I have an XR7, or actually two. Had one, loved that camera in spite of the fact the meter was always a stop underexposing (set film speed accordingly) and a repairman messed up the f/stop view window. But eventually the rewind knob broke. Bought another off eBay and the seals died. I bought a (cheap, but it will do) seal kit, but I'm not at all sure I'm up to replacing them, silly as it sounds.
Originally Posted by Les Sarile
It's light because it's lightly built and has a lot of plastic, but the XR7 is a joy to shoot with. Every feature I could really want (except possibly the OTF flash metering of my LX) including the missing-from-Pentax AE lock, and ergonomics that just feel right. I need to take a swing at replacing those seals.
Although I like the K1000. I think the best K mount is my ME Super.
Then there's the disadvantages of the ME Super, mainly its slow and quirky button control of manual shutter speeds, I had one after my two Chinon CE-4's were stolen and much preferred my MX.
Originally Posted by ME Super
MX - Like small size and watch-like action. Don't like LED display that's hard to see in bright sun (not a problem this summer!)
ME Super - Like convenience of auto and manual and small size. Don't like auto metering that throws wobblies (2 x MES's, one from new).
K1000 - Like robustness, simplicity and independence of batteries if necessary. Don't like lack of DoF preview and HATE lack of meter switch!!!!!
KM - As above, but it has DoF preview, so partly forgiven!
KX - Like robustness, independence from batteries if necessary, MLU. Don't like - can't think of anything!
K2 - Like handling, shutter speed range,shutter sound, auto/manual choice. Don't like dependence on batteries. Potential huge repair bills if electronics play up.
LX - Like wealth of features I'll probably never need (but you never know!) Don't like LED display that only indicates full stops in manual mode. SMC-A series lenses that were supplied with most. The focussing action doesn't have the silky smoothness of the pre-A lenses and the aperture ring tends to be stiff and graunchy.
Overall, if a future government decrees that we are each allowed to keep only one Pentax K-mount SLR camera (don't laugh - it could happen!!!!), mine would be the KX.
I've got most of their manual focus bodies now (thanks to jumping on ebay auctions which were finishing cheaply or freshly-listed low buy it now prices).
I would say the K2, KX, MX, and P30/P30n/P30t.
I started with a K1000 but the KX and K2 are much nicer bodies to use. They have a more accurate meter, better viewfinder display (although I wish the K2 had the aperture display of the KX - I know the K2DMD does but prices for those in working order are mad), self timer, mirror lock-up, DOF preview, etc. If you don't yet know what to do with any of that you can still shoot them like a K1000, the controls and meter display are just as intuitive (when the black needle is on top of the translucent needle then exposure is correct). The only problem with the K2 is the film speed setting which is renowned for being awkward to use. Mine's not too bad and I've seen suggestions involving a dab of silicone grease on the moving parts to make them easier to use.
The MX adds user changeable focussing screens and the option of adding two types of winder and a databack, plus it's smaller. It doesn't have mirror lock-up but the LED light meter display is easier to read in poor light, although in good light I prefer the KX/K2 display.
The P30 series are black sheep. They're derided as plastic and usually cost less to buy than a crate of beer. Yet the chassis are diecast metal, the viewfinder displays the shutter speed, they have wonderfully simple controls, they're light and very unobtrusive. A P30n or P30t with a 35mm prime makes a brilliant street camera as it doesn't shout "mug me" and you have Av mode for grab shots (the AE lock button is more useful than exposure compensation too).
I'd suggest a P30n or P30t over a K1000 for someone wanting to try film as they can get a fully working example for very little money, the metering is more accurate, and they can be used as a fully manual camera. The lack of an override for the DX coding is probably a bit annoying if you're into pushing or pulling film but you can either remember to under/overexpose to taste or use tape to alter the contact strips on the film cannister.
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