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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 : Norbert DL (
Url : http://
Date : 04:05 PM Sunday 28 September, 2003

Why must everone think photography needs technologies in order to take better pictures ? I am owning a Pentz K1000 and has acquired a LX recently, I enjoy sheer basic of photography. Digital has a long way to go and way to high in corresponding to the prices the makers are asking, just keep things simpler in life ... get the best value for outr hard earned $$$, majortiy of us are not professionals that depends on this medium to make a living to call for smart investment in hardware. Digital makes life easier and saving time for people who only work on the computer. I ahve a friend who operates a large advertising film, digital camera's quality is good a pre-visualization but they only buy large negative for drum scans. Anyway, how often we can have our work published in travel and news ? So, it works fine on the web. I would rather wait for a more realistic price for a equally good camera to appear (when the competitions start. it will...). Right now, I can live with a plain aperture + shuter speed combinations with the my mind set on something that I am seeing and like. Penatx is fine, so do any brands such as Nikon or the Canon (as long as any manufacturer an offer me a free upgrade or ensuring all my previous hardwares can be use freely, I can live with anyone of them...), but I am more concerned with all the previous investment of my old lenses and accessories which may NOT make love with the new AF-digi system, if we are looking to start all new again with a budget in mind, that perhaps will see which is a more viable system to invest, well, why don't we leave them aside until the dust is settling down for a good, value of money AF DIGI model to appear ? Peace...

2. From : Jau (
Url : http://
Date : 10:46 AM Sunday 28 September, 2003

Robert, The new Pentax DSLR is the smallest and lightest, yet is robust. Read the Popular Photography magazine review as to its film based brother user handling ergonomics and related praises. The DSLR has a spot meter, the competitive Canon does not. Its LCD screen has a greater range of adjustable variance. Its optical viewfinder works well, and with diopter adjustment. It is a good thing that firmware can be updated, as the LX generally cannot be (unless one wants to dish out $60 for a new brighter viewscreen, updated). For the purist the DSLR offers some advantage of a non-compressed RAW (Tiff with extension) format over Canon's compressed RAW file system. There are some advantages of the sensor chip chosen over the CMOS chip. The LX can still be repaired, the F3 not. There is a catalogue of excellent primes still available. Lens tests show Pentax consistently excellent in quality. SMC has been improved over the years, never excelled. Filter sizes for most lenses aperture for aperture are constant over the years since the M series. The PZ1p, MZs, and both the new *ists have user custom programmable features. which excell in such sized cameras as to increasing total camera preferences customization options for and by the user. Certain optics containing the chip previously mentioned can work with this customized user programming to achieve maximum resolution and sharpness at given apertures and/or distances automatically. This means a professional user's preferences can be programmed into certain camera/lens combos. Two new professional flash units contain innovations in order to use them at many shutter speeds previously unavailable. The new AL primes are among the best in the world, and are generally petite. Wide aperture long lenses in primes are currently available both as autofocus, and manual focus--with pro glass. There is a commitment to zoom development which will parallel the EOS system in some instances, and overcome it in others. Image stabilization is in the works, and too a new innovative technology which no one has yet released to improve low light photography lens rendering results. Most gear ever produced is still working twenty to thirty years later. There are many websites supporting existing and past equipment use with insight offered by a variety of accustomed users. Certain cameras have internet devoted user groups, and rank as excellent among users, like the LX, MX, MZ5n, Pz 1p and MZ-s. Pentax is committed to make optics for all levels of users. Certainly this will include professional grade zooms, but with a price. They are working on most zooms becoming AI zooms, and are increasing available aperture values in the process (check, for example, the evolution of the 28-105 mm zooms). They are designing other optics for dedicated DSLR uses, expecially for the wide angle user for the new release sensor size. They are not after Nikon pro users, nor Canon's market, but will and have created their own sphere. They are highly committed to R & D regarding the digital SLR future. They continue to offer very high quality control. Their compact digital cameras are amazing. Their medium format 645 system is the most sold system as such in the world, and is the most published medium format system, which has undergone many innovative changes (I own Mamiya). Many nature photographers use this system, and likely will move to Pentax for SMC when the larger pixel DSLR is available. They have survived as a company in a tough industry, and their old optics have been tested enough for you to select the very best in a given focal length. They did not make many bad main line lenses. Used excellent glass is inexpensive. For star-spectum color photography they make the most accurate optics in the world. They also make binoculars and telescopes which are very high in quality, and video camera optics as well.

As my sentences wear us out when I get technical, I pledge to work on simplification of these. Being in a PhD program, having tiny tots in the house, running a business, spending time for professional purposes in wilderness, staying fit, recovering from athletic injuries, and trying to share intricate technical stuff can be too much. Sleep is required to optimally express. I thank you for your critique Robert. But I think you wine too much (an intended pun). --Jay

3. From : Ian (
Url : http://
Date : 08:09 AM Sunday 28 September, 2003

Mico, Thank you very much indeed for taking the time to produce your "Shop test" for the LX. I will perform all these tests later in the week (on two LX's). Here's hoping one of the bodies passes them all. If so, I may just be the happy owner of an LX. Thanks again for your time and effort.

4. From : Mico (
Url : http://
Date : 06:22 AM Sunday 28 September, 2003

On Pentax-Nikon lenses: from 1991, until 1999, I was working as a news photographer. My newspaper was "old-style" daily news issue which used only B&W prints and printed them on Hi-Quality paper. I was the ONLY ONE photographer using Pentax system, among all that Nikons and a few Canons. At any time, in a pile of B&W prints I could recognize my prints, not by the subject, but by the pleasant tonal range and decent sharpnes. Here and there, I would confuse them with ones done by old Canon FD-L lenses (few photograpers had F-1N).But with Nikon - never. Those pictures were different, too contrasty for my taste. Many photographers complained about the optical and mechanical qualitu of early Nikon AF zooms - namely 35-70/2.8 and even more about one-touch 80-200/2.8. O.K. later they produced much improved versions, and Pentax produced nothing until it was too late, but I still do not like Nikon optics. It is also too big and heavy for my taste.

5. From : Mico (
Url : http://
Date : 05:55 AM Sunday 28 September, 2003

Ian, It seems that you are after LX “against all odds”. If so, I will try to answer your question from your first posting-how to perform a quick LX test while in the store and without the film. For the start, bring a fresh set of batteries with you. Than, with the camera body cap ON, (no lens attached) put the shutter dial on AUTO and fire a couple of shots. Shutter should stay open at least 2-3 minutes, even forever, but do not try the sales person patience. If you hear a very fast exposure, or shutter closes in about a couple of seconds, stay away from that camera.Also, test the Manual Electronic speeds. Try each of them for a few times and see if there is any erratic exposure. Than, check if the meter turns off after 25-35 seconds. If more than that, timing circuit is in trouble, and soon you can expect your prospective camera not to switch-off at all. Bring some of your primes, from 50 to 200mm (if you have one, zooms are not good for that) and try to focus on infinity. If you can not, mirror rest is compressed/rotten. Also, look into the camera and push DOF button. There should be a tiny piece of rubber visible, UNDER the lever that goes UP and releases the lens aperture for DOF. In fact, that rubber piece is not so tiny, but good part of it is hidden inside the camera body. So,if there is nothing, (lever lies on the metal frame) or you can see some undefined rotten mess, it is not good . Together with compressed/rotten mirror rest, it is probably a sign of sticky mirror syndrome. TYPE 1 LX (older shutter and transport) is prone to uneven spacing between frames. Check if the main transport shaft, one that runs film perforation, is too loose lateraly. It is hard to say what is “too loose” but use your experience with other similar cameras. If so, costly transport repair is on the way. If body sealant is damaged or missing, someone unauthorised was probably playing inside.
On serial numbers: righ now I have three LXs as a first owner, and here are the numbers and possible years of production: 5 275 … (Type 1) cca. 1982. 5 324… (Type 2) cca.1987. and the last one is 5 343…(Type 2) cca. 1990. I bought each of them a year later, so I assume that previous year is most likely the production year. Not so many LXs were produced in the 90`s so this can be a rough guide. I hope this will not scare you, and good luck !

On spelling and grammar errors: English is not my native language, so I apologize for all past and future errors. Mico

6. From : Robert Clark (
Url : http://
Date : 04:40 AM Sunday 28 September, 2003

Jay, sorry if I offended you, it was not my intention. You obviously seem like a Pentax devotee and good luck to you. I, on the other hand would rather go where there is still quality and the chance of some innovation on the horizon. Pentax have had 23 years to come up with a professional level system camera to better the LX. 23 years to improve its robustness, reliability and add a few professional features like spot metering, fill flash, reliable winders and motor drives and to provide it with good zoom lenses that compete with the opposition. As good as they are the PZ-1 and the MZ-S don't quite get there and are anyway left without 1st class system and lens support. The new cripled bayonet and their being off the digital curve by at least three years are the last straw. Truly, what is there to recommend them now? Be honest.

7. From : Jay H. (
Url : http://
Date : 11:42 PM Saturday 27 September, 2003

Robert, It seems no matter what Pentax did it would not happen all at once and therefore may displease you. I wonder too what else is so displeasing that is not happening all at once in other arenas touching your person? Life and major changes are build step by step, precept upon precept, cm by cm in an evolutionary manner. It costs millions to upgrade camera systems, then, millions to support these. All manufacturers plan by price point strategy, engineering, and release dates. Even Canon did not have an IS lens instantly (it took time and planing). The 80-200 2.8 is still available until a replacement is offered. Perhaps if you throw a tantrum Pentax will produce metal barrels for cheap consumer zooms just to get you to stop. --Jay

8. From : Ian (
Url : http://
Date : 09:27 PM Saturday 27 September, 2003

Tony, thanks a million for the info on LX finders.

Robert, I've had a look at the FM3a. Sorry, I'm none too impressed (specs, I've not had one in the hand yet). List price of £599, 8 secs max shutter. I'm not interested in flash (I'm not a press photographer). And how much for something to compete with my two-touch 24-35mm f3.5 Pentax zoom? This is way out of my current budget and the camera (other than being available new) doesn't seem to be in the same league as a £250 second-hand LX. The idea of being able to run higher quality Nikkor lenses does appeal. I confess I love night photography, and so I stand corrected - I have used flash as a painting tool etc. It is true that I would use flash more if I knew I could easily achieve perfectly balanced fill-in. I am however, extremely impressed with Nikon for maintaining an "oldschool" MF SLR. I'm beginning to wish Pentax would re-release the LX and just put the old electronics in a custom ASIC chip and get on with it. Oh, and add a pseudo-manual mode that turns off the OTF and allows exposure lock at will (whilst still in aperture priority, you know what I'm trying to say). And remove that EV compensation ring lock (as per ME-Super). Nothings perfect, especially masterpieces like the LX (A Lamborghini Muira is seriously flawed, I'd still want one though). I prefer to say "Adds character" and let it go. On a lighter note, I popped into a Jessops recently to grab a roll of Kodachrome to leave in my fridge. The salesman said "That's old-mans film! what do you want that for?" It made me laugh. I'll remember to take my zimmer-frame when I next pop in for a pro-pack of Tri-X (you can still buy Tri-X, right?)

Url : http://
Date : 06:00 PM Saturday 27 September, 2003

I think the most important thing with a camera system is that it supplies all or most of your needs. I have yet to find a camera system out there that fits ALL my needs, so I long ago chose Pentax (and short-term periods with most other brands over the years: Praktica, Yashica, Contax RTS, Leica R4, Minolta X700, Olympus OM4t, Nikon FM2, Canon EOS1, amongst many others) - but I stuck with the Pentax line-up, choosing my favourites such as the superb Super-A, and later the LX and Z1p bodies.

I have already given some of my reasons for choosing to change my vast Pentax LX/Z1p system to a Nikon F5 system, but even that fantastic camera does not fit ALL my needs (although it comes close). So, I am at this moment looking again for a good LX body + lens on the secodhand market to fill some of my needs (that the LX provides and even bodies such as the Nikon FM3a do not). I can understand why Ian wants to buy a Pentax LX - I was the same, and although it does have many 'flaws' in its early design (when compared to some modern cameras) it still provides that incredible sensitive meter - including robust body in a vey compact design. One thing that I have found with ALL the Pentax LX bodies I have owned, Ian, is that no matter how many FB-system finders I have tried and bought, they ALL did not fit firmly. Every sample would wabble slightly from side to side if you gripped it firmly. This however never caused problems with metering (due to the IDM), but it is possible that it allows extra dust and moisture to enter, when compared to the tighter fit of the FA1 or FA1W. The one thing I have noticed with the prism on the Nikon F5 is that it locks extremely firmly once fitted and in this respect is a far better fit than the LX prisms. The remarks about there being far more top-class Nikkor lenses available on the secondhand market when compared to Pentax is obviously true, and this has helped me buy a lot of top-prime Nikkors over a very short period at extremely low prices. However, I still feel that Ian will be happy if he finds a good LX body on the secondhand market to fit his needs.

10. From : Robert Clark (
Url : http://
Date : 04:30 PM Saturday 27 September, 2003

Ian, I don't want to rubbish Pentax - they have been very good camera makers and still are in MF. Their older lenses, the ones you own were good, above average lenses for their day. I can understand that if you are on a budget, the set you have seems attractive at the price, better value, perhaps than the equivalent in Nikon. This holds good for a few very common, and mostly because of that, unwanted Pentax lenses - say the 50's the 28mm f2.8, the 35mm 2.8 and 3.5, the 100 f2.8 and most of the 135's and the 200mm f4. They are above the mean and worth the secondhand price. However if you ever decide you want to move into their more exotic and faster star (premium quality)lenses - like the very good and fast 85mm f1.4 A lens or the 135mm f1.8 A, or the 200mm f2.8 A, or the 300mm f4.5 F or even if you decide you want a relatively fast 28mm f2, 35mm f2, 85mm f1.8, 200mm f2.5 or 300mm f4, all available second hand and well worth getting, you will find you are stung on prices. They are rarish, sought after and the competition for them is sometimes fierce, hence you will have to pay.

Of course Nikon can match most of these lens specifications and have some of their own that Pentax don't have. The advantage of these premium quality lenses in the Nikon mount is that many, many more of them were made (since Nikon was the recognised and trusted high end marque), they are afloat on the secondhand market and the prices are consistently lower than Pentax (for premium quality lenses) and they are much easier to find. I mention this because you now have the Minolta 5400 and are looking for quality. I suggest it wont be long before you raise your sights as to the quality of your lenses. For this reason I reccommend that you cut your losses and head for future savings and ease of purchase with Nikon. You will also benifit from the vastly superior Nikon Zooms, something which Pentax has always been very (abysmally) weak in and new technology like image stabilisation.

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