For several months now I’ve watched My KAGE buddies Bert Stefani and Jonas Rask, sharing GFX 50S images shot using various vintage lenses. Actually, Jonas is the mad doctor/collector in the gang—at this point I believe we can safely call it an addiction. But, needless to say, I’ve been curious about trying this myself.

I had an old Pentax K1000 (my “college” camera) that a friend had given me awhile back, and I realized the lens on this thing was a 50mm f/1.7—faster than what I thought. So on a whim I ordered a Fotodiox Pentax-K to GF adapter. I wasn’t expecting much but man...colour me impressed.

Obviously this is manual focus only, but the various options on the camera (focus peaking, zooming, picture in picture) make this extremely usable, even wide-open. This is a full-frame lens on a much larger sensor which does introduce some vignetting—easily corrected in post or an interesting effect on certain images. But what most surprises me is the sharpness: I wasn’t counting on this at all. I don’t mind a softer look and I was in fact expecting this combination to err on the side of “imperfection”... the reality is quite different. Just for kicks I shot a couple of studio images and although it’s probably not obvious at these resolutions, believe me we’re in pixel peeping territory here. I mostly don’t care about that sort of thing but it is surprising. 

The K1000 shot with its own lens. 

The K1000 shot with its own lens. 

I don’t expect to fall into the rabbit hole of vintage collectibles. Honestly, I have way too much gear as it is. I’ve even taken steps to clean-up my approach and better identify my needs at this point—the two systems can certainly work in parallel but there are clear strengths on either side that I now see much more clearly.

This lens gives me a slightly wider 40mm-ish FOV—which isn’t negligible. Basically, the Pentax is a new, unexpected tool in my GFX arsenal.
The experiment has paid off.