Pentax Program A
Pentax introduced the Program A (or Program Plus in North America) in 1984. It is a manual-focus 35 mm SLR camera with fully automatic programmed exposure using the SMC-A line of lenses (KA mount). The Program A/Plus was a scaled-down version of the Super A /Super Program, lacking the top speed of 1/2000 and losing the top panel LCD.
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'.
- This mode is compatible with all K-mount lenses (K and M series) as well as M42 lenses stopped-down.
- 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 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 used two 1.5V LR44 alkaline or SR44 silver oxide batteries, or an equivalent lithium battery.
- Pentax Program A user manual at Butkus.org
- Program Plus User's manual at Pentax Imaging
- ProgramA Manual at Kim Coxon's Pentax-Manuals site
- Program A / Program Plus user reviews at Pentax Forums
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