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08-12-2017, 01:13 PM   #1
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Manual vs auto focus film SLRs

Hi!
I'am a happy MZ-5n (and KP) user. I really like take family shots whith the MZ-5n in full automatic mode or in Av. I never developped the film at home and I started with the digital K-30.
I never understood why are manual focus, full manual SLRs like the MX or the automatic LX are so popular. Why are you prefer them more then modern full automatic film SLRs? Automatic cameras can be switched to full manual mode also. Thanks for your opinions!

(PS.: I understand 67 users and 645 users, talk about 135 cameras now.)

08-12-2017, 01:17 PM - 2 Likes   #2
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The build quality and ruggedness of the older cameras is what makes them so popular. Also the fact that many of them can be used without batteries at many, or in most cases, all shutter speeds. Additionally, when a fully mechanical camera fails, it is usually easily repairable. When the more modern cameras fail, many times it is not economical to attempt repair.
08-12-2017, 01:25 PM   #3
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I've used both, and while I appreciated the idiot-proof AE (my manual cameras have not had working TTL metering since almost forever, so I use a cheap handheld meter of dubious accuracy), I found the autofocus to be a PITA. Also it only worked with kit zooms in bright sunlight, and was useless for my faster, older primes. And, what ctrout said about the build quality and ruggedness.
08-12-2017, 01:36 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by dsmithhfx Quote
I found the autofocus to be a PITA. Also it only worked with kit zooms in bright sunlight, and was useless for my faster, older primes
Hmmm... My MZ-5n focuses well with the F 50 F1.7 @F2 in general.

The MZ-S or PZ line build quality is so much inferior to MX and LX?

08-12-2017, 02:05 PM - 2 Likes   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by 08amczb Quote
Hmmm... My MZ-5n focuses well with the F 50 F1.7 @F2 in general.

The MZ-S or PZ line build quality is so much inferior to MX and LX?
All my lenses are the only mount you'll ever need: m42.
08-12-2017, 02:22 PM - 3 Likes   #6
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08-12-2017, 02:31 PM - 2 Likes   #7
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While autofocus cameras allow manual focus, the focusing screens are usually not designed for focus discrimination, making it harder to judge the best focus. I find old-fashioned plain ground glass best for judging sharp focus.
Having used manual focus for over 50 years, it is "automatic" to me, and I find it simpler to just focus on what I want than to try and tell an AF camera where that is.
08-12-2017, 04:05 PM   #8
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Is there a single autofocus Pentax film SLR that doesn't suffer from the dreaded plastic stripped gears?

08-12-2017, 04:10 PM - 1 Like   #9
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I think that my ME F is immune.
08-12-2017, 04:12 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by ctrout Quote
I think that my ME F is immune.
You do have a good point. I meant screw-drive autofocus.
08-12-2017, 04:13 PM   #11
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Whatever the body, automatic focus has frustrated me.
08-12-2017, 04:51 PM - 1 Like   #12
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There are many reasons but specifically to the LX are:
  1. The only Pentax 35mm with interchangeable viewfinders.
  2. The only camera by any brand that you can advance or rewind to any frame accurately for multiexposure.
  3. The only camera - past or present by any brand, that can aperture priority autoexpose a scene for as long as it takes - even hours long, all the while adjusting exposure based on the scenes lighting conditions.
08-12-2017, 04:58 PM   #13
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My MX has interchangeable viewfinders.
08-12-2017, 05:15 PM - 1 Like   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by ctrout Quote
My MX has interchangeable viewfinders.
Focusing screens, not viewfinders...

You can't do this with the MX...

08-12-2017, 06:08 PM   #15
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Ah yes. You are correct. I was thinking of focusing screens. It's nice to have the flexibility of the LX system but I would bet that the vast majority of users have no need for any but the standard viewfinder and will most likely never need the long exposure low light metering capability of the LX either. The KX has all the features to serve 99.9% of photographers and is actually the highest rated manual focus 35mm SLR on this site bar none. Yes, we as a community have cast our vote that the KX is the undisputed king of the hill.

But back to the OPs topic, which of the AF models ishas the most reliable AF mechanics?
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