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Pentax A3 / A3000

Reviews Views Date of last review
6 46,104 Mon July 9, 2018
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
83% of reviewers $15.50 7.40
Pentax A3 / A3000

Pentax A3 / A3000
Pentax A3 / A3000
Pentax A3 / A3000
Pentax A3 / A3000

The Pentax A3/A3000 was designed as a beginner's SLR with a built-in winder but otherwise just the bare necessity of features. It has Program and Av auto exposure modes and DX encoding of the film speed. With DX encoded film the photographer's only control over exposure in P and Av modes is a push button that gives +1.5 EV exposure compensation. With film without DX encoding the exposure can be adjusted by shifting the ISO setting.

For limited manual control the camera can be set at 1/60 s and the lens at any aperture. In this case the light meter is not active.

Year introduced
Meter range
1 - 18 EV
Meter pattern
ISO range
25 - 1600
DX ISO range
25 - 1600
Exposure modes
P, Av, X, B
Exposure compensation
+1.5 EV
Exposure memory lock
Shutter speeds (auto)
2 - 1/1000s
Shutter speeds (manual)
Shutter speeds (mechanical)
Self timer
Mirror lock-up
Auto bracketing
Multiple exposures
Built-in flash
TTL flash
P-TTL flash
Sync speed
Flash exposure comp
Autofocus sensitivity
Not applicable
Power zoom
0.82x, 92%
Viewfinder type
Diopter correction
Exchangeable screen
Depth of field preview
Image size
24 x 36 mm
Panorama format
2 x AA
Battery grip/pack
Size (W x H x D)
152.5 x 87.5 x 50.5 mm
530 g
Price History:

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Site Supporter

Registered: January, 2015
Location: McKenzie River Valley, Oregon
Posts: 70
Review Date: July 9, 2018 I can recommend the Pentax A3 / A3000: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: N/A 

Pros: Cheap and good
Cons: No control

This is the perfect camera to keep in the trunk of my motorcycle/car for snapshot opportunities while on the road. Don't think I'll ever emulate Ansel Adams with this (or ANY other) camera but you can capture somethingt you want at a moment's notice. Of course, my iPhone does the same thing. No film required, either.

I'f you're a film "Luddite" this camera has a place in your arsenal.
Site Supporter

Registered: April, 2017
Location: Lansing, MI
Posts: 1,584
Review Date: August 22, 2017 I can recommend the Pentax A3 / A3000: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 7 

Pros: Auto film advance, AA batteries
Cons: Manual rewind, DX-override

The greatest advantage of this camera in my mind is that it takes two ordinary AA batteries.

Not a hugely automated, but rugged and reliable.

I view it somewhat like the K1000 of the A-series, although it does require batteries to activate the shutter and the winder, and there is no manual winding. If you find a P3/P3N for cheap, and have button batteries, I'd recommend the P3/P3N instead.

The fact that it manually rewinds is just another quirk.

In short, if you are looking for lots of features look elsewhere, but if you want a camera that runs on regular batteries, this is a camera for you
Senior Member

Registered: December, 2015
Posts: 137
Review Date: August 20, 2017 I can recommend the Pentax A3 / A3000: Yes | Price: $11.50 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Full automatic usage, a "single lens point-and-shoot" if you will. Works on AA batteries.
Cons: No full manual control at all, definitely a beginners (or collectors) only camera. Defaults to 1/60th if not using an A lens

I got this in the mail yesterday from a Forum Member, and it is about as simple as cameras get. There are only three modes on the dial- Program, flash synch of 1/60th shutter speed and bulb. There is also lock and battery check, which is interesting. Unfortunately the lens didn't work and I didn't have any film on hand so my review is going to be purely aesthetic. It is quite comfortable to use and makes a cool retro noise when it winds the film on. I reckon it'd be a good one for anyone's collection, as they go for next to nothing,but only if you want to "complete the set". Similar usage to my Canon t50- all you need to do is insert and rewind the film. Good if you just want to chuck it in your bag for some quick film shots but apart from that.....
Junior Member

Registered: December, 2012
Location: Southwest Colorado
Posts: 39
Review Date: December 24, 2013 I can recommend the Pentax A3 / A3000: Yes | Price: $20.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Very sharp pics
Cons: No manual operation

This is a nice simple camera, and fun to use. Runs on AA batteries. I use it a lot for black and white photography, as it seems to excell in this area. The A 50mm 1.7 is a great lens to have. The camera is built rock solid, typical Pentax.
Again, you do not need to run through several settings to take a nice quality shot.
Veteran Member

Registered: March, 2008
Location: Oslo
Posts: 309

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: December 30, 2010 I can recommend the Pentax A3 / A3000: Yes | Price: $15.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Simple, reliable and quite rugged
Cons: Noisy winder, no M mode, no exp. lock.

Pros Simple, reliable and quite rugged
Cons Noisy winder, no M mode, no exp. lock.
Rating 6
Price (U.S. Dollars) 15
Years Owned 1

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
Collector value is about none. Winder is fast but noisy. Body is larger than the older M-series, mostly due to use of 2xAA batteries. Very easy to use, but not a lot of features.

Camera Review
Arguably a camera targeted at beginners, it offers a similar feature level as the older ME, while also including an automatic winder.

There is no EV comp. wheel as on the ME series (aside from the backlight +1.5EV comp.), but it's easy to achieve by setting the ISO manually (taping the DX contacts on the film canister) and compensating by setting film speed instead.

Probably one of the cheaper choices of older amateur-level SLRs, it even runs off two AA batteries. Also, my sample does not have any light seals at the back, which makes for one less thing to check for. If you are to buy one, check if the camera seems to work normally (shutter, mirror, normal winder noise without loud 'clicks') and see if the meter responds. Move the aperture feeler lever (2 o'clock looking into the mount) if you don't have a lens on-hand.

Personally, I prefer my MX or K2, but for just trying film out, it is a decent choice, even though most of the P-series bodies also are cheap, reliable and easy-operated.
(But then again, considering used prices today, there's not really any bad Pentax SLRs, at least among the pre-AF-series. I got mine practically for free with an A50/1.7 and case, all in mint condition.)
Site Supporter

Registered: December, 2009
Location: North Syracuse, NY
Posts: 14,006
Review Date: August 12, 2010 I can recommend the Pentax A3 / A3000: No | Price: None indicated | Rating: 5 

Pros: Auto film advance
Cons: No manual mode. Doesn't work without batteries.

Pros Auto film advance
Cons No manual mode. Doesn't work without batteries.
Rating 5
Price (U.S. Dollars) Don't remember
Years Owned 22

I can recommend this camera: No

Value, Features, Performance & Size
Value today - none.
Features - Auto film advance, program mode with A-series lenses.

Camera Review
This was my father's camera during my teenage years. The main drawback to this camera is the lack of any sort of manual mode. It is limited to full program mode, with A series lenses, or aperture priority using the aperture ring.

I really don't know why he bought this camera instead of a Super Program or a P3.
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