Pentax MX. Any good?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Mike Kennedy, Sep 22, 2006.

  1. Mike Kennedy

    Mike Kennedy Member

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    A friend just called to ask if I would look at this camera tomorrow morning. It's being sold locally.
    I know how to judge a camera's usability but I'm unfamiliar with this model. Any Pentax MX shooters out there?

    Thank You
     
  2. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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  3. Uncle Bill

    Uncle Bill Subscriber

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    I am a spotmatic fan myself, it is safe to say that the Pentax MX worth looking into. If I did not get my Minolta XE-7 I would have gone for the MX.

    Bill
     
  4. rosey

    rosey Member

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    I own three of these gems in absolutely mint condition. The MX is my all-time favorite non-auto 35mm camera. And, as a longtime sufferer of GAS, believe me when I say I have tried and probably own all competition.
    It is solid, small, easy to use, reliable, ergonomical, intuitive, good-looking, accurate and affordable. Did I miss anything?
    I have a number of Pentax lenses for it and my Super Programs, but the added functions of the Pentax A lenses aren't used on the MX, since there is no program mode. The Pentax M lenses work just fine, too.
    Put the very nice Pentax 40mm 2.8 pancake M lens on it and you have a pocketable rig. A large pocket, mind you, but it makes a tidy outfit. Good for street shooting also.
    Ken
     
  5. Jerry Thirsty

    Jerry Thirsty Member

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    The most common problems to check for...

    1) If you've got one, take along a generic, one-contact flash to make sure the hot shoe works. If it's got a PC cord, also try the PC socket.

    2) The MX is prone to developing a short in the light meter contacts. This means that you can put a brand new battery in and discover a few hours or days later that the battery is dead. This can happen even with the shutter button lock locked. You can try checking for this by looking through the viewfinder and pressing down on the shutter button while it's locked; if the LEDs in the display come on anyway, it has the short. There's some info here:

    http://ca.geocities.com/spirope/mxmlu.htm

    Just skip down to the last two paragraphs.

    3) The MX is prone to dents on the prism housing. This doesn't necessarily mean there's anything wrong with it, but it's something to look for.
     
  6. Mike Kennedy

    Mike Kennedy Member

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    Thanks folks.

    I didn't realize the MX was such a nice little shooter.Hopefully the camera will be in good physical/mechanical condition and I'll be sure to test the electronics.

    Mike
     
  7. Nicole

    Nicole Member

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    Hi Mike
    I have the little Pentax too, it was my first SLR. I don't use it as much these days but it is a fantastic little tool. Here's one I took with it.
    Kind regards,
    Nicole
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 20, 2007
  8. alien

    alien Member

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    I started photography in 1978 with the MX. My Dad still has it, and it runs fine. I am on an LX now, but use the K and M lenses, which are outstanding in my opinion!
     
  9. mikebarger

    mikebarger Member

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    I wouldn't trust Nicole's opinion on this. We all know ANY camera she uses produces great photographs.

    Sorry Nicole, couldn't resist :wink:

    Mike
     
  10. Nicole

    Nicole Member

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    LOL Mike you tease! I'm so hopeless at quick sharp comebacks! :D

    Trust me there are many negatives in the "bin collection". But the Pentax is a great little camera and coupled with a good lens other than the standard kits lens, it should serve you well. Back then I had no idea what to do with a camera and the photo above was shot on the straight auto mode with on-camera flash. Nothing fancy in that. The in camera metering is still spot on today and has never been serviced.


     
  11. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member

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    "Standard kit lens"? Wasn't that the 40mm f:2.8 Pancake? That was a wonderful lens, which should not be brushed off as a "standard kit lens"! This was in 1979 or so - long before the horrible "standard zooms" became "standard".
     
  12. eddym

    eddym Member

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    An MX was my first 35mm SLR too, also back about 1977 or so. It was a great camera, especially with the motordrive attached. I never had any problems with it. Only sold it when I went to Rollei SL35E for the Zeiss lenses.
     
  13. Nicole

    Nicole Member

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    Ole, you could well be right. Mine came with a slow zoom lens which I wouldn't recommend.
     
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  15. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    There were the 2fps winder MX and 5fps motor drive MX. With the 5fps motor drive it's very cool and can keep up with great number of modern cameras.
     
  16. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    That's Right

    Thats correct Ole, I used to sell them new when they were current in my shop, customers could have the option of either the 40mm pancake lens ( also sometimes called the cyclists lens) or the 50mm.
    I cant remember if they were the same price it was a long time ago.
     
  17. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member

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    Ben, I think the 50mm option was the 50mm f:2, which is an incredibly sharp lens and was slightly cheaper than the 40mm. But since the MX with the 40mm was smaller than most "compact" cameras, I would expect the majority to go for that.

    There were other 50mm lenses produced too, but those would have been faster, heavier, and more expensive. The f:2 -M lens was small, compact, cheap and sharp.
     
  18. paul ewins

    paul ewins Subscriber

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    For most markets the 50/1.7 would have been the kit lens. Most M series camera you see on eBay have this lens. This is supposed to be the sharpest of the Pentax 50s wide open, albeit by a small margin. All of them are superior to the 40/2.8 but none are as compact so everything is a trade off somewhere.

    If I'm shooting 35mm then I'll usually take an MX with 35/2, 50/1.2 and 85/2 as I'm often shooting in low light. If I'm packing light then it might just be the 40/2.8. The focussing screens are interchangeable and the LX screens are compatible and slightly brighter than the MX screens.
     
  19. Black Dog

    Black Dog Member

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    My first camera was an MX, back in the days when hair was big, jeans were stonewashed and New Romantics walked the earth :smile: (jumpers for goalposts ...mmm.....). Really nice little cameras and I agree that the 40mm pancake is a great lens which has a lot in a small package (LOL)-in fact I'm going to snap up a couple more MXs when I get the chance. happy snapping!
     
  20. eddym

    eddym Member

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    Here's a shot I made with the MX and the 40mm lens. I was testing the lens and ended up not buying it, but was very impressed by it anyway.
     

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  21. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    MX

    Thanks Ole, for refreshing my memory I've slept a few times since then, however I do remember we sold A lot more with the 50mm F2, probably because a lot of the people who purchased them were first time SLR buyers, and it was hard to convince them that the 40mm was a better option, since they would eventually probably buy a 28mm and a 80-200 zoom as most average customers did in those days. The MX was a lovely little camera, and as tough as old boots. I wish I had one now.
     
  22. Steve Roberts

    Steve Roberts Member

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    I have to be the bad guy here and say that as a Pentax enthusiast and user, I think they lost it with the M series. Small and compact they were indeed, but IMHO only at the expense of ruggedness and reliability compared with the previous K series and Spotmatics. I had all three - ME, ME Super and MX, but the ME & Super are so different to the MX that I won't dwell on their shortcomings. I bought my MX nearly new, thinking of it as down-sized Spotmatic/KX, but although it wasn't very old the foam seals needed replacing and the slow shutter speeds were a constant source of trouble. It cost me a fortune in repairs before I gave up on it. Pity, because it was certainly nice to use and I really tried to like it. One other major gripe was the LEDs for the meter display which were not very visible in bright conditions (great, though, for poor light, where the Spot/K match needle disappeared into the gloom). Perhaps I just had a bad one.

    Best wishes,
    Steve
     
  23. Black Dog

    Black Dog Member

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    Quite possibly-mine worked fine for more than 20 years and took a good few knocks along the way.
     
  24. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    Not Bad

    I think you just had a bad experience Steve, and as with any second hand item you dont know what happened to it before you got it, all I can tell you is that we ran ten photographic shops in the midlands and north of England at the time the MX was current, and I handled all the repairs for the group, who must have sold hundreds of them, and the total number of repairs we sent back to Pentax UK , both in and out of warranty in the seven years I worked the company were certainly less than ten
     
  25. Derek Lofgreen

    Derek Lofgreen Subscriber

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    The MX is a great camera. I use pentax SLR's exclusively, all the way up to the last 35mm SLR they made. I like the fact that there are tons of lenses out there for them. There are some great deals on some super sharp and fast lenses. The best bang for your buck as far as I'm concerned. My 2 cents.

    D.
     
  26. Drew B.

    Drew B. Subscriber

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    Wait...the MX has no auto mode. Are you thinking of the ME? I used the MX for many years (83 through 92) and loved the fully manual system...and in fact, lent it to many others to learn with.