Pentax P30

  • Year : 1985
  • Dimensions : 14 x 8.8 x 6 cm (body)
  • Shutter speed : 1s to 1/1000s + B
  • Iso : 25 to 1600 iso
  • Lens : Jenazoom II, 35-70mm, f3,5 to f22
  • Focal Range : 0,4 m to inf 
  • Battery : two LR44 

The Pentax P30 is a classic 80’s camera. It has a typical 80’s look – the DeLorean version of a camera. It is made of plastic and metal, feels solid but not too heavy. 

This camera can be used in two different modes. A fully manual or the « program » mode for speed priority. In manual mode speed is set on the dial on top of the camera and the aperture with the dial around the lens. The aperture dial around the lens can be set to « A » meaning the aperture will set automatically depending on the speed you choose : it’s the program mode. In order to measure light the camera needs two LR44 batteries. Unfortunately even the fully manual mode does not work without batteries, the camera won’t shoot. So if your batteries die, you are stuck. In order to save battery life, the camera has an on/off button on the top (with the timer just next to it). 

Because I am used to fully manual cameras I shot most of the roll with the Pentax P30 in fully manual mode using an external light-meter. I tried the program mode only for the last few shots. The aperture using this mode seems way to low compared to what I had with the light-meter. Turns out the shots took in manual mode are very underexposed and the one using the program mode are on point.

I really enjoyed shooting with this camera and its Carl Zeiss 35-70mm lens. The minimum focusing distance of this lens is quite low at 0.4m which is enjoyable. This lens is also very sharp. I’ll definitely consider shooting with this camera again, but trusting the program mode this time.

I found this Pentax P30 online and picked it up in Lyon in 2019 for 20 euros. Here are some shots taken with it in Grenoble in 2019 on Agfa vista plus 200 :