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Wednesday, 27 November 2019


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The only camera company with five interchangeable lens mounts, all of which can still be used (provided the FFD is equal or lesser) on modern cameras!

A Honeywell Pentax H1a was the first new camera I owned. Bought it in high school and loved it and still have a fondness for screw mount Pentax cameras.

The first SLR I ever used was my Dad's SP500 with the 55/1.8 Super-Takumar. I still have them. My first serious gear purchase (at the age of 19) was a Super-Tak 50/1.4 that I used on an old Praktica I'd been given. I still have that lens, too. When I graduated from university I bought a Pentax LX, accumulated a handful of lenses, and spent the next 15 years shooting everything with them. The whole kit was stolen in the mid-90's and I moved away from Pentax. But those formative years with Pentax taught me to think about the lenses first. Not saying I never get seduced by the hype for the latest high-pixel, fast-focus Whiz-camera, but I usually manage to calm down and think about what lenses can I get before I give somebody thousands of dollars.

When I was an undergrad in the '80's, guys started showing up at club meetings with the latest ultra-amazing lenses ("zooms", they were called) but during someone's slide-show, I muttered quietly that I thought the pictures seemed all kind of soft. When it got out that I had said that, a not-so-polite discussion ensued about how, since I had only one measly 50mm lens to my name (the aforementioned Super-Tak 1.4) I didn't know what I was talking about. Luckily, before friendships were ruined, some guy from the back said something like, "if all I ever looked at were slides taken with a Pentax, everything else is going to look soft". I suspect the zoom guys thought that he was taking their side (!) and that's okay with me. It uturns out, I didn't find non-Pentax lenses that I was really happy with for another 20 years.

I follow Ned Bunnell on Instagram (thanks to this web/blog for introducing me to Ned) and he has opened my eyes to many gorgeous Pentax products, especially the Pentax SL, previously unknown to me. Too bad I have no GAS.

I got into photography in 1983, buying an Olympus XA2 to record my visits to medieval churches. When the SLR bug bit, I went for the Pentax ME Super because it seemed to have a lot for the price (the Olympus OM2n was out of reach). Since then I've tried pretty much every brand, but have come to appreciate the sublime handling qualities that Pentax regard as a priority. Even their most complex models can be set to the simplest functions easily (I may be wrong, butI think they invented the green button default feature). The MX, LX, MZ-S and a series of DSLRs beginning with the K10 have been lovely devices with superb build quality (where Canon went very wrong, IMO, at least with their non-professional lines), giving as much pride of ownership as sensible money can provide. And the lenses ...

@ Stephen Cowdery: The only camera company with five interchangeable lens mounts
Actually, there have been seven, though only five are a practical option. In order of flange distance they are:
Auto 110
M37 (Asahiflex)
The Q mount is only 9.2mm from the sensor plane, and I think it's the shortest distance of all mounts by anyone, so no infinity focus. M37 lenses are probably a bit hard to come by these days. Neither are practical, but as you say, all the others can be used on other cameras.

I went to the birthday celebrations at the SRS camera shop in Watford, England. Since I had unwisely said that I was going, to the USA Pentax Forum, I was "volunteered" to bring back a report and pictures. Here it is, on their forum:

The only bad thing about the 645z is that it was very slow to come to market. I had a Pentax 67 with several lenses that I hoped to use with it before gradually buying native lenses and I was waiting and waiting and waiting for the 645z which was promised by Pentax and promised and then delayed again. By the time it actually came, I had switched to Hasselblad.

Hi Mike,

As we note the 100th anniversary of the founding of Asahi Optical, it is fitting to celebrate their achievement, not just in camera design and production, but also in creating the Takumar line of lenses, which first put Asahi on the international map alongside Carl Zeiss and other great photographic companies.

Taks are justly famous for their outstandingly smooth out of focus areas, and rank alongside Zeiss lenses as go-to lenses today for those interested in trying them out on modern digital SLRs and mirrorless cameras with an adapter.

Great to see what images these classic film-era creations can capture in the digital arena, and the fact that they have a bit of a different look than pics from modern lenses is part of their appeal.

Jeff Clevenger

One of the lovely aspects of the new Fuji medium format cameras is the attendant price drop on mint used 645Z equipment. I agree with Tex here. After I commented earlier, I had an hour with our museum’s impatient director to shoot new portraits in four different locations around the building. One soft LED source traveled with us and the results at isos between 1600 and 3200 were just splendid.

Some might go further: …"the calm, easygoing, phlegmatic disposition that seems to be" a necessary "characteristic of Pentaxians".

Is it true though? I've been with Pentax since 1980; and I would strongly resemble such a remark.

When I started dating my then girlfriend (now happily wife), my first significant present to her was an all-manual Pentax P30 with a 28/80 lens. We made many shots with it and some people from the family realized it was a good combo since it made great pictures, and even asked it to be loaned for a while.

With time we moved to autofocus and got a Nikon with a large zoom, whose quality was never close to the pics we made with our beloved Pentax.

In 2007 we returned home by purchasing a Pentax K10 with the standard 18-55 lenses. Since then we have added other lenses, including a zoom, a manual Tamron 90 mm 2.5, and more recently a 50 mm. Even if the K10 has been "outdated" for a long time in terms of specs with respect the current bunch of modern digital cameras, it is more than enough for our needs. And I must say that still today, when I use the Tamron 90 mm, the results are often stellar.

From time to time I get the new purchase syndrome and am tempted to get a Pentax K1... but at the end I think it is probably too much camera for my needs, and is hard to justify the money I would spend. (Although if I had to bet, I would not bet that I will keep forever in this situation...).

[You should look at this maybe--



I'm not wildly loyal to brands, but I am loyal to ergonomics and intuitive ease of use. Every time I pick up my Pentax 645Nii it melts away and simply operates beautifully.

I only have one digital Pentax. It is to do with Astro photo which the Pentax has a thing that can follow the star using its sensor. I got it. Put it not drying box and use other devices to take Astro photo instead. Sorry. Guess it is the ultimate example of seldom (never) used and kept in drying box as in those selling Adv. Anyway still love to read Pentax forum, as my Pentax 67 is really a good platform to use.

Happy 100 years Pentax.

You missed the Heiland Pentaxes!

Heiland Research had been a maker of flash equipment since at least the 1930s. Sometime in the early 1950s (there seems to be some disagreement as to exactly when), they were acquired by Honeywell Corporation. For a period of time it was apparently operated as a wholly owned subsidiary, using their own brand name. At some point they started importing Pentax cameras, which were dutifully marked as Heiland Pentax.

After a short time, the Honeywell logo started to be stamped on the top of the pentaprism, without fill paint, while the nameplate continued to say Heiland. At some point Honeywell completely absorbed the Heiland operation (or decided that the brand needed to die) and the Heiland Pentax nameplate disappeared — to be replaced by the Honeywell Pentax plate we know and love.

At one point back in the 1980s I had a small collection of Heiland Pentaxes along with their identical Honeywell-branded versions. The hardest things to find, even then, were the metal lenscaps with Heiland Pentax embossing.

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