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05-26-2009, 07:13 AM   #1
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Recommended replacement for a Program A

Hi All. I'm a big fan of Pentax K mount SLR's and have been using a couple of Program A and a P30T happily for the past 5 years. However, the final working Program A looks like it's given up the ghost & while I may yet look into getting it fixed, I wondered if anyone had a suggestion for an alternative model?

Of the P30T and the Program A I much prefer the latter as it gives me more manual override options than the P30T without being completely manual. I use it mostly on Auto, but it's nice to flip into manual if required. I also like the size of the Program A and wouldn't want to use anything larger. I own and use Large Format and MF cameras so would like to keep my 35mm SLRs reasonably compact.

So, recommend away. Should I go with another Program A or are there other models I should try out? These beauties go so cheaply on evilBay these days that I'm happy to try anything.

Thanks in advance



05-26-2009, 07:21 AM   #2
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Program A / Program Plus is a good camera - its fancier brother is the Super A / Super Program, this has some things the Pgm A doesn't. I don't mind my Pgm Plus, but if some day a Super A came my way I would not complain. As I have the AF280T I'd get ttl flash... and probably a few other improved specs that I'd use.

Otherwise, the ME Super has a good rep around here, you only get Av mode rather than program, but the view finder's bigger than with the Program series.
05-26-2009, 09:32 AM   #3
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Why not get another Program A or Super Program? They are very nice cameras. The ME Super does not have Shutter priority autoexposure or program. I love my Super Program and actually have a nice one I could sell but I don't know how shipping to England, with duties and all that, would work.
05-26-2009, 10:39 AM   #4
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Unless you can find a seller who really knows the camera they are selling, I'm going to argue in favor of getting your Program A fixed and overhauled. It may cost a bit more than getting another one, but I'd say the odds of it lasting a couple more decades are better.

05-26-2009, 08:30 PM   #5
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Find yourself a clean Super A/Super program and have it fixed if/when it dies.
05-28-2009, 06:09 AM   #6
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Thanks all; I really appreciate your replies and opinions. It's also good to see so much love here for this family of cameras.

In the end I decided to try out an ME Super as I found a body in great condition from a reputable seller at a mere GBP30. In the meantime I'll look into getting my Program A fixed (although suspect the cost may be steep) and keep my eye out for a Super A or Super Program as I really enjoyed using the Program A.
05-29-2009, 02:30 PM   #7
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I'd also join in with a Super Program (Super A) recommendation, for a sweet "upgrade" from your Program A. You could use it like a Program A instantly, and yet you'd have a good time learning its extra features.

However, another Program Plus (Program A) would be fine, too - I have found that this model is the smartest "downgrade" (from the Super A) Pentax ever made (in the sense that, while it resulted from removing features from the Super A, it did keep most of the "real good 'uns" - <g>).
05-31-2009, 06:48 AM   #8
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P5/P50 is pretty neat camera - it's essentialy a P30 in metal casing, with fully manual controls.

06-02-2009, 07:19 AM   #9
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the thing I like about the program-A is that you can switch it on easily as it has a grippy mode dial. My one also died a few years ago, and I replaced it with a super-a/superprogram, which is really no different for me, apart from have a harder rubber dial which is a bit more fiddly. It also has shutter priority, and is a good all-round camera.

Dunc
06-02-2009, 08:05 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Duncan J Murray Quote
the thing I like about the program-A is that you can switch it on easily as it has a grippy mode dial. My one also died a few years ago, and I replaced it with a super-a/superprogram, which is really no different for me, apart from have a harder rubber dial which is a bit more fiddly.
I know what you mean, Duncan, about the difference between the Program Super/A and Super Program/A mode dials.

Although I now use DSLR's (Pentax, of course - <g>) for the purpose, starting back in the 1980's, when I upgraded from a apir of ME Supers to a pair of Super Programs, I used Super Programs - and then Program Pluses - for a pair of dedicated whale watch camera bodies (for whale ID photos). In all cases, I used (and abused) all these three models with ME II winders, and held them much of the time (when not actually shooting) with my right hand only (since I had a microphone in my left hand on the boat most of the time).

I switched to the Program Pluses because the features that were "missing" (compared to the Super Programs) were not a factor for me shooting on a boat in the daylight (aperture-priority and manual exposure all the time), ~AND~ because I could, with a simple flick of the finger on my right hand, while holding onto the ME II winder at the time, change the mode dial effortlessly.

So, I ~know~ what you are referring to when you mention the Program A's "grippy mode dial" - <g>. I do have fond memories of using (and, unfortunately, abusing) those Program A's for quite a few trouble-free years.
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