MX and some other mechanical cameras
(c) Frank Mechelhoff 2005
- Copies allowed only for personal usage
Usage of my pictures only up to 500x300
pixel and with referencing to the source
Contact: Frank.Mechelhoff "at" gmx.de
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in German language
The PENTAX MX (1976-1985) is togther
with the Olympus OM series - the smallest 35mm SLR ever build - and truly
the smallest designed for professional usage. Here together with her
grandma, the first Pentaprism-Pentax...
both candidates for the oscar most elegant SLR ever build.
The topview offers the characteristics of the
Pentax MX: 1-1/1000s and B, no Auto-Exposure but manuel setting
of shutter speed, aperture and distance. One of the last 100% mechanical
SLR (before some manufactureres discoverd the retro-redesigns). Batteries
only needed for the light meter. Horizontal running cloth shutter (Leica
type). 95% field of view - Nikon F fanatics will be not fully satisfied,
but maybe nearly... Here back to back with the CANON P Rangefinder camera (1960). The Canon
is rated as elegant and compact in its class, comparable to LEICA...It's
easy to recognise that the Pentax MX is more compact and graceful...
A quantum leap is between the mechanical Pentax
Spotmatic and her worthly follower MX - look alone for the proportions!
The MX has all features from the Spotmatic plus additionally:
- K-Bayonet instead
of M42 screw mount - Alle lenses with K-Bayonet and its followers
like KA- fits that camera (made from Pentax and other providers). M42
lenses also matches whit a fumbeling adapter ring mounted (restricted
to working aperture metering)
- 5 LED's (red, yellow
, green) replaced mechnical pointer light meter display
display (mechanically) as well as aperture (optically through small
window in pentaprism)
- Depth-of-field control
with pressing the slef timer button towards the lens
- Changeable focussing screens
(standard: microprism and cut-view-rangefinder)
in the backdoor for memorizing film instead of swivel around rewind-crank
- most of all: smaller,
lighter, more compact.. and by the same token rugged and harmoic
designed - noone fools PENTAX designers that time at these particular topics
The Pentax Spotmatic sets the standard
for SLR design for more than a decade - aesthetically as well as functionally.
Although PENTAX lens offering was not as big as NIKON's hundreds
of thousands Spotmatics were used in the 1960's-1970's as professional
tools - and in second hand by students and beginners. My first "serious"
camera was my father's SP... Therefore it's difficult to find a Spotmatic
in an appealing outward condition nowadays - they are getting ugly outside
but never cease function so noone throw them away. That's a way of real
The last of this series, which started 1957, is
the MX. She received best credits of experts and enthusiasts but
turned out some kind of unhip from start.. kicked in sales from her
electronic fully-automatic twin ME, which was all the rage in 1976 and
also a very compact and nice camera. For Pentax product designers this
ME/ MX twins was a test how the demand would develop.. and the market
called for eletronice AE...even I bought a ME (my first own camera) and
kept on dreaming of a MX.. and so a passion for full-mechanical cameras
was created. A passion shared by some photographs and collectors - to be
recognized by the prices of used MX which are in the same height as when
they were new. This is unique in the former SLR middle class. For me the
nicest SLR of all times - together with the first Pentaprism-Pentax.
A gal design camera...
of the last mechanical era about 1971...
Many of the 1.4/50mm lenses
were critized in terms of performance -compared to the best f/2
lenses - except one: the Pentax. One of the best standard lenses
ever, and the best f/1.4 lens at its time and long afterwards -since
1965 quite unchanged til present: 7 elements/ 6 groups. This is the
last but one version in M42 von 1971-72 (No.37902), open-aperture-metering-capable,
multi-coated (SMC), and the last one with the knobbed full-metal
focus ring. Heavy and solid but always somewhat more harmonic and graceful
in style than NIKKOR's - swivels runs like silk, hellishly sharp at f/1.4
and enormous at f/8. You will not see this again except you pay 2.500 bucks
for a new
aspherical Summilux for Leica-M.
PENTAX was famous for their
standard lenses. The telephotos receiving best credeits were the 1.8/85mm,
2.8/105, and late 4/200mm. One of the finest is the 2.5/135mm
here the series 1968-1971 (No.43801), yet without SMC for working
aperture metering. The optical design consists of 5 elements in
4 groups with a cemented front element.
Leaving away the sunshade - which should be used regulary with a
single-coated lens in most situations - it can be called compact for
more Pentax: Early History
of SLR cameras
Early Takumar lenses
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