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11-02-2008, 04:13 PM   #1
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MX vs K2 (DMD) vs ME Super vs LX

I've been shooting an MX this week (as my K10D is at Pentax Repairs) and, while I like it, I find I miss Av. Previously, my film needs were met with a SuperProgram, but I never use its 'A' capabilities, and since my wife has asked me to give her a camera that she can just point'n'shoot, I was going to give her the SuperProgram with an A 28mm attached and keep the MX.

Bearing in mind I don't need the 'A' capabilities, that I'm not going to use it with flash, and that I could live without DoF preview, it would seem like an ME Super would do the trick for me. Plus, I get 1/2000s, while the MX only goes to 1/1000s.

But then I was checking out the K2...and I really like it although it too only goes to 1/1000s, but it does have DoF preview. Was also wondering what the difference between the DMD and non-DMD versions was. Does anybody use this camera anymore?

Lastly, we come to the LX. I recently picked one up with the Sticky Mirror Syndrome. Fixing it will cost me $150 (with a full CLA). For my needs, it's simply a more expensive MX. I shoot film for fun, so I won't shoot in the rain or in the desert or run out of batteries, etc. I'm debating whether it's worth fixing the camera... If anyone knows of a link showing how to fix the SMS at home, please let me know. I'm pretty good with my hands and wouldn't be afraid to attempt the fix myself. Apart from the SMS, the camera seems to work fine.

In case it matters, I'll only be shooting B&W film, no higher than ISO400, so it doesn't matter to me whether a camera can go to ISO3200 or "only" to ISO1600.

Any and all thoughts are welcome!

11-02-2008, 04:44 PM   #2
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I had a K2DMD for awhile but sold it. I presently own a nice K2 body.

The K2DMD has motor drive capability and aperture readout in finder; the K2 has neither.
Used K2 chrome bodies are relatively common, black less so. The K2DMD was sold only in black.
Much rarer, a working K2DMD will cost hundreds more than a K2.

Both models share the same weak point; with age the film speed dial often becomes very difficult to change.

Chris

Last edited by ChrisPlatt; 11-02-2008 at 06:41 PM.
11-02-2008, 04:56 PM   #3
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The K2 has the most evil method of changing the shutter speed and ISO rating. Uses a pair of dials around the lens mount that do not age well.

My current workhorse isn't even a Pentax at all. It's a Chinon CG-5. It's got DOF preview, AE lock (which I never use, as it doesn't have spot metering), aperture priority with a dial for changing speeds as opposed to the ME Super's annoying gotta-be-looking-through-the-viewfinder buttons, and a finger grip. Comes in black, but it's bigger than the ME (of course), and, of course, the finder isn't as bright - but nothing's as bright as the ME's finder.
11-02-2008, 05:28 PM   #4
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To clarify it is film speed and exposure compensation that are together on a single ring
around the lens mount, making exposure compensation easy to accidentally engage.

A conventional shutter speed dial is located up on top and is quite easy to use.

Chris


Last edited by ChrisPlatt; 11-02-2008 at 06:46 PM.
11-02-2008, 05:41 PM   #5
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Thanks for the comments guys.

Lithos, I see what you mean about the ISO ring on the K2. I thought that was a neat idea when I first saw it, but thinking about it, it can't be good to have the ISO ring that close to the aperture ring

Here is a nice DMD with a K 50/1.2 on eBay right now. Not going cheap, that's for sure.

I'm still hoping somebody will post a home remedy for the LX Sticky Mirror Syndrome.
11-02-2008, 06:08 PM   #6
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Manual ( and semi-auto) Pentax film bodies

If you are considering a K2, be sure to look into the KX as well, especially if you enjoy the MX. KX is the same, larger body as the K2, K1000 and Spotmatics (better for my larger hands), is fully mechanical, has DoF preview and MLU, ASA 8~6400 (not that you will find film with those sensitivities any more), and my favorite in-viewfinder metering, match-needle. It has he same Judas Window indicating the aperture ring setting on the lens as the K2 and K2DMD (and MX). This is a mechanical connection.

Alas, it does not have Av capability - the crowning feature of the K2 - has a max 1/1000 shutter and only a micro-prism ring focusing screen (but large and bright) viewfinder, unless you get lucky and find one that was ordered with the optional split-image screen or had one factory retro-fitted.

Both K2 and KX have a battery test indicator (K2 = lamp; KX = needle)

KX_Boz's WebPage

Eric will CLA ALL of these cameras for less than $65, including lubricating the sticky ASA rings on the K2's (they work like new when he does that).

BTW, the MESuper has the brightest viewfinder of any Pentax camera I have used.

I enjoy taking my KX and K series lenses out for the thrill of fully-mechanical shooting several times a year - I will likely never give up entirely on them, although I did succumb to a ridiculous offer and sell my K50/1.4 to a Forum member (I miss it already).

My K50/1.2 (bragging rights) and M50/1.7 will just have to do.
11-02-2008, 06:52 PM   #7
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K2 or MX

I purchased a used Pentax K2 about 15 years ago now as a backup to my Pentax MX. WOW some backup! The K2 was the flagship of the Pentax K series lineup. Think of it as a K1000 on steroids. The thing is built like a tank with all the features one would expect from a “pro” camera of its 1970s vintage: self-timer,
depth of field preview, mirror lock-up, exposure compensation ring +/-2 (1 EV steps), aperture priority and metered manual exposure, flash sync 1/125 sec., and a vast film ISO range from 8 to 6400 ASA. I should add at this point that setting the ASA is really awkward until you get used to it. Once you use it for a while it is actually quite simple if it has been properly maintained.

A later upgrade of this model, the K2 DMD featured an optional motor drive and aperture indication (Judas window) in the viewfinder. These features would be nice to have but you can live without them. The K2 has a good solid “feel” to it with all dials where I expect to find them. I tend to use this camera when I get lazy and don’t want to think as much as I have to with the MX. The automatic exposure is about as dependent on automation as I cared to get in my film days. About the only feature it didn't have which I would have liked was the ability to change focusing screens. MX or K2, I’m not sure which I prefer at this point. I’m just happy I have one of each.

I recently had the camera cleaned, lubricated, adjusted (CLA) and had the seals and foam replaced. The K2 now looks and works like new and is good for another 20 years. It will probably outlast me. If you are looking for a full- featured SLR from the age of brass and glass, skip the K1000 and buy a K2 if you can find one. You will get all the advantages of the K1000 plus a lot more. Of course the LX combines the best of the K2 and MX and adds the best light meter ever, along with iterchangable finders making the ideal film camera to my mind.

Cheers,

Tom G

Last edited by 8540tomg; 11-02-2008 at 07:04 PM.
11-02-2008, 08:46 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Miserere Quote
Lithos, I see what you mean about the ISO ring on the K2. I thought that was a neat idea when I first saw it, but thinking about it, it can't be good to have the ISO ring that close to the aperture ring
Yeah, I got it confused with the Olympus OM1's shutter speed ring. And, incidentally, the OM1 got it right - it's a large, chunky, and importantly, smooth-turning ring, and very, very well place - you can easily change the shutter speed with as much ease as changing the aperture, without moving your finger off the shutter release.

I found, if I recall, the rings too small to use handily. And that seemed to make them too delicate - seems they were easily clogged and jammed. On mine, I could only dial, with much effort, an ISO from 200-800, but because the EV comp ring was jammed with it, the ISO you ended up shooting at was about 2 stops higher than that. Well, depending on how you turned it - it turned more in one direction than the other.

Which didn't matter anyway, as the meter didn't work on it - black wire rot, you see.

11-02-2008, 10:11 PM   #9
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Good to see the old metal bodies are alive and well

It seems Pentax refused to manufacture the perfect camera, eh? Maybe this is the perfect excuse to have different bodies.

I just fixed the sticky mirror problem on the LX. Just put a (very tiny) piece of black duct tape over the sticky foam and cleaned the sticky residue off the back of the mirror. Problem solved! Of course, it doesn't look classy, but it works. I hope the duct tape's thikness will make up for the erroded foam and focusing will be accurate. I'll have to wait 24 pictures to find out At least I can use it and decide whether it's worth keeping or not.

In the meantime, I'll keep my eyes peeled for some cheap ME Supers or KXs. By the way, the LX has the best exposure indicator of all the manual Pentax cameras I've tested so far.
11-03-2008, 09:44 AM   #10
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It must be quite frustrating to be $150 away from having a nice LX.

I bought mine from KEH for a very good price, assuming it would need CLA.
Though it seemed okay when it arrived, I sent it to Eric Hendrickson anyway.
Only this way could I be confident it will work reliably for many years to come.

Chris

Last edited by ChrisPlatt; 11-03-2008 at 09:52 AM.
11-03-2008, 09:57 AM   #11
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QuoteQuote:
Plus, I get 1/2000s, while the MX only goes to 1/1000s.
isn't that due to the fact that the me supers 1/2000 is electronic, while the MX is completely mechanical? I would imagine going above 1/1000 while being purely mechanical is a big barrier to overcome, without loosing reliability. or I could be completely wrong. The only thing about my MX that I wish it had was AE. I dont need it, and dont rely on it, but I sometimes miss it, just after using my ME F. I never understood why Pentax didnt incorporate AE into the MX. it was available with the spotmatic ESII, the K2, and later the LX (which isnt all that much bigger than the MX) but not with the MX. just doesnt seem to make sense to me. unless they didnt want to overshadow the ME? I guess Ill never know.
11-03-2008, 12:40 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by séamuis Quote
I never understood why Pentax didnt incorporate AE into the MX.
The MX replaced the K2DMD as the Pentax flagship, professional system camera.
Perhaps Pentax thought the inclusion of AE was one reason for the lack of success of the K2, and so left it out on the MX.

Professional photographers had not embraced AE yet.
The competing models at that time, Nikon F2, Canon F1, and Olympus OM1, were all manual exposure-only models, too.

The ME was targeted at amateurs. Interestingly its list price was actually higher than the MX.

Chris
11-03-2008, 12:43 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChrisPlatt Quote
The MX replaced the K2DMD as the Pentax flagship, professional system camera.
Perhaps Pentax thought the inclusion of AE was one reason for the lack of success of the K2, and so left it out on the MX.

Professional photographers had not embraced AE yet.
The competing models at that time, Nikon F2, Canon F1, and Olympus OM1, were all manual exposure-only models, too.

The ME was targeted at amateurs. Interestingly its list price was actually higher than the MX.

Chris
good insight, that's an angle I hadn't considered.
11-03-2008, 01:06 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChrisPlatt Quote
The ME was targeted at amateurs. Interestingly its list price was actually higher than the MX.
Chris, do you have info regarding the prices of these cameras at the time they were current?
11-03-2008, 01:36 PM   #15
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Why not a ricoh XR-2s

If you are considering a K2DMD why not look at a ricoh XR2s.

Nice auto plus manual SLR, metal shutter, accepts 2.2 FPS motor winder and has a unique diagonal split image that makes focusing a snap.

Used one for many years (still have it)
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