Pentax Espio 170 SL

I recently visited a follower of the blog and we exchanged some cameras. Well, I gave him a few and he gave me a sackful and loads of film to boot…not literally. Then we went for a wander around Leicester. To join me on the walk I chose this camera from the pile he gave me.

I picked this camera from 2001 as it looked clean and easy to use. I could wander around Leicester without thinking too much about how to use it. The previous link and this one both state the camera has a panoramic feature, but I did not find the switch while I was using it. After reading about that setting on a few websites I had another look. Usually, the panoramic feature is quite prominent. On this camera, it is hidden on the bottom of the camera. It is also a little bit camouflaged next to the serial number and film rewind button.

I did find the spot focusing setting, which you can access by pressing the AF button. The flash comes on automatically when needed unless you turn it off. Amazingly, if you scroll through the flash settings there is a bulb setting. I have not seen that on a point and shoot before.

The day was beginning to wane and it had been cloudy before that. I only had a Fomapan 100 to try, not the best choice for the conditions. I don’t really like using flash and certainly couldn’t use it while visiting the local King. Actually, I have not been to Leicester before and I was very surprised by the buildings and history of the place. Mainly I knew about the football team and King Richard III, and that was it. Walking around the city I was struck by the calm welcoming feeling of the place. I felt kind of safe there.

Anyway, here is the test roll from the gift camera.

At the beginning of the walk, I decided to turn off the flash, even though it was dark. I was expecting the shots to be underexposed, but they are not. That means the camera chose the correct exposure length. I was impressed by this as usually there is a minimum or set exposure time, but this camera even has a bulb setting. I think with a tripod and remote or timer, the shots would have been fine. Where I did turn on the flash the exposures are also great, the flash does not overpower the images. Super. Then there is the massive zoom. Due to the dull conditions, I did not try that out to the full extent. But reviews of the zoom are good. I do like the vignetting on the flash photos.

I have a confession about the developing though. I used Ilfosol 3 which is a one use only developing solution. I used this batch previously to develop a few sheets of 4×5 film, hence the weird grain you can see. I thought the film would be underexposed or blurry (I was right about that), so didn’t want to mix new chemicals. I am happy with the results. It lets me know this is a great camera and one I would recommend if you can get a clean version.

I sent mine to a friend along with a roll of film. He hasn’t tried film for a while so I wanted a great little camera for him to try out. If I get it back one day I will be very happy, if not, well, I have converted another film believer.

5 thoughts on “Pentax Espio 170 SL

  1. Toby says:

    I have a spare IR remote for Espios somewhere if you want it? Never thought of that, it might work with the Pentax aps camera too, if you’re lucky


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