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Pentax MZ-60 / ZX-60

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8 70,065 Wed February 26, 2020
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $50.00 7.67
Pentax MZ-60 / ZX-60

Pentax MZ-60 / ZX-60
Pentax MZ-60 / ZX-60
Pentax MZ-60 / ZX-60
Pentax MZ-60 / ZX-60
Pentax MZ-60 / ZX-60

The Pentax MZ-60 / ZX-60 is a peculiar camera in the sense that it has some advanced functions like mirror lock-up, exposure bracketing and TTL flash aimed at serious photographers while at the same time it is has some restrictions that makes it less useful for exactly that group of users: It cannot use Pentax-A, M and K lenses - the shutter will only fire with auto focus lenses. And the light meter only works down to EV 4.

The MZ-60/ZX-60 has the following program modes: Normal, Portrait, Landscape, Close-up, Action, and Night-scene, and it supports contrast control flash in connection with an external Pentax flash unit.

Read all the details about lens compatibility here!

Year introduced
KAF with limitations (cannot use A, M and K lenses)
Meter range
4 - 21 EV
Meter pattern
ISO range
6 - 6400
DX ISO range
25 - 5000
Exposure modes
P, Av, Tv, M, B
Exposure compensation
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 1 fps
Built-in flash
Yes, GN 11
TTL flash
P-TTL flash
Sync speed
Flash exposure comp
Autofocus sensitivity
0 - 18 EV
Power zoom
0.77x, 90%
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)
136 x 94.5 x 63 mm
335 g
Price History:

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New Member

Registered: April, 2017
Posts: 1

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: February 26, 2020 I can recommend the Pentax MZ-60 / ZX-60: Yes | Price: $10.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Light weight, able to use my A, F & FA lenses
Cons: Cannot use K & M series manual focus lenses

This is not a full revie: just a note about A series manual focus lenses.

The following quote is from the MZ-60 manual:

"The camera does not operate when a lens with the following
conditions attached.
1. When a lens that does not have the A position on the
aperture ring is attached.
2. When an F, FA or A lens is attached with the aperture ring
set other than the A position.
3. When any accessory mentioned on page 74 is used
between the camera and an F, FA or A lens."

My reading of #2: If an A, F, or FA lens is attached it must be set to the A setting on the Aperture ring for it to work. The MZ-60/ZX-60 body does all the work. If you don't set the aperture ring to the A setting none of the A, F, or FA series lenses will work. K and M series lenses will not work at all because they do not have an A setting on their aperture rings. The specs above for this camera and the attached lens compatibility chart are incorrect if I am reading them right.

I haven't finished my first roll of film but the camera seems to perform well, but the controls are set up differently from other MZ/ZX cameras. Takes a little getting used to.
Veteran Member

Registered: June, 2013
Location: Nevada, USA
Posts: 3,348
Review Date: November 21, 2014 I can recommend the Pentax MZ-60 / ZX-60: Yes | Price: $30.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Av mode, very compact, very light, simple interface.
Cons: Lacking viewfinder info, no DoF preview, lacking exposure compensation

I bought my ZX-60 as part of a kit that contained 4 rolls of 24 exp. Fujifilm 200, a Lowepro Microtek backpack, and a FA 28-80mm lens. The camera body was in like-new condition. It was used once for a photography class. I'm guessing it may have had only a small handful of rolls run through it. It's hard to separate the value of the camera apart from this kit. The kit cost me $30 so that is what I put in the cost field.

My reason for buying this camera was to use DA series lenses and be able to control the aperture setting. DA lenses do not have an aperture control ring so they must rely on the camera body to set the aperture. The ZX-60 has an Av mode and that's a huge plus for me! I have shot with my DA 35mm f/2.4 and DA 40mm XS f/2.8. Both lenses project a FF image and the results were very good.

Loading film and operating the camera through its user interface is very simple. The simplicity is a blessing and a curse. On the one hand there is very little to trip you up, especially if you use Av or Tv shooting modes. However, I wish the interface was intricate enough to allow for exposure compensation. If it's there then I missed it completely. I just simply adjust the ISO up or down and that produces the same effect. Auto-focus is generally reliable but I find that it hunts when the sun starts going down and the shadows get longer. In broad daylight the auto-focus is quick and snappy.

The camera is very lightweight due to the use of plastics. It feels fragile but it's actually a pretty sturdy little camera. I wouldn't take it to a harsh environment or bash it around but traveling with it does not alarm me.

My only real complaint about the camera is viewfinder. It's small, dim, and there isn't a lot of useful information displayed in it. I really wish I could see the shutter speed and aperture settings. To get around this I press the AE Lock button to freeze the shutter speed and pull the camera away from my eye to view the information on the top LCD. That's kind of goofy. This only bothers me when I know I am working in low light conditions or if I'm trying to freeze some action.

Overall, I think this is a good camera that could have been a great camera with a slight expansion of features. If you are looking for a film camera with Av mode then don't shy away from this model if its the right price or in pristine condition.
Veteran Member

Registered: November, 2011
Location: ON, RH
Posts: 2,179
Review Date: May 3, 2013 I can recommend the Pentax MZ-60 / ZX-60: Yes | Price: $5.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Simple, light and fun to use
Cons: none

A very nice little camera. I enjoy using it and it does use manual lenses without problems. A very inexpensive way to tap into film photography from time to time and just enjoy clicking away .
Can be a nice back-up or a black and white film dedicated camera.
Site Supporter

Registered: April, 2011
Location: Hobart, Australia
Posts: 9
Review Date: February 13, 2012 I can recommend the Pentax MZ-60 / ZX-60: Yes | Price: $180.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Light, comfortable to hold and mirror lock-up.
Cons: Does not work with A or M lenses.

Bought new 5 years ago (old stock in camera shop). Has been totally reliable. Very light and comfortable to hold with DA 40mm F2.8! Have not been happy with the viewfinder from new, although it looks the type same as on my MZ-M which I think is very good. I bought a second MZ-60 on eBay recently and the viewfinder is also poor (but in perfect condition). I then removed the eyepiece from a parts MZ-50 (again looks the same) and installed in the MZ-60. Perfect! I now have a MZ-60 with a really nice viewfinder and it will get used again! I would recommend this modification to the MZ-60 body as it is overall a really nice camera to use.
Veteran Member

Registered: August, 2010
Location: Winnipeg MB
Posts: 350
Review Date: December 11, 2011 I can recommend the Pentax MZ-60 / ZX-60: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: No more plastic gear on mirror motor
Cons: Use only AF lenses

This is the last and very different camera from the previous ones in the MZ series. Being made in the year of 2002 when the Company changed its name to Pentax Corporation, the notorious mirror motor with plastic gear is no longer used in this entry level camera. Therefore, the owner of this camera should have a peace of mind not to worry about "permanent" mirror lock-up. Instead, this is the only camera in this series to have the 2-second mirror lock-up (exclude MZ-S of course). Gone is also the little mid-roll re-wind button at the side of the camera. To do mid-roll re-wind, press the drive button until film status symbol appears on LCD and press shutter release button. Like digital cameras, the date/time is built in the body (not on the back cover) and it needs the two CR2 batteries to run it. The following lenses will work on this camera: F, FA, FAJ, DFA, and some DA such as 18-55, 55-300, 35/2.4, and DA40. I think this is the best camera among the double digits series.
Site Supporter

Registered: August, 2009
Location: Elko, Nevada
Posts: 1,302

2 users found this helpful
Review Date: May 8, 2010 I can recommend the Pentax MZ-60 / ZX-60: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: N/A 

Pros: Light, Mirror Lockup, Fast Focus
Cons: Plastic Lens Mount, No DOF Preview, mirror motor failures

Pros Light, Mirror Lockup, Fast Focus
Cons Plastic Lens Mount, No DOF Preview, mirror motor failures
Rating 8
Price 99.00
Years Owned 1

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
Strengths -
Uses the wonderful Pentax autofocus prime lenses
Very light
Mirror Lock Up
Exposure memory lock
Fast Autofocus
Manual Meter settings

Weaknesses -
You cannot use any of the great manual focus lenses that Pentax has made over the years.
No depth of field preview
Built of Plastic (which is why it is so light)
Slow shutter speeds
Slow frame advance speed
Plastic lens mount
Mirror motor is prone to failure (plastic gear)

Camera Review
Even though I agree that this is a plastic camera, that isn't necessarily all bad. Having used this camera quite a bit over the past 4 months I feel I need to present an alternative view. But, before I go any further, I need to be perfectly clear. My review here is based on some very, very specific uses for this camera. It is pretty obvious that this little camera is certainly not for everyone, and would probably even offend some purists. But, within its niche, this is quite a decent little camera. In my opinion this camera has three distinct niches. As a backup camera, as a hiking camera and as a starter camera for someone who is looking for an inexpensive starter kit. With that in mind, lets get started with an alternative viewpoint.

Although it is certainly nowhere near the highest quality camera that Pentax ever produced this Pentax ZX-60 may be one of the finest backup 35mm cameras ever built. A back up camera is a camera you carry with you in case your primary camera breaks down. It needs to be able to use the same lenses, and take the same types of photographs as your primary camera. But it also needs to be light enough that it is very unobtrusive. For me this ZX-60 fulfills those needs perfectly. That is the main reason I own this camera. It is the camera I carry to backup my MZ-S. That may sound hard to believe but this little camera performs that duty perfectly.

But it is actually more then just a backup. It stands on its own in certain situations. When you are headed for the back country for several days, with everything you will need on your back, every ounce counts. If you pair this camera up with a light tripod, you may just have the finest hiking camera that Pentax has made. Sporting the Pentax F 50mm lens, loaded with film and batteries, and with the Pentax strap, this camera weighs 23 ounces, slightly less then one and a half pounds. This camera is light. The digital Olympus E410 is touted as a great hiking camera and it weighs 3 1/2 ounces more than this camera setup before you add a battery or a lens. Two weeks ago I took an early spring trip into the back country carrying this camera, a light duty Slik U9000 tripod and the F 50mm and FA 77mm lens. The camera worked perfectly and, although the film hasn't been developed yet, I sincerely doubt that you will be able to tell that the pictures were taken on a plastic, inexpensive Pentax.

For someone who really wants to be able to take the quality photographs, with the shutter response times that only a single lens reflex camera can provide, but can hardly afford the cheapest digital point and shoot, this camera provides an excellent alternative. The ZX-60 is currently available on the used market for about $40, and a decent 28-105mm Pentax autofocus zoom can be had for less then $60, so an entire package can be had for less then $100.00, even with shipping. Lest anyone take offense remember, a picture taken through that Pentax 28-105mm lens will look just as good whether it was taken on this camera or on the newest Pentax K7, maybe even better. And by spending a few more dollars on a little Pentax F 50mm f/1.7 autofocus prime, will provide a beginner with an excellent starter kit for very, very little cash.

Now when you begin to compare specs, on paper this little camera hardly seems worth considering. But this is one of only two autofocus 35mm cameras built by Pentax equipped with mirror lock up. The other is the flagship Pentax MZ-S, which can go for well over $600 (or more) even in today's digital world. If you like to take landscape pictures with your 35mm, you want and need mirror lock up. Obviously, there are several, very nice, Pentax manual camera choices which feature mirror lockup. But if you have trouble using manual focus lenses and want to stay with autofocus cameras, this is your only choice as a back up to the MZ-S, besides another MZ-S. Actually, if the MZ-S is out of your price range, it will be your only choice. Obviously the MZ-S comes with far more bells and whistles, some of them that are very, very handy, but this camera has the necessary features to take some very high quality pictures in its own right. If you do your part you certainly won't be disappointed by the results.

For me the autofocus on this little camera has been a wonderful surprise. It is amazingly fast. In fact, although I haven't timed it, I think it may even be faster than any of the other Pentax 35mm cameras I've used, even the MZ-S, and certainly faster then the digitals I've used. I shoot Nikon cameras as well, and they certainly have very fast and accurate autofocus. This is the only Pentax I've ever used where I felt like the autofocus could keep up with my F100. Of course, very low light causes problems as it seems to do with most Pentax cameras I've owned.

Although there are several exposure options available, you are not stuck with the pre-programmed settings with this camera. Aperture priority, shutter priority and manual metered settings are all available and reasonably easy to use as well. The controls are very simple and most everything is done through menus. You can even "push" or "pull" your film by changing the ISO settings if you want. Finally, although you cannot use manual focus lenses (see below) you can manually focus your autofocus lenses if you need.

The ZX-60 has exposure memory lock and auto bracketing as well. As you can see, it is quite a well featured little camera. But, as with everything, there are compromises and there are several that we should discuss.

First, this camera is built entirely of polycarbonate plastic, even the lens mount. Back when this camera was built that was most definitely a demerit, and in the minds of many it still is today, but I actually have a problem with this attitude. I love the well designed metal cameras from the past as much as anyone but we use plastic in almost everything we use today, with excellent results. Even though the use of plastics may not be as "aesthetically pleasing" as the construction of the older Pentax cameras, it is still very practical. Even the lens mount on the ZX-60 is plastic, and from what I read in online reviews and on almost all the forums, this is the ultimate sin. But again, I'm not sure that anyone has any real evidence that plastic lens mounts are any better or worse then metal ones. Maybe in 50 or more years this may prove to be a problem, but that is not even certain. It may turn out to be better if only because they do not corrode or dent. I do know that under normal use I doubt anyone would even notice if they weren't told. Having used this camera for the past month I can't say that I notice any difference. When I mount or dismount a lens it sounds and feels the same on this camera as it does with one using a metal mount.

The next compromise is certainly a bigger issue in my mind then the plastic construction. This camera has what is know as a "crippled lens mount". It can only use Pentax autofocus lenses. If you try to install the SMC Pentax 50mm f/1.4, the SMC Pentax M 50mm f/1.4, or even the SMC Pentax A 50mm f/1.4, or any of the hundreds of other Pentax K, M or A lenses, this camera won't even turn on. So there are lots and lots of great Pentax and 3rd party lenses that can never be used on this camera. For me, since my eyes are not good enough for me to do a good job with manual focus lenses, this was not really a big issue. Besides, there are some really great autofocus Pentax lenses. But for others this may be a deal breaker.

Another compromise is that there is no depth of field preview on this camera. For me this is a bigger problem then not being able to use autofocus lenses, but I have found that I can do without it. Where I have the biggest problem is when I'm shooting a macro lens. But I still seem to get the pictures I want, and when I don't it wasn't the lack of depth of field preview that caused the problem.

Now for the next issue. If you need blazing speed, go somewhere else. The ZX-60 will not satisfy a sports fanatic. It does lock focus really quick, but the speed ends there. The frame advance speed is a measly 1 frame per second. My K200D does better then that. And the shutter speeds stop at 1/2000s. In other words, don't load ISO 1600 film, go outside in bright sunlight, and expect to shoot wide open af f/2 or more, it just ain't gonna happen! But, I used my ZX-50 for years and didn't notice any problems, and the shutter speeds on that camera are identical.

Another compromise which could cause problems is the flash. This camera does have built in flash, although the strength is not all it could be. It is also capable of making use of some pretty powerful Pentax flash units. Although P-TTL is not available, TTL is with the right dedicated flash unit. This is all very nice but the compromise rears its head with the flash synch shutter speed. The fastest shutter speed that the ZX-60 can synch at is 1/100s. This doesn't really become a problem until you need to use fill flash in the daylight. Then this slow synch speed can cause all kinds of difficulty. Needless to say, if you use fill flash a lot, this may not be the right camera for you.

The final compromise is something you can't see or feel and may be the biggest problem of all. In Pentax's attempt to cut costs, the plastic construction continued inside the camera, and it isn't as benign as the plastic outside. All of these MZ and ZX models (except for the MZ-S) are plagued with plastic gears on the mirror motor. These gears are subject to stripping or breaking, and the ZX-60 is no different. When this happens the mirror locks in the up position and won't drop back down. It doesn't happen to every one of these cameras, but it is certainly a risk. In my reading it seems to be more prevalent with those cameras that have been allowed to sit for years, then picked up and used again. I have a ZX-50 that I have owned and used since 1999, that is sitting in the closet in need of this repair. There are replacement shutter motors available with metal gears, but the repair usually costs more then the cameras are worth. If you are very handy it may be worth it to try the repair yourself. This is a chance you take with any of these cameras. But I used my ZX-50 for ten years before the mirror locked.

In conclusion, for the money, and for very specific purposes, this is a very nice little camera. Is it a nicer camera then similar Nikons or Canons? I don't really know. Owning an inexpensive Nikon and an inexpensive Canon, this camera is at least their equal in my opinion. Since neither of the Nikons I own, or the Canon, have mirror lock up, then this camera has a leg up in my opinion. Is it a better deal then the other Pentax autofocus cameras? That is an even tougher question. But again, since most of them do not have mirror lockup, this camera is more useful to me. So, in my opinion, for these very specific purposes, the Pentax MZ-60 is a great deal. It is most certainly less expensive then most of the other cameras on the used market. If you need a backup autofocus Pentax camera, that has mirror lock up, this is about your only option, unless you are willing to spring the big bucks for a second MZ-S. Regardless of whether you like digital or film, I really believe that you will be hard pressed to find a better value than this little 35mm single lens reflex camera.
Veteran Member

Registered: November, 2009
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 479
Review Date: May 2, 2010 I can recommend the Pentax MZ-60 / ZX-60: Yes | Price: $25.00 | Rating: 6 

Pros: Can use all DA lenses with correct metering, Has a nice ergonomic feel, A great camera for someone familiar with DSLR's wanting to dabble in film
Cons: Very plasticky, Not the best viewfinder, Noisy shutter / film winding, Shutter won't fire unless focus is confirmed by the camera

I used this camera for a black and white film photography course in College and put it through it's paces.

The first thing that stands out to me is just how plasticky this thing is. I felt a little uneasy at first putting lenses with metal mounts in the plastic camera mount. I later found it to be a non-issue but I could never feel too comfortable with it due to it's poor construction.

The menu system isn't too bad once you familiarize yourself with it; What sucks is how cheap the command wheel feels. It creaks when you push it!

The viewfinder is big, but otherwise dim. With the battery-grip and four double-A's there's a nice heft to the camera and it feels good, despite it's plasticky-ness.

I found that sometimes I'd miss the moment I want to capture because the shutter won't fire until the camera confirms focus. This has happened to me a few times when switched to manual focus mode. It was frustrating.

  • Can use all DA lenses with correct metering
  • Has a nice ergonomic feel
  • A great camera for someone familiar with DSLR's wanting to dabble in film

  • Very plasticky
  • Not the best viewfinder
  • Noisy shutter / film winding
  • Shutter won't fire unless focus is confirmed by the camera

Overall I'd give the camera a 6/10. I'm not sure what it was with the 90's that made everything cheap and disposable but if this camera had a solidly built body it'd be a very slick rig. Unfortunately that's not the case and everything else suffers because of it.
Forum Member

Registered: September, 2006
Location: Queen creek, az
Posts: 81
Review Date: May 29, 2009 I can recommend the Pentax MZ-60 / ZX-60: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: N/A 


Very plastic and slow operation and does not fire the shutter unless an auto focus lens is attached. Still better than nothing and the camera did not have much to do with IQ in the film days.
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