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02-07-2010, 09:28 PM   #1
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Questions about my new KM

I'm a new DSLR user. A total newb to photography actually, and I just bought an old KM because I wanted the M50 1.7 lens that came with it. But as I was waiting for it in the mail, ...I couldn't wait to get my hands on the CAMERA. BUT...now that I have it, I'm not sure about a couple of things.

1) The film wind knob on the top left has a FILM and EXPOSURE dial.
For FILM it's either a "red sun" "black and white" or something else. I'm not sure what that is. It could be a bulb for flash maybe? What are these?
Either way I'm using 24 exposure film, yet the choices are either 20 or 36...sooo I'm gonna guess I want 36? Or am I way off the mark here?
2) There's a timer on the front...but there's also a chrome button above the timer dial. What's its purpose?
3) On the left side of the body next to the lens are two plugs. What are they for?

I've already put in a battery for the light meter which I've totally figured out, loaded it ok, with 200 speed film, and checked other posts on Black and White film (When I'm ready)...now I just have to finish this roll of film, and I'm good.

02-07-2010, 09:41 PM   #2
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1) The dial with the pictures and the 20 or36 is meant just to remind you of what kind of film you've got in the camera, in case you were to shoot half a roll and then leave it for long enough to forget. I guess that film used to come in reels of either 20 or 36, rather than 24 or 36 like they do today. Whenever I had a 24 frame roll in, I just used the 20 to remind myself of that. The dial performs no other function apart from reminding you what you've loaded.

2) That chrome button is a depth of field (DOF) preview button. Hold it down and it closes down the aperture blades to whatever aperture you've set the lens to, allowing you to see just what will or won't be in focus on the negative itself (a bigger aperture number = a smaller hole letting light through = much greater depth of field = much more will be in focus, even if you don't focus on it in particular).

3) I'm pretty sure they're to do with the flash hot shoe and help to sync the flash to the shutter (60x on the KM, if I remember correctly). I may be wrong about this, though; I never used a flash with my KM.
02-07-2010, 09:54 PM   #3
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This might help: Pentax KM instruction manual, user manual
02-08-2010, 03:28 AM   #4
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For 3), the plugs are PC sockets. One should be marked X for X sync (for use with electronic flashes), the other plug is for use with flash bulbs.

Make sure you have the ISO dial set to the film speed you're using (200) or the light meter won't read correctly.

02-08-2010, 11:40 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Steinback Quote
For 3), the plugs are PC sockets. One should be marked X for X sync (for use with electronic flashes), the other plug is for use with flash bulbs.

Make sure you have the ISO dial set to the film speed you're using (200) or the light meter won't read correctly.
With all three questions answered, another film newbie goes out into the big bright world!

Winnie, be sure to post your film pics when you get the processing done!

Steve
02-08-2010, 02:27 PM   #6
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Thanks guys! Great answers, AND a manual. Wow!

I'd like to say I'm having some good luck with this camera, ...but I won't know until I get the processing done...which leads me to: Where are you all getting YOUR film processed these days?
02-08-2010, 08:04 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Winnie Quote
Thanks guys! Great answers, AND a manual. Wow!

I'd like to say I'm having some good luck with this camera, ...but I won't know until I get the processing done...which leads me to: Where are you all getting YOUR film processed these days?
It depends on the film...

I do my own B&W and send my Ektar 100 to the local pro lab. Ektar is picky about good development. Before I started with the Ektar, I had good luck with Kodak Gold 200 at the minilab at the drug store or Costco. Processing + scan (no prints) for under $5.

The main issue has been getting good scans. Unfortunately, the final solution for me involved investing in a film scanner ($$$). Great results, though it may be a couple of years before I have amortized the investment!

Steve
02-09-2010, 10:14 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChrisPlatt Quote
I believe the "chrome button ABOVE the timer dial" to which the OP refers to is actually the self-timer trigger.
The DOF preview button is located on the opposite side.

The Pentax KM is a lovely camera. Enjoy it, and don't be surprised if you get hooked on film...

Chris
I think you're imagining the tiny self-timer trigger that hides behind the self-timer lever when in their upright positions on some other Pentax bodies (I think ME and ME Super are like this). KM does indeed have a big chrome button above the self-timer lever that is used for DoF preview; on the KX this control includes mirror-lockup as well. To my knowledge, no Pentax K-mount body has ever had DoF preview on the opposite side--presumeably because the mechanical aperture linkage is on the same side as the lens release button.

02-09-2010, 10:29 AM   #9
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Excellent progress with the KM, welcome onboard!

I get my color film developed at the local CVS drugstore - I ask for 'CD only' which means I don't pay for prints, and get decent 1500pix wide scans, for around $5.50, sometimes less.
02-09-2010, 02:16 PM   #10
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CD Only. That sounds good to me.
02-09-2010, 05:49 PM   #11
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My mistake. You are correct, the DOF preview is above the self timer.
The trigger for the self timer on the KM is a concentric metal lever.

Chris
02-10-2010, 04:25 PM   #12
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I don't believe my DOF button is working. It presses down, but nothing happens as the manual says. I think, Like the DSLR's Green Button, I should HEAR it stopping down too, no?
02-10-2010, 05:54 PM   #13
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Stop the lens down to f/11 or f/16, look through the viewfinder and focus on something, then press the DOF preview button. The viewfinder should get much darker, but you will see more depth. The mechanical linkage on the film SLRs is much quieter than the electromechanical linkage on the DSLRs.
02-10-2010, 06:57 PM   #14
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Ok, I have my first round of pictures.
The file sizes are rather small. So, I'm getting some prints made tomorrow, too, just to get a better idea of the results. I like the organic look of most of them. All 24 came out, these are just the standouts.
Questions:
1) They're a bit grainy. It's 200 Kodak C41. I kept the ISO at 200. Will all my pictures be grainy like this?
I'm using either the Pentax 50 1.7, Or a Super Takumar 50 1.4 With the adapter. in all these shots.
2) There's obviously no white balance with film, but the indoor shots are mostly greenish. Is the only way to compensate for this to either...make the shot b&w in post processing, or use a flash?

Any an all comments are welcome.

Incidentally, I have the cross microprism focus screen in this camera, and I love it.
02-10-2010, 06:57 PM   #15
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