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08-17-2016, 10:02 PM - 3 Likes   #1
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First Pentax 35mm slr in 14 years arrived today

Well, actually the second. I won an auction on fleabay a while ago and when the camera arrived, it was not in the pristine condition that the seller had reported. It's entirely possible that it was not the seller's fault and that it had been dropped during shipping. It was stated to be in perfect working condition but when I tested it, the mirror would lock up about 10% of the time. The meter seemed to have issues at longer speeds like 1/2 to 1 second. The frame counter was inoperative. The hot shoe would not trigger the flash. It was pretty much a basket case although it was in pretty good shape cosmetically. I contacted the seller with my concerns and he immediately asked that I return it through the eBay return system for a full refund, no questions asked, including shipping. I was a bit disappointed to return it because it had come with two useful lenses and a winder that I would have liked to have kept but wouldn't have been worth the cost of repairing the camera for.

Handling this first MX had me smitten. I started shopping for its replacement immediately and found another that was in exceptional condition. It arrived today. If the seller had not taken such high res, tack sharp photos and disclosed everything, I may have never have noticed the nearly imperceptible brassing on one corner. The mirror bumper looks like a replacement but the seller says that he never had it serviced in the few short years he owned it. I believe that this camera has has a CLA in its recent history. Everything works on this example. The flash fires, self timer works, shutter speeds sound good, meter is responsive (I'll find out for sure about the shutter and meter when I get pics back), and the frame counter works. It even came with an original manual that appears to have never been opened. I payed a bit of a premium for this rig but I'm very happy with it and have no regrets. I'd pay the same price again in a minute.

I had already found a 50/1.7, 75-150/4, and 200/4 in pristine condition to go with it. I have a 35-70/4 in similar condition on the way as well. As a bonus, I still had an AF280T in the safe from when I had my last Pentax. It works perfectly with the new, all black MX although the flash is disproportionately large in comparison to the MX body. I'll be looking for a 20 or 24mm in the near future and possibly a winder, although a winder does not fit with my intended use of the camera. It would be nice to have at times though.

I'm super-stoked for this new foray into film photography!

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Last edited by ctrout; 08-18-2016 at 05:40 AM.
08-18-2016, 12:26 AM   #2
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Congratulations with your find! Your persistence paid off!
08-18-2016, 03:52 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by ctrout Quote
As a bonus, I still had an AF280T in the safe from when I had my last Pentax. It works perfectly with the new, all black MX although the flash is disproportionately large in comparison to the MX body. I'll be looking for a 20 or 24mm in the near future and possibly a winder, although a winder does not fit with my intended use of the camera. It would be nice to have at times though.
Welcome! (Nice little bonus, there.)

The MX is a great little camera, and I almost took one around the world with me (the ME won out, just; it's fractionally smaller to a degree that made it pocketable with a 40mm pancake lens on, and the full-time aperture priority was more suited to the snapshots I wanted to take). Small can be wonderful with these cameras until, as you've hinted, you add accessories (including some of the larger lenses and flashes as big as that one). A winder may not fit into your usage scheme per se, but you may find it helps the ergonomics a bit!

Keep an eye on the forum marketplace here; the lenses you want do appear from time to time. I think someone's selling a 28mm f/2 if you want something wide angle and fast, and I'm pretty sure I saw at least one wider lens for sale a little while back. Things can sometimes get a bit expensive compared to ebay, craigslist, garage sales etc, but you have the advantage more often than not of buying from people who know Pentax well and have usually taken good care of their equipment (or if they're buying to sell on, know what constitutes a good lens). Plus many of them will take sample shots through and of desired lenses on request, which is more than you can expect from a lot of random e-bay sellers.

I try to rotate through my film cameras, but recently the MX got two films (36exp) in a row and I'm very tempted to make it a third. Enjoy your new acquisition!
08-18-2016, 05:55 AM   #4
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The first one that came in broken had the winder and I did prefer the handling. For stuff around the house I would probably appreciate the improved ergonomics. I plan to use the camera a lot for my hikes in the mountains though, where the added weight would be more of a liability. I may get the winder again if I find a great deal after I have the wide angle lens that I want. I had a couple of ME Supers back in the 80s and 90s that I loved and they had the winders.

The bug has bitten hard too. Now I have the desire to rebuild my previous collection with a few additions. My old kit consisted of the ME Supers mentioned above, a K1000, and an LX. I'd like to find a mint black ME Super, a mint K1000, and a mint LX to go with the MX. I'd also like to add a KX and a mint M42 body and lens. This would satisfy my desire for nostalgia by having all of the bodies I had years ago while fulfilling my desire to have what I consider the very best of the Pentax manual focus, K-mount bodies ever made. The M42 would be more for display than anything, although I'm sure I would use it from time to time.

With the prices of manual focus film gear being what they are, I am also looking forward to getting into medium format, which I could never afford before. I have my sights set on getting a pristine RB67 kit (I know, taboo on the Pentax forums). I scored a Beseler 23c II locally for $75 so I'll be building a darkroom kit to "help keep down costs" in processing and printing, especially the mf stuff.

08-18-2016, 06:48 AM   #5
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Oh my, that's about the cleanest black paint MX I've seen!
08-18-2016, 07:31 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by nickthetasmaniac Quote
Oh my, that's about the cleanest black paint MX I've seen!
+1 it's a beauty!

Phil.
08-18-2016, 07:55 AM   #7
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That's a stunner - looks almost new in box!!

The problem with collecting mint anything is that I'd be too scared to use them. Just about all the film cameras I've bought have one ding or dent or another on them, sometimes engravings from the previous owners, etc. etc., and I'm not afraid to dangle them from a cross-body strap or stuff them into a pocket of a hiking vest and take them halfway around the world. What's important is that the guts of it works smoothly.

As far as the M42 bodies are concerned, the major decision you have to make is whether you want one with open-aperture metering (ES, ES-II, F), stop-down metering (all other Spotmatics) or no metering at all (H/S series 1, 2, 3, H3/Sv & their predecessors), and whether you want Honeywell's name on the front or Asahi's.
08-18-2016, 07:57 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by nickthetasmaniac Quote
Oh my, that's about the cleanest black paint MX I've seen!
My thoughts as well...excellent find and puchase!


Steve

08-18-2016, 09:39 AM   #9
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No problem shooting a Mamiya along side Pentax. I have been using Pentax since 1973 and a Rolleichord since 1979. Five or seven years ago I started up with Hasselblad as they are now also very affordable, relatively speaking, my entire system cost be less than a K1 with one lens.

Earlier this year I was given a ESII with 6 lenses but my eyes are older than they used to be so I handed it over to my nephew. Enjoy your journal into the darkroom, after 40 plus years the developing of a print is still magic.

Your MX is gorgeous. I used one at a previous job and had thought of getting one at the time but we still were using Spotmatic F so didn't. The best of luck with it and film.
08-18-2016, 10:50 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by redrockcoulee Quote
I used one at a previous job and had thought of getting one at the time but we still were using Spotmatic F so didn't.
Functionally there is little to separate them; they both offer B to 1/1000 out of the box and a decent series of open aperture metering lenses (I believe the F actually offers one faster ASA rating, but I haven't got mine in front of me to check). The more professional and demanding you get, the more the MX pulls ahead in the long run, but if all you ever owned was a 50-ish mm f/1.4 or f/2 prime and you were happy to work with the F's microprism focusing screen, trading up was pointless unless the finer details (LED exposure indicators, display of shutter speed and aperture in the viewfinder, split prism) and marked reduction in size really appealed to you.
09-06-2016, 08:10 PM   #11
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I have had the camera out one time in the mountains and it's true, film REALLY does slow you down and make you think. I had my canon gear (5D3, 7D2, 70-200 L IS, 100-400 L IS2, 24-105L) but never clicked the shutter on the EOS stuff. I would have shot 200+ frames on the EOS. I took 10 shots all weekend on the MX. I'll post once I shoot the rest of the roll and develop them.

The bug has bit with the old gear too. I picked up a mint ME SE for $23. It's with Eric now for CLA and new seals. Funny that I'm spending nearly 4x what I paid for the camera to ensure that it will function as good as it looks (the brown leatherette is gorgeous) for years to come. The MX has had some kind of service in its life (mirror bumper is closed cell foam) so I kept it back to enjoy and finish the roll while I wait to get the ME back.
09-06-2016, 09:26 PM   #12
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Yup I was all-in with the Canon EOS system until I tried my first MX then I was hooked. It's a good thing the EOS has great autofocus with those L lenses because it's tiny viewfinder pales by comparison to the huge bright viewfinder in the MX.



Let's see some results from that awesome looking specimen of an MX when you get a chance!
09-07-2016, 05:13 AM   #13
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Canon (gruffly): "I'm twice the camera you are!"

Pentax (sweetly): "That's just the point, darling. By the way, let me know what happens when your batteries run dry."

Canon (gruff, but becoming uncertain): "What do you mean? You can't exac... oh wait, you can, can't you? Well d**nit..." **sound of voice trailing to slowness, then silence**

Pentax: **Ratchet, ratchet, kashhhhhh-click.**

09-07-2016, 04:58 PM   #14
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That's ironic. It was the EOS3 that got me looking at film cameras. I really wanted one, for several years once I saw the price they were going for. I finally decided several weeks ago to get one and my finger was hovering over the "buy it now" button when I heard a tiny voice inside me say "If you want to go back to film, you should go WAY back." I realized that the main reason I wanted to get back into film was so that I would be more deliberately involved in the image making process. If I was shooting an EOS3, I might just as well be shooting an EOS 5D3 or 7D2 so I decided to dump the EOS3 idea (for now) and get back to my roots. I started my photographic journey back in the early 80s with an ME Super so I decided to start this time with the one Pentax that I had lusted for back in the day but never even saw in real life, the MX.

I will most likely still end up with the EOS3 eventually though. I'll be buying it right after I complete my film collection with a mint, black ME Super, a mint, black KX, a mint, brown K1000 SE, a mint LX, and a Mamiya RB system.

Oh, and somewhere in there I have to set aside the funds for a Seiko SARB017 Alpinist. I have too many hobbies and collections.
09-07-2016, 08:48 PM   #15
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very nice find. recently also finished a roll with the MX. considered the better K1000 but feels the same when shooting.
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