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  1. #1
    jaydebruyne's Avatar
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    Pentax Program A - Worth Repairing?

    I've acquired my dad's Pentax Program A with a possible mechanical fault as the winder is stuck.

    I just wondered, apart from the sentimental value, is it worth spending £50+ on fixing it? Are they good cameras?

    Any help would be grand.

    Cheers
    Jay
    I'm going to run with both hands...

  2. #2
    Hatchetman's Avatar
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    If you were in the US, I would say no. A working Pentax SLR can be had for $20 or less. Replace the light seals and lubricate for another $75. You'd have a like new camera for $95.

  3. #3

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    I've been a Pentax fan for 30+ years and always found them good cameras. The Programme A was introduced in 1984 and has quite a lot of electronics, so this might be a factor to consider (replacement mechanical parts can often be sourced easier than electronic circuits).

    If it were a all-mechanical Pentax (MX or earlier?) or even the rather under-rated LX, I'd have no hesitation in having a repair at a reasonable price. I'm not sure from your post what your figure is for the proposed repair? If it is £163.50 it sound a bit steep unless it includes a full CLA, and you attach any sentimental value. If you just want a good working Pentax it might be looking at all options, as Hatchetman suggests.

    Just my thoughts.

  4. #4
    jaydebruyne's Avatar
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    Sorry, not sure what happened there. Repair has been quoted at £50 roughly...

    I'm going to run with both hands..
    I'm going to run with both hands...

  5. #5
    jaydebruyne's Avatar
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    Grrrr.. fifty pounds.

    I'm going to run with both hands..
    I'm going to run with both hands...

  6. #6
    Pioneer's Avatar
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    The Program A was a budget version of the Super A. It is not particularly easy to change the shutter speeds unless you adjust the aperture to get the speed you want. However, it does have some benefits.

    First, it is one of the few Pentax film cameras that can work with the newer digital lenses that do not come with an aperture ring. Obviously, if the lens does not cover the full image circle of 35mm film then there will be vignetting but several newer Pentax digital lenses do cover the full frame circle.

    Next, it is a very small and very light camera, so it is quite easy to pack around.

    Third, it uses the easily available S76 button cell batteries.

    The programmed exposure is pretty accurate and it has 2 stops of positive and negative exposure compensation.

    Fifth, it is actually a pretty simple camera to use.

    Now, as has already been mentioned. The price mentioned for repair seems a bit high for this camera since a working version can be purchased for much less. And it really does not have to be this one. Pentax produce several similar types during this era. I guess a lot of it boils down to how much sentiment is attached.

  7. #7

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    OK, so my first reply had a note that said a moderator had to approve it first (because I am new I guess) but then when I decided to donate to the site it just disappeared totally, so either neither or both replies will likely show up now.

    Try new batteries, if the shutter can't fire it won't reset the winder and it stays jammed. Those batteries are available almost literally everywhere batteries are sold, and though they last a long time I carry spares since they are tiny.

    If it does need to go in for service, unless you want it for sentimental value just replace it with a better Super A (Super Program) which can be had cheap and has some key useful features added, otherwise send it to Robin: http://harrowtechnical.co.uk/ 50 pounds is about what a good CLA costs in my experience.
    You can get a working camera cheap, but I don't trust any 30 year old camera unless its had a CLA to replace all the foam and bumpers and had its speeds all checked.

    I could go for pages on why Pentax is an excellent choice for film cameras if you like.

  8. #8
    lxdude's Avatar
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    50 pounds sounds reasonable enough, especially if it being your dad's makes it more valuable to you.
    I do use a digital device in my photographic pursuits when necessary.
    When someone rags on me for using film, I use a middle digit, upraised.

  9. #9
    jaydebruyne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PPPPPP42 View Post
    Try new batteries, if the shutter can't fire it won't reset the winder and it stays jammed. Those batteries are available almost literally everywhere batteries are sold, and though they last a long time I carry spares since they are tiny.

    If it does need to go in for service, unless you want it for sentimental value just replace it with a better Super A (Super Program) which can be had cheap and has some key useful features added, otherwise send it to Robin: http://harrowtechnical.co.uk/ 50 pounds is about what a good CLA costs in my experience.
    You can get a working camera cheap, but I don't trust any 30 year old camera unless its had a CLA to replace all the foam and bumpers and had its speeds all checked.

    I could go for pages on why Pentax is an excellent choice for film cameras if you like.
    Hey,

    I put new batteries in when I got it cleaned, which is when I found out it had a potential mechanical fault.

    I'll check out Harrow Technical.

    I do want to shoot with this body, as it was my dad's. But saying that, I don't want to pay over the odds if it's not worth it in terms of the camera.

    Cheers for the reply

    I'm going to run with both hands..
    I'm going to run with both hands...

  10. #10

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    It is not a bad camera by any means quality wise, it simply was a more budget minded model compared to its big brother the Super A which can be had very cheaply now. So its better to get a Super A and put the CLA money into that, but you would not be wasting your money to fix the Program A if it means something to you unless something major turns out to be wrong with it that would require major parts to be scrounged up. I would guess regular servicing will sort the issue out since things likely just got hung up and are now out of sync. Parts are not an issue since they made a metric crap ton of these things over the years and most places have a pile of parts cameras on hand.

    You can compare apples to apples here:
    http://www.pentaxforums.com/camerare...r-program.html
    http://www.pentaxforums.com/camerare...gram-plus.html
    Ignore the prices and review scores as they are always totally screwed up but the boxes with tech specs and that brief description will tell you exactly why the one is better than the other.

    The loss of the 1/2000 shutter speed is a big one for me as I like to shoot Ilford Delta 400 and on a sunny day its super handy for getting a shallower depth of field without using a ND filter.

    You can use any Pentax full frame lens ever made with that camera (with M42 adapter for old stuff) so you have no shortage of high quality low cost used glass available to put on it if you stick with it.

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