The LX does seem a bit more highly strung than the other Pentax MF bodies. I get the impression that unless the one you're about to buy comes with a receipt to prove a recent CLA from a reputable workshop then you need to budget for that treatment in the near future.
Meanwhile the only thing which seems to be able to kill a K series is serious mistreatment, such as dropping from a great height or drowning.
I forgot to mention earlier that the original three K series can all handle film up to 6400 ASA (3200 on the K1000), for some reason the MX was limited to 1600. Again, very odd given that Pentax obviously had the electronics to handle a wider ASA range but just chose not to fit them to the newer model. I would wonder if they decided to limit it as there wasn't much film of that speed rating available at the time - "The Asahi Pentax Way" which came out around then regards 200 ASA as blisteringly fast, and the idea that people might be still using the cameras over thirty years on with faster films probably didn't play a huge part in the design process!
Les that's a beautiful shot of Hoover Dam with the new (ugly) bridge. I've never been there at night.
Originally Posted by Les Sarile
You got the point I was trying to make, I really wish it worked like it should, they seem to be pretty decent, but getting a working one locally might be next to impossible sadly, so I made peace with the fact I will never own one (that works) and use the other two, but man did I feel good in my hands.... probably not the ultimate selling point, but if it it feels comfortable to hold. The only "issue" I have with MX it is just that centimeter and a half to small, maybe a winder will make it "better", IDK....
Originally Posted by Roger Cole
The MX was too small for my taste (great viewfinder though) but I did use the one I owned briefly with a winder. With the winder it fits great.
Back to the LX...I wouldn't mind owning another one someday but before I decide to I will ask Eric Hendrickson if parts are coming harder for him to obtain.
The MX IS a bit small. The LX is probably the perfect handy size but I don't find the MX too small or fiddly at all, just small. YMMV of course.
I am considering sending my LX to Eric though. It seems too many frames have tilted horizontals compared to my other cameras and I'm really beginning to wonder if it's something in the fit of the finder.
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I tried this and for a while I was just firing a shutter, but after a while I managed to do it. The best way I can describe it is as if your finger is coming into land on the shutter button, hits the button hard for a fraction of a second and comes back up instantly...
Originally Posted by Amir Aziz
Thanks Bill but it was really because of the Pentax LX's unique metering - and knowing it's metering pattern, that allowed me to capture the scene correctly with one shot. No doubt you can use WAG and bulb mode and bracketing with all other cameras to make the same shot but it's nothing for the Pentax LX. Long exposures don't lend itself well to bracketing multiple exposures!
Originally Posted by wblynch
As for the bridge, it was just made as quickly as possible to bypass the dam due to 911.
Can't say that I've heard any such issues with regards to cracking on the LX - as well as all the PRO interchangeable viewfinders of the era?
Originally Posted by Steve Roberts
I also wonder about any other issues reported whether or not they are just hearsay or because they picked up a malfunctioning LX to begin with such as reported by R.C. I have bought my fair share of various cameras (brands and models) and I can say that I have acquired some that are not factory functional and not just out of tolerance. But both LX's I have acquired used/secondhand are troublefree. More anecdotal reporting.
In any case, research has led me to acquire the magazine reviews back in the day when they would actually disassemble the cameras to see just how they were constructed and there was no reviewer doubting the construction of the LX particularly compared to it's peers. Pentax was all-in from parts selection, sophisticated design and manufacturing.
However, there is no doubt that not everyone may need - nor even use, the sophisticated metering of the LX, it's robust construction, weatherproof seal, finder/screen options, accurate film advance and rewind, modern TTL flash accuracy and world of system options. Personally I like the elegant minimalist design that did away with adding a viewfinder blind (as the meter is not influenced by light coming into the VF) as well as multiexposure control (film can be rewound and advanced frame accurate).
No doubt that if you need the unique sophisticated functionalities of the LX, they're good to have . . .
I have owned and used the LX for a number of years. Having little experience with most other camera brands I really cannot comment on them, but I can attest to my own experience with the LX. It is my most used 35mm camera. In the years I have been shooting the LX I have never had a problem with cracking shutter curtains or many of the other things reported here. However, my oldest camera did start having some minor problems with the mirror sticking, so I sent it in for an overhaul. I have since picked up two more bodies that each work perfectly, but my first one still gets the lions share of the work and continues to hold up very, very well. Occasionally I read about someone who has had some problems with their LX, but this has certainly not been my own experience with them.
When I absolutely have to get the shot, this is my camera. It goes to all the family events. The viewfinder is stunningly bright, the brightest I have ever seen, and I can easily grab focus manually, even in some very poorly lit situations. I also own an M6 and Leica rangefinders are renowned for their low light focusing ability, but this LX will focus just as well as the M6. The metering is phenomenal, and it is very rare to miss the exposure. It is also amazingly flexible. If I see a situation where I want to grab a shot from a very low perspective, and am not in a position to lie down (like the middle of Disneyland), I can quickly remove the prism viewfinder, kneel down holding the camera near my feet, focus by looking down into the ground glass where the missing viewfinder prism would be like I was using a Rolleiflex, check my exposure, and get the shot. I don't know of many other cameras that can do that.
Obviously it isn't perfect, I can't think of a camera that is. As many, many people have moaned about, you cannot use mirror lock up and the self timer together. It is one or the other, but not both. I wear eyeglasses that darken in the bright sun and sometimes I can't see the shutter speed LED in the viewfinder without taking them off. Another thing that bothers some people is the lack of auto exposure lock. This is not a big issue for me since I can quickly switch to manual exposure if I need. I have heard a few complaints about the Pentax Magic Fingers on the film take up spool, but that is a terrific feature in my opinion. Once I actually figured out how that works I have never mis-loaded another roll of film, even in the dark.
And all of this goes without mentioning the magnificent lenses that can be used on this camera. The SMC Pentax M 50/1.4 is in the top tier of lenses, no matter who built them. Finally, put the SMC Pentax 40/2.8 pancake on the front and you have a 35mm SLR that literally can slide into a coat pocket and go with you anywhere you go.
No...not a heretic...you are just missing out on one of the best 35mm cameras ever built. But, as Les has mentioned, not everyone needs the features provided with this camera, some of which are not available on any other camera.
BTW, in the October 1981 Modern Photography magazine, Herb Keppler wrote an article with a more pragmatic perspective regarding the three kings of the era - LX, F3 & F-1. Simply he states that these super SLRs were meant primarilly for pros with more emphasis on reliability requirements over features. Leaving non-essential features means less things to break. And that this does not mean that the lesser new offerings - or even the previous models, were any less capable and certainly more affordable.