Pentax Super A

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Pentax introduced the Super A (or Super Program in North America) in 1983. It was accompanied by a new line of K mount lenses designated Pentax-A (KA) whose "A" lock on the aperture ring permitted the body to set the f/stop for programmed and shutter-priority autoexposure modes. The camera can also be used in aperture priority AE and metered manual exposure, and has two flash modes (TTL auto flash and a programmed mode for dedicated flashes). Lenses with earlier versions of the K-mount (K and Kf) can also be used, but will not support the shutter-priority or programmed AE modes. 42mm screw-mount lenses can be mounted using 'Mount Adaptor K'; stopped-down metering must be used with these.

Exposure modes are selected using a dial arranged around the shutter release, together with the lens' aperture setting. The shutter dial has these positions:

  • L (locked)
  • AUTO
  • M (manual shutter-speed selection)
  • 125 (shutter speed fixed at 1/125 for flash synchronisation)
  • B ('B' shutter)

In the Auto position, setting the aperture to 'A' on the lens gives programmed AE; any other aperture value gives aperture-priority AE. In the 'M' position on the dial, setting the aperture to 'A' gives shutter-priority AE; any other value gives metered manual exposure. Shutter-priority AE works normally if the shutter speed is set to 1/125 second using the '125' dial position.

The Super A offers a wide shutter speed range of 15 to 1/2000 seconds. Shutter speeds are selected electronically by using rocker buttons on the top panel, a method adopted from the ME Super. The selected speed is displayed in an LCD next to the release, and another in the viewfinder. Another LCD in the viewfinder shows the aperture value when in programmed or shutter-priority AE, but not in aperture-priority AE. In metered manual mode, the second viewfinder LCD shows the number of EV stops over- or under-exposure at current settings according to the centre-weighted average reading (showing for example '+2'), up to three stops (flashing ±3 for more); correct exposure shows '±0'. The meter can be offset by up to two EV stops using the exposure compensation dial (around the rewind crank).

The camera is compatible with a number of dedicated flashes. A flash-charging indicator appears iin the viewfinder. With dedicated flashes that support TTL metering, the camera automatically sets the appropriate lens aperture, when in programmed or shutter-priority AE, and the flash indicator in the viewfinder flickers after exposure, to verify correct exposure.

The viewfinder has split-prism rangefinder and microprism focusing aids. The camera accepts an external winder (the finger-grip on the front of the body must be removed to accommodate the winder). There is a self-timer (to the right of the lens mount) and a PC socket (to the left). The camera requires two 1.5V LR44 alkaline or SR44 silver-oxide batteries, or an equivalent 3V lithium battery. The viewfinder LCDs alternate correct settings data and 'ooo' when the batteries are low.

The Super A was followed in 1984 by the related Program A/Program Plus — a less expensive model, which lacks the Super A's top LCD and 1/2000 second shutter speed, and offers programmed AE but not conventional shutter priority AE.



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