Pentax Super A

Pentax Super AThe Pentax Super A was the top-of-the-line A series camera released by Pentax in 1984.  It featured six exposure modes: fully automatic, aperture priority, shutter priority, manual and two flash modes.  It was styled on the hugely succesful ME Super.  In the UK is was only available in black as seen here whereas in the US it was marketed as the Super Program and was in 'silver' and black.


The exposure information was available in the viewfinder via two LCD panels, and on the top plate via a small panel just behind the mode dial.  Manual choice of shutter speeds was via the two buttons on the top plate in the same fashion as the ME Super and ME-F.  The small translucent panel on the pentaprism provded light for the LCDs in the viewfinder. There was also a button on the side of the lens mount which illuminated the LCDs when the ambiant light was insufficient.  


The Motordrive A, seen here, was one option for this camera although the older but slower MEII Winder could also be used.


The A series lenses are a bit of a mixed bag.  Many of them were manufactured with plastic aperture rings to keep costs down.  Some lenses were updated just with the addition of the A setting, such as the K15/3.5 and the M100/2.8.  The lens fitted here is the SMC Pentax-A 1:3.5 35-105mm zoom which has been nicknamed "the stack of primes." It is a heavy lens although sharp, and my copy is a little stiff.  The main advance with the A series was the release of the "mighty whites", a series of high-quality fast telephoto lenses in a white finish.  This consisted of the A*300/2.8, A*400/2.8, A*600/5.6 and A*1200/8.  These lenses were rare and expensive at the time, and remain hard to find and expensive even now.  The 1200mm lens is the longest non-mirror lens ever released by Pentax, and beaten only by the 2000mm mirror lens.