Pentax LX Camera Review – The Best Professional 35mm SLR Around

Pentax LX Camera Review – The Best Professional 35mm SLR Around

1280 720 James Tocchio

I’ve spent the past few months shooting an amazing and beautiful 35mm film SLR from Japan. This camera has it all – a complete system with detachable prisms, backs, winders, focusing screens, choice of attachable handles, and even limited releases in Titanium. Most important among these accoutrements are the ones containing glass – the camera couples with a complete range of lenses capable of unsurpassed image quality in their price point.

It’s a well-made camera, robust and ergonomically excellent, and it’s beautiful to look at. If it’s not the best professional SLR I’ve ever shot, it’s certainly in the conversation. Any guesses? Nikon F3? Canon F-1? Nope. It’s the Pentax LX, and that’ll surprise some of you. While the popular opinion that the K1000 is the best student camera ever made has become consensus, when it comes to professional-spec cameras, Pentax has largely failed to earn the high reputation enjoyed by its more well-known Japanese rivals.

But does any of that matter? Okay, it’s a less popular camera. Who cares? Not me. And that’s because I spent the final three months of 2016 shooting the LX, and came away feeling that it’s the best 35mm film SLR system camera around. But this can’t be true, can it? The best 35mm SLR system? Surely I’m just hyping this thing up for the sake of an article. Surely the continuous screaming of my two-week-old daughter has addled my sleep-starved brain to the point where I can no longer compose a viable opinion based on fact. Surely I’m an idiot. After all, if the LX were really this good, wouldn’t we all be subject to a sickening abundance of LXs populating the hippest Instagrams and photo geek blogs, a la the AE-1s and F3s of the world?

While I admit I’m certainly sleep-deprived, and though I may be an idiot (depending on my wife’s mood when you ask her), I can still write a cohesive theme. And believe it or not, it’s true – the Pentax LX is better than any pro-spec SLR that I’ve used from rival brands Canon and Nikon. But before you join the chorus of nay-sayers, there are real reasons I hold the opinion. Let’s talk about those.

Professional system cameras are typically heavy and large. They’re designed this way, ostensibly, in the pursuit of durability. A big, heavy camera can take a greater thumping than a lightweight machine, so the story goes. And while the truth of this can be endlessly debated (our upcoming durability test video will settle that score), it’s a bit irrelevant today. Most film shooters in 2017 aren’t using their cameras in war zones or aboard the lunar orbiter. We’re using them to shoot our every-day lives, and while durability is important it shouldn’t come at the cost of a neck-ache and excess travel weight.

But don’t assume that because I say we’re not using these cameras in rough service that I’m making excuses for the LX. I’m not, and I don’t need to. This machine is as robust as any ever made. With full-metal internal construction and metal top and bottom plates, the LX is strong, durable, and reliable. But unlike its competition, it’s also amazingly compact and light. At just 570 grams (20 ounces), it’s about 200 grams lighter than the F3 and about 400 grams lighter than the Canon F-1. Its physical dimensions buck the trend of “bigger is better” too, with a footprint that’s closer to a pocket machine than the pro-spec weapons it rivals. This combination of small size and light weight make it one of the best choices for people looking for an everyday camera, for shooters who travel, or for those who need to shoot the streets with subtlety.

Not content to simply meet the durability standard of its rivals, Pentax pushed further. The brand’s literature of the time boasts of reliability features that its rivals lacked. With full weather- and dust-sealing built in to every button, dial, lever, and switch, it’s a camera that provides the kind of internal protection that no other maker was offering at the time. Further longevity concerns were met at even the cosmetic level, with the body of the camera being coated in black chrome underneath black paint. This was to ensure that as the paint wore from heavy use, the camera would remain a shadowy silhouette. Sorry, steampunk enthusiasts. No brass here.

I think you’ve gotten the point by now. The LX is a tiny camera in a strong package. But just in case you’re unconvinced, let’s pepper you with a few more reliability features – the shutter is mechanical, operating at all speeds faster than 1/60th without the need for battery power. The shutter curtain is a Titanium foil construct. The strap lugs and handle mount are virtually indestructible. And if all this isn’t enough, there are even two special editions featuring Titanium body covers.

You may assume that this strength and portability comes at a cost, that perhaps the camera lacks certain specs that the other makers’ pro-spec models boast. You’d be wrong. The LX’s spec-sheet is as good as those flaunted by Canon and Nikon models of the era. The shutter is capable of speeds as fast as 1/2000th of a second, same as the F3 and F-1 from Nikon and Canon respectively and excellent for those of us who love using fast glass. It’s got a depth-of-field preview lever, self-timer, mirror lock-up, exposure compensation dial, ten replaceable focusing screens, nine optional prisms, and all the rest that you’d expect from a full-featured machine. Yes, the LX packs the same performance as its competition into a tighter body, and in some instances it even offers more.

Some examples of where it beats the rest? Out in the field, when your battery dies, the LX will operate across five shutter speeds, whereas Nikon’s F3 will shoot only one mechanical speed. And compared to the pro-sec F-1, the LX provides the ability to shoot in aperture-priority auto-exposure mode, something the manual-only Canon lacks. And this is a biggie. Auto-exposure is huge, and aperture-priority is the best. This shooting mode allows the photographer to control the aperture of the lens (and by extension, deth-of-field and subject isolation) while leaving the task of selecting the correct shutter speed up to the camera. In this mode, the through-the-lens, off-the-film metering system works beautifully to create perfect exposures every time, and it’s my preferred method of shooting. Nikon’s F3 offers this, but it does so in a much larger and heavier package.

The viewfinder is large, bright, and fully informed. When shooting in manual mode, the user-selected shutter speed is displayed via a needle and gauge, and unlike many cameras, the Pentax also displays the recommended shutter speed based on real-time light readings via a set of multi-colored LEDs. This is fantastic and superior to so many other cameras because when shooting manually it takes only a simple glance to see how your current settings will impact your final exposure. At the top of the viewfinder we find a display of the selected lens aperture. This combination of information and real-time readouts allows the photographer to compose a shot, adjust for exposure, focus, and shoot, all without removing the camera from the eye. Essentially, the LX’s viewfinder is perfect.

Perfect too are the camera’s ergonomics. With or without the optional handles, it fits in the hand confidently and rests with a nice balance that some of its heavier, brickier rivals can’t match. All controls (but one) are relegated to the right hand side of the machine, and all can be actuated with fingers in their natural rest positions. The previously mentioned mirror lock-up, depth-of-field preview lever, and self-timer switch are all ingeniously integrated into the same, single switch. And though this description sounds complicated and obtuse, in use it’s quite intuitive, especially considering the lever will mostly be used as a stop-down lever with the secondary functions being used rarely, if at all.

There’s a shutter lock surrounding the release button, selected with a quick flick of a finger, that prevents any accidental exposures and battery drain. A threaded cable release socket exists in the center of this take-a-picture button, and the shutter speed selector is exactly where you’d expect it, actuating with just the right amount of resistance.

Exposure compensation is handled on the left side of the top plate, integrated into the ISO selector knob, film back opener, and rewind lever. Standard stuff, and the only annoyance on the entire machine given that the exposure comp is a locking affair. This bothers me. Call it a pet peeve, but I detest control locks.

Shooting the LX is about as straight-forward as any exceptional SLR gets. Peer through the viewfinder, frame your shot, focus, and shoot. What’s special about the LX is just how well it does everything involved in this process. It’s about as concise and precise an SLR as you’ll ever find. It’s got everything you need, without overcomplicating things, which is and has always been the hallmark of timeless design. Equally special is the feeling it communicates in the hands, of being constantly ready for any situation, and of being able to surreptitiously shoot the streets without drawing attention. It’s a camera that’s the quintessence of what a great camera should be – a machine that facilitates the craft and gets out of the way of making great images.

And the images made with it can indeed be great, thanks to that gorgeous, metal mount poised on the nose of the machine. It accepts all of Pentax’s K mount lenses, which have long been regarded by those in-the-know as some of the best in the business. The brand’s SMC glass (super multi-coated) is among the very best at solving chromatic aberration, flares, and ghosting, and does remarkably well to coax out the very best color and contrast from the world around us. I’ve never shot a Pentax lens I don’t love, and with an astounding range of focal lengths and designs there’s something in the K mount for every shooter’s needs.

And that’s about all you need to know about the LX. It’s an advanced and astounding camera that’s simply better than the more popular competition. It’s small, capable, precise, and beautiful. It’s durable, reliable, and reasonably-priced. It may not have been as popular as competing models from other brands, but those who bothered to notice were keenly aware of its excellence.

Proof of this fact can be gleaned from the stunning duration of the machine’s production. For a miraculous twenty-one years, from 1980 to 2001, this camera could be purchased new. Take a moment and imagine another tool or gadget that’s just as effective and attractive in 2001 as it was in 1980. Your computer? Your car? And for that matter, think about whether or not your latest digital camera will have the staying power of the Pentax? If that matters to you, and if having the best matters to you, give the LX a shot. I can nearly guarantee you’ll love it.

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James Tocchio

James Tocchio is a writer and photographer, and the founder of Casual Photophile. He’s spent years researching, collecting, and shooting classic and collectible cameras. In addition to his work here, he’s also the founder of the online camera shop

All stories by:James Tocchio
  • Very nicely done

    • James – Founder/Editor February 19, 2017 at 8:37 pm

      Thanks pal. It’s easy to write a love letter when a camera’s this good.

      • Not so easy that everyone has a site this good… nice work

      • Padmakar Srivastava February 22, 2020 at 6:03 pm

        I bought Pentax LX in 1980 or 1981. I was a graduate student, perusing my PhD, so no money. I requested my adviser to give me some consulting lab testing, which he did and I bought the camera. I am selling all of my film cameras, but not Pentax LX and Rolleiflex. I believe that this is the best camera which Pentax created. Not only Pentax, but including major camera manufacturer. Just think about the Off the Film flash metering, two types of shutters – electronics and mechanical, interchangeable view finders, moisture seals – just to name a few.

        • I do agree. I still have my two LXs and the camera that was almost as good, the Spotmatic F.

          Pentax beats all the others in film cameras, except for Leica and their lenses. But overall, Pentax beats them all.

  • Good review. Nice photos. Typo in this sentence “Standard stuff, and the only annoyance eon the entire machine given that the exposure comp is a locking affair.”?

  • Well done. I find it amazing–given the short lifespan of modern digital cameras–that the LX, like the Nikon F3, was produced for 21 years.

  • There is a very rare edition, the black painted titanium body camera, with “Titanium” inscribed on the front. Regrettably for LX aficionados, they are megabucks as only 300 made, of which how many survive?

  • Sweet camera. And if it suffers from the sticky mirror syndrome Eric Hendrickson is the go to dood for Pentax LX repairs.

  • Great, another Pentax for me to hunt. Thanks for the great review. While I tend towards the Pentax since the ME has been my guide to my reintroduction to film. I love the brand and the fact I can snag pro level kit for a 1/10 of the cost of the big boys.

  • I just picked up one of these. Anxious to give it a test drive!

  • Wishing I hadn’t read this, Looks like I’m gonna have to buy one!

  • I still have two LX bodies, both fitted with the superb SE-60 full matt screens, great machines and I have owned at least one continuously since the late 80’s. The standard finder is still one of the best I have ever used but I also have the complete set of finders, they enhancevthe system further and offer extreme flexibility. The real time OTF metering is amazing, from the range of exposure times to the minimum sensitivity I think it’s still unrivaled.

    One error in you description, the top plates and base aren’t chrome plated, they are simply pressed aluminum alloy, one of mine is work quite a way into the metal revealing the classic aluminum lustre.


    • James – Founder/Editor February 20, 2017 at 8:00 pm

      That’s really interesting actually. The Pentax literature from the factory says that the units were black chrome plated underneath black paint, but yours clearly are not. So I wonder if perhaps some design changes occurred in the 21 years the camera was being manufactured. I’d love to get the answer. Thanks for the insight.

  • Great post and fantastic review! I’m thinking you “like” the camera a lot. Interesting about the unique way of painting the LX. I don’t think I’ve ever come across anything in writing by Yashica or Canon about their paint jobs. Good stuff!

  • dangerouschristian February 25, 2017 at 1:11 am

    Great write up on a classic. That was one of my dream cameras back in the 80s. I had its younger brother, the ME Super.

  • I think the OM-4ti might run it close, though. It’s also small, light, strong and has great ergonomics. OK, so the Olympus doesn’t have an interchangeable viewfinder and only 1/60th if your battery dies, but what it lacks there it more than makes up for with its wonderful metering system and, of course, the great range of Zuiko glass.

  • I just discovered this fantastic site which I’m enjoying browsing. Anyway what a great article. I have never contemplated a Pentax and wasn’t really aware of the LX only having come across the MX in passing. Now I’m beginning to wonder whether to supplement my FE/FM2n/F4 collection and build up a second system. Great work!

  • After having used not so great cameras Yashica Electro 35 GSN and Nikon F601M I decided to up my game, and recently bought Pentax LX, so I’ll add my 2 cents. In a set with SMC Pentax M 50mm/f1.7, SMC Pentax A 35-105mm/f3.5 and a leather case for 300 euros, I think I got a decent deal.

    It’s really a great camera, just feels solid in hands and in operation. Just the right size, small weight, add a normal lens to it and you’ve got a great camera you can carry around everywhere. Any smaller and it wouldn’t feel right, at least not for people with large hands like myself.

    Rewind crank works beautifully, (orange) shutter cocked indicator is a nice and thoughtful extra touch. Shutter curtain has a nice sound and feel to it, mirror flip is not to loud. You can shift shutter speed dial with just your index finger. My example has very clean interiors, so luckily no sticky mirror problem (yet).

    Regarding viewfinder, I’d say it’s a nice solution. There are some issues in low light and extreme brightness. In low light situations it can get hard to see selected aperture and shutter speed, so it’s a good idea to use Aperture priority mode, and just change aperture until the green LED appears, that is if your shooting hand-held. I suppose it’s a better solution that with classic match-needle meters, such as in Nikon FE2, which is a comparable camera in many aspects. In a really bright sunlight, on the other hand, it can get tricky to see LEDs.

    There are two flaws (at least to me) worth mentioning to anyone who’s thinking about buying one:

    – No AE lock button. If you’ve already implemented Aperture priority mode, why not include AE lock? It can be a useful tool.

    – Max flash sync speed of 1/75s.

    Those two are about the only shortcomings I can think of from my limited experience with LX.

    I’m very pleased with the photos I got so far, so I would say these two Pentax lenses are great.

    I would very much like to get a custom hand grip, if I can find it at a decent price. It doesn’t have to be original Pentax. Anyone knows where to get one in Europe? And people who used LX with and without a grip can compare experiences, to see if it’s worth tracking down in the first place.

    Great review, great camera and a great site you’ve got here!

    • It was really a design choice. They went for bunch off film plate for real time metering, which means while you are exposing a shot, whatever reflects from the film plate would determine the final timer for shutter to close. For this reason, the metering system is somewhat automatic and change any given second. So you can’t really lock the AE even you want to. Otherwise it defeated the purpose of having a real time metering.

      It’s good and bad. Good is this LX will meter down to minutes even hours for long time exposure (compare to modern camera can only meter up to 30 seconds). The bad is, no AEL

  • Great review, I own both LX and OM-4Ti but tomorrow the LX will be sold to a new owner. I agree it is a very, very nice camera and I might regret selling it later, but I like the OM-4Ti just a little more and don‘t want to have to choose between the two when going out with a ‘pro’ camera anymore… it has been a luxury problem though, and I’m sure the new owner will enjoy using it.

    For my Pentax lenses I’m going to use the K2 instead, it was the topmodel of the K line (KM, KX, K2) and produced just before the LX started its career. Although the LX has a bigger and brighter viewfinder, the viewfinder of that K2 is actually quite a lot sharper and that makes focussing very easy. No titanium shutter but a Seiko one also sounds like quality doesn’t it? Recommended for review 🙂

  • Correction: the 5-bladed shutter (developed in conjunction with Seiko) is made of titanium too, mea culpa.

  • hmm…I’m looking for a fully manual camera that’s fairly small and doesn’t cost too much (I’m on a budget being a student and all) and I think this might be it…how quiet is it? and do you have any recommendations? I know I’m in that part of a beginner photographers life but I can’t help it;)

    • James – Founder/Editor March 10, 2017 at 8:12 am

      There are so many to choose from. The Olympus OM1 or OM2 will be less expensive than this LX. You can also look at Minolta X series cameras and Canon’s A1. We’ve reviewed them all, so poke around the site and see what strikes you.


    • The LX isn’t particularly loud, but its titanium foil shutter does have quite a high pitched ‘ping’ sound, which can carry. If you want a quiet shutter in a manual camera, I’d look at the Pentax MX, which has a very quiet (by focal plane standards) shutter with silk curtains. I love the LX (I used to travel with three, sometimes four, of them at a time) but when I need an SLR that is a bit quieter, the MX is my firm first choice. The MX shutter is all mechanical, so the only bit of it that’s battery dependent is the meter: you still get all the shutter speeds even then the battery dies.

  • I am very interested in this camera and really enjoyed this summary of its fine attributes. I have a Pentax K1000 (dad’s after he died), a Minolta X-570 (my “grown-up” camera, the camera I used when I left behind a 1959 Aires Viscount rangefinder that overlapped images), but like the size and sophistication of this LX. I wanted to ask if there was a particular era within its run that is considered best, or in other words an era to avoid? I saw one offering that had colour dials, and wondered if this was a latter-day change that suggested a bad era, or mere cosmetic change that meant nothing but colour where most did not have it, and that was all.

  • Damn, now I want the LX. And I already have three MXes and a MZ-S. 😀

  • Well, James you are so right. I picked one of these up and shot a few rolls with the cheap 40mm pancake lens. This Pentax-skeptic is a convert.

  • Canon New F1 (the one contemporary to the LX) does provide aperture priority (with AE finder) and shutter priority (with winder/motor). It is indeed heavier and bulkier, but much nicer to handle with a drive.

  • It is funny to compare this camera with F3 as a professional tool. Better start with FE2 but even at that level will be difficult. And please take more care about your F3HP, your film reversal knob is broken.

  • Great review of a great camera. Thanks!
    I have two of these LXs (one just had full, well deserved CLA) and would not trade them for any other brand. I have a brochure from 1988 describing the LX in detail. It says that the film advance mechanism has sealed ball bearings for smooth, reliable operation. Top that…

  • I am a Pentax LX owner also, but I think you forget to mention 2 quality that never have been perform by the competition at that time, first an ultra sensitive light meter that perform up to -5 EV, and a second ultra rare quality: you can at any time rewind the film at any previous frame and perform a second exposure, the frame counter work perfectly in backward mode with a exceptional accuracy. I still use one, and with 2 ttl flash the result always have been exceptional for wedding photography and or macro photography.

  • One of these was my main camera for quite a few years, and it was very versatile and a pleasure to use. The only problem I had was when vibration from travelling in a jeep on rough tracks for a few days shook loose the screws on the ASA setting dial. Apart from that, great camera, and the interchangeable viewfinders a major plus point. I still have it and just got the sticky mirror syndrome fixed, so some film will be going through it soon. It started a love affair with Pentax that has lasted to this day.

  • I’m new to owning a Pentax LX, after 30 some years of wanting to own a LX, I finally own one and I love it. Yes I’ve only had it for two days. I’ve owned Pentax Cameras from 1983 with a ME-Super and went from there to owning 20 Pentax SLR, two DSLR’s and three Pentax 35mm P&S cameras. And three broken Pentax cameras. I also have a Winder LX on the way. I got the LX and Winder from for what I think was a good price.

  • Great review! I have just got my first LX after yearning for it for so long. As a student I could not possibly afford it, but got by with my MXes. Now I have turned 50 and no longer on a budget. So when film is out, I’m back on the scene with my dream camera. Timing is not my strengest side.

    I find the LX very nimble, robust and easy to use. I don’t have much interesst in all that brand accessories, except for the Asahi Pentax lenses, which are very good.

    I got the LX house, the dedicated winder, a 50 mm f1,4 lens and a AF280T flash, all in near mint condition, for 3000 Norwegian Kroner (375 USD). I’m happy with that Seal. And I look forward to start taking pictures on film again.

    Here is my LX:

  • Stelios Tagkoulis April 19, 2018 at 10:16 am

    Hello,between this one and nikon f3 which one do you prefer.How do you find the light meter of this one,it is accurate even for slides?Thanks

    • Hi Stelios, The light meter is fantastic. Works perfectly for slides. As to which do I prefer, personally I prefer the LX. I think it has a better viewfinder and its metering display is preferable to me. One of our other writers, Josh, loves his F3. To be honest, they are both exceptional cameras. The LX is just a bit smaller and, for me, more intuitive. Hope this helps.

    • I have taken many many slides with my LX, and I even have a bellows slide copier, and it still works perfectly.

  • I still have my first Pentax, the Spotmatic F, and my LX. I bought them new and with a new set of batteries, would work perfectly.
    I bought the First D, and it didn’t last 4 years before it failed.

    I have won many awards with both of my film cameras, but my ABFAB FAVOURITE is my LX. I just wish I could put a digital back on it.

    • This comment (as all other Casual Photophile ones I sub to) came up on my e-mail, and I don’t have an LX, just a K-1000 … but I wondered if there are slide adaptors for it, or for my Minolta X-570. I am scanning old negatives and slides, and came across some slides larger than 35mm that are too big to fit in my slide scanner adaptor. I can use my lighttable to backlight these 1950s slides, and my Fuji X10 … but it’s not the best solution.

  • Wonderful review!!! I own a Pentax K1000, its my first film love. I have been wanting a Pentax 6X7, but my C330 will have to make due on my medium format needs. I’ve been wanting to upgrade alittle from the K1000, the LX sounds like the perfect upgrade. And am I not mistaken that I read it will handle my K1000 K-mount lenses? That means I can upgrade my body and still use the three lenses I’ve fallen in love with!!! Again, thank you for the review, I’m already looking to purchase one.

  • Hello James
    I am a little curious to know how this camera compares with the Minolta XD-7 (11) thanks

  • A great review. Thanks James.
    I have 7 pieces of it, one later model (SN 53xxxxx) which some people claim there is no sticky mirror issues. But as some readers have pointed out, sticky mirror is quite a common issue with LX. It will not affect the exposure, but you may miss out your moment because some serious sticky mirrors may take almost 10 second to flip up. Obviously before that the shutter won’t open. I love the elegant design and yet simple classic layout. The size is just perfect in hand. With the grip installed, I can advance film, trigger shutter and take photos with one hand. Of course i got use the other hand to do focusing. Just cannot help keeping buying. The LX2000 titanium version is a dream which comes with a 50/1.2 lens. It is so beautiful that I every time i see it on eBay, I’ll stop and give a few more glances to it.

    • Actually when I got mine, the seller from Japan told me it doesn’t have sticky mirror. First roll! no problem.. second roll.. Sticky mirror!!! I sent to Erik to fixed that issue.. but it added the cost so much that LX is no longer a dream machine (fix was $250+).

      Now that I have LX.. I hardly take it out anymore.. It’s just not stable enough for me to trust it whatsoever. I use my MZ-3, MZ-L much more.

      • You must have a lemon. I have never had a mirror problem. I have tossed them into bags during wedding shoots, banged them against rocks trying to get to the top of a hill, bounced it around on a bike and both still work like a charm.

        • Then the two I recently got are lemons too. Sticky mirror, one happened AFTER it got serviced. Mirror raises almost all the way but not quite. Shutter won’t fire until mirror reaches the top. Way to complete the cycle is to use the mirror lock up. Sent it back to get fixed, again.
          Never had issues like this with any of my other pro level SLRs, from any other mfg.

          I love the idea of the LX, hopefully I can get one that works properly. Right now my other cameras – Nikons, Leicas, even Pentax K2, MX, SuperA, ME seem bulletproof in comparison.

  • I’m not really sure how I missed this one, (I’m here a fair amount, quietly) considering it’s about arguably my favorite camera ever produced. I guess because I don’t go looking for articles about the LX, but that said you summed it up and parroted most thoughts I’ve had in my head about shooting it (for about 5 years now). My only genuine gripe, and it’s the biggest there is unfortunately, is the longevity of these beauties; as the PCB boards of the earliest units begin to fail, every tech I’ve spoken to believes the rest will follow. It will still be a functional camera when those boards have died, but it’s sad to think of the pale shadow they’ll be. My first, an early model, is lovely, but it’s AE suffers shutter lock-up occasionally and the meter will get erratic – a common symptom of the board going out. Strangely, mine has been doing it less often in the past year or two, but it’s always there and I don’t trust it. I’ve gotten another finally because I simply adore the camera and can’t stand to not shoot it, but those early electronics really are and will be the achilles heel. A sad affair.

  • Way, way, way too expensive for one in decent shooting shape that’s not all chewed up.

    • Yeah, you can get a perfect condition Nikon F4 for less than half the price of the same condition LX. Now that I have my LX side by side with my F4, I kinda feel dumb that I made that purchase… The only advantage the LX has is size. The F4 has a shutter that hits 1/8000 (which to me is way more useful than one that can read to 2 minutes), multi metering options, EXPOSURE LOCK!!!, meter modes etc etc.
      Want a pro auto exp manual focus Pentax? Take a hard look at the K2. Sweet camera and I bought mine w/ 50mm f2 lens for $50! No sticky mirror and it has a better/easier to use focus screen.

  • I bought an LX when they first came out and another A few years later. I used them hard, shooting thousands of photos for jewelry catalogues, and tons of model portfolios, as well as travel and nature and more. They still look new.

    I bought the digital one and it didn’t last me more than 3 years. I wish someone could come up with a digital back for the LX.

  • So what is better:
    1. Pentax LX
    2. Olympus OM 4 Ti
    3. Canon F1n

    I like LX and work on it few yaers ago but now i thinking about OM4Ti.. and do not know what to choose.

    • I think a perfectly functional Pentax LX is the second-best Japanese SLR in the world, right after the Nikon FM3a (and only after it because I’m a bit of a Nikon fanboy). But the key point is that the Pentax LX must be working correctly. Often the mirror bumpers become sticky and will delay the mirror flip. This needs to be repaired if it presents. Assuming that all three of the cameras you mentioned are working perfectly, I’d pick the LX. The Olympus is a close second. The Canon F1n comes last – mostly because I prefer small cameras, and small it is not.

      Hope this helps.

  • I have two LX bodies and some lenses. I love them. They are stable, sensitive, adaptable in the focusing screens (I have a few) and so comfortable to hold, even with the power winder I just wish there was a digital back for it.

  • Inspiring thoughts!
    Hmm some years on now, hows the LX holding up?
    Do you still shoot it, has it retained its status as the favourite SLR?

  • I have two and I love them. The only problem is the cost and availability of film and processing. But if they would come up with a digital back, I would be out taking pictures 26 hours a day!

  • To say the Lx is better camera than the F3 is laughably biased. If this were actually true, why do you not see working pros (like myself) never using them? And Pentax’s lenses avr good, they are not in the same league as the Nikkors

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James Tocchio

James Tocchio is a writer and photographer, and the founder of Casual Photophile. He’s spent years researching, collecting, and shooting classic and collectible cameras. In addition to his work here, he’s also the founder of the online camera shop

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