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07-22-2007, 03:27 PM   #1
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Asahi Pentax S.

I just joined this forum earlier today. I was fairly excited to find a Pentax film forum. I still have a P3, an SF10, and my oldest pentax, the Ashai Pentax S. Interestingly enough, I found this at a local yard sale, and bought it for my High school course in the late 80s, but decided to keep it as I really like the feel of old cameras. There is this quality and workmanship that transcends any rationality when you hold one of these old cameras.

Anyways, I just recently found out that it is a fairly rare Pentax camera that has the distinction of having a low production run. This model came with several lenses, including the 55mm f2.2 Takumar lens mentioned below.

Here is the excerpt taken from Articles For Pentax Collectors.

QuoteQuote:
Asahi Pentax S

In April 1958, eleven months after the initiation of sales of the Asahi Pentax, AOC released the second of the pre-1959 pentaprism models; the Asahi Pentax S. The model S was the first AOC camera to carry the model designation on the body. The substantive design alteration of the Pentax S was the movement to a revised progression of shutter speeds equivalent to those found on modern day cameras. With the exception of the aforementioned differences, the Pentax S was essentially identical to the Asahi Pentax.

The model S was introduced just one month before the release of the Pentax K. It is perhaps most appropriate to think of it as a less expensive alternative to the Pentax K and not as a transitional model. A major advertisement in a U.S. photography magazine featured both the Pentax S and the Pentax K, and promoted the cameras based upon differences in features and price. As with the Asahi Pentax, the model S was available in an all black enamel finish. Asahi Pentax S examples have been reported without the S designation, however, such cameras appear to be non-AOC hybrids of S models and an Asahi Pentax body top. The Pentax S was produced concurrently with the Pentax K, and was discontinued in May, 1959.

The Pentax S was identified as having two standard lenses; the 55mm f/2.2 Takumar, and a 55mm f/1.8 Takumar. The 55mm f/1.8 was a newly developed model, and is perhaps the predecessor to the 55mm f/1.8 Auto-Takumar introduced with the Pentax K. It should be noted that a review of AOC literature indicates that by the time the model S was available, AOC provided photographers with a full range of optics which included 35mm f/4, 83mm f/1.9, 105mm f/2.8, 135mm f/3.5, 300mm f/4, and 500m f/5 models. In addition, AOC information indicates that the 1,000mm f/8 Takumar was released in May 1958, just one month after the release of the Pentax S.

In the previous account provided on the Asahiflex cameras, I stated that it appeared that the Asahiflex I was the second least produced standard production AOC SLR model. I made that statement because information collected during my review, as well as a study of serial number clumping characteristics indicates that fewer Pentax S cameras were produced than any other standard production model. When I refer to "standard production" models, I am excluding motor drive bodies and special use pieces for medical or law enforcement purposes. For this reason, the Pentax S is a very difficult camera to locate in any condition. Collectors building an AOC collection, should purchase examples of the Pentax S whenever possible.








My question is this. Is the above information right? Is it that hard to come by? I know I would never sell it as I am sort of attatched to all my Pentax gear.


Last edited by Chako; 07-22-2007 at 03:55 PM.
07-22-2007, 06:10 PM   #2
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Interesting.

According to Danilo Cecchi's book the Pentax "S" model bore no model designation. He does confirm the limited production runs. He has a photo of an "S" (with geometric shutter speed progression) but no model designation. Serial number 150981 and the letters ASA next to the speed reminder dial.

Yours is more like the "K" with no ASA marking and a serial number very close to that model. His photo of a "K" (165918) has no "ASA" lettering. My guess would be that the last of the "S" models were like yours just as the "K" models were just getting to market. But that's just a guess.

EDIT: On further reading Cecchi's book the "S" was out of production and replaced by the "K" which contradicts the Pentax collector's information. Maybe your camera was a run for North America only or Cecchi's information is incomplete. Just compounds the mystery I guess.

cheers

Greg

Last edited by wirrah; 07-22-2007 at 06:26 PM. Reason: More info
07-22-2007, 08:02 PM   #3
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Thank you very much for your reply. The information you have given me is quite interesting. I have looked high and low on the internet trying to find information on this camera. I was hoping someone who frequents this forum would have some answers.
07-22-2007, 08:23 PM   #4
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Thanks for the big help. I googled the authors name that you noted, and I eventually found this web site with some real good information.

AP

QuoteQuote:
A variation of the Asahi Pentax Original was the Asahi Pentax S. It was introduced in April 1958 and discontinued in May 1959. Visible differences between the Asahi Pentax and the Asahi Pentax S include the different progression of shutter speeds (with the latter featuring the modern near arithmetical progression of speeds) and a different film reminder dial. The film reminder dial was the same as that found on the next Asahi Pentax K (the third and last model of the first series of Asahi Pentax cameras). Since the Asahi Pentax S was sold at the same time as the Pentax K, it can be considered to be a budget version of the Pentax K. The Asahi Pentax S was also available in either satin chrome or all black finish, both being uncommon. The Asahi Pentax S also had the S model designation 'S' marked below the serial number. A few early bodies have been reported in the literature with no model designation at all. It is possible these examples represent damaged Asahi Pentax S cameras with top housing plates replaced with spare AP plates, bearing the AP lower serial numbers. Registered serial numbers for the Asahi Pentax S range from 150981 to 165354 (154000 to 162000 according to Mr.Sherfy) and a total production of less than 4,000 pcs has been estimated by Fred Sherfy in his book. The standard lenses for the Asahi Pentax S were the 55mm f/2.2 Takumar or the 55mm f/1.8 Takumar in Pentacon/Pentax M42x1 screw mount.
Wow. Estimated production of less then 4,000...very interesting. This was the information I was mostly looking for. From those numbers, it looks like I may have a fairly early production model at that. I must have gotten lucky when I found this at a garage sale.


Last edited by Chako; 07-22-2007 at 08:33 PM.
07-22-2007, 08:44 PM   #5
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Serial Numbers

You might find this a useful reference for serial numbers.

View entire database by model

cheers

Greg
07-22-2007, 09:08 PM   #6
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Oops. Meant to say that my camera appears to be one of the last made based upon the serial number.

Thanks Wirrah for the link.
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