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06-05-2010, 07:08 PM   #1
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Benefits of a mechanical camera?

Aside from it being operable without batteries, are there other benefits in using an all-mechanical camera like the KX or the MX? Thanks.

06-05-2010, 07:24 PM   #2
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K-X is not a mechanical camera? WSothout bateries it's simply do not work
06-05-2010, 08:01 PM   #3
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I guess cold weather might be one.
06-05-2010, 08:11 PM   #4
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Probably the reference is to the 1975 KX, not the new one of same name:
Pentax KX

06-05-2010, 08:57 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by bobmaxja Quote
K-X is not a mechanical camera? WSothout bateries it's simply do not work
KX does not equal K-x

My KX works fine without batteries...everything except the meter that is.


Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 06-07-2010 at 01:36 PM.
06-05-2010, 09:00 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by tuco Quote
I guess cold weather might be one.
Yes, cold weather is a big one. The other is not quite as obvious. Mechanical cameras generally feature excellent battery life, particularly if you do a lot of long exposures. It takes juice to hold that electronic shutter open.


Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 06-05-2010 at 09:51 PM.
06-05-2010, 09:12 PM   #7
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Tough. I still have a working Spottie and K1000 that are my first cameras. Replace the foam once every 10 years and keep shooting. These cameras will outlive any electronic DSLR by 5X or more.

Second would be mechanical flash contacts that can handle just about any strobe voltage going.

Not direct to the question but film is still superior in 2 areas, B&W and long exposure shooting, particularly at night.
06-07-2010, 06:54 AM   #8
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Thanks for all the replies so far. Yes, I definitely meant the 1975 film KX.

I guess my question is more about comparing the KX/MX to say, the ME/ME SUPER, rather than a DSLR. I find myself prefering to shoot with the ME SUPER because it has both auto and manual, and because the shutter goes to 1/2000, and it appears to be a solidly built camera that is still going strong about almost 30 years. It's nice to see the aperture reading from the KX/MX window, but they could have easily built that into the ME as well.

I understand that a mechinical camera should consume much less power. I guess I'm more interested to see if there are other non-power related benefits. Cold weather usage is interesting. How would a ME SUPER hold up in cold weather compared to a KX/MX? And what kind of temperatures does it start to make a difference? Dad did tell me he went up this really tall mountain in Taiwan in the 1970s, and his SL kept working in very cold weather, whereas his companions' more expensive and newer cameras just froze (whatever that means)!

It's a shame they don't make them like they used to. The VFs of these oldies are amazing compared to my *ist DS, which is supposed to be one of the better DSLR VFs available.

Thanks again.

06-07-2010, 07:41 AM   #9
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Batteries when cold lose their power is what cold weatherliness boils down to. People rig remote power packs and keep them under the coat, for example, to keep a camera going. For example, a couple of winters ago I left my Program Plus in a cold car - it was a bit below freezing. The camera, while it worked, under exposed, then quit working all together. The only fix was to warm up the batteries.

A major point for fully mechanical cameras: eventually, circuit boards and components become unavailable, at which point your electronic camera is on its own. A mechanical camera is at least theoretically repairable to perpetuity, given a motivated repair person. You can salvage mechanical bits from other cameras or even make them yourself.
06-07-2010, 01:19 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by bobmaxja Quote
K-X is not a mechanical camera? WSothout bateries it's simply do not work
Note that there is no hyphen in the name he used and both the K and X are upper case. That is the official name of the 1970 vintage k-mount film camera. The second point is this is the film camera forum. The digital SLR is the K-x

KX

Edit: The same goes for the KM (1970s film body) and K-m (K2000) recent dSLR.
06-07-2010, 02:00 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by bobmaxja Quote
K-X is not a mechanical camera? WSothout bateries it's simply do not work
I have to disagree with this

The KX (not to be confused with the K-x digital camera) is a fully mechanically operated camera with matched needle light meter,.

Only the light meter requires a battery. The shutter is a clockwork shutter and you can actually hear the mechanism time during long exposures.

As for the benifits, one of the things I can think of, which has not been raised yet is the older mechanical cameras are MUCH stronger. Many plastic covered early 1980's cameras suffered from temporary electrical failure if you put a large lens on them and mounted the whole thing from the tripod socket. The frame distortion caused intermittent battery contact and electrical function. My Ricoh XR-2s was famous for this, but by no means alone.

there is a limitation however, that most mechanical timed cameras are horizontal travelling shutters with 1/60 sync and 1/1000 max shutter. The cameras also suffered a little when using infra red film because the cloth shutters were not totally infra red opague
06-07-2010, 02:39 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
...Many plastic covered early 1980's cameras suffered from temporary electrical failure if you put a large lens on them and mounted the whole thing from the tripod socket. The frame distortion caused intermittent battery contact and electrical function. My Ricoh XR-2s was famous for this, but by no means alone...
Maybe that is why Ricoh changed to a machined aluminum chassis on the XR7? I love both my Ricohs and will have to remember this quirk of the XR-2s.


Steve
06-07-2010, 02:41 PM   #13
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In a nuclear war you can keep shooting even after they drop the big one.
The electromagnetic pulse will render other's electronic cameras useless.

Chris
06-07-2010, 04:58 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
I have to disagree with this

Many plastic covered early 1980's cameras suffered from temporary electrical failure if you put a large lens on them and mounted the whole thing from the tripod socket. The frame distortion caused intermittent battery contact and electrical function. My Ricoh XR-2s was famous for this, but by no means alone.

Lowell, I don't understand how frame distortion causes electrical failure.
What causes frame distortion? Nor do I undertstand the tripod thing. Is the connection: camera to tripod or lens to tripod? I have an XR-2 that I haven't used much, so very curious. I will be on the road for several days so don't be offended if I should not reply to your reply. Thank you.
06-07-2010, 04:59 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChrisPlatt Quote
In a nuclear war you can keep shooting even after they drop the big one.
The electromagnetic pulse will render other's electronic cameras useless.

Chris
Haha, this is the most useful information I've gotten in a long time! I'll definitely keep that in mind if(/when) someone decides to go trigger-happy.

Battery life is a benefit, I changed the batteries in my KX today for the first time in four years. And in the same time (or actually a little shorter) I've had to change the LXs batteries twice. I use the two cameras about the same.
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