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Photography - Artistic
Using older lenses in a DSLR
By Scarletmember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 952, member since Fri Apr 11, 2008
On Sat Jun 25, 2011 02:35 AM
Edited by Scarlet (194795) on 2011-06-25 03:09:00 Edit for GREAT JUSTICE!!!

Hey y'alls.

Just to start, I have a Pentax K200D.

I have a question about changing lenses on my DSLR. A couple of weeks ago when Erin and I were out we got talking to a photographer about her lenses.

She revealed that she was using a DSLR with older lenses manufactured for film SLRs. So this got me wondering about the logistics of doing this myself. In the end I found that it really shouldn't matter, so long as the lens fits in the camera's mount, or so I'd thought.

When scouring our local pawnshops just in case our stolen goods turned up I spotted lenses being sold on the cheap at Cash Converters (a local chain of pawnshops, affectionately known as Smack Converters for obvious reasons). $10 - $45, that's pretty good.

So today I went in with my camera and ended up trying a few to see if any would fit in the mount and if I could actually see anything through them. All going nice and well and I ended up forking over $10 for a Hanimex MC 75-200mm lens. This was perfect because I wanted to control my aperture with my lens and my shutter speed with my camera.

I probably should have taken a test shot because later on I discovered that the camera won't take a photo at all with the Hanimex.

If I take the lens out of the mount and just run the camera I can still take a shot (of course it's just a grey blur), but I can also raise the flash and adjust my settings. When I've got the Hanimex lens in I can't do anything of the sort. The section of my display which shows my aperture shows F-- (which is the same as when I've taken off the lens completely).

The Pentax K200D has a KAF2 mount which has contacts which allow the camera to control the aperture rather than lens. And I'm now wondering if this is where my problem lay.

It's just got me a little confuzzled, because there's no ability to control aperture when the lens is off (of course) but the camera will still take a shot and expose it's sensor, so there should be a way to override the camera's aperture control.

The other thing is that it may not be anything to do with aperture control at all.

Any thoughts?


4 Replies to Using older lenses in a DSLR

re: Using older lenses in a DSLR
By LeSoulierVertmember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 1392, member since Sat Feb 05, 2005
On Sat Jun 25, 2011 03:25 AM
No thoughts, but I just had to say that that picture is sexy (saxy) as hell. ;)
re: Using older lenses in a DSLR (karma: 1)
By Chaconnemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 6359, member since Thu Jul 12, 2007
On Sat Jun 25, 2011 10:12 AM
This probably depends very much on which brand you have. I'm not all that familiar with post film Pentax cameras (I once had film Pentax K1000s, years ago.)

Nikon for example has a bayonet designed that almost all Nikon SLR lenses from about the early 70's will physically mount on the camera and the camera can be used in a totally manual metering, no auto focus no automatic aperature stopdown. I actually do use it this way with some of my specialized film era Nikon lenses. I meter with an external meter, use the camera on M for Manual mode, plug in the shutter speed and set the F stop with the aperature ring on the lens itself. It's a bit cumbersome, but really no different from using my old Hasselblad in which utterly nothing was automatic. (I learned how to do this stuff when cameras didn't even have any metering built in.)

There is a Pentax Forum on the web and there is a discussion there on this issue. If the posters are too be believed Pentax has some backwards compatibility to all its 35 mm lenses. (I question that somewhat because REALLY early Pentax SLRs (1960's/early 1970's had something called a PK (for Pentax/Konica) screw mount in which you screwed in the lenses. Later they came with a K mount which was a true bayonet mount (this is what my old K1000's had) [Aside comment, when I taught photography -late 70's/early 80's -, if a student did not have a camera when they started the class, I recommended the Pentax K1000 which at the time was about the cheapest SLR available. It was about US $125.00 back then. It was a terrific camera for the money. I was using Nikons myself, but I bought K1000's for both of my kids, my father and my father-in-law.] Check this website for some points of contact with people who specifically know Pentax cameras. . . .

So if the people on the Pentax forum are correct, you should be able to MOUNT your lens as long as it is a bayonet mount. The posters refer to an "automatic/manual switch" (Nikon Digital SLR's have this) and if it is anything like the Nikon, this disables all the electrical connectivity between the camera and the lens so you will give up auto-focus and auto exposure and perhaps other features, but if you know what you are doing and have a hand-held meter, you should be able to use it.

I do this with some of my more exotic Nikon equipment such as Macro bellows, slide copiers, extreme telephotos, two big "portrait lens" One 85mm, one a 105, both f2.8s., and a macro lens. I also use it with my f1.4, 50 mm "normal" lens which came with my Nikon film cameras and I use that for low light applications...the proverbial black cat in a coalbin at midnight photo.

re: Using older lenses in a DSLR
By Scarletmember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 952, member since Fri Apr 11, 2008
On Sun Jun 26, 2011 04:19 AM
Thanks for that, Jon,

Very good info, that. I did have a look at a few forums when trying to see if I could find the answer and it never dawned upon me to check the Pentax ones. Dopey me! :)

Anyway, it turns out that the matter of compatibilty was fixed this morning when I went into the custom settings menu. The default on the camera is to disable the shutter if it can't detect an aperture control when a lens is connected. There is an option to disable this, after doing so all was hunky dory.

Now my only task is to take the aperatus apart and clean the inside lens. It appears that there's been a fair build up of condensation in there. It's odd, the condensation is not on either of the outside lenses, just this middle one. But that's a task for another night.

Thanks for the help again.

PS to LeSoulierVert: Thanks for the comment. This was taken in a nightclub and it was the first time we'd seen this band. They are called City Calm Down, here's their SoundCloud.

re: Using older lenses in a DSLR
By Scarletmember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 952, member since Fri Apr 11, 2008
On Sun Jul 03, 2011 12:04 AM
Heh, turns out that the "condensation" was actually a slow leak of lubricant.

I didn't actually get to the point of taking the lens apart before it dawned on me. So, even wiping it off wouldn't do much good if I can't find the source of the leak. That said, it's probably just down to poor storage of the thing.

C'est la vie, I'll just have to muck around with taking photos and see if I can find a use for it. Perhaps porno shots with really ugly people? :P