Pentax flash and lens on a Nikon Camera

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by sunday, Jun 3, 2008.

  1. macrumors member

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    Cypress,Texas
    #1
    I just got my first DSLR. It happens to be a Nikon D40. My dad gave me his old film SLR and i was wondering if i can still use the lens and flash without breaking the camera....
    Thanks
     
  2. macrumors 6502a

    Everythingisnt

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    #2
    I'm not sure about the lens, but the flash is most probably yes.

    I have a 20 year old BrAun flash that I use with a D300, and it works fine. Since all of its controls are manual (i.e. switches on the outside) I can change the settings as I wish.

    The only downside to using old or incompatible flashes is the fact you can't use the TTL (through the lens) setting, which makes tuning the power levels for a good shot more difficult.

    As long as the flash is screwed into the hot shoe, the camera will send a signal for it to fire.

    Also, older flashes have slower sync speeds and sometimes more fiddly controls.
     
  3. macrumors 68000

    taylorwilsdon

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    Bay Area
    #3
    Your built in flash will be better and mounting the lens would cost more then just buying a Nikon equivalent (I don't know if Pentax to Nikon converters are even sold; you wouldn't have AF, I'm sure its not worth it).

    I'd say skip both. Leave them with a Pentax film camera. You'd be surprised how much you'll use film even with digital.
     
  4. macrumors 6502a

    Everythingisnt

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    #4
    The built in flash won't be better... Trust me, even on the Nikon D300 it has given very bad results and I am prepared to bet that it isn't any better on the D40.
     
  5. macrumors 65816

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    TX
    #5
    As far as ease-of-use, the built-in would be better. Otherwise, I agree––ext. flash would be better.

    To OP: Forget the lenses. Not worth it.
     
  6. thread starter macrumors member

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    May 18, 2008
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    Cypress,Texas
    #6
    Thanks for your help every one...
    For reference i have no idea how to work the flash...
    Pentax Flash
    [​IMG]
    Built in flash
    [​IMG]
     
  7. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    #7

    No, you will not be able to use a pentax K mount lens on your D40. If it is M42 mount (or regularly called a screwmount lens), you do have a better chance at mounting the lens but you will need to purchase a M42->Nikon adapter.

    For the posters who said it is not worth trying the lens, obviously do not know the potential gems that exist among screwmount lenses.

    Many pentax takumar screwmount lenses have optical quality that matches - and even surpasses modern lenses. Two such examples - SMC Takumar 50mm f/1.4, and the SMC Takumar 135 f/2.5 <- both super sharp.

    And do you know what the best part about these old lenses??? Price! Most can be had for less than half of their modern equivalents, and you should be able to find an adapter that works with any mount. Of course you do give up auto metering and auto focus; however, at least it will get you to slow down and think about the picture before clicking away. I notice too many people claiming to be 'photographers' with expensive DSLR's taking hundreds of pictures but only one is good.


    BTW, just a quick warning about old flashes that nobody has posted yet.. some old flashes tend to have very high trigger voltages that can fry your DSLR if you mount it. I would highly recommend a google search of the model of flash with the words "trigger voltage" before you mount ANY old flash on your camera.


    lastly, it is too bad you did not buy a Pentax DSLR.. the lens would still have been compatible..and its not as crippled as the D40.
     
  8. thread starter macrumors member

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    Cypress,Texas
    #8
    Any idea where to get a new one local to Houston?
     
  9. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
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    TX
    #9
    Call Camera COOP or the Houston Camera Exchange.

    Of course, B&H, Adorama, and others are available online.
     
  10. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 5, 2007
    #10
    This person is bang on. Watch out for that flash! I have a vivitar 283 on my desk, I used it a few times on my D70 before I learned it was a danger. Multimeter that old flash or something!
     
  11. thread starter macrumors member

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    #11
    Update.
    My dad told me they have a bayonet type connector, not a screw type.
     
  12. macrumors 6502a

    Everythingisnt

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    #12
    Ooh, Bayonet-mount is much trickier. I have a handful of sigma bayonet-mount lenses hanging around but have had no luck finding an adapter for bayonet-to-nikon mounting.

    If you have any luck let us know.
     
  13. thread starter macrumors member

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    #13
    Ugh more great luck....
    Guess i will be calling some camera stores tomorrow...
    Also if i where to return the D40 and get a Pentax camera would i be able to use the lens without the adapter? (I'm glad i bought the camera from costco...)
     
  14. macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    Location:
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    #14
    Optical quality is about more than sharpness. Any modern multi-coated lens will pretty-much beat the pants off any old lens in terms of flare resistance for instance- and the new Nikkor nano-coated lenses will beat those. Newer elements will be better in terms of color neutrality as well as contrast too.

    A lot of us large format photographers are used to shooting with lenses that are 60+ years old- even so, we understand the strides that have been made in modern optics, especially in the last 10 or so years.

    Pentax DSLRs mount all older Pentax lenses as-is. It's up to you, but I'd question changing camera bodies to use one old lens- and I'd check really well into that lens to see if it's worth it- and more importantly if the current lens line will fit your future needs[1].

    You can adjust flash exposure for the built-in flash so that it tones down, but off-camera flash is generally the way to go. The D40 shares Nikon's general maximum +250V trigger voltage, which should handle anything Pentax or Vivitar[2] can throw at it and will only have problems with a very few third party flashes over 250V or negative voltages.

    Pentax bodies may only have a 30V maximum (they don't document it in the manual for any of their cameras- that figure is reported from a conversation with Pentax Germany,) and there are reports of 13.31V flashes burning out Pentax bodies (their current line of flashes appear to be ~7.8V.)[3] I don't think I'd use anything other than a current production model flash on a Pentax without a Wein Safe-Sync or equivalent.


    [1] A 300/4 as the longest supertele sort of kills Pentax as a sports or wildlife line-up for me.
    [2] http://www.botzilla.com/photo/strobeVolts.html
    [3] http://ricehigh.blogspot.com/2007/03/which-flash-units-are-safe-for-pentax.html
     
  15. thread starter macrumors member

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    May 18, 2008
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    #15
    Wow...
    Well from what i could understand i think i will just return my D40 and get a E410 with a lens kit and a speedlight, and just leave my Pentax flash and lens with the film SLR as some times i think i would rather use that..
    Opinions?
     
  16. macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
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    Redondo Beach, California
    #16
    If the old Pentax flash can be aimed to bounce of the ceiling or a rear or side wall that it will be 100 times beter than the built-in flash. Direct aimed flash is never very good.

    Even if the Pentax flash can't be aimed away you can make a defuser for it with white plastic salvaged from a milk jug and that will be better than direct flash. Or you could use a sync cord and get the flass off the camera. That would be beter than direct aimed flash.

    As for the llenses, no. Leave them with the Pentax camera. Buy some film and use it. You will be surprprized at how much better scanned ilm can be then a digital SLR. Film has the potential for much better image quality and it has a larger dynamic range.

    I saw your example picture of the door. First off that is not a god test subject. Try having some one stand a few feet from the wall. Next aim the flash either straight up or backwards. NOT directly at the subject.


    When you buy a SLR you are buying into a "system". Changing later is expensive. So it sounds like you think the Olympus System is better for your needs then the Nikon System. Have you checked out all the lenses and other things you might want to buy over the next few years? Olympus will likely never go full frame but in 5 to 10 years Nikon might have FF DSLR at an afordable price. So plan ahead, way ahead. Olymus for 50 years has been making nice cameras they specialize in "small", If they have what you want go for it. Just be sure you like four thirds.
     
  17. macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #17
    You're looking at a *system*, so you should decide first which *system* has the capabilities you need in terms of lenses. You already have a D40, you have an external flash that will work with it- so you should start by looking at Nikon's offerings and see if they fit the way you want to go- because in 4 years of less, you'll be purchasing a new dSLR body, but you'll be stuck with the lenses and flashes that you get over that 4 year period.

    Despite what a lot of people say, there's not much wrong with the D40 (and nothing given its design criteria and price point- the lack of backwards-compatible in-body focus motors was a design criteria to meet the price point.)

    I'd go with the D40 before anything else, but that's because I have a lot of Nikon lenses and a very good Nikon flash unit. Pentax, Sony and the 4/3rds systems all have differing lens selection, prices and availability and 4/3rds additionally has sensor size lock-ins that I personally don't like (the laws of physics are against smaller sensors.) Don't forget too that angle of view isn't the same as magnification- sometimes you need one, sometimes the other.

    One old lens is only a reason to switch systems if that lens is pretty special or right in the sweet spot that you routinely shoot in and you can't afford a newer lens in the system you have.

    If you decide to get a Pentax and you can't measure the trigger voltage of a flash and you're not sure what it is, then just throw in a Wein HSHS for $50 and never worry about it.

    http://www.adorama.com/WNSSHSHS.html

    If you're going to shoot unknown studio strobes, you'll want the SSPC model, probably regardless of which brand body you choose if you're going to shoot wired:

    http://www.adorama.com/WNSSPC.html

    If you know the voltage, then you're safer than not.

    Looking deeper, it does look like some Vivitar units (285 not 285HV and some 283 units have trigger voltages of greater than 250V) can kill a Nikon body at 250V

    The times I've shot in a friend's studio, I've alleviated the problem by using a Pocket Wizard to trigger the strobes- PWs rule and take all the "can I connect this to that?" stuff out of play. It's worth mentioning here because once you have a flash that can go off camera, the best place for it is off the camera, or at least on a flash bracket rather than the hot shoe. For amateur use, even a cheap radio trigger is better if it gets the flash off the camera. Barring that, IR triggers are a close third best.
     
  18. macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #18
    You get rid of the harshness if you bounce the flash off a ceiling or bounce card and/or diffuse it with a diffuser. The built-in flash actually looks very even and good without any compensation.
     
  19. macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2005
    #19
    I agree with this.

    I am rather shocked that the top wasn't the built in flash. But I stand by my agreement with Everythingisnt. Built in flashes can't compete with an external flash unit.
     

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