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Pentax MZ-7 / ZX-7

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11 72,464 Wed November 8, 2017
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
91% of reviewers $98.11 7.33
Pentax MZ-7 / ZX-7

Pentax MZ-7 / ZX-7
Pentax MZ-7 / ZX-7
Pentax MZ-7 / ZX-7

The Pentax ZX-7 was also marketed as MZ-7. These two models are technically identical.

For a number of years Pentax produced two styles of SLR's, one with traditional controls and one where the exposure mode is set on a dial like on today's DSLRs. The MZ-7 / ZX-7 represents the latter style. But even then you can still set the aperture on the aperture ring in which case Av and M exposure modes are possible. Lenses without an aperture ring and lenses where the aperture ring is set to the "A" setting can be used in all exposure modes. Metering is done with the lens fully open in any event since the lens mount is a fully functional KAF mount. In other words, this camera can be used with all Pentax K-mount lenses. The only restriction is that power zoom is not supported by this mount; power zoom lenses will have to be zoomed manually. DA lenses may create dark corners since these lenses are designed for the smaller APS-C format.

The Pentax MZ-7 / ZX-7 has the traditional exposure modes Av, Tv, and M in addition to a number of program modes: Green, Portrait, Landscape, Close-up, Action and Night scene. The camera also has the auto-pict mode where it automatically selects the program modes that fits the scene the best.

Extra flash functions with external flash: Contrast control.

The MZ-7 /ZX-7 was later replaced with the MZ-6 /MZ-L / ZX-L which has a few more features.

Read all the details about lens compatibility here!

Year introduced
Meter range
0 - 21 EV
Meter pattern
m c
ISO range
6 - 6400
DX ISO range
25 - 5000
Exposure modes
Auto-pict, 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
0.7x, 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)
135.5 x 92 x 63.5 mm
380 g
Price History:

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Junior Member

Registered: October, 2010
Location: Virginia
Posts: 34

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: November 8, 2017 I can recommend the Pentax MZ-7 / ZX-7: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Light, compact, easy to use
Cons: Anxiety about the fragile gear

I owned this camera for three years (I was not the original owner) and shot 21 rolls of film on it. It was always a pleasure to shoot with, the dials set up very similar to those on digital cameras, and it accommodated any of the wonderful array of Pentax-mount lens. Having read the reviews, I fully expected it to break at some point, probably midway through a roll of film; this never happened, but when I decided to thin my collection of film cameras I felt that I had pushed my luck and so sold it. Maybe it is still working. I hope so. At any rate, I wish I had kept it. Here's a picture taken with it, using a Super Takumar 55/1.8 lens, shot at f2.8 - 1/90.
Site Supporter

Registered: September, 2015
Location: Ottawa
Posts: 1,506
Review Date: March 7, 2017 I can recommend the Pentax MZ-7 / ZX-7: Yes | Price: $434.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Easy to use, yet have full control if you want it

This is the first (and the only so far) camera that I bought new. I got it back in 2001 and used it as my only camera up until approximately 2010 or 2011 when I switched to digital. I dusted it off about a year ago, put some new batteries and new film, and put it back into action. I like it. I must admit I have never used any other Pentax film cameras, but it is definitely better than the Zenit cameras I have used. I read that there are problems with durability, but I haven't had any problems so far, and hope it stays this way My rating of 8 takes into account the fact that I have no other Pentax camera to use as comparison.

It was my first serious camera, so I think it's a great place to start. It allows you full manual mode if that's what you want, but it also gives you aperture and shutter speed priority modes, allowing you to be more creative. I have been using this camera with legacy manual lenses, including FSU lenses, and I have been very happy. Overall, a good camera that can be used on an interval from a point and shoot to a full manual mode. Can't complain!

Registered: October, 2012
Location: Colorado
Posts: 1,385
Review Date: October 13, 2016 I can recommend the Pentax MZ-7 / ZX-7: No | Price: $4.25 | Rating: 1 

Pros: Literally none
Cons: Literally everything, especially build quality and reliability

I've had three of these and they are literally the most unreliable and most poorly made camera I've used. Of the three, two of them broken on the first shot. With the third, it worked great but the mirror control gears are so easily stripped that when it was bumped during shipping the mirror gear's teeth were broken off by another gear and the camera was rendered useless. Seriously, avoid these bodies and the rest of the MZ-number series.
Senior Member

Registered: January, 2014
Posts: 270

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: November 6, 2014 I can recommend the Pentax MZ-7 / ZX-7: Yes | Price: $60.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Perfect intro for pentax digital shooters who want to try film, light and small
Cons: Durability

Works perfectly with DA 50mm and DA 35mm (manual, shutter, aperture and full auto supported), the perfect camera for shooters who are already invested in these lenses and want to try film and the full frame field of view. This camera is super light, perfect for hobbyist who want to carry a camera everyday and just shoot a couple of shots once in a while. camera is a pleasure to use for daylight casual shooting.

Biggest concern for me is the durability, the plastic gear in the mirror motor is the achilles heel of this camera. Mine broke after 5 rolls of film. As i said, this is the perfect camera for people who want to try film, sooner or later, it will break, and you have to decide whether the film experience was worth it, and then you have to upgrade to a more expensive and sturdier body.
Veteran Member

Registered: October, 2008
Location: Greensboro,NC
Posts: 503
Review Date: September 14, 2014 I can recommend the Pentax MZ-7 / ZX-7: Yes | Price: $28.49 | Rating: 8 

Pros: small, light, has many functions
Cons: no control over AF point or confirmation of what point is being used

I got this camera for pretty cheap on the ebay as the first AF pentax film body I have ever owned. I figured for the price this would be a good way to test out if I like the MZ/ZX series body. I like the size and weight, its smallish and light and makes it easy to carry around for long periods of time, however larger lenses quickly make it feel off balance. The grip FG helps with this and makes it overall easier to hold if you have bigger hands. As far as the MZ/ZX-7 goes, its an okay camera. I like how it functions except for the fact that you have no control over the AF point at all and you have no idea which of the 3 points it is using. For as cheap as this camera was I can't complain much but I found that the ZX-L with its option to use the center focus point only is much better. For a starter camera this thing would be amazing as it has auto functions for those just starting out and manual for the advanced users. This is a camera that can grow with you.

I ended up selling mine after getting a ZX-L (and much later on a MZ-S) just for the added AF control. It's a great camera otherwise.
Veteran Member

Registered: May, 2009
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 631
Review Date: April 3, 2012 I can recommend the Pentax MZ-7 / ZX-7: Yes | Price: $40.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Size, Weight, Viewfinder, Aperture Control in body
Cons: Rocker switch around shutter button slower than wheel, No DOF preview, No Program mode

I love this camera's size and weight. Throw a 28-80 or 50 1.7 on it and you have a very lightweight, comfortable camera. The grip is a good size, and the top LCD is very legible. The pop-up flash works as expected, and my AF-540FGZ also works well.

I own a DFA 100mm Macro, which doesn't have an Aperture ring. At first I wanted to save up for an MZ-S (and I may still), but in the interim I am happy I bought this camera. It has an aperture control button on the side of the body, right above the AF/MF switch.

I never use the date stamp feature.

I only wish this camera offered DOF preview, and they used a conventional wheel instead of the rocker switch. The rocker switch is probably easier to use, since you don't have to constantly roll it with your finger or thumb, but I find it takes longer to make the desired change. There's also no Program mode, though I can live without that option.

The MZ-S may be in my future, but in the meantime I am enjoying this camera a lot.
Site Supporter

Registered: February, 2009
Location: Indianapolis
Posts: 273
Review Date: August 11, 2010 I can recommend the Pentax MZ-7 / ZX-7: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 7 

Pros: Very lightweight, great IR shutter releasae system
Cons: Uses mirror not Pentaprism, no focus preview

Pros Very lightweight, great IR shutter releasae system
Cons Uses mirror not Pentaprism, no focus preview
Rating 7
Price (U.S. Dollars) don't recall
Years Owned 9

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
Small light-weight. IR release system works wonderfully. Uses different modes, but since the modes (done in character style make the camera feel a little amateurish. The camera is spot on even with slide film. A great little camera

Camera Review
I got this to be an underwater camera (in a housing) , it was also my first autofocus camera. I found this to be my perfect camera for a long while. It is very light. What I found is that I could bring a light weight monopod with spikes in the legs set it up use the IR release and could get razor sharp night shots with the setup.

I wasn't crazy about the mirrors rather than the pentaprism as so manually focusesing a lens isn't as easy as the older manual Pentax bodies. Still I was quite happy with the purchase.
Veteran Member

Registered: December, 2007
Location: In the most populated state... state of denial
Posts: 1,102
Review Date: October 6, 2009 I can recommend the Pentax MZ-7 / ZX-7: Yes | Price: $70.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Lightweight, metal mount, support for old lenses
Cons: AF is sometimes weird

I like this camera, have had it for over 3 year and it was my 1st autofocus camera.
Exposure is generally spot-on and the modes are good, viewfinder is fine with me, the LED-/+ indication of exposure is very good
AF is generally good, however I switch it off in low light or when taking pictures in "crowded" places

It can use the ring-less modern lenses (kit lenses from digicams) as well as the old mechanical K and M lenses which is really a big plus for me.

The battery pack helps in having AA batteries but makes the camera bulkier and heavier for walking/trekking. Now, if you like big cameras that would be good for you

Panorama mode is quite useful, specially with Wide Angles that may vignette and also gives a fresh perspective

Highly recommended camera, if you can get one or 2 and also a replacement film-advance gear just in case
Veteran Member

Registered: July, 2008
Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia
Posts: 2,925
Review Date: June 6, 2009 I can recommend the Pentax MZ-7 / ZX-7: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: N/A 


I want to say that while many people say panorama mode is a gimmick, I find it a wonderful way to refresh your composition. I've made several photos that simply wouldn't work without using the panorama mode. Works much better with a 35mm or wider than a fifty, though I wish future digital bodies would be able to crop its viewfinders (to 1:1, panorama, vertical crop, etc) like these panorama cameras. It's no gimmick!

The only thing I find annoying with it is the focus point, which you can't set to centerpoint but will always be on the large box on automatic selection. Maybe the rather dim viewfinder as well but imo that's a minor thing.

Great camera and highly recommended
Loyal Site Supporter

Registered: January, 2008
Location: Henry, TN
Posts: 2,970
Review Date: June 4, 2009 I can recommend the Pentax MZ-7 / ZX-7: Yes | Price: $50.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: an exceptionally DSLR-like (AE + AF) film tutor

I acquired a ZX-7 as the cheapest way I could learn about the "modern" Pentax models. I was contemplating the move to the then new *istDS in 2004 but I hadn't ever even touched an auto-focus body or one with fancy AE modes. Shortly after finding a used copy of the Magic Lantern Guide I saw one of these on eBay with a Tamron 28-80 for $45!! OK, life's tryin' to tell me sumthun!

That was a significant upgrade from a Spotmatic-mindset but it was a great school lab for the *istDS and made that transition easy. I don't think the film *ist could have taught me any more and it would have cost quite a bit more then. This body came to me late in life and was too soon replaced with the digital bodies to have earned the respect I believe it deserved and would have eventually acquired. I carried an MG as a travel companion for years but this might have been a suitable replacement.

The most important thing I learned from it was that I could totally ignore those confusing Scene modes and treat it like the Spotmatics and P3n's I'd been using in manual or AV mode. AND that there just might be an advantage in auto-focus for aging eyes and the compromised view finders that came with the auto-focus bodies.

What I thought I wanted at the time was an MZ-M but ultimately this better taught me what I needed to learn to move into the AE/AF digital bodies with some degree of confidence. I promised myself I'd run a roll of film through it once a year -- another broken New Year's promise. Some day soon though. Really! I just picked it up and dry snapped it. It'll happen. Hey, maybe I'll try it with a DA 16-45 -- might be fun.

A 2015 update:

With a decade's experience with DSLRs I better appreciate the value of such as the ZX-series bodies as tutorials when moving to the digital era. Short of the relatively rare *ist film body the ZX's work very well.

Looking in the rear-view mirror now I can see that it works in reverse as well. I've helped new digital-age photographers step back to try film by introducing them to the familiarity of the ZX body. Not the best way to learn photography from scratch perhaps, but certainly an easy way to discover film without starting from scratch.

Besides, not only is it a culmination of the SLR experience it's a nice way to showcase older lenses from that era too.
Site Supporter

Registered: August, 2007
Location: Toronto
Posts: 744
Review Date: May 28, 2009 I can recommend the Pentax MZ-7 / ZX-7: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: N/A 


I wanted to share my first impressions of the Pentax MZ-7 / ZX-7.

I have been considering a modern Pentax SLR for a while. What I would love is the MZ-S. But I'm not a pro earning any money from photography, and can't justify the high cost of that lovely camera. The MZ-7 is available now for peanuts, and delivers most of the functionality I want in a modern AF camera. Having had a chance to play with it, I can say that the MZ-7 is like the film equivalent of my *ist DL digital SLR.

When considering the MZ-7, there wasn't a lot of information about it. I think most MZ-7s were purchased and forgotten by their owners as the tide of digital cameras washed in. As a result there are a lot of like-new MZ-7s out there waiting to be put into service.

Here are the salient features which I like:
Quality of construction - feels better/more substantial than the bottom of the line MZ-M
Full manual control, including on-body control of FAJ lenses
Availability of a few auto-modes, easily available from a single dial
Exposure lock
Exposure compensation
TTL flash control
Readily available/inexpensive batteries
Low-light focus assist (strobing the flash)

The MZ-7 matches the style of the rest of the MZ line, and is a plastic-fantastic camera. The build quality seems improved however. Compared to the MZ-M, the plastic looks and feels better. The grip is also looks and feels better with a full molded rubber grip for the right hand. The fit of the parts seems tighter, and loading film in the camera inspires confidence. The film takeup assembly and pressure plate are well built, and the rear door seems to have less flex than in the MZ-M.

One of the primary reasons to want the MZ-7 is to take advantage of the Pentax 18-35 FAJ. To achieve the same field of view with the APS-C sized *ist DL, I would need a 12mm lens. Far cheaper to put the FAJ onto a fullframe film body, than to buy an expensive exotic superwide lens! The MZ-7 offers on-body control of aperture, which means the FAJ lenses are a great option with no compromises.

My first modern SLR was a Nikon F80. While I abandoned the Nikon for a number of reasons (scratching film, expensive lenses, and an interface that I found counterintuitive) there were some things I loved about that camera. One of them was slow-speed sync for night shooting. Veteran shooters would call it dragging the shutter. While it is easy to manually drag a shutter, having a "night portrait" mode makes it a no-brainer. I often use my cameras in social settings, and having some flexible automatic modes like "night portrait" can make for hassle-free shooting. The Nikon also offered low-light AF assist, with a seperate light. The MZ-7 strobes the flash to provide focus assist. Both work well in close quarters, and I'm glad to have the feature.

You can easily spend as much on flashes as on your camera. The MZ-7 offers TTL flash, which means that much cheaper flash options are available. I like true TTL flash. Not only is P-TTL expensive, but it's also not my favourite technology. I have actually considered adding an *ist D or DS to be able to use TTL flash with my DSLR.

Power sources for the MZ-7 are either two CR-2 lithium batteries (conveniently available at the Dollar Store for a dollar) or the ubiquitous Pentax FG battery grip loaded with AA batteries. Compared to other camera makes/models, the FG battery grip is the world's biggest bargain. They are regularly available used for under $20. The battery grip gives long-lasting power, provides a nice balance to heavier lenses, and gives the MZ-7 a bit more serious look. Powering from the CR-2 batteries is conveniently light weight and compact. With a lighter lens (like a 28-90 or a prime) the CR-2 batteries make for a very portable and low-profile camera. I like having the option.

General performance of the camera is good.

The viewfinder is bright and informative, featuring the sensible Pentax vertical bar graph showing over/under exposure in half stop increments.

Autofocus is quick and sure. Like other Pentax cameras, AF will usually do a "double check." That's a good thing -- my F80 was less accurate on focus because it didn't double check.

Controls are laid out slightly differently than my *ist DL, but everything important is easily accessible, including exposure lock and exposure compensation buttons.

The motor drive is fast -- I don't shoot anything that needs more than 2 or 3 frames per second.

The bottom line? The MZ-7 is a highly recommended camera, and a great modern 35mm Pentax.

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