Honeywell Pentax H1a (Pentax S1a)

The Honeywell Pentax H1a (Pentax S1a) is a very fine and basic manual mechanical SLR, with an excellent sounding shutter and mirror report. It lacks a dedicated light meter, hot shoe, and self timer. Even though the shutter speed dial only shows a maximum of 1/500th second, the H1a does actually shoot at an unconfirmed 1/1000th second if you click to the blank spot above the 1/500th speed index. I have an early round model clip on CdS meter, in working order, which is a bit of a rarity these days. (When shooting I'll confirm the exposure with an iPhone light meter app, but so far the old unit seems to be pretty accurate.) The viewfinder is free and clear of distractions, offering a truly classic window to the world.

An H1a is the first camera I ever composed photographs on as a youth. It feels very comfortable and clean with no unnecessary bells and whistles. This camera gets the job done, and when paired with the Super-Takumar 55mm f2 of the time, produces rich and detailed photographs. You really can't get more basic than this for an old school SLR, and I highly recommend it for anyone looking to strip away the fluff and roll with the bare bones.

My first H1a burned in the High Park Fire and is the only surviving "artifact" camera. I have no idea why this one was pulled from the ashes while all my other cameras vaporized. Perhaps it was just a reminder that eventually I'd come back to my roots in film.

Here is a link for more information on this camera: Ken Rockwell-Honeywell Pentax H1a Review

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