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Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 06-09-2015, 04:45 PM  
Is Super Takumar 50mm f1.4, 8-element worth $200?
Posted By johnha
Replies: 52
Views: 4,269
Whether it's worth the price depends on your motivation for buying it. Do you want a certain look, a particular focal length or do you simply want it? If you want it and will feel unfulfilled until you get one, then it probably is worth it. For me it depends on the format - for APS-C 50mm is nowhere as a focal length, I've only used my FA43 on film (it doesn't work for me on APS-C either).

I have an SMC-Tak 50/1.4 (7 element I think) which I've only used on my Spotmatics - I bought it (advertised as a 49mm lens) with a SPII for about $80, I wouldn't pay current ebay prices and can't understand Canon shooters paying stupid prices and lust after them the way they do.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 06-09-2015, 04:27 PM  
Where is the Modern 28mm?
Posted By johnha
Replies: 14
Views: 1,602
I solved the problem by buying an FA28 - initially for use on my K-5 as a walk-round lens but doubles as wide-angle on the LX. A DC motor in a lens this small is irrelevant - the screwdrive is more than capable of focusing it quickly (the F28 is probably faster due to less damping of the focus ring if my F50/1.7 is anything to go by).
Forum: Pentax Full Frame 06-08-2015, 03:56 PM  
Is FF worth the upgrade?
Posted By johnha
Replies: 146
Views: 12,339
It's not about the IQ, there's much more to it than that. I haven't bothered to read this thread and this might have already been mentioned, but if you've shot FF you'll be able to answer the question easily. If you haven't, buy a film camera and maybe a lens, shoot & print a roll of film and for $40-50 you'll know whether you want to spend a huge amount on an FF body & lenses or not.

I'm looking forward to the FF being released, the only question I'm thinking about is whether my budget is better spent on film for my LX & P67 or the FF?
Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 06-01-2015, 02:41 PM  
Pentax KX (35mm)
Posted By johnha
Replies: 33
Views: 3,463
The appearance of the aperture depends on lighting conditions and the lenses used. With lenses with engraved (rather than 'printed') aperture markings, it depends on the angle of light hitting the engravings. With printed aperture rings, you always get 'positive' images but sometimes if the angle is wrong you get nothing at all.

The LX was the last body for sale with the direct readout.

Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 05-30-2015, 04:23 AM  
Pentax SFX
Posted By johnha
Replies: 6
Views: 1,243
I used an SFXn for years, they're basic AF bodies by late '90s standards but they're well built and sturdy cameras, I used mine in all kinds of weather. The AA battery grip is useful (a bit deeper than the lithium grip) but NiCds are not recommended. A full set of exposure modes mean it will work with FA-J & DA lenses in one of the Program modes (standard, action, depth) or Shutter Priority. It doesn't have a crippled mount so K & M lenses also meter open-aperture without problems. They also have the focusing aid LEDs indicating which way to focus a Pentax lens. The AF spotbeam pattern will focus where there's no contrast in total darkness. The SFXn includes faster shutter & X sync, illuminated LCD panel and autobracketing.

Personally I like the styling/colour and the handling and recently bought another, apart from my Z-1 & MEF it's the only Pentax AF film SLR I's be interested in.

Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 05-28-2015, 03:45 PM  
Considering a 40mm SMC-M for my MX.
Posted By johnha
Replies: 40
Views: 3,494
Depends on how you carry your camera and whether you put a filter on the front (the M40/2.8 with a filter sits 23mm from the lens flange instead of 18mm without). On film though, 40mm is noticeably wider than 50mm and this was the main reason why I used it in preference until I got the FA43.
Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 05-26-2015, 04:02 PM  
Spotmatic D Concept - Somebody fund this please
Posted By johnha
Replies: 40
Views: 3,258
If they sold it for $7000 like a Leica they might :)
Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 05-20-2015, 04:57 PM  
Considering a 40mm SMC-M for my MX.
Posted By johnha
Replies: 40
Views: 3,494
The M series 40mm f/2.8 pancake is what it is really - a very thin lens of pretty much the 'right' focal length for a film camera - and for an MX the only real option for this kind of lens. I've had one for years and used it mostly on my Super-A, I prefer the focal length to a 50mm (which feels too long to me). I now have the FA43/1.9 which is much better (and much more expensive), but for general use the M40/2.8 is fine, rather than stellar - but it makes an SLR almost pocketable.
Forum: Ricoh GR 05-13-2015, 04:28 PM  
Disassembling GR for sensor cleaning
Posted By johnha
Replies: 45
Views: 28,352
Although I wouldn't recommend taking a GR apart to clean the sensor, if doing so I'd suggest taking basic ESD (Electro-static Discharge) precautions - i.e. a conductive mat, wrist strap and suitable earth connection (probably $30). Pretty much all current electronic devices include ESD sensitive components (especially CMOS components), any static discharge can render them inoperable.
Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 05-13-2015, 02:54 PM  
Going back to film...
Posted By johnha
Replies: 35
Views: 2,812
As for film, as I'm in the UK I'd suggest Ilford FP4+, HP5+ or Delta 3200 (I appreciate whatever's available locally may influence things in a different direction). Be wary of the zone system - if you take it to it's conclusion it's best for single frame shooting (think large format) where you can give individual negatives 'perfect' development - rather than a whole roll. The ZX-5 should meter through the filter, but strong mono filters often cut out a lot of light (focusing can be a challenge).
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 04-30-2015, 04:03 PM  
Pentax 6x7 twin lens travel kit?
Posted By johnha
Replies: 8
Views: 1,240
Thanks for all the comments. The 55-100 zoom is out - it's way to heavy - I'd prefer to carry a 90 or 105 and the 165 as this probably is similar weight wise but gives more coverage options. For everyday (walkround) shooting I'll probably prefer the 45 & 165 but for traveling I'll think about a 90 or 105 to go with the 45mm.
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 04-23-2015, 05:29 PM  
starting medium format
Posted By johnha
Replies: 13
Views: 1,394
Firstly there are huge number of 'non-Pentax' medium format cameras - some of which may be better suited to your needs (at least when starting off) - I'd recommend you research some of these options first (TLRs, folders, SLRs & Rangefinders).

Of the P6x7, P67 & P67ii, these are professional cameras and many have had hard professional use. I'd recommend buying from a reputable dealer and preferably with a warranty. The P67ii is much more expensive and harder to find than the earlier models (at least in the UK). I'd look for a 6x7 MLU or 67 as a preference (not for the MLU - simply because they are newer cameras). The web is full of comments stating you can't hand hold them - many from those who have never tried - you can with the right technique (I prefer not to use the wooden handle). The results you get (especially chrome film) can be absolutely amazing. The 6x7s are also the closest you'll get to your K1000, film loading seems complicated compared to 35mm but as long as you take it slowly for the first few films, it won't take long to for it to become second nature.

The 645s are a different breed, auto-exposure (AF if you want it), motorised film transport and are more economical with film.

Forum: Pentax Medium Format 04-23-2015, 05:05 PM  
Pentax 6x7 twin lens travel kit?
Posted By johnha
Replies: 8
Views: 1,240
Thanks for the replies - looks like I'll be looking for a 105mm to try out shortly!
Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 04-23-2015, 04:56 PM  
Film x-ray scanner
Posted By johnha
Replies: 10
Views: 960
I wouldn't bank on getting a hand inspection, I was refused recently in the UK (film was out of the cardboard boxes and out of the plastic containers). I don't know if the 'xray proof' bags ever worked - anecdotally they simply forced the operator to turn up the juice on the scanner - but even less so today. It took me 15 mins to get through last time I flew, I had nothing dodgy in my bag (not even the P67) but they still tipped it all out and swabbed everything - and then got annoyed they couldn't find something to moan about.

I'd make sure you don't have film in the camera when you go through security though.
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 04-22-2015, 03:34 PM  
Pentax 6x7 twin lens travel kit?
Posted By johnha
Replies: 8
Views: 1,240
Hi All,

I'm looking to travel more with my Pentax 6x7 than I currently do - but feel I need to limit myself to just two lenses when doing so. The lenses I currently have are: 45/4, 75/4.5, 165/2.8 & 200/4 (I'm not necessarily looking at adding to these). I've been experimenting today with the 45 & 75 lenses, and will look at using the 45 & 165 next (these are the two combinations I feel would work best). I'm very happy with the results from the 45mm and feel it has to be one of the lenses, the second I'm not sure about - do you go for a medium wide-angle or something more 'portraity' if you can't predict what you'll want to capture?

If I were to look at different lenses, I feel a 90mm would suit me more than a 105mm (the 105 might be too long - although the wide aperture is interesting). I'm not considering a zoom at the moment, I think the bulk, weight, aperture and expense would be too problematic, especially given I want to take the 45mm too.

As a guide, the lenses I travel with most on 35mm film SLRs are FA20-35, FA43 and, less often, the M135 (I have little need for anything between 43 & 135 as I'm usually shooting wide/standard or telephoto). I know the 200mm is my closest lens to 135mm on 35mm, but feel it's not quite as versatile on the 6x7 (I won't be trying to shoot the same long-ish range stuff).

Any thoughts/suggestions as to how I can get a better idea and context from my experiments?

Forum: Pentax Medium Format 04-19-2015, 05:04 AM  
Pentax 6x7 meter's needle
Posted By johnha
Replies: 9
Views: 1,187
Thanks gabrielcik, I haven't investigated to far yet but I think there's a problem with both the 6x7 MLU body and the meter prism that only works in stop-down mode - swapping the meters to the other bodies results in nothing working in both combinations.

Forum: Pentax Medium Format 04-15-2015, 05:15 PM  
Pentax 6x7 meter's needle
Posted By johnha
Replies: 9
Views: 1,187
I have two bodies (a 6x7 MLU and a 67) and two 6x7 type (Asahi Pentax) metering prisms, the two prisms behave differently and each one only works on one of the bodies:
1) The 67 and it's working metering prism will meter in both open aperture and stop-down modes, the needle sits at the bottom when the metering is off.
2) The 6x7 MLU and it's 'working' metering prism will only meter in stop-down mode and the needle sits at the top when the metering is off.

The metering is consistent with both setups and in both cases exposures on chrome film are good. I haven't taken either prism apart but have tried to clean the prism & lens contacts.

Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 04-10-2015, 06:33 PM  
Da15 or GR?
Posted By johnha
Replies: 27
Views: 2,443
I'm confused, you had a K-5ii and decided a GR would be better, then got rid of that for a K-3 and you're now asking if a different lens focal length (to the GR) will get you shots like those you got from a camera you didn't like (the GR)?

The GR is a completely different animal to a DSLR, as you know it goes in a shirt pocket and can be taken anywhere. That said, as you've already bought & sold a GR, I'd suggest another lens for your K-3 would be more versatile, but I'd look at the DA12-24 as many seem to regard it equal or better compared to the DA15 IQ wise and it is more versatile.
Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 03-11-2015, 05:03 PM  
AE lock
Posted By johnha
Replies: 31
Views: 2,640
Usually I'd use manual - it's simpler and easier, but AE lock takes on a different meaning when used with HyperManual in the Z-1 (or DSLRs). On the Z-1 when using HyperManual, pressing the 'IF' button (green button on DSLRs) selects the Program line but both aperture & shutter speed can then be tweaked. If you press the AE lock button at this point, it locks the set EV value (combination of aperture & shutter speed) spin either dial and it selects either Av or Tv modes (depending on the dial) using this locked EV value. This means that in HyperManual a few clicks allow you to work in M, P, Av or Tv seamlessly.
Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 03-10-2015, 03:28 PM  
Questions about Pentax SFX
Posted By johnha
Replies: 21
Views: 2,499
The SFX is a great film camera. It takes a single '2CR5' lithium battery - these were expensive back in the day but are much cheaper now. The AA battery grip (4x AA batteries - NiCd's not recommended) replaces the 2CR5 grip and is about twice as deep - I have big hands and prefer the larger grip. Additional diopters should be findable (look for Pentax 'M' series diopters - the same ones that fit the current DSLRs), you'll have to remove the eyecup though.

Battery life with a 2CR5 battery was officially given as 150 rolls of 24 exposure film without flash or 30 rolls of 24 exposure film with flash 50% of the time. Expect a bit less than this in real world situations though.

As for lenses, the original lens is the F35-70 f/3.5-4.5 zoom, very compact, very sharp and perfect for the body, later 28-80 lenses aren't as good but offer better zoom ranges.

It has electronic focusing aids in the finder. The green hexagon for 'in-focus' but also the red arrows indicating which way to turn a Pentax lens (manual focus or AF) to achieve focus (Note: Most independent lenses focus the 'other' way). The 'in focus' beep can be turned off - the on/off switch offers Off, On (no beep) and On (with beep). I've used these cameras for years (decades!), any questions feel free to ask.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 02-24-2015, 03:31 PM  
what would be your take on FA 20mm vs FA 20-35mm
Posted By johnha
Replies: 25
Views: 2,330
I couldn't decide between an FA20 or FA24 when I found an FA20-35/4, the versatility of the zoom won me over (and finding the FA20/FA24s was harder).
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 02-24-2015, 03:15 PM  
Pentax 12-24 or 20-40 (choice down to two)
Posted By johnha
Replies: 43
Views: 3,745
I have the FA20-35/4 and that would probably be my choice with the FF in the pipeline (haven't used the others though). With many subjects (landscapes excepted perhaps?), Ultra-Wide angles produce horrendous perspective distortion that looks plain wrong to me. I went for the 10-17 FE instead as the Fisheye distortion looks more natural to me in cramped spaces (where I'd be using it most).

EDIT: My usual walkround lens if I'm just carrying the K-5 (I also shoot film), is the DA17-70/4 (although it is a bit bulky).
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 02-20-2015, 08:26 PM  
Why optimized for APS-C lenses matter.
Posted By johnha
Replies: 159
Views: 9,577
There are a lot of Canon FF shooters who are happy to pay more for a 40+ year old Super-Tak/SMC-Tak 85/1.8 than a new EF85/1.8 would cost, chuck it on a dodgy adapter (often not allowing infinity focus) and then claim it's the best lens ever apart from problems with infinity focus...
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 02-17-2015, 06:12 PM  
Top 5 lens pick for a Pentax APSC and FF shooter
Posted By johnha
Replies: 36
Views: 4,427
My choices based on the lenses I have:
Tamron SP ADII 70-210/3.5 + KM & KA mounts (KM for the additional aperture read-out for the LX).
S-M-C-Tak 300/4 + M42 adapter (probably the best made lens I have)

When traveling with the LX & K-5 I usually take:
FA43/1.9 Ltd

The FA43 loses out in the first list because I don't get on with the focal length on APS-C and prefer the 35 & 50 combination. It's in the second list because if I'm traveling with the LX I want it on the front of the camera.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 02-17-2015, 05:22 PM  
Compare the FA 20-35 and DA 20-40
Posted By johnha
Replies: 66
Views: 8,292
I haven't used the 20-40 but when I was looking at both a year ago, and as a film (LX) shooter, I went for the FA20-35 for the coverage and aperture ring. I often travel with both film & APS-C bodies, this lens suits both and slims down the lenses I need to take.
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