Written on: 27/06/2006 by oniko (35 reviews written)
These cameras are now very cheap and have a huge range of lenses to choose from.
Some of their batteries are now hard to get, and older models are now hard to get parts for repairs.
Now that digital cameras are all the rage, the Asahi Pentax and Pentax, 1952-89 35mm SLR solid metal cameras are very good value.
They have two different mount types. The earlier versions had a screw mount. There are lenses of all makes and models for these everywhere.
As they are not auto focus, and everything has to be done manually, the general masses don't want them.
The second mount is a bayonet mount, and the same huge range of cheap lenses are available.
The spotmatics or screw thread versions used stop down metering, which means that the lens shut down to the aperture selected by the user; this means that the screen darkened for metering and turning the meter off you could focus and take the photo.
These cameras took a non-banned mercury based battery, the px400, but all you need to do is buy a pack of 5 1.5 volt hearing aid batteries. Put a small rubber or plastic washer in to set the battery on the terminals, and you are in action.
parts are very hard to come by for repairs, but as they are so cheap at $20 US, strip another or just buy another.
The bayonet mounts are better repairs, and also take the more popular lr44 batteries.
These are full aperture metering, which means the lens stops down when you are taking the actual photo.
With these you can get motor-drives and better flash systems.
The lenses are very high quality, as Pentax still makes 6 x 4.5 and 6 x 7 cm cameras. A 35- 50- 135mm kit will shoot most anything, and have a fast f3.5 min aperture on them.
Pawn and junk shops have lots of them, as they were, and still are very good and popular cameras.
For a very small outlay try a kit of body and a few lenses, and you will see your photography improve as you spend more time with light, focus and subject matter.
A lot of people just point and click on the programme mode of their newer cameras, so try going back to completely manual.