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01-25-2013, 09:28 AM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by henkvanzuylen Quote
I like the K-serie lenses very much, due to their buliding quality.
But unfortunally they are quite expensive these days

In my bag are:
K 28mm f3.5 (also have a M 28mm f2.8)
M 50mm f1.4 and 1.7
M 85mm f2.0
K 135mm f2.5
M 200mm f4.0 (use this very rarely)

Body's I've a lot, but use most of the time my (serviced) LX or a one of my K1000
I recently bought a working MX with winder, but didn't put a film in sofar :-)

I've never really known the difference between the K and M lenses, is it just the build quality or are they better overall?


01-25-2013, 10:24 AM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by James_EG Quote
Thanks for the replies, I think I would prefer to buy a new MX completely rather than have mine serviced as it seems quite expensive and I have found a couple of cameras for a price less than what a service seems to be.
You could spend 50 pounds on another MX and find it is worse than the one you already have. You say that yours looks tatty and the focusing screen is dirty but as long as your shutter speeds are good and the camera meters accurately, it will take good photos. You could try removing the focus screen and blowing it with a rocket blower.
01-25-2013, 12:14 PM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by James_EG Quote
I've never really known the difference between the K and M lenses, is it just the build quality or are they better overall?

Well your question could be a fresh start for a big discussion over here

But for me it's mostly the building quality

01-25-2013, 12:18 PM   #19
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I've used both K and M lenses and honestly I see no build quality differences whatever.

The K series is the initial bayonet design, and largely replicates the old Takumar optics in the newer and bigger mount diameter.

The M series miniaturized the lenses to fit the impossibly small M-series bodies. There had to be optical adjustments, and there is room for argument over whether these improved or diminished the image quality. But the materials and methods of construction seem pretty well identical. It's all so 1970s.

01-25-2013, 01:39 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by James_EG Quote
... also maybe a 40mm and an 80mm or something in that range, what's your opinion on the smc 135mm f/3.5?

The Voigtländer Ultron 40mm f/2 SL II has become one of my favorites on the MX. It is not a whole lot bigger than the pancake 40, but it is half a stop faster and it is sharper. It is also a nice focal length for street shooting.
01-25-2013, 01:46 PM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by James_EG Quote
is it just the build quality or are they better overall
They are different and some say better. Build quality is about the same.

01-25-2013, 02:33 PM   #22
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Okay, if it's only small differences in the lenses then it won't matter to me. Also I would like to buy a new MX, not only because of how mine looks, but because the light meter is sometimes inaccurate and I have no idea how to clean the focusing screen, how do I remove it?

EDIT: It's okay I removed it, a lot easier than I thought so I'll try and clean it.


Last edited by James_EG; 01-25-2013 at 02:48 PM.
01-26-2013, 01:46 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by James_EG Quote
EDIT: It's okay I removed it, a lot easier than I thought so I'll try and clean it.
(Shudder!!!) Use care! The screens are quite fragile and subject to scratching and many are made of some sort of plastic (may be damaged by solvents). I would suggest a mild soap solution with final rinse in deionized (distilled) water. Do not rub.


01-27-2013, 03:03 AM   #24
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Okay thanks I'll try that

01-27-2013, 12:38 PM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by TomB_tx Quote
I find the 50 f2.0 is better than most people claim. Faster lenses are harder to correct and manufacture. I have the 50 f2.0, f1.7, f1.4, and f1.2 - and I believe the 50 f1.7 is the best of the group, and is considerably cheaper than the f1.4. The f2.0 is a simpler design, because the smaller lens is easier to correct.
Of course, others may value lens characteristics differently than I do - and so prefer a different lens.

I agree, the SMC M 50/2 which I got with my MX is lovely to use. Performs well and is nice to use. I would keep that but change out of the off-brand lenses. The reasons for going to 1.4 would be if the 1 stop really makes that much difference or the opportunity for lower DoF it affords at 1.4.
01-28-2013, 05:14 PM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by TomB_tx Quote
I find the 50 f2.0 is better than most people claim.
I quite agree. I can't imagine anyone say they could tell a picture was taken with the f2 and not the 1.7.

QuoteOriginally posted by James_EG Quote
Also the bit of foam protecting the mirror when it moves up (not sure of the technical name) has almost completely gone so I'm afraid to use the camera in case the mirror breaks or something.
You can replace the foam on the mirror bumper and the door slots your self if you can find a self adhesive foam or felt sheet often sold in craft stores. The ideal thickness is 1.5mm, but 1 or 2 will also manage. If you cut strips using a steel ruler and sharp blade about 1.5 (1/16 inch) wide you are ready to go.
When you scrape out the old foam try to hold the camera so the debris falls out of the camera. Use your finger nail, or a toothpick to get the worst out. Then, dip a toothpick into alcohol and work the sticky stuff out with frequent re-dips.
The felt is probably preferred for the door slots, and one starts at one end then pushes the strip into the slot with a toothpick. The slot at the top has the counter-reset recess, and make sure you leave a small gap here for the tab on the door to fit into.
The mirror bumper needs a gap in the middle for the view finder release tab.
It's not difficult to do this, and quite rewarding. I must have done at least a dozen by now.
01-30-2013, 03:09 PM   #27
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It is a best opportunity to get a serviced, pro-maintained SLR body - even though it may seem more expensive.
I found myself buying sometimes a nice looking, not expensive one.... that after needed service got up (or over) to the price of a serviced one. But this is best learned on ones own pocket... ;-)

On the other hand, if you went through a reliable service (I am happy to got two I trust) - you just know what is going on in your SLR and what is it made of. No surprise on the field.

I got almost all of my cameras serviced after purchase - and I'm OK with it. I also made all my sellers to contribute to the costs of the service if what they offered for the price was described as "in perfect condition" or "all functional with no hidden flaws".
With a little kindness and strictness in what we want - people rather prefer to take responsibility for what they write in an offer.
As for lenses:
SMC-M 50mm f/1,7 (or f/2) - I am happy to discover all-around versatility of this focal length. No mention the IQ from these lenses.
SMC-M 135mm f/3,5 or any wide (depends on if you are rather tele or wide kind of photographer). M series has good IQ and still not to expensive.

As I got a do-it-all-and-more DSLR combo, I use Pentax analog SLR with primes to find pure happiness and joy of photography lost with dslr's.

On last trip to Essen/Germany I got exactly M 50mm f/1,7+M 135 f/3,5 on my ME.
Made 3 full rolls of Superia X-tra 400 and don't remember a moment that I felt bad about my lens choice.
And it WAS FUN!!!!!
06-19-2013, 03:04 AM   #28
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Not all zooms are bad...

Although the conventional wisdom is that primes are sharper than zooms, its not necessarily written in stone.

I generally like the primes with lower light situations, but for versatility some zooms are nice to have.

I have a preference for the 75-150 f4 lens which has been called "a bag full of primes."

I also find the 28-50 f3.5-4.5 nice, although not optically up to their prime counterparts. But still quite sharp.

Still, the 28mm, 50mm, 138mm combination is still an excellent choice.

06-19-2013, 05:21 AM   #29
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More Lenses?

Hello James,
I'm coming to this thread a bit late and see that you've received many good replies already. But I'll throw out my views for you, anyway.
If you aren't able to clean up your MX to a quality that you can live with, get another one, making sure it is in better condition. I like to have a camera (or any photo gear) that LOOKS as good as it works. Some may say that appearance or cosmetics don't matter, but I believe they do. It shows a certain pride of ownership and makes you feel better about the equipment you carry. Now a bit of use, some wear + tear is normal in a 30 + year-old camera. It can be expected, mainly brassing, but abuse, dents and chips? No thank you.
As for lenses, you're on the right track with the 28mm, 50mm and 100-135mm. The old (film camera era) rule was to double or halve the focal length with each purchase. Roughly 25, 50, 100, 200.
I strongly recommend the M 50 f/1.7 above other 50's. Small, light and arguably the sharpest fifty Pentax ever made in manual focus.
Before you buy an M 28mm f/2.8, check the lens database here. Apparently the earlier series of this lens aren't nearly as sharp as the later versions, a change was made during production. By the time the 'A' series (manual focus but auto-aperature-enabled, otherwise nearly identical) came out, all the 28mm's had incorporated the new optics. The lens serial number will indicate which lens is newer.
Although is is expensive, a perfect portrait lens in manual focus is the M 85mm f/2.0. Another compact, fast and sharp M from the film days, nearly a cult following and hard to find. Also has truly beautiful Bokeh, if you enjoy that quality.
The M 135mm f3.5 is a great short tele, very compact, sharp with wonderful rendering and color.
You might also look into the M 100mm Macro, this the most affordable entry-level macro in manual-focus legacy Pentax and quite useful.
Although you may be unhappy with some of the 3rd-party or off-brand lenses you've tried, there are others that are very good and can be much less expensive. I own a Kiron 28mm f/2.0 that has excellent build quality, fine low-light capability and beautiful rendering. The Sigma 'Super-Wide' 24mm f/2.8 is typically half the price of the Pentax version and is a very good wide angle lens. Tokina, Kiron (Kino Precision) Sigma, Miranda and early Vivitars are all worth looking in to.
Another bargain item is the Pentax AF280T flash, with tilt, swivel and macro mode, It is from the same film era as the MX and costs about $50.00 USD.
More options for you, good luck!

Last edited by rbefly; 06-19-2013 at 05:29 AM.
08-07-2013, 05:18 PM   #30
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I think i am posting this in the right place. I have been experimenting with film photography and learning along the way for a nearly a year now, mainly with a K100 and an ME Su albeit with varied results. I believe i have managed to grasp the fundamentals such as exposure, metering, f stops, iso, aperture etc.

However i still wave no idea what makes a decent lens or what the benefits are of different lenses past wid angle, tele macro etc. Could somboady please explain to me what all this f1.8 business means and why an f1.8 lens might e better to use in certain situations rather than an f2 etc.

Excuse my ignorance and thanks in advance.

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