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09-13-2013, 05:38 AM   #1
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New Pentax Film Camera Set-up

Hello,
i would like to find a decent, good analog set-up and can't see through all the different cameras there are. Please help me with it. I have been using a Contax G2 so far, but want something basic, new. This is what I am looking for within a price range up to 1000 Euros overall:
a Pentax-Body with a very good 50 mm lens (i will use 50 mm certainly even if there are maybe other more reasonable lenghts)
My field of interest is Portraiture with natural light.

If you'd suggest I might also ake into consideration an autofocus film-camera.

Sincerely, Vincent

09-13-2013, 07:17 AM - 1 Like   #2
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Someone has an MZ-6 for sale on the forum here. I highly, highly recommend that camera:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/photographic-equipment-sale/233777-sale-m...e-reduced.html

For AF the MZ-S is top-end, but requires lenses with aperture rings of which some of the later models are...flimsy (FA 50/1.4 I'm lookin' at you).

The MZ-6 has a dial set-up not entirely foreign to a Contax G2 user. Given that no new film cameras have been made for awhile, your best bet is to pick up a few bodies as backup.

For manual focus you could pick up an LX system in your price range. OR a Super Program and buy a lot of good glass.

Good luck.
09-13-2013, 08:27 AM - 1 Like   #3
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Well, there is nothing "new" available in the way of Pentax film cameras as they ceased making film bodies years ago.

That said, it shouldn't be too hard getting a really nice Pentax film body for well under the price you have indicated. Depending on how old a body you get, you should consider adding about $85 (US) to have the camera serviced (i.e., a cleaning, lubrication, and adjustment -- or "CLA" -- which would also include the replacement of of the foam light seals and mirror bumper).

I have a couple of MX bodies, a PZ-1p, and an MZ-S. They kind of represent the best bodies of the 1970s, 1990s, and 2000s, respectively.

Of those, I think the MZ-S might feel the most like the rangefinder you have been using. It is a wonderful camera but rather slow for film transport (only about 2 frames per second). It is ergonomically very nice and quite comfortable to hold and use. It prints basic exposure information on the film, which is kind of nice. One of the good things about the MZ-S is that, being the most recently produced model, you can almost certainly skip any need for a CLA. The downside is it has a pretty hard to find cable release (should you decide you ever wish to do time exposures), and the CR2 batteries are a little pricey and can be difficult to get (and it uses these up pretty quickly). Also, because it has only automatic film transport, it can be a little less stealthy (and a good deal louder) than an older SLR.

I would agree with Aristophanes on the LX except that I personally think they are overpriced (especially for one in good condition), difficult to find, and can be expensive to keep in good repair.

The MX would be a very good fit, I would think. Of all my Pentax bodies, its feel and handling seem most similar to my Leica rangefinder. It is, as you've indicated, "something basic" to say the least. If you find one in good condition (this forum's Marketplace is definitely a very good source), and if you then send it to someone like Eric Hendrickson for a CLA, you will end up with a really terrific camera that will last you at least 20 years.

Either the MZ-S or the MX can use any K mount lens with an aperture ring (i.e., the original K mounts, the M series, the A series, and most FA series). They can also use any M42 "screw mount" lenses (e.g., Takumar lenses in the Pentax world).

You mention you want a 50mm lens, which is a pretty short focal length for portraits, but if that is what you want you can take a look at any of the really great "fast 50s" --

SMC Pentax-M 50mm f/1.4
SMC Pentax-M 50mm f/1.7
SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/1.4
SMC Pentax-F 50mm f/1.4

And of course, if you really want to get a good feel for how other people have experienced with these (and other) cameras and lenses, be sure to check out the camera reviews and the lens reviews on this forum:

Pentax Digital Cameras and Film Cameras - Pentax Camera Reviews and Specifications

Pentax Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

Have fun!
09-13-2013, 09:24 AM   #4
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not new

thanks for your replies.
It can be a very good body which doesn't necessarily has to be from the past 10 years or so. It just has to be hight quality and certainly analog, not digital. Any more suggestions would help me a lot. Thank you so far!

09-13-2013, 09:30 AM   #5
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thanks for your replies.
It can be a very good body which doesn't necessarily has to be new in its original year of production. It certainly should be

-analog (not digital, maybe with autofus)
-possibly small and compact
-high quality

and

-a high quality 50 mm lens (maybe autofocus)

What do you think. Any more suggestions would help me a lot. Thank you so far!
09-13-2013, 09:36 AM   #6
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A recently CLA'd LX with a K 50/1.2...

Pentax LX - Pentax Manual Focus Film SLRs - Pentax Camera Reviews and Specifications

SMC Pentax 50mm F1.2 Reviews - K Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

Any of the 50/1.4s are also very fine lenses and cost a lot less than the 1.2...
09-13-2013, 09:48 AM   #7
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hello,

i'm new on this forum and please don't get me wrong to ask you, if you are serious with the above suggestions (boriscleto) or if it is just an offer you had to forward? i don't know much about pentax-cameras so i can't say, but
i really want to be certain in finding the perfect system for my purposes (portraits with natural light, inside or outside on 50 mm lens).

what i would like to add is that I have been recommended the Pentax K1000.

what do you think, also regarding my original post?
09-13-2013, 10:04 AM - 1 Like   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Philipwz21 Quote
what i would like to add is that I have been recommended the Pentax K1000.
I would really avoid the K1000 only because there are so many (better) cameras available to you within the price range you have indicated.

The K1000 is a good entry-level camera for someone wanting to learn the essential variables of exposure (i.e., ISO, aperture, and shutter speed). They were the de facto standard for any first-course photography student in the last part of the 20th century, and they are (therefore) quite plentiful and cheap. They are also, however, not really as good a quality as an MX, an ME Super, an LX, or even something more recent like a P3N. They lack depth-of-field preview, split-image focus screen, and a slow meter that is prone to failure.

And yes, boriscleto was quite serious in his reply. I had left out the K-series 50mm f/1.2 only because it is very difficult to find and generally quite pricey -- but it is a very good lens as well.

I do not know how strongly you are committed to a 50mm, but given your desire to shoot portraits, you might also keep your eye open for an 85mm lens. Just sayin'

09-13-2013, 10:09 AM - 1 Like   #9
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The LX was the finest manual focus camera Pentax produced. Comparing the LX to the K1000 is sort of like comparing a BMW to a Volkswagen.

It is in the same category as the Canon F-1 or Nikon F3 but it is much smaller and lighter. You won't find a camera with a better light meter, the Olympus OM-2 comes close.

The K 50/1.2 is one of the finest lenses Pentax ever made. Some will say the A 50/1.2 is better, but it is also much more expensive. I don't own either of the 1.2s, but I do own multiple 50/1.4s.

The LX is however a high maintenance camera. A periodic CLA is a necessity which is why I recommend one that has had it done recently.

Last edited by boriscleto; 09-13-2013 at 10:16 AM.
09-13-2013, 10:27 AM   #10
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When you're asking about film cameras, it's more about preference, rather than performance. Unlike digital cameras, image quality does not depend on them, but rather on the quality of film and glass used. I'd say any film camera will do, as long as you like the design, size and viewfinder. Here are the ones you can choose from:
- fully manual: K1000 (not recommended, it was entry level), KM, K2, MX
- automatic exposure, manual focus: ME/ME Super, Super A/Super Program
- autofocus: MZ/PZ series
I'm not going to say one is better than the other. You can get absolutely the same pictures out of each one of them. Search Google for all of them, and also for a 135mm or an 85mm lens, and you're good to go. Use the rest of the 1000E for film.
09-13-2013, 10:44 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
Comparing the LX to the K1000 is sort of like comparing a BMW to a Volkswagen.
Hey watch it! I drive a Volkswagen GTI !
09-13-2013, 10:58 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by tlong423 Quote
Hey watch it! I drive a Volkswagen GTI !
I was talking about one of these

09-13-2013, 11:48 AM   #13
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hey

I don't really understand why you post this here?

as a part of my studies-programm I am doing personal research on a possible choice for a coming project (inside with window-light). After further looking and your resent posts,
I think there are some good choices, but I am still not really sure if its definite.
It basically comes down to the following three questions,
(within a budget of less than 1000 Euros or if it has to be also a little more),

which are the two Pentax cameras , which are

-with automatic exposure, manual focus
or
-autofocus

and

-which is the one perfect 50 mm lens to use with the named above?
09-13-2013, 12:06 PM   #14
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You can get both manual and auto well within your price point.

I'd get an MZ-6 and an F 50/1.7 or FA 50/1.4 (lovely on film, both).

You could also get an MX or Super Program or ME Super and a fast 50 for less than 110 Euros easy.

Last edited by Aristophanes; 09-14-2013 at 03:43 AM.
09-13-2013, 04:04 PM   #15
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Not sure what you mean "perfect" as all products are compromises. Recently I bought a MZ7 and two lenses for $50 and everything looks mint. If you are not shooting with newer digital lenses than I would take the MZ5n over it (have had that since new). Almost any functioning film camera will give you the results you are asking for, it is all in the lens and the photographer. I think a F50 1.7 is around $200 so a good camera, the CLA or spare camera and a couple of lenses as well as a bunch of film will come under your price range. Heck I paid less than that for a CLA'd Hasselblad and two lenses .

Vivitar makes a K mount camea you could buy brand new but it would be sort of equal to a K1000. There are so many choices but getting a camera in good coniditon but concentrate on getting good lenses.
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