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What SLR's can use lenses that fit Ricoh & Pentax 35 mm's

Carol Blackman , Nov 09, 2007; 01:55 a.m.

My 15 year old high functioning autistic son is very interested in getting an SLR that can use lenses from our 35 mm Ricoh (same fitting as Pentax 35 mm).

I've tried one lens on a Pentax SLR and it fit and worked nicely. Do you know of other models and if there are other brands of SLR that these lenses might fit?

He's worked hard and only has about $200 to spend. I'm not sure we'll find anything out there in that price range. If we can't come up with one that fits our lenses, what would be a good SLR in that price range for a beginner?

Thanks.

Carol

Responses


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Jim Strutz - Anchorage, AK , Nov 09, 2007; 03:38 a.m.

There are no digital SLR's under $200, so it will have to be a film camera, and probably a used one at that.

Pentax and Ricoh made lenses to fit Pentax M42 screw mount cameras, and also K mount cameras. If the are not the kind that screws onto the camera body, then they are some version of the K mount. The K mount came in a lot of varieties, but they are pretty much all interchangeable. The differences between K, KR, KA, KAF, etc. are all about what advanced features might work on more advanced cameras, and can be ignored as long as we are not talking about autofocus cameras & lenses.

I would look for either a fully manual camera, like a Pentax MX, or the somewhat inferior K1000. Or look for a semi-automatic camera like a Pentax ME Super, or Super A. The manual versions are actually more simple to understand, but are slower to use. Auto cameras are faster & easier to use, but you learn less with them, and many people never seem to learn anything with them at all. That's why photography courses everywhere recommend simple manual cameras like the K1000. You can find them all pretty cheap on eBay, and used camera stores everywhere.

My preference would be a Pentax MX. It will use all the lenses you have, and it is simple to understand and use. It's also a great learning tool.

JC Uknz , Nov 09, 2007; 03:51 a.m.

I think you could be hard pressed to find a DSLR, even just a body, at that price worth buying and probably better would be to look at a new DSLR-like pro-sumer cameras such as a Panasonic FZ5 which is a very capable camera when used properly or one of the Canon G series. I am not sure what Autism does to one so my comments are as for somebody not experiencing that.

With a DSLR the glass features high in the potential cost while the pro-sumer has a good zoom range in the purchase price and things like OIS which make it possible to hand hold the long reach of the zoom lens.

I hope I am wrong in my first comment :-)

Ralph Jensen , Nov 09, 2007; 04:56 a.m.

Interesting coincidence: I had a similar query recently from a coworker (he's not autistic) who wanted to use his two ca. 1980s Ricoh lenses (28mm and 50, I think?) on a DSLR; his absolute maximum was $300. I said that he couldn't get a Ricoh-compatible digital SLR for that price - but then I added that a far more useful P&S could be had for $250. He got one of the Canon A-6xx cameras and says he loves it. (It doesn't go as wide as 28mm, but it goes much longer than 50mm.)

I'd give the Canon A570 with Image Stabilization a very good look. Compared to what was available even 2 or 3 years ago, it's an absolute steal for $200 at bhphoto.com and elsewhere:

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canona570is/

I know it's not an SLR, but in exchange for saving on film costs (for now anyway) entry-level digital SLRs cost more than entry-level film SLRs used to cost.

David Scott , Nov 09, 2007; 10:29 a.m.

Hi Carol, you don't specify whether your son wants a film or digital SLR.

I can't recommend a point-and-shoot. The learning curve is shallow and limited, the cameras are frustrating. I'm sure your son will enjoy the detail-oriented learning process of real photography with an SLR (film or digital). The advantage of digital is that the learning process is accelerated, because feedback is immediate.

Don't be discouraged by the new prices of DSLRs. Used Pentax digital SLRs are one of the best buys you can find. Buy from a reputable dealer and you still have peace of mind (and some warranty backup.)

KEH are very reputable, I have always been happy with them. They list many good, almost new Pentax DSLRs for not much more than your target budget (including a DL2 in Excellent condition for $275.)

(link)

These models were current within the last 18 months. They also offer many features that you would spend thousands for in competing brands. (Including the ability to successfully use your old lenses.)

The only caveat I have about this is the use of your old Ricoh lenses. Ricoh differed from the Pentax standard in one slight -- but important -- way. They used a locking pin (called the "Ricoh pin") that just happens to fall at exactly the same place as the auto-focus socket on Pentax auto-focus cameras. (That include Pentax film and digital SLRs with auto focus.) If you put your Ricoh lens on the AF Pentax, you may find that the Ricoh pin will get stuck in the AF hole and you can't get them back apart. The fix is simple, if you are even a little bit handy and have a jewellers' screwdriver. You can remove the pin from the Ricoh lens, and then safely use it on your Pentax cameras. The lack of a pin doesn't seem to adversely affect either the lens or the camera.

For more details, see here:

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1036&message=19214685

Walter Degroot , Nov 09, 2007; 11:18 a.m.

in wanting a dslr that is K mount compatibe, you are heading down a road that offers only one choice. the pentax . since you said 1980's, i have to assume it's a bayonet (K) mount ricoh.

if it is a screw mount ( m42) camera you have, there is no dslr with that mount, but the lenses can be mounted with an adapter , loose auto focus and auto diaphram. In other words, it's the same as if you fastened any kind of lens on the camera with tape .

so the combination of a m42 screw mount lens is not comvienient to use on any DSLR. there are several digicams with fixed lenses and a wide zoom range.

that are similar in operation to a dslr.

an alternative with which I am familiar is the Olympus c7xx UZ series I think there is a sp xxx UZ model also. read the descriptions and get one that uses either AA cels or the non -rechargable ( long life) batteries. one model will only use the non-rechargables and not aa cells.

try olympus auctions on ebay. buy from olympus with a warranty.

with only small luck you can get a camera for less. this series has a 10x zoom, and a electronic TV-type viewfinder that works like a slr. it has an ajustment so eyeglass wearers can see clearly. It;s a digicam and i use it but i prefer film myself.

Roger Smith , Nov 09, 2007; 04:41 p.m.

For a DSLR you can try used Pentax DS at keh.com or B&H or look for used Canon Digital Rebels and fit an M42-EOS adapter to them (find adapters on ebay). I believe those cameras are still in the $300 range however.

Fred C , Nov 09, 2007; 06:43 p.m.

I believe Carol's lenses are K-mount, not M42.

Pentax dSLRs will use those lenses, though you'll have to shop around in the 2nd hand market.

Or just keep on using the Ricoh you already have. Any manual-focus film SLR is more user-friendly than the current digital gizmos.

Roger Smith , Nov 09, 2007; 09:41 p.m.

Okay, then buy a K-Mount to EOS adapter. I have one from happypagehk that works fine with focus confirmation. I use it with a 20D.

Cymen Vig , Nov 10, 2007; 01:04 a.m.

For under $200 you should be able to find a Pentax *ist DL. It's a 6 mega-pixel DSLR. I have two -- one I brought new and another I recently brought used for $175. Admittedly, that is a fairly good price but it isn't all that low considering the newer Pentax models are dropping in price quickly.

For K mount lenses you are all set (there are a few options that may need to be enabled in the configuration menu) and for M42 lenses you'll need an adapter for around $20-$30.


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