Looking for advice on new kit


snib

Link Posted 05/01/2004 - 15:08
Hi everyone, Happy New Year!

I'm looking for a bit of advice about possible new/used kit. I currently have a P30T which I bought about 10 years ago and really haven't used it to its full potential. It came with a Pentax-A 28-80 Zoom lens. I recently dug it out for a trip abroad and I'd like to make much more use of the camera. Unfortunately, whilst the body itself is in good condition, it appears I have mould on the lens. It's still possible to take photos as it isn't too bad at the moment, but obviously I don't want it to get worse. I've been told it's not possible to get rid of the mould - does anyone know any better?
As a result, whilst I can still use this lens, I'm considering either a straight replacement, or something additional, eg:70-210 or similar. I've read a bit on the forums about the different problems regarding lens fitments, and had also considered buying a new body like the MZ30/60 but I feel I'd learn more on a camera which can accept a wider variety of lenses, and don't want to have to buy lots of lenses for different bodies.
So, can anyone suggest a manufacturer of a reasonably good quality replacement 28-80 lens and additional lens 70-210? - or perhaps you can educate me as to why I should try something completely different? I've been told that AF lenses will fit ok on the manual camera I have, will this work ok? Also, what would be a good camera body to go for that includes auto-wind (I keep forgetting to wind the thing on and have missed so many shots because of it! ), don't mind if it's AutoFocus, and maybe a built in mini-flash - I just bought a secondhand AF240Z for the P30T and am really pleased with it.
So far I've just been doing general photography, not specialising in anything yet.

Sorry for all the questions, many thanks to all those who reply.

Anonymous

Link Posted 05/01/2004 - 15:35
Your first decision has to be whether to go digital.
If you are planning to do rather more photography, then the higher cost of a digital camera will be offset by the saving on film and processing.
Of course, any camera you buy now will be virtually worthless in a couple of years. The secondhand market will be flooded with old film cameras, and digital cameras lose value quickly because of the high rate
of technological improvement.
However, it's not just about cost. Digital is vastly more convenient, and if you don't do your own processing and printing, you will be able to play around with your digital images and get far better results than you are used to from using a High Street processor.
For most people, there is no looking back; although for the few who do their own processing and printing, digital will perhaps never offer the satisfaction of creating a superb print in the darkroom.
My advice would be to go for a cheap digital now, and if you get hooked, buy a *ist D in a year's time for 750.

Kimbo

Link Posted 05/01/2004 - 15:58
Happy New Year Snib,

I think your P30T should serve your needs and you should perhaps become more familiar with it's capabilities before investing in a complete new outfit.
There are loads of good quality second-hand K and KA mount lenses out there by various manufacturers and I would suggest you take your camera to a reputable dealer such as Jessops and try a few of the second-hand lenses available.
Your 28-80 may well be beyond economical repair and Jessops may be able to advise you if this is the case.
The best lenses to go for are original Pentax KA series although you may find independant makes a little cheaper (avoid the cheapest, especially Jessops own Centon brand!).
Avoid any lens with scratches or dents and rough or sticking focussing and aperture rings - don't buy on impulse, you may well regret it later!

If the lens is good and you're happy with the image through the viewfinder (little or no distortion through the zoom range) and it feels good in your hands - go for it but don't forget to haggle and you could bag yourself a bargain or two.

Tip - always store your equipment in a well ventilated but dust free place and keep silica gel packs nearby to absorb moisture and prevent mould growth.

Good Luck.
Die my dear doctor, that's the last thing I shall do!

snib

Link Posted 05/01/2004 - 16:07
Hi George,

Thanks for the reply. You're right of course, Digital is a lot easier to use in terms of the actual image, unfortunately I don't have the money to spend on one just now - I do however have a v.cheap <150 digital compact camera, but just haven't been getting the results I'd like to be able to achieve -it's a 3.2MegaPixel, so not too bad in terms of snap quality, but no optical zoom etc means it's a bit light on features/usability - a case of not doing enough research before succumbing to the purchase - something I'm hoping to avoid in future!...

snib

Link Posted 05/01/2004 - 16:23
Kimbo,

Thanks for your advice, I hadn't realised Centon were Jessops own brand. I have taken the camera in to Jessops, unfortunately they didn't seem to have any second-hand manual lenses in stock to fit, or perhaps it was because they were a bit busy - the store was absolutely heaving at the time. I'll try again when it's a bit quieter. It was there that I discovered the little mark on my lens was mould - I had kept it in a CCS Warthog for quite a long time, I didn't think it was damp, certainly the case itself isn't. I'll need to get some silica gel to keep it dry.

Is it possible to fit a motor drive on a P30T? If it is, and isn't too bulky and it's possible to find one, I'd explore that as an option in preference to a new body - as you say, I think the camera is probably more than sufficient for my needs. If not, then I'll just have to practice winding on as a reflex action!

Cheers.

Kimbo

Link Posted 05/01/2004 - 16:55
The original P30 did not take a motor wind but the P50 did (Motor Drive A or Winder ME II).
The P30 became the P30N and later the P30T.
If the T version takes a winder, then you would have the appropriate contacts and coupling mechanism incorporated in the camera baseplate.
I'm afraid I only have info for the original P30 to hand, which had just the battery compartment, tripod thread and film release button on the baseplate.

Winder ME II's should be available for 30-40 second-hand (and well worth it I'd say!).
Die my dear doctor, that's the last thing I shall do!

Taliety

Link Posted 05/01/2004 - 22:25
I think you'll get on fine with the P30T, it added a lot of functionality to the P30, it was on my want list some long time ago. I don't think you can do anything with the mould, it's already damaged the optical characteristics, even if you can stop it's growth, you can't polish out the damage.

I agree with Kimbo that you should try for a second hand KA lens, or even an FA lens, but they'll be more expensive (autofocus). It won't of course autofocus on your P30T, but if you move on to a newer Pentax, you may need it. However, I would either look in Amateur Photography where there are loads of dealers in SH equipment, and it's all rated (Mint, Excellent, Good), or look on the web. Most of these dealers have web sites, and on the Jessops one, you can find what branch has a lens you could be interested in. I wouldn't worry about buying by phone, web or post from a reputable dealer, but if you need to try the lens first, you'll have to find a friendly local Pentax nut with one or a comparable one.
Cheers

Malcolm

Life? Don't talk to me about life!

Taliety

Link Posted 05/01/2004 - 22:44
Sorry, didn't read all your original question. Yes, the autofocus lens works fine on the manual cameras. Pentax are the only manufacturer with almost no restrictions, except the FA-J lens when you need an aperture ring, or vice-versa with K series lens on *ist and presumably *istD. Also, the MZ-60 is a bit strange, not compatible with some lenses, can't remember which, but it put me off the idea of having one. I have an MZ-M which is a highly rated manual focus camera, and sometimes used at colleges for short term student loans.
I have the MZ6 and *ist, but they're not the cheapest autofocus around, but quite reasonable, and I rate them both highly.
Cheers

Malcolm

Life? Don't talk to me about life!

Anonymous

Link Posted 06/01/2004 - 08:55
EBay is an excellent sources of lenses. I have bought two in the last couple of months. Both in tip-top condition, and reasonably priced.
One was the 75-150mm zoom. I used to own one years ago, 'til it was stolen, and was happy to pay 36.00 for a replacement for use on my Super A.

snib

Link Posted 06/01/2004 - 11:21
Thanks for all the help folks, I've decided to go for a secondhand KA or FA lens, having had a look online (helps when you know where, I've found www.ffordes.com to have a good listing but they're far from being the only ones) and seen the variety of kit available I reckon this is the best option. Unfortunately the P30T doesn't have the contacts for a motor wind, it's just as you described Kimbo - not to worry, it's not essential.

I'll also be having a look on e-bay to see what's available, and I've discovered there are a lot more camera dealerships in my area (Edinburgh) than I had originally thought.

Thanks again for your advice, I'll let you all know how I get on, and if my results are any good I'll post them in the gallery...

Cheers.

Kimbo

Link Posted 06/01/2004 - 16:11
Hello again Snib,

Autofocus (FA and FA2) lenses will work perfectly with your P30T and you'll retain the program features of the camera. However you may find the KA manual lenses to be better and possibly cheaper. I say 'better' because they will have a wider focussing ring - the AF lenses incorporate a narrow ring designed for occassional use, as the lens would normally be used in AF mode on an AF camera.
I suppose your choice might revolve around whether or not you were thinking of moving up to an AF SLR in the future.
Manual lenses work fine on AF bodies too - I have several including Tamron Adaptall II lenses (KA adapter) which perform superbly on my Z1-P. Pentax also have a 1.7x AF adapter which enable manual focus lenses to work as AF lenses on AF bodies.
So you have an incredible range of options open to you - the choice is yours!

Sorry the motorwind option didn't work out for you, must admit I had my doubts.
Die my dear doctor, that's the last thing I shall do!

Stephen

Link Posted 07/01/2004 - 08:10
Just a note of caution about the Pentax 1.7x AF adapter. It only works in autofocus mode with relative fast lenses (F4 of faster if memory serves me well) which means that most manual zoom lenses when attached do not become autofocus.
Stephen

Kimbo

Link Posted 07/01/2004 - 08:47
I think F5.6 is the recommended minimum and fixed focal length lenses are usually faster than zooms.
The adapter works very well indeed with my KA 50mm 1.7 and Tamron 135mm 2.5 lenses and even my Tamron 80-210 F3.8/4, but you would certainly need a nice bright subject for slower lenses.
Die my dear doctor, that's the last thing I shall do!
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