It's Time For Film With The New Pentax 17

Ricoh Imaging has announced what could be the coolest and most nostalgic film camera to hit the market in a long time! Welcome the new Pentax 17 compact film camera! A half-frame camera that captures two 17mm x 24mm pictures within a single 35 mm-format (36mm x 24mm) film frame, creating vertical-format pictures similar to those captured by smartphones. Designed just like traditional film cameras, the Pentax 17 is a manual operation camera with a selectable zone-focus system, manual film winding, manual film advance lever, and exposure compensation and ISO sensitivity adjustments with their own dials. With a retro-inspired look and a newly developed 25mm F3.5 lens (equivalent to a 37mm lens in the 35mm format), an Albada-type bright frame finder, seven shooting modes and even more incredible features, the Pentax 17 is bringing the joy of film photography into the hands of enthusiasts and first-timers alike!

Just as its name suggests, the Pentax 17 boasts the unique feature of a half-size format, which means two 17mm x 24mm pictures are captured within a single 35mm frame (36mm x 24mm). Because of this, when holding the camera in the traditional orientation, the Pentax 17 captures vertical-format pictures with a similar ratio to images captured by smartphones.

When it comes to the design of the Pentax 17, it takes you right back into the nostalgia of classic film cameras with its manual operation. With a manual film winding advance lever inspired by Pentax-brand SLR film cameras, users will enjoy the film winding action and a wind-up sound after every shutter release. Other unique film features include manual film rewinding operation using the rewind crank, exposure compensation via the exposure compensation dial, and ISO sensitivity setting via the ISO sensitivity dial. The Pentax 17 has also been designed with an easy-loading system to prevent film-loading errors.

Of course, the Pentax 17 still brings modern advances to the table with a newly developed 25mm F3.5 lens (equivalent to a 37mm lens in the 35mm format). With optics inspired by the acclaimed Pentax Espio Mini (marketed in 1994) but redesigned to fit perfectly in the half-size format, in combination with the latest HD (High-Definition) coating to optimize the clarity and sharpness of the half-frame photos, the lens is perfectly blending the best of the past and present. Moreover, the lens used in the Ricoh Auto Half (a best-selling half-size model first marketed in 1962) was used as a reference to create an angle of view and focal length perfect for casual, everyday picture-taking.

From close-ups to long distances, no matter what you are shooting, the Pentax 17 makes it simple to switch the focus area with its zone-focus system. Divided into six focus zones, indicated by marks that signify each zone, users can set the camera’s focus by selecting the mark best suited for the subject distance on the zone focusing ring. In the Macro focus zone, the user can capture a close-up photo from approximately 25cm away. When in doubt, the hand strap lets the user measure subject distance with accuracy. With the Pentax 17's optical viewfinder, which features an Albada-type bright frame finder, users can check the zone marks directly through the viewfinder. The viewfinder also comes with a close-up visual field compensation frame to help the user more easily compose close-up images.

The Pentax 17 has seven shooting modes for different shooting scenarios including Full Auto mode where all exposure settings are selected by the camera and automatically adjusts exposure settings based on the lighting data collected by its metering sensor. Of the six other shooting modes, two noteworthy ones are Slow-Speed Sync, which is exceptionally useful in twilight photography, and Bulb, which comes in handy for photographing nightscapes and fireworks. As well, the independent exposure compensation dial allows the user to swiftly shift the exposure level to accommodate different types of subjects or express the user’s creative intentions.

Sticking with the beloved, traditional look of film cameras, the Pentax 17 has a classic body design, while implementing top and bottom covers made of a solid but lightweight magnesium alloy to optimize the camera body’s rigidity. It also has a note holder on the back cover, into which the end of the film package can be inserted for an at-a-glance confirmation of the film in use.

For more information and to pre-order the Pentax 17, click here!

Curious about what our team thinks of the Pentax 17? Watch TCSTV's Pentax 17 - Hands-on Preview of a NEW 35mm Film Camera, where Dave is joined by The Camera Store's Christopher Donovan, as they take a closer look!


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