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03-06-2016, 11:56 PM   #1
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Looking at an LX

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!

03-07-2016, 12:08 AM   #2
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I keep my spare LX strap lugs in a safe deposit box. Grid screens can be found with patience. BTW, the MX grid screen works on an LX, it just isn't quite as bright.
03-07-2016, 02:23 AM   #3
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I can answer some of your questions.

I've used both an MX and an LX. For me the LX was streets ahead of the MX. I couldn't get along with the MX at all but the LX was sublime to use - almost the perfect film SLR for me. As for where to get one - probably the usual suspects - KEH, FFordes in the UK. maybe B & H. I think I still have some strap lugs which are no use to me as I sold my LX's a year ago. Seeing how rare and expensive they seem to be maybe I should keep them to help fund my retirement!!!
03-07-2016, 04:37 AM   #4
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I have an LX and several MXs. Having small hands, I've never minded the small size of the MX, in fact it is one of the main attractions. The LX is a lovely camera, and probably the last film camera I would part with. When I travelled around the world a couple of years back I took the LX and an MX, the former loaded with colour film and the latter with BW. Grid screens can be found on ebay fairly often. Lugs... never looked as mine came with them. Lenses, 50/1.4s not too hard to find. I would recommend the K series one (unless you are intending to use it on a digital SLR too in which case a A series is preferable). K/M/A 28/2s are around, but not that common. If you aren't that fussed about half a stop I'd look at a K30/2.8. There isn't really anything as fast as a 105/1.5. The A* 85/1.4 and the A*135/1.8 are closest, but cost an arm and a leg. If you can live with a slower 2.8 the M100/2.8 is a beautiful little lens, one of my favourites. The A100/2.8 is, optically, the same but because of the A setting much more expensive. Again, if it is only for the LX, go for the M.

K.

03-07-2016, 05:26 AM   #5
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I had a Nikon FA for a while, and also an LX with multiple bits and pieces: regular prism, high eye-relief viewfinder with the magnifier, multiple pieces of the flash link system (cords, grips, several strobes), two screens, a winder (not the motor drive). A beautiful camera, BUT, BUT and here I will raise the ire of many Pentaxians, it was a bit delicate, even fragile. Mine got mirror-sticking, the cable release thread went bad (my fault??), the rubber ring around the ASA set ring came unglued and proved almost impossible to glue back firmly, the TTl system went bad and required Pentax service. Also the flash-sync speed was unforgivable low even for the time, lower if you used the wiring system. The Nikon FA gave the impression of being a much more rugged camera. The LX was beautiful, a work of camera-design art, but so nice I was sometimes hesitant to carry it in the field. Never felt that way about the Nikon FA. Take it? Sure, throw it into a backpack, but wrap the LX in a velvet pouch surrounded by foam padding in a Pelican hard case. Here's a bit of Pentax blasphemy: for a user camera, doing what I wanted it to, convenient, reliable, I liked my ZX5n better than the LX, but the LX was a jewel. Maybe I was too fond of the LX, but when I shifted to digital, I let it and the Nikon go.

Last edited by WPRESTO; 03-07-2016 at 05:31 AM.
03-07-2016, 05:42 AM   #6
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Strap lugs:

Excellent Pentax LX Original Strap w Tags P08 | eBay

http://www.ebay.com/itm/lot-of-Pentax-LX-accessories-pouch-caps-strap-as-pic...QAAOSwWTRW0BDP

And of you only want the lugs, you can buy this, keep the lugs and send me the camera.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Pentax-LX-Titan-Sliver-Film-Camera-Titanium-Strap-Ve...UAAOSwymxVNNDD

03-07-2016, 05:48 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Baard-Einar Quote

About straps for the LX: They are tricky, fussy to mount and remove. Plan to get them on and leave them on. This was mildly annoying to me. When I put a camera on a tripod, I like to remove the neck strap as it tends to get tangled in the legs and release cable.
03-07-2016, 06:08 AM   #8
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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.

The only reason I'd suggest considering the F3 is because you already have the Nikkor glass. Like Wpresto's post about the LX, the F3 is a bit more fragile than an FM, FM2, FM2n, or FM3a which are all cousins to the FA. But I've only had one repair required with my F3HP since they were new in '86.

Where does one find a good deal? To me, a good deal is a fair deal in terms of not just price, but of working condition with some sort of warranty for the first 30-90 days, and the best place to judge that would be the used sections of B&H or KEH.com. I'd also check out your local camera stores in Vancouver or Victoria, and perhaps even call stores in Seattle or Bellingham. I have one local film store (new retro store specializing in film and vinyl LPs only) and they have an assortment of Nikon F3, Canon F1, and Pentax 67's.

A good steal is probably a bad deal because all cameras come with kharma and usually the seller is so ignorant about the camera that they don't know there are issues or they are hiding the known issues and therefore price it accordingly without admitting the problems.

I'm not saying don't get the LX...it's a gem. It's just harder to find, and I also assume you've checked the PF marketplace.

03-07-2016, 07:12 AM   #9
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The LX is not significantly larger than the MX but much more ergonomic.
Unlike the MX I could operate all controls easily with my large hands.
That said I somehow never got on with my LX and eventually sold it.

Any LX you buy will likely need an overhaul, which will cost close to $200.
Before you spend all that money suggest you ask yourself
if you really need a professional system camera.

Chris
03-07-2016, 09:09 AM   #10
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In manual mode I found the MX much easier to meter. The LX combination of a column of LEDs and moving colored pointer can be hard to see both in some lighting conditions. Thus I usually used the LX in aperture preferred auto mode.
Overall, for general use I prefer the MX.
03-07-2016, 10:47 AM   #11
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I recently discovered a round eyecup attachment helps me view LED's in digital and manual camera viewfinders.

At this point any 36x24 film camera is nearly exclusively an enthusiast / hobby camera. As such an LX or F2 or F1 can be used a bit more gently than it would have been in regular, daily professional use. I enjoy all the quirks and features of my LX.
03-07-2016, 11:04 AM   #12
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Be warned: SFAIK, Pentax never authorized anyone except authorized Pentax repair to work on the LX. Independent repair shops could not get parts from Pentax for an LX. That has perhaps changed, but it's a caution.
03-07-2016, 11:11 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by WPRESTO Quote
Be warned: SFAIK, Pentax never authorized anyone except authorized Pentax repair to work on the LX. Independent repair shops could not get parts from Pentax for an LX. That has perhaps changed, but it's a caution.
My LX was CLA'ed by Eric Hendrickson, a resource for users in North America. Robin at Harrow Technical is reportedly very good in the UK. Both have or have access to parts, but seals kits are becoming scarce.
03-07-2016, 11:14 AM   #14
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Good opinions/comparisons here already. I will just parrot much of the sentiment that the LX is one of, if not the finest camera I've owned. I doubt I'll ever let it go. I also own 2 MX bodies which I love for entirely different reasons - I get on with them fine and would say I overall I like them equally as much as the LX. Again, though the LX is far more capable overall and it's size (as you've imagined) is particularly *perfect*. I've the LX with the winder, the standard viewfinder as well as the waist-level. I've owned two larger Nikons in the past though not an F2 and in terms of handling comparisons, they seem to me to be likened to my KX body. The LX is an entirely different creature.
My LX too was serviced by Eric H and has been solid since. (it had occasional exp problems before)
03-07-2016, 11:59 AM   #15
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Yes, Eric does service them and can get parts (if still available). After all, he used to run both Honeywell and Asahi Pentax repair centers.
He did a fine job on mine after it sat for a decade with the mirror sticking down and causing focus to be off.
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