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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.

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1. From : Ian (
Url : http://
Date : 10:30 AM Friday 17 October, 2003

Please don't tell me that CCD's don't suffer from pixel bloom far worse than film does. My scanner cannot give me sharp grain. It lacks the definition (40.8MP), essentially resolution. A CCD's resolution is it's matrix. This has sharp edges. And is fixed, anything above this is interpolation. There is a difference interpreting these images. As regards dynamic range, or the ability to handle via software or otherwise the output values of a digital image, I'm not impressed (soon to be, I've no doubt). Film is of course compressed in it's chroma and luminance values. So is digital. I've yet to see highlight detail as good as film in a digitally originated shot. If I piss with the levels, the digital shot drops to wedges real quick. A really good tranny scanned at 16bit (48bit) with 16 multipass (210MB) shows me more shadow detail than I've seen with a 6.3MP (Canon CMOS) shot yet. It's getting very close. Digital is very good at fooling the eye. It tends to of had an increase in saturation, contrast and sharpness (the camera is doing this as part of it's internal "correction" routines). The raw image from a CCD is actually pretty piss-poor, firmware has a huge part to play before we've even pushed the data down to our hard drives or memory cards. If you could take each silver halide as a pixel, it too having perfect vector style edging, and then run a fractal imaging routine on those silver haildes. We would find that film has a lot of mileage. Each grain becoming a pixel (with appropriate "edges"). Digital will of course continue with what sells, so we'll probably never see what film is really capable of in a digital environment. Essentially, digital lacks soul. Try to get a Tri-X shot and you won't. You'll get something different. Cleaner, but not smoother. We're back to subjective issues. This perceived subjectiveness will move to your personal preference of "chip". And so forth. I confess, the output from an 11MP Canon SLR is pretty damn impressive. Just remember one thing. DVD is now perceived as bang-on. It fools the eye with a very high dynamic range and very high signal to noise ratio. Spend a few minutes with discreet cosine transforms (the lossy compression used), and you'll soon see that your eye is being fooled with quite an appalling image. (freeze frame). D1 (8bit), moved to D5 (10bit), and so forth. Digital is coming, but right now it's in a consumer honeymoon period.

2. From : Anton (
Url : http://
Date : 07:21 AM Friday 17 October, 2003

Phil, I have no idea but... the LX takes care of the flash exposure itself (this is one of its strong points). If the Centon flash is not TTL compatible why not consider getting the Pentax ring flash (I have seen a few about) and your flash exposure worries are over.


p.s. the email address for me listed here is useless. I get so much spam that I just delete everything 'cause there's too much to sort through... reminds me of some of my digital camera touting friends but err let's not go there!

Ffordes Photographis are advertising the following:
AF080C Ringflash[Pentax] Ex Demo £225.00

3. From : Phil Ashman (
Url : http://
Date : 03:03 AM Friday 17 October, 2003

Evening all,

I have read and appreciate everyones comments on the digital - v - film subject and feel that there are no further comments I can make that would be worthwhile.
To that in mind I would like to ask some advice on equipment.
As you know I have recently bought a Sigma 105mm 1:1 macro to use with my LX instaed of 50mm plus extension tubes. Problem is I cannot get the exposure right with my ring flash. Generally too dark. The ring flash is a Centon MR20 and the guide is telling me, for example, a 100mm at 1 ft. on 100asa should be an aperture of F11.
Now the query I have is that is the distance measured from the flash to subject, or film plane to subject?
I have been measuring from the flash to the subject, but of course with a 105 macro when extended there is then a considerable further distance to the actual film plane.
I know that I should take a series of tests on a set measured subject distance, but just wondered if I am measuring from the wrong point?


4. From : Jay Hart (
Url : http://
Date : 02:49 AM Friday 17 October, 2003

Folks, and now Tony (returns), So, some publications are still taking transparencies at this time for their use and purposes. In side by side comparisons of scenic detail--even with a 6 MP camera's color rendering, definition, and evenness of detail--it is DSLR originations, vs. scanned digital files sampled by a scanner off film which are the editorially selected preferences. Stay tuned, as I will offer documentation for this preference. It is the visible results from film which are lacking in definition, comparative sharpness, and evenness of detail in a scene (this is not about the type or sampling of a scanner, which can only give what film's limits establish).

Section for section of a scene the DSLRs are a notable improvement. Publishers generally require a 48MB (not MP) file size to manipulate for their possible uses. This is currently found as inherent from tools like the Kodak 15 MP back for my 6X 4.5 camera. This is preferred over a film scan at this time by the publishers I serve. What they actually use is most often an 18 to 32 MB file in the final analysis. They like to begin with more visual information than a 35mm film origination can offer.

As for seeing what you get, no film camera offers this luxury in any form. As for the limits of an LCD screen, just so. It is a field visualization tool, not a final output. A notebook computer used for downloading in the field, or checked periodically from files managed each day, from a given downloaded file shows exactly what total information there is from the origination and offers the user capacity to tweak or change it, which no user can do at a photo lab, or on site with a film camera. As for color balance and color management issues, this also is part and parcel to the DIGITAL WORKFLOW reality. DSLRs give far more shadow detail than transparency film. There is no comparison actually. But we are used to the film "look", as will be pointed out in further postings. This "look" compresses the available tones in a scene (hence development over the years for B&W shooters of the Zone System. The basis for transparency film is a silver hallide or other silver chemical technology, B&W filmlike, film tonal compression): this means we are used to compressing literally hundreds of scenic tones down to ten to twenty-five, depending on the film being used. We are used to seeing its very contrasty results, and crafting our shots around this as one of many photographic realities.

Digital formats compress far far less, and pick up shadow and other detail not seen previously--with a price of the film contrast-compression "look". So, viewing a histogram of a digital file, which one can do on the Pentax DSLR in the field, one just adjusts both ends in a few seconds for a less flat, more contrasty, "film look" (as desired for snap). If that is what one so desires. Hundreds of other "looks", as to contrast, brightness, tonal rendition, levels, color balance, etc. are inherently adjustable with the generated TIFF or extended RAW format files. These are then adjustable b origination information, not compensatable from a file from a scanner. This makes a considerable difference as originations without the inherent tonal compression limits of film. Recall that the first 35mm cameras were thought out around spooled 35mm film, as available from making motion pictures. In "the gate" motion picture film is always in motion when being shot, and never still enough for capturing a truly sharp image. Still cameras made the switch from the gate to the film flattening plate, but cannot make the switch to a totally flat media, as with a DSLR sensor array's lightgathering well.

The kind of easy adjustment available from a digital origination is not so easy from a scanned image digital file, by the original image's film tonal and color information's compression on film, nor is it so easy to overcome its inherent lack of scene-available definition and detail. 35mm film, unlike 4X5 film, limits the available sampling detail in its origination by its comparatively tiny size. No matter what equipment is used it still will be photographing on a very small piece of film, with a three dimensional flexible chemically based emulsion which scatters the light hitting its surface. Digital sensor array wells simply do not do this. That is why they are so telling of the quality of the lens being used.

Long ago we moved from in the field glass plates to motion picture roll film for its then marked improvements. It is now clear, since the Canon D1s, the Kodak 14MP DSLR, and the Fuji S2 (which can originate 12MP) that it is possible to both meet publisher's file size preferences in origination, and radically improve the available color information and detail from a scene over a tiny piece of 35mm film.

I will do further posts on the emerging technology and the reasons it is now prefered over scanned images by publishers who possess newer printing technology. Certainly publishers who possess older printing technology will attempt to use older methods to keep their capital investments going a while longer.
Drum scanners really come into their own when using a larger piece of film than 35mm film. There is not much gained from using a drum scanner over the 5400DPI Minolta someone has invested in here. The wow is not from the scanner, but from the origination media, if there is to be any wow. 35mm film is inherently too small to render the scenic detail found of a 4X5, 5X7, or 8X 10 view camera. A Kodak 6X4.5cm digital back on such a format sized camera can even overcome a 4X5 view camera's detail rendering capacities. Imagine what a 14MP (x3 for MB) small format DSLR can do to film's abilities.

I hope for some more responses from the recent posting prior to offering more from my research, as Pt 1 B on DSLR originations vs. scanned images here. --Jay

Url : http://
Date : 09:12 PM Thursday 16 October, 2003

Yes, there is a long way still to go with improvement in DSLR's, - in-camera colour balance and on-street selling prices being a few of many - But it will come.....prices will fall drastically, vast improvements will be made bi-monthly.....and we will all end up owning the same-looking camera that produces the same-looking prints that will show a pimple on a moon's crater.......and maybe also we'll buy the same-looking drive to the same supermarket.

One of the greatest advantages of DSLR's is being able to actually check each image immediately (even though the colour and brightness of that image shown on a camera back LED display bears no resemblance to the final printed image...).

For the moment though, I'll stick with my 35mm Velvia long as the editors still love paying for my work.

Transparencies drum-scanned at 400pix per inch are well above the standard required to produce very high-grade photos in a book at the standard 300dpi.

.....Oh, and another thing......people who have bought the latest-craze digital wonders are chucking away their own prime super-duper lenses and SLR bodies at silly, low prices. Forgive me for enjoying drooling over those items and, during the odd mad fits of emotion, actually buying some!

6. From : Jay Hart (
Url : http://
Date : 10:54 AM Thursday 16 October, 2003

Anton, Phil, and Ian, So the musicality of 35mm film on the LX still interests you all. All media being "trans media", or transitional, and with change coming so rapidly,the value of such a musicality in thought and practice then offers a craft of connectedness in a soulful way. I have always been amazed at how long 35mm has stuck around, in the face of 110, 126, the disc, the smaller format attempts, and APS. For the dedicated user it just would not become irrelevant. But not having to extend one's grasp for the workflow to everyday processing, pro color labs for enlargements, the repository paper file cabinets, and the travel involved has an even greater appeal.

At the art fairs this past summer, here in the Colorado area, the giant display prints up for booth artist sale, panoramic and otherwise, had color images stemming from the large inkjets, and the almost surrealistic adjustability of digital output. One fellow had shot a good deal of Cannondale and Patagonia catalogues, and was planning to spend the rest of the summer on a Hawaiian Island saturated in nature and sun with his DSLR. He planned to go to Walmart to purchase a small Epson printer there to crank out art prints and sell them in a local town bazaar near where he would camp. As for the spring, he had no plans. --Jay

7. From : Ian (
Url : http://
Date : 08:41 AM Thursday 16 October, 2003

Trans-media like film/CCD-CMOS, film/telecine and D1/LD, will all sadly fade away. It was our attempt at maintaining the subjective appeal of analogue, whilst moving into the future of data. And as such, was my favorite. I never saw it as a compromise, merely a wonderful solution needing work. Imagine for one moment a film (35mm) scanner (CCD or otherwise) that gave you a resolution of 640x480, per silver halide. Envisage an electron microscope style product that gave you a 192bit (64bit per channel) colour depth, with a resolution of 16384 MP. Your test samples are judged on how sharp the sample silver halide looks. If analogue/digital held up, you'd be in B+H or Jessops talking it over in about 10 years from now. $2900. With $500 off if you traded last years 8192MP scanner.

Film vs digital is a subjective issue. Like when you have a preference in your CD player for a pair of 2028A's or a x model of Burr-Brown A/D converter. Your trying to get what you remember as true analogue sound. This is exactly what will happen with imaging. 5 years from now we'll all be discussing the quality of colour nuance in the new Sony TriHyperHAD CyberCCD 22mp. I don't believe it's the same, but we will succumb to it. We're going digital. Film is dead. Long live the LX.

8. From : Phil Ashman (
Url : http://
Date : 07:13 AM Thursday 16 October, 2003

There is no way I can comment on the technological aspects of film or digital images as I know 'diddly squat' about it.
Jay certainly can guide me on the scientific aspects and how things work from his vast knowledge and research, but I also feel a leaning towards Anton's views as he compares the film/digital debate now raging to the vinyl/CD arguments.
At the end of the day we must all choose what is right for us and how we wish to project our art if that is why we use a camera. Certainly, for professional photographers needing to compete with others for a living then they must produce images that the buyer finds acceptable, mostly for publications. I suspect that in a short time then digitally taken images will be the only ones that meet their requirements for the reasons Jay has stated.
If it will remain the case that film images will never be able to be scanned and reach the benchmark for future publications that will be using higher and higher megapixel images, then film images will become like classic cars - unable to compete for performance, reliability etc.. but still sought after by the enthusiasts who value their character above cold soul less perfection.
For me perhaps I am frightened that with digital technology it will no longer be necessary for people to learn photography slowly and become craftsmen whose images are appreciated and have a sense of fullfilment as they gradually improve. Instead the art of photography may become almost instantly available to anyone with a super digital camera and PC. Maybe i'm selfish in wanting it to remain a skilled artform at the point of taking the picture, rather than all the skill being technical 'after the event'. I know the camera will never be able to choose the subject for the photographer, but with the way things are going it will become difficult to tell whether the skill was in the hands of the photographer, or the software.
I reckon I will still stick to film and in particular slides for my own satisfaction as long as they are still available.
To that end I will not buy a costly scanner for fear that I may become complacent when taking the picture, knowing I can put things right later.
Having said all that I recently read that NASA have a digital camera in space that is 360 megapixels and they are seeing things in our solar system that previous non digital cameras could not capture!
Is it my fear of change in that I will not be able to compete on the digital scene that I am using as an excuse not to switch to digital? I say that because my son has a small Nikon Coolpix at 2.1 megapixels that he bought just for fun shots (no interest in what I call 'real photography') and I must admit the images taken on it are technically excellent up to 7 x 5 inch - it's so bloody easy to use as well!!


9. From : Jay Hart (
Url : http://
Date : 06:28 AM Thursday 16 October, 2003

The musicality of photography, now there is an idea. How do we plug that into the lens design programs? Does it come out optical stabilization, silent wave, and sympathetic harmony?

Technically the point I made was that film is film, even scanned it has a different rendering reality--a less precise one--than digital camera originations. The ideal of workflow too was introduced in thought. Where we live in instant gratification consumer societies, the trend will be only to use and regard that which gives instant results, instantly. That we can store and retreave these as an electronic reality says something about the temporal nature of human life and its enterprize. --Jay PS Also, the illusion of a scanner cushioning the film photographer from the truth of the limits about film was taken to task.

10. From : Anton (
Url : http://
Date : 05:47 AM Thursday 16 October, 2003

I sometimes wonder about all this technological ‘improvement’. If we want everything to be as real as possible why not simply look around? CD was hailed as being the end of it all for audio but now they want to up the sampling rate etc. because the original standard wasn’t high enough and on and on it goes in a spiral to nowhere (trashing the planet as we search for???). I’m a musician and I like vinyl and tape because they sound more musical to me. They are not the same as reality but they are MUSICAL music reproduction instruments. I have found CD to be a fairly UN-MUSICAL music reproduction device but it is mighty convenient so I use it a fair bit but with little love or respect.

I like my A* 85 with Fuji NPZ 800 film in the LX. The combination is not ‘accurate’ but it is musical. I read many books on lenses and lens design and one comment sticks in my mind. The writer commented that the introduction of computers meant that all lenses from all manufacturers were beginning to be the same. Enter your parameters and specs and the program comes up with the design, since market forces suggest the same specs, out comes the same lens. The author lamented the days of lenses with wonderful special qualities that enabled people to recognise the particular lens from a photo and added to certain photographers’ styles (you can bet your bottom dollar that these lenses weren’t ‘accurate’). These lenses came about by talent, luck and magic in equal measure.

Are modern photos definitely better that the old masters???

I shall buy the *ist-D for the same reasons that I bought (well was given) a CD player and the same reason that I have CD burners. 1) It’s a modern day necessity if you are to interface with the majority of folk. 2) Mighty convenient.

For my soul I shall continue to learn how to get the best out of my favourite and flawed lenses and films.


p.s. If we need to compare then we need to compare a printed digital file with a print from film made on an enlarger NOT SCANNED so the contribution of a magical enlarger lens and classic paper can be appreciated. I own some vinyl that proudly boasts that it has been digitally re-mastered… it sounds awful, I generally wish they wouldn’t do it. I do have some that sound fantastic (GPR mostly).

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