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05-21-2019, 09:58 PM   #1
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Need advice for choosing a 35 mm film camera

Hi all.
I'd like to use my beloved Pentax glass with a film camera . I don't need autofocus or any special feature, but my requirements would be:
- big and bright viewfinder (essential)
- the possibility of using diopter adjustment
- maybe the possibility to use AV with my A glass (not really needed).

I've seen the LX going for about Eur 450,00 in Italy.While I consider that a reasonable price for a professional film camera, I don't want to spend so much for a 35 mm film camera nowadays (I would spend the same amount on a MF camera but my old darkroom kit covers at least 6*6 format)

I'd use it with B/W film, occasionally for color .
I feel like I want a little step back to analog, making some homemade print using my old darkroom.
Any advice is welcome and thank you all in advance!

Matteo.

05-21-2019, 10:19 PM - 1 Like   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by bm75 Quote
Hi all.
I'd like to use my beloved Pentax glass with a film camera . I don't need autofocus or any special feature, but my requirements would be:
- big and bright viewfinder (essential)
- the possibility of using diopter adjustment
- maybe the possibility to use AV with my A glass (not really needed).

I've seen the LX going for about Eur 450,00 in Italy.While I consider that a reasonable price for a professional film camera, I don't want to spend so much for a 35 mm film camera nowadays (I would spend the same amount on a MF camera but my old darkroom kit covers at least 6*6 format)

I'd use it with B/W film, occasionally for color .
I feel like I want a little step back to analog, making some homemade print using my old darkroom.
Any advice is welcome and thank you all in advance!

Matteo.
You know the deal. There’s cheap, fast and good. Pick two.

MX has the brightest VF. MESuper is right behind it. LX has adjustable diopter. None is an ‘A’ Camera (for A lenses).

SuperPROGRAM / SUPERA in Europe) has a nice, bright viewfinder and AE programming P, Tv, Av and M with A lenses and TTL flash control, but you must use Adapters to correct the diopter. You get them 2nd hand, but they aren’t hard to find. I’d start looking there.
05-22-2019, 12:37 AM - 1 Like   #3
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Hi Matteo!

Unfortunately diopter adjustment as a standard only starts with the autofocus cameras. From the manual focus lines only the LX has a diopter adjustment and only with some of its viewfinders. So your options are
- Buying an LX for the price of an new KS-2.
- Using an autofocus camera
- Using an manual focus camera with your glasses on

I am using my analog cameras with my glasses on and do not have great issues. The bigger viewfinder makes it easy.

Monochrome covered the available range of pentax cameras quite good.
I would just add the
- Program A (Av, P, M)
- P30n, P30t (Av, P, M - plastic body) BUT DX-coded ISO only!

If you do not need the Program or Tv-Mode you have plenty of other K-mount cameras from other brands available like the Cosinas and the Ricohs.

Be aware, that most elder cameras need replacing of the light seals. If you do not want to do this by yourself, we have to narrow the suggestions.
05-22-2019, 02:47 AM - 1 Like   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by bm75 Quote
- maybe the possibility to use AV with my A glass (not really needed)
Be aware that bodies like the ME and LX are capable of Av mode when the aperture ring is set to a numerical (manual) aperture. So you can use your "A" lenses on these in Av mode as long as you take the lens out of the "A" position.

Later bodies like the Super A/Program A and P series allow you to use "A" lenses either way. On those bodies which have a P mode, the lens must be uses in the "A" position so the camera can control the aperture if you want to use P (or Tv)

05-22-2019, 03:53 AM - 1 Like   #5
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another solution to the diopter adjustment is buy a cheap pair of plastic lens glasses and just trim the lens down to fit inside the viewfinder.
05-22-2019, 04:23 AM   #6
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Thank You all for your kind advices , I'll surf the bay for LX, SuperA, MX , ME. I most like the old style camera designs and really appreciated the LX in my youth.
As for the shutter mechanics, is there something I could check before buying if I have the possibility to test the camera?


QuoteOriginally posted by Papa_Joe Quote
Be aware, that most elder cameras need replacing of the light seals.
When I'll get the camera, I'll send it to a lab for replacement. there's a guy next to my city that has the knowledge for doing that.


Thank You all.
Matteo
05-22-2019, 06:52 AM - 1 Like   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by bm75 Quote
I've seen the LX going for about Eur 450,00 in Italy.While I consider that a reasonable price for a professional film camera, I don't want to spend so much for a 35 mm film camera nowadays (I would spend the same amount on a MF camera but my old darkroom kit covers at least 6*6 format)
Sure sounds like you already know the answer . . .



But if long aperture priority autoexposures are an asset, then there is no other camera - past or present, that can do what the LX can. This one ysing Kodak Ektar 100 of the Hoover Dam took about 45 minutes using the LX aperture priority mode.



I've taken many others lasting many hours long successfully.

Good luck with your search!
05-22-2019, 08:13 AM - 1 Like   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by bm75 Quote
When I'll get the camera, I'll send it to a lab for replacement. there's a guy next to my city that has the knowledge for doing that.
Good solution! I

QuoteOriginally posted by bm75 Quote
As for the shutter mechanics, is there something I could check before buying if I have the possibility to test the camera?
All you can do at first glance is listen to the shutter. Take your watch, set shutter speed to the longest available time for example 1 second. Release the shutter. Listen to mirror going up and down, have a look at the watch if it roughly confirms the 1 second. From now on reduce shutter speed one step. Listen to the camera. Does the time intervall sound as half as long? You will hear this quite well up to 1/60 second. Try the other times as well. Does all sound good? This will give you a first impression if there is a major problem, but not more.

Normaly you only have to check the shutter speed on cameras with mechanical controled shutters (MX). The Super A and the ME super (do not buy the ME without super) have electronic shutters and should have no issues with it. They usually work well or do not work at all.

To test if the whole system works, set the f stop to 22 and the speed dial to B. Open the back of the camera. Look at the shutter (do not touch it !!). Press the shutter button and hold it. You should see the mirror go up and stay there. The lens should be closed to smallest f stop. Release the shutter button. The camera should go back to shutter closed, mirror down, lens wide open. Try other F stops.

When you test a super A, have a close look at the metering system. Try Av and P mode and have a look at the time/f-stop combinations. If the camera does not behave as expected, for example in Av-mode does not stepwise follow with the shutter speed, when you open or close the diaphragm or switchs to completely other shutters speeds like 1/2000 then do not buy it. The camera probably has issues with the electronical lens contacts.
Be aware, that the camera will set shutter speed to 1/1000, as long as the film counter is below picture 1. This is a feature, not a fault!

Buying used cameras is always a matter of trust as well.

05-22-2019, 09:29 AM   #9
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It seems like the LX is my thing...
05-22-2019, 10:05 AM - 2 Likes   #10
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Les, you gotta explain to me how long exposure aperture priority is an asset. I don't get it. And there is no way the LX has a built in reciprocity chart for all films.
05-22-2019, 10:29 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by tuco Quote
Les, you gotta explain to me how long exposure aperture priority is an asset. I don't get it. And there is no way the LX has a built in reciprocity chart for all films.
Not sure what you're looking for but I can only say that the Pentax LX is the only camera ever (past and present, film or digital) that can aperture priority autoexpose a scene for as long as it takes while monitoring the scene for changes in lighting and adjusting accordingly.

As a separate matter, I test reciprocity for myself and I am not aware of any camera that has a built-in chart. In all the long exposures I have conducted, I have yet to encounter a reciprocity failure. Of course that isn't to say it doesn't exist.
05-22-2019, 10:37 AM   #12
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Hey bm75, what lenses are you wanting to use with this camera? Can you make a list?
05-22-2019, 10:47 AM - 3 Likes   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by LesDMess Quote
... I have yet to encounter a reciprocity failure. Of course that isn't to say it doesn't exist.
It exists all right. Do you shoot any BW film?

Metered 30 seconds, corrected to 90 seconds for reciprocity with 400TMY. Cubic grain film needs even more time added.


Last edited by tuco; 05-22-2019 at 11:01 AM.
05-22-2019, 12:27 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by pres589 Quote
Hey bm75, what lenses are you wanting to use with this camera? Can you make a list?
For the most part 20 f/4, 28 f/2,8 , 55 f/2 200 f/4 various series plus someone else (300 f/4). I know they're not the best Pentax lenses out there, I miss those f/1.4 glass but I like those little gems. I also have some Nikon AI/AIS primes, but I like Pentax much more.
05-22-2019, 12:30 PM   #15
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The LX is a great camera, I have two and really like using them. They often suffer from sticky mirrors though. However if I had a darkroom I'd probably prefer spending that cash on medium format and buy a cheaper 35mm SLR.
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