How to use/meter Manual & M42 Lenses on all Pentax DSLRs (K-5, K-r, K-x, K-7…)


Many Pentax DSLR owners want to use M42 screwmount (Takumar) lenses, or M or K manual lenses, on their cameras because of the low cost and relatively high image quality of these lenses.

If you’re wondering whether or not these lenses can be used with Pentax DSLRs (or the K-01), then the answer is yes! Pentax as well as third-party manual and screwmount lenses can easily be mounted on any Pentax DSLR (such as the K-50, K-500, K-30, K-5 series, K-r, K-x, K-7, K10D, K100D, K200D, *ist D etc.) Just follow this guide!

Modern Pentax DSLRs use the Pentax “K-mount”, which employs a bayonet and therefore differs significantly from the M42 screw mount. The older manual M and K (SMC Pentax-M, SMC Pentax) lenses actually use the bayonet, so they will not need an adapter – you can skip straight to the lower portion of this article (starting at “Important!”) for information on how to meter with those lenses. Screwmount lenses usually have “Takumar” in their names, and in order to mount screwmount lenses on your k-mount body, you’ll need a Pentax k to m42 adapter. Pictured above is the genuine Pentax adapter, which is ideally the one you want to get. Unfortunately, it has been discontinued and can only be purchased second-hand. However, similar third-party adapters are also available. Caution: Many third-party adapters, such asĀ this one, have a protruding flange which will prevent you from focusing all the way to infinity. If you want to buy a third-party adapter (they’re generally cheaper), make sure that they don’t have this flange. Here’s an example of a good third-party adapter.

Once you have your adapter, the next step is to install it on your camera (it can easily be put on and removed on-the-fly). Check out the m42 to k adapter manual. After you’ve installed the adapter, you’ll want to mount the lens. This is done by screwing it into the camera until the lens feels firmly attached. The focusing window and lens ring should line up with the camera just like any other lens. Now that your lens is mounted, let’s talk about how to take photos with it.

Important! The hard part is to get the camera to actually fire when a manual lens is mounted. In order to accomplish this, enter your camera’s custom function menu, select the “Using Aperture Ring” setting (usually at the end of the menu, #21 on the K-7, #27 on the K-5, #27 on the K-3), and set it to 2 (allowed). Once you do this, the shutter will at least fire, as it wouldn’t have with this setting disabled (you would simply have seen an F– indication on the top LCD/info screen). The setting description should read: ‘Shutter will release when aperture ring is not set to the “A” position’ when “allowed” is selected. Also note that the mount on the lens must be conductive for electrical current so that it shorts the electrical contacts on the camera body. All Pentax manufactured lenses have a conductive mount, but some third party lenses do not in which case the area of the mount touching the contacts must be sanded down.

K-30, K-50, K-500, K-S1 and K-01 users: make sure you also set your green button “action in M/TAv Mode” to Tv SHIFT. This is found under the button customization menu (page 3 of the main menu) on the K-01 or as a custom function on the K-30, K-50 and K-500. Also, avoid auto ISO.

Now, let’s discuss metering. Since manual lenses don’t feed aperture data to the camera, the only way for the camera to check how much light is being passed through the lens is to measure the light while the lens is stopped down. Follow this procedure to properly meter with a screwmount, M, or K lens:

___0. Ensure that the “Using Aperture Ring” custom function is set to “2 (allowed)” (K-30/50/500/01 users must also ensure that the green button is configured to Tv Shift in M/TAv Mode) as described above

  1. Set your camera to M mode using the mode dial (your camera won’t fire in other modes*)
  2. Compose and focus your image.
  3. Using the aperture ring (the ring at the very back of your lens; it will have numbers such as 2.8, 4, 5.6, 8 written on it), select your desired aperture setting. Note that the smaller the aperture number is, the more light passes through the lens, and the blurrier the out of focus areas of your photograph will be (and vice-versa).
  4. [Screwmount lenses only] Switch the diaphragm clutch on your lens to “Manual” (you can leave it on Auto when composing and focusing if you don’t want a dark viewfinder).
  5. Measure the light by either pressing the “Green Button“, or pushing your power button to DOF preview mode (only available on select bodies). Your camera will automatically set the shutter speed for you.

All that’s left now is for you to press the shutter release button to take your photo. Congratulations- you’ve now learned how to use M42 and M & K manual lenses with Pentax DSLRs!

*Screwmount lenses may also be used in Av mode since they are always stopped down to the aperture you will be shooting at (unlike M&K lenses, which are stopped down only when the shutter is released or when you meter as described above).

Note: if your aperture ring has an “A” on it, instead of doing stop-down metering as per this guide, you’ll want to set the ring to “A” and use the camera’s scrollweel to adjust the aperture via Av mode.

Source: Pentax Forums