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Showing all 44 reviews by K David

Review of: Pentax S2 (H2) by K David on Sun November 10, 2019 | Rating: 8 View more reviews 

Views: 26971
Reviews: 4
It's pretty much a standard S/H camera. If you're interested in a camera collecting challenge, this is a fun one to try and pursue all the versions of. These are the versions I know of: - Asahi Pentax S2 in Japan (and internationally in general) - Asahi Pentax SB, where B is the second letter in the alphabet, sold in Japanese military camps, note that the rare SB2 is a Pentax S3 - Asahiflex H2 in South Africa, and possibly Finland (though the older, printed sources I read only mention South Africa, and Iíve found no sources except online that indicate Finland was a possible market) - Asahi Pentax H2 (multiple international markets, mostly Europe) - Honeywell Heiland Pentax H2 (US) - Honeywell Pentax H2 (also the US, but later) - Asahi Pentar H2 (South Africa), also one of the rarest Pentax cameras collectors can pursue - Penta Asahiflex H2 (South Africa) Also, it was available in black and silver, so you can presumably double that list if you want one of each color. And there were production variations. Early examples had no clip-on meter interface on the shutter dials. Latter versions did. The S2 Super had the 1/1,000th shutter speed. Also, I've seen photos of latter S2 Super bodies that have a self-resetting fame counter whereas the H2 has a manual-resetting counter.

Review of: PENTAX auto 110 by K David on Mon May 8, 2017 | Rating: 7 View more reviews 

Views: 33141
Reviews: 8
This is a lot of fun to use and the simple interface makes it a fairly quick-to-learn camera. The lenses perform pretty well, but aren't well suited for other cameras like the Q since they have no aperture. The camera has some very clever features. The shutter acts as the aperture and the mirror seal is light-tight. Because of how this camera was made and the shutter design, it could not be scaled up to 35mm without making the shutter mechanism eight times larger than it is now. The way that Pentax solved the 110 shutter issues was great. One drawback to this camera is that its strictly program mode. That limits creative options significantly, unfortunately. Another drawback is the 110 format itself. The sample images below will how how grainy this camera's images are due to the format.

Review of: Pentax MZ-M / ZX-M by K David on Mon May 8, 2017 | Rating: 1 View more reviews 

Views: 89580
Reviews: 13
Pentax billed this as a replacement to the K1000, but it doesn't come close to filling its shoes. I've tried to find one of these that works and have purchased a half-dozen of these. I'm zero for six. I do not recommend this camera, period end of story. Spend a few dollars more and pick up a K or M body. You'll be much happier with your selection.

Review of: Pentax S (Tower 26) by K David on Tue November 22, 2016 | Rating: 9 View more reviews 

Views: 22072
Reviews: 1
It's hard to express how great a find this was. I had been searching for this for a LONG time -- almost six years. I, repeatedly and even recently, found myself being sniped on eBay or the units selling for far more than I could afford. So you can imagine my great excitement at an estate sale last weekend when I saw what looked like a K or AP on a shelf. But no. It was an S. I didn't even bother dickering on the price. $100 for the body was fine with me, working or not. My copy works well on the fast shutter speeds but has a slow rear curtain and off-timed slow speeds. (But from the sounds of it it may only need the springs tightened! I'll know when Eric sends me his report.) Don't let the price I paid for this fool you. It is not indicative of the price these usually go for. If you want to get one, set aside around $600 (more than $1,200 for a black one) and then have patience. These come up for auction on eBay around once a year, sometimes once every 18 months. It's hard for me to rate this less than the AP since it's basically the same camera except with standard shutter speeds. In every important way it's the same. That said, it's also hyper rare (but not the rarest Pentax production body, unless you count the black S bodies as a separate item and then, I believe, the black S is probably the rarest Pentax production camera.) The scarcity alone should warrant this a 4 since most people will never get a chance to use the camera. Honestly, if you want to find an old Pentax to use, grab an S2, H3V, or SL. Those are the easiest non-metered Pentax bodies to find. As a collector's item, the S is fantastic. As part of a display from 1957 to 1977, the S is a keystone piece. Even though my camera was used heavily by a semi-professional scientific photographer and professor, it works well given its age and neglect since the 1970s. I can say, comfortably, that like the other very-old Pentax bodies, it is reliable. Most of us will never see an S, let alone own or shoot one. And that's unfortunate. The S is a fun camera to use. I enjoyed the 'test roll' of 36 dead frames I took with it to give it a test. When it's fixed and I've shot some rolls with it, I'll post photos. It's a nicer experience than the S/H series and Spotmatics, I think. I like the AP, S, and K a great deal and find the delicacy of their shutter sound to be pleasing and beautiful. I have no camera I have ever used for which I like the shutter sound more than the AP/S/K bodies.

Review of: Pentax *ist DL by K David on Wed November 16, 2016 | Rating: 7 View more reviews 

Views: 47583
Reviews: 17
For less than $21, I couldn't pass on this. It's a dated and old camera, yes, but still amply capable and the CCD sensor delivered great image quality.

Review of: Pentax MZ-7 / ZX-7 by K David on Thu October 13, 2016 | Rating: 1 View more reviews 

Views: 86891
Reviews: 12
I've had three of these and they are literally the most unreliable and most poorly made camera I've used. Of the three, two of them broken on the first shot. With the third, it worked great but the mirror control gears are so easily stripped that when it was bumped during shipping the mirror gear's teeth were broken off by another gear and the camera was rendered useless. Seriously, avoid these bodies and the rest of the MZ-number series.

Review of: Pentax K100D by K David on Mon September 5, 2016 | Rating: 7 View more reviews 

Views: 59130
Reviews: 21
Aside from a gaping hole where the hot shoe had been, my copy is great. I picked it up because I haven't use a CCD camera before and wanted to see what the advantages are. For $15.54, I couldn't pass it up. After I glued a hot shoe cover over the hot shoe hole, it looks basically a-okay. THis is a nice camera though the interface is very dated by today's standards. Using AA batteries is great, though.

Review of: Pentax 67II by K David on Fri June 24, 2016 | Rating: 10 View more reviews 

Views: 78874
Reviews: 11
This is one of the most amazing photographic experiences a photographer can have, and that's reflected in the value retention these have shown. New, they had an MSRP of around $3,600 with a 105mm lens (that was sold separately for around $1,100.) The cameras, today, with a kit lens are around $700 to $1,300, representing much less of a value loss than old AE-1 bodies that retailed for $300 and can now be had for around $10-20 on a good day. But this is a much different class and caliber of camera. The 67II shoots amazing images. Complex metering settings are as hard for it as a Sunday drive is for a rally racer. Set in auto mode, this camera delivers consistent and excellent metering. If you're looking for an easy entry into the most recent generation of medium-format cameras, this is your choice. The 67II is the finest camera that Pentax ever made in terms of stats and specs when weighed against capabilities and results. The camera's not flawless, though. The hot shoe is only on the wooden grip. But if you have it, the shot shoe with the TTL meter allows TTL flash metering with compatible Pentax flashes, and that's fantastic. The camera does not allow mid-roll film changes, like the RB and RZ series. For me, that's a huge drawback and for professionals is the reason some of them carried two to four of these bodies. The LCD does not illuminate, which other cameras of the time did. That's simply an oversight and a weakness. Also, unless you or a previous owner had the camera modified by Pentax, the viewfinder display shows the remaining frames and not the aperture. Even with the modification, the process of displaying the aperture is a bit wonky. But those are minor complaints and, ultimately, this camera is a joy to shoot with.

Review of: Pentax 645NII by K David on Tue February 23, 2016 | Rating: 7 View more reviews 

Views: 50854
Reviews: 3
The 645NII is a really great camera with some serious capabilities. It feels like a K-3 or K-5. It's not meaningfully larger, given that it's a medium-format camera. It's also not a whole lot heavier, even with six AA batteries in the grip. The only odd things about it are that what DSLR users will think of as the on-off-DoF preview button is the drive mode button. The on-off button is in the back. One great thing about the on-off button is that the chirp is in the middle, so it's easy to switch just to on. There are a few things about the 645 that I've grown to not enjoy so much. First, the 92% frame coverage is on par with upper-mid-range SLRs, not competitor pro-range SLRs. I recognize that making a prism for a 645 that magnifies at 0.75% and has 100% frame coverage would be exceedingly hard and expensive, but 92% is a LOT of framing surprise when the film comes back. I'm also not a huge fan of how the ISO is adjusted, though I don't have a better idea for how it could be done. I suppose that, but the time this camera was released, many 35mm film cameras had dials and not buttons, like this. Perhaps one or two dials would have made setting the ISO easier. It's not something one has to do often, but because it has to be done with every roll of 120, it is a pain. A good way around this is to shoot blocks of the same ISO. There's no dark slide and the film back can't be removed mid-roll. This differentiates the 645 from the competing Mamiya systems that allowed film back switches during a roll. That's one of my favorite features about my RB67 and RB67 ProS, but does frustrate me a bit with the Pentax 645 and 6X7. The camera has a LOT of pro's: auto focus, auto wind, great meter, good and fast lenses, and a familiar, SLR-like feel. Overall, it's a great 645 camera even if it lacks a few refinements.

Review of: Pentax MZ-S by K David on Tue February 2, 2016 | Rating: 7 View more reviews 

Views: 104659
Reviews: 16
So the MZ-S competed against the Maxxum 7, EOS 3, and F100 when it was released. Of the four, the MZ-S would be my third choice taken independently of other factors, behind the Maxxum 7 and F100. The MZ-S has a lot of good characteristics but it must have sacrificed some things, too. The MZ-S had, I've read, the same shutter as the F100 and EOS 3 but did not have the same maximum shutter speed. I'm not certain why that would be or whether the shutter story is correct. The MZ-S also has some places where it's flimsy -- the battery door, film back and film back hinge, and of course the mirror motor which has a plastic drive gear that suffers the MZ series stripped gear problem. Otherwise, the camera has robust build quality that's not given away by its very light overall weight. One thing that the MZ-S can't do, which surprised me, is meter M42 lenses with the M42 to K adapter. I found that the metering with M42 lenses installed was about six stops off -- six stops over. But the camera is light, the tilted top is great for using the camera easily, the interface is superb, and overall the experience using the MZ-S is wonderful. And it take great photos. Here are some samples.

Review of: Pentax ES by K David on Mon October 26, 2015 | Rating: 6 View more reviews 

Views: 46748
Reviews: 6
The ES replaced the Electro Spotmatic, which was a Japan-only body. The ES has improved electronics which were mass-produced and are more reliable 40 years after release. The camera has the same body as the Electro, and for me that's a good thing. I'm rating this a six in keeping with my Electro review stating that the lack of manual shutter speeds slower than 1/60th is worth -4 points because it cripples creative ability. Other than that, the camera is very nice and enjoyable to use. It's heavy, and the compact body size it feels heavier around the neck than other similarly-sized cameras. As another potential detraction to these bodies, the prices on them have absolutely tanked in the last few years.

Review of: Pentax K2 DMD by K David on Sat October 10, 2015 | Rating: 10 View more reviews 

Views: 74914
Reviews: 10
I'm glad to give this camera another 10. It's one of the sturdiest, most substantial cameras I've ever use. It has the best trim level of any Pentax manual focus SLR, including the LX (the LX lacks the eyepiece shade but is, on balance, a better camera.) I don't agree that this is the best Pentax, but I think it's a VERY close second to the LX. Were I asked which one someone should get, I'd tell them to flip a coin.

Review of: Pentax K-3 II by K David on Thu October 1, 2015 | Rating: 9 View more reviews 

Views: 84656
Reviews: 19
I'm pretty pleased with this camera. It's only con is that it lacks a flash. That is also, truly, a pro. If you've used any of the recent K-series prosumer bodies, you're already familiar with how this camera works, handles, and interfaces with the user. What this body has that others lack is the on-board GPS and the pixel shift function. Pixel shift is an interesting function. It's for only some circumstances: motionless camera, motionless subject, and steady lighting. I thought that would make pixel shift ideal for architecture. It has worked well for interiors but poorly for exteriors. Building movement and heat-related air density changes are enough to cause a zipper-like pixel shift alignment error effect. Here are some sample images: Pixel-shift sample

Review of: Ricoh WG-M1 by K David on Tue August 18, 2015 | Rating: 8 View more reviews 

Views: 5806
Reviews: 1
I'm still getting used to it, but it's a fun little camera. The interface is a bit confusing (but necessary due to the size and space for buttons.) The test videos I took show a proclivity for flares and ghosting (due to the ultra-wide angle.) The quality from them, otherwise, is suitable. They don't have the same dynamic range as video (and stills) from a DSLR, but that's a-okay given that this has a different purpose, market, and much smaller sensor. It is about twice as large as I expected, but it's comfortable to hold in easy to use. I'm a big fan.

Review of: Pentax ES II by K David on Tue April 14, 2015 | Rating: 6 View more reviews 

Views: 58815
Reviews: 7
I'm still getting to know my ESII, but I do miss the manual shutter speeds slower than 1/60th. Bulb is useful for many situations, but not all. The camera can only fire less than 1/60th in automatic mode, which is a bit of a draw-back. I'll update this as I get to use it and know it better.

Review of: Pentax Electro Spotmatic by K David on Tue April 14, 2015 | Rating: 4 View more reviews 

Views: 26012
Reviews: 4
The Electro is one of the hardest-to-find Pentax bodies in working condition. The circuit boards were all hand-soldered and the work was not Pentax's best. In fact, to get mine working, I had to take out the circuit board, re-do some wiring connections, and then dismantle the lens mount to free a stuck spring. Now, however, it works perfectly. To test it under fairly brutal conditions, I ran a roll of color film through it and used macro tubes for some extreme close-ups. The camera may have underexposed slightly at times, or the developing lab may have had weak chemistry. Either way, the images were still okay-ish (not the camera's fault on that point.) I read a number of reviews that claimed the Electro (and later ES) had a wonky battery chamber placement. I think that the battery chamber placement on them is fantastic. It gives me a solid protrusion to rest my fingers on and helps with the grip. I'm not sure who would have an issue with the battery chamber's placement. It seems like a loss that it was moved for the ESII. My main complaint about this camera is the limited manual shutter speed selection range. 1/60 to 1/1,000th is a narrow window. It does, at least, have bulb, but there's a whole range of creative imagery that cannot be taken in manual mode. That makes the user dependent upon the camera's meter understanding the image that the user has in mind. This has a good light meter, but it doesn't read your mind. I found that this limitation, on my most recent outing with the Electro Spotty, was problematic and I had to change some of my ideas for images because of it. My next complaint about this body is that it is HEAVY. Maybe because of the small size, but this camera feels heavier around my neck than a medium-format camera. It really lets you know it's there. One really nice aspect of this camera, and simultaneously a drawback, is that so few of them work. So if you can get a working copy or make one work, then you have a fairly uncommon camera on your hands and something worth telling people about. If you're looking for a shooter, grab an ES or ESII. Both are fine bodies with the most noticeable difference between them being the battery compartment location. The ESII, fun fact, was the camera body used to take the photo on the cover of The Clash's album London Calling. Either of the later bodies is a good shooter choice. Overall, I rate this a 4 due to the lack of manual speed options, persnickety nature of the electronics, weight, and rarity of working copies. If it had the same battery compartment as the ESII, I would rate it a 3. Really, the lack of manual speeds is worth -4 points by itself. Here are some other photos I've taken with my Electro Spotmatic. It's a nice performer and, if you can find one that works, fun for an occasional shoot. Lomo 800 Film My Heart (Lucky with a different sticker) 200 ISO

Review of: Pentax K-S2 by K David on Tue March 31, 2015 | Rating: 10 View more reviews 

Views: 82002
Reviews: 11
TL;DR: This camera is a home-run and is as much like a K-3 as an entry-level DSLR can be. Where this is better than the K-3 is in the flip-out screen and built-in wifi. Where it is worse in in the fewer-on camera buttons. Pentax seems to still be learning how to develop the flip-out interface a bit. The buttons, right now any way, to select different options do not work with the screen folded inward. At minimum, the ISO selection should be enabled regardless of screen orientation. So that's my complaint and it's really nit-picky. That ought to tell you something about how the rest of this review will go. I have the K-S2 on loan for a month to take sample photos for PF, just like I did with the K-S2. The K-S2 is a lot like the K-S1 with a few added features. It almost seems like Pentax saw my YouTube videos on the K-S1 and made a lot of the corrections I cited as ones I wanted made. This camera has, literally, everything I wanted in the K-S1 and then some added bonuses. A significant an unexpected bonus is the flip-out screen. This made using the K-S2 while danging it over a cliff to get some shots of cliff-dwelling fungi really easy. The flip-out screen also made raising the camera on a higher tripod easily doable. Likewise, using it on a lower tripod was a lot easier than normal. That's because I could orient the screen however I needed it to be able to see it easily and align the camera as needed to take the photos. Fantastic work from Pentax on that element. The next great thing is the wifi. With the Android smart phone app, controlling the K-S2 is very easy. You have, basically, full camera control and don't have to spend $1.99 for one of those off-brand remotes from China that are plentiful on eBay. And in all probability your smart phone will last longer than the 42 photos that those $1.99 remotes typically last. I can't speak to the wifi range yet as I've always had the camera near me. I will, while I have it on loan, see how far away from it I can stand and still get a signal. I do believe that the K-S2 has the best autofocus of any of the Pentax DSLRs that I've used. Even in the dark shadows of a redwood forest, the K-S2 did not hunt and it did not need the assist light. I was, to risk extreme understatement, highly impressed. In the last three days I took about 1,500 photos on the K-S2. The only reason I changed batteries was because I didn't want to risk the battery dying during overnight astrophotography using bulb. I will say that after 1,400 of those photos, the battery had dropped only by 1/3, so the K-S1's battery-guzzling issues have been well resolved. Oh, and that 1,400 photos was from my old K-r's battery and not the brand new one that came with the K-S2. So this camera clearly sips battery power and is highly efficient. Having only one of these to test, I cannot speak to how many bodies the wifi can control. Based on the wifi app's interface, where the user chooses a camera to connect with, I suspect it it only one at a time. If that is the case, an area where Pentax could improve the wifi would be the ability to have one phone or tablet running one instance of the app connect t multiple cameras and control them all either at the exact same time or separately. As I use this camera more, I'll update, improve, and add photos to this review. I really like the K-S2. I have a videography project coming up for which I'll need two or three identical DSLRs. Right now, I think that this is a front-runner because the price is great, the specs and capabilities are fantastic, and the wifi control is superb. Here are some sample images:

Review of: Pentax LX by K David on Fri March 20, 2015 | Rating: 10 View more reviews 

Views: 215759
Reviews: 35 I picked up my LX today, so as I use it and take sample images, I'll expand this review. My knee-jerk reaction is to say that I love it and it's going to be a favorite camera, without a doubt. Mine has periodic sticky mirror syndrome, and one of the support pads shows signs of erosion due to gooification. I'll, without question, need to get it CLA'd in the foreseeable future. I managed to get it overhauled with new pads and a new control board because my meter was not automatically turning off. It took a while for the parts to be sourced but was well worth the wait. Using the LX has been a blast. This is the most fun-to-use Pentax 35mm body that I've tried. The results so far have been nice. The meter is exceptional and, I think, as good as many later cameras. I think it's better, in fact, than some later cameras. The LX handles high-contrast situations better than any other Pentax I've used, including the DSLRs. Where it fails, and this is minor, in my mind is that it's too light for long lenses. With heavier film bodies, like my K2, K100, and so forth, I can hand-hold my 75-300 Tamron at 300mm down to 1/125th of a second if I brace well. That's because the body is heavy enough to counterbalance the lens and also remain relatively motionless despite mirror movement. The LX is so light that at 300mm, I could not hold the lens at anything slower than 1/500th and get consistently sharp results. That stems from the lens-camera weight being front-forward compared to mounting the lens on a K body and the mirror introducing more movement to the camera due to the camera's light weight. I've noticed the same effect with the 50mm f/1.4 SMC-M, too. So the camera's light weight removes about one stop of shutter speed compared to what you're likely to be used to if you have heavier cameras. I didn't know if I would like the LX when I got it, but I'm sold and am truly an LX convert. It's an amazing camera.

Review of: Asahiflex Ia by K David on Mon December 1, 2014 | Rating: 7 View more reviews 

Views: 12913
Reviews: 2
I picked up a broken Asahiflex IA on eBay the other week. I'm waiting to see if it can be repaired and, if so, will provide a more detailed review. Even not having taken a shot with it, I can report that it feels as solid as any Pentax camera. The viewfinder screen is bright and focusing is easy.

Review of: Pentax K-S1 by K David on Sun November 30, 2014 | Rating: 7 View more reviews 

Views: 34272
Reviews: 12
TL;DR: Great image quality, wonky ergonomics and grip, I'd recommend it if you're in the target audience. Overall, this camera's strengths outweigh the negatives for me. The image quality consistently stunned me and I think that this has the best sensor of any APS-C camera Ricoh is currently making (late 2014.) In terms of image quality, this camera will not disappoint you. I have pretty high standards for image quality, and this camera exceeded my expectations. I wish, honestly, that I could have this sensor swapped with my K-3's sensor. Not only would the burst mode last longer, but holy cow does this sensor have nice colors and dynamic range. This camera's target market is, I think, first-time DSLR owner, casual photographer, and entry-level users. The users for whom this camera is designed will really love this camera. If you have used and love a K-3, K-5, K-7, or better, you will probably not like this camera. (It is worth mentioning that this camera has a number of features from the K-7, but the layout is not nearly as good.) While everyone I've shown the KS-1 to has agreed that the grip is slippery and the ergonomics poorly laid out, the reviews of the looks have been universally positive. I, personally, am no fan of the looks. However, a LOT of randos on the street have stopped me to ask about it. Oddly, TWO people thought it was a retro design. One, in fact, said "how old is that camera? That's the oldest camera I've ever seen." I said "It was just released this month." I tried to say something like 'yeah, but it does look retro.' I guess I was probably not convincing with the latter part of that. If there were a rating above for styling, I'd personally give this a five, but I think many people would give it an eight or better. Were I to have my way and were I able to make a couple changes to this camera for all future production bodies, I would add a rubber grip in lieu of the silver thing, add a separate button to delete photos, and include interval shooting as a menu option. There are some other things this camera lacks, but those are the primary ones. Here's a link to my Pentax KS-1 videos on YouTube: Video 1, general overview: Video 2, the interface: Video 3, the menu system: Video 4, movies: Here are some sample images:

Review of: Pentax SP1000 by K David on Fri September 5, 2014 | Rating: 7 View more reviews 

Views: 54803
Reviews: 9
Taken alone and by itself, this is a worthy camera. Compared to other available Spotmatics, it's worth passing it for one of the higher-end bodies, all things being equal. It's hard to complain, honestly, about this or any other Spotmatic. The variations are somewhat insignificant -- this one only lacks a self-time when compared to the Spotmatic. I like my SP 1000 and have used it a good deal, but I don't recommend it over an SPII or SPF. I may even recommend an SP 500 over this if the SP 500 is cheaper since the functionality on them is the same (or very near.)

Review of: Pentax Spotmatic by K David on Fri September 5, 2014 | Rating: 7 View more reviews 

Views: 58633
Reviews: 14
It's the first and prototypical Spotmatic. It's a great and fine camera and at the time would have been a fantastic option. In today's market, however, you can pick up an SPII with its hot shoe, an SPF with better metering and the ability to take batteries that are still in production, or any of the other Spotmatics. Since an SPF isn't much more than this camera, I couldn't, in good faith, recommend this one over an SPF unless the F is a LOT more money. Are there Spotmatics I would recommend this one over? Absolutely. The SP 1000, SP 500, and SPIIa should all be passed up for this model (all other things being equal.) The Spotmatic add the self-timer that the SP 1000 and SP 500 lack. The SPIIa has a not un-earned reputation for light leaks around the flash sensor. So, this is the typical and run-of-the-mill Spotmatic. It will last you a very long time, be reliable, and work well. And you will enjoy using it all the time. That, I think, is the highest accolade that can be paid to a camera.

Review of: Pentax S1 (H1) by K David on Sat August 30, 2014 | Rating: 7 View more reviews 

Views: 20450
Reviews: 4
Honestly, it's a fine camera and amply capable. I don't think it offers anything special in the S/H lineup as compared to the SV (H3V) or H1a. But it's also a stable camera design that began with the S (Tower 26), progressed into the S2 (H2), then to the S1 (H1), S1a (H1a), and finally into the Spotmatic SP 500. The DNA tracks closely down the cameras' lineage and the reason why is simple: These are easy to use, solid, reliable, and well made cameras. Yes, I would like a self-resetting frame counter. But then I'd have an H1a. So, taken as its own offering, I like the S1 (H1). If you're looking to complete an S/H collection, it's worth getting. If you're looking at getting an entry-level body to use from the S/H line, look at the H1A or spend a few extra bucks to get an H3V. (Actually, my H3V was 1/3 the cost of this camera.) Were it not for the fact that this camera as the Fresnel focusing screen I like so much, I'd give it a 6. The focusing screen is worth the added point, no doubt.

Review of: Pentax Super S2 by K David on Sat August 30, 2014 | Rating: 9 View more reviews 

Views: 13615
Reviews: 1
I picked up a non-functioning S2 off eBay and sent it in for an overhaul. Testing it before sending it, the camera had obviously been assembled incorrectly, probably by someone who didn't know how to reassemble it. The purchase price of $50 included shipping from Japan. There are very few of these in the U.S. relative to other Pentax bodies, so I'm happy to get to use one and to be the first person to review it here. I like the S2 Super a lot. It's basically an H3V (SV) without the self timer. It's fun to use, has a light shutter sound, and is well designed and ergonomic as the rest of the S/H line. (And it's got that special, indescribable something that comes from being difficult to obtain.) One thing I do find odd about my copy compared to the stock image is that mine has a self re-setting frame counter whereas the stock image does not. So it seems possible that there are even two versions of the S2 (hypothesizing here) -- one with and one without the automatic reset. Everything else on mine is the same, but my SN is SIGNIFICANTLY higher than the stock image's, so it does seem plausible that the frame counter could have changed during the production life.

Review of: Pentax Spotmatic F by K David on Fri August 29, 2014 | Rating: 10 View more reviews 

Views: 91844
Reviews: 14
From a technical and usability perspective, this is the best of the Spotmatics that I've used (I've never used either of the ES bodies.) This is probably the only Spotmatic that I like more than the SPII. The metering is simple and accurate, it uses the mercury batteries so today there are options: 1- Get a PX625 (the ones that's the same size) and compensate for the voltage difference by changing the ISO using the SUnny 16 rule as a guide (anticipate about a two-stop difference due to the voltage difference.) 2- The better option is to go to eBay and search for LR 44 or A76 battery adapter. For $5 each, I picked up about a dozen of these and they fit around an A76 battery so it seats well inside the F's chamber. This allows the F to be used normally with no ISO compensation for the voltage difference. This is an eminently usable camera -- by and large they remain sound mechanically and electronically. Also, the ISO range is more than adequate (20 to 3200) for basically any use. The Spotmatic F is one of those cameras that is a good choice for any skill level. It's easy enough to learn it if you're a novice and capable enough to keep an advanced user happy with their work.

Review of: Pentax SP500 by K David on Thu August 28, 2014 | Rating: 10 View more reviews 

Views: 24790
Reviews: 5
I'm still getting to know my SP500, and will write more about it as I use it. It's basically the same as what you would get with any Spotmatic -- stop-down metering, reliable construction, and high quality. The viewfinder is great and the lack of a 1/1,000th shutter speed is no big deal -- simply use slightly slower film.

Review of: Pentax Spotmatic II by K David on Mon August 25, 2014 | Rating: 10 View more reviews 

Views: 61643
Reviews: 11
This is my favorite of the Spotmatics. My fiancee's father gave me his old SPII, which he took with him to four continents over the span of 20 years. It's seen a LOT and taken a number of amazing photos. I had to have it overhauled before I could use it -- the battery had corroded inside the chamber. But after some clean-up, it works great and I've had the change to use it about a half dozen times in the last two years. I think this has the most accurate meter of any Spotmatic. Maybe it's just that the shutter speeds are more accurate, but for some reason I think this this returns more well exposed images than my other Spotmatics. The hot shoe is a welcome addition for those rare times that I need a flash, too. It's not often, but it's good to have there anyway. This is one of my favorite cameras and I enjoy using it a heck of a lot. If you're lucky enough to get your hands on one, you should jump at the chance. Here are two videos I made showing all of the camera's features and operations:

Review of: Pentax SL by K David on Mon August 25, 2014 | Rating: 6 View more reviews 

Views: 29918
Reviews: 7
Basically, this camera is an SP 1000 with no light meter. It was marketed, I've read, as a budget or entry-level camera that was subsequently replaced by the SP 1000 and SP 500 (the latter being even more budget.) And, yeah, I can see how a meterless camera would seem to be a budget camera, but at the same time I don't think that's a totally fair comparison. As I used this to do ISO tests on a few new motion picture film stocks, I was wondering who would buy this meterless Spotmatic when an SP 500 is basically the same but with a meter. And so is an SP 1000, for that matter. I think this would actually be a decent professional camera, too. Why professional? Because if someone is metering with an incident light meter or spot meter, who needs one in the camera? And the build quality on this is simply extraordinary. And there's none of that split-circle focusing nonsense either. So I've decided that this must be a good professional camera pretending to be a budget model. That's all very confusing and seems problematic from a marketing perspective. That said, Pentax does not have a storied history of brilliant marketing. (The magazine advert for the original AP gave me nightmares for two weeks.) So as I was organizing my S and Spotmatic cameras the other night, I noticed that this is larger than the S bodies. And if this had a light meter, that would make sense. But there is no light meter. So it's basically an H3V with a larger and heavier body. That brings me to my no recommendation and rating of 6. No: I do not recommend this camera. Buy an H3V or other S/H series camera body. The H3V has the self timer if that's a critical functionality. Six: Really, the same reason as above. I just cannot figure out what niche this camera really meets. I can't imagine that it was a big seller. Why would it be? Who would truly need this? It's not a great studio camera (because it's 35mm) unless you're doing 35mm studio work. I really just don't know why this camera existed, and I'd love to know why. I like it and it's fun to use, but it's louder and heavier than my H3V. So, really, I suppose it's just a bit redundant.

Review of: Pentax MG by K David on Mon August 4, 2014 | Rating: 5 View more reviews 

Views: 56205
Reviews: 6
The MG is a scaled-down version of the ME Super, if I recall correctly. It's light and small and it's not unpleasureable to use. I, however, don't like automatic-only cameras and I admit to having a bias against the smaller M-series cameras to begin with. The MG is like every other M-series camera except the MX. The MG is light, but it doesn't handle well. The lightness, to me, actually makes it harder to use because it seems more prone to mirror shake. Also, many of the lenses I use feel unbalanced on these lighter bodies. That includes the SMC-A 50mm f2. The MG would be good for a first-time user who wants to take snapshots and have access to an array of lenses, but beyond that it's hard to use for regular, everyday work if you enjoy the freedom of greater control from cameras like the K series and Spotmatics. So, no, I can't honestly say that I'd recommend this to most users.

Review of: Pentax MX by K David on Mon August 4, 2014 | Rating: 7 View more reviews 

Views: 228945
Reviews: 58
I've warmed significantly to this camera since my first review. I do, now, understand why its so well liked. The MX has an amazing light meter that returns great results even in highly complex lighting situations. I am no fan of how small the camera is. Nor do I like how loud it (or any M series body) is. A lot could have been done to make this camera quieter. As I ran some more film through my MX, I got to liking it a bit more. I think, now, that this earns the reputation it has as the best Pentax body ever made. I don't, personally, share that view but I can understand why people assert it. Since my previous review, I've revised my overall rating from two to seven and revised the pros and cons list. I also changed my recommendation from no to yes. It's no small feat for the MX to have converted me so drastically from my previous opinion. For reference, I left my original review below intact. I've heard endless accolades for this body. ELI5: Why is this a great camera? Is it just that it's great compared to the rest of the M line (which I would believe -- this is the best of the M bodies.) This camera's reputation as a great camera is truly lost on me. I don't like the way it feels -- small, too light, and cheap compared to other Pentax bodies. And the sound. THE SHUTTER! This camera's shutter could cover the sound of a 10-gauge shotgun. And the shutter shake that accompanies it is terrible. Typically, I can hand-hold a 35mm SLR to 1/30th (with a 50mm lens) and some heavier ones I've held at 1/8th without detectable camera shake. This camera introduces shake at 1/125th. The instruction manual says not to hand hold it slower than 1/30th. It should say not to hand hold it. Is it possible I just have a bad copy? Sure. The one roll of film I've processed from it so far was about two stops underexposed across the board. And looking at the camera's condition, I would believe it has been neglected. (For the record, I had to break the corrosion bond between the lens and lens mount.) I'm going to give it some more tries, but I'm not expecting this to be a body I keep. So, why do I give it two stars? +1 for being the best M series camera (that's kind of like being the star of a porno movie, though. Sure, you're the star, but you wouldn't brag about it at Christmas dinner.) +1 for having a clever light meter display.

Review of: Other Pentax M42 Camera Models by K David on Thu July 31, 2014 | Rating: 8 View more reviews 

Views: 16680
Reviews: 2
This is a review of the Pentax Honeywell Repronar 805A. This is a very specialized camera with a limited usable range. That said, it also allows significant creativity for the user. These are cameras that, today, would seem to have no place whatsoever since they were used mainly for slide copying and, as in the name, reprographic work. However, there are a number of creative uses for them. Mine included a film back that takes 100-foot spools, which would allow animation cells to be copied onto a 35mm motion picture reel, were I so inclined (I am not.) It would also allow a number of slide duplicates to be made for sale as souvenirs, as was done back in the day. The camera comes with a simply stunning 50mm f4 macro lens -- but not the typical Takumar Bellow Macro. This is a much different lens and stops down to f32. Oh, the aperture is stepless. The size and shape of this would hint that it is also optically different. It is one of the sharpest 50mm lenses I've used and if you can get it on a non-salvageable Repronar body, the lens is worth salvaging for use on a bellows. The camera itself is tricky to use. IT has only two settings -- B and I. I is probably about 1/50-60th of a second. Mostly, exposure control is done with the macro lens' stepless aperture. The bulb in the Repronar's base is always on for focusing (the camera has a waist-level finder and magnifying glass, which is nice) and the can either be the standard on brightness or can be a fairly bright flash bulb. If your Repronar does not have a working bulb, I do not know if they're still available. Make sure that if you want to buy one it has the condenser glass that goes between the bulb and material to be copied. The bulb get very hot and could damage a plastic animation cell, slide, or other photographic subject. The waist-level finder, which, because of the camera's fixed orientation is actually a face-level finder, is bright, large, and easy to use. The flip-out magnifying glass is extremely useful for fine focusing. If you can get one of these with an unsalvageable base, it will make a stunning macro camera in the field.The camera bellows' rails are large and heavy and the camera's not easy to carry, but it's a nice macro camera. And, honestly, it's not hard to get it off the stand so it could be taken off periodically for use in the field anyway. I like my Repronar and I like that I want to use it and enjoy using it and that, because of it's limited usability, I have to stretch my creative thinking to find ways to use it that are neither clinical nor boring. This is a fun camera to try and use and, if you can get a working one, worth purchasing. So why did I list no for a recommendation? Like I said it's of limited use. It also takes up a LOT of space. Mine takes up the top of my file cabinet. And it can't get dusty, either, as that will cause the dust to burn onto the light bulb and diminish your light quality and output. So my girlfriend's mom made a nice dust cover for it. But it still takes up a large space and requires a dust cover. And in order to use the light in the base you need to be near a power source. So for regular or non-specialized use, this is not your camera. For specialized use, creative exploration, or a photographic challenge, then this is your camera.

Review of: Asahi Pentax 'AP' (Tower 26) by K David on Thu July 31, 2014 | Rating: 9 View more reviews 

Views: 26907
Reviews: 4
Two notes: my purchase price includes the amount I paid to have it overhauled. I bought it as non-functioning and the camera itself was a VERY reasonable price. Overhauling it was spendy because it needed new shutter curtains. So the purchase price is a bit higher than the typical going rate in early 2014. When I finally landed one of these, I began to plan this review. How would I rate it? Would I compare it to contemporary cameras? Certainly it can't hold a candle to modern cameras, right? I was simply stunned when I used this camera. I did not expect to like it as much as I did. In fact, I like using it as much as I like my K1000, or my K2, or my K-3, or my K-7, or Nikon F3, Canon F-1, Olympus OM-2N, and so on. This camera holds its own against many later cameras. So, why? What makes this camera so great? Well, the viewfinder is very large and completely unobstructed. The Fresnel rings make focusing VERY easy a objects have a nice line (in the Fresnel glass) to cling to when snapping into focus. The large microprism circle in the middle helps with fine focusing, too. And, yeah, alone that's all great but the camera also has the quietest shutter of any Pentax I've used except the K-3. None of that loud K and M series clack -- even the Spotmatics and S/H series cameras sound like thunderclaps next to the AP. And along with that lack of sound, there's an almost entire lack of camera shake. This camera feels like a leaf shutter camera it has so little shutter shake. And that stands to reason as, in 1957, most consumer-grade cameras had leaf shutters and this had to compete against those near-silent, shakeless view- and rangefinder cameras. In short, every aspect of this camera exudes great engineering, well crafted user interface an experience, and quality craftsmanship. So why a nine and not a ten for my overall rating? The camera's not perfect. The shutter speed selector turns when the camera fires -- like my Repronar does. On the Repronar that's no issue because I'm not holding it. On the AP, that is an issue if your finger is touching the shutter speed dial. This can cause the shutter to move more slowly or jam. So that's not great. Also, the slow shutter speed dial on the front is odd. And it trumps the fast dial. So if you shoot a frame at 1/2 of a second and then want to shoot one at 1/200th, but forget to set the slow dial to 1/25th, the camera will take a 1/2-second exposure. Also, mine has no accessory grooves on the eyepiece, so I can't put an accessory shoe on it. This turned out to be a huge inconvenience, actually. I have seen photos of these with eyepieces that have accessory grooves, so I don't know if mine happens to be very old or if the grooved eyepieces were a retrofit (or if my eyepiece is a retrofit.) Here's the long-and-short of this: if you are able to get your hands on one of these, grab it. Get it fixed ASAP if it needs repairs. Use it. This is such a fun camera to use that you will find yourself wondering what happened to the later Pentaxes that they simply don't have that something indefinable that the AP has in spades. I love my Pentaxes and I love using every Pentax I've tried (except the SF and M series bodies.) This could very easily be my favorite in a few rolls of film. It's fun, easy, and stunningly pretty. Here are some of the photos I took with the AP in its first few test rolls:

Review of: Pentax S1a (H1a) by K David on Wed April 2, 2014 | Rating: 8 View more reviews 

Views: 42296
Reviews: 10
My only real complaint with my H1A is that the maximum shutter speed is only 1/500th. That truly limits the films you can use during the day to slower-speed films. And in 2014 that means pulling film, which is fine and yields nice results, but an added step. At night, the absent 1/1,000th shutter speed is of course a non-issue. So the top shutter speed is either an issue or not based on your shooting style and habits. This camera's interface is nice, clean, representative of the best of 1960s design principles. This is a fun camera to use and still reliable today. If you have one, it's definitely worth a CLA. Here are two videos I made showing the layout, features, and operation of the H1a:

Review of: Pentax K-r by K David on Tue April 1, 2014 | Rating: 8 View more reviews 

Views: 377961
Reviews: 59
I'll update this review as I get to know this camera better. I bought my K-R specifically to use with the PK+MM adapter ring. But I wanted a capable camera that was cheap. I picked this one up on Amazon, with a kit lens. The seller indicated that the shutter randomly went on high and wouldn't stop, but it also didn't take images. I found that it was still on firmware 1.00. After updating the firmware, I have been unable to replicate the error (I was able to prior to the update.) I like the camera's weight, handling, and general layout so far. I am very used to and spoiled by the K-3 and K-7 interfaces with more buttons and a more robust feel, but I expect to like this camera a lot. As I get to know this camera, I'll update this review.

Review of: Pentax MV by K David on Sun March 2, 2014 | Rating: 5 View more reviews 

Views: 68697
Reviews: 11
I knew, buying the MV, that it was the M series bargain-basement camera. If you just want a manual focus camera that's a step up in complexity from a point and shoot, this is your best bet. The meter readout is simple -- red green or yellow and as long as the meter shows a green light then you can safely take a photo. BEyond that, the camera doesn't tell you much. This camera does have one very wrong-headed feature. Under the film rewind knob is a freely rotating dial with no function except to remind users how much the film was shot off-rating. The dial as an orange indicator line with dots and a plus and minus to the sides. The idea being that if you put 400 ISO film in and shoot it at 200 ISO, then you place the indicator line at 200. I really have no idea what purpose this thing serves and lifting up the rewind know during a roll is a good way to accidentally open the film back with a partially exposed roll of film in the camera. Also, when you remove the film you can look at the ISO and see the different film rating from the ISO setting and just write it on the film cassette then. That feature was a very bad idea on Pentax's part (though I like that they tried something unique).

Review of: Pentax S3 (H3) by K David on Mon February 3, 2014 | Rating: 6 View more reviews 

Views: 37359
Reviews: 4
Basically, this camera is an H3V without an automatic film counter reset. There are a few other differences, and I don't think the interface is as good on this cameras as with the H3V. Here are a couple of videos I made with my H3. It's a nice, fun camera with an unobstructed viewfinder. The absolute lack of anything except the image in the viewfinder is great. It allows me to focus solely on composition and image and the results of such a view are fantastic. In short, this camera is a great user's camera and fun to use. The image results will be good, too.

Review of: Pentax SV (H3v) by K David on Mon February 3, 2014 | Rating: 8 View more reviews 

Views: 48648
Reviews: 9
The H3V is mechanically simple, easy to learn, and user friendly. My only complaint is that the shutter speed identification dial has slightly confusing markings, so it took me a few rolls to learn not to overexpose my images by two stops. Specifically, I thought the shutter cocked indicator dot also represented the selected shutter speed. Thee's a black line on the shutter speed dial and THAT indicates the shutter speed. I like using my H3V. I miss a light meter when I use it, but the Sunny 16 Rule takes care of many situations. Being all mechanical, this camera is GREAT for overnight and long-exposure photography. Unlike cameras with electronic shutters, the shutter will stay open as long as you have the cable release or shutter button locked down. Also, it's very reliable and well built. Taken care of, an H3V will last your lifetime as well as your kids'. Here are some videos I made about the H3V that should help you use yours or learn more about the model. Here are some photos I've taken with my H3V.

Review of: Pentax Optio VS20 by K David on Mon February 3, 2014 | Rating: 8 View more reviews 

Views: 12094
Reviews: 2
I bought this camera for my girlfriend's Christmas present in 2012. I don't know what these go for new now, but it shouldn't be as much as my listed new price. I struggled with whether to say I would or would not recommend this camera. Ultimately, I picked not because it's very large by compact standards and the high ISO performance is really poor compared to contemporary competitor cameras. I like the image quality at 100 ISO. The lens is very good but zooming in makes the camera very hard to hold steadily and image shake is a MAJOR issue at long focal lengths. This camera was also always expensive considering what it delivered. If you can obtain one for a reasonable price, you'd be happy. That said, for a few extra bucks you can pick up an X-5 and that's definitely worth the upgrade.

Review of: Pentax K-7 by K David on Mon February 3, 2014 | Rating: 10 View more reviews 

Views: 279104
Reviews: 69
The K-7 got me back into photography after a hiatus. And in the last three years I've taken very nearly 95,000 frames with it. It performs very well and translates images from old and new lenses with great color and clarity. The prints are printable with no resolution loss up to 20X30 (the largest I've tried). Make sure, though, that you have the current firmware. For the best image quality, set it in Reversal Film mode and jack the sharpness all the way up. You'll like the results in 99.8% of situations. The K-7 is packed with features and they're easy to use and access. Both the user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) are great. The menu system is very well thought out and accessible. As of this review's writing, I've seen K-7 bodies going for as little as $350. That is an absolute bargain for a camera this good. Were I to buy a new camera with these features, $800 would still not be unreasonable. Here's the long-and-short of it -- if you have a K-7 you will like it. The camera has two flaws. 1- Never take it beyond 400 ISO. North of 400 ISO and the noise and softness are unacceptable. 2- The shutter isn't as quiet as some. For it's age, the shutter issue seems insignificant. Also, unless you're trying to sneak up on a gazelle while taking burst mode photos the whole time, the shutter noise is a non-issue. In fact, I think that the K-7 has a relatively quiet shutter. Would I recommend this? Absolutely. The megapixel count and features combined in the K-7 to make a very nice and usable camera with exceedingly good capabilities. Instead of talking about these great things, though, here are some images from my K-7 to prove that it's a fabulous camera. Edit: In the near future I'll pass 100,000 shutter actuations. This camera is still a tank.

Review of: Pentax K-3 by K David on Sat December 7, 2013 | Rating: 10 View more reviews 

Views: 134345
Reviews: 38
Here's a link to the video review I made about the K-3: Links to photos I've taken with my K-3: Cars! More Cars! Amazing Sunsets! Bowling! (High-ISO) Architecture! Zebras and Giraffes! Is it a sin to say that for many applications I actually like my K-7 more? I hope not. My main complaint about this camera is that the sensor has too dang many megapixels. If this were a 20-MP sensor, that would be okay. 16 would have been ideal. The 24-MP sensor has led to many of my lenses appearing soft in pixel peeping and increased incidents of color fringing, coma, and a lower aperture at which softness begins to re-enter the images. Since I shoot most of my images at f5.6 and f4, it's not the end of the world. That said, my third-most-commonly used aperture is f16 and those images are softer than on my K-7. I also don't think the high-ISO performance is all it's cracked up to be, though it is meaningfully better than on the K-7. That said, the high shutter speed of 8.3 fps is fantastic. The shutter, while we talk about it, is basically silent. It's the quietest non-leaf shutter I've ever heard. Pentax deserves a LOT of credit for that as well as many other aspects of this camera's build quality. The menu system is the one Pentax has used for a number of years and will be familiar to Pentax DSLR users. It's logical, easily navigated, and can be picked up readily by new and experienced users alike. The video capabilities on the K-3 are superb. In fact, it's what I liked the most. For the record, buying the camera, I expected the video to be, to me, the most irrelevant feature. It's such a staggering step forward that I've actually become interested in using the video functions. Also, it's a lot easier because of the simple switch on the back. That video-still lever, if anyone at Ricoh reads this, was genius. Find whoever suggested that and give him or her a raise. As I continue to use this camera, I'll expand this review and add details. For now, I would say this: I do recommend this camera. It is now and will, probably for the model's production life, be a great value for the money. The results are very good and it's enjoyable to use. Edit and update 1: I've had a chance now to take around 5,000 shots with the K-3. In general, it performs like a K-7 but with more K-7-ness. I've stopped shooting at 24MP and have been using the 14MP setting lately, though I couldn't yet say if that improves the sharpness concerns I raised in my original comments (above.) It definitely reduces the time it takes for the camera to save the files to the SD card. Speaking of SD cards, if you want to get the most out of your K-3's frame rate, pick up a 95 MBS card. The added cost is absolutely worth it if you shoot long bursts of high-speed shots. If you purchased a battery grip with your K-3, have fun with that. As of this edit the firmware is still on V. 1.01 and the glitches that arise when using the battery grip have not been ironed out. Without the grip, the camera works exactly as it should. Edit and update 2: I've had a chance to do more video work with my K-3. I wish I could change the aspect ratio. If it's possible, I haven't figured out how yet. The k-3 engineers deserve a LOT of credit for the camera's video stabilization. I've hand-held a number of shots that look like they were on tripods. If you are a videographer or would like to get into video, this is definitely the best choice Pentax for you. Edit and update 3: Now with my K-3 approaching 15,000 actuations, I've had a chance to put it through uses I'd not normally get to do. For instance, flash photography and low-light AF. I was very pleased that the AF did not hunt during low-light conditions. Also, I've stopped worrying about memory space and begun shooting full-resolution jpegs instead of downsampling in-camera to 14 MPs. I'm extremely pleased by how sharp the camera is at it's native resolution. And shooting at the native ISO I've had exactly zero noise problems. This camera does have a new issues I've noticed: It needs a very high-quality lens to truly sing. I find it pairs up well with my FA Limited 31mm and 77mm lenses. My SMC-M 50mm 1:1.4 also works wonders on it. However, lenses not as great as those (my Tamron 70-300, for instance) fall short. So the K-3 is not a forgiving camera if your lenses are not top-tier. Edit and update 4: I'll break 45,000 actuations next month -- one year since I received the K-3. At that rate, I expect the shutter to last at least five years or more, which is fantastic. It's still as solid and reliable as the first day I used it. Now, with a year together, I've gotten to know the interface and I think it's the best digital camera interface I've used (K-3, K-7, K-r, Nikon D40, and Canon 10D are all on my shelf -- I've used others.) I've also come to really like this camera's images. I find the color rendition to be incredible and the level of detail often amazes me. With a good lens, this camera picks up details like I've never seen. Some anecdotes on that: With my SMC-M 50mm 1.4 -- an astounding lens -- I photographed a lighthouse that was about 2,000-3,000 feet away. The camera, at 100%, showed the panes in the windows crisply. With my Takumar 17mm f4, I photographed an old oak tree and the bark scales has edges as sharp as the sensor could have captured them. It's simply astounding what Ricoh did with this camera's sensor. One more -- don't use an FA limited lens to photograph people. I did that and many of the people felt that the images made them look old. Well, they are old(er) and it's not the camera;s fault if it captures every wrinkle, crows foot, and liver spot. And the firmware upgrades -- wow. There have been some nice new features added. I'm really pleased by the initial release quality and level of post-purchase software support.

Review of: Pentax SF7 / SF10 by K David on Mon September 30, 2013 | Rating: 1 View more reviews 

Views: 65456
Reviews: 7
What a dog. I tried three of these cameras and all three were terrible. The film advance motors were the noisiest I've ever used. They had no DX override for pushing and pulling. Film cassettes without DX codes can't even be used. Ergonomics are atrocious. Also, at least one of the copies I had as beginning to suffer from plasticizer surface migration. The flash takes a VERY long time to charge. And it's heavy, too. What did I like about it? The local thrift store took them off my hands when I couldn't sell them for a PENNY on eBay. I strongly recommend avoiding this one.

Review of: Pentax KM by K David on Wed September 11, 2013 | Rating: 8 View more reviews 

Views: 80277
Reviews: 10
This camera is basically a K1000 with a DoF preview and self-timer. Honestly, there's no reason to get this instead of a K1000 and an add-on self timer. Those old clockwork self timers that screw into the shutter release button are pretty awesome anyway. I like my KM. I leaned "no" for my recommendation to suggest it, but would have answered "maybe" if that were an option. If this and the K1000 were the same price, I dunno, get either one. They're the same camera anyway. I just don't really feel like the KM has a reason to exist in the K lineup. The K2 and KX I get, totally, and the K1000 as well. But adding the fourth is kind of like having three thoroughbreds and, for fun, then getting a musk ox. It's a fine camera with nothing whatsoever wrong. And I love the DoF preview, but I always find myself asking "what's the big whoop?" when I use it. I like my K1000 more, and the KX, too. The KM does double duty with the K1000 but not enough to be a viable in-between for the K1000 and KX.

Review of: Pentax K1000 by K David on Wed September 11, 2013 | Rating: 9 View more reviews 

Views: 132926
Reviews: 44
My only wish for the K1000 would be that Pentax had designed all four of the old Ks with interchangeable focusing screens. Beyond that, even though a DoF preview would be nice, it's not really a necessity. This camera really can do anything that an up-market model can do -- it just takes a deeper understanding of how the camera works. Exposure bracketing? Do it yourself but no problem. Double exposures? Sure, but it's fiddly. High-contrast setting compensation? Sure, if you meter off an area with your subject's approximate illumination. This camera can take any picture you see in your mind if you know how to use it properly. You'll learn how to take a picture with this camera in a minute. You'll learn how to capture an image with it in a few years. And that journey, learning to capture an image, will be enjoyable, exciting, and much more informative than with an automated camera.

Review of: Pentax 6x7 by K David on Fri October 5, 2012 | Rating: 0 View more reviews 

Views: 75560
Reviews: 16
This is a great camera with a lot of bulk. You know it's around your neck all the time. In fact, using it makes any 35mm SLR feel light by comparison. The best aspects of this camera are the feel -- it's sturdy; the interface -- it's enjoyable to use and returns high-quality results; and the lens selection -- there's no gap in the lens lineup. The cons, though, make this camera unusable for some, the weight -- it gets heavy fast and stays heavy; the shutter and mirror vibration -- they're big, so it's a lot; the 6X7 format -- some odd people simply do't like this format. My only complaints are the shutter shake and that, at least on mine, the mirror can't be lowered once it's locked up without taking a picture. That's, effectively, a wasted frame. That said, of my 40 or so film cameras, this returns the highest percentage of quality shots per roll. Often, in fact, returning results that are good that would be inadequate on 35mm cameras. Much of this can be chalked up to the large negative size, but I submit that the lens quality is also more well engineered as this was a professional's camera, not a hobbyists. If you have the neck strength to carry it, this camera is likely to make you a very happy photographer.

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