allancobb Posted February 21, 2021 Share Posted February 21, 2021 I've been fortunate to have recently acquired a fine example of the Pentax AP SLR, the first modern Pentax SLR after the Asahiflex series, that established the basic design for all Pentax SLR models that followed. From PentaxForums.com: "The Asahi Optical Company released the 'Asahi Pentax' (AP) in 1957 as the replacement for their Asahiflex line of cameras. While not the first Pentaprism camera to be produced, the AP is considered by many to be the start of the modern 35mm SLR format still used today. The camera incorporated a number of features which were not typically found during this era. This was the first camera to combine eye level through the lens focusing (through a pentaprism viewfinder), an instant return mirror and a right-hand film advance/shutter cocking wind lever. The camera was so successful that the company eventually changed its name from Asahi Optical to Pentax. The camera had no engraved model designation but was later referred to as 'AP' (for 'Asahi Pentax'). The camera had two shutter speed dials. The one on the top plate sets the fast speeds: 1/500, 1/200, 1/100, and 1/50s, the one on the front the slow speeds (controlled by a timer): 1/25, 1/10, 1/5, 1/2, and 1s." Amazingly, I acquired the particular body (from an excellent seller in Japan), despite a few minor cosmetic flaws, in perfect working order, all functions performing marvelously. There are a few noteworthy points concerning everyday use: the slow speed dial has priority over the fast speed dial; one must remember to set the slow speed dial to 1/25, else it will fire at the set slow speed, regardless of the fast speed dial setting. Also, there are no accessory grooves in the eyepiece, so a flash mush be mounted from the bottom. There is no mechanical interface with lenses, so diaphragm operation would be completely manual. But the operation is smooth and precise with a surprisingly quiet shutter, much quieter than a Spotmatic or K/M-Series body, but more like the H2 shutter and maybe even slightly more so. In all, this camera reflects a high degree of quality and craftmanship that set the stage for Pentax's future worldwide success. I was also fortunate to obtain a lens from the same time period (in beautiful condition from the same seller), the 35mm f/4 Takumar, Pentax's first 35mm lens that preceded their legendary 35/3.5 (whose optical formula remained unchanged from 1959 to 1977). It is also claimed to be Japan's first wide-angle SLR lens. As expected, it is completely manual with no lens to body interface that later began with the Auto-Takumars. Its compactness is remarkable and especially considering its early design, performs comparatively well to its successors. It's the perfect period match for the AP. A couple examples from a recent stroll through the woods with the AP 35/4 combination (Kodak 100TMX, HC-110B): In all, I'm very impressed with the AP, a great camera, pleasurable to use, whose legacy made it possible for Pentax to attain its future status. Cheers, Allan 5 Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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