The Smallest and Lightest Mechanical SLR Film Camera – The PENTAX MX
The PENTAX MX can be the top-performing smallest mechanical SLR film camera in the world.
PENTAX has developed its products based on a belief in producing small compact SLR film cameras since the PENTAX SP was released. Then, the MX is one of the terminus ad quem of its lineup.
The MX has a fully mechanical ultra-compact body similar to the OLYMPUS OM-1, and it also has the upgraded skillful mechanism just like a jewel. With a fashionable design and high-quality mechanical body, the MX has gained a high popularity even among non-PENTAX fans.
In fact, PENTAX has developed the S series (including the PENTAX SP) with a belief in producing smaller and lighter cameras than other company’s products.
Anyways, I am going to show you how amazing to use this smallest mechanical SLR film camera!
About the PENTAX MX
For the MX’s features, the most important point before anything can begin is its super-compact size.
Performances and Specifications of the PENTAX MX
Introduced in 1976, the MX is a 35mm mechanical SLR film camera. It is especially popular among mechanical film camera fans. Thanks to its precision mechanisms, the MX can achieve superior performances in a super-small body.
The MX can handle the shutter speed range of 1/1000 sec to 1 sec plus B (bulb). It has a PENTAX K-mount which accepts all K-mount lenses equipped with a diaphragm ring.
The MX features a center-weighted metering. The previous model’s photometric element is SPG and the later model is SPD. Compared to CdS, both elements do not tend to become damaged or show reduced performance over the time, so it means that even used cameras can maintain a meter accuracy.
In addition, a LED exposure metering eliminates the worry for a breakdown compared with a needle metering.
The MX has a horizontal cloth focal plane shutter. As I will write more about the shutter system later, PENTAX succeeded in minimization for the MX. A good thing is you can make sure and determine correct exposures while you look through the finder from a window on the top of the lens.
The MX is 0.5mm Smaller than the OM-1
When it comes to introducing the MX, the system designer was strongly aware of a model… That’s the OM-1 produced by OLYMPUS.
The OM-1 (Width:136mm, Height:83mm, Depth:50mm) is smaller than the PENTAX SP. Even further, on the other hand, the MX (Width:135.5mm, Height:82.5mm, Depth:49.5mm) is smaller than the OM-1. Obviously, the MX can be miniaturized (0.5mm each) compared with the OM-1. Accordingly, this design accuracy can show PENTAX’s pride as a former top company making small and lightweight SLR film cameras.
A Mechanical Shutter Designed for the Super Small Camera
In order to produce a super small SLR film camera “PENTAX MX”, the company focused on the development of its unique shutter system, using a thin string instead of a shutter ribbon of the horizontal cloth focal plane shutter.
The PENTAX M series Returning to its origin – “Small and Lightweight”
Due to a trend of small compact SLR film cameras at the time, PENTAX was able to develop the first product “MX” to the PENTAX M series.
PENTAX’s Temporary Business Strategy – Producing Large Models
As widely known, PENTAX has produced small and lightweight SLR film cameras until today, including the PENTAX SP. Surprisingly enough, the company once increased the camera size in the 1970s.
PENTAX moved to the K-mount (a bayonet lens) from the M42 (a screw mount) in 1975, meanwhile, the PENTAX K series (a K2, KX, and KM) released in the same year attained its peak of the growing body size.
With increasing the size of Takunar lenses from 49mm to 52mm, PENTAX products seemed to become larger and larger…
Super Compact Size Required by the Market Needs
PENTAX shifted to make a compact SLR film camera from necessity. The biggest reason is a new model “OLYMPUS OM-1 (the original model is the M-1)” was released in 1972. People sincerely welcomed this new camera, because it has the same size as the father of the 35mm film camera “Barnack Leica”. On the other hand, the PENTAX K series wasn’t able to get popularities among photographers.
Accordingly, PENTAX was kind of forced to introduce a compact SLR film camera to the market, not like a large model.
About the PENTAX M Series
As I wrote above, PENTAX released the M series based upon a belief in producing compact SLR film cameras. Comparing to the SP, this series succeeds in miniaturization and light weighting.
The MX was debuted in 1976. Later that same year, the ME was also released and it’s actually smaller than the MX, an aperture priority automatic camera. Further, PENTAX moved from the SMC PENTAX 52mm lens to the SMC PENTAX-M 49mm lens around that time.
In fact, those lenses also made a great contribution to the MX’s minimization. From that time to the 1980s, the M series as a primary product by PENTAX remained its popularity.
Special Features of the MX in the M series
Note that the MX is totally different from other cameras in the M series except for lightweight.
Beside a horizontal cloth focal plane shutter in a super compact body, the MX can exactly perform like a typical mechanical camera.
While, other models in the M series, including the ME, are basically equipped with a vertical traveling metal curtain shutter and have an electronic system.
By improving the PENTAX’s traditional camera system, the MX was reborn with a fully mechanical system, and finally, it got a huge popularity.
The PENTAX MX – Just Like a Small Jewel
As mentioned above, the MX is an ultra-small mechanical SLR film camera having enough specifications.
You must be happy every time you hear its sounds of the slow governor.
Enjoy a high-quality mechanical camera in your hands!