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10-13-2008, 06:19 PM   #1
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Pondering on an MX and Film Development

So I'm thinking of getting an MX for my first film body, the K1000 is a way to overpriced for what it offers, although I still plan to get one. Anyway, is there any quirk or problem that the MX might have? Also, what is the quality mail-in film developers? I'm talking the A&I mailers that B&H offers. Also, is it better to get the mailer or just send a package with the rolls and money to A&I?

10-13-2008, 06:42 PM   #2
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The two main quirks I can think of are its metering and how the MX does mirror lockup.

The MX meters with five LEDs: 1 or more EV under, 1/2 under, at indicated exposure, 1/2 over, 1 or more EV over. Mostly it's just a matter of preference of LEDs compared to needles.

For mirror lockup you flick the shutter button just right. No joke. I never tried it myself, though.

You might also consider a KX (essentially a larger MX with needle metering and more accessible MLU) or an ME Super as your first film body. Really you can't go wrong with any of the four that have been mentioned (MX, K1000, KX, ME Super.)

I know nothing about mail-in film processors, but I would like to know more as well...
10-13-2008, 08:38 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by PollitowuzHere Quote
Anyway, is there any quirk or problem that the MX might have?
MX is a very reliable camera. However, there are a few common problems that I have found on several MX bodies. Most are result of storing or using a camera in harsh conditions (dust or humidity), or handling or servicing camera improperly. If you find a good, clean MX that has been properly used and stored it is very unlikely you will find any of these problems, but here is what you have to pay attention at:

Visual shutter speed indicator in the viewfinder not in sync with shutter speed dial - that means that someone has disassembled and reassembled camera incorrectly;

Visual shutter speed indicator in the viewfinder not working at all - that means the cable is broken;

Metering seem to be off with some shutter speed dial positions and LEDs showing wrong reading or erratically flickering - camera requires cleaning; (Note: test this at ISO/ASA 100 setting - MX does not have full range of metering at all ISO speeds - for example metering ISO/ASA 200 and 1s will not work, ISO/ASA 400 and you loose metering at 1s and 2s and so on. So lower red LED will indicate "underexposure" at high ISO/ASA and slow shutter speeds. This is not a fault, it is BY DESIGN.)

Metering can not be turned on with half-depressed shutter release (works only when fully depressed) or the opposite, metering can be activated with very light touch on shutter release or even when shutter release is locked, which can drain batteries in days - fortunately, this is very easy to fix since meter activation contact can be accessed by simply removing the bottom plate and easily adjusted.

DOF preview not forking;

Self timer not working;

If you want to avoid most of problems MX may have consider ME Super instead which practically eliminates the possibility of all mentioned problems except for the self timer problem.
10-13-2008, 08:42 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Stevopedia Quote
For mirror lockup you flick the shutter button just right. No joke. I never tried it myself, though.
Just to mention, this is not a documented feature. With some MX bodies it works, with others it does not. I can not use this "trick" with my body for example.

So if mirror lockup does not work it is not a fault.

10-15-2008, 11:30 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ivan Glisin Quote
Just to mention, this is not a documented feature. With some MX bodies it works, with others it does not. I can not use this "trick" with my body for example.

So if mirror lockup does not work it is not a fault.
Interesting to note, the MX uses the same shutter mechanism as the K1000 (and Spotmatics) the only difference is the MX uses a string rather than tapes for the shutter transport.

By flicking the shutter release, the shutter starts its cycle. First, the mirror is launched and the shutter fires when the mirror is up and the shutter release is still pressed. By flicking the shutter release, you launch the mirror and the shutter does not fire because the shutter release is not maintained.

I hope this helps explain the "feature"
10-15-2008, 05:06 PM   #6
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How would mail-in processing be? Currently thats my only niggle with film, since I don't have much time to go to local labs to get film processed and mail-in would be much easier.
10-15-2008, 06:17 PM   #7
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A trusted name in photo processing for over 50 years - Dwayne's Photo

they do good work and are far cheaper than A&I
10-15-2008, 07:09 PM   #8
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I thought of Dwayne's, but thought that they might specialize more on Kodachrome.

10-15-2008, 08:32 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Stevopedia Quote
The two main quirks I can think of are its metering and how the MX does mirror lockup.

The MX meters with five LEDs: 1 or more EV under, 1/2 under, at indicated exposure, 1/2 over, 1 or more EV over. Mostly it's just a matter of preference of LEDs compared to needles.

For mirror lockup you flick the shutter button just right. No joke. I never tried it myself, though.

You might also consider a KX (essentially a larger MX with needle metering and more accessible MLU) or an ME Super as your first film body. Really you can't go wrong with any of the four that have been mentioned (MX, K1000, KX, ME Super.)

I know nothing about mail-in film processors, but I would like to know more as well...
The KX has a fixed shutter speed scale in the viewfinder, and as you change the shutter speed a transparent blue needle displays the shutter speed set by you. There is a periscope for the aperture ring (doesn't work with extension rings or teleconverters because it cannot see them). When the battery is good and the exposure meter is working, a black needle will display the camera's recommended shutter speed. This gets around the +1 to -1 of the LEDs in the MX. It will display any amount of over/under exposure graphically in the viewfinder. The stupidest camera thing I ever did was sell mine. Nothing I own works without batteries any more. Nothing. Siiigggghhhh
10-16-2008, 07:14 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by PollitowuzHere Quote
I thought of Dwayne's, but thought that they might specialize more on Kodachrome.
They process anything...

For a full manual camera, I do like the KX also, there's an image of the view finder on another thread that compares KX, Program Plus and a Spottie for sizes... That said just about any of the K, M, A bodies that provide a manual option are fantastic cameras, really the pinnacle of film SLR development, different like fine wines are different...
11-02-2008, 05:02 PM   #11
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Following recent developments, I can get either a CLA'd KX or a a more expensive MX, which is a better option? The MX has a bigger and brighter viewfinder or so I believe, but is the KX's good?
11-02-2008, 06:25 PM   #12
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What Rockies Said - except I didn't sell mine

QuoteOriginally posted by Canada_Rockies Quote
The KX has a fixed shutter speed scale in the viewfinder, and as you change the shutter speed a transparent blue needle displays the shutter speed set by you. There is a periscope for the aperture ring (doesn't work with extension rings or teleconverters because it cannot see them). When the battery is good and the exposure meter is working, a black needle will display the camera's recommended shutter speed. This gets around the +1 to -1 of the LEDs in the MX. It will display any amount of over/under exposure graphically in the viewfinder. The stupidest camera thing I ever did was sell mine. Nothing I own works without batteries any more. Nothing. Siiigggghhhh
Most KX's have a micro-prism ring focusing screen (a small number were ordered or retro-fitted with a split-image FS); the MESuper is considered to ahve the brightest viewfinder, followed by the MX; I find the KX perfectly fine for my use, and I suffer from glaucoma and must now shoot with my left eye.

Always consider a KX when looking for a manual film camera.

KX

Truly, you can't go wrong with any of them.

Eric Hendricson does a wonderful CLA on most any mechanical Pentax http://pentaxs.com/_wsn/page4.html
12-04-2008, 08:34 PM   #13
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I would like to give some credential to Ivan's notes. A couple of week ago I bought an "untested" MX body from the marketplace on this site, and it has the visual shutter speed indicator problem, as pointed out by Ivan. The indicator is not in sync with the speed dial.

This would not be a serious problem, as long as you can take pictures. But this body seems to have another more serious problem. I discovered this after I had the first roll of film developed. Out of 24 frames, only 10 were exposed. Here I mean, only 10 frames were exposed at all; the rest are just transparent. I suspect that it is a problem related to the shutter. I would like to have your inputs if you have an idea what the problem might be. Thanks!

QuoteOriginally posted by Ivan Glisin Quote
MX is a very reliable camera. However, there are a few common problems that I have found on several MX bodies. Most are result of storing or using a camera in harsh conditions (dust or humidity), or handling or servicing camera improperly. If you find a good, clean MX that has been properly used and stored it is very unlikely you will find any of these problems, but here is what you have to pay attention at:

Visual shutter speed indicator in the viewfinder not in sync with shutter speed dial - that means that someone has disassembled and reassembled camera incorrectly;

Visual shutter speed indicator in the viewfinder not working at all - that means the cable is broken;

Metering seem to be off with some shutter speed dial positions and LEDs showing wrong reading or erratically flickering - camera requires cleaning; (Note: test this at ISO/ASA 100 setting - MX does not have full range of metering at all ISO speeds - for example metering ISO/ASA 200 and 1s will not work, ISO/ASA 400 and you loose metering at 1s and 2s and so on. So lower red LED will indicate "underexposure" at high ISO/ASA and slow shutter speeds. This is not a fault, it is BY DESIGN.)

Metering can not be turned on with half-depressed shutter release (works only when fully depressed) or the opposite, metering can be activated with very light touch on shutter release or even when shutter release is locked, which can drain batteries in days - fortunately, this is very easy to fix since meter activation contact can be accessed by simply removing the bottom plate and easily adjusted.

DOF preview not forking;

Self timer not working;

If you want to avoid most of problems MX may have consider ME Super instead which practically eliminates the possibility of all mentioned problems except for the self timer problem.
12-05-2008, 12:44 AM   #14
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That means the shutter is not firing correctly, I suggest you send it for CLA to Eric H as entione din a post above

QuoteOriginally posted by qsc Quote
I would like to give some credential to Ivan's notes. A couple of week ago I bought an "untested" MX body from the marketplace on this site, and it has the visual shutter speed indicator problem, as pointed out by Ivan. The indicator is not in sync with the speed dial.

This would not be a serious problem, as long as you can take pictures. But this body seems to have another more serious problem. I discovered this after I had the first roll of film developed. Out of 24 frames, only 10 were exposed. Here I mean, only 10 frames were exposed at all; the rest are just transparent. I suspect that it is a problem related to the shutter. I would like to have your inputs if you have an idea what the problem might be. Thanks!
12-05-2008, 03:10 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ivan Glisin Quote
but here is what you have to pay attention at:

Visual shutter speed indicator in the viewfinder not in sync with shutter speed dial - that means that someone has disassembled and reassembled camera incorrectly;

Metering can not be turned on with half-depressed shutter release (works only when fully depressed) or the opposite, metering can be activated with very light touch on shutter release or even when shutter release is locked, which can drain batteries in days - fortunately, this is very easy to fix since meter activation contact can be accessed by simply removing the bottom plate and easily adjusted.
i wish i knew this BEFORE i bought my MX.
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