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04-13-2015, 06:04 PM   #1
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LX beginner questions

Hi all,
I own a bunch of Pentax film stuff (MX, K1000), and I finally got an LX from a forum member. It's really, really beat up but seems to be mechanically sound and I don't think it has the dreaded sticky mirror. It came with a winder and no bottom caps. It has two patches where it almost looks like the body was cracked and then patched and painted up. It's really weird. Definitely a beater camera but the price was right. If my sleuthing is right, it appears to be the early body style as opposed to the later version.

The FA-1 finder that came with it looks like it was dropped on a corner. The prism works fine but the f-stop doesn't appear in the little window. I took the outside cover off and the two little mirrors are intact, but maybe the outer lens is damaged? I'll probably just buy another beater prism when I get the chance.

One of the bottom caps just looks into the inside of the camera. There's nothing between the where the cap would go and the inside of the body. Is this how it's supposed to be? Does anyone know where I can buy caps for the bottom of the camera? Also, I need the strap lug attachment things.

Any fun LX facts I should know? I'm planning on throwing a roll inside and seeing how it goes this weekend. If it had the sticky mirror (which I think it doesn't), what are the symptoms?

04-13-2015, 07:20 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by astron Quote
Hi all,
I own a bunch of Pentax film stuff (MX, K1000), and I finally got an LX from a forum member. It's really, really beat up but seems to be mechanically sound and I don't think it has the dreaded sticky mirror. It came with a winder and no bottom caps. It has two patches where it almost looks like the body was cracked and then patched and painted up. It's really weird. Definitely a beater camera but the price was right. If my sleuthing is right, it appears to be the early body style as opposed to the later version.

The FA-1 finder that came with it looks like it was dropped on a corner. The prism works fine but the f-stop doesn't appear in the little window. I took the outside cover off and the two little mirrors are intact, but maybe the outer lens is damaged? I'll probably just buy another beater prism when I get the chance.

One of the bottom caps just looks into the inside of the camera. There's nothing between the where the cap would go and the inside of the body. Is this how it's supposed to be? Does anyone know where I can buy caps for the bottom of the camera? Also, I need the strap lug attachment things.

Any fun LX facts I should know? I'm planning on throwing a roll inside and seeing how it goes this weekend. If it had the sticky mirror (which I think it doesn't), what are the symptoms?

I've gotten all my accessories from that big auction site (strap, lugs, handle). You just have to check often because good deals don't last. Other than that, just try it out, it's a great camera. Mine goes everywhere with me.
04-14-2015, 12:45 AM   #3
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Can you post some pics of the damages? For the f aperture not seen inside the finder, have you tried another lens?

For spare parts, the most reliable source is ebay, unfortunatelyl they are now cheap.
04-14-2015, 01:25 AM   #4
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Congratulations on getting one of the best Pentax bodies ever made.


Even though they were built to be tough, it sounds like yours has really been in the wars.


The only way you will get replacement caps is to guy another body that is fit for parts. I would recommend keeping the winder on the body at all times. If you don't, you risk fogging any film you load.


Replacement viewfinders can be found, but they are expensive. Same with the trap lugs. Lots of parts were made specifically for the LX and no other bodies. Cheap LX's are often going to have bits missing or major dings. I have managed to find quite a lot of the accessories over the years, but they have hard to find.


Having said that, the LX system is extremely versatile. The automatic exposure mode with OTF metering is very accurate. I would recommend putting a lens on and run the aperture ring up and down and see if the shutter speed changes correspondingly. Also, always mouth a lens on the LX with the aperture fully closed down (or fully open). This is so that the aperture coupling mechanism engages properly. You will see if it hasn't if the shutter speed does not work as it should.


Otherwise, the viewfinder is the best I have seen on a 35mm body. I hope you have lots of fun with it!

04-14-2015, 04:58 AM   #5
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Look on top of the winder as there cap holders on either side of the "WINDER LX" that the bottom caps are placed when using the winder.
If not there, maybe contact the seller to see if he has them?

QuoteOriginally posted by astron Quote
One of the bottom caps just looks into the inside of the camera. There's nothing between the where the cap would go and the inside of the body. Is this how it's supposed to be?
This must be the film canister side. Of course with the film installed, this would be covered but loosely.

---------- Post added 04-14-15 at 08:24 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by astron Quote
Any fun LX facts I should know?
The LX is the only camera - past or present by any brand, that can aperture priority autoexpose a scene for as long as it takes - or batteries die, while monitoring the scene for changes in light and changing accordingly.

The shutter button lock can also hold the shutter open until released when in bulb mode. Like for taking star trails without a locking cable release.

Make sure to insert the film leader into the magic needles takeup spool at least a half inch or so to make sure it grabs tight.

Very good copy of the manual -> http://www.lensinc.net/manuals/Pentax_LXL.pdf

I just found the link again to this 1985 booklet of the Pentax LX -> Pentax LX brochure. Click on "Following" to go to the next page.

Have you seen this one -> Pentax LX review on MIR

Bargain grade LX finder -> LX FA-1
04-14-2015, 07:23 AM   #6
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Thanks! I just ordered that other prism so we'll see how it goes. I don't think it's the lens that is causing the aperture number to not appear...it's a Pentax M lens that I can see fine in the window on my MX.

I emailed Eric about a CLA and he says he has some parts and pieces he can probably sell to me. I'll send it in soon to get it looked at. He's quoting $200 now for a CLA job.

I'll post photos later on this week hopefully!
04-14-2015, 07:45 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by LesDMess Quote
Look on top of the winder as there cap holders on either side of the "WINDER LX" that the bottom caps are placed when using the winder.
If not there, maybe contact the seller to see if he has them?


This must be the film canister side. Of course with the film installed, this would be covered but loosely.

---------- Post added 04-14-15 at 08:24 AM ----------



The LX is the only camera - past or present by any brand, that can aperture priority autoexpose a scene for as long as it takes - or batteries die, while monitoring the scene for changes in light and changing accordingly.

The shutter button lock can also hold the shutter open until released when in bulb mode. Like for taking star trails without a locking cable release.

Make sure to insert the film leader into the magic needles takeup spool at least a half inch or so to make sure it grabs tight.

Very good copy of the manual -> http://www.lensinc.net/manuals/Pentax_LXL.pdf

I just found the link again to this 1985 booklet of the Pentax LX -> Pentax LX brochure. Click on "Following" to go to the next page.

Have you seen this one -> Pentax LX review on MIR

Bargain grade LX finder -> LX FA-1
Actually, the Olympus OM-2 of 1975 was the first with its "OTF" (off the film) metering. Like the LX, the meter cells point back at the film and operate in real time while the shutter is open. Ads for the OM-2 and later Olympus models that used the system showed it could be used during lightning storms - set on aperture priority and open the shutter. When enough flashes of lightning were recorded, the shutter would close. Available light exposures were said to be up to 30 minutes or more.
04-14-2015, 08:23 AM - 1 Like   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ontarian50 Quote
Actually, the Olympus OM-2 of 1975 was the first with its "OTF" (off the film) metering. Like the LX, the meter cells point back at the film and operate in real time while the shutter is open. Ads for the OM-2 and later Olympus models that used the system showed it could be used during lightning storms - set on aperture priority and open the shutter. When enough flashes of lightning were recorded, the shutter would close. Available light exposures were said to be up to 30 minutes or more.
The OM-2 was first with OTF implementation in a production camera with previous patents awarded to Canon and Minolta. But the OM-2 also has 2 CDS cels in the viewfinder when in manual mode as well as auto mode prior to the shutter firing. The LX used only the rear looking cel for manual and auto. The OM-4 did away with the viewfinder cels and relied on the single rear looking cel like the LX.

Correction regarding the OM-2's 30 minute duration as it can only auto aperture up to 19 minutes with a lot of caveats associated to it. A more thorough explanation at -> http://www.zuiko.com/index_032.htm if you're interested.

When I stated that the LX is the only camera - past or present by any brand, that can aperture priority autoexpose a scene for as long as it takes or the batteries die I mean that you can do hours long autoexposures - repeatedly and reliably. I have conducted tests with both of my LX's up to about 8 hours long so far. Although the LX manual gives a range of 1/2000 to 125 seconds, Pentax does not actually cutoff the exposure time unlike Canon cameras that are fixed at 30 seconds, OM-4 at about 4 minutes and all others at varying times that may not be repeatable.

A few examples.

Kodak Gold 100 with about a 15 minute autoexposure.


Kodak Ektar 100 with about a 45 minute autoexposure of the Hoover Dam at night


Kodak Gold 100. I tripped the shutter about 9pm and checking hourly, I noticed the autoexposure finally ended after 3am.



Last edited by LesDMess; 04-14-2015 at 08:30 AM.
04-15-2015, 04:19 PM   #9
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OK so as promised, here are my photos. Note the thick paint that is clearly not the original surface of the camera on the bottom and right hand side of the prism slot. I've scratched some of it off with a razor blade, hoping to reveal what's underneath but was too worried to go very far. Maybe someone was covering up an engraving? It's pretty weird!


Bonus pic of it next to my minty MX, still quite a svelte little guy


Anyway, Eric says the CLA is $200 these days and he might have bottom caps for me (yeah!) and also maybe strap lugs. I'm going to take it shooting this weekend to get a feel for it before it goes out to the camera spa
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