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04-14-2021, 07:36 PM   #1
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Pentax LX, MZ-S versus Nikonís of that era

So, honest question. Iíve had several Pentax film slr cameras over the years but never really found the love for them as much as I have the digital set (started with D200 in Ď08 which I still have and will always have). I was given an FM and F3 several years ago and have them professionally CLAíd. Wow, what a difference! Night and day. No contest...the Nikon felt superior (my opinion only) and I posted about that in 2017.

But Iíve seen the LX and MZ-S get a lot of love generally everywhere. Iíve since sold the F3 and my daughter has claimed the FM for herself, but I do have a clean F4 now, which is a tank. But I donít really want to spread the limited glass $$$ across brands and definitely canít shake the Pentax DSLR fix. Oh, I do have a Zx-7.

How would the LX compare to the FM or similar? The MZ-S to the F100 or F4? Aside from specs - Iím talking feel and use in the field. Apples and oranges? And those Pentax models seem rare.

Thanks,
Z

04-14-2021, 09:04 PM   #2
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In my view, the LX maybe compared more to the Nikon F4 and the MZ-S (which I wish I got my hands on) to the F100.
04-14-2021, 09:57 PM   #3
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I have the LX, FM, FM2, F3P, F4 etc etc...

You can't compare the FM or FM2 to the LX, as the FM is manual exposure only, while the LX is AE and manual.
The FM/2 has a 60/40 meter pattern which is very useful, and it just 'seems' more reliable than the LX. LXs are getting notorious for failing, but if you get a good one..
My LX does feel nicer in hand than my FM/2, which makes me want to use it more.

Compared to the F3P (I don't have the base version but they are pretty similar), the F3 is larger and has a better/larger viewfinder, with a killer 80/20 center weight pattern which is pretty much almost a very large spot meter.
The LX does NOT have auto exposure meter lock, which to me is a huge minus. The F3 does. Even the lowly (but excellent) Pentax P30T has AE lock.
The LEDs in the LX fade/are difficult to see in daylight/bright light. The F3 LCDs are not, but they are kinda weirdly placed. IMO they should be on the bottom of the vf, not on the top.
The LX has crazy long exposure capabilities - if you need that it's the one to get. I have used this zero times, so it makes no difference to me.

The F4 - love this camera so much I have two of them. Frankly it is easily my favourite of the bunch. Only downside is the size but it is a perfect camera for me. Multiple meter modes. AE lock. AF lock. Great manual focus. Great AF for non sporting use (seriously I find it just as good as my F6, people who complain about it either have never used it and repeat what they read someplace, or are comparing it to modern cameras for sports). Focuses seriously with my AF-D lenses. Really nice with manual lenses. Superb dial controls. 1/8000 sec shutter which I do use a lot as it lets you shoot wide open in bright light w/o needing an ND filter.
It's just a super camera AND much cheaper than an LX. There also seems to be very little to worry about with it - some have LCD bleed in the VF - just get one that doesn't. With the LX, well they really seem to be on borrowed time now.

I've also had an F100, and sold it as I much prefer the F4. So out of this bunch #1 F4, #2 F3 #2.5 LX, #4 FM/2

---------- Post added 04-14-21 at 10:01 PM ----------

Oh forgot to mention, the Pentax MX or KX is much more a competitor to the Nikon FM/2 than the LX. I have an MX, and prefer the FM/2. The MX has a very long film advance throw, a very stiff (and kinda small) shutter speed dial, and a large vf that you can only see all of if you a/ do not wear glasses and b/ mash your eye completely into the eyepiece. Also its LEDs for the meter are much harder to see than on the FM.
But the MX has a wicked cool small size, and is, well, just neater if that makes sense.
I don't have a KX, but think I'd like it more than the MX as it has a better exposure readout in the VF.
04-15-2021, 01:05 AM   #4
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Had a LX.
And have a few fellow users who have the LX and use them on and off.

All of them always rated the LX "off the film" metering as the best of the best.
(And i have no reason to doubt them).

I use the MZ-S regularly (even till now).
Love the shape, ergonomics (especially with the battery grip).

If i got to think of a couple of things i wish the MZ-S could improve, one will be availability of 1/3 exposure compensation adjustments (MZ-S has it in 1/2), and a top shutter speed of 1/8000 (MZ-S has top speed of 1/6000).

Other than that, love the MZ-S to bits.

In my teenage years (and thats about 30yrs ago), i used a FM2 borrowed from an uncle.

For a fully manual SLR, the FM2 is the best bar none.

04-15-2021, 03:09 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by HomeMadeSin Quote
So, honest question. . . . How would the LX compare to the FM or similar? The MZ-S to the F100 or F4? Aside from specs - Iím talking feel and use in the field. Apples and oranges? And those Pentax models seem rare.

Thanks,
Z
seems like your answers will be limited to those who have experienced the cameras you list

I know I like my LX but not having experienced the others, not sure how that helps out
04-15-2021, 03:32 AM   #6
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Thereís not really a perfect comparison between the lineups there.

Pentax never made anything like the F4. Closest Iíve seen is the K1... which is obviously a weird comparison But I get a similar feeling in the hand with both...

Iíve had FMs, and I prefer the MX, but itís ergonomics there, and I can see how preferences could swing the other way.

The LX is just as professional as the F3... just maybe a different profession. The LX is tiny compared to the F3, and that goes back to ergonomics, but feature-wise, I like the LX better (pin-registered film, a real hot shoe, and the meter).

-Eric
04-15-2021, 04:43 AM   #7
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The LX is comparable to the F3, but the MZ-S has no obvious comparable Nikon counterpart.....
04-15-2021, 05:18 AM - 1 Like   #8
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I still have my LX. I couldn't use many of the early Nikons and Canons as I've left-eye dominant, and things like the flim advance lever stickng in my right eye were an issue.
I loved the Super Program (my first) and LX (second) for their incredible density and compactness. The LX's no-power-needed shutter and diverse interchangeable viewfinders were a huge plus. The OTF meter was superb.
The F3 didnt measure up and was a tank - heavy and bulky. The F4 a bit better.

04-15-2021, 06:07 AM - 1 Like   #9
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LX and F3 were comparable, both were incredibly capable professional systems with almost infinite combinations of body, back, viewfinder, etc.
Both were used and cherished by journalists

I used the F3 for a while and only handled the LX once
The Lx felt lighter but solid and the results from either were brilliant

Last edited by titrisol; 04-16-2021 at 07:04 AM.
04-15-2021, 07:18 AM - 1 Like   #10
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Here you can find information about the LX and it's counterparts from Nikon and Canon. F3 and new F-1: Pentax LX - The Camera Body

What's nice with the LX compared to the others is that it's lightmeter works with any viewfinder you put on it, be it a 'regular' VF or any of the other VF's that were available, while the others needed the viewfinder with a built-in lightmeter.
04-15-2021, 07:20 AM   #11
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As previously mentioned, the LX is closer to the F3, the MZ-S was somewhat of a different idea and probably closer to some of the 'prosumer' Nikons. the LX is the smoothest Pentax I've used, everything clicks a little more positively and moves with a little more refinement (although I think the KX feels more solid). The MZ-S is hard to find and expensive, I'd prefer a (P)Z-1(p) which has higher shutter/sync speeds and is easier to find and much much cheaper. The closest FM2 equivalent is probably the KX.

Many of the features of pro film cameras aren't needed in the digital world (shooting sports is much more practical with digital), so many of the advantages of fast motordrives etc are more liabilities than benefits (either poor frame spacing if built in or wearing out the advance mechanism if bolt-on). In the case of the LX, the winder at 2fps is easily enough (runs on 4 AAs and offers powered rewind) rather than the 5fps motor which requires separate and now 'mostly expired' proprietary NiCd battery packs.
04-15-2021, 07:45 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by deus ursus Quote
Here you can find information about the LX and it's counterparts from Nikon and Canon. F3 and new F-1: Pentax LX - The Camera Body

What's nice with the LX compared to the others is that it's lightmeter works with any viewfinder you put on it, be it a 'regular' VF or any of the other VF's that were available, while the others needed the viewfinder with a built-in lightmeter.
The F3's meter is in the body not in the interchangeable prism. The F and F2 had the meters in the prism.

---------- Post added 04-15-21 at 07:56 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by ProfessorBuzz Quote
I still have my LX. I couldn't use many of the early Nikons and Canons as I've left-eye dominant, and things like the flim advance lever stickng in my right eye were an issue.
I loved the Super Program (my first) and LX (second) for their incredible density and compactness. The LX's no-power-needed shutter and diverse interchangeable viewfinders were a huge plus. The OTF meter was superb.
The F3 didnt measure up and was a tank - heavy and bulky. The F4 a bit better.
The Super Program is really underrated. In ways it is better than the LX because it offers more - a program mode and much easier to read exposure information in the VF. The LX has the better shutter speed dial instead of buttons, and better long exposures if you are into making exposures minutes long.

Currently owning F3s as well as the LX, I am not sure how the claim that the LX's metering is better. All it is better at is if you bring along a tripod and like to make minutes long shots. The F3 has a much more precise metering pattern and it offers AE lock.
The LX feels unusually solid and dense for its size, which makes it a pleasure to use. But that feeling unfortunately no longer translates into reliability.

---------- Post added 04-15-21 at 08:01 AM ----------

Out of these three I own, the best one is the one no-one has mentioned.. Superb build, best exposure meter readouts, un-matched metering modes (AVG and spot), Shutter, Aperture, Program and manual modes, AE lock with half shutter button press, unmatched flash photography capabilities including HSS.


Last edited by Huss; 04-15-2021 at 08:02 AM.
04-15-2021, 08:26 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by johnha Quote
The closest FM2 equivalent is probably the KX.
Yep...and while I am very fond of my KX, if I see a good deal on an FM2n it will come home with me. (Fortunate for my budget, I am not shopping for good deals on an FM2n...I think...)


Steve
04-15-2021, 08:57 AM - 1 Like   #14
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And you are not mentioning the Plaid skin in that LX!
Definitely a winner

QuoteOriginally posted by Huss Quote
[/COLOR]Out of these three I own, the best one is the one no-one has mentioned.. Superb build, best exposure meter readouts, un-matched metering modes (AVG and spot), Shutter, Aperture, Program and manual modes, AE lock with half shutter button press, unmatched flash photography capabilities including HSS.

04-15-2021, 09:52 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Huss Quote
The F3's meter is in the body not in the interchangeable prism. The F and F2 had the meters in the prism.
Well, then. You learn something new every day.
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