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08-17-2016, 08:28 AM   #1
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K2 or Super Program?

I am thinking of selling my K2 but I'm just not sure. I've also got a Super Program with some lenses that allow auto aperture. Both have vertical metal shutters, the K2 goes to 1/1000 and the Super program to 1/2000, but both have max flash sync at 1/125 which is actually 1/90 in the real world. The K2 doesn't have a split circle screen though, and I struggle with a plain microprism in low light. Admit it, we're all gearheads - any thoughts?

08-17-2016, 08:48 AM   #2
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Keep them both unless you really need the cash. IIRC the K2 retains some manual functionality when the batteries die (camera database says 1/125 and bulb); the Super Program is merely a paperweight then. I have a Super Program and I've tried it; unlike the ME (which I also have), the flash sync speed setting doesn't fire the camera when the batteries are dumped.

Of course I see from your signature line that you also have an MX, the ultimate no-battery reversion option in the small-body K-mount world. So from that perspective, and considering that the K2 is the oldest and therefore most likely to suffer the death of its meter (which bricks it utterly in the auto mode for which it was really designed), perhaps letting it go is not such a bad thing (unless you prefer the ergonomics over the MX). And IIRC the MX went to a somewhat more sensitive metering system anyway, another strike against the K2. But then again, having two, four and eight seconds on the dial offsets that; I imagine those are usable with an external light meter with power available, even if the camera's meter goes AWOL.

QuoteOriginally posted by Johnny Rod Quote
but both have max flash sync at 1/125 which is actually 1/90 in the real world
Clarification, please?
08-17-2016, 09:27 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Johnny Rod Quote
I am thinking of selling my K2 but I'm just not sure. I've also got a Super Program with some lenses that allow auto aperture. Both have vertical metal shutters, the K2 goes to 1/1000 and the Super program to 1/2000, but both have max flash sync at 1/125 which is actually 1/90 in the real world. The K2 doesn't have a split circle screen though, and I struggle with a plain microprism in low light. Admit it, we're all gearheads - any thoughts?
You might want to look at a K2DMD, as it comes with split screen and many other features that the K2 does not have. I would also keep the K2 and Super Program.

Phil.
08-17-2016, 09:29 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Johnny Rod Quote
but both have max flash sync at 1/125 which is actually 1/90 in the real world
Do tell...I have been shooting vertical shutter cameras (I currently own six with a mix of Seiko and Copal shutters) since the late 1960s and have never had the sync fail at 1/125s nor have I had any of these bodies fail to deliver a true 1/125s shutter speed (tested as part of CLA). The shutters on both your K2 and Super Program are electronically timed.* Edit: That being said, the Super Program X-sync is 1/100s, not 1/125s. Got confused with Program Plus

As for which to sell...You have both cameras in hand and surely have formed some opinion as to which suits your style of shooting. The microprism can be a challenge, particularly if (like me) you have "old eyes" and cannot focus clearly on the viewfinder screen. The K2 does accept a split-image and other screens, though one might be hard to source. A repair shop the works on older Pentax cameras may have one in their store of parts.


Steve

* The true 1/125s X-sync speed is called out in the K2 user manual. The same should be true for any camera where the "X" setting on the dial is shared with a manual shutter speed.


Last edited by stevebrot; 08-17-2016 at 01:31 PM.
08-17-2016, 09:45 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
I have a Super Program and I've tried it; unlike the ME (which I also have), the flash sync speed setting doesn't fire the camera when the batteries are dumped.
Not surprising...The Super Program is fully battery-dependent and the shutter will not fire. At least mine won't.

QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
K2 is the oldest and therefore most likely to suffer the death of its meter (which bricks it utterly in the auto mode for which it was really designed)
Age should not be a huge issue per se as far as the meter is concerned. It is all solid state with the potential points of failure being the same as for the Super Program and MX. The rule of thumb for electronic meter/shutter SLRs of 70s-80s vintage is that if it works, it will likely continue to work. Just my 2-cents.

QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
And IIRC the MX went to a somewhat more sensitive metering system anyway, another strike against the K2
The K2 has an SPD cell while both the Super Program and MX have GPD meters. Both types have the same low light sensitivity (1 EV(100)). The main difference is in spectral sensitivity with greater accuracy for the GPD cell under various light conditions.


Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 08-17-2016 at 09:59 AM.
08-17-2016, 11:51 AM   #6
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I have no experience with the K2, and a lot of experience with the Super Program, but I would go with the Super Program. The main reasons would be the significantly smaller size and weight, and the automatic exposure is also nice. (Though the exposure compensation dial on the K2 seems interesting.)

If you have some sort of personal nostalgia for the K2, maybe keep it for that reason?
08-17-2016, 12:36 PM   #7
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The Super Program is an absolutely brilliant camera, and is my most used manual focus body. True, it won't operate without batteries, but I bought mine used 18 months ago with a set of used batteries already in it and only just had to replace them for the first time. With no AF, screen or flash to operate, you're not putting much stress on them really.
If you like your K2, keep it and wait for a bargain Super Program to come along. They're both great cameras in their own right (although if you asked me which one I'd like round my neck every day, I'd say Super Program in a heartbeat).
08-17-2016, 02:34 PM - 1 Like   #8
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Since you ask I suspect you haven't "bonded" with either camera.
If not suggest you sell them both and keep enjoying your MX.

Chris

08-17-2016, 03:17 PM   #9
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One consideration is how many A and FA lenses you have compared to manual lenses (I know you said you have some). There's no real point to the SuperProgram if your lenses can't take advantage of the electronics.

I like the Seikosha stepless titanium shutter on the K2, but . . . .there's the unusual ASA / EV Comp selector ring on the K2 to think about (I sincerely dislike that K2 feature). I use my SuperProgram for convenience shooting with my two A lenses and FA's when I just want to document scenes and events.

I would sell both and seek a KX with the split-image focusing screen option, but that's just me. Every time I buy a K2 within a couple years I sell it.

Last edited by monochrome; 08-17-2016 at 03:25 PM.
08-17-2016, 10:49 PM   #10
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My K2 gave me correct exposure in super dim light, but I still prefer the Super Program's TTL flash and more exposure modes. FYI, if your Super Program dial locks at Auto and Manual the camera has an upgraded main circuit board and a more accurate 1/125. I guess someone had problems taking pictures near radio and TV towers so they changed the main circuit board and put a better shutter in while they were at it.
08-18-2016, 08:10 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by pentaxus Quote
FYI, if your Super Program dial locks at Auto and Manual the camera has an upgraded main circuit board and a more accurate 1/125.
Interesting. My Super Program mode dial locks at all positions. Are you saying there are variants that don't? As for the shutter, my manual says the camera has a Seiko MFC-E3 model shutter. Were other shutters used?


Steve
08-18-2016, 09:49 AM   #12
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I'll have to dig mine out to check!

So a few more details; it sometimes pays not to funnel things too early. Thanks all for your thoughts and info.

Re. sync speed, I read that the 1/125 was really a marketing headline rather than real-world performance, but it's within the +/-25% tolerance for shutter speed so maybe they thought it was close enough. I've measure it on the K2 and sure enough it's 1/90, I can't remember if I've tested the Super Program.
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/8-pentax-film-slr-discussion/306448-k2-sh...ml#post3414982

superA / superProgram

So, the history. I bought the Super Program used in 1998 or so, and it's been around the world with me. I lately got an AF280 flash but not used it much, and I have a 50mm f1.7 and 135mm (I think) auto lenses, so I can use a lot of its many auto functions. It's never failed me, even when I left the shutter cocked for 4 years by accident. I actually specified a split-circle screen as I had a Zenit E before that with only a microprism screen, and it wasn't easy, especially at 28mm FL. The K2 I bought last year for 20/$30 from someone selling from an estate. After I bought it I found it had a 300 lens on it (50mm f1.2, talk about dumb luck) so I happily put it on the shelf as an ornament, and put the lens on my MX. It's a fine-looking camera but I don't know if it's worth servicing it or not (to me). I have an increasing collection of rangefinders and MF folders, so I am thinking of selling the K2 as it doesn't fill a vacant niche. Then I started wondering if it's a better body than the Super Program, and ended up here.
08-18-2016, 11:22 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Johnny Rod Quote
I've measure it on the K2 and sure enough it's 1/90, I can't remember if I've tested the Super Program.
K2 shutter speed issues
Interesting thread. Your K2 shutter definitely had serious issues with curtain travel and was in need of service. I don't know what to make of Ray-uk's comment there regarding 1/90s as being the real speed at the 1/125s mark for Pentax cameras of that era. The other K-series models were horizontal-run cloth shutters with sync at 1/60s. In the M-series, all except the MX, ME, ME F, and ME Super had 1/100s sync speed. Perhaps it was those models he was referring to in regards to the 1/90s figure.

As for acceptable shutter precision, it is anyone's guess what the QC spec was for the Seiko shutter used on the K2. Just for interests sake, I did a little look-see on the Web and while I was unable to find an online reference for the K2, but below is a link to Popular Photography's test results for the Ricoh XR-2, which had a similar electronically-controlled shutter from Copal.

1978 Pop Photog's XR-2 Test

...and also Modern Photography's test of the same camera.

1978 Modern Photog's XR-2 Test

Both have graphs of shutter performance.

BTW...If your K2 still has the shutter issues described in last year's thread, the answer to your original post from my perspective. Keep the Super Program.


Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 08-18-2016 at 11:39 AM.
08-18-2016, 11:27 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Johnny Rod Quote
After I bought it I found it had a 300 lens on it (50mm f1.2, talk about dumb luck)
This is the sort of luck which I hope will bring me a 50/1.2 "A" lens dirt cheap one day. Until then, I have my Rikenon-P 55/1.2 to satisfy those gaping-aperture cravings.

QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
In the M-series, all except the MX, ME, ME F, and ME Super had 1/100s sync speed.
I'm pretty sure the sync speed on my ME is marked as 1/100.
08-18-2016, 11:38 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
I'm pretty sure the sync speed on my ME is marked as 1/100.
You are so very correct. I misread Dimitrov's table.


Steve
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