Ricoh launches Pentax 17 half-frame, fixed lens film camera

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Ricoh has announced the Pentax 17, a half-frame film compact camera with a manual focus fixed prime lens.

The Pentax 17 has a 25mm F3.5 lens (37mm equiv.), and derives its name from the horizontal width of the 17 x 25mm frames it captures.

Image: Ricoh/Pentax

The company says the vertical format the camera captures is similar to the aspect ratio of images shot by smartphones.

The 17 has a manual focus lens that can be set to one of six preset distances, from 0.25m to infinity, indicated with icons on the top of the lens. It's made of a magnesium alloy construction and uses a CR2 lithium battery to power its flash, light meter and viewfinder.

Interestingly, Ricoh says the lens is based on the design of 1994's Pentax Espio Mini. It's a pretty basic lens though, made up of three elements in three groups. The camera has selectable shutter speeds from 1/350s to 4 seconds, and offers a Bulb mode, compatible with an optional CS-205 Cable Switch.

The camera also has seven shooting modes to accommodate different applications and scenarios.

The company says its targeting a younger audience who enjoy the experience of shooting film and will appreciate the cost-savings of shooting two exposures on each 36 x 24mm frame.

“We’re hoping to introduce a new generation to the world of film photography with the Pentax 17,” said Ken Curry, president, Ricoh Imaging Americas.

“It is an ideal model not only for film camera enthusiasts who have enjoyed film photography for years, but also for photographers who are excited about trying film photography for the first time.”

Local availability or pricing has not been confirmed, but the 17 will be available from late June in the US at a cost of $499.95 ($756 AUD). 

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