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Pentax MZ-30 / ZX-30

Reviews Views Date of last review
10 59,196 Tue November 26, 2019
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $16.66 8.11
Pentax MZ-30 / ZX-30

Pentax MZ-30 / ZX-30
Pentax MZ-30 / ZX-30

The Pentax MZ-30/ZX-30 came out about 3 years after the MZ-50/ZX-50 and has the same control layout with an exposure mode dial rather than classic controls.

Like its predecessor the MZ-30/ZX-30 has a total of six program modes (Normal (green), Portrait, Landscape, Close-up, Action, and Night scene) but no Auto-pict/Smart-pict setting.

The MZ/30/ZX-30 was the first SLR out of only two that completely lost the ability to use M and K lenses. The shutter will simply not fire with these lenses.

Extra flash functions: Contrast control.

Read all the details about lens compatibility here!

Year introduced
KAF with limitations (cannot use M and K lenses)
Meter range
1 - 21 EV
Meter pattern
ISO range
6 - 6400
DX ISO range
25 - 5000
Exposure modes
P, Av, Tv, M, B
Exposure compensation
+/-3 EV
Exposure 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
0.7x, 92%
Viewfinder type
Diopter correction
Exchangeable screen
Depth of field preview
Image size
24 x 36 mm
Panorama format
2 x CR2
Battery grip/pack
Grip FG, 4x AA
Size (W x H x D)
135 x 92 x 63.5 mm
360 g
Price History:

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Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-10 of 10
Site Supporter

Registered: June, 2011
Posts: 268
Review Date: November 26, 2019 I can recommend the Pentax MZ-30 / ZX-30: Yes | Price: $20.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: super cheap, get one that is working and it works well
Cons: cheap feeling body, I like winding my film :)

For what this is, it's a great camera. It was gifted to me as my first film SLR and I couldn't have been more pleased. It accepted my Pentax lenses and was simple to pick up and use while I was getting the ropes down for 35mm film photography.

If you can get one for cheap that you know is working, I'm not sure you can go wrong with this one. If you want a more manual experience and a more hefty body, go with an older all metal K1000 or even older Spotmatic
Junior Member

Registered: June, 2014
Posts: 44
Review Date: December 6, 2018 I can recommend the Pentax MZ-30 / ZX-30: Yes | Price: $26.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: small, light, easy to use, can make multi-exposures
Cons: poor viewfinder

I wanted to shoot multiple exposures, and since I already had Pentax lenses, looked for a Pentax film SLR that has autofocus and multi-exposure capability. I was lucky to find an MZ-30 with battery grip at a local used camera store for $35 CAD.

The camera looks pretty clean with only one small scratch. Having the battery grip it can work on 4 AA batteries, and I don't have to waste money on special ones.

The camera is very light and easy to use with simple and logical controls. The autofocus is fast and accurate. There isn't much I can add. A film camera is basically a light tight box that, if working properly, doesn't affect image quality. It's all about film and lenses.

The test roll turned out pretty good, slightly overexposed by 0.5 - 1 stop which is no problem with negative films. I tested it with most of my lenses and here are the results:
DA 35mm F2.4 works good, no problem
DA 50mm F1.8 works good, only extreme corners are unsharp
DA 35mm F2.8 Ltd. produces dark vignette in the corners
DA 70mm F2.4 Ltd. works good, left and right extreme edges are unsharp
The only drawback I can think of is the viewfinder. This is my first camera with a pentamirror viewfinder, and I don't like it much. It is about the same size as my K-S1's and is OK in good light but has some optical distortion which makes manual focus difficult. I have to rely on the AF and focus confirmation. Other than that it's a nice little camera I can recommend to anyone who wants to try film photography cheap and with modern conveniences.

Site Supporter

Registered: November, 2009
Location: Southwest Florida
Posts: 65
Review Date: October 27, 2017 I can recommend the Pentax MZ-30 / ZX-30: Yes | Price: $8.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Easy to use, lightweight, comfortable
Cons: plastic

The price is an estimate. I bought this for $16 total, with a kit lens, so I'm just splitting the cost in half.

I was looking for an AF companion to my ZX-M, and am pleased so far with this camera. It's lightweight (just under a pound -- not as light as the M, which is like a feather, but very manageable to carry around). It also has a very nice, ergonomic feel. It fits 'just right' in my big hands. The grip is pronounced, but rounded and comfortable. The body is plastic, but it feels sturdy. The viewfinder is small. The bigger issue I have with it, though, is that it lacks a cowl, which forces me to use my hand to shield out light more often than not.

The controls are intuitive and well planned, and the AF is swift and accurate.

My camera came to me in pristine condition. Honestly, there's not a scratch or smudge on it. I think I really lucked out. It looks brand new. And so far, the shutter and everything else is working great.

At this price, you can't go wrong. Even if it's a dud that the seller won't take back, you're only out a few bucks. Given the excellent condition, I'd pay up to $30 for this body.
Forum Member

Registered: November, 2007
Location: Gwynedd, Wales
Posts: 53
Review Date: August 7, 2017 I can recommend the Pentax MZ-30 / ZX-30: Yes | Price: $4.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Program, Tv, Av, M , the nice in-viewfinder info
Cons: Plastic mount, no lenses older than A, no DOF preview

You have to take into account what it provides and what its current price is. Mine was 3.00 .

As it happens, I have a A 50mm 1,7 lens which I got in 1984 with my first Pentax - an MEF. Which, of course, could not use the A setting. But, ironically, the aperture ring broke and it is now stuck on A.

So, for 3 quid plus the old lens I have a camera that does everything my beloved MEF did, plus built in flash, extra modes, memory lock, diopter adjustment. All of which are useful to me.

It also has a data back and AF which bother me less - as long as I have the focus advisory in the viewfinder I really don't mind twisting the focus ring.

I have never understood Pentax's policy on fitting their cameras with a DOF preview lever, so its no surprise there isn't one on this presumably entry level camera.

It may not be robust, but clearly the one I have has been around for a long time and is still working. In any case, if it breaks its cost me less than a beer.

So now, if I'm going to parties or something else that has a relatively high camera risk factor, I can take this little baby and keep my MEF and DSLR's safe.

Really, if you want a throwaway or a camera to keep in your car, it's hard to imagine any better value. Except possibly another one in the MZ/ZX series on which you prefer the ergonomics. They are pretty much all selling for peanuts now.

Update - still working! Just to mention that it has noticeably better autofocus than earlier cameras in this series.
New Member

Registered: January, 2014
Location: London
Posts: 21

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: March 25, 2015 I can recommend the Pentax MZ-30 / ZX-30: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: N/A 


This little & cheap camera, can be found for less than 30 pounds online, if you are lucky like me, you can find one in mind condition for almost 10 pounds.
What do you get?:

1) A full frame camera
2) Full Manual
3) FULLY COMPATIBLE with DA 50 1.4AL, DA 35 2.4, DA smc 70mm 2.4 (Limited and normal edition)

Yes it has a Black plastic Bayonet but for the use I'm going to do it wont be a problem, you can spend a bit more and get a better build body like the MZ5 or MZ5n (but you will only get AV mode (so the camera will choose the shutter speed x you) ( I also have one, I will upload the pictures taken with both MZ30 & MZ5 with my DA lenses)

Loyal Site Supporter

Registered: July, 2012
Posts: 10,098
Review Date: May 17, 2013 I can recommend the Pentax MZ-30 / ZX-30: Yes | Price: $40.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Rugged, lightweight and fits comfortably in the hand. A lot of fun to use.
Cons: Limited to the type and number of compatible lenses.

In just about 40 years in photography, I must admit this release from Pentax is a real enjoyable experience. Again, it is lightweight, rugged, easy to use with controls that are a snap to operate with clear icons all the way around.

However, my only complaint regarding this camera is the fact that the back door will open suddenly and without provocation. Trust me, this happened to me while my wife and I were out walking on the hottest and brightest day of the year. Of course, it happened when it was loaded with Kodak 800 Color Print Film. Fortunately, I caught it early and lost only a third of a frame.

I understand this has been a problem for other owners of this camera. Otherwise, the photos came out beautifully, colorful, crisp and with spot on exposure thanks to its impeccable metering system.

Thanks for reading,

Junior Member

Registered: October, 2011
Location: Belton, SC
Posts: 33
Review Date: June 16, 2012 I can recommend the Pentax MZ-30 / ZX-30: Yes | Price: $5.95 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Lightweight, intuitive controls, DX film, bright viewfinder, grip available
Cons: plastic mount, CR2 batteries, slow max shutter speed(1/2000)

I haven't had this camera for long, but I already love it. In fact i'm still shooting the first roll of film I put in it. I love the control layout, though I do miss my wheels like on my K20D and Canon Rebel T2 (formerly my only AF film SLR) but that's just a small issue for me. The biggest problem I have is the shutter speed only reaches 1/2000sec, meaning I'll still be shooting my T2 in those really bright situations. Overall though this seems to be a great little camera, especially because it doesn't weigh down my camera bag.
Senior Member

Registered: December, 2010
Location: Idaho
Posts: 102
Review Date: September 7, 2011 I can recommend the Pentax MZ-30 / ZX-30: Yes | Price: $25.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Small size, lightweight

The ZX-30 is relatively small and lightweight, it's an easy walk-around camera. The controls are well laid out and easy to use even for someone with large hands. Even though I've since moved on to Pro level film bodies and digital slr's, I find it's small size and weight perfect for teaching photography to my children. At the prices it's currently going for on Ebay, I'd say it's a bargain for someone wanting to try a film slr on a budget.
Site Supporter

Registered: June, 2008
Location: Florida Hill Country
Posts: 17,292
Review Date: May 24, 2011 I can recommend the Pentax MZ-30 / ZX-30: Yes | Price: $20.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Compact, user friendly, Aperture control
Cons: smaller viewfinder than some

This body has aperture control which is the one feature directly missing from the MZ-3. However, it has a shutter speed of up to 1/2000 while not as fast as the MZ-3's speed of 1/4000, it is still respectable. The viewfinder is smaller than the MZ-3. This body would make a good companion to anyone with an MZ-3. The copy I got hold of has the data back like my MZ-3. This may be one of Pentax's "sleepers" among AF bodies.
Junior Member

Registered: May, 2010
Location: Gold Coast, QLD
Posts: 32
Review Date: October 10, 2010 I can recommend the Pentax MZ-30 / ZX-30: Yes | Price: $1.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Easy to use, works suprisignly well with 3rd-part flash unuts
Cons: has "crippled" KAF mount,

Pros Easy to use, works suprisignly well with 3rd-part flash unuts
Cons has "crippled" KAF mount,
Rating 7
Price (U.S. Dollars) 1v
Years Owned 7 months

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
Great value 35mm
Nice build quality
Has multiple exposure
Front lever for adjusting shutter speed

Camera Review
The Pentax MZ-30 (ZX-30) is a nice and easy to use Pentax film SLR with a nice build quality.

What I like about it is its front mounted lever (that looks a bit like a digital camera's zoom lever) which is used for adjusting shutter speed-I find this to easier to use than a rotating dial

Autofocus on the MZ-30 seems to be quite quick.

This Pentax camera works best with Pentax's own flash units but I found the MZ-30 will work nicely with my Sunpak Auto 36FD flash.

One downside to this camera is that the aperture ring on most lenses have to be set to the "A" position otherwise the MZ-30 won't work properly-the shutter will not release (by comparison, the ZX-50 will with the aperture ring set to any position).
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