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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 : Jay Hart (
Url : http://
Date : 10:55 AM Tuesday 14 January, 2003

Lenses, Now there is a subject for the objective, and the subjective (pardon the pun). Like Globetrotter, for landscape work, I've found the 135 f 3.5 "M" incredible. It is a bargain lens, usually going on ebay for from 48 to 60 dollars on ebay(I've had mine since the early 1980s). It enlarges transparencies beyond 16 X 20 at most apertures without usual enlargement failures. Like many lenses I've kept, I have gone through more than one of a particular focal length to find one that is exceptionally better than some almost exact others for transparency rendering. Other considerations have been to stick with mostly a few filter sizes (to date 43.5mm, 49mm, 58mm, 67mm, 77mm, and 82mm. I have avoided 52mm because not many optics were made with this size, though that may be changing. I kind of configure each shoot made up imaging "kit" around lens coverage, location use, whether an assistant is or is not employed, and how many filters will be involved). Pentax compact lenses, Ms and As were well thought out for field use. I can carry more than my Nikon and Canon line professional friends, and get the results I need with less effort.

One does have to watch for black flecks from internal light dampening sources within any lens after the 20 years or so since they came off the assembly line (coming loose and falling onto internal element groups surfaces). So, that would be a question to ask possible used lens sellers: to shine a focusable flashlight through the lens and view any debris and give a report, prior to serious bidding(some lenses do and some do not have this problem). This too is a good way to find any internal growths on element groups from tropical environments use or sources(fungus, molds: these are hard to remove, and block imaging, and eat coatings. DO NOT BUY A LENS WITH FUNGUS!). And ask them to observe diaphragm action, unwanted oil, or sluggishness and report. I've only had one Pentax lens need service in this aperture control area over two and one half decades of hard use (35mm f2). It is insufficient for a seller to write that the front and rear elements are scratch free, to assess a used lens. Ask the sellers to be very specific in answering your inquiries; be assertive in making them, and wait for just what you want coming into the used marketplace.

I have M, A, and original "F" series, and one FA. I do not find the autofocus reliable enough near infinity with long lens shots unless the subject fills the frame, so all the manual focus lenses are used mostly when it does not. I do find the 35-105 f 3.5 "A", and the 70-210 f 4 "A" to be acceptable zooms for quality and color (consistent apertures keep them in the cases). My 24-50 f 4 "A" is not as sharp, but closed down two stops is very acceptable for interiors, and handy. I generally do not use it, but fixed focal lengths, for outdoor work. Indoor work is lit with powerful strobes FYI. For uncanny sharpness the Tamron 200 f 3.5 is kept still, an adaptall 2 accepting 58mm filters(without ed glass, or ld glass, it gives ed results). The 300 f4 "A" is compact, and in the case, but lacks the contrast of the 100-300mm F 4 Tokina ATX, a truly fantastic lens (they share the same filter size). The 300 f 4 A tests show that it does not resolve like shorter focal lengths do, or as well as the F or FA 300mm 4.5. I keep it because I can climb up and down Utah Canyon walls with it. It has surprized mountian lions on the ridges, not to mention kokapelli.

The original 70-210 mm f 4.5-5.6 autofocus "F" is handy in hiking or in the wild backcountry, or up fourteeners, but lacks a non-rotating front barrel, so is frustrating when using polarizers (as does the original 28-80mm F rotate in the front on focusing, an OK lens for its range, much better than later 28-80 lenses, excepting the 28-70 f4 and 28-80 f 2.8. Finding one of these originals, made in Japan, in good shape is a challenge. It has the same optical formula as the A series 28-80, which held together well and was well reviewed). The original 70-210 f 4.5-5.6 autofocus F series, with metal barrels,is occasionally available in excellent condition used for around $125.00, renders color very well, has an ed element, and is a companion in canyon country week long journies--along with a 28 and a 20 mm lens, to keep weight down. I understand it is actually a 70-203mm. It works well with an old vivitar dedicated teleconvertor (for the 75-205 Vivitar lens, never owned), and the 1.4Xs Pentax teleconvertor. I sold the 2xs Pentax teleconvertor as it was inferior to that dedicated old Vivitar convertor. (Worth searching and finding, and probably a bargain, but, without A or F mount contacts). I only use these convertors when trying to keep the packable shooting kit to a minimum, for the occasional long shot in thes situations.

If a lens does not have the sharpness and snap they go away. I am curious if anyone has tried the Tokina ATX AF WA zooms, and their results, as these are current considerations for updating.

Some of the best lenses for cloud and wild landscape photography have been: Pentax M 20 mm f 4, always in the backcountry ski and hiking packs, and the 28mm "A" f2 (which has a floating element and seconds for WA close-ups). For interiors the 20 mm A f 2.8 has been excellent (still available, in the same formula as the FA 20 mm), and the 15mm f3.5, A: when carefully placed on horizontal and verticle axis in reference to the horizon. Frankly, these lenses are superior to the secondary market lenses of similar aperture made today, in spite of the new resin bonded elements. Resin bonding helps make the primary color planes resolve out to the lens edges, but too, simplifies optical formulas to eliminate the costly process of manufacutering and aligning the multiple element group lenses and zooms of ten years ago and back. Some multiple element wide angles, preresin bonding, are superior to the newer formulas in many ways.

These last mentioned lenses are almost as excellent, for WAs, as the FA 24mm which Globetrotter prefers. It has bonded elements. I have been debating whether to pick up that lens or the Sigma 24, ex, which, of the three Sigma WA exs, has the best reviews and potential (about $180 cheaper than the Pentax). Here in Boulder, Colorado, the professional camera shops have dropped the Sigma lines, for Tamron and Tokina, as they say Sigmas "fall apart" after some considerable use, usually after warranty disappears. Does the newer professional AL ex stuff prove better?

Not nearly as sharp as the Pentax 85 1.4s, I've clung to the 85 F 2 M because of its handling ease and compactness. It is good for throwing the background out of focus at wide apertures, and has always given me excellent portraits. Friends from around the world have appreciated its capture of their people groups and families. Taking along pictures of my own, usually opens the doors for intruding into others private spaces.

The 100mm 2.8 A macro is uncanny, and is used for mountain wildflower and hummingbird work, a very fine optic, with fewer elements than the F or FA of like use (1:1 macro capability).
I marry it to a field tripod, even carrying this combo up to 15 miles into wilderness.

FYI, F 1.2 50 to 55 mm lenses involve pre-resin bonded AL element configuration lens formulas to date. Nikon and Pentax lenses I would just call OK at these apertures for the design tradeoffs involved, as to granting a full acceptable range of sharpness at most aperture settings (Leica and Canon are slightly better at these apertures). Even the f 1.4 suffers a bit in the first three stops from design tradeoffs. The tradeoffs are, of course, to capture available light, vs. the various problems of bringing the primary colors in harmony together, to the lens edges, in pinpoint focus at the film plane. Believe it or not the f 1.7 and the f 2 50 mm Pentaxes, especially the A series, are among the sharpest lenses ever made for 35mm photography. When one can see down deep into the lens, without a great deal of reflection, the coatings work best--achieved at the highest levels in the A series lens tests.

Long lenses, as the 400 FA 5.6, are for occasional use, for wildlife or sports work, and are very good optics. Any lens 300 mm or above will not be as sharp or detailed as primes up through 200mm, so filling the frame with the subject becomes vital to their acceptable use. I've used, but do not own, the Pentax 600mm, and the Sigma 500mm, f 4.5. These are both excellent optics, but do require considerable support.
Has anyone used blinds for live nature work?

2. From : Anton Browne (
Url : http://
Date : 04:49 AM Tuesday 14 January, 2003

Blair, it sounds like the infamous sticky mirror/shutter problem, take a peek at:

for more info. If you're in the UK I sadly can't recommend Pentax UK but I can recommend Robin of Harrow Technical, Pentax House:

Give the LX an overhaul and it'll serve you for another twenty years.


3. From : Blair Williamson (
Url : http://
Date : 12:12 AM Tuesday 14 January, 2003

I have a Pentax LX and have been experiencing problems with the mirror locking in the "up" position.
This is most frequent after a day or two of non-use. After a frame or two it seems okay again.
Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Url : http://
Date : 03:38 AM Monday 13 January, 2003

I'm very sorry for the couple of minor incorrect spellings in the last post. Maybe MIR will hopefully install an edit facility in the near future.....!

Url : http://
Date : 03:28 AM Monday 13 January, 2003

Both the Pentax SMC 50mm f1.2 & SMC-A 50mm f1.2 are superb performers and, at the secondhand prices found on Ebay, I reckon they are well worth the money. I've owned two SMC K versions and one later SMC-A version. It is true that f1.2 does not give much advantage to a 1.4 or 1.7 lens, but in extremely low light photography they excel. The depth of field is minute at wide open aperture, giving a very soft outline surrounding the focussed object - but in some types of photos, this is exactly what you require. The most important aspect for me in using these fast-aperture lenses is their allowance of faster working shutter speeds, and the extremely bright viewfinder image when shooting in low light at dawn or dusk, or even dim interiors. When apertures of both 50mm f1.2 lenses are closed down to f/5.6, or f/8, they give ultra-sharp images across the frame.
For the average photogapher on a budget, I would advise you to go for the 50mm f/2,and f1.7. For the working pro or someone who needs the sharpest images, I would go for the 50mm f1.4. For The working pro or smi-pro who works a great deal with manual focus hand-held shot sin low-ligh conditions, then I would steer them towards the 50mm f/1.2. There is not much difference in comparison with the SMC K 50mm f/1.2 and SMC-A 50mm f/1.2 lenses, but the SMC-A version tends to produce very slightly better colour and a nicer bokeh.

6. From : choeN (choen@nospam.please)
Url : http://
Date : 12:50 PM Sunday 12 January, 2003

Go for a 50mm f1.4 instead. It offers a relatively sharper performance wide open compared to the f1.2. For 0.2 stops less it is also much cheaper.

7. From : Jorge Nunez (
Url : http://
Date : 05:27 AM Sunday 12 January, 2003


Anyone try to critique the Pentax SMC 50mm f1.2 standard lens. Why does it cost so much, even on E-nay!. Know that is a fast lens, is it sharp?


8. From : Jorge Nunez (
Url : http://
Date : 05:27 AM Sunday 12 January, 2003


Anyone try to critique the Pentax SMC 50mm f1.2 standard lens. Why does it cost so much, even on E-nay!. Know that is a fast lens, is it sharp?


Url : http://
Date : 06:28 AM Saturday 11 January, 2003

Anton - If you see some Pentax star* lenses or other good stuff going "cheap", please Email me! (I'll do the same for you).

Regarding my own photos on the Internet: I will be sending some of my work to the gallery of this site soon (many of my photos & scans are at this moment with the publisher for layout of my next book - GLOBETROTTER'S QUEST - due for release March 2003). I should also have a new Website later this year, so I'll inform you when it's up and operating.

10. From : Anton Browne (
Url : http://
Date : 01:59 AM Saturday 11 January, 2003

Yes, I agree about the tiepos!

It' always worth keeping your eyes and your mind open and just taking a look around. Not only for photo opportunities but...

I have seen recently a mint 135 A* go for £225 and two weeks later the same but exc+ for £110!! also an 85 A* for £110 and a 100-A 2.8 macro for £100 these are 1/3 to 1/5 of the price they would normally be. Some time later I was talking to the guy in one of the shops in a rather posh part of Surrey. He said a gent had died and his wife was clearing out all his stuff, Pentax 35mm and 6X7, all immaculate. The shop wasn't web savvy and all the wealthy locals were into Leica and Hasselblad and the Pentax stuff didn't sell, they just wanted to shift it.


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