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05-24-2010, 07:58 PM - 3 Likes   #1
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I like the Pentax P3n from 1988

I like the Pentax P3n from 1988

It has many names :

Pentax P3n
Pentax P30n
Pentax P30t



(the finder is only on there as a joke, I don't use the finder with it)

Hello from Maine

Sometimes I find a camera that really clicks with me - the first Pentax camera I liked a lot was "K1000 SE" with it's split prism and subtle "needle metering" - I loved it.

With the popularity of the K1000 I sold it on eBay for crazy bucks and tried the P3n from 1988, it's super nice! I like it better than the K1000 SE.

And it was only $20 !!!

The meter is nice and modern, silicon photocell equivalent (apparently) like our modern dSLR's. It really made great exposures for me even in high contrast situations.

Like this :



and this :



It can shoot in "auto mode" when using an "auto aperture lens"

It can shoot in "aperture priority mode" with any lens

It can shoot in "metered manual mode" with any lens (like the K1000)

That's plenty of control if you want it, or auto mode if you don't.

And being a Pentax it can use a huge array of K-mount lenses and M42 lenses - attached in the first pic, and also used to take the two sample photos, is an M42 lens - Russian pancake lens Industar 55-2.

On the P3 camera M42 lenses are shot in "aperture priority mode" or "metered manual mode". M42 lenses don't have auto aperture on a P3 so you have to open the aperture to focus, then close it down to desired number to meter and shoot. It's kind of slow going but I like the M42 lenses on such a cool camera body.

The body itself is sleek and light weight, it looks plastic-y but it feel robust. It's much nicer than the K1000 body being smaller and more ergonomic.

Like the K1000 SE it has a wonderful split prism focus screen that makes manual focus easy and enjoyable. The shutter speeds are displayed in the viewfinder on the left so you know what the camera is doing.

The film is manual wind and manual rewind, I like that. No noisy motors draining the batteries.

It's plentiful and unknown, meaning they are cheap to buy on eBay.

So if you are in the mood to try a nice modern manual camera, check out a P3n (or any of it's other names) I bet you'll like using it and I bet you're film will be well exposed

Here are some relevant links :

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-manual-focus-film-slr-camera-revie...ax-p3-p30.html

Matt's Classic Cameras: Pentax P30t

Pentax P3/P30 Reviews

have fun!
Craig


Last edited by spystyle; 05-25-2010 at 03:56 AM.
05-24-2010, 08:01 PM - 1 Like   #2
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It's very similar to my super program, which is my favorite film body, apart from the k1000 of course! Have you added a review to our camera section? https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-manual-focus-film-slr-camera-revie...ax-p3-p30.html

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05-24-2010, 08:20 PM - 1 Like   #3
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OK, I added a review (copy and paste style)



Long live Pentax !

You know Nikon may have the same F-mount since 1955 but not every Nikon camera will meter with every Nikon lens, they make them less compatible intentionally.

Pentax on the other hand can use any lens since the first M42 lens in 1949, on any Pentax camera.

That makes Pentax the most virtuous camera company
05-24-2010, 08:36 PM   #4
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I couldn't agree more


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05-24-2010, 09:23 PM - 1 Like   #5
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Hey I just noticed there is a long discussion about these :

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-film-slr-discussion/58289-why-no-love-pentax-p3n.html

They complained that there was no EV compensation, but you can just shoot metered manual and back off one stop, or add one stop ... I guess.

From the roll I shot both indoors and outside the metering was perfect, I didn't even try manual mode. I'm not sure if EV compensation is really needed for this camera - but I'll find out

I forgot to mention it also supports automatic flash using "Pentax AF160sa" - I tested it in auto mode ("program mode") and the exposure was right on.

So with ambient indoor light, indoor flash light, and outside high contrast light I did not need any EV compensation (I don't think)

Ambient indoors


Automatic flash


The white church isn't gray, the meter wasn't fooled


And another high contrast


Well I don't need any EV compensation yet We'll see what the next roll looks like.
05-25-2010, 12:04 AM   #6
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While I share your enthusiasm for the P series, there are a couple of issues with the things you posted.

1. The camera in your photo is a P3n, not a regular P3. There are a couple of differences, such as...

2. The original P3 (no "n") is vinyl covered, similar to how it is done on a k1000. The "n's" and "t's" are rubber covered, like your example.

3. None of the listed models have a shutter priority mode, and the original P3 only has full manual and full program, so no aperture priority.

4. There are a few models in the mz/zx line that will not work with older lenses. It is, however, a pretty short list, unlike Nikon.

Like I said, I am 100% in tune with your enthusiasm for the P3n. It is my favorite Pentax camera!

I hope I didn't kill your buzz!
05-25-2010, 03:38 AM   #7
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Oh I see, thanks for the correction

Now that I examine my three P3's they have "P3" engraved on the front but "P3n" printed on the top.

QuoteOriginally posted by Steve Beswick Quote
...None of the listed models have a shutter priority mode...
Come to think of it, I didn't try it - but I assumed with the lens in "A" mode and the shutter speeds manually selected it would work, and essentially be "shutter priority mode". But I just tried and it indeed did not work - with the lens set to "A" and the shutter dial set to 1 second, the viewfinder still read "60" (as metered) and shot 1/60.

It's strange that you can't seize control of the shutter speed when a lens is in "A" mode...

Alright I'll edit what I wrote

QuoteOriginally posted by Steve Beswick Quote
...

4. There are a few models in the mz/zx line that will not work with older lenses. It is, however, a pretty short list, unlike Nikon.

...!
I found a Pentax lens compatibility chart :

http://www.mosphotos.com/PentaxLensCompatibility.html

According to the chart the P3n can use every Pentax lens

K1000, KM, KX, MX ,K2, K2DMD, ME Super, LX ,ME, MV, MV1, MG, and ME F can't use "gelded" lenses except at it's smallest aperture.

MZ-60 and ZX-60 bodies can't use A, AF,M, and K lenses (shutter won't fire)

MZ-30, ZX-30, MZ-50, and ZX-50 bodies can't use AF, M, and K lenses (shutter won't fire)

But I think every other Pentax camera can use every lens...

Last edited by spystyle; 05-25-2010 at 08:17 AM.
05-25-2010, 06:23 AM   #8
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Yikes, so not every Pentax camera will meter with every lens ?


Last edited by spystyle; 05-25-2010 at 08:17 AM.
05-25-2010, 07:01 AM - 1 Like   #9
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The modern Pentax dSLRs can meter with any manual lens in manual mode with stop-down metering. I do it all of the time with M and M42 lenses with my K200D.
05-25-2010, 08:17 AM   #10
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Oh I see, I misread the chart!

Pentax is the most virtuous

Only MZ-60, ZX-60, MZ-30, ZX-30, MZ-50, and ZX-50 bodies are Nikon-esque

Six bad ones out of over 76 ain't bad

As for the "gelded" lenses, I wonder if there is any 3rd party accessory that can add an aperture controlling lever?
03-29-2015, 09:21 PM - 1 Like   #11
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Pentax p30t, pentax-m 28mm/2.8, f8, Agfa Vista 200, developed in d76 1+3 22 minutes,
05-23-2015, 07:23 AM   #12
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I do love Guinness
05-23-2015, 03:33 PM   #13
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NEd is a terrific camera, but don't talk too loud - or the price will go up!

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06-11-2015, 05:07 AM   #14
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I had one of these with a two-position program-mode-indicating LCD on top. I had tried to buy the basic P3 (they had no K1000s), but it proved to be faulty and the very kind man at the pawnshop took it back and gave me the next one up (as it were) for very little extra. Said P3 lasted about ten years in my possession before ultimately failing, and all the new batteries I put in it made no difference.

I have since come into possession of the basic model again, the one with the good old fashioned shutter speed dial and only the word "program" on that dial, the ML button on the left side (Metering Lock, I assume) and the A position on the 50mm/f2.0 with which it came to offend the manual purists. Best of all, it (of course) has a split prism focusing screen, something I'm very, very tempted to get for my K5, and DOF preview. Now all I need to do is find somewhere local that sells and processes film!!

I like these older cameras - there's something very pleasing about a precision instrument which is at the same time completely and utterly self-explanatory.

(ETA: the film body I used to have was a P50T.)

Last edited by pathdoc; 08-31-2015 at 06:45 AM. Reason: Correction of an error
06-11-2015, 05:41 AM   #15
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