Pentax Digital ist and manual Pentax lenses

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Denny B, Dec 11, 2005.

  1. Denny B

    Denny B Guest

    I have a few Pentax 35mm bodies my Pentax lenses
    are all K mount totally manual lenses. I am interested
    in purchasing a Pentax Digital body the Pentax ist.
    I understand that I will have to manually focus and manually set
    the f stops.
    Will the Pentax ist be able to use all the light meter functions
    using the manual lenses?

    Thanks in advance
    Denny B
    Denny B, Dec 11, 2005
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  2. Denny B

    Pete D Guest

    Yes, you just use the stop down metering function, easy to use and works
    great. When you manual focus you still get both an audible and optical
    indication that focus is correct, nice system.
    Pete D, Dec 11, 2005
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  3. Denny B

    John Bean Guest

    Not quite Pete - it can use average or spot metering with
    any lens, but matrix metering requires at least an "A" lens
    or any AF lens. So it can't use "all the light meter
    functions" that Denny asked about with all manual lenses.
    John Bean, Dec 11, 2005
  4. Denny B

    Denny B Guest

    John, thank you for your reply. Do you consider it a big
    disadvantage not being able to use the matrix metering?
    Is the matrix metering not the most accurate metering?
    Do all digital cameras have a "histogram readout'
    includint the Pentax ist?.
    Please correct me if I am incorrect with the word "histogram"

    Thanks kindly
    Benny B
    Denny B, Dec 11, 2005
  5. Denny B

    John Bean Guest

    Histogram on review, yes. No SLR has live preview so you
    only get to see the histogram after you've taken the
    picture. This gives you a very good idea of how to
    compensate and re-shoot if the exposure was wide of the

    The loss of matrix metering is not a major obstacle; most of
    my lenses are manual non-"A" so I use centre-weighted
    metering almost all the time. The *ist cameras have
    accurate, reliable metering with old lenses using an
    automated stop-down method which removes any guesswork or
    errors due to worn mechanical linkages. In some ways it's
    more accurate than the methods used with more modern manual
    or AF lenses, but it does require the user to press a button
    to activate the meter. Very simple and effective.
    John Bean, Dec 12, 2005
  6. Denny B

    Pete D Guest

    Hi John,

    You are of course correct, missed that last bit as I was just about out the
    door heading to work. Centre weighted seems to work perfectly well for M
    lenses even "S" mount lenses.


    Pete D, Dec 12, 2005
  7. Denny B

    John Bean Guest

    It certainly does :)
    John Bean, Dec 12, 2005
  8. Denny B

    Denny B Guest

    The *ist cameras have
    John. thank you kindly for this relevant information.
    Will you explain to me what you mean by
    "automated stop-down method "
    All my lenses I have to stop down of up manually.

    Denny B

    In some ways it's
    Denny B, Dec 12, 2005
  9. Denny B

    John Bean Guest

    There are three classes of lens you could mount on the *ist:

    1. Lenses with electrical contacts (all AF, "A" type MF)
    2. Lenses with no contacts but "automatic" diaphragm linkage
    (most Pentax K lenses)
    3. Lenses with no linkages at all (screw mount with adaptor,
    T-mount lenses etc, etc)

    Type 1 lenses either have no aperture ring, or have an
    aperture ring with an "A" position. Aperture control is by
    the camera body not by the aperture ring. The *ist will
    operate a lens like this in any mode.

    Type 2 covers all those lenses that stay wide-open as you
    turn the aperture ring, stopping down only when the picture
    is actually taken. Because of the lack of contacts to supply
    information to the camera, these lenses can only operate in
    manual mode. You set the aperture you want on the lens'
    aperture ring, then press a button (which button depends on
    the exact model). This single button press will stop down
    the lens to the aperture you selected, take a meter reading,
    and set the appropriate shutter speed. This is the
    "automatic stop-down method" to which I was referring.

    Type 3 lenses will stop down as you turn the aperture ring
    and can still be used exactly as type 2. They also will work
    just fine in aperture-priority mode as well as manual
    because they are "what you see is what you get" from the
    meter's point of view.

    There is no working lens that you can fit to a Pentax body
    that will fail to meter correctly.
    John Bean, Dec 12, 2005
  10. Denny B

    Pete D Guest

    And that includes any lens you can fit by using an adapter including
    elescopes and spoting scopes, microscopes, etc.
    Pete D, Dec 12, 2005
  11. Denny B

    Denny B Guest

    John thank you once again for your reply. I think I am
    beginning to really understand that my lenses will work on
    the *ist body.

    This is what I have.
    Pentax Bodies.........MX........KX.........SuperME

    1)Lenses..............Pentax-A 35---105 f3.5 when you
    press a small black button near the A which is next to the f22
    it clicks into the A mode and stays there, you have to press
    the small black button again to unclick it from the A mode.
    I believe what I have discovered is this lens has an "A"mode.
    Do I now understand correctly that this lens will operate in ANY
    light metering mode on the *Ist body?

    2) Other lenses I have, all for the Pentax bodies above are.
    Tamron SP 90mm f2.5 it has an AE--f32 mode , next to
    the f22 stop. I take it that this lens too has an AE mode.
    Do I now understand correctly that this lens too will operate
    in ANY light metering mode on the *Ist body?

    3) Another lens.....Tamron SP 35--80mm f2.8, f3.8
    it too has a AE--f32 mode.
    Do I now understand correctly that this lens too will operate
    in ANY light metering mode on the *Ist body?

    4) My other lenses....Pentax 50mm f1.4
    5)............................Pentax 28mm 3.5
    are manual lenses and do not have the "A" of 'AE" modes
    John if I understand you correctly these two lenses only work
    in the "automatic stop-down method"

    Thanks kindly.
    Denny B
    Denny B, Dec 13, 2005
  12. Denny B

    John Bean Guest

    Yes, no restrictions whatsoever.
    If the Tamron is an Adaptall lens it depends on the exact
    adaptor you use - Tamron made "PKA" adaptors (which make it
    like a Pentax-A lens) or normal "PK" adaptors which don't.
    Fon't be fooled by the "AE" marking on the lens - it's the
    adaptor that determines which features are available to the

    Either will work but PKA is obviously more flexible.

    The SP90 is a superb lens which works very well on the *ist
    Same comment as for the other Tamron. If the mount has
    electric contacts it's a PKA and will work in all modes, if
    not it's a PK and will work in stop-down manual mode. In any
    case you can still buy PKA mounts if you shop around, so you
    can convert the lenses if need be.
    Exactly. Incidentally I have the old K28/3.5 and it's one of
    the best Pentax lenses I've used, along with the 35/3.5 of
    the same era. The 28/3.5 makes a *superb* "standard" lens
    for the *istDS.
    John Bean, Dec 13, 2005
  13. Denny B

    Denny B Guest

    John, thank you for your wealth of knowledge. I have collected
    my equipment over the last 30 years and have always been
    a Pentax person and am so pleased I can stay that way, thanks
    to your information.

    I have just checked my 90mm Tamron Adaptall mount
    and it has this on it......... P/KA.
    So as I understand from your information I can meter
    with all functions on the *ist

    Checked the Tamron SP 35--80mm and it has
    So I understand I cak only use this in the stop- down manual mode.

    Thank you for this information on the28/3.5 lens.

    John one further question how is the focusing. I take it I will
    have to use manual focusing. If so does the *ist have some
    indication when the lans is focused?

    Thank you
    Denny B
    Denny B, Dec 13, 2005
  14. Denny B

    John Bean Guest

    You're welcome. The SP90 will allow all modes, the other
    Tamron (and the older Pentax lenses) will offer stopdown
    metering in manual mode as you surmised.

    Manual focusing is surprisingly easy; the screen is fine,
    bright and quite large by digital standards. In addition the
    green AF "focus confirm" LED will also work with manual
    lenses should you wish to use it but I find it easier and
    better to just use the matte screen.

    Pentax's fierce adherence to backward compatability is one
    of the major attractions of the brand to me. Very old Pentax
    lenses may lose some options when used on a current body but
    they are all guaranteed to meter, focus, and take pictures -
    no matter how old they are. Pentax lenses were never
    intended to become paperweights :)

    Which *ist are you proposing to buy? Maximum compatability
    with some other things like old flashes varies from model to
    model. The D and DS will work correctly with pretty much any
    flash ever made for a Pentax, but newer (cheaper) models
    like the DL require a modern P-TTL flash. I thought I'd
    throw this in since you are an existing Pentax user and are
    not buying all new kit.
    John Bean, Dec 13, 2005
  15. Denny B

    Denny B Guest

    John, once again thank you for clearing up the lens
    situation for me, also the focusing situation. I now know
    that I have lenses that will work well on the *ist.
    The 28-105mm f3.5 has been the lens I have used
    mostly for the last couple of years, I also use the Tamron
    SP 90mm, yes as you know it is a very sharp lens.

    John the question you ask above is exactly what I was
    going to ask you. "Which *ist are you proposing to buy? "
    Frankly I don't know. Today I looked up the Pentax website
    and was surprised to see how many *ist's there are.
    *ist DL
    *ist DS2
    *ist DS
    *ist D
    I have a Vivitar 283 flash that I have used for a number of years.
    Thats basically it flash wise.

    John I will really appreciate it if you state what *ist's to stay away
    Have you an opinion as to what the "Best?" *ist is, if there is a
    Are they all equally rugged? I wonder if all these bodies are
    or is Pentax discontinuing the previous models as the newer ones
    come out?

    Thank you
    Denny B
    Denny B, Dec 14, 2005
  16. Denny B

    John Bean Guest

    The D is the oldest, uses CF for storage. The DS is newer,
    uses SD (as do the others), is faster writing to the card
    and has a few minor missing features compared with the D:
    the pop-up flash on the D can be used to operate remote
    P-TTL flashes wirelessly (the DS can't) and the D has two
    "command" wheels, the DS has one. The D has "hyper manual"
    mode like some film bodies used, the DS has "plain" manual.
    Both the D and DS are "discontinued" but still available
    from some suppliers.

    The DS2 is a replacement for the DS, with a larger LCD. At
    the time of release it also offered some extra functionality
    over the DS but Pentax has since released firmware for the
    DS which gives the extra features too. So for all practical
    purposes the DS2 is just a DS with a bigger LCD.

    The DL is a bit more cut-down. It users mirrors instead of a
    prism making the viewfinder... different. Some people like
    the change - it makes the camera lighter - but I'm not at
    all fond of "pentamirror" finders. It also cuts down on
    certain other features like it's inability to use TTL flash
    (it uses only P-TTL) and a few other bits and pieces.

    They're all good cameras which will deliver similar image
    quality; the D and DS can often be bought at bargain prices
    because of the existence of newer models. I bought the DS
    after all consideration, and I'd make the same choice today
    based on price/performance. The DS2 is the same camera, I'd
    have no hesitation buying one if the price was right. I
    wouldn't buy the DL having looked through its viewfinder,
    but other opinions will differ. Finally the D... in many
    ways it's the "best" of the *ist digitals but showing its
    age a little compared with the more recent models. But it's
    a fine camera and well worth considering if the price is
    John Bean, Dec 14, 2005
  17. Denny B

    John Bean Guest

    Sorry - forgot to add that the D/DS/DS2 are built using
    polycarbonate shells over a stainless steel chassis. They
    are indeed tough little cameras. I'm unsure of the DL
    John Bean, Dec 14, 2005
  18. Denny B

    Charles Self Guest

    And, AFAIK, the D is the only one with a PC connector for external flash.
    Charles Self, Dec 14, 2005
  19. Denny B

    John Bean Guest

    Yes, it is. There are probably lots of other details I
    missed as well, I only remember the ones that affect me and
    that I considered when I made my choice originally.
    John Bean, Dec 14, 2005
  20. Denny B

    Charles Self Guest

    Yes, well, IIRC, when I bought my D a couple years ago (almost), the PC
    connector was the deciding factor. I shoot a lot of studio flash work, and
    that's just plain easier with a PC cord much of the time. That said, I just
    bought one of those cheap (just over 30 bucks delivered) radio transmitter
    thingies, but, so far, it shows up as DOA. Either the battery is dead, or
    the days I've used it, the shop/studio has been too cold. Or it is just
    plain junk.
    Charles Self, Dec 14, 2005
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