PENTAX 17 Film camera


The popularity of film cameras has grown rapidly in recent years — especially among young photographers who have experienced this type of camera for the first time ever — because of the distinctive, somewhat nostalgic ambience that is so much different from that of digital cameras.

The PENTAX 17 was developed using a vast amount of knowhow and technology which RICOH IMAGING/PENTAX had accumulated over the years, with experts and younger engineers working closely together. The camera was designed to allow photographers to express their originality and creativity by leaving some room for manual operation, rather than making it a fully automatic camera.

The PENTAX 17 lets photographers fully enjoy the world of film cameras — the origin of pho-tography. It is an ideal model not only for film camera enthusiasts who have enjoyed film photography for years, but also for young photographers who are excited about trying film photography for the first time.


"It's time for film!"

Explore the uniqueness of film-photography


Classic camera design

At the beginning of the "PENTAX Film Camera Project" there was a lot of discussion and thought about the shape. And not least due to the confirmation from the community, everyone involved realised that a classic design was the best look for a new film camera. Viewed from above, the PENTAX 17 is designed in the style of the many successful PENTAX SLR film camera models. The silver outer parts are made of a solid but lightweight magnesium alloy, which is already used in cameras such as the PENTAX K-1 Mark II and PENTAX 645Z. Together with the technical plastic of the camera body, which was chosen to reduce the overall weight, the body design of the PENTAX 17 embodies the robustness, precision, nostalgia and loveliness of a film camera that is already a classic today.

17 x 24 mm - Half-size format

The PENTAX 17 features the half-size format, in which two 17mm x 24mm pictures are captured in a single 35mm-format frame (24 x 36mm). It also employs a horizontal film advance mechanism. When positioned in the normal way, it captures vertical-format pictures, identical to the familiar images captured by smartphones, which are commonly used today for picture-taking.

We have had great success with the RICOH Auto Half in the past. Even with this camera, the half-format with the dimensions 17x 24mm was used for photography, which today, with the PENTAX 17, still offers us decisive advantages and was one of the reasons for the choice of format.
Firstly, the camera is designed for vertical image composition. Even when looking through the viewfinder, you can recognise a vertical section for image composition. This vertical orientation is familiar to anyone who uses a smartphone. It is also particularly useful when sharing images in social communities, especially for younger users.


Another reason was cost efficiency. Compared to digital photography, the cost of film and developing is very expensive. With the half-format, however, twice as many photos can be taken for the same price. You can take 48 pictures on one film for 24 shots. This is a great advantage in terms of film and processing costs. However, this format also offers many options for particularly creative image composition. Because on a standard print, two pictures can be composed into a small story, and give special impressions of special motifs.



The essentials of a camera - the lens

Newly developed 25mm F3.5 fixed-focal lens

(equivalent to a 37mm lens in the 35mm format)

We tested many lens types for the lens design. In the end, we decided to design the lens as a triplet type based on two classics from the company's history, the RICOH Auto Half and the PENTAX Espio Mini. The Espio Mini was developed in 1994 and is still considered a classic today, not least because of its outstanding image quality, while the RICOH Auto Half, which was launched in 1962, was a bestseller in the half-format, and its focal length and focal angle make photography easy and problem-free for leisure and everyday use.

With a film camera, there are no electronics to affect the image. That's why we've also applied the HD and SP coatings used on our SLR camera lenses to produce a simple, sharp image reproduction with typical film colours.


An electronically controlled central shutter is integrated into the lens to ensure highly precise control of the shutter speeds. The combination of this shutter and the lens construction of the new lens means that the camera produces a beautifully rounded bokeh effect. It will be a real pleasure to shoot with it and capture the rays of light.


Zone-focus system to switch the in-focus area based on the subject distance

From close ranges to long distances, the PENTAX 17’s zone-focus system is divided into six zones, indicated by marks that signify each zone. All you have to do to set the camera’s focus is select the mark best suited for the distance to your subject.


About the zone focus

※Because the PENTAX 17 is a compact film camera, it causes a parallax in the Tabletop and Macro zones. When photographing in these zones, you are advised to frame the image using the parallax compensation frame indicated in the viewfinder.



Set the ISO sensitivity manually

Since the PENTAX 17 lets you manually select the ISO sensitivity setting from 50, 100, 125, 160, 200, 400, 800, 1600 and 3200, it lets you try and enjoy different types of film.





Exposure compensation mechanism for easy adjustment of brightness level

The PENTAX 17 features an independent exposure compensation dial, which lets you swiftly shift the exposure level with a simple turn, making it handy in backlit situations or in adding creative touches.



Seven shooting modes to accommodate different applications


1 - Full Auto mode

The PENTAX 17 features a pan-focus mechanism with a fixed focus point, while the flash unit automatically discharges in poorly illuminated locations. This mode allows for more casual and effortless picture-taking, without worrying about camera operations.

2 - Standard mode

This mode lets you select the desired focus zone, while the camera adjusts exposure to the proper level. Since the flash doesn’t discharge, this mode is highly useful in daylight photography.



3 - Slow-speed mode

This mode lets you select the desired focus zone without flash discharge, making it ideal for twilight photography.




4 - Maximum-aperture-
priority mode

This mode lets you select the desired focus zone, without flash discharge. The camera automatically sets the largest aperture available for a given scene.

5 - Bulb mode

This mode lets you select the desired focus zone without flash discharge. This comes in handy for subjects requiring extended exposures, such as light traces or fireworks. The use of the CS-205 Cable Switch (optional accessory) and a tripod is recommended when using this mode.

6- Daylight sync mode

This mode lets you select the desired focus zone, with the camera selecting the optimal exposure settings. Since the flash makes a discharge, this is ideal for photographs taken against backlight or in poorly illuminated locations.

7 - Slow-speed sync mode

This mode lets you select the desired focus zone, with the camera making a flash discharge. This is useful in situations where you want to brightly illuminate a subject in the foreground while retaining the ambience of a nightscape or twilight in the background.




Bright optical viewfinder to assure sharp subject image


The PENTAX 17’s optical viewfinder features an Albada-type bright frame finder. It also comes with a close-up visual field compensation frame to help you more easily compose close-up images. It is possible to check the zone marks directly through the viewfinder.

Indicator lamps to inform camera operation status and provide warnings

The PENTAX 17 provides two indicator lamps to the right of the viewfinder eyepiece. These blink as warnings to prevent operational errors, when you attempt to take pictures with the lens cap on, fail to wind the film to the next frame, or set the focus zone to Tabletop or Macro.




Enjoy manual film winding/rewinding actions


The PENTAX 17 features an easy-loading system to prevent film-loading errors. Just insert the roll of film and pull the film leader to the film end indicator, close the camera’s back cover, and manually keep winding the film until the film counter reaches “0” (zero). After finishing the roll of film, manually rewind it to complete the manual winding/rewinding actions which are only available with film cameras.

You can even rewind the film before the entire roll is finished.

To prevent the film from being exposed to the light, load the film in a dark location without contact by direct sunlight.



Note holder to keep track of the film in use


By cutting out the end of the film package and inserting it into the camera’s note holder, you can keep track of the type of film in use with just a quick glance.

Important point to note in film development
When ordering film development, it’s important to inform the lab staff that the photos have been captured with the half-size format camera.



Grip design for firm hold of the camera body

The PENTAX 17’s grip has been designed to provide a comfortable grip and firm hold of the camera body. Its distinctive contour assures a firm finger grip even when the camera is held vertically. The grip also serves as the battery holder, reducing the overall thickness of the camera body.