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10-04-2011, 11:08 AM   #1
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Back to Pentax after many years

My first 35mm slr camera in the late 1960's was a Spotmatic. Things evolved over the years through every format up to 8x10 view cameras. My 35mm preference ended up being Leica which I still adore, but recently decided to get a digital slr and bought a used K20 which got me back in the Pentax community. Just couldn't justify the high prices for Nikon and Canon. I had realized I still owned an MX with a couple of KA lenses and that made the decision even easier. After a some sales and some purchases I find myself with the following:
K20 w/ DA 16-46 and DA 55-300
Pentax SMC-A 24 f/2.8, 35 f/2.8, 50 f1.4, 135 f2.8 and a Sigma 90 f2.8 Macro
I am temporarily without a Pentax film body and have been thinking about getting one. Another MX would be nice, but an LX might be even better, though I am not sure I want to spend that much money. After all, I still have my Leica.
Any Recommendations?

10-04-2011, 11:37 AM   #2
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MX, KX if you want classic manual exposure
Super Program, Program Plus, ME Super if you want mostly metal still + exposure automation

I use the PgmPlus with the DA 16-45 in program mode and it works very nicely - vignetting starts wider than about 21mm.
10-04-2011, 01:04 PM   #3
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The MX as you know is a true classic, a mini-system camera, designed for heavy use. The ME Super is a fine camera, but can't compare to the MX, as evidenced by the difference in prices on the used market. It also lacks such niceties as interchangeable screens and depth of field preview, the latter an odd omission.

The LX is of course the ulitmate manual focus film Pentax, a true full-system camera. As such it still commands a pretty high price, higher, for example, than the Nikon F3 with which it competed. Repairs aren't cheap but if properly maintained it will last almost forever as will the MX. The ME Super, not so long.

One odd omission on the LX is that it has no exposure lock. Ah, well.
10-04-2011, 02:03 PM   #4
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I've had LX and MX for years, and while the construction of the LX is nice, I find I use the MX much more. I prefer manual exposure, and the MX viewfinder display is much easier to use than the LX in manual mode. (LX is too busy in comparison)
I've also used Leica since the 1960s, and finally broke my piggybank to get an M9. It is the only digital that can be used exactly like the manual film cameras with the old Leica lenses. (My Leica lenses are all 1941 to 1975.) Yes, digital Pentax CAN use my Pentax-M lenses, but it's a compromise. (Now if Pentax would only make a digital MX or LX...)
BTW - never missed exposure lock on my LX: not needed in manual mode!

10-04-2011, 03:20 PM   #5
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Does it have to be manual focus? I'm happy with SuperA (SuperProgram). But for an AF film body, the PZ-1p rocks! Great ergonomics and superb features.
10-05-2011, 01:43 PM   #6
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It certainly doesn't have to have a manual focus film body and a PZ-1p would probably work fine. Being a Leica M user, I do have an appreciation for all mechanical bodies where the only thing electrical is the meter. I'm pretty good "guessing" exposures and can probably get within 1/2 stop of a correct exposure without a meter in most situations, especially with b&w.

Just missed a black KX on ebay that went for only $28! I do like the MX, having had one in the past. There is something comforting about not depending on electronics. It's a bit irritating when you have to stop and swap out for a fresh battery. I also appreciate modern "smart" cameras. I guess I live in both worlds. They each have their virtues.
10-05-2011, 08:17 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by jeverettfine Quote
Just missed a black KX on ebay that went for only $28!
That hurts!


Steve
10-05-2011, 10:14 PM   #8
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I also thought I would miss the exposure lock on the LX, having had the OM4Ti for ages. I got my first Pentax, the LX, about 4 months ago. After about 50 b/w 125 asa films I am convinced all goes fine in automatic metering. I put a Beattie screen in it, just like I always did with the OM1 and OM4Ti. That makes a great difference to an already nice finder.

In the mean time I also got a KX, had it serviced with some small repairs, and had the 'activating' function of the transportlever bypassed, as I did not like this lever sticking into my right eye (I photograph with my left eye, ;-) Now it it activated only by the shutterbutton and it has the same fastness as the K2's operation. Larger camera than the LX, but wonderful with the older K lenses, like the 35/2 or the 55/1.8

I know it is a lot of money for a good LX, but I do not find it expensive for what you get. But then I am still always thinking about what these cameras cost years ago.

10-06-2011, 06:41 AM   #9
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Considering what a new DSLR body costs, you are right that an LX isn't really that much. The only caveat is to get one in good condition. Maybe get an MX as well.
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