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07-04-2020, 09:40 PM - 1 Like   #1
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MX, LX or Super Program

This may be an absurd conversation to start but assuming you had the option of either the MX, LX or Super Program, each in solidly working condition, which would you choose as the best intersection of practicality, ergonomic enjoyment, end result and why? For example, I love the LX but part of me thinks it's impractical due to expense and seemingly inevitable and eternal failure, but am I wrong? State your case and help me choose.

07-04-2020, 09:50 PM - 2 Likes   #2
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MX.
Simplicity. Handling. Durability/Longevity.
(I've said this on the forums a number of times: I love my LX but I don't trust it and I'd let it go long before my last MX.)
The Super Program is loved by many but I don't trust it long-term either (I had one that failed years back) in terms of electronics and I'm not a huge fan of the push-button adjustment personally. That's my two-bits.
07-04-2020, 09:52 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by acoulter Quote
For example, I love the LX but part of me thinks it's impractical due to expense and seemingly inevitable and eternal failure, but am I wrong? State your case and help me choose.
I have two LX's that have been 100% functional and accurate in over 10 years of use now. First one I bought from KEH in EX condition and works perfectly. Second one I bought rather cheap on auction.The seller said he knew nothing about it and didn't even know if the meter worked. Well it is still working perfectly. Failure is not inevitable but because these are some years old, and previous use may not be accountable, anything can happen.

If you don't need or want the advance features of the LX - interchangeable viewfinders, screens, backs, motors and it's exceptional metering then the MX is an exceptional camera. It is the smallest fully manual SLR with the largest viewfinder magnification.

I don't have much experience with the Super Program.
07-04-2020, 10:18 PM   #4
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I like the MX but my manual focus film love affair was with Nikon. The LX almost won me over but I stayed with Nikon and the F2a. Autofocus is when Pentax got my heart invested in it.

07-04-2020, 10:40 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
I like the MX but my manual focus film love affair was with Nikon. The LX almost won me over but I stayed with Nikon and the F2a. Autofocus is when Pentax got my heart invested in it.
Why did you fall for Pentax’s autofocus? I thought one of the standard complaints about Pentax was that its AF sucked...
07-04-2020, 11:31 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by shadowjester Quote
Why did you fall for Pentax’s autofocus? I thought one of the standard complaints about Pentax was that its AF sucked...
I fell for the ecosystem. The pz-1 single point af was accurate enough for me shooting mostly static subjects, also my expectations were rational. At the time also there wasn't much of a gap in brand penetration.

Ultimately it just felt right. I know Sandy never loved the pz-1, but it offered great customizable features and performance. It felt great in hand and had a really nice flash system.
07-05-2020, 12:14 AM   #7
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Hi,

For what it is worth my Super A is still going now the same as when I walked out of the store in 1985! I have added its dedicated winder, which can go through the film in constant mode incidentally! I have also attached a Data back as well. I think that the Super A and Super Program are the same cameras, just different markets.
The Super A does have electronics and with an A series lens the aperture can be set from within the camera.

Regards,
Gordon.
07-05-2020, 12:20 AM - 1 Like   #8
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I have them all but the LX is the one, everything you need in a film camera, just learn to trust it, it delivers.

07-05-2020, 12:27 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by garywakeling Quote
I have them all but the LX is the one, everything you need in a film camera, just learn to trust it, it delivers.
For clarity about my "trust" comment above with my particular LX, it isn't lack of trust in the camera's ability or handling (those are all near to perfection) but in it's reliability and circuit-based metering flaws. If not for that it'd be my most-loved 35mm'er, but it's a finicky little princess unfortunately. Many here have had a better history of longevity with them than I have.
07-05-2020, 02:50 AM   #10
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If you wear glasses you may struggle with the MX & Super-A finders, they're huge and seeing the corners can be a problem. For this reason I'd add the KX into the mix, it's better built than the MX and I find the larger size more ergonomic.

The LX is just better and nicer to use, the controls are smoother with better click stops. The whole experience is a step up. I've had both mine repaired for sticky mirrors, so that's a concern but better than a Super-A I have that just quit working completely.
07-05-2020, 03:53 AM   #11
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MX for me because I value the combination of compact mechanical simplicity and wonderful finder.

I don’t enjoy AE on film so the Super Program doesn’t offer me anything, and while the LX is fantastic (I own one) I don’t have much use for its super fancy metering.

FWIW I’ve owned two LX bodies over the last 15 years and have had absolutely no issues with reliability.
07-05-2020, 04:14 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by gordon_l34 Quote
Hi,

For what it is worth my Super A is still going now the same as when I walked out of the store in 1985! I have added its dedicated winder, which can go through the film in constant mode incidentally! I have also attached a Data back as well. I think that the Super A and Super Program are the same cameras, just different markets.
The Super A does have electronics and with an A series lens the aperture can be set from within the camera.

Regards,
Gordon.
they are the same camera but I have read that one is only black and the other chrome

QuoteQuote:
Description:
The Pentax Super Program (called Pentax Super A in some markets) is a versatile A-series film SLR featuring support for P, Tv, Av, and M exposure modes. You control the shutter speed using the push buttons on the camera, and the aperture via the aperture ring. Both can be set to auto (given you have an A-series lens or newer), which then brings the camera into Program mode. With M and K lenses Av and M exposure modes are available.

The Super Program was first Pentax with Program and Tv auto exposure and it also had TTL flash control, but even with the added electronics and mechanics the camera body is just about as compact as the original Pentax ME.

Disregarding the Pentax LX which is in a class by itself, the Pentax Super Program is the top model among all Pentax manual focus cameras when it comes to features and specifications.

Read more at: Pentax Super A / Super Program - Pentax Manual Focus Film SLRs - Pentax Camera Reviews and Specifications

I cannot compare the LX or MX since I don't have those SLRs
07-05-2020, 04:40 AM - 1 Like   #13
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I have owned all three. It's hard to pick one, they all have their good and not so good points.

The MX is probably the best pick, being all mechanical. That said, it is not indestructible and you will need the services of a good repair tech at some stage. In use, it is very basic. There is no auto exposure. You can swop focusing screens and it will take a motor drive/winder.

The Super Program a.k.a. Super A (which is what I had) can do auto exposure. The most useful part is TTL auto flash. This was a real game changer for me. It will take a motor drive/winder but you can't swop focusing screens.

The LX only does aperture priority auto exposure and it has TTL auto flash. You can swop out the prism and focusing screen. If you wear glasses the high eye point prism is good to have, but you will have to find one first. Keeping an LX up and running can be a challenge - spares are scarce and some techs don't like working on them.
07-05-2020, 07:39 AM - 1 Like   #14
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I think alot of the distrust of the LX comes from folks like myself who never owned one. We see $400 price and read stories in here about mirror box issues and we're afraid to buy one. I'd bet overall the LX is actually one of the most reliable bodies Pentax has made considering it's dust proof design. I've been thinking of getting one soon myself and as part of the cost I would assume a CLA would be in it's near future.
As for the MX, I've owned many over the years and I've never had one fail or had a CLA. I currently own 2. It's a simpler camera and much cheaper so even it it had a serious failure it easy enough to buy another.
I also love the SuperProgram. It was my first "purchased new" Pentax and I've used it heavily. The only issue I had with it, is the meter wouldn't always turn on when shutter 1/2 pressed which occurred 10+ years into owning it. I'd have to exercise the shutter release while off to get it to turn on. I currently have 2 bodies (not my original) and both work fine.
So...considering you can get a good working MX and SuperProgram for around $100 each, you might as well get all 3 cameras.

07-05-2020, 07:43 AM   #15
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I love all the dialogue and perspectives! Here's my pickle.

The LX is an old flame, a camera I loved but which I experienced problems with. She's all fixed now but the hiccups have made me nervous. Lovely to shoot though but I don't change the finders and don't do anything particularly special with my photography so I really just need a reliable and fast camera I can capture my family with. So that makes me wonder if I need the brute strength of the LX. I do shoot aperture priority most of the time but seeing as the Super Program can do that and I have one that was just completely and beautifully overhauled to be like new, I'm wondering if it's time to let go of my love affair with the LX.

I happened to score a deal on a beater of an MX recently. I'll need to fix her up a bit but I confess to love some of the automation available in the Super Program. I know the Super Program doesn't meter off the film like the LX does but if I shoot negs rather than positives, is that precision even necessary? I am starting to think that I should keep the Super Program AND the MX as a back up but that also seems like overkill when I consider how many other film cameras I have (rangefinders mostly).

I could also just admit and accept that I have a GAS problem and keep all three :P
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