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Pentax SFXn / SF1n

Reviews Views Date of last review
13 39,636 Wed April 12, 2017
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $78.03 8.10
Pentax SFXn / SF1n

Pentax SFXn / SF1n
Pentax SFXn / SF1n

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 - 1/4000s
Shutter speeds (manual)
1 - 1/4000s
Shutter speeds (mechanical)
Self timer
Mirror lock-up
Auto bracketing
Multiple exposures
Built-in 2.2 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)
154.5 x 99 x 63.5 mm
665 g
Program modes: Normal, Action, Depth of field.
Special accessory: Interval data back
Price History:

Add Review of Pentax SFXn / SF1n
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Senior Member

Registered: June, 2013
Posts: 152
Review Date: April 12, 2017 I can recommend the Pentax SFXn / SF1n: Yes | Price: $31.25 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Works with all Pentax Lenses
Cons: This one is stuck in program mode

I have just got this in excellent condition but the select button isn't working I can't select any modes set iso or exposure compensation.

However I got it with 2 CR5 batteries 3 boxes of cheap agfa film and a sigma AF 35-70mm f3.5 -f4.5 lens which is multi-coated and has a 52mm rotating front element.

So going from last weeks ME Super which I really liked how is it?

Well to be fair it is fairly similar in practice,

The camera is going to take its best shot at taking a photo in program mode but i have zip control over aperture but if I don't use the A setting on the aperture ring then i have f-stop control and i can also lock exposure. so I can apply a smaller aperture or larger with the camera metering to apply some. So not unusable as it is kinda closer to the sf7 than I would have liked but with a higher shutter speed available.

So yes I think even faulty it's not a bad camera and the way my eyes are these days the focus confirmation is needed

I really can't complain really those 2 2CR5 batteries would have cost around the same as i paid for it. Need to check out the Sigma lens which also is mint and see if that made it a bargain

Registered: April, 2009
Location: Madrid, Spain
Posts: 5,382
Review Date: October 12, 2015 I can recommend the Pentax SFXn / SF1n: Yes | Price: $30.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Solid, comfortable to hold, max shutter speed
Cons: Big, noisy, not a great focusing screen, shutter delay, ugly

The SFXn is a strange beast. It has such luxuries as 1/4000s maximum shutter speed, exposure compensation in half-stop increments and little arrows in the viewfinder which indicate which way you need to turn the focusing ring to correctly focus manually. However, it's missing basics like DOF preview, a shutter which fires as soon as the button is pressed and a decent focusing screen, and has the noisiest film wind (and rewind - wow) ever. Focusing is extremely noisy and it must be the camera mechanism because the lenses aren't noisy on my other cameras. The camera seems solidly built and is heavy, much better built than the later MZ series AF cameras.

Due to being ugly and noisy it doesn't cost very much, which is nice.

It's very comfortable to hold but that's mainly because it's huge compared to other Pentax film SLRs. The AF seems to work well, on a par with the much later MZ-5N and much better than the MZ-6. The 1/4000s shutter speed is very useful, especially living in a sunny country (even at ISO 400 I can get down to f/4 for a proper exposure). The plain focusing screen is not easy to use and focus isn't the clearest (and therefore the fastest) but it's adequate, especially with focus confirmation. There is a noticeable delay between pressing the shutter button and the shutter firing if you half-press to activate the AF system. If you press all the way without doing that then the shutter will fire immediately. Batteries are about the most expensive around (2CR5).

Overall, I like this camera, though there are quite a few thing's I'd change if possible, as you'll gather from the above. The positives out-weigh the negatives, but some of those negatives take a lot of getting used to and may be deal-breakers for some.

I'd love to get hold of the AA battery grip but they seem to be extremely rare.
Junior Member

Registered: November, 2014
Posts: 33
Review Date: January 6, 2015 I can recommend the Pentax SFXn / SF1n: Yes | Price: $25.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: size, ergonomics, sound, af, bracketing
Cons: not as sturdy as we all think, made from plastic

I am a very proud owner of SFXn. It was my second 35mm SLR. I used it mostly with SMC Pentax-F 35-80 f4-5.6 and was pleased with the result. Actually more than pleased when I realised how old it is. It was a very happy relationship until one day I discovered one of the strap mounts is loose. After removing the plastic upper panel I found out that the part of the chasis to which the strap mount is screwed is broken. Since I couldn't use it with a strap anymore I had to return to my old P30.
I bought it second hand and I think that previous owner had to let it fall on something.

Now I own a dslr but I will never get rid off my lovely SFXn. I still use it if I can.
Forum Member

Registered: November, 2014
Posts: 56
Review Date: December 4, 2014 I can recommend the Pentax SFXn / SF1n: Yes | Price: $18.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sturdy, Takes AF and MF lenses, Fast shutter
Cons: Big and Heavy, Batteries costly

This camera is fairly simple to use but has lots of features. It does not have a mode dial, instead relying on 3 switches on top to select functions. You have to think more, look at the top display and then decide what to change to do what you need. With practice it becomes second nature.

It's built like a brick, with a metal lens mount that takes ALL the Pentax AF and MF lenses. It seems like they started with that blocky A3000 shape and added on. Certainly it's bigger than some later cameras, but feels fine in my hand and balances a long lens very well. It does not seem prone to the problems later ZX models have, namely broken plastic motor gears that render the camera beyond economical repair early in life, and crippled lens options (no Km or M42). A big reason to choose Pentax is to use all the legacy lenses we have, Why preclude that? I also appreciate the metal lens mount-- this is not the place to economize. The AF is speedy thanks to the AF assist light. The large viewfinder with diopter correction is quite appreciated by my old eyes.

There are some negatives. It's big (for me an advantage, but some would mind). It's noisy. It uses expensive 2CR5 batteries. A solution to the battery problem is get rechargeables, under $20 for a pair plus charger on that big auction site. I'm very glad it does not use AA batteries. I have so many dead cameras thanks to them leaking. I know, user error, but that's how I received them. People don't think, leave the batteries in for years and there goes the electronics. Another peeve: Switching to manual focus requires two hands because the switch has an interlock button, so it takes time and is a silly annoyance.

All in all I like this beast. I'm a little puzzled about why this is rated low, or lower than the SFX. This SFXn is actually a refinement on the SFX/SF1, with faster shutter speed and lighted dial. The 1/4000 shutter speed is a huge improvement so I can't imagine why this is rated below the SFX. I guess you have to read the ratings in detail and see if you would weigh the pro's and con's the same way. I mean, a failure so it's a 5? Nope, for me it's a 10. Anyway, for what I paid this is a huge bargain.
Forum Member

Registered: March, 2007
Location: California
Posts: 59
Review Date: September 22, 2014 I can recommend the Pentax SFXn / SF1n: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Simple to use, ergonomic (but heavy), AF, and AE
Cons: I don't like read out windows, but this isn't too bad

I've had this camera for a 5-6 years, I also have 5 other Pentax SLRs and this one is really a good all around camera body: set the aperture and shoot or set the lens on A and shoot. The auto focus is fine for me because I'm not used to the multi segmented AFs. It is a little heavy but I have more confidence in it than I do the ZX-5. The ZX-5 is my favorite format for an AF camera, but they are not very robust. So I stick with this one, and my P3ns.

I use the SF1n with M, A, F, FA lenses. What is that over 40 years of lenses?
Site Supporter

Registered: May, 2012
Location: Wairarapa, New Zealand
Posts: 9,423
Review Date: May 31, 2012 I can recommend the Pentax SFXn / SF1n: Yes | Price: $160.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Good, solid camera, nice ergonomics.
Cons: Focussing can be slow.

The SFXn is the upgrade to the SFX. Differences include a back-lit top display and faster shutter speed than the SFX.
The camera is quite robust and trouble free.
A nice touch is the multi-bracketing and the ability, with remote shuuter release, to lock the mirror in the up position thereby making possible very long exposures. (limited only by battery life)
Forum Member

Registered: April, 2009
Location: Sterling, VA
Posts: 70
Review Date: June 27, 2011 I can recommend the Pentax SFXn / SF1n: Yes | Price: $40.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Solid, packed with useful features
Cons: Clunky feel, no mullti-segment metering

Great camera. Has al the neat amateur and semi-pro features you could ask for. It would be nice though if the camera had multi-segment metering, but the spot and center weighted ones do the job. The auto focus tends to hunt a bit too. Thiis is okay though since it was Pentax's first real auto focus camera. The camera is a bit heaavy, but still fits in the hand well.
Senior Member

Registered: April, 2009
Location: Cymru
Posts: 111
Review Date: May 6, 2011 I can recommend the Pentax SFXn / SF1n: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Trap Focus
Cons: For its age, I cannot personally find anything Negative, it is a good all round camera.

I purchased the Pentax SFXn when it first came out, together with a 50mm f1.4 lens.
I was so pleased with I purchased a second body and are still using both to this day.
One body has colour film, the other Black & White film.
One feature of this camera that is often overlooked is trap focus and in the days of digital, I am not aware of any digital camera that has this feature, Pentax or other manufactures.
Thank you Pentax.
Forum Member

Registered: September, 2009
Location: Brussels Area
Posts: 60
Review Date: December 4, 2010 I can recommend the Pentax SFXn / SF1n: Yes | Price: $20.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Solid, reliable, K/KA/KAF lens compatible
Cons: Lacks MLU and DOF preview (like many others)

Pros Solid, reliable, K/KA/KAF lens compatible
Cons Lacks MLU and DOF preview (like many others)
Rating 8
Price (U.S. Dollars) 20
Years Owned 1

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
My camera is actually the SFXn. It provides auto-everything when you want to use it as such : DX code for automatic film ASA detection; autofocus, automatic exposure, automatic film advance and rewind...
Considering the purchase price I find it has fantastic value for the money.
It's size and weight don't put it in the most compact and lightweight category, but still it is very easy to handle and carry.

Camera Review
I bought the camera for the lens it came with, but when I received it I immediately wanted to test it without thinking about the lens anymore. It was my first film AF body actually (I have a strong MF SLR background) and I was delighted with the simplicity and ease of use. Also I liked the multiple exposure modes and multiple program modes it features. Actually these modes are useful when I want to concentrate on composition, subject, action... and not that much about the exposure settings. You can still use one of the program modes but choose between the "sport" or "landscape" programs, depending on the kind of subject you happen to shoot at the moment.

I found that the exposure metering and control were still perfect after such a long time (the camera is old but I bought it second hand quite recently). It gives a feeling of solidity and reliability but is still compact enough to be carried almost everywhere without too much hassle. When I finally unmounted the zoom lens that came with it, and tried some other glass, I liked the fact that I could use all my other Pentax glass regardless of the presence of an "A" on the aperture ring. Full metering is possible in aperture priority (and manual) mode, of course not on the program modes in such case.

There was a battery in the camera when I bought it, it had been partially used already so when it died I replaced it without hesitation, so that I could continue to use the camera (remember my initial plan was to keep the lens and resell the camera). I decided to keep it instead, because of its versatility, excellent lens compatibility, and all the auto/manual combinations that it allows.
Senior Member

Registered: October, 2008
Location: Horsham, VIC, Australia
Posts: 108
Review Date: October 12, 2010 I can recommend the Pentax SFXn / SF1n: Yes | Price: $300.00 | Rating: 5 

Pros: Accurate exposures, fast autofocus. Simple controls.
Cons: It died

Pros Accurate exposures, fast autofocus. Simple controls.
Cons It died
Rating 5
Price (U.S. Dollars) $300
Years Owned 14

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
I was unlucky. Turned out to be my worst value camera ever. It was my first autofocus camera and I loved using it. It was my first Pentax with a bulging battery grip for the shutter hand - a great feeling of security. I found the flash strong and the red light that enabled night time autofocus was mightily useful. After its failure I was forced to return to my Spotmatic and I was confident that even if the battery died I would still be able to take acceptable pictures.

Camera Review
Like Gruffnutz I moved from Spotmatic the SFXn to K200D. The Spotmatic is unbreakable (years of semi-pro daily beach use, changing film in all weathers etc) and I reverted back to it when the SFX just died. Simply no life in the screen and no functions. ( I did not use the SFX on the beach) I never had it repaired as it was going to cost $90 just to look inside. At the time I was very disappointed: it was a lot of money (for me) and as I had not had it long I felt ripped off. I had bought it SH. My only sad experience with the brand. It is on my knee as I write - can't throw it. Wot to do with a dead electronic camera? Anybody want it?
New Member

Registered: February, 2010
Location: Melbourne
Posts: 7
Review Date: February 5, 2010 I can recommend the Pentax SFXn / SF1n: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: N/A 


I started with an old Spotmatic, to teach myself photography and because it was all I could afford, moved on to a SFXn and now have a K200d.

The SFXn is the camera I've taken the most shots with and it has never missed a beat. Tough, reliable, auto modes that work and enough manual control to be creative. The SFXn is a great film camera, everyone should have one!


P.S. I still use my Spotmatic as well. It will never die.

P.P.S. Anyone know where I can buy a viewfinder cup for my SFXn?
Site Supporter

Registered: August, 2009
Location: Elko, Nevada
Posts: 1,288
Review Date: October 29, 2009 I can recommend the Pentax SFXn / SF1n: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: N/A 


Over the years I have been fortunate to be able to use a number of different types and brands of 35mm cameras including Canon, Olympus, Minolta and Pentax. Over the years all of them have gone away except for a few Pentax cameras. I currently use three Pentax cameras on a regular basis, a KX (totally manual), a K200D (totally digital) and this SF1n. I really like all my Pentax cameras, and they all have their uses, but my SF1n is really something special.

First, it is built like a tank and mine has worked perfectly for me since I bought it in 1989. It is an autofocus camera and it was bought specifically for taking pictures of my kids. It has now graduated to become my primary grandkid chasing 35mm camera for all the same reasons. The autofocus works fast, locks on and gets the shot with absolutely no fuss. The pictures I get back are almost always first rate memories, and even turn out to be pretty good photographs much of the time! Although it is a little heavier then some of the digital single lens reflex cameras currently on the market, it balances very well, especially with slightly heavier zoom lenses mounted. In fact, the Pentax FA 28-200mm is almost perfectly balanced with this camera. Because of this balance I can often get blur-free shots with this camera that I have struggled to get with other cameras. In fact, this is why most of the other cameras I've owned have gone away over time. This one just takes better pictures.

Next, it is really simple to use. The controls are simple-to-use switches that can be used without even looking at them once you are used to them. The exposure setting information is displayed in the viewfinder as well as a display screen on top of the camera. It has Program mode with several different types of available programs, aperture priority mode, shutter priority mode as well as full manual. It synchs flash at 125s and has a built-in TTL flash with a GN of 14. I have several flash units that work very well with this camera, the AF280T being my favorite, but it works quite well with the built-in flash.

For a long time after I first bought this camera my only autofocus lens was a 50mm although I did own a couple of old manual focus lenses. I now own several lenses and many of them are manual focus prime lenses which give very nice pictures. Even though this is an autofocus camera, it is a snap to use those manual focus lenses with this camera. This camera beeps at you and shows a green square in the viewfinder when the focus is correct. And the viewfinder is clear as a bell so it is much easier for me to see that I'm properly focused with this camera then it is with my much newer K200D. With all the pictures I've taken with this camera I think my pictures have come back focused on the wrong thing only a handful of times. Same with my KX but then that one is manual focus. I think that the viewfinder in the KX is slightly nicer but this one is still very good. For someone like me who's eyes have changed over the years this viewfinder is a nice plus. Since manual focus lenses are often less expensive then their autofocus brothers this is a great feature.

I finally had to break down and send this camera to Eric the other day to re-attach the rubber grip on the side. While it is there he will also give it a good cleaning. It may sound a bit strange in this day of digital photography, but I have missed it since I sent it off. Although it doesn't get used quite as often as it used to, it still comes out at least once a week and it is not unusual for me to have two or three rolls of film to send off for developing by the end of the week. I find myself grabbing the K200D for those kid-related occasions (school plays, etc.) where the SF1n used to be the mainstay, but it still gets lots of use.

There are obviously many Pentax film cameras available, many of them with more features then the SF1n. If I need mirror lock-up or DOF preview, I grab the KX. When I travel, which I do quite a bit for my work, I take the K200D. Most of my landscape shots are taken with the KX. I am learning to take pictures of birds and I find that the K200D seems to work well for this task. But when the grandkids are in the house, or I just feel like running around town to take some street shots, the SF1n is almost always the camera that goes along for the ride.

Most of us on this forum have very nice Pentax cameras that we are happy with, so this was not intended to change anyone's mind. Overall, I feel that the SF1n is a very good camera and, if you are at all interested in shooting film along with digital but haven't settled on a camera, this one is a great alternative that can frequently be found at a very reasonable price on Ebay or any of the used camera sites on-line. My SF1n has taken uncounted thousands of pictures for me over 30 years of use, and it still gets called on to do the same today. Quality products are hard to find today, but they are still out there if you really know what you are looking for. This camera is a quality product. I like it so much that I went out and bought a spare.
New Member

Registered: August, 2009
Location: San Antonio, Texas
Posts: 4
Review Date: October 1, 2009 I can recommend the Pentax SFXn / SF1n: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: N/A 


I've had two of the SF1n bodies since about 1991. Through a number of years neither has needed anything but batteries and film! The performance for an amateur with a good eye was great. I say good eye, because all one need do is compose - not fiddle. I can count on one hand the number of times my selection was better than the camera. I have a K10d & 20d and to my thinking the SF's were the grandparents to these two. They didn't have the most features, Pentax never really seemed to understand the art of advertising, so Canon was the hot shot even then. If you want a great fun film camera - these are hard to beat - like - a Toyota Prius is hard to beat today. As I remember they ran a little less than 300 bucks a copy new.
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