Help me sort out Pentax model numbers

Poll Results
Which model is the best for an old Spotmatic user?
K1000 9% 9%[1]
ME 0% 0%[0]
A3000 0% 0%[0]
MX 27% 27%[3]
MZ 9% 9%[1]
SF1 0% 0%[0]
MG 0% 0%[0]
KM 9% 9%[1]
K1000 9% 9%[1]
ME 0% 0%[0]
A3000 0% 0%[0]
MX 27% 27%[3]
MZ 0% 0%[0]
SF1 0% 0%[0]
MG 0% 0%[0]
KM 10% 10%[1]
Total Votes : 11

Richard F

Link Posted 25/06/2004 - 15:06
Does anyone have, or know of, a list of Pentax SLR camera models, esp a list containing features and when the model came out? Or possibly a book that does this? If not perhaps you all can help me sort out which models to look for and which are not that great and I should stay away from. At present I have a Spotmatic II with screw mount and I just dropped my favorite 2.5/135 lens and mashed the threads. I went to ebay, for the first time (sadly, it was not as satisfying as that other first time so many, many years ago ), to look for an old Takumar lens to scavenge the screw mount from. I was overwhelmed by all that is available, and saw a number of lenses that I have coveted for years for very reasonable prices, and was thinking of switching to a bayonet base camera body. But which of the miriad to choose from (K1000, ME, ME, M, MZ-5, -7,-50, MX, MV-1, A3000, SF1, Program Plus, S3, KM, etc), especially regarding functionality and repair problems (something I have never had to do with my 36 year old Spotmatic, tho I did just have all the seals etc replaced). Hopefully this will not start a partisan argument over which is "The Best" model, but then if it does, it will be fun to read. Thanks to all muchly, R-

Kim C

Link Posted 25/06/2004 - 15:53
Hi Richard,
If you want details on the cameras try the oracle
http://www.bdimitrov.de/kmp/
Bojidar has done a fantastic job of collating a vast amount of info.

As to the "best" camera, it's horses for courses and which way you want to go. Rather than the K1000, I would suggest the KM or better still the KX. The KM is identical to the K1000 with the addition of Timer etc. If the K1000 was the SP1000 then the KM is the SP II. The KX has a much better meter, far better viewfinder, mirror lockup etc. They both also tend to be cheaper as they don't have the cult status.
Of the M's, the only 2 I would consider are the MX and MES, it depends if you want any automation or not. MX tend to be highy priced again partly due to the cult but are superb cameras although I prefer the K's as I find the little extra size helps handling.
For me the best one is the LX. If you don't want auto focus or program modes, I think this is one of the most versatile and best handling cameras made. However, watch out for the "sticky shutter syndrome. It's fixable but at a cost.
If you do want more automatics, the Super A is great and I think undervalued; OTF flash, fully automatic, if you want, and a great metering system. They are fairly cheap as well. The A3 is a bit of an oddball in both shape and handling just to get the drive in. The Program A is a cut down Super A at about the same price.
The P series are not for me. Stay away from the P30, it lacks the full overide of the P30N and P30T. The P50 is slightly better but it is really an updated Super A.
The SF are slow in the autofocus stakes. The MZ30/50/60 have crippled mounts and worth staying away from. The MZ3 and 5 will handle most like your Spot. The Z1p is the best specified and has created much discussion. You tend to either love it or hate it. For my money the MZ-s is fantastic. There have been various threads on the subject of these recently so I won't repeat it here.

In short then, my list depending on what I am doing is
1. LX
2. KX/ Super A/ MZ-s
3. MZ-3, MX


Regards
Kim

johnriley

Link Posted 25/06/2004 - 18:07
On the grounds that the spotmatic is a fully manual camera, then I would propose the following are more or less identical in handling: K1000, KM and MX. The MX I believe to be superior because it replaces the match needle metering with more robust LEDs. The alternatives all use different metering methods (LX, KX, K2 etc) or also have all sorts of additional features that stray from the original proposition (MESuper, MZ5, MZ3 etc).

However, if the traditional shutter speed dial is required and you don't mind the extra features then the LX, MZ5, MZ3, KX would all be splendid alternatives!
Best regards, John

Kim C

Link Posted 25/06/2004 - 19:18
Hi John,
Whilst I agree with most of your comments, I am surprised that you include the MX in your list and at the same time exclude the KX.

The KX is very very similiar to the K1000 and KM. It is the same size as the Spot, indeed the cases for all 4 are interchangeable. You say that the KX strays because of a different metering system. Yes it does have a different match needle system but it is much closer than the MX's diodes. I also think it is better and indeed Pentax based the LX's display on the KX not the MX. With the KX you can always see what combination is required at a glance. With the MX, you can tell if it is more than a full stop out but not by how much. With the KX you can which can make it much quicker to choose whether to adjust speed or aperture or both.

As to different features, The KX adds mirror lock, depth preview and the judas window to the KM. The spot effectively has the DOF preview on the A/M switch. The MX has the MD facility which was optional on the Spot but not common, changeable screens and DOF preview.

I think that the KX is therefore closer to the Spot than the MX. Having said that both are great cameras and I love both of mine. However, I do tend to use the KX more mainly from a handling point of view. I think it is generally agreed (certainly by most on Stan's) that the optical performance of the K lenses is better than the M equivalents. I think Pentax accepted a very small, albeit significant, drop in performance in the need to make the lenses more compact. I have many of the K's and they all "feel" better on the K bodies.

Now I have saved the overwhelming argument to last. Everybody knows all the best things have a K in their name

Regards
Kim

johnriley

Link Posted 25/06/2004 - 22:35
Hi Kim

How could I disagree with that last sentence?

You have understood why I discounted, or at least relegated to second rank, the KX, and your reasons for disagreeing are equally valid. It just goes to show that there are few absolutes in phtography, it all depends on how you want to work and what sort of photography you want to pursue.

Kida makes life interesting, don't you think?
Best regards, John

Stephen

Link Posted 26/06/2004 - 07:58
Hi All,

To answer the original question, moving on from the spotmatic range I would opt for the KX - for most og the reasons Kim has given. Of my K series bodies it is an even split between my KX and K2's as to which I use most. The aperture priority option on the K2 can be useful.
I first moved to Pentax from a Pracktica LTL3 when the MX was launched and have a particular soft spot for this model as a consequence. The more readily available drive units for the M series and LX give them an advantage over the K bodies if you require this feature.

Having said all that as Richard has noted there are some great screw mount bargins out there - so why change?
Stephen

Richard F

Link Posted 07/07/2004 - 13:44
Just like to thank you three for your great help in coming back up to speed on what Pentax has available. I decided to forego the K's and try something more "exotic" than what I've been doing these past 30+ years. I found though that MZ-S and LX were out of my price range. That left me with MX, which Bojidar mentioned was hard to get parts for, and MZ-3, or the superA, and there seem to me a good number of them available here on the US ebay. I bid on a number of cameras, but due to my ebay ignorance, lost out on all. Then finally on a superProgram with 1.4 lens and got it at a reasonable price 71 US.

Now I've been looking at lenses and notice that what looks like the same lens: 20-210 f4, for example, comes labelled as Takumar-A or Pentax-A (this is the wording on the lens, not sellers choice of words). So my question is: Is there a difference in the quality of a Pentax-A vs. Takumar-A? Thanks again.

johnriley

Link Posted 07/07/2004 - 16:18
Firstly, the screw mount lenses were referred to as Takumars. Then the name was resurrected in the bayonet lens era to designate an economy range with slightly simpler construction and lower cost. Hence we have the 135mm f2.5 available as a 6 element SMC Pentax and a 4 element Takumar. The Takumar bayonet lenses are not necessarily Super Multi-Coated either.

If quality is the aim, I would recommend the more expensive SMC Pentax lenses, although the Takumars are really pretty good.
Best regards, John
Add a Comment
You must be registered or logged-in to comment.