K100D (Super) Pictorial guide to using manual lenses [imgs]

Started Sep 22, 2007 | Discussions
Sean Nelson
Sean Nelson Forum Pro • Posts: 16,550
K100D (Super) Pictorial guide to using manual lenses [imgs]

Thanks in large part to the information I've gleaned from this forum, I've just purchased a K100D Super to take advantage of the Pentax equipment left over from my old film days. In these days of rapid obsolecence, it's wonderful to be able to buy a modern camera and still be able to use it with my 25-year-old equipment. Kudos, Pentax!

Once I got the camera set up correctly it works very nicely with my old manual lenses. But I've seen several posts questioning how to do this, so as a thanks to the forum I've put together the following illustrated guide. Perhaps it will inspire a few folks who have some old lenses sitting around to wander down to their local camera store and give them a try.

GETTING STARTED - configuring the camera:

The camera won't allow you to take pictures with manual lenses until you configure it properly. Press the "menu" button, go right until you see the "Custom Setting" menu, and then go down a few menu pages until you see the "Using aperture ring" setting:

At this menu item go right, select "Permitted", and hit the OK button.

Now you can use your manual lenses. Note that this only has to be done once, and there's no need change the setting back again in order to use the auto-aperture or auto-focus lenses. Once you've set it just leave it that way and your camera will happily work with whatever lens you throw at it.

Next: Getting ready to shoot (see reply)

Sean Nelson
OP Sean Nelson Forum Pro • Posts: 16,550
Getting Ready to Shoot [imgs]

GETTING READY TO SHOOT - mounting a manual lens:

First step (pretty obvious really) is to mount the manual lens on your camera. Nothing special here, manual lenses mount just like automatic ones (with the exception of screw-mount lenses which require an adapter. I'm not covering them here because I don't own any, sorry!)

The second step is to set the camera to "M" (Manual) mode:

Next, set the focusing mode to "MF" (Manual Focus). There are some options regarding focusing that I'll mention below, but to get started "MF" will work best.

Turn on SR (Shake Reduction) by flipping the switch near the lower-right corner of the LCD:

...and then turn on the camera:

When the camera is powered up with Shake Reduction turned on and a manual lens mounted, it will ask you for the focal length of the lens so it knows how much SR to apply when the camera moves. Use the left/right directional keys on the back of the camera to select the proper focal length and press OK. If you're using a zoom then try to choose a focal length that's as close to what you'll actually shoot with as possible. For example, if you're using an 80-200 zoom at around the halfway point, choose 135mm as the focal length:

You won't see this screen if you turn on SR with the camera already powered up. You can get to this screen by going through the menu screens (it's just about the last item on the "record" menu), but I find it quicker just to turn the camera off and then on again.

And now you're ready to shoot some beautiful photographs with that manual lens!

Next: Shooting (see reply)

Sean Nelson
OP Sean Nelson Forum Pro • Posts: 16,550
Shooting [imgs]


It will take longer to describe this than it does to actually take a shot, so bear with me:

First, set the aperture ring on the lens to the f/stop you will use:

Next, look through the viewfinder and focus:

Half-press the shutter button to turn on the exposure meter:

You can tell the meter is on when the green digits below the viewfinder image light up (there's a menu option that controls how long the meter stays on - use if if the digits shut off too quickly for your taste). Because it's a manual lens, the camera has no idea what f/number you've set it to, so it will show "F(blank)" for the aperture.

And here's the secret to metering with the manual lenses: while the meter is still on, press the "AE-L" button on the back of the camera (it'll probably be very close to where you thumb naturally sits):

When you hit the button the camera will momentarily stop down the lens to take a light reading, then it will set the shutter speed to the appropriate exposure. You'll see the new shutter speed in the green digits below the viewfinder image. After setting the shutter speed the lens will immediately open back up again - the whole thing takes about a second.

If you think the shutter speed is to slow (or too fast!), adjust the aperture (or ISO sensitivity) and repeat (half-press the shutter to turn on the meter and then press the AE-L button to set the shutter speed).

Everything is set, now just fully depress the shutter button to take the picture:

...and that's it! Once you've got the aperture set in the range you want, the only difference between shooting an automatic vs. a manual lens that you have to focus the manual lens manually (duh!) and you have to press the AE-L button to set the shutter speed. And if the lighting conditions aren't changing then you don't even have to do that. In fact, with constant lighting and a subject that stays within your depth of field, you can probably fire shots off even faster than with an automatic lens!

Next: More on Focusing, and Summary (see reply)

Sean Nelson
OP Sean Nelson Forum Pro • Posts: 16,550
More on Focusing, and Summary


One of the interesting things that the camera can do is to "assist" your manual focusing. This is enabled in the custom setup menu ("FI with S lens used"). If enabled, then while the meter is on the autofocus sensor monitors your focusing (using the centre focus point only). When you hit the right focus point the green hexagon below the viewfinder will light up and stay on. I've found that in dim lighting conditions and with fast lenses (ie, 50mm f/1.4), the focus detection is very touchy and seems more distracting than helpful. But if you find it too annoying you can just go back into the menu and disable it again.

If you do enable the focus assist, you can also use what's known as "focus trap" mode. This is enabled by turning the autofocus switch to the "AF" position. Of course the camera can't actually autofocus a manual lens, but in this position it will disable the shutter button unless you've got good focus and the green hexagon is lit in the viewfinder.

You should be able to use this for difficult focusing situations - macros spring to mind. Set the autofocus switch to "AF", frame the subject in the viewfinder, focus as best you can and then hold down the shutter button while slowing moving to and from the subject. With the shutter button held down, the camera will fire as soon as you hit the correct focus point.

It sounds good in theory, although I admit I haven't actually tried this particular technique yet.


There are a few things that need to be set up, but once that's done it's actually very easy to use manual lenses. Pressing the AE-L button to set the shutter speed is simple to do and faster than mucking about with the shutter speed on my old K1000 and ME Super cameras.

The only caveat is that the smaller APS-C sensor used in Pentax's digital cameras means that lenses have a reduced field of view compared to when they're used on a full-frame 35mm camera. The effect is like multiplying their focal length by 1.5, so that a 50mm lens on a K100 digital camera gives you the same picture you'd get with a 75mm on a film camera. This is a disadvantage if you want to take wide shots, but an advantage for telephoto.

If you've got some old Pentax lenses lying around, the K100 will put them to good use!

kristian2000 Veteran Member • Posts: 5,620
very nice!

That is a question that comes up a lot here, hopefully people will bookmark this post to use a reference and to show others how to use manual lenses with Pentax DSLRS. And it's pretty much applicable to the K10D, the major difference being that you use the 'green' button by the top LCD instead of the AEL button on the K100D, DL, & DS.

I actually find it more intuitive for me to use the AEL button on the K100/DS than the green button on the K10D.

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Kristian Farren

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steephill Veteran Member • Posts: 9,861
excellent tutorial

Well done, this deserves a daily bump.

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mixx@gmx Regular Member • Posts: 159
Thank you, very useful. (n/t)


Lee Beasley Senior Member • Posts: 2,473
Very clear and concise

Thanks for taking the time to make this. It's really useful!

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opiecat Senior Member • Posts: 2,410
Re: Very clear and concise


maybe a separate forum for "how-to" threads as it can quickly get buried here.

my gallery

DSHarned Regular Member • Posts: 148
Very Good, Thanks

I have just gotten a K100D. Much of the decision was because I have several screw mount lenses. I've only barely looked into how to use them. Your tutorial is excellent and seems to be good for the K100D as well as the Super. I copied it into a Word document so I'll have it to refer to.

Thanks for sharing.


Nerdvana New Member • Posts: 9
Re: K100D (Super) Pictorial guide to using manual lenses [imgs]

Wow, this is fantastic! Lots of small details covered here. Appreciate the time you spent to cover this in such detail (the pictures are great, too!).

Pontarron Junior Member • Posts: 44
Re: More on Focusing, and Summary

Many thanks for a very useful article
Mula España

Auster Pilot Senior Member • Posts: 1,222
Re: K100D (Super) Pictorial guide to using manual lenses [imgs]

Many thanks. Very concise and well presented.

I've printed each of those postings so I can keep it with my manual for future reference even though I don't have any Manual lenses.

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korat68 Senior Member • Posts: 1,717
Re: More on Focusing, and Summary

Thanks for your time and effort to put together this very good and very welcome tutorial. This is what makes the "Pentax SLR Talk Forum" such great forum for all.


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australopithecus Contributing Member • Posts: 587
Thank you Sean

I too have a bunch of Pentax A and M series primes which go back 25 years. They are superb lenses and it worries me that they languish in a cupboard, as does my faithful K1000.

Have been pondering about getting a Pentax DSLR for some time now. My first foray into digital was/is a Nikon Coolpix 8400 (I am a wide-angle freak). Despite the 1.5 factor handicap, shall now re-consider the Pentax option.

Yours efforts are much appreciated.

South Africa

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_vlad Veteran Member • Posts: 3,243
Re: K100D (Super) Pictorial guide to using manual lenses [imgs]

Thanks Sean - as a newbie to Pentax digital this is exactly I was looking for.



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Sean Nelson
OP Sean Nelson Forum Pro • Posts: 16,550
You're Welcome!

I'm pleased that folks are finding the information useful, and especially tickled to hear that a few of you are thinking about how maybe those old lenses could actually be put to good use.

FYI, those "old lenses" are built much better than today's typical lenses are. Pentax now makes a line of "limited" lenses which are more expensive but are made the way they used to make them. Well all you folks out there with with old lenses have the same "limited" build quality that people today pay extra for. Go ahead, take advantage of it!

Cideway Veteran Member • Posts: 5,707
Your in the FAQ now!

One other thing, you can also use the DoF preview to stop the lens down for the metering.
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sandking Regular Member • Posts: 413
Re: Your in the FAQ now!

for reference

shane gerrish
shane gerrish Veteran Member • Posts: 5,985
Re: K100D (Super) Pictorial guide to using manual lenses [imgs]


Shane,Gold Coast Aussie. Lens list in profile. http://www.bigred4x4.com/pic-a-day-2007

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