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Friday, July 19, 2024

Pentax’s new $500 movie digital camera prioritizes fashion over high quality

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I used to lambaste the very thought of half-frame cameras once I was a school pupil obsessive about medium- and large-format movie (who needs even much less decision than 35mm?), however electing to shoot movie right now is already a aware resolution to compromise high quality for the sake of expertise and magnificence.

Who wants decision once you’ve acquired vibes? That’s what Pentax appears to be saying with its new Pentax 17, a movie digital camera that takes half-size footage and appears about as timeless as an {old} beater you scored at some dude’s property sale. However the $499.95 Pentax 17 (launching later this month) is a completely new digital camera, one which, in 2024, takes the so-hot-right-now 35mm format and shoots smaller footage for the sake of enjoyable and making movie pictures value rather less.

Half-frame cameras aren’t a brand new thought. Olympus had a complete line devoted to creating these tiny photos again within the ’60s, and Kodak has one now with the look, really feel, and have set of a disposable digital camera that you could reload movie into.

The Pentax 17 handles issues identical to its half-frame predecessors: as an alternative of capturing a horizontal 24 x 36mm picture on a 35mm roll, it creates a vertical 17 x 24mm image so that you get two photographs for each one, making a 36 publicity roll eke out an entire 72 photographs. This protects you some cash, with the tradeoff being {that a} smaller picture space data much less advantageous element. (It additionally means you’re natively taking portrait-oriented photographs because the viewfinder is vertical, and also you’d have to show the digital camera sideways to take horizontal photographs.)

A simulation of how the Pentax 17’s half-frame photos are captured on a section of 35mm movie.
Picture: Ricoh Imaging

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The Pentax 17 makes use of a built-in 25mm f/3.5 lens (equal to 37mm on a 35mm / full-frame digital camera) with a nine-bladed aperture. The lens has no autofocus, nevertheless it additionally isn’t totally handbook — you utilize zone focusing by selecting from one in all six set distances starting from as shut as 0.24 meters in macro mode to infinity. Relying solely on zone focusing means the Pentax 17 is greatest outfitted for informal snapshots or slice-of-life genres like road pictures.

As for publicity modes, the 17 doesn’t have full handbook management right here, both. It’s largely designed for use in program auto mode, nevertheless it does have an publicity compensation dial in addition to gradual shutter and bulb modes so savvier photographers can not less than have some artistic management.

This digital camera lacks options you’d discover in even a 48-year-old Pentax K1000 you should buy off eBay for round $100, because it doesn’t have interchangeable lenses or full management of settings comparable to focus and publicity. However nonetheless, it presents a singular expertise (in addition to a brand new guarantee and first-party repairs). That is the primary digital camera from Pentax’s film project it introduced again in 2022, when it got down to make a brand new movie digital camera with suggestions from its neighborhood. Whereas it may need been a safer guess to remake the fan-favorite K1000 or the extremely coveted Pentax 67 and its beautiful wooden deal with, I give props to Pentax for taking an opportunity on one thing a bit completely different.

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