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12-15-2010, 08:36 AM   #1
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Is here any major difference between LX or ME Super ?

Given that a film camera is , as someone puts it " nothing more than just a black box " . If that is so, then should we just live with a MX , ME Super , K1000, compared to something like a LX, considering the hugh premium one has to pay for an LX. Of course the LX comes with various bells and whistles. But are all these really worth the price being commanded, when all we need for film camera is just a light tight " black box " . Can fellow Pentaxians kindly advise or comment.

12-15-2010, 08:46 AM   #2
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Yes there are major differences and you can check out the features of the two cameras on this forum in the camera reviews or here Pentax Camera Bodies .

Differences include that the LX has interchangeable viewfinders, TTL flash, weatherproofing, a more substantial build, more robust accessories, etc. Whether these features make it worth the price to you is a personal decision.
12-15-2010, 10:40 AM   #3
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+1 on what Gene says, though I'd add that as with anything we geek out over, the "best" tends to command a price premium over its intrinsic advantage. Whether or not to pay this price is dependent on personal need and want, certainly the 'lesser' Pentaxes are capable and excellent cameras.

If one wants to be 'rational' about this - first question, what are you doing here - one would look at the types of use one needs the camera for, and finds the lowest cost / best condition body that meets that need. We don't all need f/1.2 lenses and 1/4000 shutters and high flash sync speed and all known metering modes and the best view finder and so on... or at least not all the time. Want? that's different
12-15-2010, 12:36 PM   #4
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I will also add that despite the fact that I have enjoyed my LX, I doubt very much that I would have owned one all these years if I hadn't gotten it though a replacement insurance policy. State Farm mutual bought my copy for me back in the late 80s as a replacement for a recently discontinued MX which was stolen from my home. The ME Super was never high on my list, but had the insurer given me the cost of an LX rather than having it shipped to me, I probably would have picked up another MX or two used and a lens instead.

I've stayed with State Farm as a loyal customer for 25 more years, but I'm not sure that the package of features on the LX would have been worth 800 1986 dollars to me given my needs.


Last edited by GeneV; 12-15-2010 at 12:52 PM.
12-15-2010, 02:05 PM   #5
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Isn't that kind of like asking "Is there a major difference between the NFL and high school football"?
12-15-2010, 03:11 PM   #6
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True enough, but if an ME Super had the same finder information and a shutter speed dial, you'd be nearly there.

Actually, the real big drawback of ME Supers is that the manual metering display and aforementioned lack of dial is pretty inconvenient. Otherwise, the finder's just so nice it's about in the same territory as a lot of more pro models, and that's one of the biggies that make up the difference.
12-15-2010, 05:33 PM   #7
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The biggest differences were build and ergonomics. Both cameras went to 1/2000 shutter speed and the ME super actually surpasses the LX in flash sync speed. The lens compatibility was the same and they took the same film. The ME super even had a very nice big viewfinder.

So really, it all comes down to a matter of personal preference.
12-15-2010, 06:17 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by keyser Quote
The biggest differences were build and ergonomics. Both cameras went to 1/2000 shutter speed and the ME super actually surpasses the LX in flash sync speed. The lens compatibility was the same and they took the same film. The ME super even had a very nice big viewfinder.

So really, it all comes down to a matter of personal preference.
Could it be argued that the LX has a "better" or "more convenient" metering?

12-15-2010, 09:37 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by lbenac Quote
Could it be argued that the LX has a "better" or "more convenient" metering?
Metering's for amateurs!

Actually, I've never used an LX, so I cant speak for the metering, but my point was (camera cliche 51) that it's just a light box. Plug the same exposure values into each camera and the results will be identical... unless you are using flash and are at 1/125 of a second because you'll get a big black line if you're using the LX!
12-15-2010, 11:25 PM   #10
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Features aside, if you are to buy one today for actual photography, I would stay away from MX & K1000 for the fact that they are fully mechanical and overhaul is required just to make the shutter speed accurate enough. Even so, there is no guarantee the mechanisms will stay accurate for long. LX was and still is the only pro model that rival Canon & Nikon at the time. However, it was never the most reliable model Pentax has ever produced, the ME Super was. Again, an expensive overhaul should be expected if buying the LX. Good luck on fishing a reliable one (and don't be fooled by the outer condition as many have gone through multi surgeries). Still, I am not a big fan of buying 30+ years old bodies for actual photography. Not that it cannot be done, but do factor the cost & time just to get the cameras in perfect working order before you can start shooting.
12-16-2010, 01:28 AM   #11
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I have an MX and prefer it over the electronic shutter SLRs that I have. I have not had it serviced and the exposure seems spot on compared to my other cameras... Yes I realise that it will probably need servicing at some point, but I feel that the cameras are more reliable generally than you indicate.
I disagree that an overhaul is required in all cases.

As to the OP, perhaps an appropriate analogy would be cars.
What's the difference between a cheap older car that provides nothing more than transport, and a more upmarket car that still provides transport as well as various other features?
Some features available on the LX might be really useful; I suppose that depends on your opinion.

cheers
12-16-2010, 06:19 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by maverickh Quote
Given that a film camera is , as someone puts it " nothing more than just a black box " . If that is so, then should we just live with a MX , ME Super , K1000, compared to something like a LX, considering the hugh premium one has to pay for an LX. Of course the LX comes with various bells and whistles. But are all these really worth the price being commanded, when all we need for film camera is just a light tight " black box " . Can fellow Pentaxians kindly advise or comment.
Whoever said a camera is just a box didn't know very much about cameras.
12-16-2010, 06:25 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by goddo31 Quote
I have an MX and prefer it over the electronic shutter SLRs that I have. I have not had it serviced and the exposure seems spot on compared to my other cameras... Yes I realise that it will probably need servicing at some point, but I feel that the cameras are more reliable generally than you indicate.
I disagree that an overhaul is required in all cases.cheers
I have both an MX and LX, enjoy both and have had both reconditioned. The cost of reconditioning the LX was about three times that of the MX. Both had foam seal issues but before the service the MX was usable, but the LX was a paperweight. So far, I have not encountered a pe-1985 Pentax that did not need a CLA, but YMMV. Since all mine were purchased in their time, it was not a case of buying a 30 year old camera for current work.

As I posted above, i don't own an ME Super, but I do own two Superprogram bodies and a P5. I definitely prefer the feel in hand of the MX followed by the LX over any of the electronic bodies of the 80s, and it is nice that either the LX or MX will work to some degree without batteries. The opportunity to use this feature has definitely happened, and recently. Sunny 16 is a wonderful thing.
12-16-2010, 04:20 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by lbenac Quote
Could it be argued that the LX has a "better" or "more convenient" metering?
If not for that, an ME Super would likely do it for most purposes: it kind of has a plus/minus thing (one stop precision: ie not much,) that places two LEDs in the opposite corners of the viewfinder: it's more like an aperture-priority camera with a manual override stuck in than a manual camera with aperture priority capability.

Teeniness and a little jewel of a viewfinder make it forgivable, but it can slow one down a lot. Even in manual it's awkward to do the +/minus buttons thing, you have to be looking in the finder to see what speed you've selected.
12-16-2010, 04:51 PM   #15
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The LX is streets ahead of the ME Super. It's metering in auto is far superior (Off The Film metering, same as the OM2n), you get the option of a 5fps motordrive as well as a winder, the flash metering is much better, there are interchangeable focussing screens, interchangeable viewfinders and a lot of other minor but useful features. The LX shutter is electro-mechanical, so if the batteries fail you still have speeds from 1/75 - 1/2000, on the ME Super you get 1/125 only. I believe the flexible printed circuits are the weak points on the ME Super, but in either case 30+ year old electronics will always be a weak point.

The LX is known to suffer from something called "sticky shutter" and it is wise to factor in the cost of a service when buying one. That should give you years of service. If you have a problem with an ME Super you might as well just buy another one since they are so cheap.

Until you have handled a kitted out LX it is hard to understand the difference, but put in a grid screen (SG20) and the big bright FB/FC finder combo (or FB/FD for macro) and it is about as good as it gets in a manual focus Pentax. This stuff was all hideously expensive originally, but if you can cope with less than collector grade perfection (like KEH BGN) they can be bought relatively cheaply. nowadays.
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