Need a Pentax SLR recommendation

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by geauxpez, Aug 29, 2007.

  1. geauxpez

    geauxpez Member

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    I am considering selling off my Olympus OM equipment (2 OM2n bodies and an array of lenses) and investing in Pentax stuff. The idea being that the K-mount is still compatible with bodies (film and otherwise :D ) that are still being manufactured. What Pentax model is similar to the OM2n as far as features? Manual and aperture priority settings, DOF preview, fairly compact, sturdy, etc. I understand the LX had "mirror issues" and can be fairly pricy. Any suggestions (camera-wise, that is) would be welcomed.

    Adam
     
  2. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Don't know much about the Olympus you have, but I love my KX to death. It seems bullet proof, and yes, I love the backwards lens capability too! (1963?)
    I've also used the K1000 which is a little clunky, but a great camera, the ME which has aperture priority only but beyond that is a neat little camera, the ME Super is as tiny and neat as the ME but with time/aperture manual capability.
    I must say that the Pentax ME I still have is probably the most durable camera body I've ever encountered. My father had it before me, and his slide library is HUGE, in the 100s of thousands of slides, all with the same body mostly. It failed on me last year, but I keep it around for sentimental reasons.
    Their lenses are also just stunning. A couple you might want to look out for:
    1. 55mm f/2 - extremely good
    2. 28mm f/3.5 (not the 2.8 which is also good, but the 3.5 is special)
    3. 40mm f/2.8 (pancake, stop it down to f/8 or so please)
    4. 35mm f/3.5 (OMG what a nice lens)
    5. The 85mm portrait lenses are really good.
    6. The 200mm f/4 is fantastic.
    I'm sure there are more, but generally the lenses are top notch.
    Hope that helps.

    - Thomas
     
  3. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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  4. Shawn Dougherty

    Shawn Dougherty Member

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    I love my Pentax K2. It's not that big but built like a tank, Av priority and manual, DOF preview, manual speeds to up to 8secs plus B, mirror lock up (I wouldn't own an SLR that didn't have it), shutter requires batteries but still works at 2 speeds without them.

    My favorite lenses are:
    SMC-M 28mm f3.5
    SMC-M 50mm f1.7
    SMC-M 135mm f3.5
    SMC-M 200mm f4

    These are lenses I own and use, and I've found them to be top of the line, sharp, flare resistant, and well made. They are getting a little more pricey because they are still compatible with new digicams, as you mentioned. I've heard great things about the 85 f2 and 85 f1.4 Thom mentioned... I'm still lusting after the f2 version... I can't see myself needing another lens after that. Good luck. Shawn
     
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  5. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    Actually only the LX is closet to the OM2n although more expensive. It has manual and aperture priority automatic exposure control and TTL flash. The ME super I believe has manual exposure control as well as aperture priority. The K2 also has both of these feature but is difficult to find and is significantly larger than the OM.
     
  6. geauxpez

    geauxpez Member

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    Ah -- thanks for the ideas. And bonus lens info as well!

    Adam
     
  7. Derek Lofgreen

    Derek Lofgreen Subscriber

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    I shoot with the *ist 35mm. I love it. It is small, light and has all the functions of a great prosumer SLR, from full manual and spot metering to several auto settings and matrix metering. The only drawback is that only lenses that have the A on the aperature ring are fully compatable with it (just like their DSLRs). Another good one is the PZ-1, it's a little loud but a great slr.

    D.
     
  8. Oren Grad

    Oren Grad Subscriber

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    Like the OM-2n, the LX meters off the shutter curtain and film surface for both flash and ambient light metering, and the LX can deliver autoexposures up to 2 minutes or longer. The other 80's-vintage compact auto/manual Pentaxes (ME Super, ME-F, Super Program, Program Plus) don't have the integrated OTF metering.

    The LX also has interchangeable focusing screens (like the OM-2n) and viewfinders.

    The LX is prone to develop "sticky mirror" as it ages. Both of my early-vintage bodies did within the past year, but I've had both overhauled by Pentax, with the second one returned from the shop just last week. Cost in each case for a CLA plus sticky mirror fix was between $250 and $300.

    The LX was discontinued in the US well before sales ceased in Japan, so I don't know how much longer Pentax US will be accepting LX's for repair, but at least for the moment they still do.
     
  9. cao

    cao Member

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    It's interesting to note that Thomas recommends lenses with designs carrying over from the SMC Takumar line-up like the slower wide angles. Thinking of this, I might ask you to consider an early SMC-Pentax 50/1.4. The screwmount rendition of this is my walk-around snapping lens, and seldom do I feel a need for anything else.
     
  10. polaski

    polaski Member

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    Pentax KX - ultimate lens compatible manual SLR

    Pentax KX. I have two, with matched 55mm f/1.8 lenses.

    That said, the KM and K2 are good equivalents. It's just that the KX is so completely manual. I've had an ME series, and considered an MX, but I never got used to the gumball machine-like LED readouts. The K-1000 is obviously the base model, but on the auction sites, the K-1000 is more well-known, and goes for more money.

    The 55mm lens is a match to the KX body and viewfinder. I cn keep both eyes open and see the same perspective. Sort of like a Voigtlander Kontur finder. The 55mm f/1.8 and f/2.0 are said to be the lens lens; Pentax just didn't include 1.8 on the aperture ring of the 2.0. Maybe an urban myth.

    The KX makes for a solid experience. If you sling it around your neck, get a comfortable strap. I personally like keeping my SLR in my shooting hand, with the strap wrapped around my wrist. Also good for self-defense, but I'm getting too old for that stuff.

    And, of course, I can use the M42 lenses that weren't with the Spotmatic when it was stolen.
     
  11. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Derek,
    are you sure about lens compatibility with the new dig-slr's? It is my impression that anything with a K-mount will work on the newer one, but perhaps not on the istD.
    - Thomas

     
  12. Andrew Moxom

    Andrew Moxom Member

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    All K mount lenses are usable, but only the Ka versions will give you all the program modes and bells and whistles. On the DPReview website, tons of pentaxians are using older lenses with the K10 and K100 and older digi bodies. Some folks complain of CA problems, but not in all cases. There are camera settings to be made to tell the camera what lens you are using if it's a non KA type.
     
  13. Derek Lofgreen

    Derek Lofgreen Subscriber

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    Mostly is has to do with the metering and program modes. It will still work fine in Manual with a center weighted spot metering as the default without the KA lens.
     
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  15. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Thanks for clearing that up, I was getting nervous there for a while...

    To the original poster. There is a lens that might seem tempting, because it's super fast, and that is the 50mm f/1.4. I had one of those. Not that good. The best normal lens they ever made was the 55mm f/2. The 50mm f/1.7 flies in just behind. Both are great lenses, and will suit you very well, and as a bonus they are usually cheaper than the 1.4.

    - Thomas

     
  16. mabman

    mabman Member

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    I'm not familiar with the ins and outs of the OM2n, however, I do own an ME Super. It's "auto" mode is aperture-priority, and it does have a manual mode (with up/down shutter speed selector buttons on the top of the camera - which I honestly haven't used that much since I picked up the camera a couple of months ago - I bought it primarily for the AP functionality, and because it's very compact).

    I actually like the LED shutter-speed-selection meter quite a bit - largely because the LED is green down to 1/30, and orange below that - handy to use in low-light, as many people, myself included, can't reliably handhold an SLR below 1/30 without camera shake.

    So, not a direct answer to the question, but I'm definitely in favour of the ME Super in general if you're looking for something compact and easy to use.
     
  17. geauxpez

    geauxpez Member

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    Thomas -- thanks for the heads up on those lenses. I'll keep that in mind.

    Mabman -- I'll have to check out that meter. I have had times when I couldn't see my meter in the Oly shooting at a concert or night shots....LED's might be nice to have.

    There's a repair/used camera shop in town with a pretty wide array of analog gear. I'll have to go check out what he has and play with a few cameras.

    Thanks to all for the info and please keep it coming.

    Adam
     
  18. nsurit

    nsurit Subscriber

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    Hmm, why switch? You can use your OM glass, which in my totally biased opinion is every bit as good as any available, on the e-series digital cameras. Yes, I know the 2X factor. The wide DZ glass is nice and your OM 50mm f1.2 becomes a 100mm f1.2. That aisn't too bad. I just did some candid stuff at an event with my 85mm f2 on the e-1, so figure 170mm f2 and the reslts are fabulous. If you decide to dumb your OM stuff, I can provide for safe disposal of these junky cameras. Bill Barber
     
  19. elekm

    elekm Member

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    The K1000 is a great all-around camera, if you don't any information in the viewfinder. The KX displays the aperture and shutter speed and provide match-needle metering.

    One nice thing about the Pentax K and M series cameras is that they use the LR44 batteries, which are commonly available.
     
  20. cao

    cao Member

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    Which version? Also, could you simply have had a bad sample? I have a 50/1.4 SMC Tak on my knock about camera that gives me very punchy crisp images.
     
  21. geauxpez

    geauxpez Member

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    Ah -- more good advice.

    Hey "nsurit", can you meter through the OM lenses with the e-series cameras?
     
  22. mawz

    mawz Member

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    The Pentax 50/1.4 is generally considered to be one of the best 50/1.4's available. My Super-Tak is excellent, and the newer ones just get better (but lack the lovely single-coated glow of the Super-Tak's)
     
  23. albcamp

    albcamp Member

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    I have to agree on the KX. As they say, 'built like a tank'. Totally reliable. As it is all manual, pick up a P50 to go with it. I found one near mint for $40. It is electronic and fully automatic but is solid and well made and with its program modes it makes a great point and shoot to go with the KX and look at the choice of amazing lenses.
     
  24. loueva

    loueva Member

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    Pentax cameras

    I would recommend PZ-1p, Pentax's second last film pro-body. It can be had from e-bay for about 100 dollars. A wonderful camera. Closer to Your OM2 would be Super A (or Super Program in USA), small and handy non-AF-body. One of my own favourites anyhow is fully manual (only the meter (not shutter) needs electricity) KX which has DOF preview and MLU and is built like a tank.

    Väinö Louekari
     
  25. abeku

    abeku Subscriber

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    My favourite is the MX (I have three of them!) equipped with a 50/1.4 or a 40/2.8. About the same size as the OM2 but all manual. I recently bought Beattie screens for the MX and got a bright viewfinder equal to any modern SLR. If you aim for AE-features (like the OM2), LX and K2 are great options. However, the OM2 is such a great design so think twice before selling it - you may end up missing it deeply...
     
  26. mabman

    mabman Member

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    I've inherited a couple of K1000's, which still work just fine without any maintenance (although they both need new mirror foam).

    However, my personal favourite currently is the ME Super, primarily due to the aperture-priority function along with an exposure compensation dial, as well as it's small size, which fits very well in my hands - I do have the standard k-mount SMC Takumar 50/2, but I usually use it with an M42 screwmount adaptor and a variety of M42 lenses, which are (generally) going for a song these days (I'm a particular fan of the 85/2 Jupiter-9 - a Russian clone of the Zeiss Sonnar design - good for portraits).

    So, if you're OK with manual stop-down metering, M42 lenses via an adaptor (the generic version of which I got from B&H - the official ones from Pentax are hard to come by) are another option.

    Just to mention, I got the ME Supers (2 of them) from KEH in "bgn" condition - one of which worked just fine out of the box, and the other needed an overhaul - but even overhauled it still cost a total of less than $200 :smile:
     
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