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11-12-2018, 10:52 AM - 2 Likes   #31
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QuoteOriginally posted by pres589 Quote
Am I weird about thinking the MX is the best of those Pentax cameras listed?
QuoteOriginally posted by womble Quote
Personally I prefer the MX but there are plenty of folks round here who prefer the KX.
I consider them to be equivalent for the most part, but prefer the KX viewfinder display due its showing current meter reading against the full shutter scale at a glance. The MX is also a little cramped for my big hands.


Steve

11-12-2018, 11:23 AM   #32
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QuoteOriginally posted by Medium4Matt Quote
I'm gathering shutter priority wasn't a very common thing with Pentax.
Such is the case with most auto-exposure 35mm SLR cameras of the time. Konica and Canon were shutter-priority with the remainder using aperture-priority. The primary reason is that electronic shutter control is much easier to implement than electro-mechanical aperture control. Aperture-priority also allow for easy metered manual as an elegant extension of the auto mode.

QuoteOriginally posted by Medium4Matt Quote
Pentax works on stop down metering, correct?
Pentax K-mount cameras of the time supported open-aperture metering for lenses offering that option (most K-mount lenses) and stop-down metering for the rest (some K-mount and all M42). Such was the case until fairly recently with the shift to the so-called "crippled" AF mount on all Pentax dSLR cameras.

QuoteOriginally posted by Medium4Matt Quote
Canon really had a very good feel for convenience. I'm sure Pentax cameras are fine pieces of equipment but Canon seems to be a bit more convenient, especially for the average shooter
I don't know that an AE-1 is more convenient in "AE" mode than an ME Super in "Auto" mode. With both you frame, focus, and shoot. Add a dedicated flash and the process is similarly no-brain. For the casual shooter, the two are equivalent. The differences in "convenience" shows when needing to address specific subjects. For example:
  • Being able to directly set shutter speed is very useful for long exposures as well as for active sports. The AE-1 excels in this regard, while the ME Super user has to fall back on metered manual.
  • Being able to directly set shooting aperture is useful for DOF control, something at which all aperture-priority and metered manual cameras excel. Doing so with an AE-1 requires manual mode and a somewhat cumbersome metering sequence.
It was the lack of convenient metered manual that resulted in an early decision on my part to pass on the AE-1. I toyed with the idea of a Nikon FE but was put off by the price of body and lenses and eventually bought a Ricoh XR7 in Fall of 1982, a purchase I have not regretted. (Several Minolta XG models were also considered.)


Steve

(...program auto-exposure was never on the radar...)

Last edited by stevebrot; 11-12-2018 at 11:35 AM.
11-12-2018, 01:52 PM   #33
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Pentax K-mount cameras of the time supported open-aperture metering for lenses offering that option (most K-mount lenses) and stop-down metering for the rest (some K-mount and all M42). Such was the case until fairly recently with the shift to the so-called "crippled" AF mount on all Pentax dSLR cameras.

I think it is also important to point out that m42 cameras like the Spotmatic F offered open aperture metering on the lenses that supported this.
11-12-2018, 03:10 PM   #34
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
I found the Adorama ad from March 1978. Looking at the prices, I can see why I was not in the market. Cameras were expensive!

-- Pentax K2 with f/1.7* = $321.00
-- Pentax ME with f/1.7 = $260.00

* The ad says f/1.7, but more likely the lens would have been the Pentax-K 55/1.8 for the K-series bodies.
In May 1979, the Pentax ME I purchased was kitted with a Pentax-M 50mm f/2, so a year earlier a 50mm f/1.7 sounds entirely reasonable to me.

11-12-2018, 03:30 PM   #35
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChrisPlatt Quote
An advantage of aperture-priority AE models is that DOF preview can be used in AE or manual exposure modes
(if the camera body is so-equipped).

My Canon AE-1 and later A-1 bodies had DOF preview but it was very inconvenient to use.
It almost seems to have been included as an afterthought.

Chris
Aperture control by the body on the Super Program I purchased in 1983 was virtually the same as on the K-30 I purchased in 2015 .... push a lever next to the lens mount closes it down for DoF preview; my understanding is that in program or shutter-priority mode, the body mechanism that controls the aperture is also quite similar.

Last edited by reh321; 11-12-2018 at 03:42 PM.
11-12-2018, 03:46 PM - 1 Like   #36
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QuoteOriginally posted by reh321 Quote
In May 1979, the Pentax ME I purchased was kitted with a Pentax-M 50mm f/2, so a year earlier a 50mm f/1.7 sounds entirely reasonable to me.
In 1978 (the year of the ad), both the K 55/1.8 and M 50/1.7 lenses would have been available.* I wrote the footnote because the K-series bodies were generally kitted with K-series lenses and M-series bodies with M-series lenses. A prominent exception was the K1000 which was kitted with K, M, and A series lenses, depending on date of sale. All that being said, it may well be that Adorama was bundling their own kits using the newer M 50/1.7.

Steve

* The ad shows Adorama having a full selection of both series.
11-13-2018, 09:26 AM   #37
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Both the KX & K55/1.8 went out of production in late 1977, so Adroama was likely putting together kits of leftover stock and not matching what you would get when the items were current.

Phil.
11-13-2018, 11:28 AM   #38
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QuoteOriginally posted by gofour3 Quote
Both the KX & K55/1.8 went out of production in late 1977, so Adroama was likely putting together kits of leftover stock and not matching what you would get when the items were current.

Phil.
That is quite possible. It was not unusual for dealers to create their own kits and/or make lens substitutions from loose stock.* As for the product EOL for the K-series lenses, are you suggesting that late run K2/K2DMD (1980ish) were matched to M-series glass as a matter of course?

FWIW, I did a quick survey of eBay listings for KX and K2 cameras w/lens and while I found only one KX example with other than a K-series lens (A 50/2.0), there were several K2/K2DMD with M 50/1.7. What is amazing to me is that K-series cameras other than the K1000 are not particularly rare as one might expect from a spare two-year run, nor are K-series lenses hard to come by. They must have sold exceptionally well and/or continued to be sold from warehouse stock for several years after production ceased.


Steve

* My Ricoh XR7 is a good example. I bought it mail-order from Seattle Camera bundled with the XR Rikenon 50/1.7 and it was delivered with a Pentax-M 50/1.7 and a note expressing their regrets at the substitution. I was mildly pleased at the time and have been much more pleased over time with use of that lens.


Last edited by stevebrot; 11-13-2018 at 11:54 AM.
11-13-2018, 11:58 AM - 1 Like   #39
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
That is quite possible. It was not unusual for dealers to create their own kits and/or make lens substitutions from loose stock.* As for the product EOL for the K-series lenses, are you suggesting that late run K2/K2DMD (1980ish) were matched to M-series glass as a matter of course?

FWIW, I did a quick survey of eBay listings for KX and K2 cameras w/lens and while I found only one KX example with other than a K-series lens (A 50/2.0), there were several K2/K2DMD with M 50/1.7. What is amazing to me is that K-series cameras other than the K1000 are not particularly rare as one might expect from a spare two-year run, nor are K-series lenses hard to come by. They must have sold exceptionally well and/or continued to be sold from warehouse stock for several years after production ceased.


Steve

* My Ricoh XR7 is a good example. I bought it mail-order from Seattle Camera bundled with the XR Rikenon 50/1.7 and it was delivered with a Pentax-M 50/1.7 and a note expressing their regrets at the substitution. I was mildly pleased at the time and have been much more pleased over time with use of that lens.
When I bought my Pentax KX in late 1975, the camera store here in Vancouver just sold everything separately. You picked the K Series body (choose the colour/screen option) and whatever Pentax lens/lenses, if any, you wanted.

I think the K1000 & K55/2 was the first official K Series kit fitted with a specific lens, neither were available in 1975 when I bough my KX new. (The K55/2, K1000 & K2DMD all came in 1976)

The K2/K2DMD were the two other K Series bodies that made it into the 1980's and the only K Series 50/55mm lens left was the K50/1.2. So that would have been a good kit to sell at the time, for a mail order discount store like Adorama. (I picked up one of my K2DMDs with a K50/1.2 a few years back.)

Phil.
11-13-2018, 03:42 PM   #40
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
I don't know that an AE-1 is more convenient in "AE" mode than an ME Super in "Auto" mode. With both you frame, focus, and shoot. Add a dedicated flash and the process is similarly no-brain. For the casual shooter, the two are equivalent. The differences in "convenience" shows when needing to address specific subjects. For example:
  • Being able to directly set shutter speed is very useful for long exposures as well as for active sports. The AE-1 excels in this regard, while the ME Super user has to fall back on metered manual.
  • Being able to directly set shooting aperture is useful for DOF control, something at which all aperture-priority and metered manual cameras excel. Doing so with an AE-1 requires manual mode and a somewhat cumbersome metering sequence.
It was the lack of convenient metered manual that resulted in an early decision on my part to pass on the AE-1. I toyed with the idea of a Nikon FE but was put off by the price of body and lenses and eventually bought a Ricoh XR7 in Fall of 1982, a purchase I have not regretted. (Several Minolta XG models were also considered.)
Conventional wisdom in the 1960s was that automatic metering was best done by having the photographer set the shutter speed and the camera would take care of that pesky aperture (which most people didn't really understand the creative applications thereof). So most leaf shutter rangefinders that were "auto" did it that way, especially since the electro-mechanical connection could be managed with a permanently mounted lens.

It was assumed that any auto exposure SLR would go the same way. Zeiss did it with their Contaflex series (but again, with non-interchangeable lenses, and a leaf shutter). Konica did it big time with their Autoreflex series, which were certainly popular, but were never, ever aimed at the pro market. Frankly, my experience with the Konica system was that the "lock needle" system wasn't very accurate or repeatable. Canon also assumed that electronic control of aperture was the way to go, and built the FD mount to make it happen on their EF, and the subsequent AE-1.

The big surprise was how serious photographers embraced the opposite solution with the Spotmatic ES - aperture priority automation. It was certainly easier for the manufacturer to implement, as the shutter was automated - not the interchangeable lens.
Also, the viewfinder showed the shutter speed you got - and there were a lot more of them. Set F5.6 on your lens, and you could nearly guarantee a shutter speed readout over a huge range. But if you set 1/125 on your Konica or Canon, you often got out-of-range warnings and had to make changes. Besides, choice of aperture directly affected the depth of field - whereas a typical static subject looks exactly the same at 1/60th and 1/1000th.


Aside from sports photography where you need an exact shutter speed setting, shutter priority proved less useful to the knowledgeable photographer.

But for the beginning photographer at the sales counter, shutter priority sounded like the way to go ... "just set the shutter speed and the camera sets the lens opening for you". Trying to explain to a newbie that the ME Super wants you to set the lens opening first, and it will control the shutter speed doesn't seem as intuitive, as the newbie is silently wondering "what's a lens opening?".

And that's another reason the Canon AE-1 was the huge hit it was.
01-08-2019, 05:41 PM - 1 Like   #41
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Dont get me started on the AE1 .....I was a serious amateur at the time it came out and really semi pro as I was taking paying work. At the time I had two much loved OM1s but the hype for the AE1 was powerful and I thought it would be best to have one to get familiar with the new fangled electro revolution....after all this was the digital age of Aquarius dawning and time to dispense with fuddy duddy cameras that meant you had to think about stuff

Anyway I was a bit tired on a Saturday and saw one in a shop window so went in, had a quick go with it in the shop and being a bit tired, seldom the right time to make buying decisions, I parted with the sterling and walked out with an AE1, the power winder and the flash and some FD lenses and a deep sense of guilt that my landlord wouldnt be getting paid this week, my flatmates were going to have to continue to wonder why their food supplies kept vanishing, and I had just paid for this lot with a credit card that was already in serious default. But the automation seemed to make sense for situations where messing about with flash was tiresome like car wreck pictures I was selling to the press. I have to say the moment I started using it I just hated it. Uncomfortable to hold, big and clunky, heavy, plasticky feeling and controls that felt spongy rather than positive. On top of that lens changes were a pain and you always had to be wary about using the DOF lest you forgot to reset the lens and messed up the metering. Going to manual with it was hard work as well. I dont know what it is with Canon but I never got a good pic out of any Canon hardware. The best I could say for it was the shutter sound was cool and with the motor drive whirring away you could imagine you were in the secret service. It wouldnt have been a very secret service because the racket it made would wake up people in Moscow while you were shooting in London

The real sadness though is I got bought an exact copy of the thing for Christmas of my own asking ......I am trying to collect every camera I ever owned plus a few I never did but wished I had ( frankly though I suspect an OM4 with the 50mm 1.2 lens is out of my affordability now.....its probably out of the affordability of Apple Inc these days). I thought perhaps with my greater skill, learning, and the experience of other horrors like the Canon T90, several EOS types, the dreadful D30 and to be fair the horror box that was the OM4Ti I might finally learn to love the AE1 if for no other reason than it was part of my salad days. In truth its still ghastly But this time with the added pain of not having learned the lessons of the past. Scraped knees are part of growing up and learning but when you get them aged 60 its like having scraped knees all over again but this time having someone pour surgical spirit on the wounds and set fire to it into the bargain.

Still never mind......plenty more horrors to add to the collection though I shant be bothering with the T90 or any of the EOS things I owned and if nothing else the return of the AE1 has at least redefined the collection program in favour of collecting only the ones I owned that I really liked so thats just the Kodak Instamatic 33 now.....it nearly always got good pics and didnt even need a battery

Last edited by Astro-Baby; 01-08-2019 at 05:52 PM.
04-16-2019, 01:09 AM   #42
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and adjusted for inflation....

This is cool. I thought I'd update this with prices adjusted for inflation in April 2019.

-- Pentax K2 with f/1.7* = $1251.52
-- Pentax ME with f/1.7 = $1013.69
-- Pentax KX with f/1.7 = $873.33
-- Pentax MX with f/1.7 = $972.75
-- Canon AE-1 with f/1.8 = $1052.48
-- Canon AT-1 with f/1.8 = $857.74
-- Canon FTb-N with f/1.8 = $853.84
-- Olympus OM2 with f/1.8 = $1312.92

So yeah, even entry level cameras were NOT cheap.

James

QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
I found the Adorama ad from March 1978. Looking at the prices, I can see why I was not in the market. Cameras were expensive!

-- Pentax K2 with f/1.7* = $321.00
-- Pentax ME with f/1.7 = $260.00
-- Pentax KX with f/1.7 = $224.00
-- Pentax MX with f/1.7 = $249.50

-- Canon AE-1 with f/1.8 = $269.95
-- Canon AT-1 with f/1.8 = $220.00
-- Canon FTb-N with f/1.8 = $219.00

-- Olympus OM2 with f/1.8 = $336.75

I threw in the manual exposure models and the Olympus for comparison and figure I would probably have bought a KX (or maybe an OM1 at $235) if I had been in the market.

All sizes | Adorama (March 1978) price list | Flickr - Photo Sharing!


Steve

* The ad says f/1.7, but more likely the lens would have been the Pentax-K 55/1.8 for the K-series bodies.
04-16-2019, 05:33 AM   #43
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Yes, in their heyday new 35mm SLRs were very expensive.

For years my eldest brother - who could easily afford any model camera - used a Canon AE-1.
His results were always good. He finally replaced it with some EOS model, and later a Canon DSLR.

Around 1977 my first 35mm SLR was a used Canon AE-1, a bargain from my stepfather's friend who had to liquidate his stuff quickly.
Eventually I traded it in along with a nearly new A-1 (ugh!) towards a brand new Nikon FM with lens, my first of many Nikons.

In recent years I have tried many cameras from that era, but I have never had any desire to get another AE-1.
That said the Pentax ME Super never really did anything for me either, though I have owned one once or twice.

Chris

Last edited by ChrisPlatt; 04-21-2019 at 09:42 AM.
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