The Pentax P3 is a manual focus 35mm film SLR (Single Lens Reflex) camera that uses Pentax K-Mount lenses. The P3 is a relatively compact SLR camera that was designed to be economical and easy to use while still benefitting from interchangeable lens compatibility. Unlike Pentax's more well known K1000 design, the P3 has a Depth-Of-Field Preview lever, only offers automatic ISO setting via DX film code reading, has an LED meter display, and features a Program Auto-Exposure in addition to a standard manual exposure mode.
The Program mode requires electrical contacts for lens to body communication; so a KA-Mount version of the K-mount like an SMC-A lens (or a newer style) is necessary for full lens compatibility. SMC-M lenses lenses can still be used, but only in the Manual exposure mode.
The P3 was originally introduced in 1985 and was marketed as the Pentax P30 outside North America. In 1988 Pentax introduced the P3n (also known as the P30n outside North America) which added an Aperture Priority AE mode. Two versions of the P3 exist: the 'early' version which has no connection for a cable release (only has a self-timer), in the 'late' version Pentax added a cable release socket near the lens mount.
- Manual focus 35mm film SLR camera with mechanical advance/rewind
- Fixed microprism/ horizontal split image matte focusing screen
- Pentax KA bayonet lens mount
- Depth-of-Field Preview
- Auto DX code reading (only) ISO/ASA film speed range: 25-1600
- Film loaded window
- GPD (Gallium Photo Diode) light metering cell
- Manual metering and Program AE (Auto-Exposure) modes (only)
- Center-weighted light metering pattern
- LED metering display
- Viewfinder info includes: shutter speed, metering function, flash ready signal
- M.L. Meter Lock (Auto-Exposure lock)
- Electronically controlled, vertical moving metal blade shutter by Seiko (MFC-E7)
- Shutter speeds from 1/1000 to 1 second, B (Bulb), 1/100x
- 1/100 sec flash sync speed
- Stepless shutter speeds in Program mode
- Hotshoe, dedicated Program auto-flash communication (not TTL)
- Integral ergonomic grip
- No cable release socket
- Electronic Self-timer
- Uses two SR44/LR44/MS76 type batteries
Available accessories include: Pentax K-Mount lenses, DX coded 35mm film, dedicated flashes.