Pentax Super Program

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I recently came into possession of a Pentax Super Program, a 35mm SLR made in the early Eighties. I have always wanted the completely manaul Pentax K1000, and since I already own the fantasticly automatic Pentax ZX5n, I wasn’t sure what I would think of the Super Program

While researching the Super Program I was impressed by the loyal following that this camera has earned over the years. People praise its reliability, exposure accuracy, small size, and sharp lenses.

One of the first things you notice about this camera is that it doesn’t have a shutter speed knob like a the old K1000’s or the newer ZX5n’s. When you are in the “M” mode (manually metered) or shutter priority mode you use the two buttons on the top of the camera to cycle betweeen shutter speeds. My preference is firmly in favor of knobs, but once you get used to the idea, the buttons are fine. There is a digital readout on the top and in the viewfinder that tells you what shutter speed you have selected. I guess my biggest complaint is that the controls aren’t real intuitive at first glance. Fortunately, it isn’t as complex as it first seems and once you get the hang of it it is pretty simple. Here is a photo that shows the main controls:

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My ZX5n has a solid feel to it, but the Super Pentax has less plastic and just feels like it can handle more abuse. It feels like a machine as opposed to a an electronic device, if that makes any sense. It has more metal parts, but the weight is comparable to the ZX5n, which is a good thing. Compared to a K1000 it is slightly smaller as well. What I am trying to say is that it feels great in your hands. It makes you want to take it around the world in rough conditions and “dare” it to not perform.

So, it took me a little time to warm up to this camera, but now I am hooked. They don’t make cameras like this anymore, so if you have a chance to get one, I highly recommend it. Here is one more glamour photo to leave you with:

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Here are some of the auctions on Ebay for Pentax Super Program cameras that you might be interested in:

4 Responses to “Pentax Super Program”

  1. Russel Says:

    Hi

    I’m upgrading to a Nikon EM and I am looking to pass my K 1000 (chinese made) on to someone who would treasure her. She comes with a 50mm pentax, 28mm contax and a 35 – 80 mm pentax AF. The 50 is the lens that got me back into film photography and I lknow you’d like her – fast n sharp.

    If you’d like, she’s yours. I’m based in Tel Aviv so all you’d have to pay would be the postage.

    cheers

    R

  2. WHLanteigne Says:

    I recently came into posession of a Pentax Program Plus, very similar to the Super Program. It also came with 28-80 and 75-300 zooms in addition to the 50mm “normal” lens. Cost about a gallon of gas to pick it up on the other side of town, I got it free via Freecycle. I post a Freecycle “wanted” once a month requesting “orphaned” cameras. (Mostly from Freecycle I get P&S and autofocus 35mm cameras [generally in working condition], but now and then a real gem like the Pentax comes my way…)

    I would also like to have a K-1000, but I’ve got several K-1000 “clones” (Vivitar V3000, Kalimar K90, Sears “K” and Ricoh “KR” SLRs). Some of the (originally) more expensive Pentaxes are now available fairly cheap (K2, KX, KM), but the K-1000s are still kinda pricey, usually around $100 with a 50mm lens. I’d be tickled pink with a KX or KM.

  3. James Says:

    Going through a local pawn shop the other day, I came across a Pentax Super Program. Very good condition, except for the fact that the film advance lever was stuck, this of course i didnt realize ubtil i got it home. I am a novice photographer as is my son, so I took it to a local camera shop. He quickly freed the mechanism and voua lah!! I had a great camera for twenty bucks! My son & I are learning together! It came with an SMC PENTAX 1:1.7 50mm lens. I found this web site and thank you very much for this site! an old Shutter Bug!

    thanks

  4. Shaun Says:

    I HAVE ONE… with a 28-80mm lens… wohoooo!

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