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Pentax SFX / SF1

Reviews Views Date of last review
7 123,757 Tue November 3, 2020
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $70.67 9.14
Pentax SFX / SF1

Pentax SFX / SF1
Pentax SFX / SF1
Pentax SFX / SF1

Year introduced
Meter range
1 - 20 EV
Meter pattern
ISO range
6 - 6400
DX ISO range
25 - 5000
Exposure modes
P, Av, Tv, M, X, B
Exposure compensation
+/-4 EV
Exposure memory lock
Shutter speeds (auto)
30 - 1/2000s
Shutter speeds (manual)
1 - 1/2000s
Shutter speeds (mechanical)
Self timer
Mirror lock-up
Auto bracketing
Multiple exposures
Built-in 1.8 fps
Built-in flash
Yes, GN 14
TTL flash
P-TTL flash
Sync speed
Flash exposure comp
Yes (1 point)
Autofocus sensitivity
2 - 18 EV
Power zoom
0.81x, 92%
Viewfinder type
Diopter correction
Exchangeable screen
Depth of field preview
Image size
24 x 36 mm
Panorama format
Battery grip/pack
AA battery grip
Size (W x H x D)
157 x 99 x 63.5 mm
685 g
Pentax reintroduced autofocus with this model and the line of 'F' lenses. Contrary to the ME F, Pentax now placed the autofocus motor in the body.
Program modes: Normal, Action, Depth of field.
Special accessory: Interval data back
Price History:

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Senior Member

Registered: September, 2018
Posts: 248
Review Date: November 3, 2020 I can recommend the Pentax SFX / SF1: Yes | Price: $50.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Rugged, compact, easy to use, moderate weight
Cons: No Dof Preview

What can I say, I very much like, no wait, love this camera. I cant say that about every new camera I get. I bought this one to get the kit, a nice 50MM1.7 and 35-70mm f3.5-4.5 and other assorted Pentax goodies. I'm not one of those people who love every camera like their first born.! The Nikon FE2 I seriously didn't enjoy using and sold it within a few months, The Ricoh KR-10, nope, etc.

The SF1 feels good in the hand with a moderate weight so you know your holding it, but not weighed down and not plasticky. But still compact enough to fit in your overnight bag or backpack. Its easy to shoot with auto focus locking in a reasonable amount of time. I literal ran though a 24 exposure roll in less than five minutes. Now that was with good subjects on a golden sunny fall day. It was just that enjoyable. I set it to Program mode letting the camera handle the settings and fired at will. loading a few more rolls to make sure the fun wasn't just in the newness. Nope, it delivered.

What I thought was lacking was the inability to change ISO or Drive through the viewfinder. Again not a big hassle, but would be nice. At least you can adjust the Mode and Exposure Compensation. Also, why no DOF preview. If it is there I can't find it. Again, no biggie.

Hence my score, because in the end, this an enjoyable camera to use with no hassles for me. And the drawbacks did not impact my ability to use the camera or take away from the fun.
New Member

Registered: November, 2013
Posts: 8

2 users found this helpful
Review Date: March 16, 2014 I can recommend the Pentax SFX / SF1: Yes | Price: $150.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: very reliable heavy AF-SLR
Cons: lack of M + of spot metering and no indication of aperture in viewfinder

viewfinder excellent bright - much more better than digital.

AF trap for manual lenses.

My body has AA-grip.

Inspite of missing aperture indication in viewfinder (only at LCD outside) it is a great precious reflex.

Nice single and zoom lenses with high resolution gives me very nice photos.It's my analogue working horse
The SFX.N has M program additionally !!!
New Member

Registered: May, 2013
Posts: 2
Review Date: May 7, 2013 I can recommend the Pentax SFX / SF1: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: easy to use, tough, credible
Cons: no

For me the Pentax SFX is an excellent camera. Easy to use. I have my SFX since 1987/88 not sure.
I use my SFX for years with the 35-70 standard lens wich i love. Then i quit photography for a long time (nearly 20 years) since now. After this long time without working on my SFX the camera worx proper without any problem, it only needs a new battery wich i buy cheap on ebay.
From now on i bought some new/old lenses like smc 2,5/135, smc 1,7 50, soligor 28-70 etc...and love to work again with film....its amazing

In the future iÓm interested to buy a K5 ii
Site Supporter

Registered: December, 2010
Location: Phoenix Arizona
Posts: 754
Review Date: September 18, 2011 I can recommend the Pentax SFX / SF1: Yes | Price: $45.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Good grip
Cons: Need lens with aperture ring for AV mode.

This camera is big! It feels like a brick compared to newer DSLRs. It is very easy to use. You cannot set the aperture with the body. If you want aperture priority mode, you need lenses with an aperture ring. The hot shoe is offset to the right side of the camera. A little odd at first, but helps reduce redeye when using the flash.
Inactive Account

Registered: May, 2010
Location: ohio
Posts: 218
Review Date: August 11, 2011 I can recommend the Pentax SFX / SF1: Yes | Price: $14.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: i love the way this camera feels in my hands. the view finder is picture window is to die for.
Cons: the camera is heavy.if it dies on you ,you can use it for a door stop. not all auto focus lenses will work with this..

i bought a box of parts cameras for my program plus and an sf1 was thrown in for good didn't work .but when i picked it up and looked through it i knew i had to have one. it fits my hands just has a huge view finder. the best i've seen. i purchased a couple of quantaray lenses for her. the battery is a little pricey and she is a little noisy on the rewind. it's af seems to be right real low light situations the af has a little trouble but thats neither here nor there. it's the only autofocus camera i own. for the prices these things can be had for,how could you go forever!
Forum Member

Registered: September, 2009
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 59

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: March 21, 2011 I can recommend the Pentax SFX / SF1: Yes | Price: $15.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Beefy Grip, Off-Center Hot Shoe, AF Assist Beam, Hip 80's Styling
Cons: A tad on the heavy side, 2CR5's are Expensive

Pros Beefy Grip, Off-Center Hot Shoe, AF Assist Beam, Hip 80's Styling
Cons A tad on the heavy side, 2CR5's are Expensive
Rating 8
Price (U.S. Dollars) $15
Years Owned About a month.

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
The SF1 is a huge bargain on the used market currently. It has an efficient AF assist beam built-in, which the MZ/ZX and some PZ cameras lack. In comparison to the K10D it has a similar sized grip, is about the same height, is maybe 4cm wider, and they are both about the same weight. Inside the viewfinder around the green hexagon are two arrows that work with the Focus Indicator to tell you which way to turn the focus ring (on lenses that follow the Pentax standard).

Camera Review
What I Like: The AF assist works wonders in bringing the old AF system up to speed. The AF is actually quieter than my K10D and ZX-5n. The SF1 might take a little longer, but it hunts as much as the -5n; the K10D's cross-sensors dominate here. The balance of the camera is perfect, with a flash mounted it is still great (thanks to the off-prism hot shoe). The slider switches are simple and easy to use. I actually like them, being a SuperProgram guy I find it easier than turning dials. I enjoy the funky 80's design, the squared off edges are saucy. Not as noisy of a camera as I expected it to be, actually is rather quiet. [Edit: It is actually pretty loud... AF noise varies lens-to-lens much more than my other AF cameras.] Overall it feels like a high quality Pentax camera that I am glad I bought. I absolutely adore the CENTIC display on top of the prism, it weirdly stays on even when the camera is off so you always know what mode/settings you are in. One interesting thing I noted is that the shutter release is designed to have a built-in "soft release." Your finger rests between two ridges perfectly over the button.

What I Disliked: It uses a 2CR5 battery, they are $15! (Manual says it will do 25-30 24-exp rolls with 50% flash usage.) However, unlike the PZ-series, there is a AA grip available. There is no multi-segment mode or spot meter. Like most film SLR's there is no user control for aperture, no manual or Av modes with DA/FA J lenses. The ML (AE-L) button must be held down or you must press it while pressing the shutter halfway. This makes your grasp awkward compared to the ZX-5n and K10D. I find the on/off switch disorientating after being used to flicking a dial around a shutter release (ZX-5n/K10D). There is no depth-of-field preview, although some might not find it necessary. The switch for AF-S, AF-C, and MF has a really annoying button to engage MF mode that I find requires two hands; very annoying when not using quick-shift lenses and wanting to retract your lenses for travel. Something that keeps bugging me every time I use this camera is the lack of an aperture readout. Compound this with the lack of a DoF preview and in P mode you have no idea what aperture/DoF to expect unless you remove your eye and look at the CENTIC screen. The film rewind is LOUD and takes quite a long, battery-sucking time.

Senior Member

Registered: January, 2010
Location: Gothenburg, aka G÷teborg
Posts: 223
Review Date: November 2, 2010 I can recommend the Pentax SFX / SF1: Yes | Price: $150.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: P, Av, Tv, M, X, & B!
Cons: Slightly slippery grip. Noisy winder!

Pros P, Av, Tv, M, X, & B!
Cons Slightly slippery grip.
Rating 8
Price (U.S. Dollars) 150, including insurance, packaging, and postage, from the UK!
Years Owned 1 day!

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
The SFX is a close to 25 years old powered film camera design - thus no need for a winder - looking like an Olympus E-P2, but with an immense, amazing, viewfinder on top, which also incorporates the flash and the unusually big display (I told you it is big, didn't I?).

The camera is about half an inch wider than my K-7, otherwise about the same measurements (slightly beefier grip), and half an ounce heavier. The menu choices, and options, are like a simplified DSLR, but a Pentax DSLR owner feels immediately at home, except for the arrangement of buttons and knobs, which is totally different, except for the shutter release (no four-way button, no thumb - or index finger - wheel, and so on).

Feels very robust, if slightly slippery (no rubber pads, or similar, to improve the grip).

Camera Review

Got mine yesterday, but first impressions are: Really nice viewfinder, nice display (on top of the viewfinder!), about the size, and weight of a K-7, but more oblong (like a Olympus PEN E-P2, but with an immense viewfinder on top)!

Came with a SMC F 35-70 zoom, which also includes a macro setting - great little lens, at least when tried on my K-x! Users here seem to agree!

Seems to like all my lenses: The DA 21, 40 & 18-55 (even if the 18-55 vignettes a bit in the wide end), the FA 50/1.4, the Tamron 90, 10-24, & 70-200/2.8 (slight vignetting at the wide end with the 10-24), but the Sigma 120-400 only in manual :-)!


Now used it a bit (a few rolls of film later), and there are things with this SFX I do not like, for example the really noisy winder. Scares people, animals and birds, which makes photography a chore. As it winds as soon as has exposed, there is no safe way to try to silence it.

On the fun side is using it with those FA lenses I've got, and other lenses that work with FF, like the DA40, and most of my Tamron lenses. If someone could modify it to be able to use SDM lenses, I'd use it much more, as then my long Sigmas could be used, and I be a safe distance from the animals and people, as not to scare them!

But it just shows what a FF Pentax would give us: Large lovely viewfinder (optical or EVF, I do not care), full use of our oldish (FA) lenses!
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