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08-30-2017, 03:04 PM   #1
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Camera grips for film cameras: their functions and compatibilities

Hello, all!
I am seeking informed advice and guidance, as follows:

I have several manual focus Pentax and Chinon SLR film cameras but am thinking of getting a new toy, an automatic focusing film camera. I would like a compact camera really and the Pentax MZ-5N appeals to me, despite allegations of its mechanical fragility. However, I don't like the idea of having to buy CR2 batteries all the time so I thought maybe a battery "grip" with AA batteries would be a good idea. I have never used a "battery grip", on any camera, and am not sure of the functionality.
Is the Pentax 37000 AA Battery Pack FG (grip) compatible with the Pentax MZ-5N?
Does the grip wind-on, re-wind, power the autofocus, power the metering?
In other words, does it completely negate the require for CR2 batteries?

Any positive and informed advice is welcome!

08-30-2017, 04:13 PM   #2
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Yes I had that battery pack for my ZX5n. It made the camera easier to hold and allowed AA batteries. Worked fine. As I remember it extended into the internal battery compartment to replace the CR2s. Powers all of the functions of the camera. It was quite different than the old autowinder grips. The one you are looking at screws into the tripod socket on the bottom of the camera and had a slightly off center tripod socket on its own bottom. However, unlike more recent grips it did not have a shutter release to facilitate vertical shots. FWIW my ZX5n lasted about 20 years of hard service. It finally quit advancing film but I was pleased with the little camera generally.

Last edited by Pentax Syntax; 08-30-2017 at 04:27 PM.
08-30-2017, 04:53 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pentax Syntax Quote
Yes I had that battery pack for my ZX5n. It made the camera easier to hold and allowed AA batteries. Worked fine. As I remember it extended into the internal battery compartment to replace the CR2s. Powers all of the functions of the camera. It was quite different than the old autowinder grips. The one you are looking at screws into the tripod socket on the bottom of the camera and had a slightly off center tripod socket on its own bottom. However, unlike more recent grips it did not have a shutter release to facilitate vertical shots. FWIW my ZX5n lasted about 20 years of hard service. It finally quit advancing film but I was pleased with the little camera generally.
Many thanks for your well composed reply, Pentax Syntax!

The only thing that confused me a bit in your reply was that your camera was a ZX5n, whereas the one that I was pursuing was a MZ-5n. I assume they are different cameras, although I have not yet checked here in PentaxForums to see what the ZX5n is like.
08-30-2017, 04:59 PM   #4
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Not different cameras, just different in where they were purchased.

08-30-2017, 05:12 PM   #5
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I have one on each of my four MZ-5n cameras - totally functional, and would not be without them.
08-30-2017, 05:14 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by photolady95 Quote
Not different cameras, just different in where they were purchased.
Oh, thanks for that! I suppose they are given different names in different areas (Europe, USA, Asia, etc.) ?

---------- Post added 08-30-17 at 05:20 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by 35mmfilmfan Quote
I have one on each of my four MZ-5n cameras - totally functional, and would not be without them.
Many thanks for the reassurance, 35mmfilmfan!

As a separate question, do you know if it's possible, or indeed wise, to get rechargeable CR2 batteries, with, of course, a compatible charger? My hands are small and it would be great if I could do without the grip and just recharge the CR2's when I need to.
(I did see one advertised on ebay but I am not sure what the quality of the batteries and their charger is like.
08-30-2017, 06:08 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pentaxis Quote
Many thanks for your well composed reply, Pentax Syntax!

The only thing that confused me a bit in your reply was that your camera was a ZX5n, whereas the one that I was pursuing was a MZ-5n. I assume they are different cameras, although I have not yet checked here in PentaxForums to see what the ZX5n is like.
Sorry for the confusion. Yes they are the same camera as others have stated. Accessories are interchangeable for that series.

08-30-2017, 06:09 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pentaxis Quote
My hands are small and it would be great if I could do without the grip and just recharge the CR2's when I need to.
So are mine but I found the FG grip much easier to use than the CR2 battery included when I bought the camera. I don't have mine anymore, but used it for eight years with the grip attached. And never had a problem using it with my small hands.
08-30-2017, 06:12 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pentaxis Quote
get rechargeable CR2 batteries,
CR2 batteries with zx cameras are supposed to last a while, I remember the manual says around 100 rolls of 24 shots with no flash, depending on af use, etc (there are estimates for flash too). Unless you shoot a ton of film I wouldn't worry about using the grip to avoid running out of charge (handling is different, personal choice). I got one thinking the batteries wouldn't last, but I rarely use it since it really makes the camera heavier and bulkier.
08-31-2017, 09:18 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by photolady95 Quote
So are mine but I found the FG grip much easier to use than the CR2 battery included when I bought the camera. I don't have mine anymore, but used it for eight years with the grip attached. And never had a problem using it with my small hands.
Thanks for that, photolady95. It's helpful to get feedback on these kinds of real world experience.

---------- Post added 08-31-17 at 09:23 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by aaacb Quote
CR2 batteries with zx cameras are supposed to last a while, I remember the manual says around 100 rolls of 24 shots with no flash, depending on af use, etc (there are estimates for flash too). Unless you shoot a ton of film I wouldn't worry about using the grip to avoid running out of charge (handling is different, personal choice). I got one thinking the batteries wouldn't last, but I rarely use it since it really makes the camera heavier and bulkier.
Thank you very much for that information.
It's true that I don't shoot masses of film, mainly because of the associated expense. However, I do feel more comfortable with film than digital and the results are of a different quality. The only digital camera I have is a second-hand ($7) , tiny point and shoot and I use that far more than my film cameras, again because of the zero cost of using it.
I shall give more consideration of whether I should actually acquire another film camera....
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