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Recently acquiring some Pentax K/A mount lenses – and a Pentax ME Super which will cost more than it’s worth to repair, I’ve been thinking about obtaining a new body.

 

One of these lenses is a Vivitar 17mm f3.5 (not sure it’s a re-branded Tokina) which I got for £6 – it looks like it’s in near mint condition…

 

I’ve been looking at Pentax LX (appears able to command a price I feel difficult to justify), but it has a good reputation – a “pro level” mechanical Pentax film level is something I’d like.

 

Any suggestions?  How does/did LX stand-up against:

 

K1000

MX

P30/P30n/P30t

K2

 

Thanks

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While all my Stock shooting is digital I still play with old film cameras.  Older Pro Film cameras do come at a price and you have to make sure its not a beater.  I still have a Nikon F5 and a Minolta 9xi that I play with.

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I used the LX for many years, it was superb. Its metering was quite unusual in that it measured light reflected from the film plane during exposure. Its pretty light and bulletproof. I also had the K1000 as my backup body and that was a great camera as well, it took a beating over the years. The LX does command a high price at the moment, I think it has a bit of a cult status. Which camera to choose depends on the type of shooting you will be doing. If you are going to be doing simple 1/125th f8 all the time then the K1000 is a great bet. Once you get used to the simple metering you can be really accurate with your exposures. Its limitation is that its all manual so your shutter speeds are limited to 1 second to 1/1000th. If you are going to be using shutter speeds outside this range then its the LX and if you are going to subject your camera to real hard times than the LX is probably a better bet (though my K1000 spent many an alpine trip in my rucksack with the crampons and ice screws and it never failed). The real selling point of the LX is its a system camera, so you can change the prism, focussing screen, etc. I loved all my Pentax bodies, I'm happy to see them making a comeback. It was a shame that their AF line of cameras at the time (mid '90s) was poor, all gimmicks so in the end I chopped it all in for the mighty Nikon F4. If Pentax had had something to compete with the F4 (the best camera ever made, my dream camera would be the D810 sensor in an F4 body) I would have stayed with them. 

Hope this helps and feel free to reply if you have any further questions

Colin

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I used the LX for many years, it was superb. Its metering was quite unusual in that it measured light reflected from the film plane during exposure. Its pretty light and bulletproof. I also had the K1000 as my backup body and that was a great camera as well, it took a beating over the years. The LX does command a high price at the moment, I think it has a bit of a cult status. Which camera to choose depends on the type of shooting you will be doing. If you are going to be doing simple 1/125th f8 all the time then the K1000 is a great bet. Once you get used to the simple metering you can be really accurate with your exposures. Its limitation is that its all manual so your shutter speeds are limited to 1 second to 1/1000th. If you are going to be using shutter speeds outside this range then its the LX and if you are going to subject your camera to real hard times than the LX is probably a better bet (though my K1000 spent many an alpine trip in my rucksack with the crampons and ice screws and it never failed). The real selling point of the LX is its a system camera, so you can change the prism, focussing screen, etc. I loved all my Pentax bodies, I'm happy to see them making a comeback. It was a shame that their AF line of cameras at the time (mid '90s) was poor, all gimmicks so in the end I chopped it all in for the mighty Nikon F4. If Pentax had had something to compete with the F4 (the best camera ever made, my dream camera would be the D810 sensor in an F4 body) I would have stayed with them. 

Hope this helps and feel free to reply if you have any further questions

Colin

 

Nikon F4s is one camera I never had - but kinda wished that I did!

 

I've still got a 'Blad 503cw - a pain to carry, but a camera I want to keep...

 

In the absence of a Pentax LX - I had been thinking of either an MX or K1000

 

(www.timothyaikman.com (- it is in need of being updated!))

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I loved my F4, I used to send it Valentine's Day cards. They now go for about $180-$200 so I will get one to start again in B&W. I love my pixels but they are a bit sterile. watching a printer spit out a beautiful print is nothing to replace the magic of seeing a white sheet of paper turn into a photo. Both the K1000 and the MX are great, they are simple and just work. They will be perfect as long as you don't need the advanced features of a flagship pro camera. 

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I have a few ME supers, but they suffer from dodgy electronics, I reckon that the MX is a better bet as it's a simpler mechanical camera ( it will work, but not meter, without a battery). They both have great clear viewfinders and, personally, I like the compact format. I used to carry both an ME super and an MX.  Loved those cameras!

 

Not tried an LX, and not sure what useful extra you get over the MX.  

 

I still use my Pentax film camera lenses, but on a Sony NEX 6.  The 75-150 f4 zoom is a bit of a bargain, really cheap these days but sharp and reasonably contrasty, while you'd be unlucky to go wrong with a 50mm f1.7 or 35 mm f2. The 28s are OK, without being brilliant. The older 28 f3,5 K has the least distortion and CA but my copy isn't as sharp at the edges as the later M variants. 

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When I started out at a daily newspaper, 1975, it was a Spotmatic, Honeywell "potato masher" and Tri-X

Ah the good old days....  Wish I still had my black NIKON SP

 

P.S. Have not touched a Pentax since the Spotmatic.

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I honestly can't think of a good reason to get into 35mm film at least for stock photography. I still have my large format cameras and lenses, but got rid of all the 35mm gear years ago. 

 

That having been said, if you are in the US you can buy film camera bodies really cheap from KEH ( https://www.keh.com/search/list?n=132&mfg[]=Pentax ). They have "as is" cameras for a couple bucks, all the way up to top of the line Pentax film bodies up to about $100. They have a very generous returns policy too. I think I might even have an ME Super lying around on a shelf that I picked up for $10 at a garage sale. That's another possibility that might work for you if you hold out.

 

Something else to look out for is that there are some cameras that have electronically controlled shutters for which the batteries can no longer be had. 

 

And what I would do in your shoes.... keep the lenses and adapt them to a digital camera. If you want to shoot film, invest in a cheap medium format camera, like an old Mamiya TLR.

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