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11-27-2010, 05:50 AM   #1
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Camera shake: LX MX ME (super) MZ-M

Hi all, I was wondering which of the LX, MX, ME, ME(s), MZ-M has the least mirror slap. Does anyone have any opinions? I guess the MZ-M won't mount so well to a tripod, being made of plastic. I need something with a splitscreen in it as I only use MF lenses. Basically, I think if I am considering spending large amounts money on a proper ball head, maybe I should address the source of vibration first. Thanks in advance. James.

11-27-2010, 07:15 AM   #2
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LX will easily beat all other of these cameras as it has mirror lock-up, so mirror slap will not be an issue at all. Other Pentax SLR with MLU and split screen are K2 and KX.
11-27-2010, 08:28 AM   #3
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Thanks, LX it is then. Plus, I guess if I get hold of a more modern LX, any improvements in shutter which Pentax developed since the ME was first introduced will be included.
11-27-2010, 08:36 AM   #4
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It might be worth sending an email to Eric Hendrickson and ask what he thinks. He knows what is really happening inside and how Pentax tried to deal with mirror slap on each model.
Home

You'll probably be dealing with him for an overhaul.

11-27-2010, 09:39 AM   #5
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Yeah, good idea. I think the ME Super has a mirror damper in it, which the ME doesn't have, according to my Pentax book by Herbert Keppler. But, it fundamentally makes sense to go with the LX as it has the mirror lockup, for ultimate sharpness when tripod mounted.
11-27-2010, 09:43 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Fogel70 Quote
Other Pentax SLR with MLU and split screen are K2 and KX.
...in part. Both were available with either microprism or split-image. My KX has the microprism screen.


Steve
11-27-2010, 11:36 AM   #7
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It was possible to order a split-image focusing screen on all the K series film bodies:
K1000, KM, KX, & K2. The split-image focus screen was standard on the K1000SE & K2DMD.

Phil.
11-27-2010, 01:36 PM   #8
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I don't know if you can get a split prism screen for an MZ-S, but I've been shocked at how slow I can handhold that camera. This was shot at 1/10th of a second wide open(f1.9) handheld. While certainly not razor sharp, it's impressive for a 100% crop from a flatbed scan with very little sharpening IMO. I don't know whether this means the MZ-S has very little vibration or if it's shaped just right, but either way I get sharper photos at slow shutters than I can with an F100 for example. I know you were interested in manual cameras, but it might be worth a consideration and It's pretty old school in it's operation, i.e. aperture ring and top shutter speed dial.

11-27-2010, 02:35 PM   #9
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I understand the OP's need for a manual-focus camera.

But I have to echo the sentiment about the MZ-S. The mirror slap is nonexistent and it handholds brilliantly.

The PZ1p seems to also be very well dampened. The shots below were handheld on 100 ISO film. I have these blown up to 11x14 and they are impeccable. I think with a better scan (drum scan) I could go to 16x20.

Last edited by filmamigo; 10-23-2015 at 07:21 AM.
11-27-2010, 05:16 PM   #10
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Remember all LX bodies have a mirror mechanism that will become faulty.
Unless recently serviced expect to spend $200 or more to overhaul.

Mirror lockup is unnecessary and impractical for most general photography.

All else being equal a heavier camera is usually less prone to camera shake.

Motorized advance usually increases camera shake.

IIRC the MX mirror mechanism is designed for better mirror damping.

I don't know which model is best. Good luck!

Chris
11-28-2010, 01:01 AM   #11
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Yeah, from the old repair manuals on the Robertstech website, it can be seen both the ME Super and MX have shock absorbers linked to the mirror. But its my guess this was a new technology as the ME didn't have it. Therefore, I wonder whether it was improved as time went by. I actually can't really feel any difference between my ME's and ME Supers though.
11-28-2010, 09:46 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChrisPlatt Quote
Remember all LX bodies have a mirror mechanism that will become faulty.
Unless recently serviced expect to spend $200 or more to overhaul.

Mirror lockup is unnecessary and impractical for most general photography.

All else being equal a heavier camera is usually less prone to camera shake.

Motorized advance usually increases camera shake.

IIRC the MX mirror mechanism is designed for better mirror damping.

I don't know which model is best. Good luck!

Chris
Good points, Chris. I was wondering what the use was that made the mirror slap was such a concern.
11-28-2010, 02:38 PM   #13
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Mirror slap robs sharpness more than a bad lens. If the shutter speed is fast enough, then it does not matter. Here is a post I put on Apug relating to the same topic. Basically, I am looking at spending the equivalent to the price of a LX on a ball head at the moment, and considering whether mirror/shutter vibrations could be minimised by using a different camera body. The thing is that I really like the compactness of the ME/ME Super, and the way they handle, having tried various other cameras in the past. I actually found the MX to be a bit clumsy in my hands in comparison! I've never handled a LX, so I cannot comment on them.

Anyway, here is the post on some calculations relating to mirror slap and measurements from a Markins related report:

Some thoughts on tripod vibration and shutter speed:

Having seen the Charlie Kim studies on the Markins site my interest was piqued...after a bit of arithmetic, I realised the oscillations shown for the tripods mean that the resolution of the system is limited to 25lp/mm, ie contrast at 40lp/mm is 0%, so all my concerns about lens performance, enlargement limits etc are severely capped. Simply, 1/(2.amplitude)=resolution limit, for the scenario where the length of the lens is the same as the focal length (its worse for teles). Without mirror lock up, the oscillations are 0.02mm -> 1/0.02/2=25 (the factor of 2 is there because line pairs only need to overlap by half their width to achieve zero contrast, full overlap produces spurious resolution)

http://www.markins.com/charlie/report.html

If you want a tripod to reveal the capacity of a lens, it strikes me that the movement on the film should be less than the diffraction limited resolution/2. This means that the MTF curve for the lens will sit beneath the limits imposed by tripod vibrations. This can be achieved by one of two means a) reduce the amplitude of oscillation b) reduce the time the shutter is open, so that only a portion of the vibration cycle is recorded on the film. As a) is shown to be very difficult unless “bolted to a rock”, b) seems the viable alternative. Using simple harmonic motion, I came up with the following formula for obtaining the shutter speed t required for diffraction limit resolution to be seen:

Arcsin(fstop/1500.1/2.1/A)/w=t

In the Markins report, the amplitude of the vibration, A was 0.02mm without mirror lockup, and the frequency w was 10Hz. This is using a decent tripod and ball head and a 250mm focal length. This gives a shutter speed, t of 1/500s at f8, WHEN TRIPOD MOUNTED! This produces a vibration creating zero contrast at a frequency of ~200lp/mm which is the same as the diffraction limit at f8. If the vibration is allowed to go full cycle, ie shutter speed is 1/10s, then the resolution drops to A which produces 1/0.02/2=25lp/mm. [note: if you are going to put numbers through this, w needs multiplying up by 2.pi so its in rads.s-1 instead of Hz, also note that this is for a 250mm lens, so it works out as a "1/(2.focal length)|tripod mounted" rule, iff the relationship with focal length is linear]

You could substitute A for f_length/10000, where focal length is /mm. Handheld, w=3 and A =0.15 which produces t of 1/1000s "1/(4.focal length)|not tripod mounted" rule.

Once the shutter speed is so slow that the period of oscillation of the tripod is less than the time the shutter is open, then the full swing of the front element is recorded on the film and the absolute amplitude of the vibrations dictates the resolution limit of the system.

Unfortunately, the frequency of oscillations actually increases with a stiffer tripod set up. This is why there is only a factor of 2 difference between the speed required for handheld vs tripod mounted. The increase in frequency needs to be outpaced by the decrease in the amplitude of the oscillation. This makes me wonder whether instead of increasing the rigidity of my ball head, I’d be better off trying to reduce the frequency of oscillation by increasing the mass of the lens and camera, and by damping the connection between the camera and ball head. Indeed, I read in an old Zeiss camera review that for ultimate resolution, a hydro damped head which is not locked off outperforms a rigid setup. Indeed, maybe this report is what has sparked this thought-experiment.

One major caveat to all of this is that the test was done with a Hasselblad...where I guess the shutter is heavier than my ME Super’s, yet the mass of the two is not very dissimilar. From these numbers, I can see why people would complain about shutter vibration and look to heavy tripods.
11-28-2010, 02:57 PM   #14
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Mirror-induced vibration is a concern with medium format SLRs, but not so much with 35mm SLRs due to smaller mirror size, force and distance traveled.
Unless you will be doing time exposures, macro work or using extreme telephotos you should be fine with any of the Pentax models you mentioned.

Chris
11-28-2010, 03:04 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChrisPlatt Quote
Mirror-induced vibration is a concern with medium format SLRs, but not so much with 35mm SLRs due to smaller mirror size, force and distance traveled.
Unless you will be doing time exposures, macro work or using extreme telephotos you should be fine with any of the Pentax models you mentioned.

Chris
That's my understanding. The 6x7 was the only fairly recent Pentax where mirror vibration was really an issue. Even the 645 does very well without a mirror lock in the vast majority of tripod uses. If you are doing very close macro work, the MLU is very useful.
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