Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Plastic but Practical Pentax P30T

Last week I picked up a Pentax P30T on the big auction site. It came with a Pentax K1000, an old (but nice) Pentax Takumar 135 f/3.5, a flash, and some other accessories for a Nikon.  As a bunch of stuff goes, I felt that the $14.00+ shipping was a decent deal.  I had gotten rid of ALL my K-mount gear last year, but every now and then I make an impulse buy.  This particular P30T has seen some use, but it appears to work just fine. I know how some people bemoan the onslaught of polycarbonate-bodied cameras, but unless seriously abused, they hold up pretty well.  The Pentax P30T was sold from 1990-97, and is a manual focus, manual advance 35mm SLR.  I like the clean lines and unobtrusive controls on the top deck of the body.  As far as inexpensive SLRs go, this model features Aperture-priority and metered Manual control, a self-timer, depth-of-field preview, remote shutter port, DX film speed detection, metering lock, hotshoe, and shutter speeds from B, 1-1/1000 sec with flash sync at 1/100 sec.  The only big minus appears to be the lack of manually setting the ISO, and if you use a cassette without the DX code, the default ISO is 100.  Oh, and exposure compensation would also be nice, too.  However, given the market that the P30T aimed it, most of those users probably didn't miss those features.  The camera came with a SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2.0 lens.
 As you can see from the photos, the camera does have a nice clean design with a bit of a grip.  Because there are few protruding controls, I'd give it high marks for being easily carried around.  The eyepiece viewing is adequate, and the focus screen has a diagonally aligned central focus spot.  The metering readings in the viewfinder are easy to see, and when not in A mode, an M shows up.

Shooting with the camera was comfortable, and the lightweight body is easily carried and handled.  The film advance lever moves smoothly and has a relatively short travel distance.

The film reminder window allows you to see what film you have loaded, which is handy for those of us that use so many cameras and films, that it is easy to forget what is in the camera.

Overall, this camera has a lot of pluses, and just a couple of minuses. Of course, I did not pay much for it, either. However, it is a more capable camera that a Nikon EM, and more similar in the feature set to the much earlier Nikon FE.

 I shot a roll of somewhat expired Kodak Gold 100, and the film was developed and scanned at Huron Camera in Dexter.  The first two shots of flowers were taken with a "Pro Optic" 70-300 K-mount lens that I picked up at Recycle/Reuse for $5. The rest of the photos were taken with the 50mm f/2 lens that came with the camera.
This camera certainly is a sturdy and reliable compact SLR, regardless of the plastic body.  While maybe not in the classic status of the Pentax ME or ME Super, it still is worth considering.

line of sight

Lunch break

UM Power Center

The beautiful Kerrytown Concert House

Venus on the sidewalk

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