Strange statement in K-01 Preview

Started Mar 27, 2012 | Discussions thread
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Greg Lovern Senior Member • Posts: 1,583
Strange statement in K-01 Preview

I haven't read the K-01 Preview all the way through, but I just noticed a strange statement in it. Right after a longish paragraph listing pros and cons relative to competing systems, it says:

Also, because the K-01 doesn't have an aperture coupling, it has no way of working out what aperture a pre-1983 (pre-KA) lens is set to. Instead you have to use the green button, which stops down the lens and sets the shutter speed to the metered value for that aperture. This isn't necessary for KA and newer lenses.

The casual reader might reasonably infer that this is a disadvantage compared to Pentax DSLRs and/or other brands' interchangeable-lens cameras. But would that be a correct inference?

It's a true statement of course; the K-01 does not have an aperture coupling, and you have to use the green button to get open-aperture metering with pre-A lenses. But, that's been true of ALL Pentax DSLRs, all the way back to the original 2003 *ist D. And it was true of the last few film SLRs before them. Yet this is the first I recall it being mentioned in a review or preview here.

In fact, at the time the *ist D was reviewed here, the green button solution did not exist yet (it was added later in a firmware update), so the *ist D at the time of that review had worse backward compatibility than the K-01.

So clearly this fact about the K-01 is no disadvantage compared to other Pentax DSLRs. But what about comparing it to other brands' backward compatibility?

Nikon has the same issue with most of their models; if I'm not mistaken, only the biggest models, the D1/D2/D3/D4 and their variants, have the aperture coupling for "non-chipped" (does not have a microchip) lenses, which is essentially Nikon-speak for what we often call pre-A (pre-KA) lenses in the Pentax world. If Pentax ever makes a model to compete with those Nikon models, maybe it will have the aperture coupling too. As it is, and again if I understand correctly, all Nikon models against which any Pentax DSLR has ever competed with, has not had the aperture coupling.

And of course all other brands have even worse backwards compatibility. Canon, Minolta/Sony, and Olympus all abandoned their old mounts, so not only do you not get aperture coupling with their old lenses of similar vintage, you don't even get anything like the Pentax green-button solution, so they can only be used in stop-down mode, like M42 screwmount lenses. Of all the major brands, only Pentax and Nikon can talk about backwards compatibility without blushing.

So clearly this fact about the K-01 is no disadvantage compared to other brands' backward compatibility, with the possible exception of the Nikon D4 if for some strange reason you imagine that the K-01 competes with the D4.

So why include the statement, in a context that suggests it is a disadvantage compared to other systems??


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Nikon D1 Nikon D4 Pentax *ist D Pentax K-01
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