Pentax P30/P3

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The Pentax P3 (US), P30 elsewhere, is a 35mm film SLR released by Pentax in 1985. The plastic body was a departure of the lineage that produced the ME and SuperA; with a more amateurish camera. The P3 was a departure of the P5/50 as it returned to a speed dial instead of buttons.

It uses the KA-mount bayonet to convey aperture information and have P mode (Av when M or K series lenses are used) and can use any manual focus lens up to the FA series.

  • Viewfinder covers 92% of image with 0.82x magnification. Split-image matte focusing screen (horizontal)
  • The P3/30 uses a classic manual film advance lever with 130° throw.
  • It has program, manual, X and B exposure modes on a dial with speeds of 1 to 1/1000 sec. However on P mode exposures up to 8s have been observed. The X mode provides automation with some Pentax flashes. No exposure compensation is available, but the camera has an Exposure Lock button.
  • The meter is a center-weighted type with a range of 1 to 18 EV. A scale of speeds is shown in the viewfinder and LEDs show the selected and recommended (blinking) speeds.
  • Film speeds can't be set manually, the P3/30 uses DX Encoding film with a ISO range of 25 to 1600. There is a plastic window in the film door.
  • Self timer is in the main power switch for ~12s.
  • DOF Preview lever is located above the bayonet lock.
  • It uses two 1.5v SR44 or LR44 button batteries.
  • The US version is all black, while in the rest of the world it was dark gray

There are two revisions of the body, early versions can't use a cable remote release, while late versions can.

A similar improved Pentax P30n/P3n/P30t became available three years later. This camera incorporated Aperture Priority exposure, and a diagonal focusing screen (P30t)


Pentax K mount SLR Cameras
K2 | KX | KM | K1000 | MX | ME | ME Super | ME-F | MV | MV1 | MG | LX | Super-A | Program-A | A3 | P30| P30n/P3n/P30t | P50 | SFX/SF1 | SF7/SF10 | SFXn/SF1n | Z-1/PZ-1 | Z-10/PZ-10 | Z-20/PZ-20 | Z-50p | Z-5 | Z-5p | Z-70/PZ-70 | Z-1p/PZ-1p | MZ-5/ZX-5 | MZ-3/ZX-3 | MZ-5N/ZX-5N | MZ-7/ZX-7 | MZ-6/ZX-L | MZ-S | MZ-10/ZX-10 | MZ-50/ZX-50 | MZ-30/ZX-30 | MZ-60/ZX-60 | Pentax *ist | MZ-M/ZX-M