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06-20-2008, 08:48 PM   #1
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Vintage Eye Candy - 1957 Asahi Pentax "AP"

"In May 1957 Asahi Optical introduced their first SLR with pentaprism to market, named just "Pentax". The rights to the name had been acquired from East German VEB Zeiss-Ikon/ Pentacon. The design was so successful (won a Japanese national prize) that later the whole company labeled themselves PENTAX after this camera model.

It was the first SLR with a film rewind crank and fast lever advance, and, like the Asahiflex-II, had instant return mirror. It was not the first SLR with a pentaprism (this honor is given to the East German Contax-D) but it had a much brighter finder due to its first fresnell-lens matt screen. So this was the smallest, lightest, best looking and comfortably operated camera on the market. It was the first Japanese SLR camera with M42 screw mount, for which more than 300 lenses existed on the market at that time.

The prism-finder of the Pentax was by far the brightest and best of all SLR cameras available in 1957. Plus the camera has a very attractive look, which became a world standard and was not changed for the next 20+ years. The original "Asahi-Pentax" had a production run of only ~19,600 units in just in one year.

Eventually up to 1/3 of them were sold without the AOCO logo in the US market as "Tower 26" or 29. Source: Cameras of my collection - the Original Asahi-Pentax

Here are some photos of my daily user Asahi Pentax. It is pictured with a standard Takumar 55mm f/2.2 pre-set lens. This lens is a nice sharp lens. Estimates are for 8,000-12,000 of these lenses produced.
















woof!

06-21-2008, 02:34 AM   #2
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Much respect to you for making it a user camera....as it was intended to be....and not just a sit-on-the-shelf camera.

The other day I needed to give my son a crash course on how to load film....but I couldn't find a single one of my vintage cameras that didn't already have a roll loaded and ready to go.
06-21-2008, 04:12 AM   #3
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So gorgeous, and I'm with Mike, kudos to you.

I see where Pentax echoed the pentaprism design on their 6x7 camera.
06-21-2008, 06:44 AM   #4
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Classic and a keeper(But you know that)


cheers

06-21-2008, 08:07 AM   #5
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Thanks for the Kudos guys. The truth is, these things will stop working if they do not get exercise. I use ALL of my vintage cameras more of less. This just happens to be one that I pick up a LOT. This and my Spotmatic. I have a couple of Spotmatic F's but for some reason, I keep going back to the more prosaic stuff. The 1957 "AP" was my first camera... a different copy that Dad gave me.

Some photos taken with this camera. I do admit to using a good Sekonic digital light meter...

First taken at Red Rock Canyon near Las Vegas on March 10th, 2008. Lens was a P. Angenieux 28mm f/3.5 lens. Taken at 1/100th of a second, f/16, with 100 ASA Fuji Superia Reala.

Second was local East Coast, also 100 ASA Fuji Superia Reala. This was taken with the lens shown in the pictures above ... Asahi 55mm f/2.2. The last two were with the 55mm as well. The first two picture convinced me to switch from Kodak film to Reala...













woof!
06-12-2010, 10:20 PM   #6
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Should I keep it

Hey I was given one of these cameras a Asahi Pentax original 1957. The original takumar zoom lense is also on the camera. I was given this by a friend who's aunt passed away. I don't know much about cameras and don't know if I should keep it or not. The camera is in excellent condition it has been sitting in a box for over 20 years.
06-13-2010, 07:45 AM   #7
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Beautiful camera woof, I also love the look of the 55mm lens. The black and silver combination looks way better on a camera with the same colour combo. Much nicer than an all black lens on a silver & black body..

Perfect!!

Phil.
06-14-2010, 07:31 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by k1977 Quote
Hey I was given one of these cameras a Asahi Pentax original 1957. The original takumar zoom lense is also on the camera. I was given this by a friend who's aunt passed away. I don't know much about cameras and don't know if I should keep it or not. The camera is in excellent condition it has been sitting in a box for over 20 years.
Look at the state of the camera, treat it well it's sturdy but sometimes fragile. Open the back and shoot to see how well is the camera. It might need cleaning, lubrication and/or adjustment. It's a jewel of a camera. If this is your first camera you'll need a external meter as it doesn't have one. Or, check this(It might be hard at first): Ultimate Exposure Computer If you plan to sell it, get informed of the price first.

Sorry for semi-jacking the thread, that is a really beautiful camera you have. I've been looking for a normal preset to shoot with and these are rare as hell. I haven't seen any for sale around. Is this closely related to the auto-takumar 55/2? or 2.2? can't really recall right now. They seem to have a aperture ring in the front, but don't know how they work.

06-14-2010, 09:50 AM   #9
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One of those pre-set 55mm f2.2 Taks went for ~ $147 on Flea-Bait over the weekend.
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