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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Here's a family portrait, :), of my manual screw mount (and 1 K-mount) prime collection.
28mm, Sears f2.8
50mm, Pentax SMC f1.4
50mm, Pentax-M SMC f2
55mm, Ricoh f2.8
55mm, Ricoh f1.4
135mm, Pentax Super Takumar, f3.5

Of these bunch, I like the Ricoh 55mm f1.4 (I consider it to be very sharp), and the Pentax 135mm.
The 50mm SMC f1.4, although a nice lens, it does have slight yellowing, so I don't use it as much.

Shooting manual is fun, and these old lenses are vey low cost, if you shop around, and set your limit when bidding on EBay. Most of these I bid on EBay, in the Camera/Lens combo. I have found that sometimes, it is cheaper to buy them in the combo setup, than the stand alone lens. Since I like to display older cameras as works of art, it's a win-win situation for me (well, sometimes).

A few things I have learned:
1 - Screw mount lenses are readily available, a little cheaper, too. But you do have to buy an adapter to use it with your digital SLR, check for availability for your camera mount.

2 - How's your eye-sight? Manual focus is getting harder and harder for me, this damn aging thing :~(, a big, bright view finder will really help. Pentax SLR (at least with DL), has a Focus Lock indicator (beeps) to let you know you are in focus.

3 - Another thing about using M42 lens is with the auto/manual stop down. I am not very good at explaining this, since I don't fully understand this operation, but read this Wiki. The issue is that I have to open up the aperture to frame and focus, then set my aperture setting, then take a meter reading.

4 - Screw mount lenses are slower to mount/unmount. As the name, you have to screw on/off the lens from your camera body. It does take several turns. I prefer to use bayonet mount if possible.

5 - Prime is not as flexible as zoom. Sure, people suggest that we should use the manual zoom - our legs to walk to different position before taking the shot, but if I am at Grand Canyon, this might mean some hiking before I can reach the perfect location for the shot; if I can still have the energy to hold the camera then, :). Consider this limitation, or feature carefully.

My up coming experiment is to take off the kit zoom lens off of my DL, and keep a prime on it for minimum of 2 month at a time. Let me see if I have the discipline to do it, and see if it will change the way of seeing through the lens.
I'll start off by using the SMC 50mm f1.4, I'll have to live with the yellowish pictures I guess, :). I will mark my calendar - let's say until end of May. Wish myself luck!

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