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PENTAX Masterpieces

Pentax made so many fine cameras and lenses in the last 49 years since the first Asahiflex prototype of 1951. Trying to list the true masterpieces can be hard a task, since it is quite matter of opinion.

In my opinion a masterpiece is not necessarily a high specified camera or lens. A masterpiece has to offer an exceptionally well balanced mix of features, easy operation, styling and overall quality, thus giving the photographer the best possible performance, feeling and confidence. In my opinion masterpieces have only to be searched among mass-produced cameras and lenses.

Here follows my personal list of Pentax Masterpieces of all times. You will notice that some of them are also listed in Milestones section.

 

List of Pentax Masterpieces

Click on thumbnails on left to enlarge images

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1955 - Asahiflex IIA
A peak in the waist-level finder SLR concept. It combined compactness and quality of the whole Asahiflex line, with the instant-return mirror of the IIB and a complete range of fast and slow speeds.
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1957 - Asahi Pentax Original (AP)
World's first 35mm SLR with microprisms on focusing screen. First Japanese SLR with fixed pentaprism. First Japanese SLR with rapid-wind lever. First pentaprism SLR from Asahi Opt. Co. and first example of stylish and rational design in a pentaprism SLR. This SLR set industry standard about styling and controls layout, then copied by Japanese and German industry.
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1961 - Spot Exposure Meter (3/21)
World's first handheld spot exposure meter. A derivative of the Spot-Matic technology.
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1964 - Asahi Pentax Spotmatic
The most successful and copied SLR camera of the Sixties. Although not the technological peak in the development of the screw mount SLR (which occurred later) it represents THE screw mount SLR.
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1964 - Super-Takumar 50mm f/1.4 lens
An outstanding lens, which equalled or surpassed in optical and mechanical quality, compactness and handling all best competitors of that era.
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1971 - Super-Multi-Coated lenses
The world's first multi-layer anti-reflective coating allowed unbeatable control of flare and ghost images on lenses. The whole range of Super-Multi-Coated Takumar lenses gave excellent quality also in backlit situations, unequalled by competitors at any price for many years. Wide range, optical performance, sturdiness, compact size and affordable price made the SMC Takumars the best possible choice among precision lenses.
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1973 - Asahi Pentax ESII
Final  version of the world's first mass -produced aperture priority automatic exposure SLR. Allowed automatic exposure with all screw mount lenses, in a still compact body.
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1973 - Super-Multi-Coated Takumar f/1.8 85mm lens
An exceptionally good lens, a quality performer which all other competitor lenses have to be compared to.
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1975 - SMC Takumar f/3.5 15mm ultra-wide angle lens
World's first distortion-free ultra-wide angle lens (one aspherical element). Another myth, which all other competitor lenses have to be compared to.
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1976 - Asahi Pentax MX
World's most compact professional SLR camera and system. First GPD meter cells. Another excellent example of Pentax styling, easy operation, no-nonsense camera.
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1979 - Pentax ME Super
A hard to beaten mix of styling, modern technology, advanced features, easy operation, at an affordable price. A great commercial success.
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1980 - Pentax LX
World's first modular SLR with special sealing and gaskets to prevent dust and moisture entering the body. Exposure meter still unequalled today at low light levels.
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1981 - SMC Pentax-M* 300mm f/4 lens
An outstanding lens, which equalled or surpassed in optical and mechanical quality, compactness and handling its best competitors of that era.
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1984 - SMC Pentax-A* 85mm f/1.4 lens
An outstanding lens, which equalled or surpassed in optical and mechanical quality and handling all best competitors of that era.
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1984 - SMC Pentax-A* 135mm f/1.8 lens
An outstanding lens, which equalled or surpassed in optical and mechanical quality and handling all best competitors of that era.
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1986 - SMC Pentax-F* 300mm f/4.5 lens
An outstanding lens, which equalled or surpassed in optical and mechanical quality, compactness and handling all best competitors.
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1989 - SMC Pentax-A* 200mm f/4 Macro lens
An outstanding lens, which surpassed in optical and mechanical quality all best competitors.
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1995 - MZ-5
World's smallest AF SLR. World's first AF SLR with retro stylish design and user-friendly controls. An excellent combination of high-tech and easy operation. Pentax set a new trend again. Double-awarded European Camera of the Year.
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1997 - 645N
World's first AF medium format SLR. Advanced 35mm style features, operation and user-friendly controls brought to the medium format. Camera Grand Prix 1998.

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Page updated 31st Aug. 2000