5 Digital Frames with the debated Pentax-M 40mm f/2.8

This article was first published at 35mmc.com August 7, 2022.
The lens I will talk about here has been talked about at 35mmc.com before. At least here by Hamish Gill and here by Ed Lara, but we’re in it for the plenty, aren’t we?
When I started to get interested in photography in about 1992, an often repeated truth when arguments of the best camera showed up at the letter pages of photography magazines was “the best camera is the one you bring with you”. Simple as that. The camera you don’t bring will not be used. And you end up without photographs.

As I more or less always carry a camera in my bag wherever I’m going, a lot of times less is more. Or rather smaller is more. I had not really had a lens that I really felt comfortably with for my DSLR and because of that I often choose to leave the camera behind. During the start of this summer that have changed and my Pentax K-5 has become my more or less daily companion.

The Pentax-M 40mm f/2.8 is a nice companion but for some reason it took me a long time to realize that this lens was to pair well with my Pentax K-5. I had earlier used it on a Pentax ME as a small nice analog kit but with the pancake-lens on my DSLR I started to go back to what started my interest in photography thirty years ago. Everyday photography.

These days when I bring an analog camera with me I search for good pictures and are much more careful in my selection of motif. But that has also made my photography maybe a bit boring and predictable. Now when I go through my archive for photographs to enlarge, frame and hang on my walls I more often then not fall for the everyday pictures. It can be pictures from a party or my kids all together and interacting on a bench on a train station.

Now this summer will be documented in the way I used to do it. Mixing the digital and the analog for more fun and spontaneity.

The lens itself brings enough quality for my needs but has brought a bit of a slowness because of the lens being a bit tricky to focus. I did not experience this problem as much on the Pentax ME but on the DSLR without focusing screen I have to double check the focus a lot.

The problem some experienced with the small focus control is not as obvious on the Pentax K-5 as it is on the smaller analog Pentax M-series. The shape of the DSLR makes my hand find the focus ring without problem. It seems that the bulkier camera body on the DSLR is doing some good in this matter.

I have only used this lens a couple of times before and then as said on the Pentax ME. Those times Ill only shot black and white so it’s a bit of surprise how nice the lens renders colors. The colours produced by the lens suits my taste good for this kind of photography and the colors feels very “honest” to reality. And I can easily bump up contrast, if needed, digitally, but the images presented here is only corrected for white balance.

Pentax-M 40mm f/2.8 on a Pentax ME using Fomapan 200

To conclude this experience I can say that this pairing of camera and lens will probably stay in the bag until long into autumn. When the dark hours gets plenty I will probably pack another kit in the bag but for now, I’m enjoying the easy everyday photography.

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