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10-11-2008, 10:32 AM   #1
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Some potentially dumb film questions (Pentax LX)

Hey guys, so I'm going to be taking a film photography class at my college (yup, another one of them) and I'm pretty excited to get the opportunity to shoot film. I'm in the process of buying a Pentax LX right now, go big or go home, yah know? Anyways here's a few questions I have regarding this camera and other film questions.

1. I currently have a Sigma 24-60 f2.8, FA 50 f1.4, FA limited 77, and a Tokina 80-200 f2.8 AF. From the looks of some users, it seems that I can use limited lenses on these and I'm guessing the FA 50 as well. Would I be able to use my two FF zooms on this in manual mode though? If not, I really just need one wide angle prime to complement this.

2. Do you guys have any recommendations about where I should pick up film at? I'm thinking of just buying a ton of assorted rolls off someone from craigslist (often includes a bit of velvia and whatnot).

3. Also, am I out of luck if this camera decides to die on me :P? Seems like it would be hard to find a place to service it, but I am in the bay area of California...so I'm guessing there has to be a place here somewhere capable of this.

10-11-2008, 12:32 PM   #2
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As long as the lens is K-mount, full frame and has an aperture ring, you can shoot with it on your LX. I'm a bit confused about the "in every mode" comment, though - the LX only has full manual and Av, both of which work on any lens that meets the criteria above. Not sure about the rest of your questions, but I'm sure someone else will have answers.
10-11-2008, 12:34 PM   #3
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any lens w/ a K-mount and aperture ring will work
only the new DA lenses won't fully work because they have a reduced image circle and no aperture ring

what kind of stuff will you be shooting? colour / B&W? slide / print film?
i'm just starting out this film thing but i think i'll pick up a big block of Fuji 400H (more natural looking print film) once i get the chance

this guy is the best pentax repairman Home
10-11-2008, 01:20 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by touchmyichi Quote
Do you guys have any recommendations about where I should pick up film at? I'm thinking of just buying a ton of assorted rolls off someone from craigslist (often includes a bit of velvia and whatnot).
If it's a traditional photo class including darkroom work, you'll be wanting old school b/w film, and not the C-41 type of b/w you can buy at Walgreens. Ilford HP5+ is typically used in introductory courses - respectable 400 speed stuff, sometimes bundled with a small stack of photo paper as a starter set. http://www.freestylephoto.biz/ is a good supplier.

My $0.02 regarding the camera, nothing wrong with an LX, you'll love it, but you might also want to grab a K1000, KM, Chinon CM4 or similar Ricoh or Sears body -- something that uses the same K-mount lenses but costs next to nothing and possibly forces you to shoot manual mode. There's some real satisfaction in making great pictures out of goodwill-caliber equipment, and you'll be glad to have a backup film body for the LX regardless of what condition you find that in once you get it.

10-11-2008, 01:57 PM   #5
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Careful buying off craigslist, unless it's really, really cheap. That's so you won't mind wasting a roll as a test roll, to see what condition the film's in.

They might kept the stuff under the hood of their car for all you know.

Grabbing a cheaper, backup camera is a good idea, too. One camera for low speed, one for high speed film, or one for colour and one for black and white.
10-12-2008, 11:49 AM   #6
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Take a real good look behind the mirror on the LX. Make sure the sponge and rubber has not melted. Make sure the mirror does not seem sluggish or like it is sticking.

While the LX is an awesome machine they are expensive to repair. If you find a good one please take good care of it. One of the best cameras ever made and the pinnacle of Pentax craftsmanship IMHO...
10-12-2008, 10:45 PM   #7
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San Jose?

It looks like you are in San Jose, correct? There are many good places to get film in and around downtown because of the photography fine arts major at San Jose State. For film, go to Foto Express at 304 E. Santa Clara St. They have a lot to choose from in black and white as well as color. They also process all of it.
For camera repairs and maintainence, go to Kamera Korner at 545 Meridian Ave. They are an old school camera repair shop and very knowledgeable. They also carry film there but send rolls to Foto Express for processing. They have a pretty good selection of used equipment there, with quite a bit of Pentax.
10-13-2008, 01:35 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by felix68 Quote
It looks like you are in San Jose, correct? There are many good places to get film in and around downtown because of the photography fine arts major at San Jose State. For film, go to Foto Express at 304 E. Santa Clara St. They have a lot to choose from in black and white as well as color. They also process all of it.
For camera repairs and maintainence, go to Kamera Korner at 545 Meridian Ave. They are an old school camera repair shop and very knowledgeable. They also carry film there but send rolls to Foto Express for processing. They have a pretty good selection of used equipment there, with quite a bit of Pentax.
Oh yeah Kamera Korner is great! I completely forgot about them. Anyways, thanks very much for the responses everyone! I have one more question to ask about the LX though. Right now I have a chance to purchase some viewfinders/focusing screens. My options on the viewfinders are FA-1, Eye level pentaprism finder:FB1 and the system finder base FD-1 with the FC:1 FD:2 options. I have quite a bit of the focusing screens to choose from too. Are there any you LX owners would recommend getting?


Last edited by messthetics; 10-13-2008 at 01:52 AM.
10-13-2008, 02:30 AM   #9
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I'll admit that I'm not an LX owner, but unless you're doing lots of fancy macro work or something I'd think you'd want the FA-1 viewfinder, because it's the normal pentaprism that you (and everyone else here!) are used to.

As for focussing screens, I don't know enough about them to tell you...
10-13-2008, 06:16 AM   #10
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Regarding the focussing screens you get a good picture of which screen is good for what in the focus screen manual:

Two versions with different lenses.

The old manual
The manual

Password is "Pentax".

My LX came with the SB-21 screen, that is a normal split-image. But as I am use to a split-image/microprism I replaced it, think it is actually an MX screen but it works fine. Both these are general screens good at most things but in the manual you will find a compatibility list that helps if you have special requirements. All depends on what lenses you use.

For general purposes go for the SA-21, SB-21 or SC-21.

-jim

Last edited by Jimfear; 10-13-2008 at 06:24 AM. Reason: More info
10-15-2008, 06:22 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Stevopedia Quote
I'll admit that I'm not an LX owner, but unless you're doing lots of fancy macro work or something I'd think you'd want the FA-1 viewfinder, because it's the normal pentaprism that you (and everyone else here!) are used to.

As for focussing screens, I don't know enough about them to tell you...
You'll also get a hot shoe for a flash with the FA-1, there isn't one on the system base (with any of the different eyepieces).
10-15-2008, 06:32 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jimfear Quote
Regarding the focussing screens you get a good picture of which screen is good for what in the focus screen manual:

Two versions with different lenses.

The old manual
The manual

Password is "Pentax".

My LX came with the SB-21 screen, that is a normal split-image. But as I am use to a split-image/microprism I replaced it, think it is actually an MX screen but it works fine. Both these are general screens good at most things but in the manual you will find a compatibility list that helps if you have special requirements. All depends on what lenses you use.

For general purposes go for the SA-21, SB-21 or SC-21.

-jim
I find that with "focusing aids," less is more for me - I've always found it easier to focus using the groundglass and never liked split image focusing aids (microprisms I find less annoying but still not essential). I tended to gravitate towards the SC26, which won't turn black (another thing "standard" split image aids do that is really annoying) with long tele lenses, or to the SE-20/SE-35 which are just groundglass screens marked with a center circle, as are the Beattie Intenscreens I eventually settled on.

A side note - you have to be REALLY CAREFUL when you change the screens. The mechanics of doing so are a little clunky and it's very easy to slip and scratch the sh!t out of your screen in the process (do as I say, not as I did more than once ).
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