Pentax ME and Pentax MX

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by David Lyga, Oct 21, 2011.

  1. David Lyga

    David Lyga Subscriber

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    Does anyone know why for every 12 ME models on the market one finds only one MX?

    Was there that much disparity in sales when they were introduced? The ME is the only Pentax that I have found so prone to breaking (circuitry failure) and I would much rather have the more reliable. mechanical MX. I think that the initial prices were the same. Comments? - David Lyga
     
  2. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member

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    According to a Pentax book I have, the ME of course catered to people who preferred/required aperture priority auto exposure mode and that auto exposure made it easier for folks to use an SLR. The listed price in old catalogs I have show them similar in price with the MX even being slightly cheaper. Electronics were beginning to prove themselves reliable about this time too.

    But of course in the used market there is no accounting for previous owner!
     
  3. pbromaghin

    pbromaghin Subscriber

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    Auto-exposure was a pretty big deal in the marketplace back then; a major convenience. It put a camera into a completely different category. Looking back after 30 years, you would rather have the reliability, but you know how to do an exposure.

    I love my ME Super, it was the first "real" camera I ever owned, but alas, it has succumbed to circuitry failure and lost its ability to meter. So now it is essentially an MX but still dependent on a battery. I am tempted to put a battery in it and do some sunny 16 shooting. In fact, in recent weeks, whenever I walk past the display shelf, it calls out to me to be fondled, cocked and dry fired. It is getting impatient on the shelf and wants to go out and take pictures.
     
  4. altim

    altim Member

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    MX is one of my favorites, I think it is the smallest slr that I have. It is hard to find parts cameras for repair though, so treat it well :smile:
     
  5. Alan W

    Alan W Subscriber

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    MX is a fine camera as is the ME super,I really don't like the lack of manual controls on the plain old ME.As the other posters point out though the ME is from a time when most people wanted auto exposure making it a high quality point and shoot for the time.
     
  6. AgCl4ever

    AgCl4ever Member

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    I suspect - on the basis of no data whatsoever - that current MX owners are more likely to use and keep them.
     
  7. lesm

    lesm Member

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    The MX was touted as Pentax's "professional" model, so possibly they've had a harder life than the ME models and simply haven't survived in the same numbers. Having recently bought one I can see why they were so highly thought of. I won't be parting with mine!
     
  8. Mark Crabtree

    Mark Crabtree Member

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    I had no idea these were desirable now. Somebody offered me an MX body in nice condition for $100. Is that a decent price?
     
  9. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member

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    Depending on condition and color - black or chrome, a $100 MX may be anywhere from a bargain to a great deal!

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Carl V

    Carl V Member

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    The MX was my very first SLR back in the early 80's and had many years good use out of it. I remember the ME-Super being around as well, but preferred a manual mechanical camera with a good old fashion shutter speed dial rather than the push-buttons of the ME-Super. I must admit, I haven't seen that many either on the used market.
     
  11. Someonenameddavid

    Someonenameddavid Member

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    The MX, in my opinion, is the last in the line of the Spotmatics (it feels more "classic" than the K1000)
     
  12. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I'm working from memory here, so I may be wrong.

    As I recall it, the ME was introduced to great fanfare as a response to the success of the Olympus OM line. The MX followed the ME because of a small but relatively vocal group of customers and potential customers who wanted a manual exposure only model. The MX never sold in the numbers that the ME and ME Super achieved, but was always a useful alternative for a retailer to have on their shelves.

    I would expect that there were many, many more people who bought an ME for snapshots and vacation pictures - and that it is the cameras acquired by those people who stock the relatively abundant sources of used cameras available today.
     
  13. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

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    Wonder if this means if the electronics held up the ME's would be in better shooting condition due to less hard professional use.
     
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  15. BobD

    BobD Member

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    The ME was marketed as an "entry level" SLR. Its features were much like the Nikon EM -- auto exposure only, no manual mode. Price was low end. There were some other similar models such as the MV, MG, etc.

    The MX was marketed as a manual-mode SLR for pros and had pro-oriented accessories such as a bulk film back, better meter, optional focusing screens, etc. The "X" in its designation was meant to position it with the LX, Pentax's flagship pro 35mm SLR at that time.
     
  16. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    Not so, BobD. The MX came out in 1976; the LX came out in 1980. Between those years the MX was marketed as a pro-level camera, similar to Olympus with their OM-1, and was called in some advertising "The Little Professional".
     
  17. Aristophanes

    Aristophanes Member

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    I wouldn't even bother with the ME. The ME Super is a mush better camera. And the Super Program better still (though a bit bigger and the VF a fraction smaller.

    You get the MX because it's better than the K1000 and is mechanical. But if you want the meter and the battery then the options above are better IMNSHO.
     
  18. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member

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    Just to clarify but the MX uses modern silver oxide battery only to power the GPD meter which is better then the K1000's CDS meter.
     
  19. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    I would say that most MX's did not see professional use. Nikon was the top 35mm pro camera, with Canon catching much of the rest. Minolta had their pro level interchangeable finder machine also.
    I would say Olympus took a lot of the compact pro camera market. The OM-1 and MX sold mostly to the amateur market, despite being pro-spec. and having their own systems. They cost the same or less than the Nikkormat and FM series, putting them into the amateur price range. Olympus' system was more extensive, and excellent though Pentax was, they didn't make the same run at Nikon's and Canon's extensive lens lineup that Olympus did.
     
  20. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member

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    I am sure you know this is a gross oversimplification. There are many reasons to get other then a pro body such as weight, sync speed and certainly cost.

    Also "pro" use does not mean abuse. I have bought a few pro bodies that literally look unused as the cameras were only used in the studio. One was an EOS3 used for product shots and the other an F3 used only for copy work. Another benefit to buying pro equipment is that they typically have already written these off so I picked these up at considerable cost savings.

    Here is a good price reference -> March 1978 Adorama ad
     
  21. BobD

    BobD Member

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    Oops -- you are correct. The MX came first. The "X" in both model names was meant to position both cameras as "pro" models.
     
  22. filmamigo

    filmamigo Member

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    I agree with this 100%. An MX sitting next to a Spotmatic looks nearly identical, just strangely much smaller. :smile:

    I have a pair of black MX's, that I bought from the original owner who was a professional photographer. She purchased two complete MX systems when she graduated from school. I bought the whole lot off her, which included the power winder, the M 50/1.7, M 28/2.8 and a 135. The kit also included a pair of Metz 45's. The all-manual MX makes a nice match to an automatic flash like the Metz, and seems a perfectly sensible way to shoot professionally. With the winder attached, the MX is still amazingly small but much improved ergonomically.

    These MX's are in nice condition. "Professional use" seems to have shown up in one of the bodies' rewind shafts being slightly worn, but otherwise both cameras are without issue and look like they are 5 years old, not 30 years old.

    It's good to know about the good meter in the MX. I have hesitated to rely on an old in-camera meter, but when I do the exposures are accurate.
     
  23. Pumalite

    Pumalite Subscriber

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    MX hands down
     
  24. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    Overweek I was clearing out my storage closet and found a pile of my old New Photographer mags from the 70s to the eary 80s when I was still working as a PJ. I was stuck by the number of ads in the mid to late 70s for Minolta, Olympus, and Pentax compared to Nikon and Canon. In the late 60s and early 70 there were a number of PJ who used Spots, but after the shift to the K mount I dont recall seeing many Pentax K, Ms or LX. Nikon and Canon were the standard of the trade. I had a couple of Spots and a set of lens which I bought while still in college and held onto even after I moved to Nikon. I thought about a MX and ME set, but at the time I was able to rent Nikon lens when I needed an exotic lens, so I bought the F3 instead. I still have all my M42 gear, and use my Spots on occassion. If an Mx is as rugged as a spot and in good condition will last for decades to come.
     
  25. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member

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    Actually it was a triple X . . . :whistling:

    [​IMG]
     
  26. Steve Roberts

    Steve Roberts Member

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    The Pentax M series bodies are so small that taking a spare body isn't a problem. I'm coming around to thinking that I'd really hardly want to bother with a true point and shoot when an M plus 40mm pancake lens is such a compact and versatile combination.

    Why so relatively few MXs? I'd guess it's because so many like myself were bowled over by the prospect of automation (but later realised the error of our ways!)

    Steve