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05-23-2009, 06:58 PM   #1
Ole's Avatar

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Pentax P5/P50

Year introduced
Meter range
1 - 18 EV
Meter pattern
ISO range
DX ISO range
25 - 1600
Exposure modes
P, Av, M, X, B
Exposure compensation
+/-3 EV
Exposure memory lock
Shutter speeds (auto)
1 - 1/1000s
Shutter speeds (manual)
1 - 1/1000s, B
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)
137 x 87.5 x 50.5 mm
525 g
Program modes: Action and Depth of field

Attached Images
View Picture EXIF
PENTAX K-7  Photo   

Last edited by Ole; 06-12-2010 at 10:04 PM.
06-07-2010, 08:44 PM   #2
Ole's Avatar

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Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
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Original Poster
Pentax P5/P50 Camera Review

Pros Compact, solid build. Av, P and M modes. Good viewfinder
Cons Push buttons in lieu of dials. TTL flash not supported
Rating 6
Price US $ 47 (2010, near mint)
Years Owned 1 month

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
This is a solidly built camera, almost like a little sister to the LX. It feels more sturdy than the P3 although they weigh about the same.

It is even easier to load than the M family. The multi-slotted take-up spool has been replaced by one with a rubberized surface. You basically just drop in the film and off you go.

There is no information of the aperture selected by the camera in the program mode. Program mode is thus just for snapshots. If you want to know what aperture you're shooting at you'll have to use Av or Manual exposure modes and set the aperture yourself.

The camera is great value today where it is available second hand for very little money. It seems to be less popular than its older sisters, the ME/ME Super and Super A/Super Program, hence the price is lower. Compared to the Super A/Super Program the P5 is slightly lower spec'ed (top speed 1/1000, no TTL flash support and no aperture indication in viewfinder).

ISO is set by the DX coding on the film canister. There is no manual setting of ISO. If you load film into canisters yourself you need to take this into account.

Camera Review
What I like:
- Compact size, solid feel
- The shutter speeds are shown in the viewfinder as numerals
- EV compensation warning and exposure mode shown in viewfinder
- Top deck LCD showing EV compensation, shutter speed and exposure mode
- Av exposure mode (my preference) in addition to Manual and Program
- Two program modes: Action and depth of field
- Depth of Field preview
- Even easier to load than the ME Super
- Motor drive can be attached
- Cable release socket (for the old all-mechanical type)

What I care less about:
- No information about the aperture selected by the camera in program mode (bummer - this drops my rating from 7 to 6)
- No dials, a push button interface instead. I prefer a classic interface like the ZX-5N (but I prefer the viewfinder and build of the P5!)
- The placement of the up/down buttons takes some getting used to if you come from a ME Super or Super A/Super program
- Flash synch speed is a slow 1/100 sec
- No of TTL flash support
- Some might miss Tv exposure mode. I don't

Last edited by Ole; 06-08-2010 at 07:37 PM.
12-14-2010, 07:24 AM   #3
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Pentax P5/P50 Camera Review

Pros Dirt cheap, nice feel, Can use any lens
Cons No aperture information on A setting, No TTL flash
Rating 5
Price (U.S. Dollars) 24
Years Owned Less than 1

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
Good looking and nice feel. Not cheap and plasticky as some claim about the P series. Compact size, though not the smallest manual.

LED shutter speed display in finder. Nice top LCD display. Power switch is also a welcome addition.

Takes the same MEII winder as the Superprogram.

Price is amazingly low.

Camera Review
Ole has really listed the pros and cons thoroughly, and there is no need to go over that again.

For $24 in mint condition, I can't complain. That's disposable camera territory. My copy works well and handles well. I'm not too hung up about the DX coding issue.

However, two issues when used with newer lenses and equipment will keep this camera from being a favorite:

1) Lack of any aperture information in the finder regardless of lens setting and lack of any aperture information anywhere when the "A" setting on the lens is used. It is hard to understand why Pentax omitted this information. This makes this camera of much less use as a serious film body for the newer lenses that have no aperture ring. I've gotten excellent results with the DA40 on this body, but it is strictly program point and shoot exposure.

2) Flash operation is awkward. TTL was also removed from the set of features when this body succeeded the SuperProgram. However, most recent Pentax flashes default to some form of TTL. On this body, such a flash may just fire at 100% unless the setting is changed to auto. On the positive side, you can use some flashes in the "auto" mode to set the aperture even on a lens lacks an apertur ring. It is the only way to control the aperture on such a lens.

My guess is that if it weren't for these two issues, you'd see this body fetching the same price as the Superprogram as a backup for a DSLR. I do like its finder better, and film loading is a breeze.

Last edited by GeneV; 12-14-2010 at 08:08 AM.
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