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Pentax MV

Reviews Views Date of last review
9 58,519 Sat October 20, 2018
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
67% of reviewers $21.33 7.67
Pentax MV

Pentax MV
Pentax MV
Pentax MV

The Pentax MV was a less expensive version of the Pentax ME with no optional winder, a smaller view finder without shutter speed information, and a few other cost cutting changes. It was introduced the same year as the ME Super, four years after the ME.

Year introduced
Meter range
3 - 19 EV
Meter pattern
ISO range
25 - 1600
DX ISO range
No DX coding
Exposure modes
Av, X, B
Exposure compensation
+/-2 EV
Exposure memory lock
Shutter speeds (auto)
1 - 1/1000s
Shutter speeds (manual)
Shutter speeds (mechanical)
1/100s, B
Self timer
Mirror lock-up
Auto bracketing
Multiple exposures
Built-in flash
TTL flash
P-TTL flash
Sync speed
Flash exposure comp
Autofocus sensitivity
Not applicable
Power zoom
0.85x, 92%
Viewfinder type
Diopter correction
Exchangeable screen
Depth of field preview
Image size
24 x 36 mm
Panorama format
2 x S76
Battery grip/pack
Size (W x H x D)
132 x 84 x 49.5 mm
420 g
Price History:

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New Member

Registered: June, 2012
Posts: 3
Review Date: October 20, 2018 I can recommend the Pentax MV: Yes | Price: $20.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Compact, reliable, cheap as chips.
Cons: Lack of features, but you knew that before you bought it, didn't you?

I can't help feeling there's a degree of snobbery directed towards the lesser mortals in the Pentax range, particularly the MV-1 and MV. It doesn't pretend to be a professional's main kit camera, so shouldn't be measured by the same yardstick.

What it does do, however, (assuming you've managed to find a copy in good working order that hasn't been left to rot in the loft or garage) is it allows you to capture great shots with the minimum of fuss and forethought. You don't even have to switch it on, just whip the lens cap off, wind on and shoot (I always leave the lens set at f5.6, easy then to quickly adjust a stop or two in either direction). While the other guy is still fiddling with the shutter speed dial atop his MX, or pressing the manual up/down buttons on his ME Super, I've already got the shot in the bag...

Exposure compensation is easily employed by just lifting and turning the ASA dial (you don't actually have to lift the rewind crank as per the instruction book) so creativity is really not hampered in any way.

It's most likely that light seals and mirror foam will need replacing, but it's not rocket science, and instructions/materials are readily available these days.

At the end of the day, you are putting the image through a piece of glass onto a piece of film. If you can live without a self timer, (the absence of which makes it much more comfortable to hold), and never plan to use a motor wind, and are more concerned with DOF than shutter speed (let's face it, most of us probably spend most of our time shooting an 'A' mode on our DSLRs) then the humble MV may be just what you're looking for.
New Member

Registered: May, 2013
Posts: 8
Review Date: April 26, 2018 I can recommend the Pentax MV: No | Price: None indicated | Rating: 4 

Pros: Point&shoot, feels good in the hand
Cons: Cheap materials, no manual controls, poor servicability

I got this SLR with a bunch of lenses, so there's no nostalgia here.

My body was in pristine state, and looks nice as long as you don't notice the cheap materials like the thin metal bottomplate and the plastic body. Other Pentax bodies wear their plastic better, looking less cheap (e.g. the Super-A). That said it doesn't look nearly as bad as the cheap AF bodies do, and feels much more robust. The design is the standard Pentax shape from that era, so its fairly compact and fits nice in the hand.

Auto-only camera, so anyone with a pair of hands can use it. As long as simply shooting photos on auto suffices it does that perfectly okay.

"Works" without batteries, but not to an useful degree since there are no manual shutter controls.

My focus-screen was slightly smudged from the degraded mirror foam. Gently cleaning it with 97% alcohol completely ruined the focus-screen since apparently it wasn't tolerant. Removing the focus-screen turned out to be quite an endeavor that includes desoldering two thin leads on a thin plastic substrate. Eventually, simply swapping solely the focus-screen for anything other than another MV-screen (and likely the ME or ME-Super) seems impossible.

I've had it for about 10 years before binning it, save for some parts.
  • Good as a point-and-shoot camera with changeable lenses, or as a bulky lens cap.
  • Decent as a display object in a vitrine next to your handsome collection of lenses.
  • Bad as a Pentax SLR.
New Member

Registered: April, 2015
Posts: 3
Review Date: February 21, 2017 I can recommend the Pentax MV: Yes | Price: $15.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Simplicity
Cons: non

I have three of these superb little gems. I find the viewfinder is as bright as needed and focusing is no problem. For street photography set the lens at f4.0 and work on composition. I use the screw thread lenses with a K adapter and the meter works very well indeed. In fact, I have a 50mm eight element on one of my MV's and the results are astounding. The great thing is they are cheap, plentiful because many people despise the so named 'amateur status.

No worries about the camera being fully automatic because you determine the shutter speed by the aperture, it is a case of reverse thinking. Ok, there is no room for exposure compensation, but this is not what this little camera is all about. Put a lens on it, and go out and take pictures and my goodness it rewards because of its ease of use. Composition beats everything and this is the photo artists camera. Without the concerns about exposure, you focus and compose and take the image. I have never been let down with exposure.

One last comment, I purchased an MV for eight pounds and a Chinon 50mm 1.7 for a fiver. The results this thirteen-pound combination produce are knockout. Who needs to spend a fortune to take great images? The answer is no one.
Veteran Member

Registered: April, 2010
Location: NY
Posts: 523
Review Date: February 17, 2017 I can recommend the Pentax MV: Yes | Price: $20.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Small, black, superbly manufactured.
Cons: No manual shutter control beyond 100x and B

It's one of my favorites.
Build quality is absolutely superb. At least as good as my Super and ten times better then either of my 1000(s plural). Better then my K2.
Somewhere I saw that; because of the low mass of the body, camera vibration was an issue and that a tripod was recommended. Please!!
That's dumb!
I've never had an image blurred by camera vibration. Besides, this camera has ballast for it's size. Especially with an M lens.
Not only that, the shutter and mirror actuation is silky same as a Super P.
Except no stupid lock on the shutter release and no need to turn off the camera.
The K1000 is jarring by comparison. No blurred shots there either.
The winder is smooth and precise like the Super P, not a bucket of bolts like the bigger Pentax bodies.
I've burned through rols and rols of Kodak Gold, UltraMax, Porta TX and probably Fuji too.
I don't think I ever had a bad exposure that wasn't my fault.
The camera just works!
More keepers from my MV then any camera I own and that's the truth.

Edit: Also @ K Dave. That's the ASA dial. That's how you calibrate the meter to film speed.
New Member

Registered: November, 2013
Posts: 6
Review Date: March 30, 2014 I can recommend the Pentax MV: Yes | Price: $35.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: very easy to use for children, green and red light indicator in viewfinder
Cons: no time or aperture information in viewfinder

if my digital's is going empty, I've an analogue body with me.

without battery 1/100 sec. had saved a lot of photographic opportunities.

very small body, love it

optimal for beginners (children)

Registered: October, 2012
Location: Colorado
Posts: 1,389
Review Date: March 2, 2014 I can recommend the Pentax MV: No | Price: $17.99 | Rating: 5 

Pros: Simple interface, lightweight, compact
Cons: Very little user control, wonky exposure compensation memo 'feature'

I knew, buying the MV, that it was the M series bargain-basement camera. If you just want a manual focus camera that's a step up in complexity from a point and shoot, this is your best bet. The meter readout is simple -- red green or yellow and as long as the meter shows a green light then you can safely take a photo. BEyond that, the camera doesn't tell you much.

This camera does have one very wrong-headed feature. Under the film rewind knob is a freely rotating dial with no function except to remind users how much the film was shot off-rating. The dial as an orange indicator line with dots and a plus and minus to the sides. The idea being that if you put 400 ISO film in and shoot it at 200 ISO, then you place the indicator line at 200. I really have no idea what purpose this thing serves and lifting up the rewind know during a roll is a good way to accidentally open the film back with a partially exposed roll of film in the camera. Also, when you remove the film you can look at the ISO and see the different film rating from the ISO setting and just write it on the film cassette then. That feature was a very bad idea on Pentax's part (though I like that they tried something unique).
Forum Member

Registered: May, 2012
Location: North Coast, NSW, Australia
Posts: 50
Review Date: May 24, 2012 I can recommend the Pentax MV: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: solid, built to last, compact size, simple to use
Cons: for its vintage -- none, really

i have only had this camera for a week
it was 'acquired' on eBay, as part of a 'package' which contained some items that i wanted for my ME-F -- the MV camera was a 'bonus' -- i recently acquired the ME-F in the same fashion ...
a roll of film has been run through it, and i will get it developed tomorrow, so i will come back and update
i have had a Pentax-M-series camera from new, in 1980/81, so i had a good idea what to expect from the MV, which, itself, has been a one-owner camera since new, and is in excellent condition

really, i can add nothing to the 2 excellent, detailed reviews already posted here, except to say that the camera is exceptionally easy to use, and has accepted a variety of lenses, with no dramas

if i did not already own my ME-Super, and now the ME-F too, then i would be happy to keep the MV -- it is so easy to use
ideal for a learner, and obtainable for under $50, in good working order

Site Supporter

Registered: August, 2007
Location: Toronto
Posts: 744

4 users found this helpful
Review Date: December 16, 2011 I can recommend the Pentax MV: Yes | Price: $20.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Very sturdy; very comfortable in the hand; fast shooting aperture priority; lack of buttons to get dirty or fail; good lens compatibility (K, M, A, F, FA lenses all work); light weight.
Cons: Meter ISO limited to 1600; no meter lock; no shutter speed readout;

I recently rescued a Pentax MV from the bargain bin at the local camera store. Cosmetically it was pretty dirty but it was mechanically intact.

After investing a couple of hours, cleaning the camera inside and out, and replacing the gooey mirror bumpers, this MV looks almost like new. Which speaks to one of the great things about the MV. It's built like a tank.

Like the MG before it and the MV-1 after it, the MV is a no-frills camera. It is meant to be used in aperture-priority auto exposure all the time. Because there is no easy or direct manual control of shutter speeds, these cameras are often ignored or under appreciated.

Aperture is controlled manually, using the ring on the lens. The MV is therefore compatible with K, KA, F and FA lenses, and M42 lenses (with stop-down metering.)

The MV has no shutter speed control (knob, push button or control wheel.) In the viewfinder, there is no display of the shutter speed selected by the camera, nor of the aperture selected by you. Perhaps if the MV was the ONLY camera I owned, these simplifications would be a problem. But I do have other cameras I can use when I need to directly control both aperture and shutter speed. Aperture priority auto lets me select a working aperture that I like, favouring shallow or deep depth of field. Aperture priority works as well as shutter priority for fast-moving subjects too; simply select a larger aperture and the shutter speed will increase. Keeping your lens at maximum aperture will always give you maximum shutter speed.

To be honest, the majority of the time I do not really need both controls, especially when I am working fast in changing light. The limited controls and feedback (a simple OVER/GOOD/UNDER led display for the meter) are exactly the same as those on the Yashica Electro 35, which is a classic rangefinder that is highly regarded and sought after, often selling for five times as much money as a Pentax MV. Even when I am using a camera with full control, I often shoot in simple aperture-preferred mode. This summer I spent a happy afternoon shooting the Caribana parade with an MZ-S and a 35-105 A lens in aperture preferred mode. The Pentax MV would have actually been a better choice, because it offers a split-image focussing screen

In addition to aperture-preferred auto, the Pentax MV does offer two other modes, both useful. One is bulb mode, allowing for long exposures. The camera has a proper threaded shutter release, which lets you combine bulb with a cable or bulb release too. Perfect for nightime shooting. The second mode is a fixed 1/100th shutter speed (also marked X) allowing the simple selection of the top flash-sync shutter speed for use with flash. Combining the Pentax MV in 1/100th with an auto-thyristor flash would make for a reliable and durable flash-photography setup. The 1/100th sync speed might be a bit slow for larger aperture daylight-fill flash, but it is quite usable.

All of the Pentax MV controls are sturdy and feel good under your fingers. The winding mechanism and lever are smooth, on par with most Pentax M and K bodies. The shooting mode knob is large, easy to manipulate, but not easily knocked into the wrong position. I prefer the ergonomics on the Pentax MV to the Pentax MX, which is essentially the same size. The all-manual MX has the shutter speed knob wedged in behind the winder crank, and I find it tough to get my fingers on the knob and rotate it. The MV dispenses with the knob. By becoming an automatic camera, the M body style is much easier to hold and use.

The view through the viewfinder is not quite as large as that offered by other M bodies. This is not actually a drawback to me -- with a Pentax MX, I can't easily see into the corners when wearing glasses. With the MV, I can. The eye-relief is no better, but the slightly smaller magnification makes the whole screen easier to take in at once.

The ISO/ASA setting for the meter is manual. It ranges up to 1600 -- a small drawback if you regularly shoot ISO 3200 film, but otherwise quite useful. There is no dedicated exposure compensation. Instead, simply select a different ASA on the camera. If you want to remind yourself of this compensation, you can lift up the rewind knob, revealing a small exposure compensation memo knob which you rotate to show the true film speed and indicate the amount of exposure compensation. However, I wouldn't use this feature because it would be very easy to pop open the back of the camera by lifting the rewind knob too far.

In summary, the Pentax MV is a very good camera for doing one thing -- taking pictures. If you desire a camera with every feature every invented for cameras, this is not the camera for you.
Senior Member

Registered: May, 2010
Location: Coloroado
Posts: 260

4 users found this helpful
Review Date: December 17, 2010 I can recommend the Pentax MV: No | Price: None indicated | Rating: 5 

Pros: good beginner camera
Cons: very limited features

Pros good beginner camera
Cons very limited features
Rating 5
Price (U.S. Dollars) do not remember
Years Owned 4

I can recommend this camera: No

Value, Features, Performance & Size
The MV was a value based SLR from the early 80s. It was best suited to those with limited knowledge and experience who needed an automatic camera. It had one manual shutter speed for flash sync. The light meter was a column of dots - adjust your aperture until the center green dot is illuminated.

Camera Review
I purchased my MV in 1980 when I was 15 years old. It was my very first SLR, and I saved up for it too! I know it isn't as useful to a beginner as a K1000 (I was so new to photography then), but I was very satisfied with my purchase! I loved the look of that MV - it kinda called to me in the display case. It's hard to explain, but I think the design had a lot to do with it. It was the perfect size and shape. Not complicated at all, and I guess that's what I needed at the time. It wasn't long before I reached its limitations, but I held onto it for a couple years after I replaced it. I kinda wish I still had it. Not to use, but for nostalgia. As I prepare to purchase my K-5, a lot of what I first liked about my MV comes to mind - the small size, the simple design, the minimal controls - and the excitement of knowing that I had picked the right camera for me. So let's go out and take some pictures!
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