Pentax or Nikon ?

Discussion in 'Film Cameras' started by jssaraiva, Feb 27, 2018.

  1. jssaraiva

    jssaraiva Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    502
    Dec 31, 2014
    Porto, Portugal
    José
    Hi there,

    I'm currently trying to decide between keeping my Nikon or Pentax manual focus 35mm film set-up. On Pentax I have an ME Super and an MX, both chrome. On Nikon I have an FA and an FM, both black. Both systems with a balanced, but short (i.e., would like to purchase a couple more lenses - mainly portrait and a 50mm f/1.4), lens kit.

    I don't want to expose too much my arguments or preferences at this stage, to try to bright new points to the table.

    So, if you were only to keep one, which would you choose and why?

    Thanks,

    Jose
     
  2. Jim

    Jim Regular

    87
    Sep 4, 2013
    James Olivari
    Funny, I'm going through the same issues. I have a fairly complete Nikon setup (F5, N8008, F3) & a couple of lenses. I'm looking at expanding the Nikon lenses but all the ones I want as pretty far outside my price range right now. Pentax offers some interesting options at lower prices but I've never used a 35 mm Pentax (used to have a mf Pentax).

    I'll be interested to see the replies you get.
     
  3. JoeLopez

    JoeLopez Veteran

    233
    May 18, 2017
    I'm partial to Nikon, My FE2 and F3 are solid performers. No Pentax experience personally.
     
  4. MoonMind

    MoonMind All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Dec 29, 2013
    Switzerland
    Matt
    As someone who was a real Nikonian back in the film days, I would say that a FA and a FM make a very nice setup indeed.

    That said, both the ME Super and the MX are desirable cameras - the ME Super is no FA, though, but a slick camera nonetheless, and the MX is a match for the FM. So I personally would actually decide purely upon the availability/current collection of lenses for the system.

    Both brands and camera model combinations offer a very nice, if slightly different experience; while I certainly love my FE/FE2/FM3a bodies (and slightly prefer the FE2's shooting experience over the FM3a!), I certainly adored my Pentax K1000 as long as I had it; I had bought it because I couldn't afford an FM at the time and didn't have any MF lenses! In fact, I still have a soft spot for that camera - which, quite ironically, is currently occupied not by my Nikon bodies but by the Minolta SRT101 (and its more capable sister, the SRT303b): purely mechanical, built like a tank (not that the Nikons are flimsy, mind).

    If it's a handling thing, it's purely up to your own choice anyway. So, in my view, it's the lenses that count. To illustrate this, I would *never* have gotten into Minolta at all if someone hadn't offered me a whole setup for nothing some time ago. I don't use the (slightly defective) body that came with it, but I use all the lenses - now even with an adapter on the Sony A7 II. I only bougth one single lens - the 50mm f/1.4 MD, but both bodies (one came with a 55mm f/1.7 lens) - and had I not liked the SRT101 that much, I wouldn't have acquired the SRT303b (which adds a couple of useful features).

    So, I'll say it again: Glass! :p 

    M.
     
  5. ChristoR

    ChristoR New Member

    9
    Feb 1, 2013
    Pentax, obviously! :) 

    Well I'm biased because I've never really used anything else. But the Pentax and compatible lens options are excellent, and the cameras are small and lightweight (but not so quirky as the Olympus range). The Pentax lenses don't seem to work quite so well with mirrorless cameras (AFAICS), so prices are relatively low, especially for the class of glass. If you go Nikon, it's... yawn, not another one..., if you stay Pentax, it says you're a thinking person who appreciates class.

    Oh, and the Pentax-M SMC 35/2 is a gem of a lens. Pentaxforums is also a fantastically useful resource.
     
  6. Tim Williams

    Tim Williams Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    679
    May 31, 2017
    Central Florida
    Timothy Williams
    I have owned all of these save the MX. My view is the FA is a better shooter than the ME, The MX and the FM cancel each other out. The difference boils down to glass. Only you can decide that. I went with Nikon and really there were other intangibles that made it an easy decision. I shot Pentax for a couple years, and still like the system, but Nikon gets this one.
     
  7. phigmov

    phigmov Veteran

    273
    Mar 23, 2015
    Ditto. I favour Nikon... that said, I've been picking up old m42 mount Pentax cameras & Super Tak glass for a song recently - the build quality is lovely. Similar era Nikon F & F2 bodies are getting ridiculously expensive - thats why my stash of Nikon gear starts at the F3.
     
  8. jssaraiva

    jssaraiva Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    502
    Dec 31, 2014
    Porto, Portugal
    José
    Thank you all for the helpful replies! :2thumbs:

    Let me try to explain my situation... I've been trying to expand my Nikon lenses options, namely a better 35mm (either AI-S or AF-D f/2), an AI-S 50/1.4 and an AI-S 105/2.5. This should cost something like 600 to 700 Eur with alternatives on Pentax amounting to about half. But never-mind that, I have not been able to see a single one of those Nikkors for sale locally for months!

    In the meantime, by chance I bought a Pentax ME Super with M28/2.8, M50/1.7 and M75-150/3.5. I've been very impressed with the big and bright viewfinder on the ME Super and the quality of the 50/1.7. I've recently found a good price MX and K35/3.5. So, it has not been an headache to create a nice system. Those 50/1.4 are also easily available and I've even seen more scarce lenses around. Looks like around here in Oporto Pentax did pretty well in the past.

    But, I do enjoy using the FA more than the others (and I do prefer the black bodies)... Another issue with Nikon is that FM+FA weight is 1.215gr while the MX+ME Super only 955gr. This is almost the same weight difference that made me go Rolleicord instead of Rolleiflex, so not negligible at all.

    Finally, and probably not rational at all, I like going out with my Rolleicord together with the Rollei 35S, as I did with my Minoltas Autocord (sold in the meantime) and 7S II and I do have a Pentax 6x7 to keep the MX and ME Super company, but the only match for my 35mm Nikons is the Bronica S2A with its Nikkors :) 

    I'll probably just keep the Nikon bodies and consider it as an investment and consider the Pentax the system to (expand and) use on a regular basis.

    Please feel free to add any further comments you might have.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 28, 2018
  9. MoonMind

    MoonMind All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Dec 29, 2013
    Switzerland
    Matt
    @José@José Makes a lot of sense - let there be fun :)  Just as a little heads-up: I understand your search for a "better" 35mm (f/2) and 50mm f/1.4, but may I say that the Nikon 50mm f/1.8 lenses are really, really nice? And the 35mm f/2.8 is a wonderful little lens, optically much more convincing than the somewhat mediocre 35mm f/2D that I still own (and bought new in the late 80's), but which was never able to beat my Minox GT-E. While I like my 50mm f/1.4 AF (non-D, but same optical formula than the D), my little 50mm f/1.8 Ai-S renders a more pleasing image, with better contrast and clarity. The f/1.4 lens needs stopping down to f/5.6 to get convincing with good sharpness across the field and strong colours, whereas the f/1.8 starts really picking up at f/2.8. The 50mm f/1.4 AF is a decent fast fifty, but the f/1.8 is a great budget lens that gives its bigger brother a run for its money.

    The 105mm f/2.5 Ai-S is a great lens though - good decision!

    M.
     
  10. Tim Williams

    Tim Williams Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    679
    May 31, 2017
    Central Florida
    Timothy Williams
    I was going to mention the Pentax viewfinder, glad you already knew the difference.
     
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