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08-18-2016, 08:44 AM   #1
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K-Mount Film SLR Suggestions?

So I have decided to jump into film photography this fall. I currently have a K-mount ENSINOR 24mm F2.8 Macro Lens Reviews - Miscellaneous Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database and a Super-Tak 1:2/35 with an adapter, and am looking for a CZJ 1:2.8/50. Because of this I am considering a K-mount film body. My family has a Ricoh body which I have used but it is not in working order. Any suggestions on hunting down for a body costing no more than 75 US dollars on eBay? I don't need AF and probably only need Av exposure mode (that's how I use my lenses on a digital body, anyways).

Sincerely

08-18-2016, 08:50 AM   #2
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I don't have a great deal of film SLR experience yet, although I do have a handful of film cameras I've been playing with. One of them (well, two actually, but one needs servicing!) is the Pentax ME Super, which I'm having an absolute blast shooting with. It's a nice size - quite compact - and beautifully built, with a nice mix of manual and automatic exposure features, including aperture priority. You should be able to pick one up well within your budget.
08-18-2016, 09:07 AM   #3
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K2, ME Super, and Super Program all fit your needs.
08-18-2016, 09:09 AM   #4
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An ME Super is almost certainly your best bet. Make sure you take some time finding a good one though since many are very well used (I've run a couple into the ground myself!)
Others here really like the Ricoh bodies and I like the Chinon K-mount SLRs - the CE-4S and CE-5 are solid, well built cameras with 1/2000s shutters and good ergonomics.

08-18-2016, 09:59 AM   #5
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If you need Av, K2 or ME super
08-18-2016, 10:05 AM - 1 Like   #6
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If you prefer a fully manual camera a KM or KX is a good choice. An MX will also serve but it's harder to get a good one at your price - oddly, the same is true for the simple K1000.
08-18-2016, 10:05 AM   #7
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The only problem with an M series or Super Program is that it will most likely need a CLA, or at least new light seals. One of the P series might do better if you only use DX coded film.

Light seals aren't terribly difficult to do, there is even someone who makes pre-cut kits. But he doesn't sell on eBay anymore. Someone around here has the e-mail address...

You might also want to consider shopgoodwill.com as a source for a camera. M bodies are plentiful and cheap. Ricoh bodies are even cheaper. Strangely K1000 bodies sell for more than Pentax AF bodies...

Last edited by boriscleto; 08-18-2016 at 10:10 AM.
08-18-2016, 10:28 AM - 1 Like   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
Strangely K1000 bodies sell for more than Pentax AF bodies...
Street cred. At least the hipsters have to work for their photographs.

An ME is a good place to start, and indeed there are quite a few M bodies and Program Pluses going in the Marketplace right now for cheap. I'm not sure if I'm allowed to name names or post direct links here, but you can PM me for the seller's name if you want; I've dealt with him before and been nothing but happy.

08-18-2016, 10:32 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
Super Program is that it will most likely need a CLA, or at least new light seals
I bought two: one from keh and it didn't need anything ( I think they changed the seals? ) and one from ebay on which I replaced the seals myself. Otherwise they seem to work just fine, and replacing the seals, at least on this model, takes about 10 minutes and $2 in supplies. I think the super program is pretty under rated (read: good value), indeed it's much cheaper now than the k1000, which I partly understand: its shutter doesn't fire mechanically and it is perhaps too electronic to have classic status... not an issue for me.

Last edited by aaacb; 08-18-2016 at 10:39 AM.
08-18-2016, 11:18 AM   #10
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I've bought an MZ-5. It has full automatic mode and autofocus, but you can use it as a full manual body also. It's fit your budget, average price is around 40 usd.
08-18-2016, 02:27 PM - 1 Like   #11
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Having used the super program for many years I can tell you that its only weaknesses are a shutter button half press and button on the side of the lens mount area for turning the light on (and also displaying exposure info like the half press) that both have a tendency to oxidize up on the contacts and get fiddly. If both buttons work reliably with only a light press and the light seals on the body are still good they last a long time.
They are small, light, super easy to hold in one hand and have a view finder that is like a bay window with a bright extremely responsive screen. It actually has the 1/2000 shutter speed that most of the mechanical bodies don't due to the type of steel shutter curtain used which is SUPER handy for using 400 ISO film on bright sunny days for more versatility all around in variable lighting or for just stopping motion that much better.
It also has the old school all metal, drop it down the stairs durability that the later plastic fantastic cameras did away with. The film winder lever is also a super short stroke (less than 90 degrees as I recall) so its much more usable than the older long throw manual winder bodies.
The 2 buttons on top to control shutter speed in manual modes are worlds easier than the clunky dial the MX I now use has, you can hold the camera with one hand and use the same hand to adjust it with one finger.

I only stopped using my Super Program because I started shooting all manual and with that body you can only adjust exposure by full stops in manual mode even though the auto system can do it by 1/3 stops. A stupid oversight that has always pissed me off on an otherwise near perfect body. Not the end of the world though as most film can be rounded to the nearest full stop and still be developed perfectly correct.
Otherwise wonderful camera and they 280T flash I have that works in full ttl auto with it and the A lenses is dirt cheap and capable.
08-18-2016, 02:30 PM   #12
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It depends on what you want in terms of automation and newer is not necessarily better. With the exception of the flagship models, build quality industry-wide declined from the late 1980s on. See below for my "no reservation" suggestions. All on the list are either manual exposure or auto exposure with option for full manual.

Pentax KX (M exposure)
Pentax KM (M exposure)

Pentax ME Super (Av and M exposure)
Pentax MX ($$) (M exposure)

Pentax Program A/Program Plus (P, Av, and M exposure)
Pentax Super A/Super Program (P, Av, Tv, and M exposure)

Pentax P5/P50 (P, Av, Tv, and M exposure)
Pentax P3n/P30n (P, Av, and M exposure)
Pentax P3t/P30t (P, Av, and M exposure) (if you don't mind plastic film door)
(Note: P-series bodies do not allow manual setting of ASA/ISO film speed and require DX-encoded film canisters, but otherwise are very cool cameras in my book.)

Ricoh XR-1/XR-1s (M exposure)
Ricoh XR2/XR-2s (Av and M exposure)
Ricoh XR7 (Av and M exposure)
(Note: Ricoh made a plethora of K-mount camera models, most of which differed only slightly in features and build. I have personal experience with the five models above (all from the late 1970s/early 1980s) and can vouch for their build and performance.)

I have no experience with Pentax AF film bodies and can't make any recommendations from those lines.

As noted above, most film cameras will require seal replacement at minimum* and many would benefit from a full CLA. Jon Goodman's seal kits are grade-A, are camera-specific, have detailed instructions, and very inexpensive ($10 USD, shipping included). There are other kits, but his stand out. I have bought multiple kits from Jon and none has disappointed. In addition, he is a genuinely nice guy and a pleasure to deal with. Jon deals exclusively by e-mail at present, but is usually very quick to respond to inquiries: jgood21967@aol.com

KEH is a good resource for purchase and not overly expensive. They test and warranty what they sell and cameras have often (usually?) been serviced prior to sale.

Last edited by stevebrot; 08-18-2016 at 06:29 PM. Reason: Added exposure system options
08-18-2016, 02:34 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
The only problem with an M series or Super Program is that it will most likely need a CLA, or at least new light seals. One of the P series might do better if you only use DX coded film.
Enlighten me. Are you saying that the P-series bodies don't have foam seals or mirror bumpers? I used to have a P3n, but don't remember that detail.

QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
Light seals aren't terribly difficult to do, there is even someone who makes pre-cut kits. But he doesn't sell on eBay anymore. Someone around here has the e-mail address...
That someone would be Jon Goodman. He deals via e-mail only now days and markets by word of mouth. jgood21967@aol.com


Steve
08-18-2016, 03:18 PM   #14
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I think what he means is that the P series are a far more recent build and much less likely to have deteriorated seals.

The only thing the P30T is missing (apart from the ability to fool the DX coding, but there are other ways around that) is the ability to switch into shutter priority mode if A were selected on the lens only. Otherwise its drop-in-and-pull-across film loading makes it an almost ideal beginner body. I have an inherited base model P3 that is still of all (or majority) metal construction, and it's a pity the feature set does not quite match up to its younger brother.
08-18-2016, 04:53 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Enlighten me. Are you saying that the P-series bodies don't have foam seals or mirror bumpers? I used to have a P3n, but don't remember that detail.
Mirror bumper yes, light seals no. The bumper has not deteriorated on either of the P30Ts that I own.
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