Pentax ESII
Posted 11-13-'02

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Introduction -



How it works

Film loading and winding

Setting ASA film speed — Film type reminder dial

Exposure factor control dial

Diaphragm setting

Compose and focus

TTL metering and automatic shutter


Open-aperture or stop-down reading


Depth-of-field preview lever

Mechanical shutter

Film loading

Camera holding

Battery insertion and check Self-timer

Flash synchronization

Depth-of-field guide

Depth-of-field table SMC Takumar 50mm lens

Infra-red photography

Multiple exposure -

Important notes

Guide book for Asahi Pentax system of photography

Warranty policy


Your Honeywell Pentax ES II is the most exciting 35mm SLR camera on the market today, It comes equipped with a through-the-lens metering system with focal-plane electronic shutter for automatic exposure control. The fully automatic electronic shutter operates just like an electronic computer assuring you of perfect exposure everytime. This new electronic shutter lets you shoot automatically at any speed between 1/1000 and 8 seconds! If the exact shutter speed should be 1/459, 1/733 or 1/952 seconds, then that's the shutter speed that will be automatically selected. Our patented memory device and electronic shutter make it possible. There's also an exposure control dial for intentional over- or under-exposures.

The Pentax ES II is the automatic single-lens reflex camera that works automatically without special lenses. It operates automatically with virtually all Takumar lenses, as well as, bellows, extension tubes, and other close-up accessories. The reason is that the automation is incorporated into body itself, not into the lens. Your Pentax ES II is equipped with a Super-Multi-Coated Takumar lens. Exclusively developed by Pentax, Super-Multi-Coated Takumar lenses reduce flare and boost contrast to a degree far beyond what was previously possible in optical technology. Your pictures will have more detail and richer colors than is possible with any other system at any price.

In addition to the exclusive new features of the Pentax ES II, you̓ll find many of the refinements that have established Pentax as the leading fine camera maker in the world. The ES II retains the same traditional compactness and classic feel. It also is designed for use with the accessories from the Pentax system, including all the Takumar lenses ranging from dynamic wideangle to powerful telephoto. The Pentax system is ready to grow with

The Honeywell Pentax ES II is an excellent choice in a fine camera. We wish you exciting photography in the years to come.



Type: 35mm TTL-metering SLR camera with focal-plane electronic shutter for automatic exposure control.

Film and Picture Size: 35mm film. 24mm x 36mm.

Standard Lenses: -- SMC Takumar 50mm f/l.4 and 55mm f/1.8 with fully automatic diaphragm. Distance scale: 0.45m (1.5 feet) to infinity. Filter size: 49mm. With depth-of-field scale.

Shutters:  TTL-metering electronic shutter for automatic exposure control + mechanical shutter for manual speed selection. Horizontal run focal plane shutter. 
Electronic shutter speeds: unlimited variation between 8 and 1/1000 sec. 
Mechanical shutter: 1/60 (X), 1/125, 1/250, 1/500, 1/1000 sec. Shutter button safety lock also serves for Time exposure.

Self-timer: Built-in self-timer with interrupt function. Releases shutter in 5 - 11 sec.

Viewfinder:  Eye-level pentaprism finder with Fresnel lens + microprism. 0.89x magnification with 50mm lens. Life-size magnification with 55mm lens. --1.0 dioptry. 93% viewfinder coverage. Viewfinder blinds can be closed in automatic shutter mode. Shutter speed calibration, TTL meter needle and battery check mark in the viewfinder screen.

Focusing: -- Turn the distance scale ring until the subject image in the viewfinder comes into sharp focus. Minimum focusing distance: 0.45m (1.5 feet).

Reflex Mirror: Instant return

Film Advance:  Ratchet type rapid wind lever. 10° preadvance and 160° advance angle.



Film Rewind:  Rapid rewind crank. Film rewind button on base of camera body releases film from take-up spool for rewind. 

Film Exposure Counter:  Automatic re-set type.  Cocked Indicator A red disk appears in a small window alongside the shutter release button when the shutter is cocked, and blacks out when it is released.

Lens Mount:  42mm thread (Pentax-mount). Flash Synchronization FP + X contacts for conventional flash cord connection. X contact on hot shoe for convenient cordless flash connection.

Exposure Meter:  CdS-activated TTL meter for open-diaphragm and stop-down reading. Light measurement range: EV1 -- 18 with ASA 100 film. ASA speed scale: 20 -- 3200.


Exposure Factor:  Control Dial -- 1X for normal exposure. 2x, 4x, 1/2X for international over- or under-exposure.

Power source:  Four 1.5V silver oxide batteries (Eveready S76E or Mallory MS-76H)

Film Type:   Indicator (black & white), * (color daylight), 8 (color tungsten) and EMP. (empty).

Dimension:  With 50mm lens: width 143mm (5.6") x height 98mm (3.9") x thickness 93mm (3.7"). With 55mm lens: width 143mm (5.6") x height 98mm (3.9") x thickness 90mm (3.5").

Weight:  930g (1 lb. 14 oz.) with 50mm lens. 879g (1 lb. 12oz.) with 55mm lens. 678g (1 lb. 6 oz.) without lens.

The batteries are packed separately. Be sure to insert them into the battery housing before operating the camera. For insertion, refer to page 20.

1. Load your film and set ASA film speed.

2. Keep this at "1X" for normal exposure.

3. Pre-select f/stop.

4. Set shutter speed dial at "AUTOMATIC".


5. Keep this lever down for open-aperture exposure reading. (Lens aperture stays fully open, and stops down to pre-selected f/stop as you depress shutter release.) Move it up for depth-of-field preview or for stop-down exposure reading. (Lens aperture actually stops down to pre-selected f/stop.)

6. TTL meter reading. Softly depress shutter button. Electric circuit is now switched on. Meter needle starts moving and indicates correct shutter speed.

7. Electronic memory device stores exposure reading information.

8. Depress shutter release button

9. Memory device automatically releases electronic shutter.


l. Open the back by pulling out the rewind knob until the back cover snaps open. 2. Place the film cassette properly into the cassette chamber, and push down the rewind knob. Insert the film leader into the slot of the take-up spool.

3. Advance the film by alternately turning the rapid wind lever and depressing the shutter button until both sprockets engage the film perforations properly. Close the back by pressing it firmly.

4. Cock the rapid wind lever, and confirm that the film rewind knob automatically turns counter-clockwise, indicating that the film is properly loaded and is moving from cassette to take-up spool. Trip the shutter.

5. The first portions of the film cannot be used for picture taking as they have already been exposed to light. Generally, two or three blank exposures should be made before taking your first picture. Therefore, advance the film until the exposure counter turns to "1", indicating that the first picture is ready to be taken.


The ASA film speed is given in the data sheet packed with each roll of film. The higher the ASA number, the more sensitive the film.  

Lift the outer ring of the exposure factor control dial, and turn it until the same number as the ASA number of the loaded film appears in the ASA speed indicator

Use this dial as a reminder of the type of film loaded. To set the dial, pull out the rewind knob softly, and move the selector to * for daylight type color film, 8 for tungsten type color film, 1 for black-and-white and EMP. when the film is not loaded.



The scale (4x 2x 1X 1/2x) indicates exposure factor. 

Turn the outer ring of the film type dial, and set lx against the orange arrow for normal exposures.

Use this control only when necessary to give intentional over- or under-exposures within the range of these factors while working on “AUTOMATIC”.  For example, set the dial at 2x or 4x when shooting against the light, and at 1/2X against dark backgrounds. In addition, the dial can be set between the indicated positions to achieve more specific exposure control.

Set the shutter speed dial at “AUTOMATIC”.
Rotate the diaphragm ring to pre-select the desired aperture such as follows:

Fine weather f/8 f/11
Cloudy weather  f/4 - f/5.6
Indoor f/2 ff2.8

 This is a rough guide to acquaint you with the automatic shutter operation. As you get used to it, you will have your own yardstick for aperture pre-selection depending on your subject and lighting conditions.

The shutter speed of the ES II is automatically determined at any speed within the range of 8 to 1/1000 sec. according to the brightness of your subjects.


While viewing through the viewfinder, turn the focusing ring until your subject comes into sharp focus.

Pentax viewfinders have a Fresnel lens with a microprism center underneath the ground glass. As you look through the finder, you will see that the Fresnel lens consits of many concentric rings which provide the brightest possible image on the ground glass.

The microprism is the center portion of this diagram. When your subject is in focus, the image in the microprism will be sharp and perfectly clear, If your subject is not in focus, the microprism will break the image into many small dots, much like an engraver's screen. You can focus your subject on any portion of the ground




For full-aperture reading, be sure that the stop-down lever is DOWN

The broader figures 2, 4 and 8 in the shutter speed calibration mean 2, 4 and 8 seconds respectively. The electronic shutter of the ES II is guaranteed to work properly down to 8 seconds.

After cocking the rapid wind lever, press the shutter release button lightly to switch on the electric circuit. The meter needle in viewfinder indicates the correct shutter speed.

 If the needle does not drop to “1000”, stop down the lens diagrapham.


At slow speeds slower than 1/30 sec. - put your camera on a solid support or use a tripod to prevent camera

Depress the shutter release button completely when ready to take your picture. When the shutter is released and your finger is off the shutter button, the meter circuit is off and the needle will return to the top of the scale.


Your ES II is provided with a shutter lock. To prevent accidental shutter release, lock the shutter release button by moving the lock lever to the left. An “L” becomes visible.


Inside the eyepiece of your ES II are convenient viewfinder blinds to shut out stray light which may enter the viewfinder from the rear.  
When using a self-timer or working in close-up, macrophotography, tripod-mounted telephotography, etc. with your eye off the viewfinder close the blinds by setting the shutter speed dial at  “AUTOMATIC.”


With the new SMC Takumar lenses with the diaphragm coupling lever (1), mounted directly on the ES II camera body, the TTL meter reads exposure through the full-open aperture for correct automatic exposure. For open-aperture reading, the stop-down lever should be DOWN.

With all other lenses, or when using Extension Tubes, Bellows Unit or Microscope adapter, remember always to push up the stop-down lever for stopped-down aperture reading and correct automatic exposure.

The SMC Takumar 85mm f/1.9 (bottom, left) and SMC TakumarZoom 85mm-2lOmm lenses do not have the diaphragm coupling lever (1); therefore, they should be used on the ES II for stop-down reading.


All SMC Takumar lenses up to 300mm except the above two are designed for open-aperture reading. When directly mounted on the ES II, they will give correct exposure readings at full aperture.  Do not try to take meter readings at stopped-down aperture, as this will indicate different shutter speeds.

Also remember that the TTL metering does not work unless the shutter dial is set at “AUTOMATIC”



The preview lever on the lens should always be set to “AUTO” when the lens is used on the ES II. The lever has an interlock that prevents it from being set to “MAN” when mounted on the ES II. When mounted on a Pentax camera other than the ES or ES II, the lever will operate normally.

In addition to the electronic shutter for automatic exposure control, the ES II has a mechanical shutter for speeds: 1/60 X for electronic flash synchronization, 1/125, 1/250, 1/500, 1/1000 sec. plus B (Bulb).

To operate at any one of these speeds, just turn the shutter dial from “AUTOMATIC” to the desired speed setting. Now the electric circuit and TTL meter circuit are off.

To make an exposure longer than 8 seconds, set the shutter dial at B. The shutter will stay open as long as you depress the shutter button. As you release your finger from the shutter button, the shutter closes.

For extremely long exposures, set the shutter lock by moving the lever to the left while depressing the shutter button. Alternately, use a cable release with a locking



After the final picture on the roll has been taken, the rapid wind lever will not turn, indicating that the film must be rewound. Lift the rewind crank up. Depress the film rewind release button and turn the rewind crank as indicated to rewind the film into its cassette. Rewind until the tension on the crank lessens, indicating that the leader end of the film has been released from the take-up spool. Pull out the film rewind knob (the back will open automatically), and remove the film cassette.


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