Pentax Spotmatic SP F (1973)
Nothing to bitch about on this camera, it is a beautiful piece of engineering. Not a trace of the bombastic Japanese design that can be found on some other brand cameras before and after – the ”F” is neatly designed. The odd part of this camera simply is its M42 thread, together indeed with its ability to measure the light at full aperture. Nobody seemed to bother that only s-m-c Takumar lenses were suited for open aperture metering (just as if one had moved to a bayonet mount, like almost all other brands did, and subsequently enjoyed the associated benefits). Pentax was stuck to the M42 thread…
But just two years later this relict was gone, when Pentax introduced the K mount, a fine piece of engineering again. But how did the customers feel who had just bought a Spotmatic F, maybe even with some s-m-c Takumar lenses?
Pentax LX (1980)
Once upon a time in 1980, Pentax introduced a new 35mm camera, that challenged all existing professional cameras, all cameras, and that surpassed them in many respects (and that had a couple of tricks up its sleeve that even today’s cameras cannot match)
This camera was very expensive, much more expensive than any other Pentax camera before, and there didn’t seem to by any target customer group, because only hard-dye Pentax fans could hope that a significant percentage of professional photographers would leave their current system for Pentax (and indeed, only very few switched brands)
So this camera was a failure? Pentax made it for twenty long years, so probably not, but whether the camera itself was an economic success, only Pentax knows.
What can be said however is that the LX meant a lot for the Pentax brand, it has defined this brand to a large extent, until today. Every Pentax photographer knows the LX, and when Pentax friends meet today and a LX is passed around, and somebody shows want it can do, there is a whisper “Oh look, an LX”.
An inevitable point of criticism is the lack of an exposure lock, which is completely off track, because the preceding K2 DMD had one. Apart from that, the ill-famous “sticky mirror” syndrome is a knock out condition all by itself, a thing like that should not happen to any camera, and if it does, it just isn’t a good camera, if it had not been for love…
Pentax auto 110 (1979)
The prime example for a product that should not have left the drawing board. As nice a camera as this is, and as cute the accessories look (even if the camera with flash and winder attached is far from small…), the truth is, that from a pocket sized film there will never come decent photos, not with the most sophisticated camera, and this fact also auto110 customers had to realize, sooner or later, after they had played with the camera enough.
To prevent accidental usage I have removed the bayonet flange of this camera, and have used it for this mFT adapter.
PC 35 AF mit Winder (1988)
As absurd as this „Rucksack“ winder looks, that makes the camera bigger and heavier than necessary, not to speak of the whining sound or the „speed“, that easily allowed faster manual transport, this was a successful camera, hugely popular, and this was for a reason: the lens is relatively fast and very sharp, an insider tip among those compact cameras.
Now what is this? Yes, this is Pentax first digital camera, from 1997. It boasts a bit more than VGA resolution and you can already use it like any modern compact digital camera, by looking at the display. But it is obvious that the designers were still thinking along the lines of ordinary cameras, so the thing only becomes handy when the monitor part is removed.
Please also note the 4Mb storage card, which must have cost a fortune itself. It seems unclear if this camera was really developed by Pentax, but maybe yes, it somehow feels like a Pentax…
Pentax Digibino 200 (1999)
Yet another oddity from Pentax, a relatively small
binocular with built in 1.3 Megapixel camera. As a binocular it is unsuitable
for serious bird watching, as is the camera, and the focal length certainly is
much too long to use it as an ordinary camera. So this thing is good for
nothing in the end, which the customers will also have realized not after long,
and who will have blamed Pentax, with some reason.