Pentax 17 Review: Fun and Quirky Film Photography

The Pentax 17 is here, bringing a fresh take on film photography. This half-frame camera uses 35mm film but gives you 72 exposures per roll, giving you more shots and a unique portrait orientation when looking through the viewfinder. For film enthusiasts, this camera could offer a fun and cost-effective way to enjoy shooting.

Coming to you from Kai W, this engaging video introduces the Pentax 17, a camera with a quirky design and several unique features. One standout aspect is its viewfinder, which offers a distinct look and feel. Though it appears somewhat flimsy, the camera's lightweight design might appeal to those who prefer portability. The body combines metal parts with lighter materials, making it easy to carry around.

Kai points out that the Pentax 17 lacks some modern conveniences. It runs on a CR2 battery and doesn’t include an auto-wind function, sticking to a manual winding system. This retro approach might charm some users, while others might find it a step back. The camera also features zone focusing, which can be a mixed bag. It offers a range of options, including macro and portrait modes, but the process can feel somewhat clunky and less intuitive than modern autofocus systems.

Despite these quirks, the Pentax 17 has a certain charm. The half-frame format allows you to take more shots, and the camera encourages a spontaneous shooting style. You can create diptychs or even panoramic images by scanning two frames together. However, you should be prepared for grainier images with less resolution, typical of the smaller film format. This might be perfect for social media but less ideal for large prints.

The viewfinder, while not the most precise, includes close-up frame lines to help with composition. Treat it as a general guide rather than an exact representation of what you’ll capture. The manual winding and simple controls add to the nostalgic feel of using this camera. It’s not about precision; it’s about the joy of shooting without overthinking each shot.

Altogether, the Pentax 17 looks like quite an interesting camera. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Kai.

Alex Cooke's picture

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

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