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01-28-2011, 06:25 PM   #1
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Ricoh KR-Super II Vs. Pentax KX

So I've been shooting on a KX, and it's a very nice camera, it handles a lot like my spotmatic, and it gives me access to K mount glass, which is nice. However, I feel like I paid too much for it, and now I have the opportunity to buy a Ricoh Kr-Super II for 25$, with a 50mm 1.7 rikenon. The Kr-super also has a top shutter speed of 1/2000. I'm thinking of perhaps putting the KX up for sale and buying the Ricoh. I'm going to be traveling in a few weeks, and the money the sale of the (recently CLA'd) KX would give me some additional funds, AND the Ricoh could still mount all my M42 glass, my Pentax Zoom, and my third party 35-70mm. Basically my question is, would selling the KX generate anywhere close to what I paid (In excess of 150USD) and would I be any worse off with the Ricoh? I've used Ricoh glass, and I know how good it can be, I'm wondering SOLELY about the quality of the body. 1/2000 really intrigues me, to me that make it almost worth trading off the KX. Any thoughts/comparisons between these two cameras?

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Last edited by PGillin; 01-28-2011 at 06:31 PM. Reason: Add a picture, correct KR5 to KR super
01-28-2011, 06:51 PM   #2
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I have owned a number of Ricoh and Sears-badged Ricoh SLRs.
They had nice features, but had neither the feel of quality nor reliability of my Pentax bodies.

FWIW the KX was my first Pentax. When I foolishly sold it I immediately regretted it.
I eventually replaced it, and have since bought a second KX. It remains my favorite Pentax camera.

Chris
01-28-2011, 08:12 PM   #3
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I own (in order by year of manufacture):
  • Ricoh Singlex TLS
  • Pentax KX
  • Ricoh XR-2s
  • Ricoh XR7
  • Pentax Super Program
All have their plus/minus points and I don't know if I could offer a blanket statement regarding quality/ruggedness/dependability by brand. I can offer a few points regarding each body, though

Singlex: Very ruggedly built, especially the shutter (legendary Copal "square" vertical). Larger and heavier than a Spotmatic (its much more expensive contemporary). I have had mine for about 15 years with no maintenance beyond seals and yes, the meter still works and the shutter is still accurate.

KX: Solidly built with a form factor and handling very similar to a Spotmatic. In my opinion, the KX is probably the finest and best-featured non-AE K-mount SLR ever made. That being said, the flash sync is limited to 1/60s due to the horizontal run shutter and the ISO set mechanism is flimsy. I will never sell mine.

XR-2s: Almost identical in dimensions to the KX with very similar control layout. It matches the KX for every feature except MLU, but adds Av mode and 1/125s flash sync. Lighter than the KX, but with more robust Copal shutter. The XR-2s is resin clad over a metal (non-cast) carriage. Great value considering the price comparison to a KX. Truth be known, I reach for this one over the KX, but mostly because I don't want to risk cosmetic damage to the KX.

XR7: Small and light and very rugged due to resin-clad cast/cnc aluminum carriage. Bright, full information viewfinder. The build "feel" is somewhat below that of the Super Program, but is made up for by much better control layout, usability and handling. It also has AE lock. Also great value and much preferable to an ME Super IMHO. In regards to the ruggedness claim...I bought my first XR7 new and carried it thousands of miles slung on the outside of my external frame backpack. Yep, banging and swinging along. When it finally died after 25 years of heavy use, it was due to being mounted to a defective lens that resulted in a munged aperture coupling. That kind of insult would have been fatal for most cameras. The replacement XR7 was purchased for $25 with two zooms from Goodwill a couple of years ago. I really should pick up another for when it dies (!).

Super Program: Tiny and light with a high quality feel throughout. Great handling. Resin clad over metal body with great feature set. Best feature set of the A-series Pentax cameras. No AE lock. Control layout and usage sucks. LCD display in viewfinder hard to use in dim light (so what else is new?). True TTL flash. Despite its good points, this is one K-mount SLR that I may well sell. The XR7 is a much nicer camera for shooting.

Regarding the KR-Super II...If you need a camera for "beater" duty, it is pretty hard to lose at $25 including lens, as long as the features all work and the battery compartment is clean. The Rikenon 50/1.7 is OK, but the Pentax-M is much better. That being said, don't sell the KX. When the KR-Super II dies, it is a throwaway camera. For all practical purposes it cannot be repaired. OTOH, all of the systems on the KX are repairable and serviceable and it is capable of lasting a lifetime with periodic maintenance. Buy the Ricoh and keep the KX.


Steve

(For those that have an interest, there are photos of all of the above cameras and a few more HERE. Oops...just noticed that the KX is not represented! Will have to fix that...)

Last edited by stevebrot; 01-28-2011 at 08:53 PM.
01-28-2011, 08:21 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Regarding the KR-Super II...For $25 including lens, it is pretty hard to lose as long as the features all work and the battery compartment is clean. The Rikenon 50/1.7 is OK, but the Pentax-M is much better. That being said, don't sell the KX. When the KR-Super II dies, it is a throwaway camera. For all practical purposes it cannot be repaired. OTOH, all of the systems on the KX are repairable and serviceable and it is capable of lasting a lifetime with periodic maintenance. Buy the Ricoh and keep the KX.


Steve

(For those that have an interest, there are photos of all of the above cameras and a few more HERE.)
That's kind of what I want to do, actually. But then I'd need help explaining why I spent the money I'm supposed to use on books and food on ANOTHER 35mm slr. And you're right about the KX, it's really quite nice, but I haven't bonded with it for a few reasons.
1. I overpaid
2. I had to send it back for a meter repair (free, thank god)
3. I hate the strap that's on it, but it was a gift, so I'm stuck
4. I overpaid.

So I guess the question is, how do I justify ANOTHER 35mm SLR, and get over the above problems?

01-28-2011, 08:30 PM   #5
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I'd agree with Chris. Some of those Ricohs are fairly nice, though, definitely not on the same level as a KX for quality in any event.

I don't really remember one model from another very well, though. (Pretty sure one that I liked was that an XR7 That may be one of the cheaper models, by the look of it?)


I think one obvious thing you've got to do is find something else to put that strap on, then you can save face by leaving that thing around wherever it needs to be to save face.

It also really sounds like you've perhaps psyched yourself out about that KX, shaken confidence or something. Maybe sit down and have a talk with it about a fresh start. How badly did you overpay, anyway?

Last edited by Ratmagiclady; 01-28-2011 at 08:49 PM.
01-28-2011, 08:59 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ratmagiclady Quote
Pretty sure one that I liked was that an XR7 That may be one of the cheaper models, by the look of it?
Nope...the XR7 was top of the line and priced about the same as a ME Super back in the day. I compared both side-by-side in the camera store and chose the Ricoh over the Pentax.


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01-28-2011, 09:10 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by PGillin Quote
I overpaid
$170 with lens? I paid about $150 for mine by the time I got the 55/1.8 but the ISO set mechanism was broken requiring a trip to Eric for a final price of over $200.

Yep, I was pretty bummed. Even more so two months later when the top got scratched in the bag by the QR plate on the K10D. (Never assume that things in the bag won't jostle each other! Particular if any of the gear is in pristine condition.)

Even so, these are the important plus points about your KX:
  • Can be repaired
  • Is a classic of mechanical camera design and precision manufacture
  • Is well-built
  • Is full-featured and well-balanced
  • Has a metering system with excellent low-light sensitivity and quick response
  • Is well-balanced and handles nicely with both large and small hands
  • You already own it and know that it works

BTW, you might want to take a walk through the manual for the KR5 Super II at the Butkus site HERE to see if the camera's features and specs meet your needs. The KR-5 Super II was at the lower end of the Ricoh line and is a pretty basic camera. The limit of ISO 1600 may be a concern compared to the ISO 6400 supported by your KX. I may be wrong, but the KR-5 Super II may share some DNA with the current entry-level K-mount and F-mount SLRs made by Cosina and sold under the Vivitar/Nikon name.


Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 01-28-2011 at 09:25 PM.
01-28-2011, 09:21 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
$170 with lens? I paid about $150 for mine by the time I got the 55/1.8 but the ISO set mechanism was broken requiring a trip to Eric for a final price of over $200.

Steve
Mine came in at 195$ for the camera and M50mm F2. Add in 20$ for two way shipping to have the meter fixed (it was warranteed, so shipping only) So that's a 215$ KX. So I guess that's about going rate? Although you picked up the camera with a rarer lens AND had a repair done for that price...
Thanks for the idea about the manual. I wouldn't have thought of that.

01-28-2011, 09:29 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by PGillin Quote
Thanks for the idea about the manual. I wouldn't have thought of that.
Butkus is the old camera buyer's best friend.


Steve
01-28-2011, 10:48 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Nope...the XR7 was top of the line and priced about the same as a ME Super back in the day. I compared both side-by-side in the camera store and chose the Ricoh over the Pentax.


Steve
Ah, yep. Poor editing on my part, there: the XR7 is one I liked and I was pretty sure the KR5 SuperII there is one I was suspecting was a pretty cheap one. That shutter release does look like it's from those Cosina bodies.
01-29-2011, 06:26 AM   #11
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I feel I overpaid too for my KX/M1.7 - $130 I paid to the local camera store. After a few rolls it has sat in the cupboard waiting for an Eric trip - so it will end up costing in the same range as you all's KXes...

On selling - you won't get all your money back; however you should get a good chunk of it, especially if you do a good job with the presentation and mention of CLA etc etc.

On keeping it - so you won't get the proceeds from a sale (just yet) but you'll be using a beautiful Pentax in good working condition (and hope reliable) for a while... and thus getting enjoyment for whatever the difference ends up being between your cost and what you eventually get back when selling it.

In other words: get your amortization in enjoyment and use The KX really has some magic.

As far as the Ricoh - if you have the cash and want to try it, by all means get it! Worst case you'll have something to sell, best case you'll have a very nice camera.
01-29-2011, 10:56 AM   #12
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I had a KR5- Super II that I gave to my daughter. It has a smaller appearing finder than the MX or ME Super and a rather small split image area. Of the Ricoh's that I have, I like the XR-10.
01-29-2011, 11:01 AM   #13
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IMO $200 all told for a clean working Pentax KX is not unreasonable.
Its value remains relatively high because it is still a popular model among enthusiasts.
Many other models can be had for less but few are as nice as the KX.

Chris

Last edited by ChrisPlatt; 01-29-2011 at 11:10 AM.
01-29-2011, 11:37 AM   #14
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I have two KX bodies and I didn't pay $150 combined. I paid $56, $64.95 after shipping, for a KX with a 55 1.8 that I later sold and thought I overpaid. The second came with an A 50 1.7 and I paid $25, $36.13 after shipping. I will make a profit on that one when I sell the lens.
01-29-2011, 11:53 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
I have two KX bodies and I didn't pay $150 combined. I paid $56, $64.95 after shipping, for a KX with a 55 1.8 that I later sold and thought I overpaid. The second came with an A 50 1.7 and I paid $25, $36.13 after shipping. I will make a profit on that one when I sell the lens.
Are you guys discussing about THE Pentax K-x that is retailing new for around $500 right now? Are the used K-x bodies so cheap? Pardon my ignorance.
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