PENTAX MX and some other mechanical cameras
(c) Frank Mechelhoff 2005 - Copies allowed only for personal usage
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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.

Pentax MX with Pentax H2 (1960)  
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...

Pentax MX with Canon P

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:
Pentax MX with SP

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 tools...

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...

Some treasures of the last mechanical era about 1971...

SP with SMC takumar 1.4/50mm

Pentax 1.4/50

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.

13mm f/2.5 lens

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 its speed.

135mm 2

more Pentax: Early History of SLR cameras
more Pentax: Early Takumar lenses
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