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Restored Super A

Posted 05/06/2012 - 17:44 Link
I was offered a couple of Super A cameras and declined to buy them as they were both basically shot and finished, not really worth repair.

However, I decided when I was asked to throw them away to take a chance and get a quote for the repair of the better one and Asahi Photo did the job efficiently. I couldn't get my money back by selling on eBay, but I have been looking for a film SLR and it achieves that. New seals, new K mount, overhaul/ of 58.00

What I have learned is something I either never knew of had forgotten. The Super A fires on 1/1000 sec for three frames when film is loaded and the exposure modes only work after that. As I always wound on twice only and never cocked the shutter the third time whilst the camera is not in use, that gave me a few doubts for a while!

This all stems from not storing cameras with the shutter cocked as it weakens the springs and slows down the speeds with conventional focal plane designs. It's not so important with vertically running electronic shutters, which is a good thing as these days we have no choice!
Best regards, John
Posted 05/06/2012 - 17:58 Link
Thanks for the info John, I used a Super A for quite a few years and never knew about the 1/1000sec for the first three frames, I don't even remember seeing it in the manual. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did mine.
Regards John/Jumbo
Posted 05/06/2012 - 22:14 Link
I've got a Super-A with an intermittent battery contact problem. Beautiful cameras which I have a soft spot for as one was my first Pentax, I sold it and then bought another for a lot more.
Posted 05/06/2012 - 23:00 Link
I've had my Super A from new. It was my first Pentax, I only managed to afford it then because I had an insurance policy mature.
It was my main camera for years, was only displaced by my first digital camera. Went through many trips to the mountains, both at home and abroad. It's been to the top of the alps, over 20.000 feet in the Karakorum and never let me down. I could never understand why people thought a battery dependent camera was a problem, mind you I usually use a lithium battery rather than silver batteries.
My Super A is not a pristine example, cosmetically, worn at the edges of the casings but it's still working fine and hopefully will carry on doing so.
Posted 06/06/2012 - 00:41 Link
Yes, that had me worried as well! The wind-on arm also goes loose if you don't wind it on for a whole frame. I didn't realise and thought I had finished the film.

Interesting what you say about storing with a cocked shutter. I do that with all my cameras, muscle memory - I take a shot then wind on immediately.
Posted 06/06/2012 - 08:27 Link
Regarding shutters, I too wind on after shooting so it's ready for the next shot, but when the session is over will even shoot a blank frame to ensure that the camera is stored with the shutter in its relaxed state.

Doing this was once common knowledge, but has no doubt been largely forgotten. Cameras with built in motors do not give us this choice, but don't use mechanical shutters so it may not matter as such.

An MX that had been stored for 20 years with its shutter cocked might well be expected to need a shutter overhaul.
Best regards, John
Posted 06/06/2012 - 10:49 Link
johnriley wrote:
What I have learned is something I either never knew of had forgotten. The Super A fires on 1/1000 sec for three frames when film is loaded and the exposure modes only work after that.

Yes, the Super A was my first camera - I remember that. I found that if I was careful, I could get an extra shot (sometimes two!) out of the film by shutting the back after the very first wind. They were usually useless, though, at 1/1000s.

I was much more successful ekeing out the film with the ME Super I acquired later.

I have never loaded any film camera other than Pentax - so I've never known anything but the Magic Needle system!
Pentax K-3, DA18-135, DA35 F2.4, DA17-70, DA55-300, FA28-200, A50 F1.7, A100 F4 Macro, A400 F5.6, Sigma 10-20 EXDC, 50-500 F4.5-6.3 APO DG OS Samsung flash SEF-54PZF(x2)
George Lazarette
Posted 06/06/2012 - 13:01 Link
I've had most of the better Pentax film cameras, except the LX and MZ-S, but the Super-A was always my favourite.

The PZ1-P was immensely capable, but I never used more than 10% of its features. The Super-A had just the right balance between features and usability.

And it was the best looking of all.

Keywords: Charming, polite, and generally agreeable.
Posted 06/06/2012 - 13:51 Link
The Super-A was my first Pentax SLR too and I shot most of my family snaps with it. Sadly it died and couldn't be repaired. I recently found one with a 'Digital Data M' back on it in need of some TLC. Having replaced the light seals, it's working fine, though it could probably use a lube and calibration. Maybe I'll get it done one day.

The only issue I have with the older Pentax SLR's is the lack of a diopter adjustment incorporated in the viewfinder. Other than that it's a very capable camera, and arguably the best of the M style bodied cameras.

I minor correction though, the Super-A enforces a shutter speed of 1/1000th on only the first two frames. The shutter speed can be set as you desire on the third and remaining frames.
Peter E Smith - flickr Photostream
Edited by Mannesty: 06/06/2012 - 13:54
Posted 06/06/2012 - 16:07 Link
The Super-A is my 35mm workhorse body. At a wedding this weekend I had the Super A with 50mm 1.7 and 17mm, the 645N with 75mm and 150mm and the Fuji x100 for low light shots. Was a very satisfying way to take pics as all three cameras are a joy to shoot with and complimented each other very well.

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