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03-07-2016, 06:18 PM - 1 Like   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by PGillin Quote
So, I started out my film adventures with a Pentax (Spotty), went to a Nikon F2 (Plain prism, but I'd happily give up a meter to never have to shoot screwmount again...) then recently tried an MX because the F2 is an absolute brick, very big and heavy with a 35mm f/2 lens on it. The MX, however, only saw about 10 or 12 films, it was just TOO small and I missed the 1/2000th shutter speed. However, the LX....
Well I'm intrigued. It seems like a nice piece of kit, a little smaller and lighter than the F2, not as undersize as the MX, has 1/2000, has interchangeable finders (waist level can be cool), etc, etc.... AND I just sold off some gear (the MX was among it, with a few Nikkors, and my Erick-Serviced spotty will soon follow....) so now would be a relatively reasonable time to look at an LX.
However, since it would entail building up a new set of glass (at least a 35mm and 105mm, more ideally 28/50/105) and would likely cause me to contemplate selling my Nikon (I only want one system, at worst one digital, one film) I'm looking for some advice.
One - Has anyone used either an MX and LX or LX and F2 enough to offer an opinion on the differences?
Two - Where does one find a good deal (and what is a good deal) for an LX?
Three - Is there any way to try-before-you-buy?
Four - What would be the approximate difficulty/cost of replacing a 35mm f/2 and 105mm 2.5 AI-s set up? A 28 f/2 50 1.4 105 1.5 setup?
Five - How hard is it to find a) Strap lugs and b) A grid/architectural focusing screen?

Thanks!
I have the cameras in question . . .



Since you have the F2 and MX, which viewfinder do you prefer? The near lifesize gigantic magnification of the MX or the longer eye-relief of the much smaller magnification of the F2? The full information - and meter, on the MX vs none in the F2 plain finder? How about the film back release of the F2 located under the camera?


Do you want the TTL flash capability of the LX as well as a standard flash shoe mount?
Do you want the full forward and backward frame accurate film positioning - you can multiple expose any frame forward of backward?
Do you want the full range of viewfinders only available on the LX?
Do you want the full weather sealing of the LX?
Both F2 & MX are full manual cameras so do you want the convenience of aperture priority such as is available on the LX?
Do you want the LX ability to aperture priority autoexpose a scene for as long as it takes - hours+, all the while monitoring the scene and adjusting the exposure?


1. I bought my first LX from KEH and the second one from the auction site with dubious description but for a very low price. Both are in perfect shape and everything functions perfectly.
2. KEH provides an iron clad money back guarantee and that is as close to try-before-you-buy.
3. Prices will depend on source, condition, warranties and market value. Generally speaking prices for Pentax lenses are quite affordable.
4. I found the strap lug, grid focusing screen and other Pentax LX from all the sources - KEH, auction, craigslist, etc.

03-07-2016, 08:17 PM   #17
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FWIW, I bought my LX with an extensive kit and recent CLA from the original owner here on the Marketplace maybe 3 years ago. It was well used--and well cared for--and it fit. I made an offer that was accepted, and was very happy to get it--really a drawer of equipment. I've added focusing screens to the several it came with, also from the Marketplace. It is a great body and system, and for what it is, very reasonable. Everything LesDMess says is spot on and more. I didn't know the lugs were precious, I have 2 sets, and the side option is perfect. I have yet to push the camera's limits, but will. I'm still learning, but also know that how you see is the most important thing. Pentax glass is amazing, versatile and reasonable, as you must know.
03-07-2016, 09:50 PM - 2 Likes   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alex645 Quote
As you may know, the F3 is the Nikon equivalent of the LX. I hold both cameras in the highest regard in terms of the pinnacle of manual focus 35mm FSLRs. What I really love about the F3HP is that it had one of the longest production runs of any SLR (from 1980 thru 2001). Over 750,000 made which means parts and service and availability for years to come. Like the LX, the F3 has user interchangeable focusing screens and viewfinders, mirror lock-up, a T mode for long exposures but doesn't drain the battery like Bulb, is smaller/lighter than the F2, can be shot without batteries at 1/90", etc.
By equivalent of course you meant that the F3 was released at the same time as the LX - along with the Canon New F-1, in the early 80's. Herb Keppler called them the three kings as they were priced accordingly.



The F2 and F3 are very similar in size and weight depending on viewfinder installed. The F2 motor drive is much heavier then that of the F3.

The LX was the most weather sealed camera released then and was tested from production line sampling.

The LX was also in continuous production from 1980 to 2001.

The LX has the most number of viewfinders available with a wide range of eye-relief. Most of them even have built-in diopter adjustment.



The LX is more battery independent with sync speed - and higher shutter speeds, available when batteries die. The LX doesn't need the T-mode since Bulb does not use batteries. The LX self timer is mechanical and available when batteries die.

Also elegant in the LX design is what they didn't include compared to the F3. The aforementioned T-mode is not required. The LX does not need a viewfinder blind as external light does not influence the meter. A separate multiple exposure control is not needed and you can select any frame - forward or backward, and you don't need to tighten and hold the rewind to keep the film from moving.

The LX shutter lock can be used in lieu of a remote release by firing the shutter then applying the lock.

Of all the metered interchangeable viewfinder cameras, only the LX is fully functional when you remove the viewfinder. You will need a magnifying glass to see the shutter speed on the F3. The Canon New F-1 and the Minolta XK needs the viewfinder to display the information. The Nikon F2 plain prism has no meter indication.



The NIkon F3 will not meter properly when a new roll of film in inserted until you advance it to position "1". Nikon added this feature into all it's aperture priority capable cameras of that era (F3, FE2, FA and FG) so as not to confuse the user into thinking their camera was locked up when in aperture priority mode and a lens cover is on.

Of course the LX stands out as the only camera - past or present by any brand, in that it can aperture priority autoexpose a scene for as long as it takes all the while monitoring the scene for changes in lighting and adjusting accordingly. I've conducted test exposures lasting over 8 hours with both of my LX's.

The picture below was taken with the LX in aperture priority mode using Kodak Gold 100. I pressed the shutter about 9pm and it ended sometime after 3am.

03-07-2016, 10:22 PM - 1 Like   #19
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Les,
When I wrote equivalent, I was referring to the pinnacle of Pentax and Nikon manual focus cameras designed for pros. You've detailed the advantages of the LX over the F3 quite thoroughly, but there are other areas where the F3 has some advantages. My point being, the two models (plus the F-1) had more in common in terms of construction and features than other models of the day....and more similarities than differences.

Ultimately the decision to go with one or the other usually had more to do with the photographer's lenses and the backup cameras. Both great cameras and a very sad reality that today, the only existing new manual focus 35mm FSLR in production are the over priced FM10 and the F6 for AF.

03-08-2016, 12:50 AM   #20
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Well, I'd like to say thanks to everyone who's come to this thread with information and suggestions. There's quite a lot to think about and respond to but I did read everyone's comments and it's all appreciated. Apologies if I neglect any of the finer points that have been mentioned.
With the MX I found that it was just too small of a camera, I couldn't get a comfortable grip on it so the small size was making me less inclined to shoot with it. When I bought it I was hoping that the lesser size and weight would lead to it being in my bag or in my hand more but it just didn't happen. I also found that with the F2 it was easier to watch the edges of the frame, in the MX I always felt I was squinting to see the edges.

What I would like to gain from an LX is the aperture priority, the weather sealing, the interchangeable screens (I keep a very bright beattie screen and a grid screen for my F2), the faster shutter speed (over the MX) and the ability to use a waist-level finder on occasion. The presence/lack of exposure information in the viewfinder doesn't really bother me. For metering and aperture priority it's useful, lets you know that your shutter speed hasn't gone too low. On meterlessness, I'm usually just fine without it shooting negatives (color or B&N) under most light. In really difficult light it's nice to have, and if the meter doesn't require as big and ugly of an attachment as some of the F2's prisms I'd be happy to have it. By the way, what's the metering pattern of the LX? I know the F2/3 share a pretty heavy centerweight, which I'm used to.
I like the film door latch of the F2, the simple pull-up on the rewind knob seems insecure and accident prone by comparison. Someone once told me Nikon's engineers were paranoid about the film being lost, to me it seems everyone else's were being lax.
Any LX I pick up that doesn't have a good, known, service history will likely visit Eric.

Another point worth mentioning - I beat the hell out of my film cameras. My F2 has gone many, many, places where I couldn't/wouldn't take my more expensive digital kit. On one occasion I had to pry the film door open with a swiss army knife after a rock climbing slip, later that same week it spent a night in a bag of rice after sitting in 1/8" of water for an hour. It's often in light/moderate rain. Because they're known to be very tough cameras (I've never had any problems) and mine was a screaming deal (because it came from a retired journalist, with requisite cosmetic condition) I hardly even think about damage, loss, and theft. Aside from that it costs more, would there be cause for any more squeamishness about an LX?
03-08-2016, 11:39 AM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alex645 Quote
Les,
When I wrote equivalent, I was referring to the pinnacle of Pentax and Nikon manual focus cameras designed for pros. You've detailed the advantages of the LX over the F3 quite thoroughly, but there are other areas where the F3 has some advantages. My point being, the two models (plus the F-1) had more in common in terms of construction and features than other models of the day....and more similarities than differences.

Ultimately the decision to go with one or the other usually had more to do with the photographer's lenses and the backup cameras. Both great cameras and a very sad reality that today, the only existing new manual focus 35mm FSLR in production are the over priced FM10 and the F6 for AF.
Couldn't agree more that I am sure I left out a host of other considerations. Afterall, the F3 was Nikon's third successful full featured pro camera release at that time.
03-08-2016, 11:42 AM - 1 Like   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by LesDMess Quote
Couldn't agree more that I am sure I left out a host of other considerations. Afterall, the F3 was Nikon's third successful full featured pro camera release at that time.
I see no good reason, given today's prices, for not owning any and all of these that one would like to have around.
03-08-2016, 12:06 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by chickentender Quote
I see no good reason, given today's prices, for not owning any and all of these that one would like to have around.
Toady's prices example: For $120 shipped I just received a silver F2a with DP-11 Finder and 55/3.5 AI NIKKOR. Everything works. I haven't tested speeds and metering yet, but they work. The lens has a decided hitch at about 35 degrees of its rotation, so I assign it a value of zero. I also received a NIB (literally unopened merchandise) AI 50/1.4 for $75.

I'm not suggesting a comparison of one over the other. My LX is much more feature-rich, my favorite film camera. But for less than the cost of a LX CLA I got the ultimate early 70's Nikon pro body in EXC working and cosmetic condition and a brand new fast 50.


Last edited by monochrome; 03-08-2016 at 06:06 PM.
03-08-2016, 12:34 PM   #24
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I've used an F and F3 extensively as well as the LX and MX.

LX & MX vs. F2: smaller, lighter, fewer buttons and doo-dads on the camera body, arguably a better lens selection (certainly less complexity when finding lenses since all the K mount lenses are the same, except some digital lenses which won't work on the MX and LX.) Both the MX and LX have better meters than the F2.

Picking an MX or LX over an F, I would go with the Pentaxes for weight convenience. I forget if the F2 uses A76 or the mercury batteries. The MX and LX both use two A76 batteries and those are easy to find.
03-08-2016, 02:48 PM   #25
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If I could actually fit my equipment list on here you'd see that while I agree about Pentax manual focus bodies - KX, MX, LX - and MZ-S - I still think it will be fun to shoot with this beast.

Last edited by monochrome; 03-08-2016 at 06:06 PM.
03-08-2016, 03:58 PM   #26
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Here's an alternative idea; try an older Leica reflex camera. The last hand built Leica SLR was the Leicaflex SL2. It was spot metered but did not have interchangeable finders. The finder it has is super bright. The thing is tough as nails but is not a lightweight. I owned a KX and must say there is no comparison in build quality. The Leica is the finest 35mm SLR I have used. The optics are of course well known as being upper tier. They are fairly affordable now.
03-08-2016, 04:05 PM - 1 Like   #27
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I love my LX, but it doesn't stop me shooting with Pentax film bodies from the SV to the SFXn, and with my Soviet rangefinders, or my medium format folders or my 5x4 view camera... I have avoided straying too far from the Pentax fold as regards 35mm because I don't want to get suckered into duplicating all those focal lengths (from 15mm to 400mm) in different mounts. The one exception was the Minolta 7000 that belonged to a good friend who died. I have her original zoom, but I saw a second 7000 with a 50mm f/1.4 lens in a charity shop and I couldn't resist a nice prime...

Having said that, when I travel it is almost always with my LX and one MX, the former with colour film, the latter with BW.

K.
03-08-2016, 05:59 PM   #28
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The Pentax professional system camera LX finally debuted nearly ten years after the Nikon F2; of course it had better specs.
But like the Olympus OM series and the Pentax MX before it to most it didn't seem up to the rigors of life for the working professional photojournalist.
For well over a decade the Nikon F2 was ubiquitous and remained the primary tool of professionals - with about 800,000 units sold - until superceded by the F3.

Chris
03-08-2016, 06:04 PM   #29
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I have read nothing to indicate that the LX was not as robust as it's peers. As for the OM series, I refer you to the OM4 T/Ti crash test. I believe I have an old modern photog magazine that tested the Nikon F and Leica similarly.

Of course the titanium shutters in these are much more robust then the latest and greatest offerings. All the new offerings have a caution about pointing the camera towards the sun when using MLU. Given that they are less dependent on electronics - and the LX being the most weather sealed, I submit that it is far more robust then any professional camera system today.
03-08-2016, 07:16 PM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by desertscape Quote
Here's an alternative idea; try an older Leica reflex camera. The last hand built Leica SLR was the Leicaflex SL2. It was spot metered but did not have interchangeable finders. The finder it has is super bright. The thing is tough as nails but is not a lightweight. I owned a KX and must say there is no comparison in build quality. The Leica is the finest 35mm SLR I have used. The optics are of course well known as being upper tier. They are fairly affordable now.
Agree. In the 1960s I went from Pentax to the new Canon FT, added a Leica M4, then traded all my Canons on a Leicaflex SL. A big, heavy beast, but great mechanical feel and spot meter. As I recall it was something like $660 in 1969. Then the prices, especially for Leicaflex lenses, really went up. So later I got a Pentax MX and the range of lenses I wanted cheaper than adding more Leica lenses, then added an LX. Many of the Leicaflex meter cells have gone wonky, as did mine, but I got it replaced with one of the rare spares. Working bodies now can be $150, but lenses are going up now that they can be used on the new Leica SL mirrorless.
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