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  1. #41
    lxdude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by puketronic View Post
    I also realized that you cannot change the screens for the FM but I believe you can for the MX and I know you can for the OM's and so I think that I am leaning towards one of those now.
    The MX can take numerous different screens. It also takes the LX screens, which are brighter. The extra brightness means the meter might underexpose up to 1/3 stop. Not a problem for me, though the meter can be easily adjusted by a service shop to compensate.

    Is the MX and OM with their respective compact lenses (40mm f2.0 & 50mm f1.8 for Olympus and 40mm f2.8 & 50mm f1.7 for Pentax) in the same league in terms of size? More precisely: MX + 40mm vs OM + 40mm and MX + 50mm vs OM + 50mm. Both cameras/lenses seem very suitable, in terms of size. From the picture provided by Les Sarile, it seems so, but I'm unsure which lenses those are.
    I don't know about the 40mm lenses, but IMO with the 50mm lenses they are definitely in the same league.

    Focus and viewfinder is important to me too.

    Is it practical to focus with any of these combinations with an all-matte screen? I don't like focus-aids which is one reason why I tend to not use 35mm SLR's.
    I use an all-matte LX screen in one of my MX's and a matte/microprism dot LX screen in the other. And my LX and Nikon F3HP both have all-matte screens. I find for me, focusing aids are only needed in dim light.

    The OM-1 and MX cameras feel different and have some differences in features. I like both better than the FM series because I find the FM finder "squinty" and hard to use with glasses.

    The MX has a more traditional layout, with the shutter speed knob on top, aperture ring at the rear of the lens, and DoF preview lever on the front. F/stop and shutter speed are both visible in the finder. Meter indication is by LED. The viewfinder magnification is somewhat more than the OM-1's though the OM-1's is (I think) next largest, and they both show almost the entire picture area. The shutter knob on MX's is heavily detented, making it harder to turn than on most cameras. Once used to it, it's not that a big deal to me or others I've talked to about it.
    The OM-1 has the shutter speed ring on the front around the lens mount and the aperture ring in front of the focusing ring on prime lenses. DoF preview is by a button on each lens. Meter indication is by needle, and f/stop and shutter speed are not visible in the finder.

    Subjectively, this is my take on each. I would gladly use either. They are both great machines. Both are very quiet and have very low vibration, especially on first curtain opening (when it really counts).

    I chose Pentax because of the LX. It's a beautifully made machine about the same size and weight of a Nikon FM/FE, but with excellent, bright and clear interchangeable finders and is almost as easy to use with glasses as the F3HP. I also have two MX's and two ME Supers and what stands out for me with all is compactness and great viewfinders. Another reason, not to be discounted, is that I had always used lenses with controls that turned the same way (Fujica ST, Pentax Takumar, Nikon). I didn't have to retrain myself after four decades, especially as I still use some Nikon stuff.

    My point is that I chose based on aggregate reasons. If I were looking for what you're looking for, it's hard for me to say if I would have settled on the MX or the OM-1.

    The unusual control locations on the OM-1 make it for me an ergonomic delight. Some people don't like it, but I find for me it makes the camera very easy to use, handling as if it's larger than it is. I find the viewfinder very easy on the eyes, even with glasses, though as with the MX, it's so big it's hard to take it all in at a glance. The sensation with both is sort of like sitting a little close to a movie screen. But there's something about the OM finder that feels a little better to my eye than the MX. On the other hand, it has a little less contrast than the MX, just not quite as crisp, so it can be a little harder to find perfect focus without an aid. The lack of information in the OM finder would be a problem for me sometimes, especially with hand-held macro where I am often changing both shutter and aperture settings. The original meter battery is a mercury type, so you will have either use the air-cell type battery or have it adjusted to take the 1.5V silver oxide battery (what I would do). Or if you get lucky, it will have already been adjusted.

    The OM-1n is the newest model and IMO, the one to get. It has a flash ready light in the finder, and supposedly Olympus made some internal changes for improved function and durability. Regarding flash on camera, the hot shoe on the OM-1 is detachable, and it has a tendency to crack or break. The MX hot shoe is permanent and quite durable.

    If you could handle each one, that might decide it for you right there. They are both really good. Even with lenses-my Pentax M-series lenses are small, light, and smooth. The OM lenses are the same, but also (to me) have a jewel-like quality to them that is obviously subjective. On the other hand, when Olympus went to plastic for some of their aperture rings, the rings lost their precision feel for me, feeling cheap and no longer nearly as smooth.

    What really matters is which combination of features and feel works for you. If you can get to a photographic swap meet in your area (there's a couple a month here in SoCal) then you would have an opportunity to handle each and decide. Or, given prices these days, you could buy both and just sell the one you don't want.

    Here is something interesting to illustrate what I'm saying: I never had any interest in the ME Super. I don't use AE and I didn't like the push-button shutter changing when I tried it on the Pentax 645. But one day a friend needing money offered to sell me his ME Super. I bought it to help him out more than to have the camera. My first impression was that it had a nice viewfinder and felt good in my hands. I set it aside and didn't even pick it up for a couple of years. One day I decided to sell it, and went to clean it up. I could see it needed new seals and probably a CLA, so I figured I'd sell it cheap. But while I was messing with it I started realizing what a good job Pentax had done on the camera. The viewfinder was very bright, clear and contrasty, it felt good in my hands even though it was tiny, it had a nice balance and feel. It just had a charm to it. So I decided to get it CLA'd ($63), and to use it for a while even though its non-interchangeable screen had the split-image/microprism and I didn't like the push-button shutter change. I found upon using it that once I figured out how to best use the push buttons they ceased to be an issue, and I can now change speeds quickly and precisely. I use the focusing aids because they are there even though I prefer plain matte. It's become my usual walking around coat-pocket camera with a 28 or the tiny Pentax 24-35 zoom, plus a 50 and sometimes something longer.
    So until you handle something you'll never know for sure if you'll like it. Specs and features are not the whole story.
    Last edited by lxdude; 03-15-2014 at 05:41 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    I do use a digital device in my photographic pursuits when necessary.
    When someone rags on me for using film, I use a middle digit, upraised.

  2. #42
    andrew.roos's Avatar
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    If you are feeling wealthy then the Leica R6/6.2 with 50mm 'cron would be worth considering. Small (but not light) SLR, fully mechanical shutter with spot and centre weighted metering. But pricey.

    Sent from my GT-I9300 using Tapatalk
    "There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs" (Ansel Adams)

  3. #43

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    The one thing about the Pentax MX is that the shutter speed dial is too tightly sprung. At least it is on my camera. You have to use considerable effort to change speeds.

    I also find that the body is a shade too small, although I like that the self-timer doubles as the depth-of-field preview lever.

    For my taste, the ideal camera body size is the Minolta XD-11, Nikon FM/FE, Contax 139, Canon AE-1, etc.

  4. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by elekm View Post
    The one thing about the Pentax MX is that the shutter speed dial is too tightly sprung. At least it is on my camera. You have to use considerable effort to change speeds.

    I also find that the body is a shade too small, although I like that the self-timer doubles as the depth-of-field preview lever.

    For my taste, the ideal camera body size is the Minolta XD-11, Nikon FM/FE, Contax 139, Canon AE-1, etc.
    Half of a never-ready case makes it the perfect size, and a little added bump protection, for me. Grabbing for it while fighting the pump while climbing has never been an issue with this set up, unlike some of my larger cameras. Also, it must be a fairly common issue, the shutter speed dial thing, but I haven't experienced it yet. It is stiffer than other cameras I've had, but I can easily flick through shutter speeds with my index finger. Mine is overdue for a CLA, and there's a teeny bit of play in the knob, so maybe mine is just wearing out =/
    New-ish convert to film.
    Pentax MX for 35mm
    Bronica ETRS for 645

  5. #45
    lxdude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by elekm View Post
    The one thing about the Pentax MX is that the shutter speed dial is too tightly sprung. At least it is on my camera. You have to use considerable effort to change speeds.
    Yes, they are all that way. I have adjusted to it and automatically use more force, and can one-finger it. It no longer bothers me. But given especially that the knob is shorter than on most other cameras, giving less area to get hold of, it's definitely tighter than it needs to be. I've often wondered why they made it so tight. Maybe a repair person could take some tension out of the detent.

    I also find that the body is a shade too small, although I like that the self-timer doubles as the depth-of-field preview lever.

    For my taste, the ideal camera body size is the Minolta XD-11, Nikon FM/FE, Contax 139, Canon AE-1, etc.
    A lot of guys find the body to be too small, though I'm fine with it, and I don't have small hands. Same with the OM-1 for some folks. To me, the OM-1 handles larger than the MX due to its control layout. You illustrate the subjectivity of camera choice- no matter how nice, if a machine isn't right for you, it's just not.
    A main reason I like the LX is that it gives F3/F1N capabilities in a body more the size and weight of the cameras you mentioned. I think that for a lot of people, that category is the sweet spot.
    I do use a digital device in my photographic pursuits when necessary.
    When someone rags on me for using film, I use a middle digit, upraised.

  6. #46
    lxdude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fretlessdavis View Post
    Half of a never-ready case makes it the perfect size, and a little added bump protection, for me.
    Good idea!
    I do use a digital device in my photographic pursuits when necessary.
    When someone rags on me for using film, I use a middle digit, upraised.

  7. #47
    fretlessdavis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lxdude View Post
    Good idea!
    Unfortunately, the original Pentax ones are impossible to find. A little known secret I discovered after buying 4 off-brand ones from a going-out-of-business sale... The Diamond Brand M Series cases fit MX's. They're a but loose and unusable in the ME Super/ME/MG/MV that they're designed for, but they fit on the MX snugly, with minor splaying:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I'd avoid that lens, though-- The S-M-C Takumar 28mm f/3.5. Dim in the finder, and unsharp. I may have been unlucky, but out of 2, neither were that good.

    Maybe I have bad luck with 28mm's in general, as my SMC-M 28mm had it's rear group fall out, breaking the mirror and scratching the focusing screen of my ME Super. I also had a Vivitar 28mm f/2.5 that stopped focusing to infinity after a rough trip in my camera bag, and I accidentally unmounted my second S-M-C Tak 28mm (using the Pentax M42 adapter with the lock removed), dropping it a few feet onto concrete...
    New-ish convert to film.
    Pentax MX for 35mm
    Bronica ETRS for 645

  8. #48

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    I had an OM-1 for some years when they were still made, and I never found it particularly robust. I also knew someone who had an ME and MX, and they weren't as solid as other cameras of the era, internally or externally. By contrast a friend had a Nikkormat and treated it in a way I wouldn't have dared treat my Olympus. These things are always subjective, but the fashion for smaller SLRs didn't always translate into utility. They are the kind of cameras that encourage the use of a case, which kind of defeats the object if size is the overriding factor.

  9. #49
    lxdude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fretlessdavis View Post
    Unfortunately, the original Pentax ones are impossible to find. A little known secret I discovered after buying 4 off-brand ones from a going-out-of-business sale... The Diamond Brand M Series cases fit MX's. They're a but loose and unusable in the ME Super/ME/MG/MV that they're designed for, but they fit on the MX snugly, with minor splaying:

    I'd avoid that lens, though-- The S-M-C Takumar 28mm f/3.5. Dim in the finder, and unsharp. I may have been unlucky, but out of 2, neither were that good.

    Maybe I have bad luck with 28mm's in general, as my SMC-M 28mm had it's rear group fall out, breaking the mirror and scratching the focusing screen of my ME Super. I also had a Vivitar 28mm f/2.5 that stopped focusing to infinity after a rough trip in my camera bag, and I accidentally unmounted my second S-M-C Tak 28mm (using the Pentax M42 adapter with the lock removed), dropping it a few feet onto concrete...
    Yeah, sounds like it!
    I'm surprised that you found the S-M-C Takumar (which would make it the later version of the 28/3.5 Takumar) to not be sharp.
    It's well regarded, as is the SMC Pentax 28/3.5, the same lens in K-mount.
    I do use a digital device in my photographic pursuits when necessary.
    When someone rags on me for using film, I use a middle digit, upraised.

  10. #50
    fretlessdavis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lxdude View Post
    Yeah, sounds like it!
    I'm surprised that you found the S-M-C Takumar (which would make it the later version of the 28/3.5 Takumar) to not be sharp.
    It's well regarded, as is the SMC Pentax 28/3.5, the same lens in K-mount.
    I had assumed the K and S-M-C were the same, but I recently found out that the K 28mm f/3.5 was a totally new design. The K 28mm f/3.5 is definitely sharper than the 2.8 versions, and both seem to be better than the M42 versions. Again, maybe I was just unlucky with sample variation.

    Maybe I'm just spoiled by my Super Tak 35mm, which is the sharpest lens I own. Looks incredible at f/5.6.

    Sadly a new 28mm for my 35mm system is a long way down the list. At the moment, a Geronar 210mm, ETRS 40mm PE, some carbon fiber cloth and resin (LF psuedo-restoration project to get something massively light AND durable to drag with me climbing), a polarized glass LED panel, and a new tripod all need to come before that...
    New-ish convert to film.
    Pentax MX for 35mm
    Bronica ETRS for 645

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