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General Description

This is one of Pentax's simplest and most robust cameras. It features manual focus, manual exposure and fully manual flash operation. It is fully mechanical, and uses batteries only for its light meter. But it features DOF preview, self-timer, interchangeable screens, and interchangeable backs. The viewfinder offers an optical readout of the selected lens aperture and shutter speed as well as five LEDs that indicate how far the manually-set exposure is from the camera's recommendation: 1 EV or more under, 1/2 EV under, identical, 1/2 EV over, 1 EV or more over. The camera is extremely small, light, and easy to use. A winder and motor drive are available as optional accessories.

On the negative side, the camera's design is from the late 1970's and supports only center-weighted metering, has a slow flash sync-speed, no mirror-lockup, and no flash automation of any kind. Parts for the MX are getting difficult to find.

The MX does not officially feature mirror lockup. With some practice, however, it is possible with a quick and light tip on the shutter release to raise the mirror and with a subsequent (normal) click to release the shutter. This trick works better on some cameras as on others, and the opinions of the more engineering-inclined MX users are divided as to whether or not this induces additional wear-and-tear on the camera's mechanisms.

Prices for used black-silver units range between US $130 and US $180. Black ones tend to fetch about US $50 more.

The MX Data is a very rare body modification. It features the following two additions: data-back contacts and a metal "tab" that blocks light from the image area where the data imprinting takes place. This tab can be folded away when no data imprinting is required.

Product Variations
Exact NameMXMXMX (data)
Years of Production1976 ~ 19851976 ~ 1985unknown
Availabilityused, several times a monthused, several times a yearused, once in several years
Catalog Number050000501005200
Sold with Case

Technical Specifications

Lens MountK
Mount Limitationscorrect exposure only when the lens is set to a numeric aperture
Self-Timer4 ~ 12 seconds
Cable Releasemechanical (with standard thread)
Additional FeaturesDOF-preview
Width x Height x Depth135.8 x 82.5 x 49.3 mm
Weight495 g
Exposure System
Exposure ModesM
Metering Modescenter-weighted
Meter MaterialGPD
Meter Range1 ~ 19 EV
Manual Film ISO Speed25 ~ 1600 ASA
Constructionmechanical (horizontal-run)
Materialrubberized silk
Shutter Speeds1 ~ 1/1000, B
Mechanical Speedsall
Magnification [Coverage]0.97 x [95%]
Shutter-Speed Indicationoptical
Aperture Indicationoptical
Interchangeable Screensyes
Power Source
Batteries2 x 1.5 Volt silver-oxide (A76, SR44) or alkaline (LR44)
Film Transport
Compatible with Motor DriveMX
Compatible with Winder(s)MX
Flash Operation
Command Protocol(s)analog
Flash Automation
Synchronization Speed(s)1/60 ~ 1, B
Built-In Flashno
Fitting Case(s)soft case: MX Soft Case

Subjective Evaluation

The MX is technically part of the M series, but the only important characteristic that it shares with these bodies is its small size. In most other respects its is closer to the LX, and it was promoted by Pentax as a professional body. In fact the MX and LX either share some accessories, or have separate accessories that are not available for the other bodies.