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Nick's Classic Corner - No. 10 - Pentax MX

Discussion in 'Classic Models & Marques' started by Benchista, Oct 10, 2013.

  1. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    I've touched on the background to the introduction of the MX already - suffice it to say that it was designed as a direct competitor to the Olympus OM 1 as a very compact manual exposure SLR with pretty much a full system backup - interchangeable backs, a motordrive and/or autowinder, user-changeable viewfinder screens and a wide range of lenses - because Pentax also replaced the sizeable K lenses with more compact M series ones, including the famous 40mm f2.8 Pancake, a lens that makes a very compact package overall.

    Broadly speaking, despite the accessories, it's a very simple camera. To the left of the prism is the rewind knob/back latch. The hotshoe has no additional contacts for dedicated flash. On the right is a shutter speed dial (1s - 1/1000), hrizontally travelling cloth shutter) with film speed window, a shutter release with locking collar, wind-on lever that is incredibly smooth, and the frame counter. The back has a memo holder and notheing else.
    On the front are two flash synch sockets for X sync and FP sync - possibly one of the last cameras with FP sync. On the other side is the self timer lever- push it towards the lens throat to trigger the depth of field preview.
    On the base is the battery compartment (2 silver oxide cells), tripod bush in line with the lens, a rewind button, and sockets/contacts for the drives. The motordrive is also compact, and can drive the camera at a respectable 5 fps.

    The standard screen has a horizontal split image surrounded by a microprism ring. A Judas window at the top shows the aperture, a rotating wheel shows the chose shutter speed, and exposure is indicated by a series of LEDs - correct exposure by a central green one, over/under exposure of 1 stop by orange LEDs, and more than one stop by red LEDs.

    So a fairly simple spec, but it's really got all you need for just about any circumstances. It's one of my absolute favourite cameras, and certainly my favourite compact manual SLR.
    Done_rundleCams likes this.
  2. PeteE

    PeteE Well-Known Member

    Once again, very interesting account - KEEP 'EM COMING PLEASE !!
    I bough an MX with my ME Super from David S. H . Leung Camera dealer of Goodmayes, Essex, original Receipt says ' one PENTAX MX body £ 83-75, 50mm f2 lens £25-25 , screw to bayonet adapter £5-75', 18th Sept. 1981 -- well I used it a lot then due to so much flash work the flash contacts burnt out, then I got another new body from COMET Romford for £65-00 when they were selling them off and gave it to my second ex-wife with lens -- never learn about women ! She lives in Malta now with her new husband -- wonder if the MX has had a service ?? !!
    Pentax MX by pentaxpete, on Flickr
  3. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    I missed some of the peronal stuff out of this one. The MX was the first SLR I remember using - my aunt, an artist, had just bought one - it couldn't have been out for long, and she brought it long to a family party. Up to this stage, I had used the family Box Brownie, my own Instamatic, and a couple of other cameras briefly, including my uncle's Canonet, which I had loved. However, I was bowled over by the MX, loved everything about it, and that hasn't changed in all the years since.
    Done_rundleCams likes this.
  4. I find myself in danger of becoming a "collector," as I have three MXs, one in the elegant black. Mine suffer from rapid "battery" drain; a cell lasts only a few weeks. My oldest MX was fine for several years, then the electrical problem. I've checked the tiny switch under the base plate, accordion to my DVM it is working properly. A supposedly reliable shop here in Atlanta GA kept the camera for quite a while, at my suggestion, but failed to solve the problem. Any out there have the same problem? Any suggestions for a fix.

    Other than that my black MX is a delight. With the winder and a fast 50mm or a 28mm it is a wonderful candid shooter. My only gripe is the lack of mirror lock-up and the stiff shutter speed knob which makes changing speeds with one finger difficult.

    Here in the States Eric Hendrickson at Pentaxs.com is the go-to man for repairs. He now has my AsahiFlex IIa for new shutter curtains; I look forward to enjoying this classic when it returns.
    Done_rundleCams likes this.

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