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02-14-2014, 10:35 AM   #1
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MX vs P30

I am toying with getting rid of my MX for a P30, which I just bought, other than the DX coding issue, is there any downside to this camera which I have not noticed? My MX was gbp100 to have CLA'd by Harrow Technical, whereas the P30 was essentially free. I dont really care about the issue of the DX coding as I use a handheld meter. The P30 seems a bit nicer than my MZ-M in the viewfinder, plus I like the fact its manually wound on.

02-14-2014, 11:07 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by whojammyflip Quote
I am toying with getting rid of my MX for a P30, which I just bought, other than the DX coding issue, is there any downside to this camera which I have not noticed? My MX was gbp100 to have CLA'd by Harrow Technical, whereas the P30 was essentially free. I dont really care about the issue of the DX coding as I use a handheld meter. The P30 seems a bit nicer than my MZ-M in the viewfinder, plus I like the fact its manually wound on.
If you're okay with the DX coding, the P30 is a great buy.
It's not nearly as smooth in operation as the MX. With the P30, when you fire the shutter, you can feel the shutter more.
The diagonal split prism (P30t/P3n) is a nice feature.
The film loading is very easy.
02-14-2014, 11:32 AM   #3
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If your MX is in decent shape, it is -- hands-down -- the one to keep. Of the P3 / P30 bodies, the P3N was (in my opinion) the best, but the quality of the MX exceeds those plastic-like P3-ish bodies. If, however, your MX is NOT in that great a shape, then I would concur that the P3-ish bodies are a possible alternative as they are recent enough (and basic enough) that you should be able to avoid the need for repairs. Their viewfinder is not as big nor as bright as the MX, and I seem to remember it had no means of taking a cable release, but aside from that (and the aforementioned DX coding) they would be functionally similar.

It's almost entirely a subjective thing, of course, but I had a harder time focusing the P30 and P3N and P3T because their viewfinders seemed sort of dark and grainy.
02-14-2014, 12:06 PM   #4
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Do not dispose of the MX yet, IMHO is a much better camera

Get the p30, and play with it.... the shutter is electronic and it is a pretty good camera, it works with all the A series lenses onwards to give you A and P modes, and does not need lightseals.

However there are times when you will really want to have the MX instead

02-14-2014, 01:44 PM   #5
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If something goes wrong with either of them, the MX is the one you pay to have CLA'd and repaired, if needed. The P30 is the one you toss, then buy another for $10-$20.
02-14-2014, 03:27 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by whojammyflip Quote
My MX was gbp100 to have CLA'd by Harrow Technical
For that kind of money you might be better off sending it to Eric here in the states.


Steve
02-14-2014, 03:57 PM   #7
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Yes, Eric CLA'd my MX and did some repair to it for a very reasonable price. It might be worthwhile to look into shipping to and from him.

Don't get me wrong: I have a P3n (cost me all of $16) and I like it a lot, but I would trade it for another MX in a heartbeat.
02-15-2014, 04:20 AM   #8
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that's interesting on the service costs...I think the postage would be something like USD 15 each way...

I had the cameras up in the kitchen this morning, side by side, along with a MZ-M, each with a 50mm lens on...

The MX viewfinder is clearly the brightest and largest, and the matte field texture is smooth as it transitions from focus to out of focus...the P30 screen does look grainy...the MZ-M is smooth like the MX but significantly smaller. I'd say the step between the MZ-M and P30 for viewfinder width is twice that of the step from the P30 to the MX. In terms of brightness, I can't really tell the difference between them, but then I also can't see the difference between a 50/1.4 and a 50/1.7 really, so I am not sensitive to light changes of half a stop.

I guess the thing to do is to put a few rolls through the P30 and see how they come out. It really doesn't owe me anything. Certainly, photos I have taken with the MZ-M (when walking in case it got damaged) have been excellent and really made me question the sense in having the MX.

02-16-2014, 04:37 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by tlong423 Quote
If your MX is in decent shape, it is -- hands-down -- the one to keep. Of the P3 / P30 bodies, the P3N was (in my opinion) the best, but the quality of the MX exceeds those plastic-like P3-ish bodies. If, however, your MX is NOT in that great a shape, then I would concur that the P3-ish bodies are a possible alternative as they are recent enough (and basic enough) that you should be able to avoid the need for repairs. Their viewfinder is not as big nor as bright as the MX, and I seem to remember it had no means of taking a cable release, but aside from that (and the aforementioned DX coding) they would be functionally similar.
Some of the P30 bodies can take a mechanical cable release at 5 o'clock on the lens mount (seen from the front) - others apparently don't - but my P30 has one.

QuoteOriginally posted by titrisol Quote
Get the p30, and play with it.... the shutter is electronic and it is a pretty good camera, it works with all the A series lenses onwards to give you A and P modes, and does not need lightseals.

However there are times when you will really want to have the MX instead
The P30 itself only offers Manual or Program exposure (with an A lens). The P30n & P30T both also offered Aperture Priority.

IIRC the MZ-M has a 'penta-mirror' rather than prism viewfinder but has some features even the Z-1 doesn't have. It will display the aperture in the finder with FA lenses when the aperture ring is not on 'A' and the DoF operation works correctly with the lens set on 'A' - stops down to the set aperture instead of the minimum. It also has a superb user interface - but the motorised advance isn't ideal.
02-16-2014, 09:03 PM   #10
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If you put the P30 in P mode, and the paerture in manual it acts like A mode.
02-17-2014, 02:06 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by johnha Quote
IIRC the MZ-M has a 'penta-mirror' rather than prism viewfinder but has some features even the Z-1 doesn't have. It will display the aperture in the finder with FA lenses when the aperture ring is not on 'A' and the DoF operation works correctly with the lens set on 'A' - stops down to the set aperture instead of the minimum. It also has a superb user interface - but the motorised advance isn't ideal.
The thing with the MZm is that the information is on the right hand side of the viewfinder...unless you are swivel eyed, this makes it difficult to read. The P30 has the information on the left, far easier to see. But it doesn't offer the same level of detail such as the intuitive over/underexposure.

I took the P30 out yesterday and fired off about a dozen shots with it. Very similar in daylight to looking through the MX viewfinder, the graininess of the screen was hardly visible. However, the mirror gives a noticeable kick in the hand, so I will be interested to compare test shots for sharpness. I can't believe this amount of mirror slap is good for a sharp shot. It is really nice in terms of film loading and wind-on...in my opinion is the best of the lot with its rubber roller, making it very easy to get the film loaded.

One thing I cant do is put the dial on my P30 in Program mode. Does the dial actually rotate to Program mode, or is it there purely to point out that when you mount an A series lens and set it to A that the thing will automatically set the aperture to suit the speed chosen? Its lost on me a bit, what exactly the P30 program mode actually does. Looking online at "Pentax Manuals", it appears the answer is that when set in A on the lens, the camera adjusts both aperture and speed to a predetermined combination, which it guesses at. I am not convinced this is particularly useful....you have no control over the EI rating of the film in the first place, and then to boot, when you shoot in the program setting, both aperture and shutter speed are controlled in camera.

Last edited by whojammyflip; 02-17-2014 at 02:14 AM.
02-17-2014, 04:18 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by whojammyflip Quote
One thing I cant do is put the dial on my P30 in Program mode. Does the dial actually rotate to Program mode, or is it there purely to point out that when you mount an A series lens and set it to A that the thing will automatically set the aperture to suit the speed chosen? Its lost on me a bit, what exactly the P30 program mode actually does. Looking online at "Pentax Manuals", it appears the answer is that when set in A on the lens, the camera adjusts both aperture and speed to a predetermined combination, which it guesses at. I am not convinced this is particularly useful....you have no control over the EI rating of the film in the first place, and then to boot, when you shoot in the program setting, both aperture and shutter speed are controlled in camera.
I can't put my P30 in Progarm mode either, it seems to default to it when the lens is set to A (overriding the shutter speed dial). It does however have an Exposure Lock button (missing off most earlier cameras). If you want to be creative you can use manual, which isn't too difficult compared to apertrure priority.
02-17-2014, 08:14 AM   #13
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I have owned Pentax P3N and P30T cameras. Both offer M, P and Av modes.
To select Program AE on these shutter speed dial and lens aperture ring are both set to their "A" positions.

I like these bodies very much, especially the AE lock and DOF preview functions.
OTOH they are battery dependent, and feel less solid (lighter) than the MX.

The P-series finder image doesn't appear quite as big and bright as on the MX.
Also the MX has full exposure info in finder. OTOH it intrudes into the viewing area.

IMO the overall ergonomics are better on the P-series.
That MX shutter speed dial is such a PITA to operate.

That said I'd still keep the MX...

Chris

Last edited by ChrisPlatt; 02-18-2014 at 07:08 PM.
02-18-2014, 06:59 PM   #14
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I like the ergonomics on the P3n and it works quite well. It also feels very solid and substantial when working with it. Overall it is a very good camera and I am glad I own one. It literally is my severe environment user camera. Really, the only downside is the DX coding issue but that certainly is not the end of the world. BTW, it does have a shutter cable port located on the left side of the lens mount housing.

However, all that being true, I think the MX is probably the better camera unless you need Program or Aperture Priority.
03-10-2014, 07:10 PM   #15
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I have several P bodies, and one MX body.
Myself, I prefer the MX for two reasons, the ISO can be set, (not a big deal)
and the MX does not rely on battery power to function. If the P body runs out of battery, it will NOT work, period, no picture.
If the MX runs out of battery, the meter quits, but the camera functions perfectly well.
I would LOVE to have a P body with the MX guts, ie the Av P and manual options in a mechanical shutter, if it had a Tv function also that would be perfect!
The P bodies are really throw away cameras, if they fail.
The MX is a fix and keep body. IMO
I also have two fully mechanical Ricoh bodies KR5 Super and KR5 SuperII.

I would easily give up a P body, but not the MX.
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