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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 : Jay (
Url : http://
Date : 08:41 AM Tuesday 07 September, 2004

Well, as computer operating systems will change next to 64 bit, made for different hardware, new computer color imaging digital systems are put in place of existing ones. The new Computer Imaging Train will be as when Adobe Illustrator, Pagemaker, and Quark replaced the old rubilith get ready for printing process, labor intensive, as a manual cut and paste layout process made by hand on drawing tables. As was then worked out, with typography cut from paper strips, glued on layout paper, along with separate half-tones layed out and shot for process camera-ready to-be-printed layouts (with considerable touch-up afterwards): such tedious necessity to get results will pass on with present digital imaging processing from film.

Printing layout is not done by hand any longer. So, not done anymore, being totally replaced by computers, software, and digital layout files for publications (by the mentioned programs)where are the drawing tables for art, architecture, and publication layout?

Tony, you are right in saying it takes a long time to tweak slides from film scanners to get close to the original image in results. That is the point, as the Computer Imaging Train changes its very standards, all this will become passe. And this is on the next Microsoft OS release after XP. Perhaps your (our) film scanner(s), and its (their) tedious image processing steps toward acceptable result will physically last, but will such be used as such by the printing and publishing industry (other than for historical references)?

Pagemaker, Quark, and InDesign (not to mention cad, and building plan programs)--the likes of which eliminated the on drawing board cut and paste and process camera rubilith steps toward print masters, say no. Soon, it is time for scanners, as used now, to go. My posting is on investing in gear with common sense as to futures, not on the nice heavy duty gear once made. --Jay

Url :
Date : 04:26 AM Tuesday 07 September, 2004

Yes, Jay, just as I mentioned a while back. Most of us are gradually changing some of our equipment to digital, but there are still too many problems to be "tweaked & perfected" before I, and many others, go the whole hog and jump in at the deep end.

I'm quite satisfied with the results of my Minolta Dimage Scan Elite 5400 35mm scanner; although I still need to work with every single scan to bring back the full colour and sharpness shown in the oriignal slide...and I do find the thing incredibly slow; but it will probably be the only scanner I'll need for a long time into the future. This scanner will fulfil most of my needs for my extremely large archive of colour transparencies ~(and even for negatives and B/W negs, because it does quite a decent job with these too)...
A lot of my photographs still sell many decades after I took the exposures - in a word, they are "timeless", so I don't quite see me leaving film entirely behind in my lifetime...
It will probably be a few more years...yes, even 5-more years, before I buy a new trio of pro-digital DSLRs. In the meantime, I'll keep on plodding along with LX or F5 bodies, and a barrel load of 'old' "Wonder" lenses that satisfy most of my needs.

The new digital age does excite me though, Jay, and I'm keeping a very close eye on the improving camera bodies and lenses being produced.

Strangely enough, I find myself buying more and more 'mint-conditioned' older lenses lately. Mainly due to them not only being very cheap compared to most of the latest offerings, but that many of them were simply made better, and most of all, they were extremely sharp.

and now for some sad news (to me anyway!): I was out with Chez this past weekend photographing fungi (this is the very best time of the year to do so) - but unfortunately the lens was not screwed tight enough to my tripod, and ARRGHH!! The F5 body and attached 180mm F/2.8 APO Macro went flying to the ground and smashed with an almighty explosion against the rocky path. OH NO!
The lens hit the ground first, with the lens shade receiving full frontal impact. The lens and shade is ALL metal, so even though the shade was badly dented, the glass optics came through without a scratch. However, the heavy impact ripped the mount staight off the camera body, causing the metal structure behind the mount to fracture. The F5 body just bounced hard on the rocks, but is hardly scratched and seems to be perfect. I don't think any lens ever made could have withstood such a hard blow from a height.

Now one of my favourite (and sharpest lenses) is sadly out of use. I've tried to fix it, and everything seems to be OK - focus, glass, etc - but the aperture control will not function. Sadly, it looks like I'll need to look for another long Macro lens, becuse I'm almost certain that the bill to get the mount fixed will cost more than actually paying for another on Ebay.

3. From : Jay (
Url : http://
Date : 03:10 AM Tuesday 07 September, 2004

Hi, LX fans, which means primarily slide shooters. I’ll call this posting the Computer Imaging Train. The theme here, and its information, stems from earlier postings and discussions of digital file renders: film scanners digital files, versus in camera digital sensor array image captures. There is a significant warning here to all of us regarding our investments and Microsoft changing the whole Computer Imaging Train's engines,cars, and stations by soon marketing computer color system rendering changes into a 64 bit operating system now being tested for release in 2005-2006 by computer manufacturers.

Supposedly a new Minolta scanner will be shown at trade shows by spring, perhaps even early this fall. Nikon and Minolta have a rivalry in this arena, so it may be delayed while each watches the other to see what’s up. These may or may not be 64 bit OS designed film scanners, I do not know. Then one or more additional features can be added to up the ante regarding which is better as one awaits the other’s product for scrutiny. On the Photozone site there is a comparative review between the two best of Nikon and Minota now on the market. There are tradeoffs; in one way the Nikon is better, in another, the Minolta. The review shows the limits and possibilities of present film scanners.

As for digital information scanned from slides, certainly the maximum possible color depth has been reached, via density results being now greater than film. As far as the conflict between pixelization and its scans resolving film grain, that has not yet been solved for satisfaction. Color rendering too is somewhat limited by the present computer imaging train. Visible artifacts result from film grain scans when the conversion for digital file rendering is made: as yet quite unsatisfactory regarding dealing with visible grain. A scanner which scans greater than 2880 PPI will show visible grain in a kind of disjointed pixel transformation. Greater pixel count, resulting in larger digital file sizes, has not resolved the grain transformation accutance issues, to date. Yet that is the way the transformation technology has evolved around existing 32 bit computer systems, their color information encoding, and squares or rectangles of pixels: seen in the computer imaging train. On film grain presents as randomly captured and chemically fixed, as light struck and resident on the film stock, but is not easy handled by the transformation to pixel results of film scanners. Read on for color rendering issues--film to digital file--in the computing imaging train.

There is the extreme compression of scenic tones by most low ISO transparency films. The thousands of nuanced hues seen by the eye in a given scene, are compressed to less than a fifty by transparency stock. We like the look, as that is the motion picture look, with its contrast. We like the color seen on film being more postery than in actual scenes made so by film’s high contrast values. We, as film shooters, then depend on good light, within a certain workable exposure lighting ratio, to get good on-film results. We do not like digital cameras’ images--unless tweaked to give like results as does film--though, ironically, they show more color hues from a given scene. This is so, as they do not, thereby, saturate and posterize color--like motion picture film we are used to as the basis for our film photography (on transparency film).

Right now, in miniature format, as made by the 35mm or AP sized digital sensor arrays found in high end cameras: only the most expensive units outstrip what a film scanner can do as to final rendering results. Soon, even the everyday 5MP and up cameras will outstrip what film scanners can do. File size is not the point, because of the lack of real sharpness and acutance achieved by present film scanners (save drum scanners), with the nature of limits of the transformation process from film grain to pixels. Even with their lower file sizes, scene rendering results are being surpassed by high end digital cameras. That is because a transformation from film grain to pixels is not another factor in the mix. Always one needs to adjust the histogram, levels, contrast in given tonal regions, curves, the color balance, hue, saturation, and, first and foremost, the sharpness with the results of digital film scans. Film is not perfected for the Computing Digital Imaging Train; in camera sensors are slowly being so perfected, and ultimately so conformed for achieved real scene contrast and detail through the stations of the Computing Imaging Train. In high end cameras one can preset what they want to achieve, then directly enter it into the Computing Imaging Train, without much post image tweaking. And this is without film to digital file transformation issues.

The days of film are numbered--maybe five more years, at best. So, it becomes an economic choice, whether to invest in a large file size film scanner, as a station on the Computing Imaging Train track, or not to. Right now it is a matter of waiting for the in digital camera origination game to progress for everyman. If you buy a current or a future 7xxx or 9xxx film scanner it will be a boat anchor at some point--outstripped as to the Computer Imaging Train results by arising and available in-camera digital imaging sensor array SLRs. I would advocate someone buying the Dimage Dual Scan IV as an investment without the economic loss of the present or future high end film scanners. It can show all visible grain of a 35mm transparency, has the highest density available, is true 16/32 bit, and achieves the color limits of the current computer operating systems.

Since Mircrosoft is developing a new operating system for 64 bit computing, and doing away with ancient technology like the BIOS and use of the basic resident memory for basic computer functioning from the PC dark ages in the process: you will see in the next two years the Computer Imaging Train achieve new engines and "track", beyond the current limits of TWAIN and the like for digital imaging (as to color capture system, colors, hues, and the like). The present limits of color system capture, filing, and rendering--by present operating systems, scanners, and printers--will be changed forever. Present operating systems can just render millions of colors, with determined color system detail, even though, theoretically, the monitors and color management systems control billions of colors (the operating system is a bottleneck on this part of the Computing Imaging Train now). The imaging software is now ahead of the hardware. Present film scanners and, especially, printers, limit Computer Imaging Train rendering severely. True color hues are not captured, filed, and passed along on the imaging train for alike final results.

Inkjets only give dots of primary or primary plus colors; they do not render hues inherently, but primary color dot combinations. In the soon to be new Computing Imaging Train, fueled by 64 bit operating systems, printers will be manufacturered to render actual hues from digital imaging sensor array color captures, and color results will "open up," beyond the limits of the compression of tones by all films, especially transparency films of low ISO, and their results through the film scanners’ limits. This will be apparent in high contrast scenes opening up highlights and shadow areas, with digital camera originations, in addition to well and evenly lit areas of a scene (the latter is what transparency film is best at, and now does, FYI).

This all means that whatever you buy as to the current 32 bit Computing Color Train product market, scanners included, will soon be obsolete and passing, like film, into oblivion. This is good news for manufacturers and sellers, but, with all the shape shifting of products, hardware, software, and operating systems in the process: it means current imaging scanner investments will be short-lived as to what the industry will move to
and embrace to keep its cash flow and quality standards going. This is why I recommend currently the Dual Scan IV, as an economic and business asset decision, over a current best of imaging train scanner choices, at this time. Look ahead, and one will be stuck with ancient technology as far as rendering results by this year’s scanners. The whole color system will be affected by new operating systems, of 64 bit design. Oh, that the soul could be joined to the Computer Imaging Train as it passes, by and by, up up and away. –Jay PS. Thanks to Knut, who wrote me asking about future scanners, for the inspiration for this posting.

4. From : AB (
Url : http://
Date : 04:35 AM Friday 03 September, 2004

p.s. I should add that I'm not suggesting that China doesn't produce quality kit, I have some very nice items that I notice are manufactured in China. AB

5. From : Rob (
Url : http://
Date : 09:23 PM Thursday 02 September, 2004

Thanks AB for taking the time and for very useful info :-)

6. From : AB (
Url : http://
Date : 02:05 AM Tuesday 31 August, 2004

Not wishing to bore everybody but generally speaking the latest incarnation of a model may not be the best. Often a model is launched and if it's an important model like the LX, the company will try very hard, they need good reviews and anything but very minor faults will be a disaster. After a while with feedback from reviewers, service centres etc. various upgrades/fixes are made, they may go un-announced (you wouldn't trumpet the fact that you got some things wrong) and largely unnoticed; as in the LX. Once things have settled down the company looks at how it can produce the product more economically and this is where the quality usually starts to drop (like the K1000 being produced in China with some plastic instead of metal parts, some of the later Nakamichi cassette decks and many other examples). The new Olympus E-1 is apparently very well built. Olympus has much riding on its new 4/3 standard and I'm sure they've built it very well (probably very expensive to manufacture but they’ve got to jump in all guns blazing with this) if it survives I bet there'll be updates and I also reckon that after a while the (mechanical) quality will have dropped - though this may not matter for short lived digitals. AB

7. From : AB (
Url : http://
Date : 01:39 AM Tuesday 31 August, 2004

Hello Rob. I have just finished searching for a replacement LX for my 'transitional' model (high shutter guard/lock, meter activation by prism release but old shutter pattern and my tech tells me, very old ISO resistor circuit - leading him to believe that there had been an earlier repair). My transitional model died with an unfixable electronic fault.

I decided to search for a late model because even though the worst most unreliable LX I've had was a very late model (it was a bit beat up but internally there was no evidence of this so no excuse) with a (semi) electronic camera I think it’s best to have the most recently manufactured components. Resistors, capacitors etc. degrade with time whether they are used or not, in fact capacitors like to be used. In my experience when the electronics start going wrong in the LX (and probably any other make of camera or device) you're in for an expensive hiding to nowhere. Mechanical faults can more easily be repaired/remanufactured etc.

There were several good condition to mint LX's on eBay recently but all of them had the low shutter guard meaning they were early models, I bid on an LX from Switzerland with a serial number beginning 533, I emailed the seller and asked about the pattern on the shutter curtain and he confirmed that it had two dots 'missing' meaning it was a late shutter, he took photos and emailed them to me. Above and beyond this the camera had a CLA two or three years ago for sticky mirror and the seller took it to Pentax Switzerland for another CLA prior to selling - I somehow imagine Pentax Switzerland will have been very thorough if my Swiss acquaintances are anything to go by. This is of value to me as I'm gradually getting all my cameras CLA'd as I can no longer be doing with things not working quite right and I accept that old things need attention to keep them happy (kinda like folk!). I bid aggressively (just the once) and got the camera for just over £300 including postage and PayPal fee. For a serviced late model LX in good+ but not mint condition this is on the right side of reasonable, I expect it to arrive in a week or so and will report.

My advice then, look for 533**** and higher, this will have the high shutter guard, meter switch on and extended ISO. Ask the seller to cock the shutter, lock up the mirror and look through the lens mount at the shutter curtain, there should be two dote 'missing' just off centre top and bottom for the late shutter. I would also advise sending it straight for a CLA if it hasn't had one recently. There are offers on eBay Buy It Now for LX CLA's at about £86 (providing nothing serious is found) I can recommend the offering by 'poundapint'. Good luck AB

8. From : Rob (
Url : http://
Date : 12:31 AM Tuesday 31 August, 2004

Hi all, I am looking at buying an LX body at the moment and have questions which hopefully someone on this msg board may know... After what serial number number did the LX start to have ISO up to 3200 iso 1600 ? Does this coincide with the MKII? Are there any serial numbers I should avoid ? thanks for any replies guys and girls rgds Rob

9. From : Ian(2) (
Url : http://
Date : 12:44 AM Sunday 29 August, 2004

AB Thanks for the note about service available via e-bay. I've had a look and may well take up the offer.Ian

10. From : Jay (
Url : http://
Date : 07:48 PM Saturday 28 August, 2004

I am wondering if the camera back closes securly? Occasionally I have had to adjust the closing mechanism and angle of LX and LZ camera backs as to shutting properly. This usually evolves over time as a presenting issue. RSVP --Jay

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