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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 (
Url : http://
Date : 11:21 PM Thursday 22 July, 2004

AB, Does your man replace the variable resistor under the ASA dial???? I too vote for LX over F5. If I wanted a tank, I'd buy a Hasselblad. --jay

2. From : AB (
Url : http://
Date : 04:57 PM Thursday 22 July, 2004

Wow! Some pretty hefty and interesting posts. A brief change of subject:

My yellowing SMC 105 2.4 for the 6X7 is much clearer after being left in 'the sun' for a month (last year it would have been done in a few days but the UK this year hasn't experienced much in the way of sunshine) I've now turned it over to bleach the rear elements - hey, I know it shouldn't matter which way round it is 'cause it's glass right? Call me pedantic. I've been reading up on the subject and worryingly the cause of the yellowing is radioactive glass!!! The rare earth glasses used in that era 50's - 60's.

I bought a Super-A recently as a walk-about camera that could do TTL with my 'LX' flashguns as my walk-about LX is un-fixable and I'm fed up of buying expensive LX's that don't work properly and can't be fixed. Guess what?... The Super-A was erratic on aperture priority (apparently it's simply the A contacts that need cleaning but I didn't want to know) I took it straight back for a refund. In the short time I had the Super-A I discovered I didn't like it. I don't like setting the shutter speed by push-buttons, I don't like LCD display of shutter and aperture - give me an optical aperture everytime even though low light is a problem. Even though the battery never expired, in the back of my mind I wasn't keen on total battery dependence. I realised after this experience that the camera for me is an LX that works properly (erratic shutter at high ISO excepted) so that is what I'm going to organise, I'm sending each LX with winder in to Robin at Harrow Technical for him to put it on the test bench and give it a thorough going over. If it displays any un-fixable behaviours it's off to eBay and I'll swallow the loss, if it's basically okay I'll have the winder and body CLA'd (there are loads of contacts and switches in the winder and body that are likely showing signs of contamination etc.) In this way - over a period of time I hope to end up with an LX system that I can trust for some years to come. If I need to buy a new body I'll buy it on the understanding that it's going straight to the test bench and if it doesn't pass muster it will be returned.

LX's are slowly dying and the above is the best way I can think of ensuring that I have reliable and useable stock. It is a very expensive business but then vintage usually is. It's not too bad though; let's say £500 per camera (purchase plus CLA) mine probably works out at £600 'cause I've had to sell three duffers for a fraction of the purchase price. So an LX with CLA is the same as a used Nikon F5. Give me the LX.


3. From : Jay (
Url : http://
Date : 01:26 AM Thursday 22 July, 2004

Tony, Since Ian has not yet posted his 5400 impressions, I will add some thoughts.

If one scans at a large PPI, one can downsize to quality 4800-3200 ppi after scanning in the image manipulation software. This usually takes care of grain to digital image file transfer artifacts problems, and tightens things up (and also supports my view that 3200 PPI is enough for most uses). Definitely the ICE offered on the Minota 5400 is a plus, but does also need to unsharpen the results a bit (which can be resharpened with the unsharp mask or edge sharpening filters of Photoshop). It is a semi-professional result: it will never measure up to drum results, but is, I would say 80-85%. Further, Nikon imaging has an exclusive contract to offer the latest version of ICE as it comes out. Tests show the Nikon 5000, with 4000 ppi, par or better than the Minolta 5400, with its rated 5400 ppi.

To compare the scanners currently on the market go to the non-english speaker authored in English Photozone site, look under digital, type in film scanners and read the list. Further there, there is a good comparison of Minolta to Nikon top of the line, as currently marketed, scanners. See

When one converts grain to pixels all kinds of challenges present: one of the many reasons why digital file image originations usually come out on top of digital scans. As you pointed out, even the differences between one kind of drum scanner and another can be noticeable. I am offering the above with the hope that we free up this site to go on to something else.

When I purchased the 5400 it was the best choice at the time. Canon too is advancing now in popularly priced scanners. But, knowing what I know, and already having other software than ICE, today, for my uses, the Dimage Dual Scan IV would be mighty appealing to me, and is a bargain available here for less than $250.00. Because I shoot much 120 645, generally its use of film is scanned by printers' own drum scanners--(so, because the image is farly easy to view with a loup enlarger which I can see from my chair) I have not picked up a Minolta scanner which could include its film size for scans. Further, the 120 645 Kodak back has met most digital file imaging origination demands to date.

Discussion of film limits vs pixel scan resolution is offered on without conclusive findings. What these folks examine raises as many questions as answers. One commenter offers a subsite address for scanner basics which is quite good.

I think I have already offered my comments on color rendering with film scans, 35mm variety. And mentioned the media's weaknessness and strengths in this regard. Using image manipulation software adds considerable options and quality to film scan results--in fact I find these results unuseable without at least basic tweaking as to sharpness, contrast, shifting tonal ends, as such, when necessary, and other shifts, and/or image corrections. I find this takes only minutes. Then too there are the hundreds of tweaks offered, would any such prove needed. In addition, Photoshop CS has a wonderful image bank management component.

Lets go on to something else, shall we? --Jay

4. From : JY Lim (
Url : http://nil
Date : 02:29 AM Tuesday 20 July, 2004

Hi Group. Someone has posted a translation of an interview on Maitani (??) - the OM system Guru founder on the Olympus Message board. interesting reads. See:

5. From : Jay (
Url : http://
Date : 08:33 AM Monday 19 July, 2004

Another resource to understand existing scanner requirements strengths, and limits is to go to the Photozone test site, under "digital", there even the problems of grain artifacts and 35mm scanner results are discussed in depth. For example,, gives the reader understanding of the problem with small format semi-professional scans at high scanner resolutions, and why often lower resolutions can produce superior results. This, once again, supports what has been shared prior. The LX is a tool which works in the 35mm film arena.--Jay

6. From : Jay (
Url : http://
Date : 10:51 PM Sunday 18 July, 2004

Ian, I monitor Japanese publications on specific imaging products in reference to new technology releases. There will not be a URL for the new scanner until late fall, then to be market released. Recall when others here were anticipating the Pentax DSLR release to be a full frame 35mm variety, I cautioned with the interviews from the Japanese industry publications that it would be what it proved to be. Both Nikon and Minolta are releasing new film scanners to up the PPI ante. It always takes time for shipment to warehouses, then dealers, accompanied by reviews, marketing release events, etc. So, to date, no URL available. I could steer you to certain publications, if interested. But, aside from PPI ratings, there is little other information on the specifications as evoving at this time. ---Jay

7. From : Ian (
Url : http://
Date : 06:23 PM Friday 16 July, 2004

Jay, have you got a URL for the new Minolta? I'd love to have a look. Thanks - Ian.

8. From : Jay (
Url : http://
Date : 05:31 PM Friday 16 July, 2004

Welllll, It is good Ian has raised up his dander. I too enjoy and use the 5400, and chose it for many of the same reasons he did, when it first came out. As I said, it is now eclipsed by Nikon and Minolta's latest offerings, with their increased PPI ratings. This was not to say Nikon was better than Minolta, but that both now offer newer and increased PPI rating units. I continue to disagree with 35mm ability to offer much scenic detail, without a central subject filling the frame, compared to larger format film. As to color information, there is considerable loss compared to large file digital camera originations. I would advise Ian to read up on the scan results that came from the Diimage III, and the grain problems it showed, then you will catch "my drift".

Minor White and Ansel Adams, both initially view camera users, later 120 shooters, helped establish the zone system based on the reality that film compresses tones (here is a quiz item: do you remember how many zones? The zones represented B & W tones). Color film, using a silver base also radically compresses scenic tones. This is not crap, nor are 35mm format limits crap, they are what they are, lesser than other formats as to detailing ability. The lenses for 35 mm are great, and will off-set the limits of film as small format digital bodies take over. Certainly low ISO chromes have greater detailing capacity than higher ISO films, especially negative emulsions. I agree with Tony that technology advancement in imaging sensors and their related technolgy is happening by degrees, not all at once, and that these bodies and backs are power intensive, and have other idocyncracies..

Hey, I've nothing to defend here, no vesting, no one upsmanship, and enjoy shooting chromes for my own nature work. I like the film look for properly lit scenics. I even take my van sometimes to the Great Divide here in Colorado, turn on the power inverter, and set up my Norman 2400 with four 1200 watt output heads to "fill" colorful tree scenics in the fall from the side of our country roads. This gives uncanny results.

I just work daily with the realities of color and image bank management and know the differences between film, 35mm scans, and the digital origination back I use for commercial work. I deal with the comparisons and differences daily. Each technology has its strengths and weaknesses. My back is already eclipsed by a new 22MP back for 645. It is very expensive and the back I have will do for studio flash based work probably another five years (and keep clients happy).

When going to the scanner suggestion, Ian's thoughts should be considered by Tony: as to his own needs, uses, and the kind of results required. But, I suspect that the Diimage IV, at 3200 PPI, for $300, will serve his needs. The point was that the scanning technolgy and prices are always changing, with the upper end units costly, and then eclipsed units having no or little resale value (unlike an LX Body, which always has some), I just find that I use the 5400 about 20% of the time where I need digital files, and the digital back, 120, the other 80%. But your shooting and use may not be akin to my own.

It is like comparing Arizona Highways to National Geographic: both use entirely different shooting styles and printing page sizes, and film origination formats, so both have their applications and outcomes. There is no question that a 5400, or the new 7XXX by Konica Minolta, offers potential for massive reproductions by the standing floor model inkjet printers used for massive display purposes (I've used the 5400 scanner for this purpose, actually). However, one has to stand way back to permit one's vision to blend together the large printed results and call them clear. The closer you get the more such large banners and signage comes up a bunch of colored dots on a background (not as clear in dot maze confrontation as looking at a magazine cover with a magnifying glass).

So, Ian, I invite you now to share your own experience from the 5400, and its strengths and weaknesses according to your own use and purposes. --Jay

9. From : Digital-bugs (
Url : http://
Date : 02:45 PM Friday 16 July, 2004

Say anything you like. These are mainly differences from perspective of a media buyers and photographers. I have a couple of ten artists around, cost control in production is equally important to me now (times are bad and you have so mnay mouths to fill). so, what I did was just tell them to save some $$ for the company to handle thinsg on their own rather 100% dependant on library pictures and nothing so much on photography. Although sometimes there are requirements for central spread for news daily ads or adjoining front/back covers of corporate reports, no help - quality factors counts a lot and 120 is still the primary choice. In fact, we did a few bill boards ads, options of 4 x 5, 8 x 10 came in as well, but the library supplied have no specific image we required, so we have to fall back to a few 120 images to recomposed via software. Anyway, enough for all these, got to go. Oh.. I only has a LX with 2 prime lenses on my own for leisure cum travelling photography (light companion). That is all. bye.

10. From : Ian (
Url : http://
Date : 09:54 AM Friday 16 July, 2004

I'm sorry, but this issue of 35mm grain vs scan resolution is crap. If you can increase the scan resolution, you increase the acutance of anything printed from the scan. Basically, if your printing really big, it really matters. You can clearly see this with large ink-jet prints. There are many other factors involved, but most of these you are already well aware of (lens quality etc).

Globetrotter, the 5400 is a superb scanner. I disagree that the latest Nikons are any better. The 5400 comes alive when pushed. It's ability to multi-pass is better than any of it's contemporaries (it doesn't rescan). Also, it scans true 16bit at capture (majorly important). If you want a nice E100G scan for reference (230MB), email me and I'll send you one or two on a CDROM for your assessment. More later - Ian.

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