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Using my Dad’s Old Manual K-Mount Lenses on Micro Four Thirds

by Felix L. Esser on 12/25/2012

Felix Esser The Phoblographer Panasonic G1 + K-mount Lenses

FLTR: Panasonic G1 + Lumix 20/1.7, Tokina 135/2.8, Revuenon 50/1.8 + K->MFT adapter

When my dad gave me his old Pentax ME SLR last year, it came with three lenses: a Cosinon 28mm f2, a Revuenon 50mm f1.4, and a Tokina 135mm f2.8. The body was in pretty bad shape, though. Not only did it have lots of dents and scratches and parts of the leatherette missing, it also had massive light leaks and would scratch the negatives I ran through it. So I decided to buy an adapter to use the K-mount lenses on my Micro Four Thirds camera — one of the best purchases I ever made.

 

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FLTR: Cosina 28/2, Pentax ME + Revuenon 50/1.4, Tokina 135/2.8

My dad had used this particular ME body for years. I remember that he always had it with him when I was a child. During one fatal incident at a beach in Sweden, however, it got in too close contact with the sand. From that moment onward, it would scratch ugly horizontal lines into the negatives. Despite being serviced a couple times in the meantime (light seals, meter, shutter), the scratching propblem never went away. So the camera now has a place on my shelf, as an item of family heritage, and as a possible donor for my new ME body (which I bought when I realized that putting the lenses to their intended use might not be such a bad idea after all).

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Revuenon 50mm f1.4 @ f1.4

I’m still using the lenses with my Panasonic G1 frequently, though. They keep wandering between it and the ME, and on both bodies the 50mm f1.4 is the one I use the most. On the ME because it is fast and I like the 50mm field-of-view, and on the G1 because it becomes a great lens for portraiture and close-ups, especially considering its 45cm close-focusing limit. The 28mm sees as good as no use on the G1, and limited use on the ME — simply because I am not a fan of its perspective (on either camera). Occasionally, especially indoors, with its bright f2 aperture it does come in handy though. Finally, the 135mm sees less use on the ME than on the G1. While 100mm (or equivalent) is great for portaits, I find 135mm already too long. To get really close to stuff, however, the 2x crop of the Micro Four Thirds system is just great — rendering it a 270mm lens effectively.

Felix Esser The Phoblographer Panasonic G1 + Tokina 135mm f2.8 PK Deer

The Tokina 135mm f2.8 is great for getting closer up to stuff.

Using the lenses on my Panasonic G1 is made possible by a semi-cheap K->MFT adapter, which I bought used via a photography forum. The first adapter I had was a super cheap one, and it nearly destroyed my G1′s lens mount. So be careful with that kind of stuff. The one I have now — like most of the more affordable adapters — lets me focus slightly beyond infinity. This is always better than not focusing to infinity at all, and what you lose at the close focusing end is not at all worth mentioning.

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Revuenon 50mm f1.4 @ f4

One great thing about Pentax’s K-mount is that any K-mount camera can mount any K-mount lens — no matter how old either one is. You can mount even the oldest K-mount lenses on your brand-spanking-new K-5 IIs, and you can mount the latest FA Limited lens on your dad’s old K-1000. This in turn means that you can adapt each and every K-mount lens to your mirroless camera using one and the same adapter. There’s a whole world of lenses out there, just waiting for you to explore it. And Pentax has made some really, really awesome lenses — besides all the cheaper ones from third-party manufacturers.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Revuenon 50mm f1.4 has low contrast and strong spherical aberrations wide open, but this can work nicely for portraiture. Also look at the crazy bokeh!

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The Revuenon’s aberrations can also be used creatively, as in this shot.

Felix Esser The Phoblographer Panasonic G1 + Tokina 135mm f2.8 Monkey Family

The Tokina 135mm, too, is pretty soft wide open. A little tweaking in post-processing brings back the clarity.

Felix Esser The Phoblographer Panasonic G1 + Revuenon 50mm f1.4 PK Bird of Prey

This bird of prey was just devouring his delicious meal when I snapped him with the Revuenon 50mm f1.4.

Felix Esser The Phoblographer Panasonic G1 + Tokina 135mm f2.8 PK Peacock

Peackock — Tokina 135mm f2.8

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