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Playing with my cheap lens at the pond today

Posted by lazypup ( on
Sun, Sep 4, 11 at 2:50

Perhaps some of you might remember the little Foto-Mat film drop off booths that used to adorn the local shopping center parking lots.

About a year ago I happened to find an old Foto-Mat 500mm f-8 to f-45, manual focus, preset aperture lens at Goodwill Industries for the outrageous sum of $15 and they were throwing in a Sears 2x teleconveter with the Pentax PK mount.
The lens was still new in the box with the original manufacturers cellophane wrapping and an old faded price tag that said $79. The lens has a proprietary T type mount and it came with three mount adapters for Nikon, Canon & Pentax.

Now I know that most ppl would have just dismissed it as junk, but it did have a PK mount so it would work on all my Pentax film & DSLR cameras and afford me full aperture control on all my Pentax Film & DSLR's.

Well today was one of those occassion when Jan & I were just going down to the pond to relax a while, and since it was threatening to rain I decided to play with my light weight, cheap lens, and furthermore, I thought this would be a good opportunity to show Jan how we took photos back in the days before automated cameras.

I hung the lens on a tripod, then attached a Pentax K10d DSLR body with a remote shutter release cable and turned the camera mode selector to "Manual".

I then handed Jan a Gossen "Luna Pro" handheld light meter and showed her how to measure ambient light, then set up the camera.

As we were watching the pond a large "Green Heron flew down and landed on a piece of drift wood on the opposite end of the pond about 800ft away. I fired off a few shots, then switched to an 18-55mm zoom and set it at 20mm to give an overall view of the pond from our vantage point. Note in the view of the pond I put an arrow to show where the bird was standing.


We were at the pond about 6 weeks ago and we saw a pair of the Green Herons and I thought I located where they were nesting but I could't confirm it. Well today while we were there two juviniles flew down to about 450ft away so I once again hung the long lens and shot a few pics of those as well.



Now I will be the first to admit that this is lens is a far cry from what we would call world class optics, but I can see a potential for having some fun with it, and I surely don't feel I got took too bad at $15.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Playing with my cheap lens at the pond today

I think the bottom two look pretty darn sharp!

RE: Playing with my cheap lens at the pond today

You've done really well with this steal of a deal!

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