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03-23-2007, 11:53 AM   #16
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They are both really good cameras

Some of the obvious differences:

* the MX is quite a bit smaller - can be considered good or bad depending on the person

* The MX has a bigger and brighter viewfinder with multiple screens available that you can change yourself - as far as I know the KX only came with 2 screen offerings the standard matte w/ microprism and the rare (ie. custom factory option) matte with split prism finder and microprism collar. The KX screens cannot be swapped out w/out doing some major tinkering. If you really want the split prism in a KX be prepared for a long search. BTW - even though the viewfinder is dimmer in the KX it is high contrast and easy to focus with.

* As mentioned before, they have different metering displays. The MX has little lights (crappy in the sun, awesome in dim light) and the KX has a floating needle system (awesome in the sun, crappy in dim light). The KX metering system is said to be failure prone, but my KX meter is very accurate and is not showing any signs of quitting

* Comparing both side by side I would say that the KX is built better - heavier guage top and bottom plates much more solid in general. The knobs/levers of the KX are also much smoother and user friendly (for example - I can easily adjust the KX shutter speed dial using only my index finger without looking when the camera is in shooting position while the MX shutter speed dial is much more stiff and I need to lower the camera and adjust with both thumb and forefinger).

* The KX has real mirror lockup while the MX doesn't (there is a hack involving tapping the shutter release at the right angle and pressure in order to get the MX mirror to lock up - unreliable at best)

* The MX has many more accesories available (motors, winders, screens, etc.) but be warned - if you want a MX motor be prepared to search for a long time and be willing to spend $$$$$ - they are VERY rare. Winders for the MX are pretty easy to find. The standard KX cannot take a motor (there is a rare version that will take a motor, but I wouldn't count on stumbling across it or the motor).

* Major faults - as mentioned above the KX meter is reportedly prone to failure so make sure you buy one with a working meter. The KX aperture reading prism thingy is prone to getting knocked out of alignment - it is an easy fix. The MX shutter speed display in the viewfinder is very failure prone and not realistically fixable (part availability is zilch).

Overall they are both great cameras (I have one of each) - I do prefer the KX though.

04-15-2007, 02:32 PM   #17
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I've got both.

The KX is built like a tank. (In a pinch, I've heard you can use it as a hammer.)It was a Spotmatic with K-mount and operates like the last of the top of the line Spotties.

The MX was the top of the line of Pentax's response to the success of the Olympus small bodies. It was also Pentax's initial foray into "professional" bodies - leading to the full fledged LX. It's my idea of a great camera. It just feels right and will operate without any working battery (with no meter).

In case you couldn't guess, I'd go for the MX - it's a gem.

Larry in Dallas
04-15-2007, 08:26 PM   #18
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Well since you are in Toronto, you probably can sample both cameras before deciding if you go to a few shops that sell 2nd-hand cameras. Where I live, there is nothing. I'm likely to find better equipment at a garage or an estate sale than at our local pro shop. When I last took the 8hr-long trip down to Toronto, I visited a variety of places... Vistek, Henry's, Harry's Pro Shop, and Eight Elm Photo. Each had some nice used equipment for me to sample but I found the prices were through the roof! I would visit the stores to sample their goods but I'd probably end up buying from some place in the US.

I really enjoy my MX. I do feel that its a bit small for my hands. I somewhat cured that problem with a neckstrap made by Gordy Coale that mounts the camera vertically with one end going into the tripod mount. The end that goes into tripod mount has a thumb screw and when taking photos, I wrap my finger around the thumb screw like a trigger. It works well and lets me hold the camera pretty steady. It's great with my smaller lenses but the camera is still a bit unwieldy with my 70-210/4 zoom. I'm waiting for a Helios 40-2 85mm/f1,5 to arrive from Kiev and I'm not sure how the MX will handle with that lens mounted. The lens weighs over 2 pounds.

If you want a very nice, CLA'd MX, expect to pay as much as $150USD for the silver body camera and $175-200 USD for a black one. The prices for these cameras have been steadily increasing. You can often find them with the 50/1,7 for around the same price as one with a 50/2.
05-28-2007, 06:06 AM   #19
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I bought a KX used as a second body to support my Ricoh XR2s. part of the decision was that the controls and view finder was identical to the Ricoh, and the other part was that the KX only needed battery for metering.

I know someone who had an MX at the time, and I tried this out only to find that it was too small to hang onto.

Other things to note on the KX which come into play are the following.

with long lenses the top of the view finder goes dark as the mirror does not cover the entire frame

the Kx has a cloth horizontal shutter, which is slow for flash sync at 1/60th, vs most vertical metal shutters at 1/125 , maximum shutter speed of 1/1000, and cannot be used with Infra Red films

Lack of motor drive is mentioned elsewhere.

overall, it was a very solid second body, it has just fallen into disuse when I bought my DSLR

05-29-2007, 12:51 AM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
the Kx has a cloth horizontal shutter, which is slow for flash sync at 1/60th, vs most vertical metal shutters at 1/125 , maximum shutter speed of 1/1000, and cannot be used with Infra Red films
Is that true? From where have you got that info? Can't think of anything that would stop it from using IR film. Can you explane the problem.

Does the MX cope with IR film?
05-29-2007, 04:30 AM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jimfear Quote
Is that true? From where have you got that info? Can't think of anything that would stop it from using IR film. Can you explane the problem.

Does the MX cope with IR film?
With respect to horizontal shutter and cloth, for me it is a simple matter of opening the back and looking.

flash sync is 1/60

info on IR films is due to the cloth shutter not being opague for IR, remember IR is heat. it was a published fact in the 1980's

There used to be a series of books called "the pentax way", "the nikon way" etc,,, that described the camera lines in the 1980's. full specifications were in there,

If I dig deep in my archives, I might be able to find the manual for the KX. I think I had one.

That gives me an idea for the website. A manuals section for old lenses and equipment.
05-29-2007, 09:45 AM   #22
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Link to on-line KX manual (in PDF format)

QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge:
If I dig deep in my archives, I might be able to find the manual for the KX. I think I had one.

That gives me an idea for the website. A manuals section for old lenses and equipment.
Don't waste your time, unless your manuals are better than the crappy scans that Pentax makes available.


Most manuals available on the pentaximaging website. Here is the direct link for the KX manual:

http://www.pentaximaging.com/files/manual/KX.pdf

Link for other manuals:

Pentax Imaging - Manuals & Literature
05-30-2007, 01:14 AM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
info on IR films is due to the cloth shutter not being opague for IR, remember IR is heat. it was a published fact in the 1980's
Have you tested this in practise? I have read that one should check the equpment before shooting, to see if it lets any IR through. And that newer plastic bodies might have some problem with this, but nothing said about silk shutters.

From what I have understood (and I might wery well be wrong) the light you catch on film when photographing IR is just outside the visible spectrum, mostly reflected light from the sun. Not so much actual heat, so that if you try to take a photo of something hot you will not be wery lucky, unless it is glowing red hot. And then you could probably shoot it with normal film. And so the silk shutter should not let any IR through?

Am I totaly of or is there any truth in this? Has anyone tried IR photo with silk shutter? Is my dream of IR photo dead untill I get a camera with a metal shutter!!!

05-30-2007, 02:30 AM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jimfear Quote
Have you tested this in practise? I have read that one should check the equpment before shooting, to see if it lets any IR through. And that newer plastic bodies might have some problem with this, but nothing said about silk shutters.

From what I have understood (and I might wery well be wrong) the light you catch on film when photographing IR is just outside the visible spectrum, mostly reflected light from the sun. Not so much actual heat, so that if you try to take a photo of something hot you will not be wery lucky, unless it is glowing red hot. And then you could probably shoot it with normal film. And so the silk shutter should not let any IR through?

Am I totaly of or is there any truth in this? Has anyone tried IR photo with silk shutter? Is my dream of IR photo dead untill I get a camera with a metal shutter!!!
Sorry

I have not tried it only read reports about the film fogging with cloth shutters, especiallly when changing lenses,

I don't see the concern though, as there are many many low cost K mount cameras with metal shutters. I only pointed this out as a potential draw back. the horizontal shutter and slow sync are more of an issue unless there is someone really wanting to shoot IR film.
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