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12-06-2011, 10:46 PM   #1
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Which Pentax 35mm for me?

Hi,

I'm trying to curb my desire to purchase a rangefinder. I've considered a digital M8, but the poor ISO capability puts me off (and I definitely can't afford an M9). I've considered a film Voigtlander Bessa, but all lenses I purchase will be limited to use on that body.

The other option I'm considering is getting a Pentax 35mm body. However, having never owned, purchased or used one before, I am uncertain of the nomenclature. Big advantage is obviously that I can use any FA series lenses (FA31/FA43/FA77), as well as a host of cheap and fast primes.

Looking for suggestions on which Pentax 35mm camera would best suit my needs based on these requirements:

* Good, bright viewfinder that aids manual focusing
* Size is important - the smaller, the better
* Built like a brick shithouse
* Don't care about autofocusing, not a requirement
* Image quality (obviously dependent on 35mm film/lens used)
* Ease of use (metering modes and exposure calculation)

Any input appreciated.

Cheers

12-06-2011, 11:21 PM   #2
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ME or ME Super sound like they would fit the bill.
12-07-2011, 01:57 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Intric8 Quote
I've considered a digital M8, but the poor ISO capability puts me off
Maybe the M8 is slightly noisy compared with some other newer digital cameras, but how many people ever used ISO 1600 film, for example? If you're not going to actually buy high speed film to use in your 35mm, then it doesn't make sense to worry about the high ISO noise level of the M8...

just my $0.05
12-07-2011, 03:18 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Intric8 Quote
Hi,

I'm trying to curb my desire to purchase a rangefinder. I've considered a digital M8, but the poor ISO capability puts me off (and I definitely can't afford an M9). I've considered a film Voigtlander Bessa, but all lenses I purchase will be limited to use on that body.
Bessa's are M mount, any M mount lens is usable on any M Leica, Zeiss Ikon ZM mount, some older Canon RF's and a few old russian models.

As for Pentax 35mm, an MX is a classic choice I guess. I have a MZ-S which is really nice but not so cheap.

12-07-2011, 03:27 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by calsan Quote
Maybe the M8 is slightly noisy compared with some other newer digital cameras, but how many people ever used ISO 1600 film, for example? If you're not going to actually buy high speed film to use in your 35mm, then it doesn't make sense to worry about the high ISO noise level of the M8...

just my $0.05
That's actually a really good point that hadn't even crossed my mind. For some reason when it comes to digital I always seem to care about the ISO performance (and one of the reasons I'm craving upgrading to a K-5). I guess the only real alternative is to purchase some blisteringly fast glass ... but my budget would be limited to Voigtlander/Zeiss lenses as I doubt I'll be able to pickup a Summilux at a budget conscious price.

QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
Bessa's are M mount, any M mount lens is usable on any M Leica, Zeiss Ikon ZM mount, some older Canon RF's and a few old russian models.

As for Pentax 35mm, an MX is a classic choice I guess. I have a MZ-S which is really nice but not so cheap.
Sorry, what I meant is that I would be unable to use any m-mount glass on my Pentax. Whereas if I went down the route of getting a Pentax film slr I could use my FA43/FA77.

Alternatively, if I purchased an M8, I'd probably have to consider jumping off Pentax all together ... or maybe keeping just the K-7 and FA43/FA77.
12-07-2011, 03:31 AM   #6
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OK.

I am about where you are. I've been investigating Leica and almost bought a M6 a couple of months back, and also shopped a M8. There's a lot to like about Leica that's for sure, except price.

If you've never shot film before then Pentax is a very cheap option esp as you own some nice Pentax lenses.
12-07-2011, 03:34 AM   #7
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The problem with the M8 is first and foremost it is still a crop camera. I seems crazy to spend a whole lot of money and exit Pentax and still not end up with a full frame.
12-07-2011, 03:36 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
OK.

I am about where you are. I've been investigating Leica and almost bought a M6 a couple of months back, and also shopped a M8. There's a lot to like about Leica that's for sure, except price.

If you've never shot film before then Pentax is a very cheap option esp as you own some nice Pentax lenses.
I've been milling over a Leica purchase for a few months. I too nearly purchased an M6, and have bidded on local M8's on eBay (still punching myself for missing out on a $1900 body). I feel as though a Leica would get more use than my K-7. Plus then I could happily buy something like a Bessa to compliment my kit for when I feel like giving film a spin.

Reasons I haven't let Pentax go entirely are my DA15 and FA43.

The thought of getting a Leica-M mount film camera + Sony NEX7 has also crossed my mind. Gah, this camera addiction seems to keep getting the better of me!

12-07-2011, 03:40 AM   #9
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MX or Super A/Super Program.

I like the Super Program, but admit a knob would be better than the LCD. Shutter and aperture are nice though if you're feeling a bit lazy : )

But you didn't say price is an issue, so in that case, i'd go with the LX : )
12-07-2011, 03:43 AM   #10
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I've been through all these options in my head too, LOL. Another idea is a Leica CL + 40/2 summicron as a v. cheap entry into Leica world. But then so is a Bessa (there was/is one on sale on the marketplace here). You wouldn't lose much if anything on a M film camera, but an M8 (and to a lesser extent a M9) is only going down....Decisions, decisions.

Basically I want a M9 + 35/1.4 summilux, are you listening Santa????
12-07-2011, 04:05 AM   #11
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Hunt up a Bessa TM and some Takumars.
12-07-2011, 05:31 AM   #12
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Relative sizes of the Pentax lineup as shown below with the KX, LX & MX. The LX is the only changeable viewfinder Pentax ever, build quality is second to none across all brands, offers a range of shutter speeds even when battery is dead, it's metering is unsurpassed even today and can meter a scene in aperture priority mode hours long while monitoring the scene for lighting changes. The KX and LX are full manual mode bodies with exceptional build. The MX is smallest manual 35mm SLR and has the biggest viewfinder and shares focusing screens with the LX.

12-07-2011, 06:03 AM   #13
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I've used both Leica and Pentax since 1967. The MX body is smaller than M-series Leica, and make a great "user" camera. While it has no auto-exposure mode, the meter readout is simple and easy to use. The center-weighted pattern of the MX is probably better for casual use than the semi-spot meter of the Leica M5, Cl, M6, M7; although with practice I prefer the semi-spot.
If you want autoexposure as a fall-back, the LX is a great choice. In manual mode the meter readout is more complex than the MX, but the auto mode is nice. Most LX you find used will need service for the sticky-mirror syndrome (which also throws off focus).
The Leica CL is indeed a nice camera, but it's hard to find one with a good meter, and a "CLA" with meter repair will cost more than a complete MX.
12-07-2011, 08:12 AM   #14
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If I were in the market for a Pentax film body, my top choice would be the LX, followed by the KX or MX. A K1000 with a split screen installed would also be a good option, IMO. All of these cameras are diehard workhorses.

My all-time favorite 35mm SLR I've owned though, is a Nikon F2s. (sorry, Pentaxians.) But small, it ain't! - It's a brick with a lens on it. But I like that. I don't shoot 35mm anymore, but I still miss that camera. It was something very special.
12-07-2011, 11:52 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Intric8 Quote
Looking for suggestions on which Pentax 35mm camera would best suit my needs based on these requirements:

* Good, bright viewfinder that aids manual focusing
* Size is important - the smaller, the better
* Built like a brick shithouse
* Don't care about autofocusing, not a requirement
* Image quality (obviously dependent on 35mm film/lens used)
* Ease of use (metering modes and exposure calculation)

Any input appreciated.

Cheers
Based on these guidelines,

For an AF body, MZ-S or a PZ-1p

For MF, an LX or a K2

MZ-S has great features, great build, but is a little on the pricey side.

PZ-1p is a great cheaper alternative to MZ-S

LX has changable finders and focus screens, has Av mode, and off the film metering. They are also a little pricey.

K2 is my personal favorite, great build, AV mode, great meter, some people don't like ISO ring but I love it. Some K2s have a split prism, most don't. If you can find a K2 DMD it's even better, has split prism.
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