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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.

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 : Ian (ian@ity.co.uk)
Url : http://
Date : 12:37 AM Monday 06 October, 2003

Jay, thank you very much indeed for the info and history. I'm beginning to get the picture. A-series it is then. I've just thoroughly cleaned and inspected the Hoya and Pentax zoom (externally). Both are mint and free of fungus (a major relief!). I guess I'll be looking for a small zoom to replace the 50mm1.7, but a faster 50 will be tempting. 1.4 or 1.2. I'd still love the freedom of a physically small lens and keep the camera in my brief case when working etc. So, that (tiny) 40mm f2.8 M-series that Pentax once made will also be tempting. I was born and raised in Birmingham, the home of engineering. To investigate, learn and repair is in my blood. Although sadly a dying skill, I'm always highly respectful of anyone who maintains true "hands-on" skills. Nice one Mico!


2. From : Jay Hart (ibcom@onebox.com)
Url : http://
Date : 09:33 AM Sunday 05 October, 2003

Ian, Mico and others are slowly switching to the A series in certain focal lengths, which was a replacement for the M series (followed by the F, then FA, then, in some focal lengths, FA AL, now with the FAJ series--which may or may not replace the FA upward. There are a few others from a completely different series for the APS sized digital sensor at the wide angle zoom end for the new DSLR). Some pros are upgrading to the A or later series in order to have the compatablity to use lenses on the new Digital *ist Pentax SLR. Currently M and K series lenses can only be used wide open with this new body. So, one must be realistic, and you have raised concerns about price for your own needs. For Mico, it is to have a group of optics which will work with autofocus, and digital bodies, as well as with the LX. If anyone is a qualified LX repair mechanic, Mico is. He has taken risks with self repair and learned the lenses and bodies as none other (from the inside out). The only thing he lacks is their formal schooling and calibration instruments. I often wonder if Mico did not go to Canada from Eastern Europe, or somewhere where the ingenious had to make things work without having much money to back up pressing needs. This guy would be a good watchmaker from the old school.

Pentax has upset a few pros lately by coming out with a new series of cameras with the "crippled" FAaf2 mount, not the full FAaf2 mount. There were earlier AF bodies too with this mount at the consumer level, not the professional level. So, mechanical linkage to go from open aperture to taking aperture--while signaling from and to the A camera bodies forward the electrical and mechanical facts of selected aperture--is compromised on M and K lenses when coupled with the new crippled mount body. If I were you, replacing the 50, f 1.7, as it is an outstanding lens, I would go to a used A series--just in case you need the lens to work with more modern bodies than the LX in your photographic future.

I always desired a 35-50mm M series, but, instead chose a 24-50mm A series back when it was being made. Stopped down it is a good performer. So I have about 2/3rds optics with the A contacts, and/or F contacts, so I do not need to replace much to use the new bodies. I will wait on after Christmas consumer depression prior to getting and trying the Pentax DSLR. I expect prices to go down at that time. --Jay


3. From : Ian (ian@ity.co.uk)
Url : http://homepage.mac.com/iant1/PhotoAlbum.html
Date : 05:33 AM Sunday 05 October, 2003

Damn I'm out-of-date. Any chance you guys could bring me up to date with M-Series vs A-Series Pentax lenses. Were they a replacement or cheaper etc? My trusty M-series 50mm f1.7 has developed fungus and as such I might be looking for a replacement, or short zoom to replace it (second-hand, hence the A/M question). I really want to keep my 24mm-35mm f3.5 M-series zoom as it suits me perfectly. I'm not particularly interested in long stuff (max 200, realistically 135). My current 135 is a f2.8 Hoya (stop laughing, it was fine). Any recommendations would be appreciated. I'm a bit lost really, it's been a long time. As always, many thanks.


4. From : Jay Hart (ibcom@onebox.com)
Url : http://
Date : 02:33 AM Sunday 05 October, 2003

Mico, I'll look at mine and let you know if it has the same manufacturing result. The first A 70-210 I had was not worth keeping. Great you could try your samples first. It is interesting that going the half stop less probably would have improved the lens and its reputation. I like the filter size, so that probably would have suffered. I strongly recommend the 35-105 A as a companion. Also, the new 20-35 f4 AL is said to be a winner by many here. I trust only primes in so wide a unit. The current line-up FAs below 50mm are ALs, something the competition is not quire up to. Pentax is tuned to some needs we have. Thanks for your test results. --Jay


5. From : Phil Ashman (genesisphil@hotmail.com)
Url : http://
Date : 02:02 AM Sunday 05 October, 2003

Globetrotter, May I ask when you expect your new book to be published and where in the UK I will be able to buy a copy? Have you written any others about photography? Cheers Phil


6. From : Mico (micolx@netscape.net)
Url : http://
Date : 02:00 AM Sunday 05 October, 2003

Jay, if you remember, I promised comparative test on M80-200/4.5 and (SMC)A70-210/4.0 So, M is sharper than A wide open, both ends, but when stopped down to 5.6 , A takes over. It is a pity that A does not have ½ f stop, between 4 and 5.6. Colour rendition, contrast and distortions are the same. I had three A lenses to test and choose from, and two of them were optically inferior to my M lens.It is not strange since my M zoom is one of the best samples around. And one of the A lenses (the worst one) had a very light zoom action, other one loose focusing . Conclusion: lenses are very good, ( I am going to keep both) M is better wide open, and with very consistent optical performance through the range, while A has it peaks around F.8 and 5.6, outperforming M considerably, other apertures (except 4.0) similar to M. Still, A is 3X zoom, while M is 2.5X and with 7 years older optical design. Test camera was LX and the film was Fuji VELVIA. I would not bother others with this test, but it may be interested since this is the issue of compatibility with coming Pentax DSLR bodies, the reason why I switched to A zoom.

Something curious: one of the sliding barrels inside A zoom is not covered with anti-reflex black coating! I have realised that recently, while cleaning the front element and could not believe my eyes. It looks like the Pentax ran out of the paint, there are a lot of small paint drops covering the “wrinkled” barrel area, but most of it is not covered at all. It is the barrel closest to the lens front element and is not too wide, so I will not pay attention to it since the lens is resistant to flare. Other issue is how it could pass the Pentax quality control. M.


7. From : Phil Ashman (genesisphil@hotmail.com)
Url : http://
Date : 12:54 AM Sunday 05 October, 2003

A very hearty thanks to you all for these latest pearls of wisdom. I feel rather humble with my limited knowledge and perhaps over zealous quest to run before I can walk!
Up until recently I had not bothered much with longer lenses, having concentrated on macro with my intense interest in flora & fauna (particularly the little insect guys) that joe public seems unware of their existence in the main. I am regurlarly found crawling about on my local nature reserve and surrounding areas. Hence my very recent purchase of the sigma 105 macro, having previously used a standard 50mm with more and more extension tubes. Whilst still having a lot to learn I do get some pretty good results (at least I think so - which is what matters).
Consequently when I bought the sigma 400 and a good manfrotto tripod, I thought ' here we go' and expected miracles straight away, especially if I added a converter.
Silly me, I now know ,especially with your help, all the pit falls I would fall into without taking my time to learn the skills needed, which clearly do not happen overnight.
I have in fact ordered the 1.7 pentax to be sent to my local shop. It is a near mint 2nd hand one with a 12 month guarantee and only £49 ( which my eldest lad easily spends in one night out on the town - frequently!).
I no longer go out partying (old age - or wisdom?) and save my money to spend on what I really enjoy - my photography (and my bike!!!). Therefore, even with the advice you have given I will probably get the 1.7 and give it a go, if only to practice with etc.. I will probably also keep the 1.4 sigma and keep my fingers crossed that your advice to test a slide film will give good results - i'm optomistic and if they are as good as the prints I took then i'll be happy.
I do of course agree with Jay that like it or lump it the time will come when i'll probably go digital, or get left behind, but i'm going to get the most I can from film whilst it is still freely available.
Next week i'm going on a 2 day local field course, run by my local university, entitled 'Fungi of dunes and woodland'. I hope to get some good shots with my new 105 macro, although knowing my luck it will piddle it down!
Just out of interest, for slides I use Fuji sensia 100asa, but no doubt you guys will know if there is a better one I could use, especially for flora and fauna?

Phil


8. From : Jay (ibcom@onebox.com)
Url : http://
Date : 12:08 AM Sunday 05 October, 2003

Phil, The one thing one can count on is change. If you ever go digital, the current Pentax DSLR is autofocus (as will all future releases be). If you think you never will think again; what if transparency film became a rare or very expensive commodity (in five to ten years)? I would guess the teleconvertor you have is made for f 4.5 lenses or faster to maintain autofocus capability (for in-camera sensors to work properly). Having read extensive reports on convertors, I would either buy the Pentax A series manual ones, in either 2X or 1.4X, series "S", for your lens, or the Kenko PRO 300 SERIES. How useful a resulting f 11 800 mm would be to you depends on many things. Even on a tripod it would be very difficult to focus and hold still with a 2X. You will find in the old postings, below, a few months back, discussions on how to keep the long lens steady for acceptable shots. Globetrotter could tell you that his then 500mm Pentax required very careful handling, good available light, and had limits on going very low with shutter speed to get acceptably sharp shots. Probably the lowest possible was about a 125th--if very steady.

I used to own a 500mm Tamron mirror, which, when used with a 2X convertor just could not be held still enough below 1/500th of a second to get an acceptably sharp picture (with a massive Manfrotto tripod too, with a beanbag on top of the camera to make it even more solid, it still did not go sharp [as to stopping its own movement very easily]). My current longest lens, the A series 600 5.6 too takes very careful steadying to get sharp, without a convertor. I do not use my very excellent 2X matched multiplier with it, only the 1.4XS series Pentax A on rare occasion (because it is almost impossible to steady the combination). Even then I may have to shoot five to get one that is sharp. FYI, Camera or lens shake is the reason for most unsharp pictures.

The forum maintainers "know so much" because of years of professional engagement with the gear, in application with various films, lighting conditions, field conditions, etc. What has proven the best and worst is generally known accordingly. Further, they have tried much in their own quest of getting the best from the system, and have done the research to know what applies and works for/from others. Further, they have interacted with repair shops, distributors of the gear, and other pros for their input as well. We have owned, sold, bought, negotiated, rebought, etc. dozens of optics to find the very best for our own use. Occasionally, for example, I talk with Pentax USA as to arising concerns, gear and repair availability issues, and other future design trends. I have been able to handle demo gear on occasion from reps, prior to its marketing. This just comes of knowing people. There is a relationship as well between Pentax "factory clearance" events here in the Denver Metro area (where Pentax HQ is located) and the shop chain I have used for thirty years--which gains even more relevant information.

Mico resides in Canada, Globetrotter in the UK, I in the USA. Our site comes out of Malaysia by a very motivated hobbiest, and camera collector, who uses part of the server service for his business and offers the rest to users groups of various systems free of charge. All maintainers are well traveled and published. All have worked on assignment regularly. Each has his strengths as to subject areas appearing of regular inquiry on this site. I am often enlightened reading the contributors and other maintainers input.--Jay


9. From : Ian (ian@ity.co.uk)
Url : http://
Date : 10:55 PM Saturday 04 October, 2003

Phil (to answer your earlier question), In Automatic the shutter is stepless. In Manual it has the usual indexed speeds. I'm sure you are becoming aware that the LX has some special abilities. Just one of these is it's ability to perform ultra-long exposures, all on it's own. Awesome.


10. From : GLOBETROTTER (globetrotterworld@hotmail.com)
Url : http://
Date : 05:57 PM Saturday 04 October, 2003

Hi Phil - I would also steer you away from the Pentax 1.7 converter. Not only is the quality of the glass not as high as some other converters, but it also tends to give dark frame corners with may lenses, especially the zooms. The manual black Pentax-A 1.4 & Pentax-A X2 converters are very good, as are the grey 1.4X-L & 2X-L converters that fit the longer ED lenses. You should be able to find a good Pentax A-1.4 converter on Ebay fiarly cheap.

Having said all this about the Kenko & Pentax converters, in theory the Sigma converter 'should' give better results than any of the other converters when matched with Sigma-brand lenses.

By the way, after using your Chinon, you should have no problem with getting on with the LX colour LED display (I used to own the good old Chinon CP-5s & CP-6!).


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Maintainers for Pentax LX Series SLR Camera Models Message Board:
Tony Davies-Patrick (Globetrotter) (globetrotterworld@hotmail.com); Mico Smiljanic (micolx@netscape.net);
Jay Hart (ibcom@onebox.com); Philip Ashman (genesisphil@hotmail.com)

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