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03-24-2018, 12:14 AM   #1
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Super A or MZ-M which is better for Stop-down Metering

Hello,

I have several lenses that were modified to K mount and they can only be used in stop-down mode. I wounder which film body is more suitable: Super A or MZ-M. I have noticed that the split prism of MZ-M seem to work better with the aperture partially closed, but the viewfinder is also much smaller. I would like to know which body would work better in general. I do plan to shoot some slide film so both focus accuracy/ease and metering needs to be taken into consideration.

Sincerely

03-24-2018, 01:02 AM - 1 Like   #2
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I'd go with the camera with the larger VF, so the super A. The metering system is a bit basic, but it gets the job done.

Alternatively, a camera with a needle like the K1000 might also work really well.

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03-24-2018, 09:43 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
I'd go with the camera with the larger VF, so the super A. The metering system is a bit basic, but it gets the job done.

Alternatively, a camera with a needle like the K1000 might also work really well.
I did notice that the split prism of MZ-M has a huge advantage: split prism blackout does not happen at 5.6 or below, while Super A will start exhibiting blackout at 4. The amount of blackout of the MZ-M at 8 is around the same as the blackout of Super A at 4. Don't know if this is the result of some design trade-off? The only split prism that behaves like the MZ-M is the now gone Katz Eye.

Guess some actual usage will tell me which works better. I do always keep a magnifier eyepiece for the MZ-M just like my digital Pentax.

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03-24-2018, 01:42 PM   #4
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My zx-m has the exposure meter in half stop increments, while the super program / super a shows in full stops. I also like that it's green and lit by default, without requiring to press a button in the dark. Since I wear glasses I don't mind the smaller viewfinder on the zx-m.

03-24-2018, 01:42 PM   #5
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Are those your only two camera body choices?? If you're dealing with older lenses that you need to meter with stop-down only, it seems a better fit would be an older mechanical body since you'll not be utilizing any program-type features anyhow. You'll also get, in nearly every case, a far larger and brighter viewfinder out of the deal. With a brighter finder and older lenses like these I find matte VF screens much more useful if you still have good eyes. Plays nicer with the meter and generally I hit focus more often since the image is brighter overall to boot.
03-24-2018, 05:30 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by chickentender Quote
Are those your only two camera body choices?? If you're dealing with older lenses that you need to meter with stop-down only, it seems a better fit would be an older mechanical body since you'll not be utilizing any program-type features anyhow. You'll also get, in nearly every case, a far larger and brighter viewfinder out of the deal. With a brighter finder and older lenses like these I find matte VF screens much more useful if you still have good eyes. Plays nicer with the meter and generally I hit focus more often since the image is brighter overall to boot.
My lenses that fall into this category includes a Rollei Planar 50 1.8 which was modified by the original seller to PK for me to use on the Mitakon Lens Turbo (since sold because I had upgraded the Sony side of my system), a Contax Planar AEJ which had been modified by a shop in China after my Contax 167MT died because of electrical problems, and a Minolta MD Rokkor 50 1.7 which was modified by a shop in China too because it had personal values but I don't shoot any Minolta SR cameras.

I have a Super A, a MZ-M, and a ME Super. I used to own a KM but quickly sold it after I got myself a Program Plus (which I also sold when I moved up to ME Super) because of the lack of motor drive and a viewfinder that is inferior to the cameras descended from the ME. I acquired MZ-M first to take full advantage of my FA 43 Limited and it had received a full CLA while its plastic gear was replaced with a metal one, thus the best in terms of mechanical conditions. I then acquired my Super A fairly recently after I discovered that the MZ-M in incapable of correctly meter with my Porst 55/1.2 or any other 1.2 lenses except the A50/1.2 in P or S modes. I guess I have enough K mount bodies for now.

Currently the advantage I discovered about the MZ-M is that its split prism is much more useful when the lens is stopped down to f4-8, while the ME Super and Super A has probably the best viewfinder I have ever used, much better than the Spotmatic F or KM, but the split prism doesn't work well once lens is stopped down to f4. However, my pressing concern is which camera in my current meters better stopped down? I also regularly use A mode so I do find the exposure automation handy.
03-24-2018, 05:38 PM - 1 Like   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by butangmucat Quote
My lenses that fall into this category includes a Rollei Planar 50 1.8 which was modified by the original seller to PK for me to use on the Mitakon Lens Turbo (since sold because I had upgraded the Sony side of my system), a Contax Planar AEJ which had been modified by a shop in China after my Contax 167MT died because of electrical problems, and a Minolta MD Rokkor 50 1.7 which was modified by a shop in China too because it had personal values but I don't shoot any Minolta SR cameras.

I have a Super A, a MZ-M, and a ME Super. I used to own a KM but quickly sold it after I got myself a Program Plus (which I also sold when I moved up to ME Super) because of the lack of motor drive and a viewfinder that is inferior to the cameras descended from the ME. I acquired MZ-M first to take full advantage of my FA 43 Limited and it had received a full CLA while its plastic gear was replaced with a metal one, thus the best in terms of mechanical conditions. I then acquired my Super A fairly recently after I discovered that the MZ-M in incapable of correctly meter with my Porst 55/1.2 or any other 1.2 lenses except the A50/1.2 in P or S modes. I guess I have enough K mount bodies for now.

Currently the advantage I discovered about the MZ-M is that its split prism is much more useful when the lens is stopped down to f4-8, while the ME Super and Super A has probably the best viewfinder I have ever used, much better than the Spotmatic F or KM, but the split prism doesn't work well once lens is stopped down to f4. However, my pressing concern is which camera in my current meters better stopped down? I also regularly use A mode so I do find the exposure automation handy.
You K bodies are covered indeed. It also sounds as if you are one of the best persons to answer your question by the sounds of it. A couple sacrificial test rolls should light the way.

04-10-2018, 03:02 PM - 1 Like   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by butangmucat Quote
I did notice that the split prism of MZ-M has a huge advantage: split prism blackout does not happen at 5.6 or below, while Super A will start exhibiting blackout at 4. The amount of blackout of the MZ-M at 8 is around the same as the blackout of Super A at 4. Don't know if this is the result of some design trade-off? The only split prism that behaves like the MZ-M is the now gone Katz Eye.
The MZ-M came from a later era where most 'kit lenses' were slowish AF zooms inherited from the AF lens line. As such, it had to work with lenses at f/5.6 as many zooms were slower than f/4. The days of using a range of primes had well and truly gone. As I understand the optics of a split-image, the later it 'blacks-out' the less sensitive the prisms are to accurate focus (i.e. there's likely to less precision). The MZ-M is reported to have a 'penta-mirror' instead of a pentaprism (lighter & cheaper but distorts the view).

One benefit of the MZ-M is the depth of field preview - it is the only manual focus Pentax body that correctly stops the lens down to the shooting aperture with the lens set at 'A' - all the others stop down to minimum aperture (including the Z-1). The viewfinder display & shutter speed dial are much better than those of the Super-A, it also has exposure lock.
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