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02-29-2016, 11:45 AM   #1
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Metering problem using DA lens on Pentax film SLR

Hi Pentax film shooters!

I recently starting shooting film (I started photography with Pentax DSLR - when the K-x got out) with a K1000 and now shoot regularly with my beautiful MX. I have multiple FF lenses with aperture ring, and that's what I have been using until now, with great success on the K1000 and now the MX. Today, I felt like shooting with my DA 70mm ltd and so I screw it on the MX to have some fun. I knew that I would have to shoot wide open, but it didn't bother me that much as I was planning on doing street portraits and other low light stuff.
Anyhow, when I tried to meter the scene, the MX's meter would just show me the red dot as if I was underexposing but a few stops. No matter the shutter speed I set, nothing changed. As I was estimating the shutter speed needed to be at around 1/125th of a second, so I was puzzled. I just took the picture anyway at the setting I was thinking should be right and moved along. I thought maybe the battery was dying or something, but it doesn't seem to be the case since the MX, now mounted with a FA lens, meters properly again. Sure enough, when I put the DA 70mm on it, the problem comes back.

Is this normal behaviour? I just assumed the meter would work on DA lens, (taking wide open as the aperture setting), but it seems I was wrong.

Thanks for your help.

02-29-2016, 12:00 PM   #2
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When you put a DA lens with a K or M mount body, the body stop down the lens to the maximum (here f22 i guess).

To be able to use any DA lens correctly, you need "A mount" body (like the Superprogram, Program A, or P30t, or MZ body)
02-29-2016, 01:41 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by kp0c Quote
I knew that I would have to shoot wide open
It's actually the other way around- when you press the shutter release button, the lens will always stop all the way down to the minimum aperture (i.e. F22) unless it has an aperture ring.

Thus the only way you can successfully use DA lenses on film bodies is if the body has lens data contacts (i.e. supports P mode / "A" type lenses). This translates to having to use the Super Program or newer. If you want to be able to choose the aperture setting, certain bodies such as the PZ-1 actually allow you to select the aperture value electronically, just like modern DSLRs. Otherwise you'll be limited to P and Tv mode.

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02-29-2016, 02:29 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
It's actually the other way around- when you press the shutter release button, the lens will always stop all the way down to the minimum aperture (i.e. F22) unless it has an aperture ring.

Thus the only way you can successfully use DA lenses on film bodies is if the body has lens data contacts (i.e. supports P mode / "A" type lenses). This translates to having to use the Super Program or newer. If you want to be able to choose the aperture setting, certain bodies such as the PZ-1 actually allow you to select the aperture value electronically, just like modern DSLRs. Otherwise you'll be limited to P and Tv mode.
Oh, that is quite the difference in behaviour, and an unfortunate one at that. Not sure where I got the idea that the lens would stay wide open, oh well.

I guess I'll have to remove the aperture lever from my DA limited.

Just kidding. (quickly opens adorama's website and start to droll over the FA 77mm.)

Another quick question : (not that I would do it, but what if I slightly unmount the lens from the body? Would the aperture be stopped down in near wide open position then?)

02-29-2016, 03:00 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by kp0c Quote
I guess I'll have to remove the aperture lever from my DA limited.
Before doing that:
I have used the DA 18 ~ 55 by using 2 lengths of heatshrink tubing about 3mm dia by 5mm long.
slide one over the stop down lever and insert one in the slot next to the lever.
(the risk is that the second piece will fall into the lens body so only do it on the kit zoom.
Adjust so that the lever is stuck wide open at f/4.5 or so.
That lens will go down to about 24mm then it vignettes.
03-04-2016, 09:04 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by kp0c Quote
what if I slightly unmount the lens from the body? Would the aperture be stopped down in near wide open position then?
No, the resting position is full closed.


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03-05-2016, 01:45 AM   #7
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I have used the DA 70mm on newer film SLRs such as the MZ-5N and it works very well indeed. It's a shame it can't be used on the older bodies but it gives me another excuse (as if I need one) to buy old manual lenses instead.
03-19-2016, 10:20 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
It's actually the other way around- when you press the shutter release button, the lens will always stop all the way down to the minimum aperture (i.e. F22) unless it has an aperture ring.

Thus the only way you can successfully use DA lenses on film bodies is if the body has lens data contacts (i.e. supports P mode / "A" type lenses). This translates to having to use the Super Program or newer. If you want to be able to choose the aperture setting, certain bodies such as the PZ-1 actually allow you to select the aperture value electronically, just like modern DSLRs. Otherwise you'll be limited to P and Tv mode.
I was under the impression that the Super Program also allowed control of the aperture - or at least it DISPLAYED the aperture the lens was set to, thus enabling indirect aperture control by selection of an appropriate matching shutter speed, much as the ME allows selection of shutter speed by displaying it in the viewfinder and altering lens aperture mechanically until the desired speed is highlighted.

04-22-2016, 06:35 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
I was under the impression that the Super Program also allowed control of the aperture - or at least it DISPLAYED the aperture the lens was set to, thus enabling indirect aperture control by selection of an appropriate matching shutter speed, much as the ME allows selection of shutter speed by displaying it in the viewfinder and altering lens aperture mechanically until the desired speed is highlighted.
Hey! I just purchased a Pentax SuperProgram locally and although I'd really prefer to have an actual wheel to select my shutter speeds, the ergonomics aren't too bad and it seems to work quite well with my DA 70mm. I'm thus eager to shoot a tool through it! When in M mode, the camera meters and shows the selected shutter speed and resulting aperture at the bottom of the viewfinder. I simple have to adjust up or down the shutter speeds to change the aperture. I have two small annoyances still : The shutter speeds change at full stop and I don't have full control over exposure (since the meter does everything for me), but there is an "exposure compensation" wheel that allows for 1/2, 1/4, 2x, and 4x adjustment, so it works well enough.

While I'm at it, I'm used to shoot with the MX and KX, so I'll make a quick comparaison. The SuperProgram seems a lot more finicky to use. Of course, it needs a battery to work at all, which is fine by me considering it's an electronic camera. However, there are some weird behaviours imo. For instance, the meter won't work until you've advanced the shutter release to the 0 position (or the one before), and although it can seem alright, it does get a little confusing when you are trying to quickly check the working condition of the camera while not having an actual film inside. I just spent about 15 minutes trying to figure out how to use my DA 70mm with it just to realize that it wasn't displaying the aperture simply because I wasn't advanced enough...! Once I released the shutter once or twice, everything began to work. Also, when I turn on the camera and put it manual mode, sometimes, it seems like the buttons to change the shutter speeds don't work, but then, I do something, I'm not even sure what at this point, maybe release the shutter?, then everything works perfectly fine and never stops. I need some getting used to it, but I think I'm gonna like it a lot once I have shot a few rolls with it. I'm really excited about the ability to shoot my DA 70mm on film. It won't replace my MXs, but what could .

Thanks for the tips guys (although it's been a while!), it helped a lot.

Last edited by kp0c; 04-22-2016 at 06:43 PM.
04-22-2016, 11:32 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by kp0c Quote
Hey! I just purchased a Pentax SuperProgram locally and although I'd really prefer to have an actual wheel to select my shutter speeds, the ergonomics aren't too bad and it seems to work quite well with my DA 70mm. I'm thus eager to shoot a tool through it! When in M mode, the camera meters and shows the selected shutter speed and resulting aperture at the bottom of the viewfinder. I simple have to adjust up or down the shutter speeds to change the aperture. I have two small annoyances still : The shutter speeds change at full stop and I don't have full control over exposure (since the meter does everything for me), but there is an "exposure compensation" wheel that allows for 1/2, 1/4, 2x, and 4x adjustment, so it works well enough.

While I'm at it, I'm used to shoot with the MX and KX, so I'll make a quick comparaison. The SuperProgram seems a lot more finicky to use. Of course, it needs a battery to work at all, which is fine by me considering it's an electronic camera. However, there are some weird behaviours imo. For instance, the meter won't work until you've advanced the shutter release to the 0 position (or the one before), and although it can seem alright, it does get a little confusing when you are trying to quickly check the working condition of the camera while not having an actual film inside. I just spent about 15 minutes trying to figure out how to use my DA 70mm with it just to realize that it wasn't displaying the aperture simply because I wasn't advanced enough...! Once I released the shutter once or twice, everything began to work. Also, when I turn on the camera and put it manual mode, sometimes, it seems like the buttons to change the shutter speeds don't work, but then, I do something, I'm not even sure what at this point, maybe release the shutter?, then everything works perfectly fine and never stops. I need some getting used to it, but I think I'm gonna like it a lot once I have shot a few rolls with it. I'm really excited about the ability to shoot my DA 70mm on film. It won't replace my MXs, but what could .

Thanks for the tips guys (although it's been a while!), it helped a lot.
I'm not a fan of the Super Program or ME Super models - I agree, they are "finicky", or I'd say rather "fiddly".
I enjoy the two ends of the spectrum - fully mechanical, or fully auto capable. It's a pretty wide gulf between the MX and MZ-S, but a nice one to cross. I just don't spend any time (have sold the couple I've owned) with the cameras that sort of "between" those worlds. Just my preference.
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