01 02 03 Snapperific: Shooting DA lenses on a Pentax Film Camera 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

Shooting DA lenses on a Pentax Film Camera

So I'm shooting Pentax now and as any Pentaxian will tell you, there are mixed feeling over the issue of full frame: will Pentax (or Ricoh?!?) ever make a digital full frame camera?

The answer looks like no. Fans of the brand have been asking this question for years now and Pentax looks to only be producing crop-frame lenses. This is no bad thing as the lenses they are making are unique and extremely high quality and the recent APS-C bodies are superb. But this is nonetheless frustrating when you are building a system and contemplating which lense to buy in case Pemtax does in fact ever make a full-frame digital SLR. Which they should. Seriously.

This issue is most frustrating when you have a film body. I am sticking with Pentax as my main system for a couple of items, one of them is the scintillating 50mm FA F1.4 lens and the other is the MZ-S camera. More than one person has fondled the MZ-S and just said "best camera ever made" under their breath. Really, they all did. And it is amazing, though quite complicated to get to grips with and set-up.

And so the reason for this post: since I am new to the Pentax stable and have not yet decided which other lenses I'm going to buy (also, I gotta save up a bit - jees those Limiteds are lovely but so friggen pricey...) I have a distinct lack of lenses for my MZ-S.

I have the brilliant 50mm FA which will be my main film combo but it is irritating that I have the very, very good DA 18-55 kit zoom and can't use it on my film body. Or can I? It does mount. It works (albeit in Program mode). So then?

Fact is, the DA lenses only cover the APS-C image circle. That means they vignette or leave a black edge on the film on the edges where the image is not fully projected. But this actually only really is problematic at the widest angles of view on this zoom lens.

When zoomed into 24mm and beyond, the image looks fine. Here's an example, uncropped:

Pentax MZ-S, Pentax DA 18-55 @ 24mm, Ilford HP5
Looks pretty good! On a digital body those corners would be easily fixed in post. I'm not saying they're tack sharp in those corners. They're not and that lens was never designed to be scrutinised there anyway. But not bad at all...

So how does this look in the real-photo-world-and-not-my-random-handheld-lounge-test?

These were also shot at 24mm (no point wasting film on the wider settings that would show the pure black in the corners...):

Pentax MZ-S, Pentax DA 18-55 @ 24mm, Ilford HP5

Pentax MZ-S, Pentax DA 18-55 @ 24mm, Ilford HP5

And this is a pano stitched from two images also shot at 24mm:

2 image stitch, Pentax MZ-S, Pentax DA 18-55 @ 24mm, Ilford HP5

Moral of the story? Get out and shoot and use those DA lenses if you have 'em!

More to come as I experiment and shoot more.

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