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Sunday, 23 June 2024


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When I fly in my spacecraft or drive my BRM type 15, I wish to be very, very sure that all of the screws and bolts that hold it together have been tightened to the correct torques, because if they come loose I will die, and if a shaft snaps I will die.

If the slots in the screws lined up I would simply refuse to get into the vehicle: it certainly would not have been built properly. I am willing to accept the unavoidable risks of going into space and driving the Nürburgring: I will not accept sloppiness like this.

There is a famous book whoch is not about motorcycles, really, where this is a significant point.

The best Pentaxes were made during the post WW2 golden era of the camera industry when manufacturers prided in making things to last and outlast.


My friend James Tocchio of Casual PhotoPhile did a hands-on review of the Pentax 17. He also kindly included a sample gallery of some of my first photos shot with it using Portra 400 and Tri-X 400. I’ve been testing the 17 for almost a month. And, although I still shoot 12-16 rolls of film a year with my lovely Pentax MX, I have to say this new half-frame camera is a lot of fun, especially if you like to print diptychs which I’m planing to do. Here’s a link to the article, in case you’re interested in reading his take on the camera.


Mike: This is kinda funny: Hugh Crawford complained about the unaligned slot-heads on the screws on the front of the Pentax 17 in a comment here. Then Samuel Dilworth found a marketing presentation for the Pentax 17 in which, rather remarkably, Pentax has a whole panel acknowledging that the screw slots are not aligned, and explaining why!


I'm sure that this screw-alignment thread will auto-feed itself forward for weeks unless Mike stops it. Before that happens, I want to share this video of a WEBER Screw Driving System.

WEBER Principle: Feed while you drive

Good for Hugh. That's what a camera is for- to be used. Especially when the decoration was done BY a friend FOR a friend. To just put such a camera on the shelf would, to me, be to say the gift made the camera less useful. Wear the art off, brass the finish, need new leather... otherwise why bother?

As for screws: In gun making, it used to be very common to make the gun so that when the screws were tightened to their proper torque they would be lined up just so. It was a point of pride for a good gun smith to have the screw heads like that and they would remake any screws that didn't line up correctly. Of course, those were guns being made for millionaires, royals and the like so cost was literally no object and time even less of an issue. I have never worried about it personally.

I appreciate Hugh's comment, though Zyni has a very good point about the tightness of screws and bolts. But I can think of a couple of other ways (neither practical) to get all the screwdriver slots lined up which can give the correct torque.

Either several (probably many) screws are tried in the threaded hole until one lines up, or the threads on the screws and the threads in the holes are all carefully made to the correct orientation every time.

It could be done, but then the time and expense involved would have to be taken from the rest of the project for no practical gain. In a vehicle you might trust your life to that would be a bad sign; what other poor decisions had been made?

Oh my
“PENTAX 17:Features
Harf size format film camera,”
That’s kind of unfortunate.

If my life depended upon some screws holding something together , I’d insist on them being safety wired.
The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak wristwatch has all the screws with their slots at 90 degrees to the center of the dial, but they charge almost $80,000 for one. And don’t get me started on those hexagonal holes that they are in.

But really, slot head screws? I would certainly expect some of those wonderful JIS screws (Not to be confused with hideous Phillips head screws. Space and time do not permit a full accounting of how hideous Phillips head screws are. With, of course, an accompanying digression about what I think of Henry Ford)

The green leatherette is rather handsome...

On that note, the Lumix S9 in green is also a great looking camera, a bit more attainable perhaps.

It has access to the Lumix Lab app which is free, where you can create your own LUT (style) and upload to the camera for direct use, or download premade ones from other creators.

You can import photos and videos directly from the camera, or import them from your phone, apply your preferred and edited preset LUT, for immediate sharing on social media.

Perhaps only a matter of time before someone copies over the Leica look as a LUT.

A camera shares a lens mount with your Sigma FP. A great looking combination with the 45mm f2.8. Shame it lacks an EVF in this current iteration.

The 17 has a "note holder" on the back. It made me smile to see one of these again. I never knew it was called a note holder. I had one once on a body but it caused me some grief because I would forget to change it when I changed film, leading to confusion. A tool is only as good as the person using it, I guess.

Amusing to see in print the Pentax 17 promotion saying 'Easy Roading' which is how many Asian speakers might say 'Easy Loading' when speaking english. Was this just a typo?

Just to add another level of itchness: are the screws on the Pentax 17 unaligned because of actual human craftsmanship of because a machine, trying to mimic human craftsmanship, puts them like that every time?
If every camera they make has those same screws pointing in the same directions then they annoy me again.

My harf-size camera is a Univex Mercury II CX ….

Glad to see B&H has sold enough 17s to make it a "top seller" among its film cameras (though that could be a small number indeed). But I'm possibly more pleased to see that they also sell "refurbished" Pentax K1000s with SMC 50mm/2 lenses. And for 95 cents less than a new 17!


Hi Mike
I’ve been resisting commenting on aligning screwheads but I ultimately can’t. I spent many years refinishing and building grand pianos. On a piano it is (was?) considered mandatory to align the screwheads, especially the ones on the hinges joining the two sections of the top as they are right in the musicians line of sight as he is playing.
One difference of course is the material the screws are threaded into. On a piano this is wood where for an experienced person it is pretty straightforward to tweak the screw to get the desired alignment. On a camera you are using machine screws in tapped holes in metal ,when they are tight they are tight, slot alignment be dammed.

I enjoyed reading the marketing presentation for the Pentax 17. Fun how they are highlighting the physical/tactile experiences that only a 35mm camera can deliver. I especially like the parts about advancing and rewinding the film. There’s one experience they left out that only a 35mm camera can deliver. That’s opening the camera back before rewinding the film into the cassette. We’ve all done it, and know that special feeling, right?

Second time in two days that I read about aligned screw heads: https://gwsrcarriageandwagon.blogspot.com/
Where have i been in the past 59 yeas???

In precision machining, I see how you could get the screw heads all aligned, but I'm actually not sure I like it. It looks artificial, and it's not safe in most ordinary work (where the screws and/or holes and tapping aren't custom-made for each unit!).

For electrical cover plates—definitely not. Those aren't custom-made to precision, they should be tightened until the right torque. More is bad, less is bad!

This is a topic of discussion right now in the Facebook "Dull Men's Club" group :-) .

Hmmm...just how many unclocked screws are there on the Pentax 17?

I immediately thought of this blog post by Christopher Schwarz on Lost Art Press:


...after which, of course, I had to stop and see it myself and it is simply amazing.


More Pentax news: for those who think that film photography really is passé: the Pentax K-3 Mark III Monochrome is on offer, at least in the European Pentax store (minus € 300,-).

In the 1930's brothers named Hafer made exquisite wooden speed boats on the shores of lake Okobojii in Iowa.
There is a maritime museum up there with a lovingly restored Hafer speedboat and it has like a zillion Philips head screws on it and every one is perfectly aligned.
Never gave alignment a second thought until I saw that fantastic boat.
On this issue I am now ruined for life.

Lack of full manual control puts this one in the realm of toy, which is a shame. Was there an engineering need to cripple this camera? Or just a marketing itch?

I was looking to see if my favorite camera has misaligned screws but I could not find any screw heads on the exterior of my Leica SL or SL2. Maybe Leica just puts the cameras together with some special glue...

Forgive me but I have to say this. Why would screw slot alignment matter on a camera as ugly as this?

[Yes, non-alignment fits the aesthetic better. --Mike]

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