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Modern Classic SLRs Series :
Pentax LX - Message Board/Guestbook

Industry wide indications and ceasing film body development by Pentax altogether in early 2003 more than suggest the manual focus Pentax LX will not be having an upgrade (except, perhaps for very rare Limited Edition Models hand assembled by special commission by the new HoyaPentax Corporation). In 2008 Pentax became a division of Hoya Corporation, which had together with Pentax released jointly developed professional grade optics (since 2005); Pentax has shifted its attention to development of auto focus Digital SLRs having build qualities constructed for the long run--now with weather seals--like the LX. You may use this site for common support and sharing of mutual users knowledge or experiences among yourselves. You may also use this message board as a guestbook for the advanced users Pentax SLR cameras from the LX forward, including many such auto focus film cameras, and Pentax digital SLR cameras. We keep the site going too for the WORD SEARCH FEATURE found here as to its magnificent K mount system user archives: as have been shared here for many years. Have an inquiry related to Pentax gear? First try KEYING IN YOUR KEY WORD(S) for a preexisting archived response on your subject of inquiry from this LX site. If your inquiry or sharing is from advanced users K10D, K20D, or K200D SLR needs, proceed on to t NEW PENTAX ADVANCED USERS K10D, K20D SLR site.

This LX site was specifically created for the great Pentax LX SLR camera model(s), and now has incorporated increased opportunity for an expanded interchange with the introductions of the Pentax K10D, K20D, and K200D SLRs to include advanced and professional digital user models. Interchange is encouraged with the intention to continue as a forum for advanced system users of past K-mount film based SLR systems and the mentioned Pentax DSLRs. With decreasing forum traffic here, and enthusiasts moving on with SLR digital imaging products futures, we hope the continued convenience of this site and its past Pentax advanced LX users data archives--provided by the database KEY WORD SEARCH FEATURE found here--can be very useful to you. Most past site user techniques, systems components, and lenses of Pentax advanced applications--as have been past examined by users on this site--are still of use regarding the newest Pentax SLRs. Please don't mail us with other than constructive suggestions or to rectify mistakes found within this site, thank you. Since this is a non-profitable resource site, maintained by professional and advanced system users, the developer of this site reserves the rights to censor or delete any inappropriate, unrelated, misleading or excessively hostile messages posted herein. If your intention is to dispose of your Pentax cameras or its accompanying accessories and/or you are looking for a used model, or even for any of its system components: please use a separate section with a higher volume of related traffic for these purposes: on the
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1. From : Jay Hart (
Url : http://
Date : 06:23 AM Sunday 04 January, 2004

Pat, FYI, if you search back in Dec and Nov postings you will find Mico and I discussed these very lenses. I ran an actual test, with results on these. --Jay

2. From : Jay Hart (
Url : http://
Date : 05:19 AM Saturday 03 January, 2004

On auxillary lighting. Because we generally begin our photography with a first camera purchase, and resulting accessory line--where and when the results are positive--our loyalties are quickly formed around such. Since TTL light meters, then TTL flash, took care of earlier photo gear limits--founded in systems with evolving features on camera like automatic lens diaphragms, vs. preset ones, etc.--our loyalties too usually include the level of entry into whatever system is embraced. All these clubs, chat rooms, message boards, etc. around various systems and cameras tell us something about human nature. Certainly such factors into loyalty to one's country, creed, race, etc.

It would be wonderful if lighting was all on camera automatic, and could take care of output/outcome desires in various situations. Certainly, as Tony describes, letting TTL flash take care of fill needs outdoors is an area where TTL can shine (except, of course, when and where it will not work at all because of in camera brain selections when one wishes it to--as it can be with the LX TTL system). The fact remains, that as the many other functional variables of photography, some realities of photography are bigger than loyalty to any system, camera, lens quality, etc.

Lighting is not really so mysterious, where one uses a unit bounced from its presentation to the center point of a lighting umbrella, nor is aiming such a set-up very difficult. Choosing whether to use an umbrella as a diffuser: shooting through a white disrobed umbrella unit, as a disrobed from black cover unit; vs. using it as a pure reflector off a silver umbrella surface, or a dressed from black on the back of white units;is really quite easy once one gains a few shoots experience.

I think it is unrealistic to believe that ratioed for contrast triad lighting area three dimensional lighting can be achieved with TTL--it is simply not as such so controllable. It only takes a little effort with the experience, with umbrellas and stands, as mentioned, to become proficient at it. The key is as with all forms of photography, to begin to see light as film or sensors see it, and to aim and modify accordingly. Additional modifiers to variable output flash units and umbrellas are not really needed for 95% of all cases of artificial auxillary lighting. Mastering these simple tools for introducing artificial lighting is really as simple as mastering the four keys to depth of field in photography, also initially unknown by new equipment users and growing loyalists. Yet such mastery by knowledge begins to separate the prospective professional from the pure hobbiest amateur in time. --Jay

3. From : Pat (
Url : http://
Date : 04:35 AM Saturday 03 January, 2004

Hi All,

Happy New Year!

As a long time LX user I occasionally take a peep at this site to renew my faith - my two tired LX's await service in the new year.

Recently I have exchanged mail/views with Jay regarding the purchase of an MZ-S. My last mail to Jay is posted below and I welcome and value comments from other LX users about autofocus pentax lenses.

Finally got myself a used MZ-S - and all appears to be well.

Do you have any advice on the 28-105 or 24-90 zooms as a "standard" general purpose lens for use with the MZ-S?

I think I may have seen some reference to these lenses on the LX website. I'll have to check.

I have both a 28-70 FA/AL and 80-200 F zoom that I use with a (soon to go) MZ-5n. Both of these seem very low budget quality in manufacture, but results can be acceptable. Do you know much about these two lenses? What is the difference between FA and F? What is AL?

My collection of M series lenses I know very well but my autofocus knowledge is very much lacking.



4. From : Mico (
Url : http://
Date : 01:26 AM Saturday 03 January, 2004

Happy New Year! M.

5. From : Anton (
Url : http://
Date : 10:48 PM Friday 02 January, 2004

For the record, my experience of a warranty repair by Jessops is very good. I bought my first LX from them, walked home with it and experienced the joy of sticky mirror (but I didn't know what it was at that time) so I walked it straight back. They examined it, apologised, offered a refund or repair then promptly sent it away for my choice of repair - they serviced it while they were at it. No problems since, (4 years).

I have actually found them pretty good for older Pentax stuff. You can search their site for used gear in any of the 200+ shops and they will send it to your local shop for appraisal by you. If you decide to buy I have found their prices reasonable - I don't think they are all that interested in the old stuff really. On top of that you get that warranty, increasingly important with the ageing LX. The Jessops 'Classic' site is currently listing an LX in very good to excellent (and they usually mean that) condition for £349 and a SMC-A 35-105 f3.5 in very good condition (may have very minor marks or rubs) for £149. Considering the rock solid warranty I reckon this is pretty good going.

I'm tempted by the LX but no, no, no, no, NO


6. From : Ian (
Url : http://
Date : 10:19 AM Friday 02 January, 2004

I was watching Hitchcock's Rear Window the other night (a favorite). What was that SLR James Stewart uses? I've studied it a little, but have not managed to be conclusive. Anyone? My new year resolution: put my LX in for warranty repair with Jessops. Failed mirror lock. Next week, if I can keep film out of it for long enough. - Ian.

7. From : Ian (
Url : http://
Date : 12:13 AM Friday 02 January, 2004

Happy New Year!

8. From : Anton (
Url : http://
Date : 09:49 PM Thursday 01 January, 2004

Happy New Year Yes I'm attracted by the ease of TTL flash on the LX. I shall spend some time in a studio with model pen and notebook and experiment with various TTL positionings and also manual. Of late I find I've been trying something new (sometimes two or three new things - new film, Softar filter etc.) on a shoot and the results are variable (the last one was most disappointing) this is something I need to do when I'm not under pressure and where I can ask the model to hold a pose whilst I mess about with stuff - a new phase. Thanks for all the comments AB

Url : http://
Date : 06:08 PM Thursday 01 January, 2004

Anton – Jay’s comments about using the flash heads on manual are valid for consisting lighting effects. It can however take some time, sometime years, to become proficient at understanding where to place each flash, bounce card, umbrella etc, and what power to set each particular flash, so that you gain constant results. But once it becomes 'second-nature' you'll know exactly what power to set the flashes and what distances from subject to place them.

I tend to be a bit lazy in regard to flash set-ups and learning/calculating the various flash-to-subject distances etc, so more often set the flashes on TTL. I have had very good success by placing two to three AF280T flashes connected to Hotshoe grips + TTL leads at varying distances from the subject, and using added filters or white tissue (with elastic bands) over some flash heads to reduce harsh light. This tends to work better on outdoor subjects in conjunction with natural light rather than indoors where often the sole light is from the flashes. It is true that you may need to go through more film to obtain the odd few "superb" shots, but it is often easier to work with when you are constantly moving positions during fast-changing natural light. HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone!

10. From : Jay Hart (
Url : http://
Date : 08:59 AM Tuesday 30 December, 2003

Anton, I used to have the 400 Pentax units, but decided to go to Quantum battery packs that were interchangeable with all on hand battery flash units. This meant having each unit be 4 AA battery compatable. I also felt some disappointment with the recycling times of those Pentax units (as built by Sunpack at the time. It seemed too that when only NiCads were available, the C size was problematic as to holding a charge very long, and, frankly, the four AA units were recycling much faster).
So, I went totally Vivitar, which use the same battery clips, had a higher output, and so even for the TTL units. I've never looked back, and have delightful outcomes. The 285, which I do not have, has a built in variable output ratio control. The 283s, which I have for manual and for putting lighting in difficult spots, has a module which plugs into the place of the sensor for this variable output manual light purpose. Ratios are then easy to use--when you have battery reliability (another issue, though the new rechargeables dance rings around the old NiCads).

Today, I'd probably go with all Sunpack 4 AA battery units, as Vivitar has become less available, with accessories harder to find here when needed. Still, their add on angle filter system works well, as do their system accessories. For grab shots they bounce well off the back of a gray card, with the accessory holder for it. Whoever designed that unit--still sold, and bought by pros--some 25+ years ago knew portrait lighting and designed the unit around it. They knew too a journalist's needs. THere is available an AC power pack, 510 volt power pack, and I use Quantum Bantams with any and all of my battery flash units. I have no use for the high output "turbo" type batteries, which often ruin battery unit's capacitors. A sports or wedding photographer might. As for moving lights away from the subject to achieve ratios, it is possible, but problematic in that the light then spreads out to the on Camera or on main light sensor, if trying TTL. You may be able to create a black cardboard "snoot" for the fill light. Or, you could rent a D*ist for a day and get all this figured out with the ISO you usually use, perhaps with the lenses you usually use (if they have the A contacts). Another way to increase subject to flash distance, and resulting light fall off is to bounce from a white or silver surface, or shoot through a foldaway diffuser.

The best thing is to go to your local library and look at some lighting set-up portrait books, and see how they do it. That is how I started with it back when B&W was portrait king. I still bike and hike daily, so something must have continued beyond this phase. I still have a Beseler enlarger for silver-chrome printing, though color has gone all computer manipulation and ink-jet gradient outputs. As the medium format Kodak digital back has made a digital believer out of me, I hope to get a Pentax DSLR on the second release, or the full-format DSLR release. Friends and publishers here are using the Canon small format DSLR system with great results. Sometime soon I'll post the second chapter following my already posted introduction on scanner sampled film digital file generations vs. digital file in camera originations. Because of all scanners sample limits I am convinced the digital in camera originations are the way to invest in all future gear. Plus, it is the choice for most R&D development by manufacturers with good reason. Soon film will go the way of everyday B&W use. Even so, the LX is a precision instrument, with great optics, and incredible user loyalty. And the basics for 3D lighting will stay constant film or digital. As for today's digital use I recommend the tests on the "Fred Miranda" digital users site. I've been following it and others now for a couple of years. I risked buying a Sigma long prime because of this validation by such users, and Globetrotter's recommendation, and have not been disappointed. --Jay

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