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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 : Philip Ashman (
Url : http://
Date : 02:27 PM Tuesday 13 June, 2006

There will always be arguments for and against digital-v-film, just like there are still vinyl-v-CD arguments for music.
My own view is to embrace both technologies, at least as long as it is still practical and possible and does not become cost inaffective. That way the 'maybe?' argument you have with yourself is eliminated and you get the best of both worlds and maximum pleasure. I say that as a pure amateur of course who has only himself to please and naturally it is probably different for those who are Pro's and need to meet other criteria.
I have indeed been most impressed since buying my *istds with the quality of the images I can obtain very easily, very quickly and at very low cost. The prints I can do for myself on my HP photosmart 7350, whilst restricted to A4, are great and enough for my needs. Indeed I now look forward to the new Pentax DSLR this autumn and fully expect it to give me even better results, especially with the anticipated anti-shake system and bigger number of pixels making cropping less troublesome so as to retain a large enough file size for printing at least at 300dpi, something I often cannot do if I need to crop a lot from *itds images. Of course I try very hard to get the image right at the point of shooting to avoid the necessity to crop and maybe this is where digital does tend to make one a tad lazy with an all too often feeling that enhancements/corrections can be easily sorted later.
You will note that I stick with the word 'image' as opposed to photograph, as in my mind this is the real difference between film and digital - one is a photograph (traditionally taken) and the other is a digital image file that is captured and then displayed on a PC, but can then be printed to produce a hard copy likened to a normal photograph. This is simply the way I see it.
What I really still prefer about film is that I get a far greater sense of satisfaction from viewing a transparency on a lightbox than a digital file on a PC and still believe (at least at present) that the quality of the 'capture' I am viewing is far better, at least aesthetically. Also, with the restrictions of using film, both cost wise and having no instant playback, concentrates my mind into taking far more care and thought when composing, exposing and even choosing a subject. Finally, I still believe that the joy of the anticipation waiting for the film to be processed, mounted and returned cannot be beat and when you get a real stunner, or two, to keep in your favourites box of slides, it trancends anything you have stored digitally on a PC for which quality of viewing depends so much on technology, set up etc....and of course needs frequent backing up and is just simply not quite the same. Nor, I feel, is a print from digital, no matter how well captured, up there with the quality and beauty of a cracking cibachrome from a slide.
We must, however, embrace new technology and perhaps try not to compare it like for like with the old, but allow them to each be simply different branches with their own unique qualities providing choice for all.


2. From : Mico (
Url : http://
Date : 12:30 PM Tuesday 13 June, 2006

Hi all, here is a heretic...So, film (LX) versus digital (Canon or whatever). Having both systems, I have run test(s) recently, just out of curiosity. Cameras were 20D and LX,I will not mention lenses (primes) since I find them on pair here. LX was loaded with Velvia 100 and scanned on Nikon LS 8000. Canon was set to ISO 100. Both cameras were on tripods and I took a variety of lighting situation. In short, digital images are cleaner, grain(noise)-free and sharper. When I say sharper, I mean digital image strait from the camera, and LX scan straight from the scanner. What happens later in post-processing is the other issue. I was shooting Hi-quality JPEG, shooting RAW just would not be fair. All in-camera digital parameters were set to default, for 20D it means quite neutral settings, no sharpening and color/contrast bust. Film has it`s own charm, and it just looks different. Scanning film or slide is a digital processing after all, just less sophisticated, involving another lens/software/transmission issue.
There is something else, where film is still superior, if we assume that two equally skilled photographers are shooting, wedding for example. If you shoot film, you bring your film to the lab, develop, and give them the list of images you want to print. Then you go home to relax and listen to your favourite music while high-end photo lab is printing your images, compensating all exposure and color shift imbalances within 5 F-stops latitude, bringing things to average very-good. Fact is, those situations where the story ends with 5x7 prints, and where this I-am-going-home-you-do-the-job situation works are quite rare, at least for me. And when it happens, I do shoot film.
But, if you shoot digital, it is a different story-instead of relaxing, there is a huge job waiting for you to be done. You have to open each file and fix any potential error on it. If you are lucky, it will take you 30-60 seconds per image. If you have screwed the session up, there is a few days of cursing ahead, because lab will not compensate those errors for you. On the other hand, if you just take your memory card out and hand it to the lab for printing, I am not surprised that LX/film/print/ combination looks far better. It does not make a big difference if camera was Rebel, 20D or 7.000$ 1Ds MK II, digital image HAS to be processed in imaging software. Like it or not. Same applies to digital scan, so being purist is not quite easy here.
Finally, when I look at some of my film images/prints, I wish I had a digital camera at that point, particularly for landscapes, low-light and candid shoots. M.

3. From : Jay (
Url : http://
Date : 06:04 AM Tuesday 13 June, 2006

Advances in DSLRs: Nikon (D2Xs, 12.4MP APS CMOS) and Sony (Alpha, 10.2MP APS CCD) have bolstered the system offerings in their respective camps. Encouraging is that color is even better than the new Velvia, noise lesser (at higher ISOs), batteries charge faster and last longer, greater dynamic range is in the offerings, commitment to many existing lenses is sound, in-camera image processing options and exposure options are greater, and, perhaps best is that anti-shake is coupled with dust inhibition (only in the Sony with sensor dust repelling coatings and sonic wave technology appearing outside the Olympus line. Such news is not in the Nikon specs.). Burst rates fall a bit with the higher pixels, but there is a high speed Nikon D-body offering too for action speed freaks.

For the summer, such listings--along with Canon's newer D30 series and 35mm imaging aperture digital sensors already in two other DSLRs--prove commitment in the industry to workable advances for ongoing interchangeable lens uses with workflow intent. Nikon's pitch is mostly about their system's professional workflow advantages: view ongoing shots on TV monitors, couple with GPS/GIS and/or wireless transmitter/receivers for image computer capture and internet transmission, for image bank management, process image output faster, etc. Sony though, is being practical in assaulting real photographer human use issues with digital capture technology through more obvious concerns than Nikon. In the autumn Pentax will follow suit. Photographers want to exchange lenses without bathing the image technology with inhibiting dust that appears as large black dots in shots more than they want to link instantly to the web.

Other trend news is that when newer antishake technology is in the body it is not then needed in the lenses (a noble trend, saving in some long lens expenses, and now found too in the recent Pentax DSLR at almost half the price body of the Sony--i.e. in the Pentax DK100 with wide to tele zoom included too [but still only 6.2MP until the newer fall release]). Price points are interesting. The Nikon is over $4,400 USD, body only. The Sony is $1000, with a wide to telephoto zoom. The coming autumn Pentax 10MP will essentially duplicate the Sony/Minolta price point, and accept existing lenses. That price point will prove to please advanced Pentax loyalists and new users alike. Cost factors and new antishake and antidust technologies are, to date, about APS 4:3 sized sensors FYI.

A recent test of D200 Nikon 10+MP in-camera processed RAW images vs. Canon's 12+MP in-camera 35mm sized RAW processed images showed the Nikon 10MP body with greater shadow detail and sharpness over the 35mm sized Canon (D5ns). An APS CCD then can hold its own at a much lesser entry price point. So why fight the trend over your 35mm format widest available lens not holding so in the transfer to Digital, when you may find a replacement at the wide end being the only needed new lens?

And all this leads to the obvious question: what is necessary digital gear which is then to be called "professional"? I read the Nikon release brochure, with all the computer controlled workflow emphasis and chuckled inwardly. How many field and studio use professionals are daily tied directly to digital output channels to print houses or ongoing publications by demand? How many are directly tied to making ongoing on-time images printed at once for mass audience appetites? It almost seems that the Nikon still camera release professional transmission workflow advertising emphasis borders on being about motion media video digital documentary requirements: as well founded for such broadcasting, satellite, and webcasting requirements (not often a reality of still photography as to needing to be within-the-hour computer editable, transmittable and available for newsgathering, reporting, and mass audiencing on the nightly news. But such an influence on Nikon design is now noticed.). 10MP APS results then will prove professional enough for most of us who take more time dealing with RAW to Tiff conversions, then go on to Photoshop for 16bit imaging tweaks. As for output uses, all computer links give ample opportunities for our own dedicated professional uses and image transfers, whatever they individually may be.

Many tools for varied attachment to bodies are anchors of the SLR systems approach to advanced digital imaging. Even though DSLRs are a minority sales prospect for any manufacturer, the carrot for excellence and innovation is embraced by current competitive corporate values (not just for a bravado triumphalism with a newest body offering). As with computers, when one waits patiently before upgrading for trends and release tweaks, they are rewarded with lesser cost and more features. That is what strikes a professional user chord, not supposed workflow sales fast processing brochure fantasies. I look forward to Pentax’s autumn 10MP camera, and hope they noted and computed what Sony has now given as a challenge by the Minolta mount. Who really needs greater quality than a slightly cropped 16X24inch original? With film and processing costs such DSLR technology investment pays for itself in time.--Jay

4. From : Jay (
Url : http://
Date : 12:15 AM Tuesday 13 June, 2006

The LX under translation. Focusing screens=glasses of aiming. Other tidbits are equally enlightening. See,GGLR:2006-08,GGLR:en%26sa%3DN --Jay

Url :
Date : 08:32 PM Monday 12 June, 2006

99% of my digital images are made with film cameras...

There is nothing I've so far found in the digital stakes that matches a great Fuji Velvia transparency scanned on a high quality scanner.

The Nikon D2x and Canon EOS-1 Ds MkII provide awesome images...but I still prefer to use a Pentax LX or Nikon F5 (and buying spare bodies + system parts is far cheaper!).

One note - already mentioned - is the slow sync on the LX system. I love to use two or three AF280T flashes with the LX for long exposures or balanced lighting, but for fill-flash on the run, and fast sync, the Pentax Z1p is far easier to use (and also works well with earlier manual lenses).

6. From : AB (
Url : http://
Date : 04:41 PM Monday 12 June, 2006

Hi Ivan, thanks for your thoughts. Yes, I probably am a more practised photographer than my friend but there is still something about the film shots that is not to do with the photographer (could be to do with the lab or many other variables).

One could see the lack of fill flash and the slow sync as a limitation but I try to forget that such things exist, and work with what the LX has. Bright sunlight? I move them to the shade etc. Many photos from decades ago are great, I'm not sure that a plethora of camera features really helps. For me the LX has enough, its simplicity forces me to think, to be creative.

With a modern camera you can get loads of average shots quickly and under pressure. You simply get folk in the frame and the camera will focus and set the exposure including fill flash if you desire. You can probably fire off three shots in the time it takes me to focus for just one but the best shots out of this wedding are the one where I took my time, moved myself or the people into position, focussed carefully and intelligently and considered what I wanted from exposure. I guess the LX encourages (even enforces) this kind of approach - it's from another era but it still has lots to offer.


7. From : Ivan J. Eberle (
Url :
Date : 12:17 AM Saturday 10 June, 2006

AB, it's not necessarily all about the media, you know. Could it be that you're the better photographer?

I've shot weddings with my LX, but I have to say, the lack of a 1/250 or even 1/125 synch speed or capability of dialing in daylight-balanced auto fill flash ratios is signficant handicap when shooting a midday wedding with harsh contrast and shadows. The simplicity of the LX and not having to give much thought to equipment and modes and such almost mitigates the lack of this feature, but not entirely. The other issue I've have with the LX is that the f4P OTF flash synch cord terminal is highly inconsistent by design (I long ago fabricated an aluminum clamp to slip over the two left side lugs, to apply pressure to the PC terminal/cord for a reliable connection. But it looks kludgy and not very pro).

So while it's possible to shoot around this 1/75s synch LX handicap, expecially with that potato masher 400T, if you do much more of this sort of thing--I'm particularly thinking of noontime weddings--you might want to consider also picking up a PZ-1 or PZ-1p body with fill-flash capability. It'll also work with the analog 400T and 280T flashes, and also later digital flashes like the 500 FTZ (which the LX won't, but it has features like rear-curtain synch, perhaps even flash exposure compensation, I think?)

And later, if you really want explore the further possibilities of film for weddings, you could also try the route of a Pentax 645, and still use your 400T with TTL/OFT fllash. Get one of the few available leaf shutter 645 lenses or an auto diaphram adapter for a Pentax 6x7 ones for higher synch speeds, (Might want to double check whether you retain the advantage of your 400T TTL/OTF flash with LS lenses, I'm not sure).

For higher leaf-shutter synch speeds up to 1/500 with all available system lenses and TTL/OTF flash (only with Sunpak or Metz flashes though), you could also look into used manual-focus Bronica ETRSi 645 equipment, since it's suddenly going for a mere pittance on eBay nowadays.

Incidentally it's that same extreme midday contrast--the nightmare of groom's black tux and the bride's white wedding gown lace detail in the same scene--that gives Portra or NPS film the edge over most digital camera sensors. The Fuji S3 is a Nikon-based digital SLR with an expanded dynamic range, that while not having a very current design, still has it's followers among wedding photographers.


8. From : AB (
Url : http://
Date : 08:50 PM Friday 09 June, 2006


Just got the results from my first (reluctant) wedding shoot. 2 LXs One with AF400T Hammerhead on TTL mostly with 35-105 zoom, Other camera with 24, 85, 135 and 200 with faster film and monopod for atmosphere. My friend was also doing the shoot, she uses a Canon digital.

I had my photos pro/am printed to 7.5X5 and she took her card in and had them printed. The film shots are just better. OK I know this isn't scientific by any stretch (and it could be the different printers lenses etc.) but it's interesting. My digital friend noticed it immediately and she put it down to a certain quality the film seems to have. I agree, it's no longer about quality but qualities.

For the record my LXs performed flawlessly. The 85 1.4 SMC-A is a real beauty I can recognise its creamy quality quite reliably.


9. From : Philip Ashman (
Url : http://
Date : 02:30 PM Thursday 08 June, 2006

Hi Pat I have sent you an email that should resolve your 5400 scanner problem. Philip

10. From : Ivan J. Eberle (
Url :
Date : 01:56 PM Thursday 08 June, 2006

Pat, I assume by PC you meant Windows XP, but here's a page linking both Mac and Win Scan Utilities for the MDSE 5400 v1 :

And yes, I believe you do need the v.1 drivers and not v.2. Though I'd be delighted to be proven wrong, as it seems KM never developed a Tiger OS 10.4 driver for the original MDSE 5400 (LaserSoft Silverfast did, however).

Probably be an excellent idea to uninstall (or trash) whatever version of Scan Utility you've downloaded previously before doing another.

Too, ought to mention that my MDSE 5400 is somewhat finicky about the Firewire 400 port (on a Mac PowerPC), Scan Utility sometimes bombs or hangs with any other FW device in operation at the same time, even turning my printer off with the scanner in operation is a problem. You didn't mention about your PC hardware, but some older Firewire cards are not very compatible with certain peripherals, not even recognizing the device. My MDSE 5400 works with the original FW port on my Mac, but my Epson R1800 printer does not. Don't have any experience with whether the MDSE 5400 will work at all on a newer FW800. Happily decent FW400 and USB 2.0 combo cards are cheap nowadays. Til you've got it up and running, I wouldn't recommend running the scanner through a hub.

Thinking that I may yet have a .pdf copy of the owner's manual stashed here locally on my machine that I could send you, if it's been taken down from the KM page.

As I recall, the installation procedure for the downloaded binaries for the driver upgrades was once a very strange and convoluted process, that if done out of sequence would mess things up. I'm reasonably sure they later combined something like 7 separately downloaded files into one self extracting install file, but if you've gone through the earlier process and couldn't get it to work, you certainly have my sympathies.


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