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Pentax MZ-50 / ZX-50

Reviews Views Date of last review
11 77,127 Sat October 25, 2014
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
82% of reviewers $53.18 6.91
Pentax MZ-50 / ZX-50

Pentax MZ-50 / ZX-50
Pentax MZ-50 / ZX-50
Pentax MZ-50 / ZX-50

The Pentax MZ-50/ZX-50 was introduced about a year after the MZ-10/ZX-10 and has the same control layout with an exposure mode dial rather than classic controls.

The MZ/50/ZX-50 added a night scene program mode for a total of six program modes (Normal (green), Portrait, Landscape, Close-up, Action, and Night scene). 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 based on an analysis of the scene.

Probably as a cost cutting measure the camera lost the full functional KAF2 mount which means that it doesn't support power zoom and that M and K lenses can be used only with limitations:
1) They will always be set to full-open aperture
2) The meter will not work in Manual exposure mode
3)Tv mode may give incorrect exposure since the lens does not stop down
4) Program modes cannot be used.

Extra flash functions: Contrast control.

Read all the details about lens compatibility here!

Year introduced
KAF with limitations
(see comment above)
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
0 - 18 EV
Power zoom
0.77x, 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 90.5 x 62.5 mm
345 g
Price History:

Add Review of Pentax MZ-50 / ZX-50
Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-11 of 11
New Member

Registered: October, 2014
Posts: 1
Review Date: October 25, 2014 I can recommend the Pentax MZ-50 / ZX-50: Yes | Price: $10.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Light, comfortable, cheap
Cons: not DOF preview, KAF with limits

I love this camera, but the CR2 battery is expensive. If i find a grip i'll be very happy
Compatible with 18-55mm AL II (~24-55mm)
New Member

Registered: November, 2013
Posts: 6
Review Date: March 16, 2014 I can recommend the Pentax MZ-50 / ZX-50: Yes | Price: $20.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: very easy to use and best photos
Cons: no + - regulation for eyes,plastic construction,spring of flash!

I've bought 5 items of this Pentax for my pupils because of its easy handling.

In viewfinder and outside indication of time and aperture.

It is much more cheaper than super A - but has much more features

TTL metering without and with flash: excellent

best results with good Pentax lenses attention to the spring of the internal flash
Veteran Member

Registered: November, 2011
Location: ON, RH
Posts: 2,170
Review Date: May 3, 2013 I can recommend the Pentax MZ-50 / ZX-50: Yes | Price: $10.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Simple, light and fun to use
Cons: the plastic k-mount ... maybe!?

Just as the MZ-60, this is a very nice little camera and fun to use. Might feel "plastiki", but that makes it very light to carry around. You will barely feel it in your bag and it takes so little space.
New Member

Registered: April, 2012
Location: Prague
Posts: 18

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: May 31, 2012 I can recommend the Pentax MZ-50 / ZX-50: Yes | Price: $10.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Light, design, works well with DA lens, good metering.
Cons: None

I just have my first roll with this camera after bought it via auction. Because my camera has Pop-up Flash error, therefore I think I am lucky to buy it with just that price 10$. Even with a cheap film like Kodak Colorplus 200, I have a great quality of color and sharpness.

I like its design and light. I use my 18-55 DAL lens kit and I love the wide picture of 18mm. It has vignetting strongly from 18mm to 24mm but I understand it and I have no complain with it.

Veteran Member

Registered: July, 2007
Location: North West UK
Posts: 382

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: August 25, 2011 I can recommend the Pentax MZ-50 / ZX-50: No | Price: $100.00 | Rating: 5 

Pros: It can use the DA lenses!
Cons: plastic bayonet

I have had this camera for 11 years as a backup to my MZ-5n camera.

It has a plastic bayonet. Typical cost cutting by Pentax at the time! But as long as you don't put anything bigger than a 200mm F4 on it, you should be fine.

Now the good bits and bad bits.

None A-ring lenses don't work too well.


DA lenses DO work great, just remember the vignetting - something like the DA* 50-135mm F2.8 works beautifully

Sum up

buy a cheap one, and you can use your digital lenses on film (to an extent)

Edit - Oct 2018
Not long after I wrote the review, the curse of the MZ series happened! Yep, the cog broke!
To be honest, it really is a throwaway sort of camera. I bought mine before digital really took hold, and only as a second to the MZ-5n.
Having a plastic bayonet is not ideal, and I won't miss it. Instead I got an MZ-7 which is so much better. (oh and a couple more film bodies - Z-1 and SFXn which are better still)

Only get one if it costs a tenner and is immaculate, but be warned that cog WILL go at some point.
Forum Member

Registered: April, 2009
Location: Treviso (Italy)
Posts: 87
Review Date: August 2, 2011 I can recommend the Pentax MZ-50 / ZX-50: Yes | Price: $50.00 | Rating: 6 

Pros: light weight and simply control use and ergonomicity
Cons: not DOF preview, not AE lock, KAF mount with limitation

Excellent choice to begin with film.
It's light-weight camera and has a good control position.
Unfortunately it isn't compatible with all k-mount lens.
Senior Member

Registered: October, 2010
Location: france
Posts: 163
Review Date: February 17, 2011 I can recommend the Pentax MZ-50 / ZX-50: No | Price: $30.00 | Rating: 5 

Pros: lightweight, manual focus confirm
Cons: poor reliability

Pros lightweight, manual focus confirm
Cons poor reliability
Rating 5
Price (U.S. Dollars) 30
Years Owned 1

I can recommend this camera: No

Value, Features, Performance & Size
poor reliability

Camera Review
E-bay second hand, the mirror locked up after few rolls - this model is susceptible to those kind of failures.

Not worth the time spent - other users are recommending getting MZ-5 instead as it is richer in functions and hopefully more reliable.

see thread related to the issue -
Senior Member

Registered: October, 2010
Location: Adelaide, Australia
Posts: 250
Review Date: December 6, 2010 I can recommend the Pentax MZ-50 / ZX-50: Yes | Price: $300.00 | Rating: 3 

Pros: light, simple, reliable
Cons: lack of advanced features, flash

Pros light, simple, reliable
Cons lack of advanced features, flash
Rating 3
Price (U.S. Dollars) 300
Years Owned 9
I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
Good, compact size. Light.
Great feel in hand
Lacks advanced features
Simple design to use
Shutter button has good feel
Needs grip! (see review)
Struggles with red-eye reduction
No dioptre adjustment in VF

Camera Review
So, i bought this SLR brand new in 2001 with a "kit" Sigma 28-80mm lens. It was pretty much the bottom-of-the-range SLR at the time, so it was pretty good value back then!

It served me well. I retired it in 2004 when a young girl opened the back and stuck her finger through the shutter!!! But I got a LOT of use out of it, in all sorts of circumstances in those years. By that stage I was itching for a digital camera anyway.

I started shooting AGFA film until I discovered Fuji Reala 100. I ended up using Reala and aged Superia 800 as I improved in my skills and knowledge.

One thing about this camera: YOU NEED THE GRIP! Otherwise you're constantly buying those CR2 lithium batteries... Although you can get rechargeable ones now instead. I don't know how well they last though. (Pentax FG Battery Grip - AKA Battery Pack)

The good thing about the grip is that it allows you to use 4 common AA's, so you can buy more almost wherever you are in an emergency. The AA's will last for ages. With the grip the camera still doesn't feel too bulky. Unfortunately the grip does not have vertical controls. Also, it moves the tripod mount to the left (when seen from behind as you hold the camera), meaning it no longer lines up wit the lens.

The camera stood up to my use/abuse quite well. However, at one stage toward the end of its life I got some sand in the back somehow (maybe while changing film). I ended up with horizontal scratch marks on almost all my photos!

This camera is quite basic. It does not allow you to rewind the film mid-roll and leave the leading edge out. I don't think you can get a Date Back for it. As previously mentioned, the grip doesn't have a vertical shutter button. You can't stop the film from advancing, making it impossible to do two exposures on a single frame of film. It has no mirror lock-up function, even on timer mode.

The viewfinder is a bit cramped. I found myself moving my eye around in front of the viewfinder in order to read the information on the right-hand side. Also, it is not 100% view. There is no dioptre adjustment.

The in-built flash isn't very powerful. It also struggles with cancelling red-eye (1 pre-flash is emitted). The red-eye preflash is also emitted quite a long time before the actual exposure, so I often had people turning away before the shot was actually taken.

The camera handled well on a tripod. The mount is in line with the lens.

The camera can take a wired 2-stage shutter release cable (The Pentax Cable Switch F) which includes a bulb-lock switch. Note: This is an electrical (not mechanical) switch.

The AF "beep" can be turned on/off. The AF is a bit slow and hunts a bit when use with long lenses, or in low light. Otherwise it's very accurate.

The strap lugs are VERY sturdy, made of metal and are part of the frame of the body. The strap has a couple of handy pockets to keep the hotshoe cover and VF cover (if you have one! ) in. The strap also has a knob which is used to press the mid-roll film rewind button on the side of the camera.

The camera reads film ISO information automatically, but this can be changed manually as well.

Conclusion: If you're looking for a film camera I would recommend going for a higher-spec one with a few more features. Either that or go for a fully-manual classic. This is why I am only giving this camera a 3. It has nothing to do with how well it takes photos. I have no problems with the photos it took.
Giveaway winner!

Registered: December, 2007
Location: beantown
Posts: 944

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: December 5, 2010 I can recommend the Pentax MZ-50 / ZX-50: Yes | Price: $20.00 | Rating: 6 

Pros: Lite to carry, good features, cheap to buy
Cons: very plasticy

Pros Lite to carry, good features, cheap to buy
Cons very plasticy
Rating 6
Price (U.S. Dollars) 20
Years Owned .3

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
When working this camera can deliver very good images and handles well. Logical layout of the controls make it straightforward for new users to pickup and start shooting.

Camera Review
The era that this had come out was when manufacturers seemed to want their SLRs designs to be more like advanced point-n-shoots. The AF tech for its day was very solid and fast even with the sometimes dim FA 28-80mm. The pentamirror was my only real bummer... I am spoiled with true pentapisms. If you can find one still working or freshly repaired today, it is a good shooter.

However, I picked mine up as a as-is on the bay and it was with a familiar "stuck mirror". This is a common issue that crops up from what I've been hearing as all of the Z/MZ family. It is the all plastic parts inside and the worst is the motor that drives the most important and high stress function. It is the drive motor that moves the mirror and resets the advance as well as helps to fire the shutter. A very tiny motor with a very plastic gear that is pressure fitted to the shaft. When is dries and shrinks with age, it will crack. Then your camera does this anemic action with the mirror. Buried deep in the camera under three layers of flexible circuits and many screws and spring, this is not an easy fix for the casual tinkerer.

If you are combing for this or any of the MZ/ZX family, it is a plus if it had been recently repaired with the upgraded metal geared motor.
Junior Member

Registered: May, 2010
Location: Gold Coast, QLD
Posts: 32
Review Date: October 24, 2010 I can recommend the Pentax MZ-50 / ZX-50: Yes | Price: $1.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Can use lenses with aperture set any position, nicer grip than the ZX-30
Cons: No memory lock or multiple exposures

Pros Can use lenses with aperture set any position, nicer grip than the ZX-30
Cons No memory lock or multiple exposures
Rating 8
Price (U.S. Dollars) 1
Years Owned about 6 months

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
Great value 35mm
Nice build quality
Front lever for adjusting shutter speed
Can uses use lenses with aperture ring set to any position
Nicer hand grip compared to* the ZX-30

Camera Review
The Pentax MZ-50 (ZX-50) is a nice and easy to use SLR with a nice build quality.

It's quite similar to the MZ-30, except the MZ-30 has multiple exposures and memory lock (the MZ-50 doesn't) and the audible signal isn't set via the mode dial-it's set using the flash mode button (near the MF/AF switch) .

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. Also the drive mode is selected via switch under the the mode dial, rather than a button (as on the MZ-30).

It's also got a nice hand grip compared to the ZX-30-the grip has "PENTAX' on it is very comfortable to hold.

Autofocus speeds on the MZ-50 seems to be quite quick.

This Pentax camera works best with Pentax's own flash units obviously but I found the MZ-50 will work nicely with my Sunpak Auto 36FD flash.

One difference compared to ther MZ-30 is that the aperture ring on most lenses don't have to be set to the "A" position-the shutter will release.

This is different from the MZ-30, where the aperture ring on a lens has to be set to the "A" position -otherwise the shutter will not release with it set to any other position on that camera.
Site Supporter

Registered: July, 2008
Location: Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
Posts: 3,948
Review Date: September 1, 2010 I can recommend the Pentax MZ-50 / ZX-50: Yes | Price: $34.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Light weight, good user controls
Cons: No AE lock, DOF preview, crippled mount

Pros Light weight, good user controls
Cons No AE lock, DOF preview, crippled mount
Rating 8
Price (U.S. Dollars) 34
Years Owned 6 months

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
A good value camera with a decent feature set including full manual control.

Camera Review
This is a very inexpensive and approachable film camera in the autofocus class. It lacks the full capability with older Pentax glass, but can handle all F/FA/FA-J lenses admirably.

The body has a nice weight and balance, the VF is a little cramped but perfectly usable. AF is limited but quite quick.

This is a mid-range body that lacks some more advanced features, but has full manual controls, including an MF/AF switch, EV adjustment, Auto features in PICT mode, built-in flash at a decent sync speed, and a self-timer. All in all a pretty good feature set without burdening down the system with too much, keeping the weight down and the price down as well.

The ergonomics are Pentax, so excellent. It's a plastic body, but feels very well-built. The film box is very robust--no light leaks here.

Mine came with a stunning lens set, so the camera was just a throw-in, but I've grown to like it a lot.
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