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  1. #1

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    Pentax's Best 35mm K mount SLR?

    I have owned 5 of them: the LX, the MX, the K1000, the MZ-7 (autofocus), and the P30T. Of all these, I say that for general everyday shooting the MX is tough to beat. The shutter releases so beautifully and with very little recoil. It's very quiet, and the size and weight were initially reasons I decided against it, but now that I own one I love it. I love the secret mirror lockup function, and the ability to run without batteries.

    The LX is another contender: better metering system, more available accessories, weather sealed. The problem is, although it is small compared to an F3, it's still much bigger than the MX. It's a beautiful camera, and I love it's Aperture-Priority mode, but the shutter is much louder. Rewinding film isn't silent like the MX; the camera counts each frame backward. Cool feature but makes the camera noisier as it grinds backwards to 0. And forget about using the Winder LX: every time i use that thing the cat runs away and people next door turn their lights on to see what the commotion is about.

    P30T: updated K1000 essentially. Cheap and lightweight. Good viewfinder. But only sets ISO by DX. No manual ISO override. Makes this camera a non-starter for me, since I don't want to reuse scavenged cartridges or scratch off the paint on my non-coded cassettes for my bulk film. Other than that, a good camera. I love that the shutter speed dial is flush with the body, but accessible by a ridge on the front of the camera. The rewind crank is pure plastic which worries me. Seems just as, if not more, quiet than the MX. All-plastic so no light seals to turn into tar and stick on your film.

    K1000 is certainly Pentax's best selling camera (probably in history, even to modern day). Best selling doesn't equal best, look at Microsoft Windows. Doesn't need batteries unless you want metering. Later Chinese models had tons of problems.

    MZ-7: tiny viewfinder. Autofocus is good, but does you no good with M-series Primes. Toggle switch instead of dial makes selecting shutter speeds tedious. Motor drive is very loud.

    What do you think? Is one of these Pentax's best in your mind, or is a different body I didn't mention their best?

  2. #2
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    Best for What?

    I guess it depends on what you need. For me, it boils down to two cameras.

    First, the K1000. If what you are looking for is a totally simple, SLR that will take just about any picture you want without intrusion, the K1000 (or the KM) is that camera. If you know enough about light to get your own shot then the K1000 can do it for you.

    Now, if you need some additional features then I vote for the LX. It comes with a bleeding edge full frame, interchangeable sensor. ISO sensitivity to 3200. 20 megapixel plus resolution (depends on the sensor you choose). Solid, compact, weather resistant, all metal body. Supports every lens that Pentax has ever manufactured with the exception of a few of the early 39mm screw mount lenses and some of the later DA lenses without aperture rings. Magnificent, off-the-sensor, center-weighted metering that is sensitive and accurate within a range of -6.5 EV to +20 EV. Clear, pentaprism viewfinder with 98% coverage and split prism focus assistance. Interchangeable viewfinders and screens. Battery life that is measured in years, not number of shots. Dedicated synch port for studio lighting.

    I choose them both, and use them based on my mood for the day.

  3. #3

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    That depends...

    If you're looking for a camera that can be used without batteries, the K1000 is probably a good bet.

    If you want some automation and don't care if you need batteries, the ME Super with its 4s-1/2000s shutter speed range and small size is a sweet camera. The P30T isn't bad but I don't like that there's no such thing as exposure compensation on that body. If you want exposure compensation you have to go into metered manual mode. And as a previous poster said, no film speed override, film speed is set by DX code only.

    Right now my favorite AF body is the PZ-20. It has DX code override, reasonable AF, Tv/Av exposure modes, 5 programmed AE modes, 4 of which have the ability to have the program shifted, and a bunch of other bells and whistles that I'll probably never use. I can also use non-A lenses on it. And if I so choose, I can turn all (or part) of the automation off.
    ME Super

    Shoot more film.
    There are eight ways to put a slide into a projector tray. Seven of them are wrong.

  4. #4

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    Have a look here:

    http://www.pentaxforums.com/camerareviews/

    I only have bodies from the MZ series (MZ-M , 5n, 6, 7, 50) so if you have any questions about those you're welcome. The two I use the most are the MZ-M (manual focus, split prism, great for manual lenses) and the MZ-6 (which is the most modern of the ones mentioned, AF and with P-TTL as found on modern DSLRs).

    The MZ-6 is kind of the "older brother" to the MZ-7, more features etc.

    Cheers
    /J.F. Felinik
    http://street-photos.net/ | http://felinik.com/ | http://www.facebook.com/jf.felinik

    "The one with the most stuff when he dies wins"

  5. #5

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    I wasn't really asking which camera I should buy, as I already own enough Pentax SLRs and probably won't buy any more for a while (the only one I am remotely interested in is the MZ-S, but I don't have any autofocus glass so I'm not that interested). I just wanted to start a discussion on some of the greats in Pentax's past; the LX, MX, K1000, etc.

    I haven't used a stinker with the Pentax name yet. They've all been well-made, well thought out cameras. And the lenses are fantastic as well, especially my SMC-M 100mm f/2.8.

  6. #6

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    The LX is certainly a nice camera and I don't argue if one said that it's the best. But other than that I would say the MX or KX must be of much higher ranking than the K1000 for a mechanical camera.

  7. #7

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    I agree with Chan. The K1000 I think is overrated since it's so popular. It's only popular because it was an inexpensive, bare-bones camera for beginners. Nowadays college photography professors often recommend students buy used K1000's, which has kept the price high. You can get an MX or KX for the same cost as a K1000, maybe even cheaper.

    I got an MX and 50 f/2 off Craigslist for $40 yesterday.

  8. #8

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    In the manual focus era there is the LX which is just a joy to use, especially with the FB/FC finder, and then the MX with just the features you need in a tiny package. For auto focus it is the MZ-S with all of its technological features and then the MZ-3 or MZ-5n for the traditional dial layout for manual control (how I hated the single control wheel of my Z70).

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by brofkand View Post
    The K1000 I think is overrated since it's so popular. It's only popular because it was an inexpensive, bare-bones camera for beginners.
    That is what everyone says and yet I think you miss the point. I think the reason that the K1000 is so popular is because it is "an inexpensive, bare-bones camera". Forget the beginner stuff. And it is a Tough camera, with a capital "T". Even the cameras that we put down because they were built in China are still tough, capable, SLRs.

    There are tons of people out there today, myself included, that would buy "an inexpensive, bare-bones" digital SLR that worked just like the K1000. Unfortunately it would probably cost more than I can afford to get that level of simplicity built in to a digital camera today. Don't kid yourself, it is specifically that simplicity, that lack of automation, in the middle of a complex, digital world that makes that camera so popular.

  10. #10

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    The KX if not the MX also is just as tough if not tougher than the K1000. Often, especially the KX can be had for less than the K1000 and yet in the late 70's the KX was selling for about twice the price of the K1000 new and it was worth it. The KX and MX have some more features than the K1000 but not added any more automation, complexity. The added feature of the KX vs the K1000 is mirror lock up, DOF preview, meter switch, SPD light meter vs CdS in the K1000, aperture and shutter speed readout in viewfinder. None of these features you can call nonsense nor added complexity.

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