Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
09-29-2012, 06:27 AM   #1
Veteran Member
adwb's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Bristol UK
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,632
which body to buy?

I have just signed up for a local evening class course which includes darkroom tuition and we get supplied with film for the course.

since I have loads of pk mount Pentax lenses the obvious choice is a Pentax 35mm body but there are so many for sale on the Eb and even in some local camera shops that i am a bit bewildered by the choice.

i know this is a bit like asking how long is a piece of string but can you guys suggest which body to go for and why?

One thing that immediately comes to mind is the battery type , [if used] is it still readily available.

second thing is my eyesight is not what it was so a big bright viewfinder would help.

09-29-2012, 06:40 AM   #2
Senior Member
nono's Avatar

Join Date: May 2010
Location: Paris, France
Posts: 206
I have a ME Super which has a nice big viewfinder. I don't even know what type of batteries it uses but I know I found them in the first photography shop I tried. I got it dirt cheap, too.
09-29-2012, 06:43 AM   #3
Pentaxian




Join Date: May 2011
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
Photos: Albums
Posts: 2,044
The M Series have the largest viewfinders and the smallest bodies. The MX is fully manual while the ME Super adds aperture priority. The LX is the most sophisticated system camera and has the most options due to its interchangeable viewfinder system.
M Series at a glance -> Pentax M-Series Film Bodies
LX at a glance -> Pentax LX Camera Film Bodies
K Series at a glance -> Pentax K-Series Film Bodies


Below is a KX, LX & MX to show scale.

Last edited by LesDMess; 09-29-2012 at 06:57 AM.
09-29-2012, 06:56 AM   #4
Site Supporter
boriscleto's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Liverpool, NY
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 12,867
One thing to keep in mind when buying a K, M, LX, or A series camera, it is probably going to need a CLA or a the very least new light seals. The LX in particular needs maintenance every 10 years or so. I would recommend a P series camera, but if you are shooting hand loaded film that's probably not a good option. The P series used DX coding to set the ISO and defaulted to ISO100 if there was no DX on the film.

Your best bet is to find a later model K1000. I have one from the late '80s that still has good seals.

Another option is the MZ-M. It has a bad reputation because of the plastic gear on the mirror motor, but they are cheap and don't have light seals to worry about.

Don't worry too much about the batteries on K-mount cameras. The only batteries you can't get for Pentax are the mercury batteries for the Spotmatic.


Last edited by boriscleto; 09-29-2012 at 07:02 AM.
09-29-2012, 08:22 AM   #5
Pentaxian
builttospill's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Utah, Idaho
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,675
We need a bit more information to make suggestions. What are the class requirements for the camera? Do you want auto- or manual-focus? Do you want a newer film body or an older, all-metal camera?
09-29-2012, 08:47 AM   #6
Site Supporter
stevebrot's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Vancouver (USA)
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 27,424
Alistair...Has the instructor given any requirements for cameras to be used for the course? Generally, the list goes something like this:
  • 35mm SLR
  • Manual focus
  • Built-in meter
  • Manual exposure (both aperture and meter settable)
The last point is generally extended to include auto-exposure cameras that support full-metered manual as an option. Many instructors also request that the camera not require DX encoding on the film canister since bulk-loaded film into reloaded canisters is often the norm.

In the Pentax lineup, you would have multiple options, even adding in your desire for modern batteries and a bright viewfinder. My recommendations would include (in order of value):
  • MX
  • Super Program (Super A)
  • Program Plus (Program A)
  • ME Super
  • LX
If you can manage a little more dimness in the viewfinder (also in order of value):
  • KM
  • KX
  • K1000
You may wonder why the K1000 and LX are at the bottoms of their respective lists. The reason being is that the K1000 is usually badly overpriced. The LX, despite being pretty much the ultimate Pentax film camera, is very expensive to purchase and maintain and probably not the best tool for a noob.

You might also want to consider non-Pentax options. The mid-1970s to mid-1980s is considered by some to be the golden age of film SLRs. Quality was uniformly high as were feature sets. Large, bright viewfinders were the norm. I would suggest any of the full-manual or aperture-preferred auto cameras from Nikon, Olympus, Minolta, or Ricoh (K-mount!). (I am not fond of Canon or Konica...) A camera shop with good used inventory might be a good place to start.

As noted above, almost all used cameras (unless recently serviced) will require replacement of the film door seals and mirror bumper foams. Time and exposure to ozone from air pollution is hard on the seals and about 10 years is the expected life. Your can do the replacement yourself or pay to have it done.


Steve


P.S. Despite having several Pentax SLRs (including Super Program and KX), my "go-to" body is a mid-70s vintage Ricoh XR-2s.

Last edited by stevebrot; 09-29-2012 at 08:59 AM.
09-29-2012, 08:52 AM   #7
Veteran Member
adwb's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Bristol UK
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,632
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by builttospill Quote
We need a bit more information to make suggestions. What are the class requirements for the camera? Do you want auto- or manual-focus? Do you want a newer film body or an older, all-metal camera?
Ah Ok, well from what I have seen or head so far there will be a lot of discussion on using the camera,it's meter, compensation, grey scale etc

apart from that there is no class requirements other than you have film camera and preferably 35mm though not necessary it can be a 645 etc.

I don't mind the age or whether it is auto of some type or fully manual, my biggest concern is focusing and reading viewfinder info for settings and that it will work with the couple of A series primes I have a 50mm f1.7 which will auto focus and the 28mm A2.8 which is manual focus I own and the one M series 100mm macro F4 I have. I also have other newer lenses but I don't know how they will work.
09-29-2012, 09:04 AM   #8
Site Supporter
stevebrot's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Vancouver (USA)
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 27,424
Your newer lenses are backwards compatible to all earlier K-mount cameras as long as they have a functional aperture ring. I regularly use my FA 35/2 and FA 77/1.8 on my older K-mount bodies.

If you are interested in full-information viewfinder in a body, I would suggest any of the models that use a "Judas window" to actually view the aperture scale on the lens (LX, MX, KX, ME-Super).


Steve

P.S. Emphasis should be placed on the word "functional" in regards to aperture rings. Some A-series lenses are prone to developing non-functional aperture rings that jam when taken off the "A" position.


Last edited by stevebrot; 09-29-2012 at 09:17 AM.
09-29-2012, 09:10 AM   #9
Veteran Member
adwb's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Bristol UK
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,632
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Many instructors also request that the camera not require DX encoding on the film canister since bulk-loaded film into reloaded canisters is often the norm.

In the Pentax lineup, you would have multiple options, even adding in your desire for modern batteries and a bright viewfinder. My recommendations would include (in order of value):[LIST][*]MX[*]Super Program (Super A)[*]Program Plus (Program A)[*]ME Super[*]LX
You may wonder why the K1000 and LX are at the bottoms of their respective lists. The reason being is that the K1000 is usually badly overpriced. The LX, despite being pretty much the ultimate Pentax film camera, is very expensive to purchase and maintain and probably not the best tool for a noob.
As noted above, almost all used cameras (unless recently serviced) will require replacement of the film door seals and mirror bumper foams. Time and exposure to ozone from air pollution is hard on the seals and about 10 years is the expected life. Your can do the replacement yourself or pay to have it done.

Steve
Steve thank you, with the exception of the lx which seems to be very expensive on EB the rest are very reasonable even dirt cheap, so providing they are not mechanically damaged , sealing costs would not be a problem.
your comment on Dx needs to be asked tuesday night when I go again.
I normally shoot my digital bodies either in manual or aperture and use a light meter quite often as well as a spot meter so I do know what I am doing [up to a point]
the hard part now is looking at the features and deciding which one to hunt for.
09-29-2012, 09:21 AM   #10
Pentaxian




Join Date: May 2011
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
Photos: Albums
Posts: 2,044
If the ME Super's push button controls doesn't suite you, an alternative is the Ricoh XR-7.



XR-7 ad -> http://www.fototime.com/5BC42A67DDD06BB/orig.jpg

By features, there aren't really many options - body size, MLU, ASA range, compensation, TTL flash, stop down preview and battery dependance.
09-29-2012, 09:22 AM   #11
Pentaxian
builttospill's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Utah, Idaho
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,675
Okay, that helps. I've used a K1000 for 20 years and it's simple to use. It doesn't have exposure compensation, although many who are familiar with the camera can compensate using the meter needle. It also doesn't autofocus, so we should consider other options.

If AF isn't the most important thing the ME Super is a good suggestion, or the Super Program/Super A, which allows you to use A lenses and newer on the A setting, where the ME Super won't.

All the above cameras have nice large viewfinders. Moving to AF bodies, most of the VFs start to shrink. I'd suggest a PZ-1 or PZ-1p. Both are pro-level cameras and aren't as expensive as the LX or MZ-S. They still have nice, large VFs, AF and will fully work with the newest lenses as well as the oldest K-mount lenses. The specs are very nice with the highest flash-sync speed of any Pentax, 1/8000 max shutter speed and two command dials.

I have a roll of film I need to finish shooting in my PZ-1p and then I'm thinking I'll list it in the Marketplace here. Cosmetically it's been used and has scuffs and scratches on it, but everything works.

I hope this helps you in your decision.
09-29-2012, 09:29 AM   #12
Site Supporter
stevebrot's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Vancouver (USA)
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 27,424
QuoteOriginally posted by LesDMess Quote
If the ME Super's push button controls doesn't suite you, an alternative is the Ricoh XR-7.



XR-7 ad -> http://www.fototime.com/5BC42A67DDD06BB/orig.jpg

By features, there aren't really many options - body size, MLU, ASA range, compensation, TTL flash, stop down preview and battery dependance.
I own and have shot with a Ricoh XR7 since it first came out in 1982 and can strongly recommend it as an alternative to the ME Super.

Here is a threesome:




Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 09-29-2012 at 09:38 AM.
09-29-2012, 09:50 AM   #13
Veteran Member
adwb's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Bristol UK
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,632
Original Poster
ok thanks every one much food for thought, quick look on UK EB shows 2 very expensive pz-1 bodies and loads of low priced ME super and one reasonable price for a program A.

there is only one working XR7 listed at the moment.

where do I find out about the ME buttons? I bet there is a on line manual somewhere?
assuming the preference is for a non dx body it look like the ME and the XR7 would be my best bet? not to worried about auto focus that just seems to push the price way up.
Alistair
09-29-2012, 09:55 AM   #14
Site Supporter
boriscleto's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Liverpool, NY
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 12,867
QuoteOriginally posted by adwb Quote
where do I find out about the ME buttons? I bet there is a on line manual somewhere?
Pentax Manuals

The manuals here are better than the ones on pentaximaging.
09-29-2012, 10:01 AM   #15
Site Supporter
stevebrot's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Vancouver (USA)
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 27,424
QuoteOriginally posted by adwb Quote
where do I find out about the ME buttons? I bet there is a on line manual somewhere?
Manuals are available several places online (see above) including the Butkus site (has manuals for many, many different cameras). Often, spending some time with the manual BEFORE purchase is a good way to determine if a camera will meet your needs.

The buttons are pretty easy to use. With the mode selector in the M position, you push one to increase the shutter speed and the other to decrease. You have to have your eye at the viewfinder in order to see what speed you have selected.

If you are interested in the XR7, the manual can be found HERE.


Steve
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
bit, body, choice, course, pentax
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Want to buy rugged body for Northern Lights ZaneG Pentax DSLR Discussion 11 08-10-2012 07:33 AM
$229 Olympus E-P1 at Best Buy (body only) Duh_Vinci Non-Pentax Cameras: Canon, Nikon, etc. 4 02-12-2012 10:51 AM
Where to buy a genuine Pentax Body Cap ? brosen Pentax K-5 2 10-27-2011 01:03 PM
Just getting in, what body should I buy? SLCMatt Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 10 04-30-2010 10:57 AM
Which lens to buy for a K10d body? doggydude Pentax DSLR Discussion 15 12-02-2006 04:29 PM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 08:37 AM. | See also: NikonForums.com, CanonForums.com part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top