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Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 03-28-2020, 10:01 AM  
Pentax Espio 140v Lens Stuck (-- display)
Posted By Ontarian50
Replies: 1
Views: 296
On cameras like the Espio 140, the lens is connected to the circuit board by a ribbon cable that is required to unfold and fold every time the camera is switched on and/or zoomed. Eventually, the connections at either end of the ribbon wear and fail. That usually generates an error message, which results in a flashing display.

This could be the cause of your problem. Or it could be something more pedestrian, like a few grains of sand jammed in the main drive gears.

The sad fact is most of these point and shoot cameras are nearing the ends of their practical lifespans. Most have died already.

I did a cynical calculation once, and figured the manufacturers of such cameras only had to keep the owners happy for 10 years at most. And most of those owners probably never shot more than five or six rolls of film a year. But design and build a mechanism that could run 10 rolls of film a year for 10 years, and you only had to put a hundred rolls of film through the transport, and click the shutter 3,600 times and you had a good product.

I know of many such point and shoots that didn't make it that far. And then there were others (like my mother-in-law's Pentax) that did much better.

Sure, they could have built them tougher and longer-lasting, but then they would have cost more, and most customers were happy spending what they did for a pocket camera that would last them a decade.

Now that they aren't being made any more, and parts for repairs are pretty unobtainable, people are starting to wish they could keep them running a bit longer.
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 03-20-2020, 11:25 AM  
I Heard about a 72 frame k1000, and can you help me?
Posted By Ontarian50
Replies: 23
Views: 1,197
There is one other possibility.

Ilford tried to make a go of a special load of HP5 black and white film in the early 1980s. Using a special thin base, they fit 72 exposures worth of film into a regular cassette, and promoted it as "motor winder film" or "motor drive film" or something like that.

There were a few reasons why it didn't catch on. Firstly, the thinner film base supposedly led to film flatness issues and less sharpness. Secondly, developing tanks only held 36 exposure lengths of film, so Ilford had a special 72 exposure length stainless reel and matching tank for a short while. Pretty rare, but I have one here.

Thirdly, regular cameras only had counters that went up to 36 or so. I heard of some manufacturers experimenting with cameras that went up to 72 (before LCD displays made that redundant). Maybe this K1000 is one of those oddballs that got out there.
Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 03-20-2020, 07:52 AM  
Pentax ME Super light leak?
Posted By Ontarian50
Replies: 22
Views: 648
Your symptoms look exactly like you'd expect from a poor seal at the door hinge, as previously described.

It takes only a microscopic gap at the door hinge to let a few photons past and onto your exposed film on the takeup spool. The effect will vary from shot to shot, depending on how long you let a piece of film sit next to the hinge (if you shoot quickly, you'll get a few frames without marks), how bright the exterior light is, and how far along you are in the roll (the takeup spool gets fatter later in the roll).

Pentax did use very durable hinge seals on cameras like the ME Super, but they don't last forever. Also, the hinge itself can get loose and gap more than when new.

If you want to test if the hinge seal is the culprit, load a roll of film, and then cover the hinge with opaque black tape - electrical tape works, but remove it when done unless you like gummy residue. Chances are the roll will come out without marks.

But, no, vertical stripes from top to bottom on the film aren't caused by mirror pads, shutter blade issues, or the frame counter re-set plunger.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 03-17-2020, 08:25 AM  
Difference between 7 and 8 element Super Takumar
Posted By Ontarian50
Replies: 14
Views: 942
Oh crap! One of my 50mm 1.4's matches the 8-element description. I think it's one I acquired recently, and somehow didn't notice the difference.

So now I have to dig out the M42 adapter and do some side-by-side testing.

I really should stop reading these postings.
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 03-13-2020, 10:02 AM  
Pentax ist ds Locked
Posted By Ontarian50
Replies: 16
Views: 689
If that camera was on my repair bench, the first thing I'd do is take the back off and check and clean the connections between the back cover and the board.

Sitting idle for some time might have inspired a bit of corrosion and poor internal connection.

In other words, might be the buttons aren't working because the buttons aren't working
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 03-11-2020, 08:24 AM  
Bought a lens adaptor and it won't fit
Posted By Ontarian50
Replies: 21
Views: 1,176
Yes, the OP's lens is definitely the Minolta A mount version - later used on Sony DSLRs.

However, the elephant in the room is this adapter was never going to work as hoped anyway.

Using an adapter like that to fit one lens type (Nikon, Pentax, or Minolta) to another lens mount (Pentax, Nikon, or Minolta) will add too much extension between lens and body, and the result is drastically close focus only (especially on a 24mm), and nothing else.

Just because these companies will happily ship you such an adapter doesn't mean it will work like you expect. Technically, that adapter will put a Pentax K lens onto a Nikon body, but unless your goal is macro photography you will be disappointed. The only adapters that allow distance focus have glass elements in them, and results are often disappointing.
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 03-11-2020, 08:13 AM  
Hot Shoe Cover how important is it and why ?
Posted By Ontarian50
Replies: 63
Views: 2,151
It wasn't that long ago that hot-shoe covers only came with entry level camera bodies - at least that's definitely how Nikon did it 15-20 years ago. If you bought a basic SLR with built-in flash, there was a cover on the body as it came out of the box.

The higher end bodies without built-in flash, didn't come with a cover.

I gather the assumption was the high end user needed and bought an auxiliary flash, and used it regularly - so no need for a cover.

The entry-level buyer would not buy an accessory flash, using only the built-in one, at least for a year or so. However, when they did get one, pulling the cover off revealed pristine contacts. Photographers who don't use a hot-shoe flash regularly, often end up with corroded shoes and contacts. The biggest issue is getting stuck the tiny switch hidden under one rail of the shoe because of gunk or corrosion - then the camera thinks a flash is mounted and won't pop up the built-in one. A cover would help stop that.

Cameras without built-in flash, don't have or need that tiny switch, which gives another reason for not needing a cover.

And this explains why you have to have the right type of cover, if you're replacing an original one. If the cutaway for the tiny switch is on the wrong side, the switch gets depressed, and the flash won't lift. Sticking a Canon cover into my K-01 stops the flash lifting, and vice versa. The bubble level will do the same thing.
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 02-20-2020, 09:03 AM  
Problem removing film counter dial - Spotmatic F
Posted By Ontarian50
Replies: 4
Views: 297
I have a neat pair of pliers that are perfect for removing that nut. They were apparently designed for pulling "coils" out of telephone office equipment. "Coil pullers" they were called. They spread wide enough to span some smaller lens rings. Fully closed the curved ends neatly fit the Spotmatic/K1000 frame counter support nuts. I treasure them.

However, they're totally unobtainable now. What I would do is take a large interchangeable slotted screwdriver blade, and use a Dremel cut off wheel to cut a notch in it large enough to clear the central shaft, and shape the remaining legs to precisely fit the nut.
Put the blade into a small driver, and you should have enough torque to free the nut. And yes, you have to remember it's reverse threaded. Is it possible some prior repairer didn't know that and jammed it down so tight it won't come free without some heroic measures?
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 02-11-2020, 10:40 AM  
'Fudging' aperture numbers
Posted By Ontarian50
Replies: 31
Views: 1,453
I think some would argue that tolerances were tighter back in the day. Under the Japan Camera Inspection Institute, there were tight tolerances applied to products for export. This was done to make sure Japan's reputation for making cheap tin toys and cheap radios in the 40's and 50's was transformed into a reputation for precision and accuracy. A lens had to be within a few percent of its marked focal length to meet approval. Same for apertures, and shutter speeds, etc. etc.

The JCII stickers disappeared around 1990 (anyone know the exact year?). This was era of the early wonderzooms, and lenses with internal focusing, which changed their actual focal length depending on focusing distance. While a traditional unit focusing lens extends its focal length as you focus closer, internal focus and front focus zooms can do weird things - but they usually lose focal length. So your current 18-270mm is likely a pretty accurate 270mm when focused at infinity, up close it may be lucky to break 200mm. To the owner and user of such a lens, that doesn't likely matter much, but it would have driven the JCII mad.

But technically, yes, things could be "fudged" back in the day, or today. For marketing reasons, a lens measuring closer to a 1.8 aperture could be sold as a 1.7, and still be within JCII tolerance.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 01-24-2020, 10:16 AM  
Talk To Me About Vintage Lenses
Posted By Ontarian50
Replies: 59
Views: 2,178
In my experience many younger photographers are picking up vintage lenses and raving about their qualities, mainly because their only other lens is the pair of kit zooms they got with their DSLR or mirrorless. If they were to compare their old manual focus lens to a current AF prime, I think they'd see less of a difference to rave about.

Then there's the videographers using DSLRs or mirrorless. They're often raving about the qualities of certain older lenses for their work, mainly because of their flaws. They don't worry about sharpness, or corner detail, or whatever the 36mp crowd are looking for, but because they capture moving images, lenses that throw flare through a scene for a moment or two as the camera pans are very interesting. Current, super-coated optics may look too boringly competent by comparison. Then there's focusing. Videographers prefer smooth manual focus to whatever motors and gears are in a modern AF lens. Screw mount Takumars are still highly prized by that crowd.

Then there's the still photographers who are truly looking for something unique in vintage glass that you generally can't find in modern optics. Old lens designs had odd out of focus renderings that were designed out over the years. Today, however, those "flaws" are prized as special "bokeh".

But above all, I think many photographers like the idea of sourcing something personal and special that no one else in their photo community has. If it requires finding an oddball adapter, and modifying it a bit so some 1951 vintage lens with a pre-set diaphragm can fit - and all the automatic features of their camera are gone, so it's a total hands-on experience, then so much the better.

If they have to go out of their way to find unusual, creative situations to show off their lens' unique attributes, then it's mission accomplished.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 01-22-2020, 10:44 AM  
All That Glitters is not...silver
Posted By Ontarian50
Replies: 5
Views: 848
Ah yes, graphite grey. The 1980s are back.
Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 01-10-2020, 08:43 AM  
PENTAX Q-S1 Discontinued
Posted By Ontarian50
Replies: 49
Views: 4,543
While there are those who can speculate on, and wish for a higher resolution sensor for the Q or something like it, the fact is all four Q models were 12 megapixel cameras. Pentax had too much honesty to put higher resolution sensors in the cameras, even though sensors in the 16 and 20 megapixel range were available.

If you read through the Q forum, you realize that actual resolution is often limited by lens diffraction. The small compact 12mp camera sensor used in the Q was limited to lenses having apertures wider than f4.0 or so. Any smaller aperture, and resolution drops - on a 12mp sensor. Increase the pixel count, and you max out your resolution at even wider apertures.

These laws of optics are ignored by marketing departments, who know that cellphone buyers are swayed by the pixel count of the camera sensor, not knowing they can't actually resolve 20 or 50 megapixels on a sensor that small by a lens of that type. This is why cellphone images always look like cellphone images. There's only so much resolution to go round in a lens module that small.

And the guys who go digiscoping, putting high-res sensors behind small aperture spotting scopes, are usually fooling themselves by wishing for higher-spec sensors, not realizing the biggest limitation is optical diffraction effects. They can get more pixels, but they don't resolve any more detail.
Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 01-09-2020, 09:43 AM  
PENTAX Q-S1 Discontinued
Posted By Ontarian50
Replies: 49
Views: 4,543
While it's easy to determine when a camera is introduced, it's a lot harder to figure out when it's discontinued - or at least what we mean by discontinued.

At some point a camera goes out of production (its production line gets used for something else) and never comes back. However, the camera company may have surplus inventory designed to last until residual demand fades away - so it stays in the catalogue or price lists until supply runs out.

However, these days, a camera or lens will likely stay up on the company website for quite some time after it's no longer available for order, and that's because dealers may still have stock on the shelves. Consider that it would be very unkind to see a dealer order in half a dozen cameras in March, only to see it discontinued and promptly yanked from the website in April. It stays up on the site for up to a year after new inventory is no longer available, maybe longer as in the case of the Q-S1.

Back in 35mm days, it wasn't unusual to see traditional camera stores happily keep discontinued models in inventory sometimes several years after they were gone. There was always some guy who would complain that the newer model wasn't as nice as the one it replaced, and wished they'd bought the old one when it was available. "Wait, I've got one new in the box in the back room...."
Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 01-09-2020, 08:45 AM  
PENTAX Q-S1 Discontinued
Posted By Ontarian50
Replies: 49
Views: 4,543
Agreed. The Q-S1 last appeared in Canadian Ricoh price lists in March 2017. It was gone in the July price guide. Lenses were still available for awhile.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 01-08-2020, 10:31 AM  
Adapter to fit 39mm Leica threaded lenses to Pentax K50
Posted By Ontarian50
Replies: 12
Views: 641
This thread also highlights why there are so many wonderful little gadgets you can buy on line, but can't find at a local camera store (if you still have one in your locale).

Technically, the poster received what was ordered. It does indeed fit a Leica mount lens to a K body. And since it cost very little, there's little point in sending it back. If you found one at your local store, you'd be back a few days later saying "hey, this adapter you sold me doesn't allow focus past a few millimeters. It's useless to me."

I notice there's a lot of stuff like that out there, that promises some utility that is really impossible to deliver - or has a really limited application. In this instance, putting a Leica thread enlarging lens onto a K bellows makes for a pretty nifty super macro outfit. But I would wager most get sold to those hoping to fit a vintage lens onto a modern body and focus all the way to infinity.

There's a reason the local camera store doesn't stock all this weird and wacky stuff you can readily find online. It would take only a few minutes in the store to realize it didn't deliver, and you wouldn't buy it. But a few clicks of a mouse and a couple of weeks shipping, and you're stuck with it.

And let's not get started on inexpensive flash units that look just like the expensive ones, and have all kinds of buttons that aren't hooked up to anything.
Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 01-02-2020, 08:57 AM  
Off-the-film metering after the Pentax LX
Posted By Ontarian50
Replies: 11
Views: 570
I think the Olympus OM-2 series was the first camera to offer off the film metering. The Minolta CLE also did.

One issue that off-the-film, or TTL flash fans fail to mention is that exposure varied, depending on the reflectivity of the film you were using - at least in the early days.

For instance, my old Minolta X-700 made nice TTL flash exposures when using colour film. But black and white film was frequently a stop underexposed - only with flash, not regular ambient metering.

The difference was that at that time (mid-1980s) colour film emulsion was a darker brown colour. Ilford HP5 was a light, pale green. Consequently, the TTL flash system saw more light reflected off the film and reduced the flash output. I had to remember to set my compensation dial to +1 when shooting flash on black and white film. I expect off-the-film systems like the LX and OM-2 would have had similar issues.

I believe that later on, an industry standard was set for film emulsion reflectivity, as more and more cameras were using TTL flash (very few used off-the-film ambient measuring).
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 12-11-2019, 11:28 AM  
PENTAX-DA 12-24mm is now discontinued
Posted By Ontarian50
Replies: 72
Views: 3,017
Yes, I was commenting mainly on the APS-C specific lenses. The big 2.8 beasts from Canon and Nikon, the 14mm's might be nice and wide on a crop sensor body, but they are intended to be an ultra-wide on a full frame - and they're also very, very costly.

My point was that under $1,000, in the 2000's, the only offerings for the APS-C owner were the zooms, 10-24, or 12-24, etc. I still feel that the need for something wider than the 18mm kit zoom could have been wonderfully met with a 10 or 12mm prime, with a modest aperture and price. Consumers with new APS-C cameras could choose from some decent tele zooms in their price range, but the wider lenses were often seen as too expensive ("$900? That's nearly as much as I spent on the whole camera....!).

Pentax does deserve kudos for making nice things like the 15mm and 21mm Limited primes - but the 15mm isn't really that much wider than a 18-55mm kit zoom to merit the cost. A 12mm prime would have been a nice equivalent to what we got with an 18mm on film.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 12-11-2019, 09:03 AM  
PENTAX-DA 12-24mm is now discontinued
Posted By Ontarian50
Replies: 72
Views: 3,017
All those lenses in that range bug me a bit.

I can't fathom why when the APS-C sensor DSLR became the norm, that all lenses wider than the kit lens had to a be a zoom.

Canon had their 10-24, Nikon their 12-24 and later 10-24, Pentax their 12-24, and everything from Tamron and Sigma followed suit.

In the film era most of us were happy to own a 28 or 24 to something zoom, and then have a specialty "ultra wide" like a 20, 18, or 17mm. Sure, journalists liked the big 20-35mm 2.8's or 16-35 2.8's. But they were hard to lug around on vacation.

But when we went digital, nobody seemed to follow that logic, and all the wider lenses were fairly large zooms.

Why did no one decide to make a 12mm f3.5, for instance? Or 10mm? Especially if it could have been a bit sharper, bit more compact, and a bit less expensive than the zooms?

I guess market research pointed them in the direction they took. But nobody asked me what I wanted.
Forum: General Photography 12-11-2019, 08:54 AM  
Nikon reducing from 17 to 2 repair centers in USA
Posted By Ontarian50
Replies: 32
Views: 1,412
Unfortunately, it looks like even Nikon are slipping into the new "repair" methodology.

Only higher end cameras and lenses will get priority at the remaining repair centers - those that are profitable to actually repair. Lower end models sent in for repair will get the sob story all too common among other brands (ahem, the newer entrants into the serious camera markets) "there's too much damaged", "the repair is too expensive", "parts are on back order and it will take too long". So the customer is offered a replacement item at a discounted price - more than they wanted to spend on the repair, but at least it's brand new.

The economics of it suggest that for lower cost items (even if the customer doesn't perceive their $500 lens is a "low cost" item), the actual factory cost of the item is less than the North American wages required for disassembly, diagnosis, parts acquisition, assembly, adjustment, and testing.

Qualified repair technicians are scarce as hen's teeth these days. New boxes can be ordered in from the factory by the bushel.

The repair business is in a weird place these days. Many customers are happy to be "upgraded" to a new model, or a direct replacement for a discount. Others almost spit blood when they find the high end DSLR they've been babying for the past 10 years is deemed unrepairable because parts are no longer available.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 11-22-2019, 08:34 AM  
Will we ever get a 400mm f2.8 lens for sports photographers?
Posted By Ontarian50
Replies: 86
Views: 3,527
As for bringing back the 250-600mm zoom, be careful what you wish for.
A fellow I knew some years ago, loved his Pentax PZ-10, and liked to photograph his daughter's softball games. After leafing through the Pentax brochure, he decided the 250-600mm was just the ticket for better shots on the baseball diamond.
He had some overtime money saved up, so he went to where he bought the camera and inquired about the 250-600mm, expecting it to be expensive and a special order item. The fellow behind the counter looked at him and said something like "we'd have to special order it, but I think it's very expensive". My friend replied that he expected as much, but was prepared to spend, well ... would it be $2,000, or $3,000? The sales guy came back a few minutes later after consulting the price lists, and said "it's $15,000."

Needless to say, his overtime savings didn't stretch that high.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 11-20-2019, 10:47 AM  
Will we ever get a 400mm f2.8 lens for sports photographers?
Posted By Ontarian50
Replies: 86
Views: 3,527
Around here, where I speak with a large number of bird photographers, a 400mm f2.8 isn't on their radar. Those who shoot Canon or Nikon aren't putting one on their dream list.

What they do want is the similar sized and priced 600mm f4.0. That's their dream lens, while they make do with the Tamron or Sigma 150-600mm zooms.

The 400mm 2.8's are primarily indoor sports lenses. If you shoot football, baseball, or track and field events, that lens is on your list.

About the only argument for a bird photographer to make for a 400mm f2.8 is that it can take a 2x converter to make a 800mm f5.6, if you don't mind the loss of light and some optical loss. But the 600mm f4.0 can do the same with a 1.4x converter. So....?

So as the earlier commenters suggested, unless Pentax is prepared to release a 12fps speed demon body with state of the art autofocus, and go after the pro sports market, there's not much reason to make a new 400mm f2.8.

Bringing back the 600mm f4.0 would be a better bet and use of resources, methinks. Even then the market for that would be pretty small.
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 11-20-2019, 10:34 AM  
Leica m39 crew type lens on the pentax 645
Posted By Ontarian50
Replies: 21
Views: 1,405
Well... the Canon lens will focus if put onto the Fotodiox adapter and put on a 645, but only really, really close. Giving a 50mm lens 50mm of extension away from the film plane makes it focus 1:1 - that's before you've turned the focus ring away from infinity. The M39 lens wants to be set 28.8mm from the film plane for correct infinity focus. The adapter puts it 91.3mm away, so 62.5mm too much extension. So you're focusing closer than life size. On the plus side, all that extension will spread out the lens' coverage area, so it probably will cover the larger format to the corners.

But adapting a 35mm format lens to 645 usually won't work normally. If you could put that lens 28.8mm away from the 645 film plane, or digital sensor, coverage will fall short, and you'll have dark corners.
The exception to that is sometimes found in old-school telephoto lenses for 35mm that do have larger coverage than needed, and can be adapted to medium format - which I believe is why the Visoflex to Pentax 645 adapter exists. Those old long Telyt lenses (400mm or so) were simple achromats, and had large coverage.
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 11-19-2019, 08:42 AM  
Leica m39 crew type lens on the pentax 645
Posted By Ontarian50
Replies: 21
Views: 1,405
In case any are wondering what a Visoflex actually is (not everyone has come across one, in this day and age), it was a nifty adapter to turn a Leica rangefinder body into an SLR.

The Visoflex housing had a reflex mirror inside, and a viewfinder on top. Screwed onto the Leica body, you now had a rather kludgy SLR. You could put your regular rangefinder lens on front, but with all that extension, it was usable only for super close ups (not that wasn't a selling feature). But Leica made special lenses for the Visoflex, that accounted for all that extra extension, and could focus to infinity. Naturally these were telephoto lenses - which made up for the main shortcoming of the rangefinder system: they were great with wide and normal lenses, but were poor with longer tele lenses. Solution, turn your Leica into an SLR of course.

Early Visoflex housings were in thread mount, but later ones were for Leica M mount cameras. I have a 200mm Telyt in Visoflex mount, even though I don't have a Leica or Visoflex. But with adapters it makes a wonderful tele lens on a current DSLR. In fact, I consider it one of the best lenses in that focal length range I've ever used, so long as you don't mind the manual focus and all the adapters.
Forum: General Photography 11-15-2019, 10:32 AM  
1971 Cambridge ad
Posted By Ontarian50
Replies: 31
Views: 1,845
It looks like the earliest photo I can find of a Canon FD lens in white was the pair of lenses they introduced in 1976 - the 800mm f5.6 SSC, and the 600mm f4.5 SSC. At least that's according to the Canon Lens Museum.

None of the earlier FL lenses were made with a white finish, from what I can see. However there was an even earlier 2000mm f11 "TV" lens made in R mount introduced in 1960. That was a mirror lens, however, but the use of a lighter finish was likely also to suppress heat expansion in the sun.

Nikon had a similar 1000mm f11 mirror lens introduced in 1959, also with a creamy white finish.
Forum: General Photography 11-08-2019, 02:53 PM  
1971 Cambridge ad
Posted By Ontarian50
Replies: 31
Views: 1,845
Yes, the motor drive kit was expensive, but keep in mind that wasn't an add-on motor, like we saw in later years. For that price you got the camera, lens, and motor. It was a special model. Regular Spotmatics didn't take a motor or winder.
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