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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 : Robert Clark (robertclark@vsnl.net)
Url : http://
Date : 03:50 PM Saturday 27 September, 2003

Ha, ha, I mean "sentences".


2. From : Robert Clark (robertclark@vsnl.net)
Url : http://
Date : 03:44 PM Saturday 27 September, 2003

Jay, Your long and quite technical justification of what Pentax are doing seems to justify my position entirely - withdrawing essential products before they even have a replacement! An 80-200 f2.8 is a core item in most professional's bags, producing a good one, at a good price, could be part of an armoury attracting people over to Pentax. Without one, if even only for a while, they will attract no one and disappoint those already with them.

Canon already has such a lens WITH image stabilisation - extending the usefulness of the zoom enormously. Where is Pentax in this? Where is there customer information on this? Pentax seem to be incompetent, not just at R&D but also on all customer services, including diseminating non-conflicting information.

It would be good to see a high quality 70 or 80 - 200 f3.5 or f4 zoom with IS, which would be lighter than the f2.8 and therefore more useable, if very slightly slower. This is a rather obvious way to go now that IS takes care of those lower shutter speeds. Any progress or information on this? No, I thought not. This is just one rather obvious way of re-entering the competetive arena, there are many other innovative image stability zooms that could be very useful IF the quality were high, and by that I mean BOTH mechanical quality and optical quality wide open and at the zooms extremes. Instead it seems Pentax is concerned to churn out ever more trashy cheap zooms in the same way they have for the last twenty years.

It seems fairly obvious to me that any professional looking at the line up and quality of Zooms (and this is what they nowadays mostly use) between Nikon, Canon and Pentax (not that they would even consider looking at Pentax) would find Pentax's efforts risible. A plethora of plastic trash - nowhere near the optical quality of the best lenses from the majors and two - only two lenses - that limp in just under the competition, one now withdrawn and both overpriced. Needless to say they are also well behind the excellent quality of minor players Leica and Contax. With new competition from Olympus and still stalwart efforts from Minolta, Pentax is well and truly at the bottom of the SLR heap and by their own efforts seems doomed to stay there.

I for one, like my LX - with all its limitations - and I like the older, metal mechanical primes (though well inferior to the Leica M lenses I own). However, if I were investing today, I would not give Pentax a moments thought. No more back compatibility and silly inneficient and time-consuming software fixes only make it all sound so much worse. Since you mentioned typos, you might also want to keep an eye on the grammer and coherence of your sentances - sometimes they can be a little breathless and hard to follow. If you are a non-native speaker it is, of course, totally understandable.


3. From : Ian (ian@ity.co.uk)
Url : http://homepage.mac.com/iant1
Date : 09:36 AM Saturday 27 September, 2003

Robert, thanks for the suggestion and advice. I have three K-mount lenses, only one I really love, 24-35 F3.5 Pentax. I'm on a limited budget, hence the desire to stay with PK. I remember the FM and FE and as I recall liked both. I'll guess the 3 (as you suggest) is very nice indeed (I'll look it up later). The problem is I'm an aficianado. And as such have wanted an LX since 1987 when I had a brief spell as a sales person at Tecno Suffolk Street Birmingham (which put me off Photo sales for ever, but thats another story). I couldn't sell LX's, the punters wanted F3's. I was of the belief that photography was about accessability, if the unit was small enough you'd have it with you and therefore GET the picture, if it was big, you'd have left it at home. Hence my desire for Pentax. I've been shooting with an MX since 79. Eventually I found a system camera - even the MX, too big, so I moved to a Yashica T4 compact for many years (almost no regrets). I'm reverting, I want THE picture and am now prepared to get it with a system camera. I've chosen the LX. Basically I've been waiting (I'm a digital imaging consultant) for desktop scanners to get "good". I've bought a 5400 Minolta and I'm back! I checked out the newer stuff, even found myself nearly putting the card down to buy an EOS 5 (Fun!), but the build quality put me off (and the total change of lens etc.).

Again, thanks for the quality advice.


4. From : Jay (ibcom@onebox.com)
Url : http://
Date : 05:44 AM Saturday 27 September, 2003

I counted seven typing errors in my written copy. below. How many did you count? Justify these as so (along with any additional typing/spelling errors too) and win a 49mm UV filter. I will award it and mail it worldwide to the first posted correct answer. Next time I will type in full page MS Word, then cut and paste it in. I find the small message posting window makes it difficult to proof read.--Jay


5. From : Jay Hart (ibcom@onebox.com)
Url : http://
Date : 04:07 AM Saturday 27 September, 2003

Robert, Although I do not share your assessment of Pentax planning, the signs are mixed for continuance of making lenses with mechanical to open aperture/closed aperture metering linkage (whether made for autofocus or not), with aperture rings. There is now a commitment to either Fa or A primes, but after that it gets sticky. It appears all new zoom lenses, and later all lenses made, will embrace the crippled mount. And there is some hope for older lenses in this affecting software releases and user contol for the *ist D (see toward the end of this posting). This trend may even hold good news for old lens holders as to future manual metering options on present and newer body releases(see toward the end of this posting).

Remember, FAs and later made Fs have the electronic chip for MFT transfer functions (programmaable functions, for best optical result and too as to achieved focus distance with best optical result). I mentioned in my first article syonpsis months ago about the plan for bringing out the APS sensor sized digital SLR body, which included the phased elimination of certain film based autofocus SLRs. I did not mention the phased elimination of certain lenses. Then the mount coming out was thought to be all inclusive. And this is the rub. Will aperture ringed lenses continue to be made as zooms? Doubtful. As primes? Perhaps, to accomodate professionals. Check the new European Pentax products list given in the past month to dealers. The FA 2.8 80-200 is gone, limited to warehoused stock, without yet a new replacement. Certain film based bodies too are gone. This is what they said they would do in a digital shift phase of marketing and manufacturing. So, it seems important to buy used lenses now not only with the A aperture ring function, but too in autofocus with this ring present, if you wish these lenses to swing both ways: for manual focus film camera bodies, and older and existing autofocus bodies, as well as for future in camera metering and aperture control settings (as made by the crippled mount cameras coming forth).

It would be wonderful if the 35mm sensor sized DSLR now in design mode would include the non-cripped mount option, and still work as is planned for increased response times, as the crippled mount and new AF sensor and new metering sensors make possible. This factor of the future to be announced when finished digital 35mm sensor sized body is up in the air, and has a smaller percentage of succeeding with the full mount present than the other changes. Still, it is obvious that the sole market for such a body are Pentax professional users.

Now, as to non-mechanical future fixes for manual metering on the DSLRs--even the current release as has come out in Europe and other places a few weeks prior to coming out here in the USA--we have some hope. Getting the DSLR to market outweighed other futures and ongoing factors for Pentax. It dragged a bit from the midsummer desired release time. And no company needs vast recalls over future fixes like autofocus being off, or some such malady. These early demo concerns were addressed. As to any forthcoming or remaining gripes, there is an update feature possiblity for the now released DSLR. The USB connector allows software to firmware updates as released by the company, when so. What we need Pentax to do, and lobby for, is a software fix to the mechanical metering limit currently offered in using old lenses. Now the meter will read K and M lenses only wide open in manual metering. There remains the possibility of an aperture simulator firmware update download install, which would permit stopped down meter readings at chosen taking apertures in the camera. This would be a kindness to us all (the Nikon D-100 which uses some similar technology does not have this fix). Lets do more than hope it comes forth as a downloadable option for the DSLR.

Further, presently in the manual metering mode, we can use our brains for changing the first set combination of wide aperture and shutter speed, to other combinations of aperture and shutter speed which present the same light equivalency exposure value to the sensor. This means we can bolt on old lenses and use them stopped down after making such a combination adjustment as our chosen override. This may mean too having to program the camera, in its programmable funtion, for this possibility to work in either the manual or AV modes for use. --Jay
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


6. From : Robert Clark (robertclark@vsnl.net)
Url : http://
Date : 02:00 AM Saturday 27 September, 2003

Ian, there are certain things an LX does beautifully, better than many other cameras and ergonomically it is almost unsurpassed. But, think what you are doing before you buy a twenty year-old camera that is not cheap - the only, moderate reason I can see to do this is if your investment in Pentax glass is already high, otherwise think again. Think about the FM3a - not quite as delightful to hold, or as well sealed, or as easy to meter in low light, but robuster, with fill flash (impossible in TLR or automatic mode with the LX) and a much better range of zooms with VR lenses. Also a better 35mm (an important focal length for me) and a better 105mm (also important)and an affordable 135mm f2. Less mirror slap as well. If you are a pentax devotee ignore my warning.


7. From : Robert Clark (robertclark@vsnl.net)
Url : http://
Date : 01:46 AM Saturday 27 September, 2003

Well Jay, that is good news if they stick to and don't change their minds again - a full frame digital MAY be attractive IF it accepts all my older lenses. Any news on image stabilisation lenses or a better range of professional quality zooms? Catching up with the competition would be good, but anything innovative in the pipeline? Anything beyond the competition? What happened to the camera to match the quality of the limited lenses? From the outside it seems to me that Pentax is in a mess of indecision and incompetence, not really knowing what they are doing in 35mm SLR or where they are going. This is ongoing over the last 20 years since they brought the LX out. Oh for the clarity of their MF range and a comparable level of quality.


8. From : Ian (ian@ity.co.uk)
Url : http://homepage.mac.com/iant1
Date : 01:33 AM Saturday 27 September, 2003

I'm currently looking to buy an LX body. I'm looking at two next week. I'm aware of the "MKI / MKII" regarding the shutter lock design and "missing two dots on curtain". I'd be grateful if anyone could help out with serial number dating. As regards age, I'm guessing here, but I presume the newer the better? Also, one I looked at this afternoon had rock in the finder mount, and I couldn't see any seal/gasket mounted (damaged and therefore removed?). Sounds wrong to me (FC-1 Sports finder). If you have any advice on quick tests (whilst in a shop (no film)) I'd love to hear them, Sorry to bore you with questions what I presume have been asked a hundred times before. A great web site and forum, thanks for all the help so far.


9. From : Jay Hart (ibcom@onebox.com)
Url : http://
Date : 12:42 AM Saturday 27 September, 2003

One of the positive elements of using Pentax USA for repairs is that they do know of the problem mentioned, and they will give a free estimate. If you then hire their repair, and it is not repaired they will count the costs toward another camera body; if you then hold fast and ask them to absorb your body value too based on its need for your use, and their inability to repair it while encumbering it for a time to do so, they will offer other bodies. Recently they sold eleven MZ-s refurbished bodies for $399.00 each, with warranties. These are the kind of replacements they will offer in the above scenario, FYI. I have had positive results on their LX and LX motor drive repairs to date. --Jay


10. From : Anton (handmaid@fsmail.net)
Url : http://
Date : 08:23 PM Friday 26 September, 2003

Sadly I for one can't recommend Pentax UK or even Pentax Europe (in Germany).

I'm about to list my troublesome erratic shutter LX on eBay just to see if I get anything for it. It is the latest model with latest shutter. It went to Pentax UK three times to have the erratic shutter fixed. The last time I had to physically take it there to prove to them it was faulty as they kept saying it was 'to specification'. They finally sent it to Pentax Europe who kept it for ages and replaced the entire mirror box, associated switches and mirror with a new assembly.

I have just thoroughly tested the camera for sale... here goes: At auto on 3200 ISO (but actually to a lesser extent on any ISO) the shutter timing is erratic - with body cap on (so no light at all) shutter will give a very fast exposure or maybe 1/2 sec or maybe 1 sec or really just about anything. It will also give an unending exposure, which is the correct one. On manual at any ISO the slow speeds are erratic - set 1 sec and you may get it but you may get 1/2000 or any other speed in-between. Sometimes on any electronic speed the mirror flips up and stays there - the battery is fine - turn the dial to a mechanical speed to complete.

A winder will not work properly on the camera - the winder is okay. A TTL flash only works erratically on the camera - I've tried four flash guns (two 400's and two 280's). This is a camera that was sent in for a specific problem but Pentax insisted on servicing it as well, they said that's how they work (it had already been serviced by Harrow Technical who to their credit finally admitted defeat on the erratic shutter and told me so. I went to Pentax just in case they had some secret knowledge... what a mistake). Maybe I've been unlucky but I could just tell that the guy at Pentax UK didn't even know as much as I did (you know how sometimes you can just tell?). The LX is now an increasingly troublesome (it's the electronics that do it I'm sure) vintage camera and you need to find a vintage repairer who has a feel for these cameras and who like working on them. Understandably Pentax are more interested in the *ist/D. Try taking a cherished VW Beetle (the old air cooled one) to a current VW main agent... they wouldn't want to know. I wanted some parts for my 1985 VW bus (now sold on) and they told all the parts for that age of vehicle had been sent back to Germany. It’s not all that old I thought

I recommend an independent. Robin at Harrow Technical, Pentax House, South Harrow knows his stuff and I've read good reports about Asahi Photo in Wembley. Their work won't be cheap, but people who keep using and running vintage machines know they have to keep shelling out don't they? AB


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