We all know and love the ability to shoot with virtually any lens on our mirrorless Fujifilm cameras. While many do prefer to stick with Fujifilm’s stellar Fujinon glass, for many, shooting with film glass is not a choice made simply for budgetary reason, and actually from preference. I am one of those that fall into that category.
Pentax SMC-A/SMC-M glass is some of the best deals on the market and when I decided I wanted ot shoot more film for fun, I invested in a K1000 kit along with s stable of 50mm F/1.4, 28mm F/2.8, and 135mm F/3.5 lenses to go with it. I – ofcourse – also purchased a couple adapters as well so I could adapt my new to me Pentax lenses to my primary camera, the X-Pro 2.
I am primarily a boudoir photographer, so the process of slowing down during a shoot to manually focus is very helpful in that it forces me to take more time to view my scene and I notice a lot more when I manually focus vs when I use my AF Fuji lenses (35mm F/2 and 18mm F/2). Today I wanted to chat about my experience with these Pentax film lenses, speak to their quality, and my own personal reasons for choosing to use them for a lot of my images.
I think that first it would be ideal to speak to why I choose to shoot these older manual focus lenses, when I have a couple of really great Fujinon lenses. The fact is, I shoot both, but lately anyways, my preference has definitely been the Pentax lenses, specifically the 28mm F/2.8 and 50mm F/1.4. As I noted above I like that they slow me down, but beyond that, I like the look they give me in my final images. It is a softer focus, and I don’t me out of focus, because they aren’t – it’s just softer than what I get from my Fuji glass, and for boudoir specifically, having a little natural softness is a good thing.
My preference when processing my images is to give them my own flavor of a film-esq look, and real or not, I feel like using these older film lenses helps improve that film look. They aren’t sterile, they have character (you pixel peepers call them issues or imperfections), and in my opinion it brings a level of authenticity to the images they help capture.
I won’t and I don’t think many would argue that if you are a sharpness freak or if pixel peeping is one of your favorite past times, then adapting vintage glass is not something for you. But if you aren’t so caught up in those kind of things, it can be a fun way to get back to the basics of photography and a fun way to grow as a photographer.
The Pentax SMC-A 28mm F/2.8
This is the newest of my three Pentax lenses, so I have the least experience with it outright, but I have come to enjoy it a lot and will likely use it a ton going forward. Roughly a 40mm full frame FoV it gives me slightly more width to my shots than my Fuji 35mm F/2 WR does, and when space is tight it has been great.
The focus is smooth and fluid, which is something I always miss when trying to manually focus with the modern AF Fujinon lenses. It just isn’t the same as these true manual focus lenses, and that is another reason why I like to use true manual focus glass when I shoot manual – the experience is just better.
The Pentax SMC-M 50mm F/1.4
The 50mm F/1.4, while no Fujinon 56mm F/1.2, is a really fun lens that I actually use a lot less than I wish I would. Providing a wonderful classic portrait field of view, along with some slight telephoto compression, it makes for a great boudoir lens. It is not incredibly sharp wide open, but stop down to F/2 or F/2.8 and it is great. I don’t mind doing that either because honestly for boudoir I don’t like that super shallow DoF in most cases. I’ve found that personally, the DoF around 2-3.5 is plenty for my purposes, so I only shoot deep at F/1.4 when I am going for that look specifically.
Things to Note About Pentax -> Fujifilm Adapters
If you are thinking you may like to pick up a speedbooster or focal reducer, choose a different brand. There used to be, but for some reason, no one is making any Pentax to Fuji focal reducers anymore (or at least I have not been able to find any). This means you are limited to your standard basic adapters which strictly hold the lens at the correct distance from the sensor.
The other thing to note is that some adapters for screw mount M/42 lenses are branded as Pentax, so if you plan to use Pentax K mount lenses, make sure the adapter you are picking up is the correct type.
Obviously, with lenses this old, your results may vary depending on how well they have been kept and what their condition is (as well as the quality of the adapter you choose, many overlooks this and blame a lens when in many cases it is an adapter that doesn’t hold the lens quite right). But assuming you get good quality and pair with a good adapter, I can whole heartedly recommend these Pentax manual focus lenses.
I really want to get me hands on an 85mm, but of course, those are somewhat rare, and from what I can see go for upwards of $200. Not exactly expensive, but not the bargain deal that these other Pentax lenses can be had for. So my search continues…
- The Right Way To Get Inspiration From Other Photographers - 10.September.2017
- Top Tips For Getting The Most Out Of Your Fujifilm Cameras - 4.September.2017
- Forget The Labels, Let Your Vision Speak For Itself - 8.August.2017
- Why I Recommend Shooting in B&W with your Fuji, Even If You Plan to Process in Color (NSFW) - 3.August.2017
- Plot Twist – Why I Prefer Shooting Portraits with APS-C Over Full Frame - 8.July.2017