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05-23-2009, 06:47 PM   #1
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Pentax Super A/Super Program

Super A/Super Program
Year introduced
Meter range
1 - 19 EV
Meter pattern
ISO range
6 - 3200
DX ISO range
No DX coding
Exposure modes
P, Tv, Av, M, X, B
Exposure compensation
+/-2 EV
Exposure lock
Shutter speeds (auto)
15 - 1/2000s
Shutter speeds (manual)
15 - 1/2000s
Shutter speeds (mechanical)
Self timer
Mirror lock-up
Auto bracketing
Multiple exposures
External winder 2 fps, motor drive 2 and 3.5 fps
Built-in flash
TTL flash
P-TTL flash
Sync speed
Flash exposure comp
Autofocus sensitivity
Not applicable
Power zoom
0.82x, 92%
Viewfinder type
Diopter correction
Exchangeable screen
Depth of field preview
Image size
24 x 36 mm
Panorama format
2 x S76
Battery grip/pack
Size (W x H x D)
131 x 86.5 x 47.5 mm
490 g
The first Pentax with Program and Tv autoexposure

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PENTAX K10D  Photo 
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Last edited by Ole; 05-25-2009 at 09:44 AM.
05-27-2009, 08:41 PM   #2
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Winder/motor drive coupling

Here is an additional picture of the Super Program which shows the mechanical and electrical coupling for the winder/motor drive.
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06-09-2009, 06:35 PM   #3
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Maybe the nicest MF camera built by Pentax? My experience now covers the P30T, the ME super, and this one. I think the Super program is the necest of them all, it has the ruggedness of the ME Super and the better handling of newer models (especially with the small grip for the right hand fingers).

Never used it much with film, but handled one for some time before letting it go. Really a nice thing to use, if you're into film. As fully featured as anyone could wish, I think.
06-12-2009, 07:11 AM   #4
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After having experience with the KX, ME, ME Super, ZX-M, and Super Program, I would agree that, overall, the Super Program is best. It offers better handling, a motor drive, a 1/2000 shutter speed, and many other useful features. The SP's viewfinder display is excellent, and its build quality is quite good.

07-04-2009, 04:00 PM   #5
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The big plus of the Super Program is TTL flash. The big negative is that I find the LCD viewfinder difficult. In weak light you need the illumination button..which give barely enough backlight. The real thing..I wear glasses and the LCD is so located that I have trouble seeing the full display and when I can the LCD numbers are blocky and take getting used to. The P3n went back to a shutter dial. The ME Super was a bit smaller-with a nice viewfinder (LED)..but neither had TTL flash.
If the P3n had TTL and spot could have been a terrific camera. Pentax later did put everything togather with the ZX5n....though the viewfinder again was difficult.

For flash..if you don't wear glasses...the Super Prog is quite solid.
09-16-2009, 11:12 PM - 1 Like   #6
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Differences between the Super Program and Program Plus

Compared to the Program-A:

1) The Progam-A had only a 1/1000 max shutter speed compared to the 1/2000 of the Super-A.

2) Super-A flash sync speed is 1/125, Program-A is 1/100

3) Super-A has a top LCD.

4) Super-A has a film winding confirmation window.

5) Super-A has an viewfinder LCD backlight.

6 ) The Program-A doesn't have Tv mode, while the Super A does. That's the key difference.

The Program A is a nice camera but is really just a stripped-down budget version of Super-A - which is undoubtedly the better camera. (I had both).
05-08-2010, 04:24 PM   #7
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Pentax Super A/Super Program Camera Review

Pros Size and loaded with features
Cons limit use without battery
Rating 9
Price don't remember
Years Owned 20

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
Supports the A lenses which is what the A in the name refers to. The ME II Winder will work with this body. There is also an optional motor drive for it.

Camera Review
This is a compact camera but is well built like one would expect from a Pentax. This is the flagship of the A series bodies. It as served as my film platform for macro photography for a long time. I bought it used in the late 80s and I don't remember the price.

07-09-2010, 10:39 AM   #8
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Pentax Super A/Super Program Camera Review

Pros Light and Small, Accurate, Easy to Use, Flash Compatability
Cons Batteries Required
Rating 9
Price $100 with a/28mm f/2.8
Years Owned 2 years

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
This is a cheaply available, lightweight, compact manual focus SLR that is simple to use.

Camera Review
Of all my camera bodies, the one that brings me the most pure joy to use is my Super Program. With bodies ranging from an Asahi Pentax SV to a K10D at the ready, this says a lot.

The Super Program is built on the same frame as two other venerable cameras from Pentax: The very compact ME/ME Super, and the ultra-compact and legendary MX. The Super Program gives you a little more bang than those options. This was the first of the A-series SLR bodies, which allowed the camera body to control aperture automatically. A-series lenses were introduced with this model.

Pros: Feature-rich

This camera comes with all the bells and whistles. Except of course for autofocus, you get just about everything you'd need: Everything from Program AE to fully manual control, exposure information in the viewfinder, exposure compensation, self-timer and aperture preview. Everything you look for in a professional SLR, right there.

Pros: Light and Small

Despite the full list of features, the SUper Program is only a tiny bit bigger and a few grams heavier than the ME Super and many accounts, 2 of the smallest film SLRs in the world. The Super Program has a slightly bulkier prism housing thanks to the light collector for the LCD displays, and has a grip on the right-hand side, but other than that is every bit as tiny as its older brothers.

Pros: TTL Flash

The Super Program has a very advanced (for its time) TTL Flash system, letting you simply mount the flash, set the shutter speed at flash-sync and forget. You can also leave the shutter in Auto and it will know never to pick above sync. With an AF-360 FGZ flash, the Super Program's flash photography abilities are excellent.

Pros: Easy to Use

The Super Program shoots in four exposure modes: Program AE, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, and Manual. The way it does this is quite simple and, frankly, brilliant: If you set the aperture ring and the shutter mode dial both to Auto, you're in program. Move either one into manual, and you get shutter or aperture priority, depending on which you move. If you move them both into manual, you are in fully manual mode, metered, with a display of how many stops off you are in the viewfinder. I wish modern SLRS did this! The shutter speed LCD on the camera's right shoulder is also helpful when shooting from the hip, making street shots very easy.

Pros: Lens Compatibility

The Super Program can handle any Pentax or third-party lens you throw at it. K, M, A, FA FA-J, D-FA, and even DA lenses all work fine, though if you don't have an aperture ring you lose aperture priority, and there may be some cropping/vignetting/dark corners with certain lenses. I've used digital lenses on my Super Program many times, and the results have been very good. The Sigma 10-20mm at about 15mm is an especially fun choice.

Cons: Batteries Required

The Super Program has one Achilles Heel: It requires battery power in order to shoot at all. The fully-electronic shutter requires juice even to actuate, so if you run out of batteries you're totally dead in the water. On the bright side, the electronic nature of the shutter release makes Self-timer a solid-state function, and makes the shutter release very fluid and smooth.

Cons: DoF Preview in Av mode only

If you want depth of field preview to work on this camera, you have to use the aperture ring to select the aperture. I've wanted to see the depth of field of several shots in Program AE or on Digital lenses, and with the aperture ring set to A or a ringless lens, hitting the mechanical DoF preview lever gives you the minimum aperture available. A bit of a bummer, but not a show-stopper.


I love, love, LOVE this camera. It isn't perfect, but it's close. The smallness, combined with the ease of use make it a Go-to film body for me. Not only would I reccomend buying one, but I bought my dad one, and I would buy a digital version if one were ever made.

I'd rate this camera, overall, 9/10.
07-22-2010, 11:08 AM   #9
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Pentax Super A/Super Program Camera Review

Pros Compact, features
Cons Teeny buttons
Rating 9
Price 60
Years Owned 1

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
Probably the nicest, most compact, full-featured SLR I've ever owned.

Camera Review
An excellent, small DSLR with Pentax superior engineering and style. The ergonomics are excellent. The shutter is exceptional.

The only major gripe I have is that shutter speed is set via tiny buttons instead of a dial, sort of presaging the push-button era, leaving behind the more tactile control era.

Excellent camera.
12-19-2010, 11:26 AM   #10
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Pentax Super A/Super Program Camera Review

Pros Uses A lenses, TTL flash, bright finder, compact
Cons Prone to stuck mode control, LCD in finder is dim
Rating 8
Price (U.S. Dollars) ??
Years Owned 20

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
Best manual focus era camera for Digital lenses
Uses A mode and displays aperture
TTL flash works with modern flashes
Nice, compact design
Finder is bright and focus is easy
Nice exposure modes

Camera Review
I own two of these. One has been around a while and one I bought a year or so ago. This is the best consumer-level auto-exposure camera of the manual focus era. The flash modes work as they should, as does the exposure automation. This is the only camera of the 80s that is a pleasure to use with lenses that don't have aperture rings, because it allows the camera to be used in shutter-priority mode and can display the aperture information. Later P models can't do this.

I have had a couple of reliability issues. One of my bodies has a stuck selector for the exposure mode (I keep it on manual) and the other does not read and display the aperture information from the lens consistently, though it appears to expose correctly. The stuck ring around the shutter which is used to select the aperture mode is said to be a common problem with this camera.
01-18-2011, 04:45 PM   #11
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Pentax Super A/Super Program Camera Review

Pros Lite, small, exposure and flash modes
Cons No mechanical shutter speed, mirror slap
Rating 9
Price (U.S. Dollars) 50 with SMC-M 2.8/28mm
Years Owned 2

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
Camera have lots of exposure and flash features for time when it's produced. Precise Seiko metal shutter with wide speed range, motor drive possibility, LCD data of shutter speed and aperture in viewfinder with subsidiary light. Exposure compesation, precise TTL flash metering from film plane and Program flash metering. Body with 28mm lens, for example, is pocket size wich is ideal for street life photography. Nice design.

Camera Review
This is one of famous Pentax manual focus camreas improved from Pentax ME Super. Camera of the Year 1983. On this camera nothing more nothing less. Perhaps too small for people with larger hands (here I belong too). No mechanical shutter speed, this is only cons for this camera. Interesting, ME Super have it.

Last edited by coa75; 01-25-2011 at 02:55 AM.
03-08-2011, 04:25 AM   #12
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Pentax Super A/Super Program Camera Review

Pros very affordable, nice built quality, all shoting modes necessary, goood handling
Cons (battery needed)
Rating 9
Price (U.S. Dollars) 45
Years Owned 0.5
I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
In contrast to the popular ME/ ME Super the 'A' models support the 'A' setting aperture mode.. which can be quite nice.

Camera Review
Great manual kamera to play around. Allows all important shooting modes (Tv, Av, ...) and gives a nice retro-fun feeling.
I used it very rarely but sometimes I just like looking through a full format view finder .
03-19-2011, 07:23 PM   #13
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Pentax Super A/Super Program Camera Review

Pros Superbly built-mostly metal construction and not too heavy, aperture priority and AE, DOF preview
Cons Doesn't work without batteries
Rating 10
Price (U.S. Dollars) 10.00 (with SMC Pentax-A lenses)
Years Owned 1 week

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
Superbly built-mostly metal construction and not too heavy
Very easy to set shutter speed with up/down buttons
Self timer easy to activate
DOF preview lever
Aperture priority and AE modes
Viewfinder can be backlit with button on side of the lens mount
Hot shoe and PC sync sockets
LCD status display

Camera Review
The Super A is superbly built-mostly metal construction with nice and easy to use rewind crank and film wind lever.

There's a handy DOF preview lever on the front as well as a easy to activate self timer and up/down buttons on the top for changing shutter sppeed.

Shutter is a quality Seiko metal MFC-E3 shutter (the previous ME Super also used a MFC series Seiko shutter) .

Handy LCD status display for showing the shutter speed-also displays a indication when shutter is cocked, plus a great viewfinder can be backlit with a press of a button on side of the lens mount.

Hot shoe and PC sync sockets are standard-so you can have either usa a on-camera mounted flash unit or off-camera ones with a sync speed of 1/125.

When I used the Super A with several SMC Pentax-A lenses , I can easily use aperture priority or auto exposure programs.

One thing-you need to put in 2 LR44 batteries for operation, otherwise the camera's shutter won't release.
02-16-2012, 07:30 PM   #14
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