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05-18-2013, 06:53 PM   #1
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Asahi Pentax Confusion

hello! i recieved an asahi pentax that is film. I have bought film and a battery for it but i am so lost on how to use it. Can someone give some basic ideas? Also i put in the battery but i dont think it turned on but how do i know? thank you!

05-18-2013, 07:01 PM   #2
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05-18-2013, 07:04 PM   #3
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Can you tell us what model it is?
05-19-2013, 05:26 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by marijke2795 Quote
hello! i recieved an asahi pentax that is film. I have bought film and a battery for it but i am so lost on how to use it. Can someone give some basic ideas? Also i put in the battery but i dont think it turned on but how do i know? thank you!
Many of the older film Pentax cameras had very little if anything to turn on. My old Pentax K 1000 was almost completely mechanical. It did have a coupled meter that occasionally required me to replace the button battery. The meter automatically switched on as soon as light struck the mirror but even if the battery was dead or missing, the camera was still usable because all the settings (shutter speed, lens aperture, and focus) were set manually and the only energy needed came from the spring that was tensioned when the film was advanced. If the meter didn't work you could still get well exposed images by using the "Sunny 16" rule.

05-22-2013, 07:39 AM   #5
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Right, generally almost everything is mechanical. There's a good chance that the only thing the battery is even used for is powering the light meter, and you can potentially do without that in a pinch. I recently inherited my father's old Mamiya/Sekor film camera and it's like that. We actually did manage to get the battery working but we had to clean out the battery chamber a bit and scrape off a little corrosion to get it to make good electrical contact. You might try that on yours.

If you can't get the light meter working, you can download a free light meter app for your smartphone and use that. That's what I tend to do on my old twin-lens camera, either that or use my digital camera's light meter - whichever is handy.

You'll want to do some reading to understand the relationship between the amount of light, aperture, shutter speed, and film ISO but there is some leeway.

Aperture is how big a "light hole" there is in your lens to let light shine onto the film. A big hole (say f/4 or lower) lets in more light which can complete a picture faster but things farther away from your subject may be less sharply focused. This isn't a bad thing, it's generally considered sort of an artistic effect where the background is somewhat blurred out to make a "dreamy" sort of picture. A small hole (say f/8 or higher) lets in less light. It takes more time to take the picture but it tends to be sharp across the whole picture. It's a sliding scale, not absolute.

Shutter speed is how long the camera will allow light to fall on the film to make the picture, maybe a 100th of a second or so. Fairly straightforward. Too much time and the picture can be over-exposed. Too little and it can be under-exposed. Some correction for over/under exposure can be made during developing but only so much.

ISO is the film's sensitivity to light. If your film is ISO 100, it's mostly only going to take good pics in pretty good light or will need a tripod in lower light. The less light there is, the longer the camera shutter needs to be open to get a good image, and humans can only hold the camera still for so long (roughly 1/60 second or less). Longer than that and our hands tend to shake a little which makes the picture a little blurry. ISO 400 is more versatile as it is more sensitive and doesn't require as much light - hopefully your film is a higher ISO number.
05-22-2013, 12:40 PM   #6
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I rarely use film anymore. However the choices are still the same for me as to iso. I do a lot of agency work, so I'm often restricted to the lowest iso to keep the grain/noise to a minimum. I've found that the Fuji films easily beat Kodak here. (Velvia when saturated color is the goal with Provira the best for skin tones.)
05-26-2013, 08:21 AM   #7
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Some of the Pentax film cameras have a function knob on top with a "Lock" position. That locks the shutter so you can't accidentally take a picture. In any other position, any of the other functions should work. The only Off/On switch any of mine had was the film advance lever. (not the function knob)

When completely closed, against the function knob, the light meter and electronics are turned off. Pull it away from the function knob until it stays in place at the first detent, about 1/4 cocked, the electronics should be on and you should be ready to shoot. The K 1000 was different, the only way to shut it off was to put a lens cap on, any light coming into the lens would keep it turned on. Often if it's been on for a while it will "go to sleep" and you also have to press the shutter button to halfway same as most digital cameras, then the light meter will work and you should see it in the viewfinder.

Also make sure the battery is installed properly. If it is backward, you will not get the electronics to work. I can't remember and don't have one with me to check, but I think the printed side should be facing you when you put the battery in. Try it both ways. If you have one with 2 batteries, both must face the same way.

Oh yeah..if it's the wrong battery, some are not thick enough to make contact, so make sure it the correct one.
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