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Pentax Z-1p / PZ-1p

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20 89,957 Fri January 20, 2023
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $198.06 9.69
Pentax Z-1p / PZ-1p

Pentax Z-1p / PZ-1p
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Pentax Z-1p / PZ-1p
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Pentax Z-1p / PZ-1p
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Pentax Z-1p / PZ-1p
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Pentax Z-1p / PZ-1p
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Pentax Z-1p / PZ-1p
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Description:
Z-1p/PZ-1p
Year introduced
1994
Mount
KAF2
Meter range
0 - 21 EV
Meter pattern
m c s
ISO range
6 - 6400
DX ISO range
25 - 5000
Exposure modes
HyP, Av, Tv, HyM, X, B
Exposure compensation
+/-4 EV
Exposure memory lock
Yes
Shutter speeds (auto)
30 - 1/8000s
Shutter speeds (manual)
30 - 1/8000s
Shutter speeds (mechanical)
None
Self timer
Yes
Mirror lock-up
No
Auto bracketing
Yes
Multiple exposures
Yes
Winder
Built-in 4 fps
Built-in flash
Yes, GN 14
TTL flash
Yes
P-TTL flash
No
Sync speed
1/250s
Flash exposure comp
Yes
Autofocus
Yes (1 point)
Autofocus sensitivity
-1 - 18 EV
Power zoom
Yes, extended
Viewfinder
0.8x, 92%
Viewfinder type
Pentaprism
Diopter correction
Yes
Exchangeable screen
Yes
Depth of field preview
Yes
Image size
24 x 36 mm
Panorama format
Yes, 13 x 36 mm
Battery
2CR5
Battery grip/pack
No
Size (W x H x D)
152 x 95.5 x 74 mm
Weight
650 g
Comment
Program modes: Normal, Action, Depth of field, MTF.
Extra flash function: Contrast control
Price History:



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New Member

Registered: February, 2022
Posts: 12
Review Date: January 20, 2023 Recommended | Price: $35.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Loads of features (probably too many!), robust, good ergonomics, good built-in flash
Cons: Absurdly esoteric to operate, shiny plastic exterior, flash prone to breaking, weird battery

Probably Pentax's best autofocus film SLR, but I don't think it's controversial to say that Pentax's AF 35mm cameras never reached the heights of their manual cameras - I'd hazard a guess that Pentax's prestige as a brand really declined in this period. The only competition for the PZ-1p is the MZ-S, which I don't know why anyone would buy given the extortionate cost (due to rarity) and the infamous plastic-cog time bomb. If you're invested in the Pentax system and want an AF SLR, then, the P-Z1p is likely the best choice.


And it *is* a good camera - it feels good in the hand, is robust and well weighted, and AF and the in-built flash are surprisingly good (with a couple of caveats: AF is a single centre point only and the flash is fragile and prone to breaking). It has just about every feature under the sun (for its age), meaning it's a very practical professional tool for the advanced photographer willing to learn its quirks. Sadly you *will* have to learn its quirks as the P-Z1p seems like it was designed by a sadistic cryptologist - absolutely nothing about this camera is intuitive or straightforward, meaning the manual is a must-have. There's not even a straightforward "On/Off" button - there's "Off," "On," and "User", which is like "On" but different somehow. Modes on the mode-select wheel include "Mode", "Drive", a picture of three squares, and "PF", none of which I've seen on any other camera. Changing anything typically involved holding one button down while turning one of the two dials, which isn't so bad, but remembering the abbreviations, codes, and poorly marked buttons is a learning process.


Otherwise, the camera has a couple of more charming quirks: the hotshoe is offset to the right while the LCD screen is central. Not sure why they did this but I don't mind it.

So: a great, capable camera that you're going to have to thoroughly research/practice with. Still better than any of the MZ cameras!
   
New Member

Registered: July, 2022
Posts: 12
Review Date: August 30, 2022 Recommended | Price: $220.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Ergonomically elite, HyP is fast and flexible, fast shutter speed, so many features I will probably never need them all
Cons: single point autofocus sometimes shows its age in low light

Got this after learning that I wanted more than my PZ-10 could offer. By many accounts, I'd say this is the most fully featured, advanced film camera Pentax ever made. Aside from the single point AF, the camera is arguably better than its successor, the MZ-S.

The two-dial system, combined with Hyper Program and well laid out buttons means that all of your aperture/shutter settings, metering and metering modes, focus, exposure compensation, and memory lock can be adjusted without moving your eye from the viewfinder. Brilliant. Not sure if they ever went back to this setup but they really really should.

It's also one of the only film era Pentaxes that can use DA lenses without an aperture ring, as it can control aperture from the body.

So far, my copy has been nothing but reliable. No issues whatsoever with film not getting wound or rewound. And I've shot ~30 rolls thru it this summer

Even comes with a built in flash which is always way more useful than you would think.

Overall, it's a gem: Every bit as good or better than anything from Canon or Nikon early/mid 90s at a fraction of the price because Photog hypebeats haven't picked up on it yet. Buy one if you can.
   
Forum Member

Registered: November, 2007
Location: Gwynedd, Wales
Posts: 83

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: November 17, 2021 Recommended | Price: $150.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Pretty much every feature you can imagine. Except mirror lock which I personally have never used. Good solid build even if plastic exterior.
Cons: It isn't digital.

This would appear, in measurable respects, to be the 'best' ever Pentax film camera. I particularly like the two wheel control, the offset flash shoe, the more comprehensive viewfinder display compared to the Z-1. Panoramic is neither here nor there. although arguably the panoramic lines on the viewfinder help with composition.

I have the optional 'dummy battery thing' - it does help the handling, although there is nothing wrong without it. You just end up with your little finger under the base. One of mine has the piece of plastic outside the battery door broken off - it seems not to affect the working of the camera in any way. I use rechargeable batteries with mine.

Be very careful (as one should) when cleaning the eyepiece - it scratches easily.

I'm serious, if this camera was digital it would be my every day camera instead of my K10D. The K*D series does carry on some of the Z-1p design features, but I think the handling of the Z-1p is marginally better and I definitely prefer the general layout.

My only problem - and it isn't a criticism - is that I don't really want a digital camera experience when I'm using film. I would rather be using my ME F or my Electro. But if some law was passed that I could only own one film camera it might well be this one.
   
Forum Member

Registered: June, 2014
Posts: 56

2 users found this helpful
Review Date: July 31, 2019 Recommended | Price: $68.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: good ergonomics, big viewfinder, 1/8000 max. shutter speed, lots of features
Cons: no battery grip, expensive batteries, one autofocus point, heavy

Pentax Z-1p is my third Pentax film camera. The first one was a very basic MZ-30 which I bought to try 35mm film. I was very pleased with the results from my DA lenses (35/2.4, 50/1.8 and 70/2.4) and decided to buy a better camera. I needed an autofocus camera capable of working with DA lenses, so all those beautiful Spotmatics of yore were out of question. I had read favourable reviews of Z-1/Z-1p but was put off by its ugly design and esoteric controls too different from those of any camera I used before. I bought a nice, little and advanced Pentax *ist instead. It turned out not what I expected. It's certainly small, cute and easy on my neck, but its light weight has a drawback: when I press the shutter button I often skew the horizon. The 11 focus points are clustered in the centre of the frame, and the upper control wheel is so stiff (a common problem with this camera) that is barely usable. I ended up constantly switching between Program and Portrait modes letting the camera choose shooting parameters. It usually does a good job, but it's not my preferred way to work with a camera.

Then one day I stumbled upon a training video on Pentax Z-1 on Youtube, watched it and realized that it was a very capable camera and the controls, while unusual, were quite logical and not that difficult to learn. I bought the newer Z-1P version because it displays exposure compensation in the viewfinder. As soon as the camera arrived, I noticed the radical difference in size and design: the *ist is small and cute like the Fiat 500, and the Z-1P definitely looks like a Buick – big, ugly and indestructible While it probably never won any design awards, the camera is very ergonomic, feels nicely in my big hands and all the controls are in the right places, except the lens release and DOF buttons. They are on the wrong side, and my fingers hit them when holding the camera.

The second thing I noticed was the big and bright viewfinder great for manual focusing. The viewfinders of the MZ-30 and *ist look like those of a cropped sensor cameras in comparison. The third thing I liked was the shutter sound: a bit too loud but very solid and confident, it made me feel like a pro


The camera is very feature rich (130 page manual!) and has everything a photographer may need except maybe a touchscreen and wi-fi... kidding There is only one autofocus point, but I can live with it, the memory lock button helps when recomposing. The camera works properly with my aperture ringless DA lenses, and the focus confirmation helps with manual lenses. Another nice touch is the hotshoe located on the right side of the camera off the lens axis eliminating the annoying red eye effect. My Sigma EF-500 DG Super flash works properly with the camera. The Z-1P has all shooting modes and the Hyper Program is my favourite. By turning the aperture or shutter speed wheels, I can instantly get into Av or Tv mode and pressing the IF button returns the camera to the Program mode. Great idea! The test roll turned out perfect. It appears that the camera works properly and the metering is accurate.

The Z-1P has a few drawbacks: it uses expensive batteries and there is no AA battery grip. The optional grip is just a piece of plastic with a strap attached to it. It adds to the size of the camera and nothing else. Fortunately, the battery can last long if an external flash is used instead of the built-in one. The camera is quite heavy, especially with my Tamron 28-75 or Pentax-A 35-105 lenses. Feeling like a pro has its downside.

Overall I am satisfied with the Pentax Z-1P. It is the camera I should have bought in the first place, and I anticipate to use it the most of my film bodies. Highly recommended!
   
Site Supporter

Registered: October, 2008
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Posts: 7,719

3 users found this helpful
Review Date: July 13, 2019 Recommended | Price: $245.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Many features, handling, 1/8000 shutter speed.
Cons: Questionable build.

The Pentax Z-1p/PZ-1p was released in September 1994 and it replaced the original Z-1/PZ-1 released in 1992. The Z-1p/PZ-1p has a few minor improvements/changes over its predecessor, as well as the Panorama mode. The Z-1p/PZ-1p remained in production until 2000, when the new third generation AF MZ/ZX Series cameras were released.

The Z-1p/PZ-1p is another camera where Pentax had different names for different markets. It was called the Z-1p in Japan & International markets, but for the North American market it was named the PZ-1p. The cameras are identical, but have different manuals.

Build & Handling:
The Z-1p/PZ-1p’s build is Ok and is clearly more plastic when compared to a K Series body, but still better built than the next generation MZ/ZX bodies. (The MZ-S is the exception) There are some reported issues with cracked bottom plates, broken battery compartment doors and disintegrating rubber eyecups. When I purchased my Z-1p it was in LN condition, so no issues with the bottom plate or battery door. However, when I removed the rubber eyecup to adjust the diopter, it crumbled into three pieces. It had probably been attached to the camera for 25 years and I was the first one to remove it. The Fd eyecup is hard rubber with no support bracket, so it must have dried out over the years. No big deal, I just replaced it with a regular “M” Series round soft rubber eyecup.

This is another big beefy camera (650 grams), so no issues balancing my bigger lenses on this body. The right-side grip, also adds to the excellent overall handling of the Z-1p/PZ-1p. There was also an optional FDP grip/strap available for the Z-1p/PZ-1p, which added even more size to the camera if you need it.

There are two “direct” dials on the front/back of the grip (Tv & Av), as well as the “mode" dial/set button on the left side top. These are the three main “control” dials used to set the cameras various features. This layout works well, but does require using both hands to operate. The main LCD panel is placed just above the viewfinder on the camera’s top, so it’s also in a good location. The shutter release button is a bit too front forward for my liking and it took a while to get used to. I guess the designers ran out of space, as I would have preferred it to be located where the flash hot-shoe is placed. There are various other switches/buttons located around the body for less used features, so overall the layout of the Z-1p/PZ-1p is not bad, considering all the settings it has!

Observations:
The Z-1p/PZ-1p has a headache inducing 130-page manual, so for someone used to shooting with a KX/LX this was a bit intimidating. However the Z-1p/PZ-1p is so customizable that once you setup the Pentax Functions, metering mode, drive mode and exposure mode, you are good to go for most shooting situations. The main on/off switch also has a “USER” setting for simple shooting with some features not available. I don’t use this option and use the regular “advanced” setting, which is available when the main switch is set to “ON”. There was a folding wallet sized "Pentax Function" cheat sheet included with my Z-1p, as well as the bigger manual.

- Focusing: There are two auto-focusing options (single & servo) and manual focusing. I don’t do auto-focusing, so the switch is permanently set to manual focus. When manually focusing you can use either the “focus indicator” green light in the viewfinder or just the matte focusing screen. You can also have the camera beep when your subject is in focus, but I disabled this option. My Z-1p came with the FM-60 (Matte field with panorama and spot metering frame standard screen), this screens two horizontal lines are good for leveling the horizon, so overall manually focusing is pretty easy. Though I do miss the split-image or micro-prism focusing aids, standard on my manual focusing Pentax film bodies. There are seven focusing screens available for the Z-1p/PZ-1p.

- Metering Modes: Multi-segment metering was finally introduced on Z/PZ series cameras and it’s a great bonus having it. Along with the 8-segment metering, you also have spot and center-weighted metering. Note the multi-segment metering only works with “A” Series or newer lenses. For K/M Series lenses you can use the other two metering options and setup the camera to default to your preference when one of these lenses is mounted. I use the 8-segment metering whenever possible, as it’s my preferred choice for when I shoot slide film. The Z-1p/PZ-1p also has exposure memory lock.

- Drive Modes/Winder: The Z-1p/PZ-1p has a built-in winder with six drive modes to choose from, so you have numerous shooting options. The “single-frame” is the one I use 99% of the time. Your other drive mode options are; Multi-frame consecutive, Multiple-exposure, Triple-frame consecutive self-timer, Self-timer with 2 second delay and Self-timer with 12 second delay. There is also an Auto Bracketing mode, but it has its own setting in the mode dial and is separate from the others listed above. I have the camera configured to automatically rewind the film into the canister when the last shot on the roll is taken. This is a nice option and the winder is a bit quieter than my SF1n.

- Exposure Modes: The Z-1p/PZ-1p has six exposure modes available if the attached lens has an “A” setting on the aperture ring or the lens has no aperture ring. (Hyper Programmed AE, Hyper Manual, Shutter-Priority AE, Aperture-Priority AE, Bulb and 1/250 second) If the lens is set to a specific aperture on the aperture ring, then you have four exposure modes available. (Aperture-Priority AE, Hyper Manual, Bulb and 1/250 second) Note if you are using a lens with no aperture ring, you can fully control the aperture with the Av direct dial, so the lens is fully functional on the Z-1p/PZ-1p. (Excluding AF on the newer DA lenses) I mostly use Aperture-Priority with the aperture ring on the lens set to a specific f-number. This is what I’m most comfortable with and the option that involves the least interaction with the camera body.

- Shutter Speed Range: The Z-1p/PZ-1p has a Manual/Auto shutter speed range from 1/8000 to 30 seconds. This is the best feature of the Z-1p/PZ-1p for me, and it’s a must when I’m shooting my fast-prime lenses wide open. Not having to use a ND filter is a big plus!

- DX Coding/Exposure Compensation: The Z-1p/PZ-1p has DX coding or you can set the ISO manually. The ISO range of 6 to 6400/ DX coded range of 25 to 5000 is also superb. You also have exposure compensation of -4 to +4 EV, which can also be used with flash or auto-bracketing. Both the ISO/ Exposure Compensation settings are customizable via the “Pentax Functions”.

- Viewfinder Display/LCD Display Panel: The viewfinder on the Z-1p/PZ-1p layout is pretty good and all the exposure info is on the right-hand side. Everything else, including the exposure info, is on the top LCD panel. The Z-1p/PZ-1p comes with the “Eyecup Fd” and the diopter adjustment switch is covered by the Eyecup. The OEM eyecup is not that great and I prefer the older round soft rubber eyecup from the “M” Series cameras. (My Fd eyecup broke anyways, see above)

- Flash: The Z-1p/PZ-1p has a small built-in TTL flash (RFT) that is occasionally useful for fill-in flash. The Z-1p/PZ-1p will let you know if a fill-in flash is required if you are in one of the AE exposure modes. (The flash sync speed is 1/250 sec or slower.) The RFT flash can also be used for slow-speed sync shooting and as an AF Spotbeam. Advanced functions (Red eye reduction & Trailing curtain flash sync) are accessed via the flash setting on the mode dial. The RFT flash also drains the cameras batteries pretty quickly, so I would use one of the two dedicated external TTL flashes designed for the Z-1p/PZ-1p instead. (The Pentax AF500FTZ & AF330FTZ are recommended for use with the Z-1p/PZ-1p.) I bought the AF330FTZ and it works nicely with my Z-1p and you can use it alongside the RFT flash for contrast flash.

- MLU/DOF Preview: The Z-1p/PZ-1p does not have an MLU button/switch like the older Pentax MF film bodies, but instead you use the “Self-timer with 2 second delay” drive mode. The mirror flips up 2 seconds before the shutter is released, so the result is the same. The Z-1p/PZ-1p does have a dedicated DOF preview button on the front. Note if the attached lens has an “A” setting (A/F/FA Series) on the aperture ring, the DOF preview will only work if the lens aperture is set to an actual aperture value. It will not work in the “A” setting.

- Cable Switch/Release: The Z-1p/PZ-1p uses the “Cable Switch F” and not the older plunger style cable releases.

- Panoramic Format/Quartz Date: The Panoramic Format is built-in on every Z-1p/PZ-1p and my Z-1p also came with the optional Data Back Fd-P1. Both are “fads” from the 1990’s and something I will never use. Thankfully both options have an “off” switch!

-Batteries: The battery compartment is on the bottom of the camera and you need one 6V 2CR5 lithium battery. There was no “AA” grip made for the Z-1p/PZ-1p. You can extend the battery life by using manual focus and an external flash instead of the built-in RFT.

-Case: The Z-1p/PZ-1p uses the soft case marked “Fd” and it came in three sizes, S, M & L. The camera manual lists the lenses that will fit in each sized case.

Summary:
In a perfect world Pentax would have updated the LX in the mid ‘90s and added some of the features of the Z-1p/PZ-1p, but left the camera manual focus. That never happened, so to get these features I had to go out of my comfort zone and try an AF film body. I first bought the SF1n, which is ok, but it’s missing some features I like. Also the SF1n, *ist and none of the MZ/ZX Series bodies have the 1/8000 shutter speed. (This was a must have option for me.) I ended up buying the Z-1p as a last resort and surprisingly I actually like this body and all of its features, especially the 1/8000 shutter speed & multi-segment metering. While the Z-1p will never make me feel all warm and fuzzy when I’m using it, overall it’s the best AF Pentax film camera in my books.

I rate my Z-1p a perfect 10.

Here’s how I rank the Z-1P/PZ-1P in my Pentax K-mount film body collection:

1) LX, 2) K2DMD, 3) KX, 4) Z-1p, 5)SUPER A, 6) K2, 7) MX, 8) SF1n, 9) ME F, 10) P50, 11) KM, 12) ME, 13) K1000SE, 14) K1000


Price:
I paid €220 Euros for my Z-1p and it’s in LN condition. It came in the original box, with the manuals, strap & paperwork.

Update July 24, 2019:
I just bought a PENTAX Magnifier Eyecup O-ME53 and it works great on my Z-1p, You can see the viewfinder info on the right-hand side and the magnification helps in manual focusing. This O-ME53 eyecup also looks better mounted on the Z-1p, than the older round soft rubber eyecup from the “M” Series cameras.
   
Forum Member

Registered: September, 2015
Posts: 50

3 users found this helpful
Review Date: February 19, 2017 Recommended | Price: $50.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: great handling, low used price, build quality
Cons: Reading the really comprehensive manual, no split image focus screen available

I am returning to some film shooting (after several years away) and noticed the huge drop in prices for PZ-1p. (It is way less expensive than MZ-S) I have a ZX-5n but this PZ-1p camera is a huge step up in handling. I got a like new camera with data back, strap, and manual for $50+$12 shipping. I have a Promaster FTD 7000m flash which works well on film but is not suitable for digital. I also have some Pentax-A lens and two AF lenses. I found a great place for film processing in Tacoma about 30 minutes away. I am really looking forward to B&W film shooting.

I have a K1000 SE with Lester Dine 105 2.8 macro (dental kit)
The ZX-5n
and this new PZ-1p
also K100d with DA 18-55 (this has Katz-eye split image micro prism focus screen)

The bad part was I just bought an AF prime lens for 3 times the price of the camera.
Sigma 50mm F2.8 EX DG Macro. I did not have a 50mm prime.

There is a lot to learn about this camera the manual has 128 pages.
Uses Lithium 2cv5 batteries.
   
Veteran Member

Registered: July, 2014
Location: Nagoya
Posts: 577
Review Date: January 19, 2016 Recommended | Price: $50.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Handling, speed, that shutter sound
Cons: That shutter sound

I bought this camera about four months ago in a used camera shop in Japan for the ridiculously good price of 5000 yen (about $50/£30) and from the moment I fired off the first shot I was a convert. The way this camera sits in your hands is just right, all the controls are placed just so and using it just feels good, in the same way a well sorted car feels great to drive. The front and rear control wheels also match up very nicely with those on my K-7, meaning that when I'm out shooting film and digital simultaneously the transition feels very natural.

I don't use much flash, but I know that to people who do the 1/250th flash sync is great, and for a fast prime fan such as myself the 1/8000th shutter speed is also lovely. Speaking of the shutter, it makes one hell of a satisfying clunk - every picture you take makes you feel like a pro. With that said, I can see how this could be a disadvantage to the more stealthy shooters out there - but if you wanted to be stealthy you probably wouldn't be carrying around a big beast like this anyway!

Those caveats aside, this truly is a brilliant camera and it has rapidly become my favourite Pentax out of many that I own.

PS: Mine came with the optional grip, which is a bit weird since it doesn't actually add functionality to the camera, having no extra buttons and no extra battery capacity. However, it does balance the camera very nicely and makes it even more ergonomic.
   
Senior Member

Registered: January, 2014
Posts: 143

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: September 25, 2014 Recommended | Price: $100.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Full featured, 250th flash sync
Cons: Doesn't feel as solid in my hand as my k-30

I got the PZ1p specifically for the 250th flash sync! I shoot skateboarding and fast flash sync is essential. The 180th on my k30 isn't cutting it for freezing action in daylight with multiple off camera flashes.

I was suprised everything that this camera can do. There are many custom functions and automatic modes. Exposure and focus lock buttons on back. Any feature you could have on a film slr is present, including an interesting power zoom exposure mode. I do not have the power zoom lens to try this feature but it sounds like fun!

I love this camera so much I am going to buy another fisheye lens to suit the full frame!
   
Veteran Member

Registered: February, 2010
Location: Jerusalem
Posts: 1,940
Review Date: October 14, 2013 Recommended | Price: $75.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sturdy, Comfortable, balaces well with most lenses, can use compatible DA lenses without aperture ring!
Cons: Heavy, some fragile parts

I got the Z1-p for a bargain price as a little piece next to the battery door was broken (common problem, or so I hear. Does not effect anything) and the pop up flash doesn't pop up (non issue for me).
I got it to replace my deceased ZX-5 and it can do everything the ZX can, and then some. Much more comfortable to hold (even though the ZX-5 is great at that) but much heavier. I used it exclusively for film since I got it and I am very satisfied. If I really want a smaller/lighter setup I'll just pick up any manual camera I have, although it could be nice to have another ZX-5 for backup.
This camera is super customizable for a film camera so be sure to set up everything before you start shooting, otherwise you might get surprised.
And the best part is you can use ANY Pentax lens with it that covers the image circle, even modern DA lenses (my 2.4/35 teams up great with the Z1-p).
   
Veteran Member

Registered: February, 2013
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 391

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: February 24, 2013 Recommended | Price: $960.78 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Solid, comfortable
Cons: None

Having this camera since 1996, I've loved the thing! Very comfortable to hold and use, has great weight, this camera was basically the work horse of Pentax, and also owning the K-10D and the K-5 I really see Pentax's lineage shine through on ALL of these cameras, this one however, is to me, the best film camera I've ever owned! Fast all around, great design, great weigh for it's size, and I'd say for overall function it's comparable to top-of-the-line DSLRs.
   
Junior Member

Registered: June, 2012
Location: Prague, Czech Republic
Posts: 36

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: January 14, 2013 Recommended | Price: None indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros:
Cons:

Just got my hands on it. I'm still in the middle of the first roll, but when it is finished, I will update this review. First impressions?
It's a highly customisable and easy to operate semi-pro SLR with some unique functions. Everything on it feels great. But there are some things I noticed that are not that good: Flash is easily broken, same for the plastics around baterry cover, additional grip is just a hollow shell with no space for batteries, viewfinder is not that great and the DoF button is mechanical (silly when combined with in-body aperture control - the aperture is allways fully closed by the DoF button when the aperture ring is set on A), the grip is deep but is for someone with long fingers, but slim hands, otherwise your little finger don't have enaugh space.
But other than that - I'm thrilled!
The review is to be updated soon - after some more playing with this wonderful machine.

Edit 1: Be aware, because these machines are often well-used (read worn). The film chamber door on mine just ceased to stay closed. A duct tape is a solution:-) Another thing that bugs me is using manual lenses. There is no difference in brightness and DoF in the viewfinder up to F2. So be carefull when focussing fast primes - the finder might lie, as well as the focus confirmation. But otherwise I'm still amazed!

Edit 2: Just found replacement doors in my local camera shop:-D
   
Senior Member

Registered: May, 2008
Location: Melbourne, Florida
Posts: 142

2 users found this helpful
Review Date: November 12, 2011 Recommended | Price: None indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: After 20 years in my hands, it is still the right camera
Cons: No battery grip

This was the workhorse of the Pentax line. I have several other bodies including an LX and a K7...Pentax got it right with the PZ-1. It is a big camera and with the additional grip, it fit perfectly in my hands. The output was superb and handling controls were right on. When I got my K10d it reminded me of the PZ-1. Once I got the K7 it was obvious the lineage from the PZ-1. So much so, that I pulled the PZ-1, added battery and film and it is once again a proud and valued equipment in my arsenal.

Wish that whenever the full frame Pentax DSLR becomes a reality, it has some of the styling cues from the PZ-1...
   
Veteran Member

Registered: November, 2009
Location: Hong Kong
Posts: 1,352

4 users found this helpful
Review Date: November 6, 2011 Recommended | Price: $140.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Just gets it right
Cons: Not exactly a waif

Colour me impressed.

For some reason, years of digital made me think that film was going to be more difficult than I remembered.

This beaut has countered that, and well. Fantastically intuitive front/rear wheel Av/Tv control, great metering in daylight and with the built-in flash, and tractor beam-like AF.

Also, if you're "only" shooting 100-150 frames a month, buying film, developing and printing (yep, back to actual physical copies of everything that you shoot), the cost for those 1,200-1,800 prints is less than a decent DSLR's annual depreciation.

Also love the fact that film is forcing me to think a little more.

In short, film is great, and this camera makes it doubly so.
   
Junior Member

Registered: March, 2011
Location: Michigan
Posts: 29
Review Date: June 28, 2011 Recommended | Price: $80.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Ergonomics, features, can customize, Hyper program, spot metering, flash synch speed
Cons: a litte intimidating for someone with small hands

Good Heavens this is an excellent SLR. Rapidly becomeing my favorite SLR (I also have an LX, Super Program and a KX). Love the information provided in the LCD display and one of the very few SLRs/DSLRs that show the metering mode in the view finder. Flash speed (1/250) along with the very versatile built in flash is a real plus. Auto focusing seems as good if not better than my 1st D. Hyper program is just so intuitive. Shutter button has a detent that makes it very easy to check exposure and focus with manual focus lenses (believe they must at least be SMC-A lenses) to activate the focus confirmation LED without triggering the shutter like it is in other cameras. I will use this camera along with my LX for transparency film while my Super Program and KX are used for negative film. I found this excellent camera back in March on eBay.

Still using film but would go to digital if Pentax came out with a FF DSLR which I am quite certain they will not. I have used Pentax SLRs exclusively since 1983.
   
Veteran Member

Registered: October, 2007
Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 1,059

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: December 3, 2010 Recommended | Price: $100.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Fast shutter speed, compatible with film and digital lenses (to a degree), lots of options and settings, dual wheel dials (like the K-7)
Cons: A bit loud on the shutter, no AA battery grip available, loud rewind

Pros Fast shutter speed, compatible with film and digital lenses (to a degree), lots of options and settings, dual wheel dials (like the K-7)
Cons A bit loud on the shutter, no AA battery grip available, loud rewind
Rating 9
Price (U.S. Dollars) $100
Years Owned Less than a year

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
A well built tank of a camera that is loaded with features. Feels like a very professional camera.

Camera Review
I actually borrowed this camera a couple of times from numerous pentax friends before going on the hunt to find one myself. All I can say is that: if you're looking for a very capable, sturdy and dependable film camera with a crazy amount of features, pick one of these up for yourself.

Features that have really come in handy for me:
-Hyper Program mode
-DOF preview
-Film rewind options (manual or automatic)
-Maximum shutter speed of 1/8000th!!!
-Ability to use DA lenses on Aperture Priority (Av) mode.
-Dual wheel dials
-Nice large viewfinder.
-Horizontal lines in the viewfinder help me keep my horizons straight!

Who is this camera for:
Those who need a tough son-of-a-gun, flexible, very customizable (programming wise) full frame 35mm film SLR that makes you feel like you're holding Pentax Old School Awesomeness in your hand.

Who this camera is not for:
Those who are looking for a lightweight film SLR or a film SLR with a AA battery grip. Look to the MZ series for that.
Those who are looking for multiple autofocus points - this camera only have central focus point (although I usually focus and recompose).


I ended up finding a great deal on my camera and picked it up as soon as I could. This camera is with me almost all the time as a companion to my Pentax 645 film Medium Format camera.

If you're serious about film photography and you love Pentax lenses and need a camera that will just get the job done (and feel like it will), buy this camera. I dickered around for a bit before splurging on one but am so glad I did.
Add Review of Pentax Z-1p / PZ-1p



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