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04-12-2016, 08:51 AM   #1
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35mm film camera option - is LX a robust camera?

Hi all.
I started my film journey with MF, a P67 and then added a P645.
Then I started to try various 135 camera, thinking to find one as my "travel camera", beside 67 and 645.

I tried GR1v, Mju, Canon 3, Yashica GSN. The image quality from these, is a bit of disappointment, I only get few shots that I like from each roll.

until couple weeks ago I pick up a Olympus OM2n. I really like the images I get from this camera, the images just blow all the previous 135 cameras I owned listed above. more than half of the roll from this camera are 'keepers'. The camera is also very small, I can put in my jacket pocket while carrying 67 as main camera.

So... this brought me back to LX (assume to be at the same level as the OM2n), a camera I hesitate to get because it is still kind of pricey (but really wanted to get, because, its PENTAX).
I understand that there is a "sticky mirror" problem with this camera, but would like to know, how serious is this problem and, is it expensive to get it fix (or not worth to fix it?). I don't shoot often, only when I travel, so the camera may sit there 1 or 2 months without action, especially the winter months. Is LX a good choice for my case?

my film shooting: https://www.instagram.com/lengfenglee/

04-12-2016, 09:03 AM - 1 Like   #2
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I know your experience is way bigger than mine and you've probably already thought this through, but may I ask why the readily available and somewhat cheap Pentax MX isn't an option as a portable 35mm camera? I have a few and frankly, it is such a pure pleasure to use. All mechanical, just need 2 batteries for the meter and the viewfinder is beautiful. I know it's not the LX, which is a much more sophisticated camera, so perhaps that explains it, but still, I thought the LX was more of a luxury item than a travel 35mm camera, with all its electronics that are bound to fail sooner rather than later.
04-12-2016, 09:16 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by kp0c Quote
I know your experience is way bigger than mine and you've probably already thought this through, but may I ask why the readily available and somewhat cheap Pentax MX isn't an option as a portable 35mm camera? I have a few and frankly, it is such a pure pleasure to use. All mechanical, just need 2 batteries for the meter and the viewfinder is beautiful. I know it's not the LX, which is a much more sophisticated camera, so perhaps that explains it, but still, I thought the LX was more of a luxury item than a travel 35mm camera, with all its electronics that are bound to fail sooner rather than later.
Thanks for the suggestion! I looked at MX, the 'huge VF' is good (as the OM2n VF is also huge), but MX doesn't have A setting (auto-exposure), which I found useful for a newbie like me.
and....although how a camera look is of no use, I think the OM2n is very good looking and in the Pentax line up, only LX has the look. (but I am also weird, thinking P645N is a good looking camera).
But if I came across a cheap MX I will not hesitate to grab it. (nowadays people post ridiculous price for film camera on CL...)
04-12-2016, 09:31 AM   #4
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The ME Super is a possibility - it has aperture priority, but also has manual override with "push button" selection of shutter speed. As they get older there are issues reported with the electronics and also with the film transport and shutter cocking. A more modern alternative is the P30T, which has the old fashioned shutter dial and either aperture priority with any K mount lens or program mode with the A series lenses, and the film is almost ridiculously easy to load. However, the P30T has no exposure value compensation dial, lacks manual ISO input - Dx coding only - and is absolutely battery dependent; not even a backup mechanical 1/125 for when the electronics die.

04-12-2016, 09:36 AM - 1 Like   #5
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I have a lx that i am testing out right now..I do know that if you get a copy that requires cla the famous Eric quoted me I believe 200 dollars for cla for starters and I think he does MX for around 50...
04-12-2016, 09:39 AM   #6
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The LX is a great camera AFTER it has been CLAed. The LX is expensive to start with and add the mandatory $250-300 for a full CLA and the LX gets really expensive.

It may be overkill for what you want, so a K2 may be better suited if you want the AUTO mode in a cheaper package. There is also the ME or ME Super if you like them small.

Phil.
04-12-2016, 09:40 AM - 2 Likes   #7
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LX doesn't have 'A' setting either [EDIT: to set lens aperture with an A lens from the body. It does have an Automatic Exposure setting as to shutter speed relative to the aperture you select on the lens]. It's claim to fame is OTF metering and auto exposure that is still considered the best (or right next it) ever done on any camera. It is most definitely robust, but lacks AE-L. A $200 CLA is almost certainly necessary if not done recently. You will 'buy' it or pay for it, either way. Body seals kits are getting scarce, so if you're going to do it, do it now.

Last edited by monochrome; 04-12-2016 at 10:37 AM.
04-12-2016, 10:06 AM - 1 Like   #8
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LX is the finest film non-autofocus camera I've ever used period. MX is very nice but the F2 Nikon is better in my opinion. The LX crushes the F2. I owned the F2 and shot the LX a lot when my dad worked for Pentax.

04-12-2016, 10:09 AM - 1 Like   #9
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The LX does have an A setting for shutter speed (aperture priority), but not for the lens aperture (no shutter priority or program mode). In fact, I use mine mainly in A shutter mode, because in many lighting conditions I can't see both the meter LEDs and the "follow pointer" that you line up with the LED in manual mode. In Texas sunlight the green LEDs seem invisible, and in very dim light I can't see the pointer.
I find the same situation with my Leica R4, which I also end up using mostly in auto modes.
And since I prefer manual control I use the MX more for Pentax, and the SL more for Leicaflex.
04-12-2016, 10:10 AM - 1 Like   #10
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The reason the LX CLA is so expensive is that it gets sticky foam bumpers behind the mirror, and once you replace them, you have to recalibrate the mirror position to get correct focus on it, which is a major PITA.

The MX by contrast is one of the easiest ones to work on, since everything is readily accessible, the focus screen drops out, and it generally requires little calibration.

QuoteOriginally posted by cpobuttons Quote
I have a lx that i am testing out right now..I do know that if you get a copy that requires cla the famous Eric quoted me I believe 200 dollars for cla for starters and I think he does MX for around 50...
04-12-2016, 10:14 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
when my dad worked for Pentax.
I envy you right now.
04-12-2016, 10:19 AM   #12
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My 2 cents: the LX is arguably my favorite 35mm camera ever made. That said, for TRAVEL only I'd be far more inclined to take along an MX because it is smaller, completely mechanical and there's just less risk involved with something going wrong or having to replace it in the event of misfortune. (That and its viewfinder is 1 tiny tick less amazing than the LX, which is to say, damn near as good).

Something else you might consider... When I do travel, it's most commonly with one of the smaller Pentax SLRs, and in the past year, with a medium format folder camera. My favorites of late have been the very inexpensive and lovely Franka cameras (I have Rolfix II 6x9 and a Solida III 6x6) - the Solida III is one of a few camera I take along when I don't know what to take. You're limited to its single lens obviously but it's a good one and reasonably fast f/2.9, and the rendering is fantastic. Just throwing that out there because since your experience is largely with medium format, finding a 35mm that will compare in quality is a near-impossible task. The medium format folders however ARE medium format, and many are smaller than a 35mm kit. Most of them take far more time to shoot with of course, but depending on your style, that may not matter much.

Like I said, when I go "light" it's usually with a something like the MX with one short and one longer lens, and a MF folder for the "good" shots. Quite the tiny and capable combo.

Last edited by chickentender; 04-12-2016 at 10:28 AM.
04-12-2016, 10:29 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by chickentender Quote
Like I said, when I go "light" it's usually with a something like the MX with one short and one longer lens
Just out of interest, which ones do you take? When I pocketed my ME for a trip overseas this year, I chose the 40mm M Pancake (of course) and ended up buying an M 135/3.5 while I was abroad (and using it quite a bit too). It's ridiculously small and short for what it is, and I found it an invaluable adjunct. If I end up going on the same trip next year I might take the FA50/1.4 instead of the pancake, just in case I meet a K-1 and desire to take it home.
04-12-2016, 10:39 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
I envy you right now.
The 1980s - lots of K series and M series stuff.
04-12-2016, 10:45 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
Just out of interest, which ones do you take? When I pocketed my ME for a trip overseas this year, I chose the 40mm M Pancake (of course) and ended up buying an M 135/3.5 while I was abroad (and using it quite a bit too). It's ridiculously small and short for what it is, and I found it an invaluable adjunct. If I end up going on the same trip next year I might take the FA50/1.4 instead of the pancake, just in case I meet a K-1 and desire to take it home.
On my longest trip (nearly 2 years out) all I had along was a Ricoh GR series camera and a Pentax M50/1.4 (on a K-7 at the time) - never wanted for much else. When I go out in more recent years for longer trips, it's usually the MX with some combination (2) of FA43/1.9, A50/1.4, FA77/1.8 and M20/4.....

Sometimes I'll take ONLY the FA31 if it's all I'm taking. I had, sold, and am considering buying again an M35/2 for travel use, or possible (which I've never owned) the M28/2. Been thinking about those as a less-expensive bit of kit to risk traveling with over the FA31, plus their considerably smaller and I dont' need autofocus with the MX.
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