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09-09-2007, 05:32 PM   #1
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Location: Illinois
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Anyone have experience with an SF1?

Hey film guys...
I just bought a camera on ebay, mainly for the lens. (An F 50mm 1.7)
The body is an SF1. A little research shows me that it was the first auto-focus SLR in the world with a built in ttl flash.
Do any of you have experience with this body? Is it of typical Pentax build quality? Is it worth anything?
I already have a ZX-30, so I don't know if this body will just be redundant, or if I will find a use for it.
My ZX-30 will not fire with pre A lenses, so maybe this will still operate with some of my M lenses.
Let me know if you guys have any thoughts on this body.

Maybe we should start a "Pentax Body Review" Database similiar to the lens database. It would certainly be a shorter list, but would prove to be helpful...

09-09-2007, 06:17 PM   #2
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I bought the lower end SF10 back in 89 new. The SF1 was Pentax's flagship camera of the time. It is well built, feels great in the hands, and works excellent with manual lenses. As for your finding a use for it. I guess you won't know till you get it in your hands. I wanted an SF1 but couldn't afford it. I paid 800 for the SF10 with a 2 lens kit. They were quite the expensive cameras for their times. You will find the auto focus rather slow and crude compared to the newer cameras with a more modern SAFOX system. What I really liked about them, is where they placed the hot shoe. It is located off center towards the grip. I am not sure why more camera companies do not do this. It is the perfect balance point for a large flash unit. You can also use the smaller flash for fill and use the larger flash to bounce...at the same time.
09-11-2007, 08:36 AM   #3
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Location: Bay Village, Ohio USA
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SF1

I have an SF1 and I love it. It is a bit heavy by modern standards, but I like the feel.

The SF1 was, at the time, Pentax' top of the line model. It does not have the crippled k-mount used in some of the ZX series cameras. That means that it can use any k-mount lens. It can even use M42 screwmount lenses, with an adapter.

I have a cheap 500mm mirror lens, with a t-mount adapter. This lens has absolutely no automation at all. No auto-focus and the aperture is fixed at f/8.0. The camera "sees" that it is not an automatic aperture lens and automatically operates in aperture priority mode, meaning that it sets the shutter speed based on the light coming through the lens.

I have used my 50mm, f/1.4 Super Takumar lens from my old Spotmatic on the SF1. It must be used in manual aperture mode, but, again, the camera responds by setting the shutter speed accordingly.

In short, the SF1 will work with any lens that you can physically attach to it, unlike your ZX-30. I briefly had a ZX-60, so I understand.

The SF1 is one of the last Pentax cameras that was "built like a tank". After that, they began using more and more plastic.

I also have a KA-mount 2x teleconverter that works just fine. The camera is able to set the aperture on the lens, via the electrical contacts, even though the AF linkage is not there. I had a 1.7x AF teleconverter, but I sold it. The SF1 will not autofocus if the widest aperture is smaller than f/4.0. When I used my Tamron 28-200 f/3.5 lens with the converter and set the focal length much beyond the shortest setting, the aperture apparently became too small and the AF wouldn't work. I found it easier to use the 2x non-AF converter.

The SF series cameras don't get much respect on ebay. I think I paid about $35 for mine, with no lens. I often see them go unsold with an asking price of $50. Occasionally, one with a good set of lenses and in pristine condition will go for $100. As far as monetary value, I think its worth more as a camera than as an investment. It is my regular user camera.

Mine came with a Cable Release F, the electrical cable that is about three feet long. This is a very useful accessory when using the camera on a tripod. I find it a little awkward to trip the shutter using the button, when the camera is on a tripod. These show up on ebay frequently for around $10-15.

Paul Noble
12-08-2009, 11:28 PM   #4
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SFI

I have the SF1 'tank' I loved it for years, it now has literally 'ground' to a halt. I have tried to find someone that can fix this, but either told, no more working on old stuff or replacement parts are not available. I just can't part with it and keeping up hope maybe someone knows a good camera repair...even Pentax offers not a soul.

12-09-2009, 01:27 PM   #5
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Location: Bay Village, Ohio USA
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QuoteOriginally posted by TLcat Quote
I have the SF1 'tank' I loved it for years, it now has literally 'ground' to a halt. I have tried to find someone that can fix this, but either told, no more working on old stuff or replacement parts are not available. I just can't part with it and keeping up hope maybe someone knows a good camera repair...even Pentax offers not a soul.

I've never used his service, but the goto guy for Pentax repairs seems to be Eric Hendrickson. His website is Home

He doesn't list the SF1 on his home page, but send him an email and ask him if he can work on it. You may find, however, that it is cheaper to pick up another SF1 on ebay. They're commonly sold there and I've seen them go unsold for $25. Some fools think they're worth $250, but the norm is much, much lower.

I have an SF1 and it is my favorite film camera. I own eleven Pentax cameras, both older and newer, but the SF1 is the best.
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