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05-26-2010, 09:02 PM   #1
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Help me gather general info on body series (K,M,A,P)

Hi,

I'm writing an article for our local photo club about the history of Manual Focus Pentax film bodies and I want to do it by series. K,M,A,P (LX will not be included this time). I can't find a way to explain in simple terms the differences between the series.
K is the original series
M series is smaller, lighter weight, additional features
A series: First Ka mount? plastic bodies? what else?
P series: ???? other than been the last manual focus series? size?
P series had DX coding but also A3/A3000
Both A and P have Program modes capability.

How can I describe and differentiate each series? Particularly A and P?

Thanks,

05-26-2010, 09:15 PM   #2
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The P series do not have built-in winders, while the A3 does (if you consider that the only A series camera). I'd put the Super Program / Program Plus as a transition series from "classic" to "modern, light, cheap, and plasticky", that still featured the nice old design while supporting TTL flash as well as program mode. Refer to our camera details for more specs as an aide to compiling your guide; cameras are listed chronologically: PentaxForums.com - Pentax Camera Reviews - Pentax DSLRs, Film SLRs, and Medium Format

I'd say, overall:
K - original, larger camera bodies with M or (M & Av) modes.
M - smaller film cameras with M or (M & Av) modes, but typically both, as the MX is the only exception
LX - Professional body with M & Av modes, many professional features, and the most sensitive light meter Pentax has ever deployed in any camera!
Program- like the M series, but features Program exposure, allowing for full use of A series lenses.
A - like the Program series, but features a built-in winder and new plastic construction
P - like the Program series, but with no built-in winder and a new metal consturction

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05-26-2010, 09:42 PM   #3
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I'd recommend the book, Asahi Pentax and Pentax SLR 35mm Cameras 1952-1989 by Danilo Cecchi. It runs around $24-30 on bay and Amazon.

I guess you already know about Dimitrov but will post it anyway.

Pentax Camera Bodies

Another source is the Asahi Optical Historical Club

MF Bayonet
05-26-2010, 09:49 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
The P series do not have built-in winders, while the A3 does (if you consider that the only A series camera). I'd put the Super Program / Program Plus as a transition series from "classic" to "modern, light, cheap, and plasticky", that still featured the nice old design while supporting TTL flash as well as program mode. Refer to our camera details for more specs as an aide to compiling your guide; cameras are listed chronologically: PentaxForums.com - Pentax Camera Reviews - Pentax DSLRs, Film SLRs, and Medium Format

I'd say, overall:
K - original, larger camera bodies with M or (M & Av) modes.
M - smaller film cameras with M or (M & Av) modes, but typically both, as the MX is the only exception
LX - Professional body with M & Av modes, many professional features, and the most sensitive light meter Pentax has ever deployed in any camera!
Program- like the M series, but features Program exposure, allowing for full use of A series lenses.
A - like the Program series, but features a built-in winder and new plastic construction
P - like the Program series, but with no built-in winder and a new metal consturction
My SuperProgram (aka SuperA) is built more like the Me Super and Me F. It doesn't have a built in winder either. I use the ME II Winder with it and my ME F. The SuperProgram weighs 490 grams, the ME F 480 and the ME Super 445 grams.

05-26-2010, 10:17 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Blue Quote
My SuperProgram (aka SuperA) is built more like the Me Super and Me F. It doesn't have a built in winder either. I use the ME II Winder with it and my ME F. The SuperProgram weighs 490 grams, the ME F 480 and the ME Super 445 grams.
Yeah, and that's what makes it my favorite film body as well

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05-26-2010, 10:56 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
Yeah, and that's what makes it my favorite film body as well
Have you ever tried using the DA 40mm on it in the Av mode?
05-26-2010, 11:33 PM   #7
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I have actually- but I can't remember what I did with the photos. Might have just been one or two. The lens did seem to cover the entire image circle, though.

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05-27-2010, 04:05 AM   #8
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K series - basically a redo of the Spotmatic with bajonet mount and in the case of the K2 electronics
M Series - smaller cameras with electronic shutters (except MX) and nice features. Provided Av modes and had the brightest viewfinders of the family
Highlight - MEF the 1st autofocus camera
Program - Advanced of the M series to hold electronics and introduction of the A-series lenses to provide Av and P modes
P - nice amateur cameras; plasticky; no manual ISO setting nor manual +/-
A and P modes; and manual. Highlight the diagonal screen of the P30t
From there I have no more experience until the MZ/ZX series

BUT check Dimitrov's website for timeline and further details


Last edited by titrisol; 05-27-2010 at 04:14 AM.
05-27-2010, 04:33 AM   #9
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Thank you both!
I am using Dimitrov and our own database as references where the Super Program and Program A are considered A series. But you are right, those are like a transition series, leaving the A3000 as the only A series model.
You mention P series all new metal construction, but my P3 is mostly plastic. I've read that some P bodies had metal film doors but not all.
I'll check on that book. Thanks for the lead.

Thanks!

Last edited by ismaelg; 05-27-2010 at 04:46 AM.
05-27-2010, 10:48 AM   #10
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Maybe I was wrong as far as that goes, then- but at least it looks like metal I don't have a p30 yet, but I'll have one soon

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05-27-2010, 01:21 PM   #11
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I was under the impression that only certain P bodies, namely the P30t had a plastic film door but the others had metal doors.

Edit: I hate to say it but when those came out, I didn't see them a superior nor an upgrade to my 'used' SuperProgram so I ended up adding a Chinon CP-7m to my kit that had more features and was over $150 cheaper than the P3 or P3n which was a chunk of change in 1988. Actually, I don't hate to say because the CP-7m is a good compact body with built in winder, 1/2000 top shutter etc, etc, etc. and can use M series lenses like the A and P bodies use A series lenses.
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