Modern Classic SLRs Series :
Pentax LX - Databack

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Pentax LX professional SLR camera body film back
Pentax has a few options in the Databack selection. In fact, they has one of the most innovative option so far in a SLR among all manufacturers.

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Dial Databack.jpg
The first, being a Dial Data LX for general information. Dial Data LX imprints valuable information, such as date or exposure data, permanently on the finished photograph. The photographer simply sets the three alphanumeric wheels on the Dial Data LX panel to record such information as frame number, year/month/date, lens aperture, shutter speed, letters from "A" to "O', or numbers between 0 and 36 in the corner of the frame.

Data is recorded on the film in an instant, so Pentax LX provides three ways of data imprint for general, both a highly unusual way of display clock or user defined (film blind) and encode those valuable information onto photographs taken.Imprinted information with all these models is always sharp, even when using a high-speed motor drive. Dial Data LX interchanges easily with the standard LX back, leaving the camera's sync terminal open for a flash. It is usable with any ISO film speed from 25 to 400 for both color and black and white film (Two ASA range ASA 25-50 and ASA 64-400). It is powered by three 1.5 volt Alkaline or Silver Oxide mini-batteries. A built in battery check and confirmation LED are also provided.


A surprise offering is the Watch Data LX for specialized information encoding. The Watch Data LX imprints a clock face directly on the corner of the photograph to display the month, hour, minute and second the picture is taken. Additional information can be written in by hand on the central ground glass portion of the face.

Clock DataBack.jpg
If more space for handwritten data is needed, a clock face with larger center blank space is available (The central portion of the watch itself provides a ground glass portion where it can be penciled). Like the Dial Data LX, Watch Data LX requires no sync cord, and information is sharply imprinted even during high-speed shooting. Watch Data LX is ideal for specialized scientific like biomedical, time lapse and other professional work. Three settings are provided for B/W film (ASA 100, 200 & 400) and only one setting is provided for color film (ASA 160). A single 6 volt, Alkaline or Silver Oxide battery will powered to provided built-in confirmation LED and battery condition.

Enlarged view.
But the most interesting among the few options available is the Film Blind. It is not a Databack, it is a built-in feature! But works along with the Clock Data Back mentioned above, I heard someone has been using this feature to imprint data with a way developed himself, but can't remember when and where I kept the papers.

Film Blind.jpg
Note: Thanks Michael Liu of MIT for reminded me of this: "...the F2 Data (MF-10 and MF-11) also offered time-and-data imprinting (including handwritten notes); the MF-17 is basically an MF-11 adapted to work with an F3..."

Basically, it works in conjunction with the Watch Databack. Well, for Dial Data LX, the film blind NEED NOT to be lowered. Since the Watch Data needs a blind to block out a section for recording purposes, you need to lower this special film blind for the recording. Before taking pictures with the Watch Databack, open the camera, turn the small thumb wheel by using your finger.


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