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12-27-2009, 04:30 AM   #1
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K10, K20, K7 Which is the best performer with old MF Lenses

Hi all,

I have a lot of old legacy Pentax manual focus lenses so how well a camera performs with this older glass is important to me. As my signature idicates they include a number of K, M and A series lenses. I would estmate over 90% of my shots are taken with these older lenses. I have been using a K10 for three years now and I have been very impressed with it for the most part. Like everyone else I would prefer better performance at higher ISO levels. The K10 is pretty weak IMO over ISO 400. I understand the K20 and K7 are much better in this regard.

I am drawn to the K20 for its larger sensor and the fact I can use the same battery grip and KatzEye focusing screen from my K10. I know little of the K7 and I am curious, given my lens collection, if it would be a better fit for me than the K20. Video capeability is of no interest to me at all. Thoughts?

Tom G

12-27-2009, 04:34 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by 8540tomg Quote
Hi all,

I have a lot of old legacy Pentax manual focus lenses so how well a camera performs with this older glass is important to me. As my signature idicates they include a number of K, M and A series lenses. I would estmate over 90% of my shots are taken with these older lenses. I have been using a K10 for three years now and I have been very impressed with it for the most part. Like everyone else I would prefer better performance at higher ISO levels. The K10 is pretty weak IMO over ISO 400. I understand the K20 and K7 are much better in this regard.

I am drawn to the K20 for its larger sensor and the fact I can use the same battery grip and KatzEye focusing screen from my K10. I know little of the K7 and I am curious, given my lens collection, if it would be a better fit for me than the K20. Video capeability is of no interest to me at all. Thoughts?

Tom G
Haven't done a systematic test yet, but my impression so far is that the K-7 gets the exposure better with old K and M lenses than the K20D. So less exposure compensation with the green button.

Don't follow you on what you mean with the larger sensor of the K20D. It is the same size as the K10D and the K-7, that is APS-C.
12-27-2009, 04:38 AM   #3
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maybe he meant higher resolution?
12-27-2009, 04:44 AM   #4
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That was quick.

Thanks for the opinion Doug. Exposure is a key consideration for me. By larger sensor I was referring to megapixel size. My K10 is 10.2 as I recall and I believe the K20 and K7 are significantly larger at over 14 megapixels.

Tom G

12-27-2009, 05:05 AM   #5
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I added a split screen to my K10D for just this use. I find it works well but don't have a K-7 to compare metering. I don't see much difference with the K20D in terms of metering although it is a bit better at high ISO's.

But I'm posting because the K10D is OK at 800 and can pull off high ISO shooting if you slightly over expose the shot. Dial in +.3 or +.7 Ev and you'll find the high ISO shots are much better.
12-27-2009, 05:49 AM   #6
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I'm with Peter on this one.
Don't have K-7 nor K20D but I do have K10D and GX20. I have split screen and VF magnifier on K10D and use K55/1.8 with it recently. It's getting great reults especially once you know how the lens behaves (if you need EV comp or not). Up to ISO800 I have no problems using it. At higher ISO the noise can become bit annoying but it's still usable.
I used to own K400/5.6 which worked great with K10 too. The metering was fine, even in Av mode with that lens.

BR
Peter
12-27-2009, 05:52 AM   #7
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I have been using manual focus lenses with my new Pentax KX. They work as well if not better than my K10. Been playing around with live view focusing as well which I seem to be able to do very accurately, maybe even better than using the view finder in low light.
12-27-2009, 06:10 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Peter Zack Quote
I added a split screen to my K10D for just this use. I find it works well but don't have a K-7 to compare metering. I don't see much difference with the K20D in terms of metering although it is a bit better at high ISO's.

But I'm posting because the K10D is OK at 800 and can pull off high ISO shooting if you slightly over expose the shot. Dial in +.3 or +.7 Ev and you'll find the high ISO shots are much better.
I too added a split screen, but didn't find it too useful. Specially since the K10D lets you know when it gets something into focus.

12-27-2009, 06:14 AM   #9
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Don't know about K20, but from my experience, K-7 has much more realiable mettering with MF lenses then K10D
12-27-2009, 06:29 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by netrex Quote
I too added a split screen, but didn't find it too useful. Specially since the K10D lets you know when it gets something into focus.
the problem is that when you are shooting on f1.7~ in K10/20 VF you don't easily know if the camera's AF sensor picked up the spot you want, and that's when split screen comes in handy IMO.
12-27-2009, 07:00 AM   #11
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I shoot a lot of old m42 lenses and for a while had both the K10d and the K-7. My k10d died. I'm not sure I can fully define the reasons why, but I honestly liked the look of the images from the K10d, especially with my takumars, better than with the K-7. Maybe it was the sensor? I'm trying to find another K10d cheap primarily for use with those older lenses.

I have Katz Eye's in both cameras.
12-27-2009, 07:13 AM   #12
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Hi tom and merry christmas

I can't speak for the K20, because I decided to pass on that one, but of the 3 bodies you mention I do have both the K10D and K7D, and would have to say without modifications (i.e. no focusing screen) the K7D is the best in terms of both metering accuracy and shake reduction.

the higher ISO also does not hurt.

Edit note, the K7's metering is also improved with respect to one other issue, when you use a sigm,a TC which only passes aperture through and does not modify it for the impact of the TC, on the K10D and K20D this introduces an exposure error. On the K7D there is no need to add exposure compensation when using a TC.

you may recall this post, K7D ISO 800 at 1/40 with my SMC 300F4 and 1.7x AF TC this is a 100% crop of a larger image JPEG right out of the camera



I have however put a split image screen into my K10D and while average metering is now improved the split image has resulted in the loss of spot metering.

Note also I still use my *istD for long non "A" lenses with a flash because it can do TTL metering. I wish that pentax would add that back in as an option for older lenses, because it does a great job as shown below

*istD with same 300F4 and AF TC plus flash


Last edited by Lowell Goudge; 12-27-2009 at 07:22 AM.
12-27-2009, 07:14 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by 8540tomg Quote
I am drawn to the K20 for its larger sensor and the fact I can use the same battery grip and KatzEye focusing screen from my K10. I know little of the K7 and I am curious, given my lens collection, if it would be a better fit for me than the K20. Video capeability is of no interest to me at all. Thoughts?

Tom G
When I bought K 50/1.2 and tried to use it with my K10D, the exposure metering was inconsistent. Thus, I "upgraded" to A 50/1.2. No problems ever since. Presently I don't have any non A-mount lenses so that I cannot retry and report.

For focusing I use Katz Eye screen both on K10D and K-7. K-7 outperforms K10D at high ISOs. K10D is set to auto-ISO 100-640, K-7 is set to auto-ISO 100-800. However I don't shoot a lot under low light conditions. Yet, I must admit that most recent attempts with K-7 made me think that I should reconsider that, as even at ISO 1600 and sometimes at ISO 3200 I get pretty darn good images.

However, batteries, grips and even KE screen are incompatible between K-7 and K10D (K20D). The only thing I could use is eye cap magnifier.
12-27-2009, 09:19 AM   #14
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This one is easy... comparing the three cameras, the K-7 is the best for manual focusing with older non-A lenses. Exposure is not constant at different apertures with the K10D. The K20D is not much better but the K-7 is the best in terms of metering accuracy with the legacy lenses. Moreover one can use Live View to get critical focus when focusing manually and the K-7 has the best implementation of LV.
12-27-2009, 05:24 PM   #15
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I see very little problem with M lenses metering on the K20D. It is apparently a matter of proper set up. I use the center-weighted setting. Pattern metering or spot metering do not work well on manual lenses. As is true with all the Pentax bodies, manual-set aperture does not exactly match the electronic metering on A-lenses.

I have no problem with noise or detail shooting at 1600 iso as long as the exposure is adequate:
Gophers - James Robins - Powered by Phanfare

The differences between the K-7 and K20D do include a more-sophisticated metering pattern on the K-7, as well as a tendency to slightly overexpose - which has resulted in lower shadow noise at the expense of considerable highlight clipping in contrasty conditions.

I have no reason to think that SR should work better on the K20D than the K-7, but tests have consistently indicated this to be the case. Another consideration is learning a new button set up when going from the K10D/K20D to the newer bodies. Most people seem to like the new layout more, but it will take time to get used to the changes.

Many people have reported that the older lenses struggle some to perform as well with the higher resolution sensors. There's some truth to it. My 50mm f/1.4 m-series simply does not have snap on the K20D compared to the 6mp sensor on the *istD; much of the "Pentax look" seems to be lost.

Last edited by ScooterMaxi Jim; 12-27-2009 at 05:34 PM. Reason: Additional information - forgot to put in
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