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01-15-2010, 08:56 AM   #1
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Pentax SF1

I'm currently using a Pentax SF1 for my black and white photography class. I don't have the manual sadly because this camera has been in the family for a while and I guess as it was passed down the manual got lost somewhere.. I have figured how to work it for the most part Minus the Aperture.
I know it's the "F--" area on the camera but anytime I change the aperture on the lense it doesn't read it. Could it be a camera error or am I doing something wrong? I could really use the help, my photography teacher was stumped as am I.

01-15-2010, 09:59 AM   #2
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I don't have my SF1 in front of me but I believe it's probably working fine--I think you'll only see the aperture when using automatic aperture in program or shutter-priority modes. When shooting manual or aperture priority, I think the LCD readout will say F--.

This also may depend on what lens you're using--I believe the Pentax-F lenses that were released along with the SF1 gained the ability to report the manually selected aperture back to the camera body but I'm not certain that the body displays it. Many of the later autofocus bodies like Z/PZ/MZ/ZX series can display the aperture in the viewfinder or on LCD when manually selected via aperture ring. If you're shooting an older manual-focus lens, such as Pentax-A or Pentax-M, these lack the feature where various information is transmitted to the body digitally.

The SF1 is a big, brutish, and noisy body but is pretty well spec'ed (good shutter & feature set) and not without some charm. One of its disadvantages are that the batteries for it are rather expensive and don't last all that long. As for the manual, I can help you with that:

Pentax Manuals

Note that the SF1 is the same as the SFX; I believe SFX was the european name for the same camera. Note that the PDF's from this site are password-protected & the password is noted on the download page of the site.
01-16-2010, 01:07 AM   #3
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As I recall, as long as you are using a M-series or newer lens, the electric contacts in the mount tell the body the maximum aperture and the number of stops the lens is capable of. Additionally, there is a mechanical link in the mount that tells the body what manual aperture the lens is set to. I'm not sure why it wouldn't display, but the camera should still have all the data it needs for metering/auto-exposure in all modes. You will, of course, need an A-series or newer for Shutter Priority (Tv), and Program (P) full auto. This capability is lost on the digital bodies and most MZ/ZX bodies with the "crippled" mount that lacks the mechanism to tell what aperture is manually set on the lens. You can get more info at Welcome to Bojidar Dimitrov's Pentax K-Mount Page
01-16-2010, 10:30 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Portland Pete Quote
As I recall, as long as you are using a M-series or newer lens, the electric contacts in the mount tell the body the maximum aperture and the number of stops the lens is capable of. Additionally, there is a mechanical link in the mount that tells the body what manual aperture the lens is set to. I'm not sure why it wouldn't display, but the camera should still have all the data it needs for metering/auto-exposure in all modes. You will, of course, need an A-series or newer for Shutter Priority (Tv), and Program (P) full auto. This capability is lost on the digital bodies and most MZ/ZX bodies with the "crippled" mount that lacks the mechanism to tell what aperture is manually set on the lens. You can get more info at Welcome to Bojidar Dimitrov's Pentax K-Mount Page
The first electrical information contacts were added with Pentax-A, not M. These also had some limitations--for one thing they don't report different apertures for different focal lenghts on variable-max-aperture zooms. Not until Pentax-F do we get better information, including focal length.

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