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Monday, 17 June 2024


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I’m thinking a bit like you, Mike. I don’t know that I want a half-frame film camera. But I’m tempted to buy one to ensure there’ll be a second Pentax film camera - which I might be very much interested in.

Meanwhile, any thoughts yet on whether you’ll be in the market for a Leica D-lux 8?

I'm still wondering how this got made. It cost $500 and is entering a world with less and less support for film unless you live in one of those major metropolitan cities. And if you do still have a one-hour lab using some sort of Fuji Frontier or equivalent processor, will it adapt to the unique format, or will it erroneously print two frames on one print? Film quality is already behind basic digital, and then they decide to use half the real estate of the frame, why?

For those that wish to experiment with film, well under $500 will buy a lot of vintage world class cameras that people would have killed for back when film ruled the world.

First those that fully embraced the post-film era, knowing how the universal support for that format has basically evaporated, I can't imagine this camera being around for long before the error is realized.

A half-frame, vertical only film camera is a non-starter IMO. Good luck Pentax.

Is it true that there's no manual exposure mode? Asking for a friend...

Is this the first production camera with an explicit BOKEH mode setting? I have to imagine that at least one person on the development team was anticipating your delight at this camera finally making it to production.


Pancake lens! Quite a handsome camera, too. I like that the body is composed of bits of Pentax history. Not sure how I feel about six-zone focusing AND auto-only exposure. I hope there's a budget model at some point. Great that it's here, though!

I feel the same about buying one just to encourage them.

I am so sick and tired of watching people endlessly scroll through their phone photos just to show me some boring snap. Just hand me a stack of 4x6s already. Put them in a shoe box, where they belong.

Honestly, I just don't get the whole phone thing. I hear that flip phones are making a comeback too, makes perfect sense to me, as I hate touch screens of any kind.

I hope the 17 takes off. Be interesting to see what the Canikon response will be if it does.

I like Matt Day, both as a photographer and as a down to earth person and presenter. He, too, wants this camera to succeed. His accompanying photos (from one roll), and some others from a fellow photographer, show a bit of the potential from the camera.


What is a bokeh mode? I thought D shooters using zoom lenses were the main group concerned about bokeh.

It feels like a Fuji Instax upgrade.....

At half frame it is designed to be a fashion accessory rather than a camera to be used....

I still shoot film (Nikon F/F2/F3) alongside digital, but this is a complete waste of time

Manual zone focus! Maybe the first one ever with a 🍴 setting, in between 🌹 and 👤?

Too bad they didn’t go with the combination film speed + exposure compensation dial from the Pentax ME—which was elegant but also a little fiddly.

Exactly so. I don’t want one of these, but I do want the project to succeed very much. The question is do I want to make a £499 charitable donation to Pentax’s film project and add yet another film camera to my already sprawling collection!

Looks like a good effort, but why half frame and why bother to buy one when there are countless excellent film cameras available in the market place?

After all, real cameras with little or no electronics, including some with built in light meters are still readily available, and still working well.

I admit that because real cameras are so good that prices during the last 10 years have risen.

For instance, I bought an A1 condition Hasselblad SWC around ten years ago, but I sold it to help finance the purchase of my Leica Q2, which I believed then (and still do) to be the most film like digital camera available at the time.

That Hasselblad in such condition would be somewhere in the region of £2500 now. I paid £400.

C’est la vie.

Along with the Hassy, I also traded a very good Fuji medium format, a Leica ii from 1930ish, and a Leica M2, with the Leica f/2 Summicron 50mm with Near-Focusing Range.

The Leica Q2 can now be had for around £2000, I paid a net zero, but traded the above mentioned cameras.

In a phrase that is succinct… They saw me coming!

Or did they? I don’t think so, but the market for proper cameras, now that people have seen how dreary the average digital imager is, has severely lessened the number of rock solid real cameras that are still available.

I don’t suppose it will be long before the other manufacturers will follow Leica with their MP and MA cameras back into the business of making and selling real cameras.

As an aside, I went to the London PhotoKina a few weeks back and it was so busy that it was uncomfortable. Most of the traders were selling old film cameras. There were some really bad 1 or 2 mpix digital jobbies there, but it was depressing really.

The shining light was Steve Lloyd with his Chroma.Camera large format system, but I was so tired by then, that when he told me that I needed to go around again and source a decent large format lens, I abandoned the idea for the day, and went home.

I bought the canon selphy cp1500 a few weeks back. It makes beautiful 4x6 prints, for about 25 cents a print. Dye sublimation printing, about 40 seconds per image, canon archival ink.

It's been a ton of fun, and you can print directly from the phone app or an SD card.

I just wish I could find post card paper for it, that would make it perfect.

First of all, this camera is not for me. I spent too many hours in a dark damp darkroom, back when I was doing theatrical photography. Just as I quickly ditched the hated Vinyl LP, when the CD came onto the market, I was a fairly early adopter of digital, when the Nikon D70 made serious digital photography affordable.

This Pentax nods heavily towards the Lo-fi Lomo cameras that have never been out of production. The giveaway is the viewfinder. I quess the market for this camera is the same. Half frame film will certainly be Lo-Fi, even if the lens is decent and the vertical format is perfect for the iPhone generation.


My only hope is that some of the adopters of this toy like camera, will move on to discover a deeper interest in photography and realise that the art of photography is something more than using the outcomes of using the defects of an obsolete technology as an illusion of creativity.

The Pentax 17 is enticing, but I wonder if that 25mm lens is a match for the one in my half-frame camera: the Yashica Samurai X3.0. Launched in 1987, the Samurai has a 14-element 25-75mm zoom lens with AF. There is only one control: the shutter release. Backlit scenes are detected and exposure compensation automatically applied. DX only (ISO 50-3200). But wait, there's more: it shoots in landscape orientation. That is just what I need for my documentation of 19th century Phoenix houses, build decades before statehood and air conditioning.

Pixel peepers will not be disappointed. It is an ergonomic masterpiece.


I already have a Pen viewfinder type (Not the EE) that offers real manual operation and a 4 element, scale focusing lens, projected bright frame and not a battery in sight.
Plus a Pen F, Pen Fv, and several half frame Zuikos to use on them. So yeah, I'm set.
It is cute, but not full manual control. Not 'MMM' to use your phrase.

I love the crop you chose!

This is for laughs, Mike? Bravo Ricoh? I think there is enough pollution in today's world to redo photography with chemicals. Nostalgia is not a good starting point, Mike ... You should be ashamed.

Hi Mike

Passing on something you might find interesting, apropos recent discussions about new technology and AI.


Never mind the 4"x6" prints. Getting a scan to digital done would double the cost because now you have 72 images, at half the real estate (compared to Full Frame) per image. It's not really much savings on film. My guess is that you will grow tired of it after a while.

Bravo indeed! Although this is not the camera for me (I've already got more gear than I need), what I find interesting is that this is part of a long-term strategy on Ricoh's part towards more elaborate products.

I'm hoping they sell plenty, and that this helps them create a market in which more products can be created.

It's a tough game to play, but it could be worth it in the long run.

I've seen a lot of negative response to this new camera on the sites I visit (not dedicated photo sites, mind) effectively saying it is a badly conceived product. But I disagree, since I'm fairly certain the target audience is home-market young people, not US/European photographers.

It seems silly to complain about perceived poor image quality, when the camera seems to compete with cameras designed for fun, not absolute image quality, specifically the Instax cameras.

I suspect it will be a commercial success by the goals Ricoh/Pentax set. And will probably sell poorly in the US.


Ok, I looked at a couple first impressions, and I ordered one! Even used your B&H link. I'm actually quite excited about this.

It's so itty-bitty, even ants would need glasses to see it! 😉 But hey, if it gets the youngsters to be hip and shoot film, I'm all for it. Just not with my dollars. Imagine the chain reaction: film sales up, tiny prints from Walmart, digital scans, and then... oops, disappointment when they want wall-hanging prints. Who knows, maybe this will spark a comeback for the bigger film formats!

I'm thinking the same, may purchase mostly to "support the mission" of something different, even though there's a zillion used Olympus XA-2's available for a third the price. But it goes along with my other Pentax "likables": a digital MX-1 and Q-7, both of which were also oddities in their time... The size/feel in the hand appears ideal and the "Easter Eggs"/component designs from other legacy Pentax's adds to the character of the thing (film advance lever from Pentax Auto 110, rewind knob from Pentax LX, "Asahi Optical" logo on the viewfinder). I have a two-week vacation to Europe coming up in October that I'm already conflicted on what camera to bring - I've been thinking the new Leica D-Lux8 but this little "17" could be an interesting photo experiment. Or I could just bring one of those two other Pentax oldies mentioned, paid for a long time ago...

I still have my father's Yashica Samurai. But I do not use it. I do not see the point using it.

Back when half frame cameras were popular, the disadvantages were that the image size was half as big as a normal 35 mm camera, but the camera cost about the same, so quality was about half as good as competing cameras, and it took a long time to see your pictures because he had to take 72 of them instead of the normal 36 exposures before you could get them developed. In spite of all that, some people, a very iconoclastic bunch to be sure, loved them.
This camera seems to have exactly the same things going against it and the market for weird iconoclastic cameras seems to be it’s for the taking, so maybe it’ll sell like hotcakes.

My main two design quibbles with this camera are: There are way too many fonts used on it, but the Japanese seem to love doing that so my sensitivities obviously don’t count. The other is that those two very prominent screw heads going in two random directions would eventually drive me nuts*. It’s not that hard to get that right and it sort of sends the wrong message about attention to detail.

I just picked up 500 feet of 70mm film surplus to the Indian air force, so my film itch is pretty much taken care of for the time being.

*There is a Donald Judd sculpture at MoMA that has apparently been taken apart and put back together and all of the perhaps thousands of screw heads point in the same direction except for the ones that were removed and replaced when it was apparently moved or stored. They point every which ch way. I cannot describe how annoying, bordering on offensive it is to see that.

It is commendable that a company is making a new film camera, however I can't think of a reason (other than to show support) why anyone would spend $499 on this instead of buying a used Olympus OM-1 or Nikon FA.

This camera would've been far more interesting if it were 24mm x 24mm instead of half-frame. I've been wishing someone would make a square format digital camera but I doubt it would happen.

I don't really know what to think of this. I don't hate it, I don't love it: I don't feel much of anything about it. Even back when I was shooting film, it's not a camera I'd have been interested in.

Perhaps people are actually looking for easy and cheap way to print from their phones. I guess the printing part is easy, but ink is never cheap.

I don't see any point in a half frame film camera. Pure pose value. I see no point at all in a film camera unless the owner is going to do their own processing and printing. Then I see plenty of point. Go film, and do your own processing, yes. But I'd want larger negatives to work with. I can see a market backlash to digital and A1 and I can see analogue produced, signed images becoming collectable. Some of my old B&W images from 1974 still get a lot of attention. Ref the On The Street collection from my online site.

I'm a hater on this one.

I could write a treatise on my reasons.

If they'd have made a dedicated B&W compact digital - super simple interface - great great fast lens...

Now THAT would have been loved. What better object to have on your person than that? Time marches on. I really think this will be looked back on in three years time as a white elephant.

Still remember your piece on 645 vertical and this aspect ratio were told similar to that and … vertical as well.

Anyway so far the sample photo tell you why film is a thing.

may act similarly to the Smooth Trans Focus on some Minolta lenses toward the end of Minolta's involvement in making cameras and lenses.

If I understand how the STF lens worked, it was a second aperture behind the primary aperture blades.

But maybe I'm wrong about how STF worked, and also wrong about how the Bokeh feature works.

Glad I cleared that up.

Horrible neck strap.

Coincidentally, I've been organising my 'shed', an old brick garage (formerly stables), now too small for a modern car that is full of stuff in anticipation of renovating it into a useable space. I found a box labelled Old. And in it was 2 x Olympus Pen F bodies - one perfect, one so so - I knew I had one, I have no idea when I acquired the other. No batteries but seem to be working fine. Plus I found a little Pen EE I had completely forgotten about - which has a half shot roll of film in it. So I'm happy snapping the other 36 frames, then I'll roll it up and getting processed and scanned (I've got an ISO 125 label on it but not the film type, so I'm assuming it's not Kodachrome(!) but probably B&W (?)). Who needs a new Pentax for nothing when you can have an original...?

Having said that, I've signed up on the waitlist for Mint's new Rollei AF. I had an original Rollei S but traded it on an Olympus XA for the rangefinder. I recall trading the XA for a Nikon lens when I started shooting weddings - but I always regretted giving it up. I'm hoping the Rollei AF actually makes it into production. Mint has a pretty good track record for a start up, so fingers crossed.

Imagine if Ilford still made film on the thin polyester base!!!? The Pentax would get 144+ photos on a roll. Wow. Why did I never think of this back in the day?


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