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05-23-2009, 06:49 PM   #1
Ole's Avatar

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Pentax Program A/Program Plus

Program A/Program Plus
Year introduced
Meter range
1 - 18 EV
Meter pattern
ISO range
6 - 3200
DX ISO range
No DX coding
Exposure modes
P, Av, M, X, B
Exposure compensation
+/-2 EV
Exposure memory lock
Shutter speeds (auto)
15 - 1/1000s
Shutter speeds (manual)
15 - 1/1000s
Shutter speeds (mechanical)
Self timer
Mirror lock-up
Auto bracketing
Multiple exposures
External winder 2 fps, motor drive 2 and 3.5 fps
Built-in flash
TTL flash
P-TTL flash
Sync speed
Flash exposure comp
Autofocus sensitivity
Not applicable
Power zoom
0.82x, 92%
Viewfinder type
Diopter correction
Exchangeable screen
Depth of field preview
Image size
24 x 36 mm
Panorama format
2 x S76
Battery grip/pack
Size (W x H x D)
131 x 86.5 x 47.5 mm
490 g

Attached Images
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Last edited by Ole; 03-01-2010 at 07:17 PM.
06-18-2009, 11:19 PM   #2
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Nice solid camera, just what I would have liked my Nikon F301 to be
After you get past the weird buttons to change shutter speeds, it is very nice.

Works only with batteries no manual fall-back speed, and produces well exposed negatives

Last edited by titrisol; 07-08-2009 at 03:09 AM.
04-18-2010, 05:43 AM   #3
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Pros (or, why you might look for a Program Plus instead of its better-featured big brother, the Super Program):

1. Price. It's usually a little less expensive.

2. Probable condition. People who bought the Super Program were usually into photography, and they used those cameras pretty well. People who bought the Program Plus to save money were more likely to use it lightly.

3. Style. The black/silver color scheme is quite distinctive.


1. The non-backlit LCD display means that when shooting in low light there is simply no way to read the metering information. I think the Program Plus/Program A is the only Pentax model with this particular drawback. It may or may not be a problem for you; metered manual mode is useless in low light, but in P mode, the camera can be counted on to make a good aperture/shutter setting combination, and in Av mode you can pick a wide aperture and hope for the best.

2. The plastic ISO/exposure compensation knob turns too easily. This was never a problem with the corresponding metal knob on the ME Super. On a couple of occasions I've taken a shot and then noticed that the camera had been accidentally set to underexpose by one or two stops, just from the friction of pulling the camera out of its bag. (My Super Program is the same way.)

3. When shooting outdoors I miss having the 1/2000 top shutter speed that is available on the Super Program and ME Super. This is a bit grating because the 1/1000 top speed of the Program Plus appears to be an artificial limitation imposed by Pentax to differentiate models in the product line; the shutter is the same one provided in the Super Program.


A capable and competent camera within its limits. I was lucky enough to find one in near-new condition for very little money, and I do enjoy shooting with it.

Last edited by Sluggo; 04-20-2010 at 08:52 AM.
05-24-2010, 04:30 PM   #4
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Pentax Program A/Program Plus Camera Review

Pros very goodlooking
Cons could use higher shutter speed.the lenses are a bit pricey
Rating 9
Price 25.00
Years Owned four months

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
with the motor drive on i love the thumb rest on the back cover. it feels excellent in my hands.with the motor drive on it's not as heavy as some takes eight double "A's" compared to twelve by some.

Camera Review
i would easily compare this camera to canons A1.having previously owned the latter for some years i decided i would go another direction.after looking around i decided that pentax would be the a couple of me supers but after looking at the program plus i decided to go that direction. love it.
love the everything about it.for the price you cannot beat the camera.
i do admit their motor drives are a little underpowered. it's top speed being 3.5 fps is a bit anemic. the canon Ma drive will do 5fps.but then it takes a total of twelve AA batteries compared to pentax's eight. i miss the shutter speed dial. the buttons work. i just think more thought should have been put into it's design when they downsized it. again with the motor drive i love the way it fits my hands.if you've got big hands opt for the motor drive or prepared to replace the light seals.i've got three of these things and all of the light seals have been replaced by me. i think it's a wise choice.

12-07-2010, 10:34 PM   #5
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Pentax Program A/Program Plus Camera Review

Pros size, price
Cons wish it had 1/2000 shutter speed, no shutter speed priority, only works with batteries
Rating 8
Price (U.S. Dollars) 90$ with 35-105 f3.5 lens
Years Owned 1

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
Small size (compared to my spotmatic)

Nice grip,
Push button shutter speed selection,
Thunderous shutter sound, which I find quite satisfying
As most people prefer Super Program, these go for much lower prices usually.

Camera Review
I bought this camera because of the lens it came with. It was being sold 'as-is' on ebay with Pentax-A 35-105mm f3.5 lens that I wanted.

I knew that this camera didn't work without batteries so I figured this likely was the problem. Since I mostly wanted the lens, I gambled and it paid off.

I stuck in some new batteries and this became my favorite film camera.

I use it more then my Spotmatic.

The one thing I miss is shutter priority mode.

It's not a huge deal, because on my K10D I usually shoot in A-priority mode, but I can imagine situations where it'd be nice to have.

In bright daylight, shooting on iso400 film, I wish it had 1/2000 shutter speed so I could keep the aperture wider.

I've thought of upgrading to a Super-program but don't really see the need.

The only gripe I have about it is that I often leave the camera in auto or manual mode when I put it away and forget to set it back on lock. It's not a big deal but does waste battery life.

I gave this camera an 8/10 because I love it and will use it for sometime. For the price I paid, it's a wonderful camera.

I will only get rid of it if I run into a great deal on a Super Program some day.
But i'm in no rush.
12-20-2010, 02:20 PM   #6
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Pentax Program A/Program Plus Camera Review

Pros compact, auto aperture, compatibility with modern lenses, easy to use
Cons shutter speeds are not completely flexible
Rating 8
Price (U.S. Dollars) 50
Years Owned 1

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
Compact, easy to use, backward and forwards compatibility a big plus.

Camera Review
This is a nice little camera. It is not a pro-level camera and it shows... it's rather automatic, and it is not incredibly easy to fine-tune the shutter speeds, while it is rather easy to fine-tune the aperture.

In general, though, this is a great film body to have. There are a number of reasons for that. First, it is compatible with modern lenses, even those lacking an aperture ring. While many modern lenses are not full-frame compatible, I can comfortably (and often do) use my DA 40 ltd on this camera. The combination is absurdly compact and the results looks magnificent. Even the kit lens can be used at about 20-24mm for a super-wide shot on the go without investing in some rather specialty glass.

Second, it meters very well. It has a slight tendency to overexpose, but it's a nice look. In general, it is safe to leave this camera in auto mode, to allow you to focus on shooting. It's fun and useful in auto... I don't feel the same way about my dslr in P mode .

Third, it's small. This camera likes to follow me around, when my expensive gear feels like a liability or a pain. It's so light you can safely forget about it, and I'd rather lose this thing than my k20d. I really think it's worth picking one up. I know that if I'm going out on a boat, I'd much rather bring along this little guy than my digital rig.

For studio work, I don't think this camera will be ideal, because it gives you very poor control over the shutter speed. If you are more of an AV mode person, this camera works well. However, sometimes shutter speed is more important, and this camera can feel a little inflexible in that regard. Overall it's not a showstopper, but for studio work I would consider the super-program, or one of the even more prestige camera bodies such as the LX. For off-the-cuff photography, though, this camera is wonderful.
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