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02-20-2011, 03:40 AM   #1
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What's so special about the LX?

Apologies for the deliberately provocative question, folks!

I have an LX and Pentax MZ-5n which costs a fraction of the price. Now apart from the obvious better build of the LX, what's it got going for it? I mean the 5n has focus confirmation, which I found pretty handy. Metering seems to be very similar as well as the features.

What am I missing?

02-20-2011, 06:11 AM   #2
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The two cameras are hardly comparable.

LX: Manual focus, Weather sealing, all metal construction, modular (exchangeable viewfinder, exchangeable back), mirror lockup, multiple exposures, mechanical shutter.

MZ-5n: Autofocus, built-in flash, matrix & spot metering, higher ISO range, auto bracketing, +-3 EV compensation, panorama mode

You are also trying to compare designs that are 17 years apart.
02-20-2011, 06:12 AM   #3
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For me here are a few:

Great hand feel. Screams quality. Small enough to mount a winder or motor.
Great viewfinder(s) Bright. I like the LED to the side.
Everything in the right position and with the right control, unlike other AE cameras
TTL Flash, the real thing, that can be used with any lens
02-20-2011, 07:36 AM   #4
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The LX was the top of the line Pentax professional 35mm SLR camera with a unique combination of innovative features.
It is a true system camera with interchangeable viewfinders, backs, motor drives etc.
Construction is robust using premium materials and body is well-sealed for reliable operation under harshest conditions.

For additional information check out these webpages: mir.com: Pentax LX

Chris

02-20-2011, 08:06 AM   #5
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I think it's the sentimental value which is more than anything else to some Pentax fans. Against other pro cameras of its time, I don't think the LX was particular reliable or rigid. It was, and still is, however, the only true pro system Pentax has ever attempted for the K mount. Its predecessor, the MX, was really too late and not quite up to pro standard of its time. You don't see Canon or Nikon fans brag about the F-1 or F3 these days as they have moved on, but Pentax has never attempt the pro market (120 is another story) since. I guess some Pentax fans just need some reassurance through the old time icon.
02-20-2011, 08:57 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by wlachan Quote
I think it's the sentimental value which is more than anything else to some Pentax fans.
Have you owned a Pentax LX? Just wondering...

Chris
02-20-2011, 08:59 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChrisPlatt Quote
Have you owned a Pentax LX? Just wondering...
I did. Also, I have seen more badly dented LX than F-1 or F3. The aluminum LX prism is just too soft.
02-20-2011, 09:40 AM   #8
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What's bulletproof?

Was yours dented? I have never seen an LX body damaged to the point of being unusable.
They all eventually suffer the "sticky mirror" syndrome, but that's a different story.

My Nikon F2A suffered a big unrepairable ding in the finder shipped UPS
packed inside a well-padded box with no external damage.

When I sent my brother-in-law's Canon F-1 in for CLA though always stored
properly it was unrepairable due to "evidence of humidity".

Chris


Last edited by ChrisPlatt; 02-20-2011 at 09:45 AM.
02-20-2011, 10:45 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
...
LX: Manual focus, Weather sealing, all metal construction, modular (exchangeable viewfinder, exchangeable back), mirror lockup, multiple exposures, mechanical shutter.
...
Weather sealing - Great! Now can you find me a weather sealed lens that works with a LX? I didn't think so.

All metal construction - Also available on the K1000, the MX, and just about every Pentax camera released before 1985.

Exchangeable bits - How many people actually exchange them, other than as a curiosity?

Multiple exposures - Rarely if ever used, and can be done on almost any manual wind/rewind Pentax if you know what you are doing.

Mechanical shutter - You mean like on a K1000, or a MX, KX, et cetera?

QuoteOriginally posted by GeneV Quote
For me here are a few:

Great hand feel. Screams quality. Small enough to mount a winder or motor.
Great viewfinder(s) Bright. I like the LED to the side.
Everything in the right position and with the right control, unlike other AE cameras
TTL Flash, the real thing, that can be used with any lens
Quality - Subjective, but not appreciably better than a well maintained MX.

Size - Not any smaller than the M line, and they all take winders as well.

Viewfinder - Again, the MX and ME Super also have great viewfinders.

Control position - Totally subjective. Personally, I think the P3n has a better position and design for the shutter speed knob than the LX, and has a better location for the cable release socket. Does that make the P3n a better camera?

TTL flash - Way, Way, Way overrated, especially if you are a pro.

QuoteOriginally posted by ChrisPlatt Quote
The LX was the top of the line Pentax professional 35mm SLR camera with a unique combination of innovative features.
It is a true system camera with interchangeable viewfinders, backs, motor drives etc.
Construction is robust using premium materials and body is well-sealed for reliable operation under harshest conditions.
...
Chris
Again:

All the bits that could be changed out almost never were.

The "robust" construction is arguable. If I needed a camera for truly rough environments, I'd choose a K1000 first - it has far less to go wrong with it.

Finally, the weather sealing is a loss without matching lenses.
02-20-2011, 10:55 AM   #10
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One reason I continue to send mine to Pentax service centers when I know
beyond doubt that there are some people fully capable of doing most work
on it is for example, SMC coating on mirror. Believe its 8 layers.
Thats proprieitary and no-one but hoya-pentax does it.

What weather sealing thats done on LX is primarily aimed at dust intrusion from shutter button
and other openings on body excluding lens mount flange,shutter box design and integration of
IDM effectively takes care of that.No need to cover viewfinder during long exposures either.

Last edited by BillM; 02-20-2011 at 11:01 AM.
02-20-2011, 11:12 AM   #11
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The "thing" that makes the LX special, is the "thing" that I do not see mentioned.

It has off the film metering. Not many cameras have this. I can think of the Olympus OM-1.

It can meter down to -6EV. Again, not many cameras do this.

As for the "weather" sealing...

The camera is not weather sealed. It has dust and water seals arround the body, and at the top plate dials, but the camera is not sealed Like the K10D/K20D/K-7/K-5. It was never intended to be used in the rain.
02-20-2011, 11:15 AM   #12
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Only the Pentax LX offers a superb meter with off-the-film exposure control in AE using all interchangeable viewfinders.

Chris
02-20-2011, 11:55 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Steve Beswick Quote
Exchangeable bits - How many people actually exchange them, other than as a curiosity?
Probably a lot more than you realize. I don't even own the FA-1 finder because the LX offers the luxury of being able to choose or build your own system. While it's fun to try different parts I specifically chose the action finder to keep on my LX, and those of you who are familiar with this VF know how nice and flexible it is. No other Pentax camera has a similar finder or finder system. No other Pentax camera has off-the-film metering. There are special things about this camera other than sentimental value, just like other Pentax cameras have things that make them special. My K1000 is special because of sentimental reasons, and I find that quite common among other owners.
02-20-2011, 12:17 PM   #14
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From user point of view, I think MZ-5n and MZ-6 are the most versatile film cameras by Pentax. I never liked those older metal cameras which had very rude mirror/shutter slap to blur the picture.
02-20-2011, 02:14 PM   #15
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I have owned several different Pentax ZX/MZ series camera models and currently own an MZ-3.
Their build quality and the feeling of precision in operation are frankly poor compared to older Pentax cameras.
Though they may suit many users needs they're simply not in the same league as the Pentax LX; not by a long shot.

Chris
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