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Pentax MX - Small Film SLR


I grew up using the Pentax MX. My Dad bought a silver version when I was born (1978) and apparently I took images with it from the age of six. I bought this black version more recently, but the lens you see here is from my Dad's original set.



The etax MX is small SLR, with sturdy brass construction and is a fully manual mechanical camera. Its light meter (powred by two LR44 batteries) is totally independant, so if the electronics stop working it does not effect the functionality of the camera. Mechanically it's similar to the KX but similar in the size to the wildly popular ME, thus the MX was a neat but serious little camera. Launched at the same time as the much larger K1000, the MX also featured a self timer and was essentially their flagship model, until the LX came out four years later. The shutter is a mechanical horizontal cloth type which maxes out at 1/1000th of a second (common for the time).



Despite the cameras small size the viewfinder is epicly large! At 0.97x it makes the best current digital EVFs (found in the Sony A1) looks like tiny toys. Although it doesn't quite manage the 100% coverage you won't care when you look at it. Although it's like looking at an IMAX cinema screen, somehow Pentax managed to make the exposure meter readings clearly visible at the right hand side. To say this makes the MX a joy to use would be an understatement!



The MX is a beautifully small camera, but being solid brass it feels heavy on modern build standards. I found the feel of the camera absolutely lovely with a small lens, but it felt awkward with larger lenses given the lack if grip. I really love the way the ASA dial is inside the shutter speed dial. I remember thinking that Fuji should do this with the X100, 35 years later) and they did end implimenting this with the X100F (4th vesion) six years later.

K Mount

The Pentax K mount was established only one year before the MX. Athough it has been tweaked aroud the edges (for electronics), it has remained backwards compatible since 1975, so will likely last over 50 years. Although Nikon's F mount came out in 1959, the non-AI lenses are problematic to use on modern cameras, so Pentax is a much friendlier system to use today for classic lenses.


The Pentax MX is a beautiful little camera, especially in black (IMO). If you can find one with a working meter it'll be easier to use for the less technical minded photo nerds, but even if it's only the mechanicals this is a solid camera. It's small size, great mechnicals and stunningly huge viewfinder make it a joy to use today!

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