Pentax Super Program Experiences?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by snegron, Nov 8, 2007.

  1. snegron

    snegron Member

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    My dad was on one of his usual garge sale outings recently (his favorite pastime since he retired several years ago) when he came across a Pentax Super Program with 50mm 1.7 SMC-A lens. He purchased it from the owner for $6.00! Knowing that I love 35mm cameras, my dad sent it to me.

    I put a couple of 1.5V batteries in it and it works! The lens is in near perfect condition, and I cleaned up the body to reveal that it too looks great.

    I don't have hardly any experience with Pentax cameras (I have shot mostly Nikon and Mamiya) other than a Pentax K1000 I had in the late 70's. Can anyone here share any experiences, quirks, things to watch out for, metering hints, etc., about the Super Program?

    I plan to shoot a few rolls with it soon just for fun. I think it is fantastic that cameras can be purchased for almost next to nothing now. :smile:

    p.s. Can I use a Vivitar 285HV on it without damaging the camera?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 8, 2007
  2. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

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    This camera has a lot of fans, unfortunately not including me. I find any Pentax with averaging metering virtually unusable (have to use a separate meter), vibration levels rise as cameras get older, and on the couple of ME Super models I have attempted to use (I believe this was the predecessor to the Super Program), the light metering was defective in any case (no spares now available). I have almost always owned a Pentax throughout the last 40 years and now have several examples of the MZ5-n, which has super-accurate matrix metering and sells in good condition for around £50 on e-bay. Many will disagree with me, and I am sure there are plenty of cared-for older Pentaxes out there that do work properly, but I wouldn't touch one with a ten-foot pole!
     
  3. snegron

    snegron Member

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    Lucky for me it was free! Worse case scenario I can always get another Pentax body and use this lens. The lens is very clean, feels and looks new. It has been protected by a filter for many years. I guess I'll find out this weekend if the camera works well with film or not. As far as I see it I loose nothing!
     
  4. Struan Gray

    Struan Gray Member

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    I used one for over thirty years of hiking and climbing. Before that I had an ME super. Great lightweight cameras with small bodies and near infinite battery life. I just know the metering pattern, and don't usually have any problems, even with sunlit snowscapes.

    The metering circuits do go bad - my ME super is a couple of stops fast, and dies in low light - but more often it is corrosion in the ASA selector dial on the left that causes problems. Scrubbing it back and forth several times through all the possible ASA values will often bring a sluggish meter back to life. A proper disassemble and clean will cure the problem.

    Other things that go are the foam seals round the rear door and mirror damping foam, although oddly enough the ME super and Super Program models don't seem as bad as the LX on that front.

    The main reason to use this camera would be its relatively compact size and the lovely A-series lenses. We have an MZ-5 as well, but except when chasing small children round the garden, I still prefer the manual models, if only for the viewfinder display.
     
  5. gr82bart

    gr82bart Subscriber

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    I had a Super Program in highschool. I don't remember any quirks or anything about it except I used it a lot before I bought an LX in my last year of highschool. I did have a funky 28-135 zoom lens I remember, I had to buy a special module for my Vivitar flash, and I also remember having to use foil a couple times for the motor drive because the battery compartment insert was constantly loose. I bought an extra insert - it eventually became loose too. That's about the only unique thing I can remember about the Super Program.

    My entire Pentax gear has been sitting somewhere in my parent's basement since I went to university and I 'graduated' to a Nikon F4e. I have fond memories of my Pentax cameras. Maybe when I visit my parents over the thanksgiving holiday, I'll revive the cameras and give them a spin for nostaglia's sake.

    Anyway, have fun.

    Regards, Art.
     
  6. snegron

    snegron Member

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    I shot a test roll today with the "new-to-me" Pentax and I was pleasantly surprised! I shot in Aperture Priority mode, a roll of of cheap Kodak Max ISO 400. I had it developed at a local drug store.

    The images were all well exposed and sharp. I was surprised that the drug store actually got the colors right as well. Funny thing was that my wife complained about a few little wrinkles she had never seen before that were visible in the prints (my DSLR's have made things soft and fuzzy for her in the recent past). As far as sharpness goes I would say that the results were about the same as I would have expected from any of my Nikon lenses. I am now even more happy knowing that my dad picked up this little gem for only $6.00!