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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 : Anton (
Url : http://
Date : 08:19 AM Friday 16 May, 2003

I too have read that the latest digital SLR's out-perform 35mm film and tend to show up lens performance but... how much performance do we need? A female friend who pulls my leg (teases me) about my err 'obsession' with lenses, modelled for me recently. When she saw the results she said 'wow! But those lenses are too sharp'. So now I contemplate using a Zeiss Softar or stockings over my highly corrected, high contrast A* lenses (incidentally these lenses were used wide open, or near to that) a bit of a waste, no? I know portraiture has never demanded critically sharp lenses but neither does the web or 6X4 prints.

I like to cycle, I think the bicycle is a fantastic device. In my opinion it reached a pinnacle many years ago. I look at the new hybrids with their suspension forks and 200 gears etc. I scarcely recognise them and it seems that everybody has them, yet generally speaking they are heavier and less efficient for road use than the elegant machine of 10 years ago, in other words they are a backward step (there are some improvements mind you, indexing gears etc. but taken as a whole they don't fulfil their function as well IMHO) so what's that all about??? Marketing I think, change it - doesn't matter if it makes it worse but make it different, new and you can sell it to the same wide-eyed people all over again.

My point is: Perhaps some things don't need changing, perhaps some things reach near perfection. Perhaps the LX and its lenses and film are way good enough for most needs. Perhaps learning how to use them artistically; knowing their foibles and exploiting them makes more sense and for better photos than being distracted by 'upgrades' In general, are current photos better than those of yesteryear - within reason? I know that current sports photos simply couldn't be taken without auto-focus, fast APO lenses with IS/VR bur are they more pleasing? The effects in the Lord of the Rings movies are incredible but now I take them for granted and I still enjoy a good old black & white classic. Just venting really but interested in your thoughts. AB

2. From : Jorge (
Url : http://
Date : 07:29 AM Friday 16 May, 2003

Thanx Anton for pointing to books mentioned. Mico, question came from Kieth. I just wanted to know what color fringing is. From the responses now I have a better idea what to look for in my lenses. Thank you all. Jorge

3. From : Jay Hart (
Url : http://
Date : 03:11 AM Friday 16 May, 2003

Anton, Thanks for the free color fringing correction Photoshop plugin lead at the bottom of your comments. I copied the detailed instructions from the website. Interesting how the instructional site author has used the plugin to so color imaging correct for certain wide angles he owns, and, points out too that these are assymetrical optics (his own WA Nikkors). This too goes back to an earlier made case in point basis for polarization limits with wide angles, as I past mentioned.

Photoshop 7 does have great built in tools for doing building photography with non-shift lenses, while letting Photoshop later do the work. These are discussed in recent PEI magazine articles as to actual application.

The lead you give too discusses digital photography's applications for the context cited. It is becoming obvious that all lenses are put to the test when using the recent digital SLRs (which out define and out resolve film for the first time). It used to be that the slowest film was considered overdetailed beyond lens ability, now it is the converse which is tested by evolving pixel rendering technology--interesting. This means once one goes digital, CMOS, CCD, or Fov (to date): one will see how good their individually held lenses are. Beat the masses to this testing possibility by getting the *Dist, and one can shuck any mediocre optics before they have no remaining market. --Jay

4. From : Mico (
Url : http://
Date : 01:06 AM Friday 16 May, 2003

BTW, where is the message Jay and Anton are refering to? Was it from Jorge? Mico

5. From : Anton (
Url : http://
Date : 02:53 PM Thursday 15 May, 2003

Good info, Jay. Jorge, I heartily recommend the following books: (The Kodak Workshop Series) Lenses for 35mm Photography (ISBN 0-87985-765-X)

The Lens Book by Roger Hicks & Frances Schultz (ISBN 0-7153-0149-7) Call me sad but I get these books out of the library several times a year. The Kodak book thoroughly explains how lenses are designed and corrected. It's not too heavy or overly technical and there are lots of nice pictures of lenses and of shots taken with them. I’ve been going over my photos taken with the 500mm and most do not have colour fringing on the edge of the white tee shirt... not visible on 7.5 X 5 prints anyway. The one that does have it, I only noticed because I scanned it and enlarged it on screen to edit it. In due course I shall examine some of the others in this way and I shall take Jay's advice and shoot some white light pinpoints. May as well know my tools and know what I can expect from this lens, so far I'm very pleased. In parting, here's a link to a site that describes how to rid your pics of distortion and colour fringing in Photoshop with a plug-in; a bit technical.

6. From : Jay Hart (
Url : http://
Date : 11:38 AM Thursday 15 May, 2003

What I am suggesting is that if you will answer the bottom questions on the posting below, I may be able to help problem solve around how to not have the color fringing or off axis light ray color focus abberation manifestations. These qualifying questions, beginning with a history of this lens, even a serial number, then the last bottom paragraph questions answered, can help lead to how to correct the difficulty in a particular lens. That is, if one wishes to so bother with it.

Some filters too can change the results, depending on the color bias seen on film from the errant lens. It helps too to take some night shots of pinpoint light sources, like lights on a bridge, or at an airport (with the right Color film)--and view these results (then note the lens color tendencies as it comas to whatever degree it does so).

Many times it is easier to sell and replace. This depends on investment criteria, user attachment, and the use desired. Doesn't that sound technical and exacting? Meaning, its up to you what you want to do, but why not consider the possibilities?

I do agree with Anton that the purpose of low dispersion glass is to bring all the primary colors in a scene into relatively the same plane of focus; but, too--prior to the heavy use of these kinds of elements which we see in today's fast aperture long lenses and tele zoom optical formulas (and in other lenses)--many lenses were still very well corrected for such chromatic abberations as have been mentioned.

Lens use and environmental influences can alter original lens design correction, and are often addressable by recollimation, internal cleaning, and realignment (after some years of hard use). Many repair shops have collimators, and understand the need. But technicians with personal history correcting such spatial relationships of inner lens optical groups and elements are unique individuals, who understand the issues and the problems to be addressed. Some pros send their lenses in at least once a year to be checked for the very reasons you two have raised. It is good when one can intelligently interface with technicians, as with a barber, or a car repair person (for the easiest and best personal results: without sidetracking). The results can be predetermined if one knows the issues to address, so I ask questions below accordingly. --Jay

7. From : Jay Hart (
Url : http://
Date : 02:04 AM Thursday 15 May, 2003

Are we discussing a new or used lens? If an early SMC, inner glass centering misalignment (by handling abuse bumps), element group cementing separation(s), coating/glass separation from exposure to acute heat environment(s) can cause a lens to exhibit this chromatic aberration: but all such K mount constructs of 300mm and 500mm were designed at reasonable wide apertures, and would correct this on axis. Axial chromatic abberation compensation is why lenses of this type have compound optical formulas, and are mounted spatially within barrels: to not have color fringing.

The formulas can only hold where the manufacturing is high quality, and the handling thereafter remains nonabusive. So, I wonder if you are not talking about transverse chromatic aberration, where images of different sizes are produced for different colors of off-axis light rays? Where color fringing thereby would seem to exist with certain subjects. What kinds of subjects are showing the result you are seeing? White ones, or multicolored ones? In what kind of light? Where on the resulting image do you most see this effect? At what apertures?--Jay

8. From : Anton (
Url : http://
Date : 09:27 PM Wednesday 14 May, 2003

Hi I have been examining the results of a recent purchase, an SMC 500mm f4.5 There is some colour fringing with this lens. Colour fringing is caused by an inability of the lens to focus all colours of light at the film plane. This is only an issue with telephoto lenses and the longer the lens the harder it is to correct in design. It can be corrected by the use of aspherical elements and special glass; both of which are expensive. The Pentax * (star) lenses have such special glass, my 500mm and your 300mm do not.

The fringing is most noticeable on the edge of something white in the photograph. I photographed a model in a white tee shirt and on these shots you can see the inability of the lens to bring the components of white light to the same focus on the edge of the tee shirt leaving a red fringe - it's not too bad. In other shots it is completely unnoticeable. If your 300mm SMC has huge fringing I would suspect a fault - maybe it has been dropped and the elements are out of alignment. I would expect some fringing on a 300mm non APO (apochromatic - special glass) lens but not a huge amount, I would not expect to be aware of it on 6X4 prints except in unusual photographs with clean white edges in them. Anton

9. From : Jorge Nunez (
Url : http://
Date : 09:18 AM Wednesday 14 May, 2003

An amateur here! How can you tell color fringing on a lens?

10. From : keith wood (
Url : http://
Date : 06:21 AM Wednesday 14 May, 2003

I have just bought a secondhand 300mm. f4 Pentax lens secondhand and am very disappointed with the huge colour fringing I am getting, does anybody know whether this is a problem with this lens?

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