After a relatively relevant experience with 35mm film cameras I came choosing the K-Pentax mount but only in what manual focusing cameras concerns. For the auto focus cameras I choose  F-Nikon being also an user of Nikon’s digital camera system.
But I do not want now to talk about the Nikon but the smaller Pentax system.
At first, Pentax was better know for its screw mount , M42 or Pentax screw mount cameras and Takumar lenses. A hugely spreaded system used by many other manufacturers like Ricoh, Cosina, Fujifilm, Chinon and even at one point Olympus. Of course here can be added the former USSR camera like the Zenit and its german lens copies like the Helios, Jupiter, Tair, etc. and the well known Praktica from GDR.
Around 1975 Pentax entered into the bajonet mount trend alogside the other big players (Nikon, Olympus, Minolta, Konica, Canon, etc. – Fujifilm came later with the X mount system). Also, the same switch was made by Ricoh, Chinon and Cosina. Although many times overlooked, the “third party” Pentax mount system producers were not bad at all.
Of course, to many, me included, the Pentax LX represents the peak of the system. Again, of course, this comes at a price. The next one, the MX alogside the M lenses I say can make a good competition to a german rangefinder camera producer like it was at the time advertised. Not far from Pentax’s cameras were as mendioned the “third party” ones. Way cheaper, mainly because of the cheaper plastic shell that leads to a  somehow cheaper fell the Chinons , the Ricohs and Cosinas were up to the same specifications as the Pentax consumer cameras (the ME and ME Super, the MG, the P series). The same could be mentioned about the lenses although you can not find a Rikenon of 85mm or 100mm or a dedicated macro lens simply because it was never made. The same can be said about the other two, Chinon and Cosina. Despite this the cameras were somehow playing along the Pentaxes. The Chinon CE4/s (also CE5), Ricoh XR7 (plus the less spec XR10/Super) and Cosina CT4 (as well as CT7 and CT9) were after the Pentax ME Super and the Program A or Super A. The only mechanical shutter CM4/s Chinon together with Cosina CT1 (and later models like CT1A, CT1Super, CT1EX) were a less battery dependable solution just like the all metal build Pentax MX but, unlike the MX (which has a horizontal traveling cloth shutter) they sport a more modern Seiko vertical travelling metal blades shutter all this at about one third (if not less) of the MX’s price. There are some features on the MX that the other two do not have (DOF preview, shutter time and aperture windows in the viewfinder, bigger viewfinder, interchangeable focusing screen, all metal build) but all in all what a photographer needs about 90-99% of the time are present.
On paper there were not many caveats regarding “third party” cameras. Remains only the “spec” that can not be put in a table or in numbers. The feeling while using the tool. At this, an original Pentax like an MX, an LX even an ME Super makes the (a subjective one) difference.

All rights reserved (c) Cosmin Munteanu
All rights reserved (c) Cosmin Munteanu
All rights reserved (c) Cosmin Munteanu
All rights reserved (c) Cosmin Munteanu
All rights reserved (c) Cosmin Munteanu
All rights reserved (c) Cosmin Munteanu
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