Pentax LX - am I a heretic?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Steve Roberts, Jan 9, 2013.

  1. Steve Roberts

    Steve Roberts Member

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    Having acquired two LXs for not very much money a while ago, I've now had a chance to experiment with them (well, with one of them). The LX seems to have an almost mythical status in some areas, and its proponents seemingly won't hear a bad word said about it (rather like Stan Kenton fans!) However, it doesn't seem to get mentioned very often on APUG very often despite being, perhaps, the only true Pentax professional 35mm system camera.
    Whilst it's a reasonable enough camera to use, I can't say that I'm blown away by it and there are at least four Pentaxes that I tend to favour over it - the K2, KX, MX and ES2. OK, the LX has more bells and whistles - the interchangeable viewfinder, backward counting film re-wind, strap lugs to hang it vertically, titanium shutter, etc. - but how often do these make a difference? My biggest gripe is that in manual exposure mode the reading is only discernable to one f-stop via the LED readout - the MX has half-stop LEDs. Perhaps my reservations are largely because at heart I like to use manual exposure and the K2 and ES2 are much happier in that mode (forgetting for the moment the need for good batteries to operate on some speeds and the KX and K2 of course use match-needle metering - much nicer than LEDs!).
    I suppose that the difference tells in that when I was quite happy to spend out on a service for the K2 a few years back and likewise the ES2, the LX would now undoubtedly benefit from a service and yet I find myself reluctant to spend money when realistically I may never use it.
    Anyone else out there care to comment on their love for their LX or otherwise?
    Best wishes,
    Steve
     
  2. salan

    salan Member

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    You know I bought one years ago and have used it twice! I always go for either the MX or an MG (prefer that to the me super for some reason). They just seem to 'feel' better. Also they are not as noisy with the shutter!.
    So my LX sits on the shelf.
    Alan
     
  3. Hatchetman

    Hatchetman Subscriber

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    So, what's your problem with Stan Kenton?:D
     
  4. sdotkling

    sdotkling Member

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    Perhaps it's proof that sentiment overrules logic in camera preferences, but none of those 40-year-old newcomers can hold a candle to the Spotmatic in my mind. The first pro photographer I ever knew used one (I was maybe 15 years old) and nothing else comes close to its essential coolness. Like a finely tailored suit, tactile, elegant and no more than one needs. If James Bond had a camera, that would've been it. With the 50/1.4, of course.
     
  5. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    I have always felt the with the Nikon and Canon Fs, most of the features I would never use, only reason I traded in my Konica T2 for an Nikon F was the motor drive.
     
  6. Alan W

    Alan W Subscriber

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    I've never used an lx,I do have a lot of other Pentax cameras though,and not wanting to hijack the thread,I agree with sdotkling,it's hard to top a Spotmatic. 002.jpg 002.jpg Isn't she beautiful?
     
  7. AOCo

    AOCo Member

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    I also had an LX, but ended up only keeping the spotmatics...
    LX is a very good camera, but mine suffered reliability issues, that a CLA did not solve, hence I did not
    want to use it that much. WLF is fine but nothing nothing comparable to a medium format SLR. Other
    than that, I enjoyed using it for the time it had been working.
     
  8. Too old to care

    Too old to care Subscriber

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    I wore out two Spotmatics. Wish they still made them, I would like to wear out another one. Never had much love for the LX though, on the other hand, a nice MX would be a great addition.
     
  9. pentaxpete

    pentaxpete Subscriber

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    The main disappointment I have with my LX is that for a 'Pro' camera the fastest flash synch speed is 1/75th second whereas my ME Supers synch at 1/125th - I do a lot of outdoors fill-in flash -- even on my K10D it is only 1/180th second fastest synch speed -- other makes can manage 1/250th easily ! Also, the LX has the 'sticky mirror' syndrome where it sticks up if the camera has not been used in a while and it needs to be fired several times before the mirror becomes 'instant return' again.
     
  10. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    Because the LX has horizontal traveled shutter curtains which limit its flash sync speed. All cameras with this type of shutter only have about the same max sync speed. How many cameras with vertical bladed shutter that also have mirror lock up. There are a few but not many as it difficult to make that type of shutter completely light tight and most depend on the mirror to help.
     
  11. PentaxBronica

    PentaxBronica Member

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    Main one that I can think of with both a vertical-run shutter and MLU would be the Pentax K2 or K2 DMD.

    I am very surprised to see that they didn't use the same shutter in the LX. The K2 is a rugged, long-lived camera which stays accurate for years, flash sync is 1/125. Mine has had no attention beyond new light seals and a good clean, I did take the top plate off to press a dent out and get the hotshoe level again but everything underneath was pristine.

    I'd like an LX, but aside from its legendary metering abilities in Av mode I'm not seeing anything to make me find the £200 or so to buy one and the £100 or so for a proper CLA. I already have a K2, a couple of KXs and four MXs. As it stands I'm more inclined to spend a bit less on a nice K2 DMD, which has a few upgrades over the original and can use a winder (if you can find one...)

    Interestingly it seems that the K2's metering can also handle exposures of over 8 seconds in Av. I was finishing off the last couple of frames of a roll last week and tried some night shots. Rough timing with my watch suggested that it was happily producing exposures in the 20-30 second range. The batteries are sound and it has proven accurate on several previous rolls. I'll know whether it worked when the slides come back in a week or two. I know the M series bodies with a later version of the same shutter (not the MX which uses a cloth and springs shutter) can do this too, or at least some of them can.
     
  12. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member

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    Obviously we can't change anything now but if looked at in the proper perspective at the time of it's release, the reliable/proven titanium horizontal shutters - pioneered by the F then the F2, was the choice in design for all the PRO interchangeable viewfinder cameras of the time. It won't burn even if mirror is locked up and pointing to the sun. Probably due to NASA requirements at the time? In the EOS 1VHS manual there is a caution stating, "During mirror lockup, do not point the camera lens at the sun. The sun’s heat can scorch and damage the shutter curtains."

    [​IMG]

    Interestingly enough the oldest design - XK released in 1972, had the fastest sync speed of the group.
    1. XK 1/100
    2. F-1 1/90
    3. F3 1/80
    4. F2 1/80
    5. LX 1/75
    6. F 1/60
    You'll notice that Nikon didn't even raise the sync speed from the F2 to F3 release.
     
  13. Chrismat

    Chrismat Subscriber

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    Back in the 80s I lusted after an LX but I never bought one. I did, however, buy an FA-1 finder from a store I worked at in Atlanta thinking I would buy one piecemeal but I never got around to it. Finally, in 2010 I saw one on Ebay without the FA-1 finder and thought I'd try it out. I got it, put the finder on it and sent it to Eric Hendrickson because of some minor issues. I liked it a lot, but the one thing that bothered me a bit is the smallish size of the camera. For 35mm slrs I like larger cameras although I don't have large hands. I love the feel of a Spotmatic, K1000, KX, etc. I ended up selling the LX last year but I'm glad I owned one. The one thing I do miss about it is the fantastic metering system, great for night shots.
     
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  15. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member

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    Just because you prefer other cameras over the LX does not make you a heretic. I personally look at these various light tight boxes as just another tool in the toolbox. As such, I use the right tool for the job and which of your preferred list of bodies can do this job?

    [​IMG]

    I submit to you that from your list that only the LX would be the proper tool for the job that will allow you to take a picture of the VF taking a picture of another LX . . . :whistling:
     
  16. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    :laugh:
     
  17. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member

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    How about the widest single unassisted metering range of EV - 6.5 EV to to EV +20 that is unequalled by any camera past or present. Couple this with realtime monitoring of the scene - making adjustments accordingly, and aperture auto exposure for as long as it takes or battery dies and it is the right tool for night shots. I've tested both of my LX's and they meter nearly identical for exposures > 2 hours in a controlled setting.

    Kodak Ektar 100 + LX+ SMC 28mm f2.8 in aperture priority auto expose of >35minutes.

    [​IMG]

    I don't know of an external meter that can match the LX's single metering range.
     
  18. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    The Pentax LX wasn't and isn't my camera of choice and thus I don't own one. But speaking of its shutter I do like the horizontal shutter better than the vertical one. I don't care for high shutter speed above 1/1000 nor high flash sync speed.
     
  19. Pioneer

    Pioneer Member

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    I don't think you are a heretic at all. No more than I believe that I am a heretic just because I haven't found a single Nikon that I have been able to bond with, though I have tried several over the years trying to decide what everyone else sees in them. :cool:

    Besides, if everyone loved the LX, goodness only knows how high the prices on them could go on our favorite auction site. :laugh:
     
  20. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    I like mine a lot, but I do enjoy shooting with the MX maybe more. But for some things I do like AE, and the flash AE off the film plane is great. Metering accuracy is superb. The only thing it really needs is AE memory lock, but that's curiously lacking on all Pentax AE cameras.

    I wish the MX had the (non trick) MLU and had the film speed range of the LX.

    Complaints that it's too small are odd to me. The MX is smaller and that's one of the reasons I like the MX. But the LX feels fine. My K1000 (a gift - I'd never buy one considering I can get a chrome MX for the price of one) feels like a brick in comparison. (A less well built brick - it's a Chinese made one and frankly feels cheap, but works ok.)
     
  21. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    I have an MX. What is the MLU trick?


    Steve.
     
  22. Amir Aziz

    Amir Aziz Member

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    Advance the shutter then use your finger to flick the shutter button (very fast and light) and the mirror locks up (MLU).

    This also works on Spotmatics, the KX and ESII.
     
  23. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    I've actually never been able to get it to work, but I have read about it.
     
  24. pentaxpete

    pentaxpete Subscriber

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    I just tried it on my Spotmatic but all it did was to fire the shutter -- I was GIVEN a KX so when I have finished the film I will try it in that model.
     
  25. Amir Aziz

    Amir Aziz Member

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    It does take a bit of practice, I fired the shutter many times before getting the hang of it it. The trick is to brush the very edge with the slightest touch. Before anyone says I do realise the KX already has MLU but I thought I would try it anyway.

    here's an article on the subject

    http://www.oocities.org/spirope/mxmlu.htm
     
  26. Steve Roberts

    Steve Roberts Member

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    Hmmm. Interesting. After expressing my reservations about the LX I half expected to awaken today to find a severed horse's head on my pillow, yet it seems that I'm far from alone with my thoughts.

    As has been said, I couldn't see what there was to shout about with the horizontal titanium shutter blinds when the rubberised fabric blinds in most SLRs will outlast me (I'll try to resist the urge to point the cameras at the sun with MLU engaged!) Pentax seemed to have the vertical running metal shutters well sorted in the ME, K2, etc. (were they in fact Seiko?) and yet apparently the horizontal titanium jobs were sometimes prone to cracking.
    Pete - you're very lucky being given a KX. I've had mine since 1986 and no complaints. Unfortunately, I was only given an MZ-50 at the weekend, but it would have been rude to refuse it and you can never have enough cameras!

    And, of course, there's nothing wrong with Stan Kenton. In fact, he seems to have rather more fans (me included) than the LX does!

    Best wishes,

    Steve