Firstly, what we’re discussing here is the KX film camera, not the K-x DSLR from earlier this century. I recently picked up a KX in very good condition for a good price and I’m enjoying using it. It’s a superb camera which in my view should have been around far longer than it was. The background? In 1975 Pentax introduced three new cameras, each featuring their new K mount: bayonet fitting rather than a 42mm screw for mounting lenses. The three were the manual exposure only KM and KX and the K2, the latter giving a choice of manual exposure or aperture priority semi-automatic. In truth the KM, and the K1000 which replaced it the following year, were basically bayonet mount versions of the older Pentax Spotmatic F. All well and good for those looking for a level of continuity, who could use their existing lenses with an adaptor. But the KX offered more including better handling and more accurate metering. The metering viewfinder display set the KX apart: the set aperture is visible via a Judas window, with set and suggested shutter speeds both shown down the right hand side. Contrast that with the KM and K1000, which showed none of the three: both cameras followed the Spotmatic by showing only a swinging needle to be centred for correct exposure. Depending on what you were looking at through the finder, and the ambient light levels, centring the needle could be difficult. The KX has a silicon meter, more accurate and less prone to memory effect than the CdS used by the KM, operative from EV 1-18, as opposed to 3-18 on the KM, and a film speed range of 8-6400 ISO as opposed to 20-3200 on the KM. Then there’s the battery drain problem: you’re only metering on the KX when the wind-on lever is away from the body and you’re pressing the shutter release half way. On the KM you’re metering if the lens cap is off. So why did the KX only last a couple of years while the K1000, basically the KM by a different name, stayed in production for more than 20 years? To me, it’s not so much down to the demand for a good, reliable basic manual only SLR as down to received wisdom. In photography as in any other sphere, received wisdom is so often more of a received lack of wisdom. A strictly basics approach, without automation and with the user acquiring knowledge and experience by making all the decisions, is a commendable learning tool. But difficult handling and a lack of information, like having to stop the picture taking process to remove the camera from the eye to check settings, are not an aid to learning but a barrier likely to put people off. Nevertheless, browse any web site about film photography and you’re never far away from someone blathering on about the K1000 as the ultimate SLR. Which bothers me not at all. I’ve put several rolls of print and slide film through my KX and all are sharp and well exposed, with no film transport errors. Give me the KX ahead of the K1000 any day.