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Pentax MZ-10 / ZX-10

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5 46,484 Fri February 5, 2016
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
80% of reviewers $16.25 7.50
Pentax MZ-10 / ZX-10

Pentax MZ-10 / ZX-10
Pentax MZ-10 / ZX-10

In 1996 Pentax launched a line of compact auto-focus Single Lens Reflex (SLR) cameras about the size of the legendary MX. This line was called MZ in some markets, and ZX in other markets.

The first two models represented two different design philosophies. One model, the Pentax MZ-5/ZX-5, had traditional camera controls whereas the other model, the MZ-10/ZX-10 covered here, had controls like the preceding Z/PZ series and like today's DSLRs, namely an exposure mode dial (with P, Av, Tv, M, etc. settings) and shutter speed as well as aperture could be set on the body.

The Pentax MZ-10/ZX-10 has the following five program modes: Normal (Green), Portrait, Landscape, Close-up, and Action. The mode dial also has a Pict setting which, in connection with F, FA and D FA lenses, automatically selects the most suitable program mode of the five based on an analysis of the scene.

Extra flash functions with an external flash: Contrast control.

Year introduced
Meter range
0 - 21 EV
Meter pattern
ISO range
6 - 6400
DX ISO range
25 - 5000
Exposure modes
AutoPict, P, Av, Tv, M, B
Exposure compensation
+/-3 EV
Exposure memory lock
Shutter speeds (auto)
30 - 1/2000s
Shutter speeds (manual)
30 - 1/2000s
Shutter speeds (mechanical)
Self timer
Mirror lock-up
Auto bracketing
Multiple exposures
Built-in 2 fps
Built-in flash
Yes, GN 11
TTL flash
P-TTL flash
Sync speed
Flash exposure comp
Yes (3 points)
Autofocus sensitivity
-1 - 18 EV
Power zoom
Yes, limited
0.77x, 92%
Viewfinder type
Diopter correction
Exchangeable screen
Depth of field preview
Image size
24 x 36 mm
Panorama format
Yes, 13 x 36 mm
2 x CR2
Battery grip/pack
Grip FG, 4x AA
Size (W x H x D)
135 x 90.5 x 62.5 mm
350 g
Price History:

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Veteran Member

Registered: July, 2014
Location: Nagoya
Posts: 577
Review Date: February 5, 2016 I can recommend the Pentax MZ-10 / ZX-10: Yes | Price: $20.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Lens compatibility, lightweight, inexpensive
Cons: Noise (subjective)

For the very reasonable price you can pick one up, this is a great camera and the full uncrippled KAF mount is fantastic. Very simple to use, I just stick my M28/2.8 on it and fire away - great for walkabouts and street photography, especially as it's small and unassuming. When you use an AF lens it focuses fast and trouble-free.

My only real gripe about it (as with most of the consumer MZ/ZX series) is the nasty shutter and winder sound - not satisfying at all. But since that has no effect on my photos, I know it's an irrelevant complaint. And even if the gears fail, another body will cost you less than your lunch. A fun little camera and an unsung gem in the Pentax lineup. Recommended.

EDIT: Recently dropped mine, Helios 44K-4 first, onto a pavement from head height. Big impact at an angle with a heavy lens (now a dented lens) but plastic mount completely undamaged.
New Member

Registered: November, 2013
Posts: 6
Review Date: February 1, 2014 I can recommend the Pentax MZ-10 / ZX-10: Yes | Price: $20.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: with battery grip an excellent AF-camera
Cons: nothing

very easy to use light weight SLR. One of my analogue favorites. The indication of aperture appears in M mode;too. My K100, K200 k-x indicates nothing about aperture in viewfinder, if aperture ring of older KA-lenses are not in A-position. This is a digital step back.But my MZ-10 indicates aperture everytime

This is not the case with old analog KAF lenses on digital cameras, when turning aperture ring out of automaitic position, too. No aperture indication in viewfinder.

Very sharp shootings with single lenses. Very reliable inspite of plastic body. I've a lot of rechargeable batteries CR-2 and the AA-battery grip. So I've no battery problems with it.My black edition with the grip looks nice.
Site Supporter

Registered: September, 2006
Location: Ames, Iowa
Posts: 766

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: October 30, 2011 I can recommend the Pentax MZ-10 / ZX-10: Yes | Price: $10.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: value, ergonomics, versatility
Cons: relatively small viewfinder, possible mechanical unreliability

The ZX-10 has the distinction of being Pentax's lightest-weight film body with a fully functional KAF2 lens mount. Old K and M lenses work just as they did on the old K and M cameras; A-series lenses add shutter priority and a variety of program modes; the ZX-10 also gives good, zippy autofocus on lenses that support it.

The panorama switch introduces a shutter-plane mask with dimensions 36x13 mm, which would seem to be a gimmick that does nothing but use film inefficiently, but in practice for me, it is a legitimate composition aid from time to time.

There is not usually a lot of demand for this model, so you can often find one for not a lot of money. Make sure you get one that is working properly. It shares a mechanical weakness with the rest of the ZX/MZ cameras, where a gear on the mirror motor cracks and renders the camera inoperable. Once the gear is replaced, it can last a long time.

CR2 batteries are expensive, but if you get the FG battery grip, you can shoot till doomsday on four lithium AA cells.

Being a manual-focus guy who values metal bodies and big viewfinders, I probably shouldn't like this camera so much, but having spent some time with it, I find the ZX-10 to be a versatile and friendly bit of gear that gives good results. It would make a fine travel camera.

Forum Member

Registered: April, 2009
Location: Sterling, VA
Posts: 70
Review Date: June 27, 2011 I can recommend the Pentax MZ-10 / ZX-10: No | Price: $15.00 | Rating: 4 

Pros: Easy to use
Cons: Cheap build, mine died

Easy to use camera. Has lots of good features for someone who wants a bit more than point and shoot. Very cheap build; mine died of mirror lock up issues.
Veteran Member

Registered: October, 2006
Location: NJ USA
Posts: 13,056

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: July 23, 2010 I can recommend the Pentax MZ-10 / ZX-10: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: N/A 

Pros: Tiny, light weight, effective, good mount
Cons: a little short on functionality

Pros Tiny, light weight, effective, good mount
Cons a little short on functionality
Rating 7
Price 80
Years Owned 10

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
This is an effective, simple camera that gives good results. Very small and light weight.

Camera Review
I bought this around 1999 - my first Pentax - to gear up for an eventual dSLR purchase.

I like this camera - it's very small and light, easy to tote, and the automation works well.

The mount is important - no crippling here - and so every Pentax lens will work. Ones without an aperture ring in Program only.

The metering is good and accurate - unlike the fancier ZX-L. The camera does suffer from metering limitations in very dim light - e.g. where a Program Plus is still working, the ZX-10 gives up.

The AF is rapid, but can hunt - and I mean from one stop to the other - in low light or low contrast, especially with the slower lenses.

There's a panorama mode in mine - a feature I sometimes appreciate.

Pentax added a lot of thoughtful touches - e.g. little pockets on the strap to put your eyepiece blind and hot shoe cover in.

This little camera offers a lot, with functional simplicity. Many may not like the lack of features, but as a basic portable camera this is very effective.
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