Pentax Program A

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Pentax introduced the Program A (or Program Plus in North America) in 1984. It is a manual-focus 35 mm SLR camera.

It has four exposure modes, selected using a dial around the shutter release and the lens' aperture ring:

  • Programmed automatic exposure (KA lenses only): lens aperture set to 'A', shutter dial set to 'Auto'
  • Aperture-priority AE (K, Kf or KA lenses): lens aperture set to a value, shutter dial set to 'Auto'
  • Metered manual exposure: Lens aperture set to a value, shutter dial set to 'Man'. Even 42 mm screw-mount lenses can be used for manual exposure, with a screw-to-K-mount adapter ('Mount Adapter K'). With screw-mount lenses, stopped-down metering is used.
  • Programmed flash: lens aperture set to 'Auto' for programmed flash with a KA lens, or to a value for normal auto flash with any other lens. Shutter dial set to 'Auto' with dedicated flashes, or '100' for others.


The shutter dial also has 'Lock', 1/100 (for flash synchronisation with non-dedicated flashes) and 'B' positions. In manual exposure, the shutter speed is adjusted using 'up' and 'down' buttons next to the shutter dial. The shutter is a vertical-travel focal plane shutter with metal blinds, and has speeds from 15 sceonds to 1/1000 seconds, plus 'B'. The shutter speed in use is displayed in an LCD display in the viewfinder. There is also a display for the aperture. In programmed and aperture-priority modes this shows the aperture to be used. In metered manual it shows, for example, '+2' when the meter reading indicates that the current shutter speed and aperture settings will overexpose by two stops, and '±0' when the set values agree with the meter reading. The viewfinder also shows over- and under-exposure warnings, a low-battery warning, and a flash-charged indicator when a dedicated flash is used. The camera is compatible with several Pentax dedicated flashes, but cannot support the through-the-lens metering capability of some of them.

The viewfinder has normal split-prism rangefinder and microprism focusing aids. The camera has a depth-of-field preview lever by the lens mount, and a self-timer. It has a hot shoe and a PC socket.

The camera has a finger grip attached to the front of the body on the right-hand side; this must be removed if a winder is fitted. The camera requires two 1.5V LR44 alkaline or SR44 silver oxide batteries, or an equivalent lithium battery.

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