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03-02-2011, 05:06 PM   #1
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Super Program meter / half press question

Hi all,

I'm thinking about moving back to film a little more seriously this time: there's a scanner on its way and if I'm satisfied with the results I might even take the plunge and start processing B&W film myself. The Superprogram I recently got and is destined to be my main camera for a while, seems to be a little quirky though.

Here's the thing: the meter works, shutter seems to work nicely at all speeds, all modes work, but the display only comes up after a full press. Half presses have no effect, and although I've been trying, it seems impossible to press 3/4s or so, so the meter works but the shutter does not. To me, it looks like the 'half press' contacts in the shutter button broke. Is this common? Easily fixable? For now, the workaround seems to be to first check the meter if I want to know the exposure up front, then advance the film and shoot.

Also, the foam around the back dried up. Is the body likely to leak light without proper foam? It seems the door falls neatly in place, so i think there won't be any direct openings.

The funny thing is that the K2 I got before this one had issues with the meter as well, but that meter also sometimes failed with a full press. At least I got this Super Program for less than the going price of the A50/1.7 it was attached to, so even if it's unfixable, I didn't lose anything.

03-02-2011, 06:00 PM   #2
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I have a Super Program. Mine works 100% and I did my own light seals. I shot a roll through it before I replaced them and I didn't notice a leak. The back seems to fit well enough that it would probably be ok with chunks of foam missing. That goo does tend to migrate though, and it would be a shame to gum up the shutter or focus screen for seven bucks worth of seals.
If mine had had the half press problem you're describing, I probably would have sent it in to the Pentax Forums' camera repair guru: Eric Hendrickson Pentax repair.
On second thought, I would probably have sold it and kept the 28-200mm lens, flash, and brand new bag it came with.

I have too many film bodies right now and I am looking to thin it out....to like...one! I'm thinking about having my K2 rebuilt and selling everything else because the Super Program, as sweet a camera as it is, just seems a little too fragile to last me the rest of my life.

I keep picking up my MV though. It's an Av only camera and it's totally stripped of any niceities, but if all Pentax cameras were built like that, Olympus would have gone under years ago.

My two cents for what it's worth.
03-03-2011, 07:57 AM   #3
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Thanks for the reply, those are some good ideas. if this film shooting will really take off, i'll fix the seals on this and other bodies, but leave it like this for now. Sending stuff to Eric is a bit more than I'm willing to spend for now, if only because I'm in europe. I'll see how quickly I get annoyed by my 'workaround'.
Funny you mention the MV and Olympus, as I have yet to find a body which handles as nicely as my OM-1, but I am partial to Av mode. And as much as I like shooting the OM-1, I prefer the ability to use my K-mount lenses like a 85/2 and the Zen. M-series bodies are cheap and plentiful here, so I might try and get one some day.
03-03-2011, 09:48 AM   #4
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I used my fathers OM-1 all through hi school. Im very familiar with it and it's what I based that statement on. My particular MV is that nice. So smooth and quiet and smaller then the OM-1....which is a great camera. The last roll I shot through the MV was perfect except a snap I took in a grocery store where I was bum rushed by an employee.
I think you'll like film. There's something more real about it.

03-03-2011, 12:47 PM   #5
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Ah yes, I should also have said "my father's OM-1"... I already know I love film, it's just that I find the costs per shot hard to swallow... I think the scanner just about halves it, and getting film online and developing myself will reduce it a bit further still. Too bad we don't have arista.edu in europe.

Your praise for the MV is tempting, but I think I'm more likely to get an ME super or so. we'll see. Here are some of my favourite shots with the OM-1 and 50/1.8:


(ilford HP5+)


(fuji 400 something)



(tinted B/W from fuji 400 colour film)
03-03-2011, 01:38 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by urje Quote
...Sending stuff to Eric is a bit more than I'm willing to spend for now, if only because I'm in europe....
How about Harrow Technical in the UK? Cheaper postage than to Eric and Robin is a pretty good repair guy too. Like Harrow he was trained by Pentax originally.

K.
03-03-2011, 02:47 PM   #7
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Hi Urje, bought a P5 last Tuesday at garage sale(singular version of flea market)
shutter button does same thing,got it because it came with "A"50/2 in good shape
and "M" 50/1.7 with little spot on coating for $15,what the heck.Found out I can
turn meter on two ways without half press.1-Power up,self explanatory but does
self extinguish after bit...2-hitting AE-L button brings up display again.Dont know
if can be done like-wise on superP,wondering if EV comp would enable display
in same manner.Kind of clumsy work around,might give you a chance and some time
to weigh your options.
03-03-2011, 03:21 PM   #8
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I guess it sounds like I'm pushing the MV and that's not my intention. The Super Program is a superior camera in most respects. Mainly, the MV has no manual control at all.
Same goes for the ME Super, which is a favorite on this forum. I had an ME Super and between the buttons, the LEDs and the migrating foam seals, it was just too fragile a camera.
I loved my K1000 for a long time. After I used my MV for a while, I picked up the K1000 and dry fired it a couple times. I couldn't believe how cheap and poorly built it felt. And LOUD! It actually made me jump! It felt like it was jumping out of my hands compared to the MV.
One of the things I didn't like about the OM-1 was the meter. It has a string, kind of like the PRNDL pointer needle and cable on a 1990s' Ford truck. It gets sticky and goes out of adjustment after a few decades.

Ehhh...None of them are perfect. If you find one you like, tear it up. They're like $20-$30 for a body now. You can't go wrong. I just hate it when they brake.

Film developing is proving to be a problem for me now.
The "labs" near me are not worthy of the dollar and a half they charge to run a roll of C-41. I've had 4 rolls ruined. There's a lab about ten miles and another state from me and that's where I'm going next. I have a feeling, the wet corner of my basement is where my negs will eventually be processed. That means back to Tri-X Pan 400. Full circle after 30 years.

Edit: I was just playing with my SP and I don't think there is a way to get around the half press. I was thinking the cocking lever might do it but no.

03-05-2011, 02:16 PM   #9
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Thanks for all these replies!
Bill, turning the super P on doesn't trigger the meter, and it doesn't have any AE-L that I know of, but your reply did get me playing around with it a bit more, and it turns out the backlight button does turn the meter on. Even if that drains the battery more than I'd like, getting a bunch of spare batteries will be a lot cheaper than sending it in for repair just for the half-press issue. So I loaded it up with a roll of TMax 400 and now it's 36 clicks till I know how it works.
Gashog, that shutter bugs me too. I'm not sure if it's the same, but this Super P has a 1/2000s shutter like the K2 does, and both are much more noisy than the OM-1n. But well, the 1/2000s is useful sometimes, so as you say, none of them are perfect.

I really like these cameras are a lot smaller than dSLRs. what matters most for me is the depth, and these old film cameras are much shorter from film plane to back than my DS and K-x are: the difference is about 20mm. That's the difference between being more or less pocketable, and not being pocketable. One step further would be one of the inexpensive fixed lens rangefinders: they're still 20mm less deep. So maybe my next camera will be a Canonet QL17, Olympus RD or Yashica GSN. LBA/CBA never stops, it just shifts...
03-05-2011, 02:48 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by urje Quote
it turns out the backlight button does turn the meter on.
That's a significant discovery. I never noticed that or heard or read about it. Nice find.

Good luck with your film. Again, I've had 4 rolls ruined by machines with old chemicals. Be careful who you take yours to.
03-05-2011, 08:17 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by urje Quote
this Super P has a 1/2000s shutter like the K2 does, and both are much more noisy than the OM-1n
Yep, it is a noisy shutter...almost as noisy as the Copal "square" in my Singlex TLS.


Steve
03-06-2011, 06:13 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Gashog Quote
That's a significant discovery. I never noticed that or heard or read about it. Nice find.
In that case, I think I'll write a review for the camera by the time I'm a little more familiar with it, so people are more likely to find this info than if it's just in this obscure threat.
03-06-2011, 09:20 AM   #13
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I had the same problem with the P5 as an earlier poster noted. However, I just pushed the shutter button a few hundred times and eventually eliminated whatever contact corrosion or dirt was causing the problem.
03-06-2011, 06:56 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by urje Quote
it turns out the backlight button does turn the meter on
Cool Urje,was hoping something like that would work out for you.Dont want to "date"
myself,but can remember when SuperProgram was for "Real"(current),a superbly fine
piece of equipment.Flash automation available on it still is something to desired.
One thing bothersome in minor way is info that relates to seiko shutter that was
used in SuperP,evolution of sieko's offerings before and beyond that particular
model.Believe nikon and perhaps some other makers utilized first class engineering
skills that those seiko folks brought to the table.


QuoteOriginally posted by GeneV Quote
pushed the shutter button a few hundred times
Great Gene,I'll go to 999.If I dont have it by then,giving up(LOL)
Found out M series winder fits P5 and enables display with half press also.
Sort of "up to the chin" with film bodies,just added ansco readyset viking 120
that Im really looking forward to playing around with.
Have heard "transplanting" other medium format lens/shutter combos fairly easy.
A diabolical thought.
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