1.4 and my SMC Takumar 135 2.5 M42, the nice one: part number 43812. Holy smokes, what a difference! These lenses looked wonderful on my K10D, but the K20D's greater resolving ability makes these 30+ year old lenses look like a million bucks.
Hi, germar.

Have you had any trouble with green-button metering with the SMCT 135/2.5 ?

03-29-2009, 01:52 AM   #5
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Where's the photos?
03-31-2009, 05:38 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by fwcetus Quote
Have you had any trouble with green-button metering with the SMCT 135/2.5 ?
I have both K10D and K20D, and the metering with K 135/2.5 and K10D was so good (in HyM) I wasn't even aware there is a metering problem with manual lenses until I first tried K 135/2.5 on K20D.
K20D grossly overexposes, and it consistently does so with any lens I own, be it K/M or FA with aperture ring manually set. I do understand it's a focusing screen issue, but seriously, can't this be corrected in firmware? At least seeing how well my K10D behaves, I'm tempted to think Pentax already fixed the issue in the 1.3 version of the firmware. Or could it be that I have the LL-80 divided matte focusing screen on K20D versus the stock LF-80 on K10D!? Anyways, it seems I'll keep the 10D after all as my K lenses body...
04-01-2009, 01:04 AM   #7
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AS will I .The K10D is reserves for all my manual now and in the future while I keep the K20D for all digital


cheers
04-01-2009, 04:42 AM   #8
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Really interesting post, thank you.

Makes my 1975 M 50mm 1:7 even more precious !

04-01-2009, 05:23 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by jct us101 Quote
Where's the photos?
Here are a quick few ... they are not the best I have, just what I could get to quickly.

The flower shots are with a Super-Multi-Coated Tak 50mm f1.4, the older version with the knurled focus ring. I wish I could quickly give you all a 100% crop, as the K20D captured each little hair on the plant's stems. All these are done in M mode with the green button. I still have the factory focus screen, BTW.

The long shot is included due to the conversation of exposure. This was a very old Takumar 300mm f4, a model I understand that went out of production in 1965, so this guy is easily pushing 45 years of age. This is a "green button" exposure in M mode.... on the fly as you can see. The intersection was about 200 feet away from my camera position.

All the shots I've taken so far seem to expose just like my K10D, with the histogram slightly to the left. I think the camera did a great job finding an exposure for the different values in these shots.







A great camera for old glass!

germar
04-02-2009, 07:57 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by jct us101 Quote
Where's the photos?
I figured I'd add a few too, all with an old Meyer-Optik Gorlitz 50mm f1.8 screwmount. Even wide open, it's sharper than my younger M and A pentax 50s.







All as processed in-camera with minimal post on the computer.
04-02-2009, 08:06 PM   #11
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Oh that Meyer Optik 50 1.8 looks great...
04-02-2009, 10:30 PM   #12
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Last one is a true delight, well done and thanks
04-03-2009, 11:37 AM   #13
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I agree on the old glass and K20D

Here are some shots with an old manual focus Vivitar 135mm f2.8





04-03-2009, 12:47 PM   #14
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Agnostic, that last one has a really unique, beautifully luminous feel to it. Nice shot!
04-03-2009, 01:59 PM   #15
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I think I have to agree with the K20D making old glass look good. I pulled out my Viv Series 1 70-210 F4 Kiron lens today for a few shots of things just for my own testing. I was happy to see extremely sharp pictures. I was pretty impressed. I'll have to use it more often.
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