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The New Pentax 17

Posted 17/06/2024 - 21:43 Link
I've just finished looking at the Pentax video on the new Pentax 17 film camera.

Half frame (72 shots from 36 exp film, etc)
Zone focusing
25mm lens
Magnesium alloy top and bottom plates
Exposure compensation dial
Cost arounf £500?

I'm not sure the photographer sent out to try it made the most of the possibilities, but it wasn't helped by the video being quite low resolution, so it was impossible to judge the sharpness of the images. One ijteresting thing was the mention of the Japanese ethos regarding shrines and their history of tearing them down after 30 years or so to teach new generations of engineers how to build them again. The stated impliocation for photography was that they were keeping alive the ability to design and build film cameras, which could otherwise be lost.

Would I use this on any type of shoot instead of digital? I don't know, but I'd love the opportunity to try it out and review it in due course.
Best regards, John
Posted 17/06/2024 - 22:20 Link
Analogue Wonderland review:

Posted 17/06/2024 - 22:21 Link
Instruction manual;

Posted 17/06/2024 - 22:41 Link
Many thanks for the links!
Best regards, John
Posted 18/06/2024 - 03:38 Link
I like the look of it. Will be buying one.
Posted 18/06/2024 - 08:43 Link
I was hoping it'd be more competitively priced so the 'layperson' would at least deliberate over purchasing, considering most will have to factor in dev/scanning costs.

That said, I do also appreciate smaller-scale runs of equipment plus their significant R&D costs, so I can understand whence the price stems.

Edit: Having watched some of the videos with their features, and the capabilities of the lens, I can see why they could market it as a more premium price, despite it 'just' being a half-frame camera.
Edited by Benz3ne: 18/06/2024 - 08:58
Posted 18/06/2024 - 09:07 Link
When I saw the price yesterday my eyes just about popped out of my head and I spent the next five minutes repeating to myself:

"Five. Hundred. Dollars. For a guess-focus half-frame camera..."

Making it half-frame is a big mistake as it seriously limits the quality it can achieve. Making it guess-focus is another mistake for the same reason. And now the price is out by at least a factor of five.

I will most certainly be sticking to my old film SLRs.
Pentax hybrid user - Digital K3, film 645 and 35mm SLR and Pentax (&other) lenses adapted to Fuji X and Panasonic L digital
Fan of DA limited and old manual lenses
Edited by Jonathan-Mac: 18/06/2024 - 09:08
Posted 18/06/2024 - 09:53 Link
Some comments regarding the price. 'Bruce' says why pay £500 on this when you can pick up 2 'well-serviced' cameras like Nikon FM2 plus a 50mmf1.4 instead. In my case I love my Z-1p which I paid £599 for in August 1995 but bits of plastic and rubber are degrading; things like the battery cover and rubber eye cap cannot be replaced. My 77mm f1.8 which I bought in Japan in 2008 is going to John Pye because the focus mechanism is jammed. At least you get 12+ months warranty on that £500, so I say embrace the new (even if Kodak E100 is an eyewatering £30 now).
Z-1p, K-1, P50
F50 1.7. SMC-FAs 24, 35, 50 1.4, 85, 135. HD-FA15-30, DFA24-70, D-FA*70-200. The SMC-FA Limited Trinity.
Metz 45 CL-4, AF500FTZ. AF540FGZ.
Some Mamiya and some Nikon
Posted 18/06/2024 - 17:23 Link
And the target market is? Here's my guess...... it's people who
- take photos in portrait format by defualt
- think in terms of effects and modes rather than shutter speed, aperture and other 'numbery' things
- want some tactile involvement in the process of taking a photo (so zone focusing rather than autofocus)
- are more concerned about being able to take lots of shots before changing the film than whether they'd get better IQ from full frame.
- are willing and able to part with £500 to be seen to be on the cutting edge of cool.
Or to put it another way, it's people who take photos with high-end phones and want to jump onto the film photography bandwagon.

And then, of course, there are the people who spend twice the price of the 17 on a fixed focal length digital camera that's only APS-C rather than full frame (i.e. GR III) and hanker after the film equivalent.

I really don't think it's aimed at DSLR users who are looking for a similar type of photographic experience and capability with film.

Of course, I might be wrong...

PS: Never under-rate the physical experience thing for a generation brought up on digital. In the last week I've come across two people (one early 20s, one mid 30s) who are considering getting a record player. Both currently use streaming for music. One wants the experience of the album art and to see the music being created (stylus in groove). The other wants the experience of putting the record on the turntable, putting the stylus in the groove and listening to an album with beer to hand. Neither are interested in the ultimate in sound quality or in CDs. It's a different world!
Posted 18/06/2024 - 19:04 Link
It looks really nice but given the cost of film development and printing i would want a lot more confidence in the focusing. How can a new camera in 2024 rely on zone focusing??????
Edited by Cayman: 18/06/2024 - 19:05
Posted 18/06/2024 - 19:55 Link
Very interesting video review posted by Chris Nicholls on the PetaPixel channel. The 17 isn't really (at all) for me but looks like a lot of fun and more capable than I'd feared. I suspect it'll be a slow burn outside Japan/Asia but wouldn't be surprised if it's really quite popular in its home market - I hope so because I think Ricoh Pentax put a lot of thought into it and hopefully it'll encourage them to do some more thinking outside of the usual box.

Some occasional random stuff at The Photographers Block: link
Posted 18/06/2024 - 20:10 Link
I too hope its a big success and that we see a resurgence of the brand and more film models.
Posted 18/06/2024 - 21:23 Link
Lubbyman wrote:

I really don't think it's aimed at DSLR users who are looking for a similar type of photographic experience and capability with film.

Of course, I might be wrong...

In my view, you could not be more correct.
Posted 18/06/2024 - 21:37 Link
Cayman wrote:
How can a new camera in 2024 rely on zone focusing??????

It has a 25mm lens with a maximum aperture of f3.5. Most well-lit pictures will be taken around f8. It will have a very wide DOF, so zone focussing will work just fine.

Did you never take pictures on a manual film Pentax with a 28mm ? Just set aperture to f8 and focus point to the red line. Snap away all day without having to bother about focussing. pixel-peeping with this model !
Posted 19/06/2024 - 05:42 Link
pschlute wrote: pixel-peeping with this model !

This said, the images Iíve seen so far with it are very nice. Itís about the best IQ I think Iíve seen from the smaller format half frame cameras so far.

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