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10-20-2010, 10:07 AM   #1
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superA Vs. MZ-M

I've had a superA for around a year now.
While I love the camera it doesn't really suit by primary use of film cameras, live bands in low light.
The viewfinder is a pain to work with.

I'm considering picking up a MZ-M/ZX-M.
How well would this work in comparison?
I've heard it has an illuminated viewfinder display but there seem to be a few complaints about focusing difficulties.

10-20-2010, 11:23 AM   #2
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The MZ-M is light, cheap, and plasticky. It doesn't really offer an added features, except for slightly improved metering range and the electric winder. I'd step up to something like the MZ-S or the PZ-1, which would definitely be a nice upgrade.

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10-20-2010, 11:29 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by RichyX Quote
I've had a superA for around a year now.
While I love the camera it doesn't really suit by primary use of film cameras, live bands in low light.
The viewfinder is a pain to work with.

I'm considering picking up a MZ-M/ZX-M.
How well would this work in comparison?
I've heard it has an illuminated viewfinder display but there seem to be a few complaints about focusing difficulties.
Funny, I shot live music wiht the Super A for many years in the 80's and early 90's. Worked fine. Best viewfinder after LX and ME Super. What is it you miss with it besides your problems with the viewfinder.

I never used the MZ-M, but have the MZ-5, and I suppose they are quite similar minus the autofocus. Nice camera, but the Super A viewfinder is better, and it is more solidly built.
10-20-2010, 01:50 PM   #4
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What about a MX or ME Super?
Seems like the LED metering display would work great for what you're doing.

10-20-2010, 01:54 PM   #5
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I also find it's a bitch to load compared to my P30t.
I'd like to stick to the fully manual focus cameras with split focus screens, so the MZ-S etc aren't an option.
Not interested in paying to get a new screen or add on either, on a very tight budget.

The MZ-M seems to go for around 10 so it's not much of a risk.
Was just interested in getting opinions on it.
10-20-2010, 02:42 PM   #6
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I've had my ZX-M about six months and have shot a dozen rolls on it. It's a nice camera, no nonsense, but everything I need--options for aperture priority, shutter priority, program, or manual. Seems to me handsomely designed, and, if plasticky, it still feels solid, and the light weight is a plus. I shoot mainly with older M42 lenses and so use aperture priority or manual. It has the exposure memory lock feature, DOF preview, exposure compensation, and, if you're so inclined (I'm not), you can push or pull the ISO. My only complaint is that the viewfinder seems small, so that it's not always easy to focus--or, more precisely, to tell whether you're focused or not. All in all, I enjoy this camera; it's easy to load (automatic loading, and automatic film advance--nifty) and I have been very pleased with its performance.

My other cameras: Spotmatic II, SF1n, P3n, K100d, Nikon D60.

Last edited by Fiddling Bob; 10-20-2010 at 02:45 PM. Reason: added apostrophe
10-20-2010, 02:59 PM   #7
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I've never had a superA, but I do have the ZX-M/MZ-M. I got it for the small size and light weight. The viewfinder is a little too small in comparison with other film cameras with nice big viewfinders. Other than that, I love it. I do find the viewfinder info on the right easy to see in any light. I've been thinking about trying an eyepiece magnifyer on it just to help with focusing. Metering is great...
10-20-2010, 03:33 PM   #8
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Well, go for a MZ-6 and find a MZ-m focus screen for it (they are compatible!)... This way, for almost nothing more, you have Autofocus, focus confirm and P-TTL (even wireless!).

The MZ-M lacks flash automation...

10-20-2010, 05:31 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by RichyX Quote
The viewfinder is a pain to work with.
If you don't like the viewfinder in the Super-A (Super Program), you probably won't like anything else either. The Pentax M and A series cameras were the high point for bright clear viewfinders in the Pentax line. They are among the best for all time for all brands.


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10-20-2010, 06:15 PM   #10
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Hard to beat the price, but the Mz-M won't help you if it's a better finder than a Super A you want. ME Super, put it on manual, (maybe an MX/KX) and meter by eye. Else, LX.
10-20-2010, 06:39 PM   #11
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Whilst I'm a fan of the Super Program too, I would recommend an MX.
Great viewfinder, easy to see the meter in low light (LED), fully manual, small...

I took this with my MX, 1/60, M50 @ f/2, Tri-X pushed to 1600:

10-20-2010, 09:09 PM   #12
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@op,
I know what you're talking about. that LCD screen is impossible to read in low light. Do you know there's an illumination button on the mirror box, opposite the lens release button? Mine is still really dim with it pressed, but I don't know if it's just my copy.
10-21-2010, 04:28 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Super A-wesome Quote
@op,
I know what you're talking about. that LCD screen is impossible to read in low light. Do you know there's an illumination button on the mirror box, opposite the lens release button? Mine is still really dim with it pressed, but I don't know if it's just my copy.
I have no issue with the brightness or size of the superA viewfinder. It's purely the LCD display that I have a problem with.

The illumination button doesn't do a great job in my experience. Quite dim and not very responsive, although maybe it's just the button on mine. Feels very awkward using it when shooting in portrait too.
10-23-2010, 07:10 PM   #14
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I have a ZX-M. I'd suggest you try getting your hands on one and trying it you're going to use it for low-light photography. The viewfinder image is smaller than the older Pentaxes and it uses a very fine grained screen. The screen looks more like that on a DSLR, with the addition of the split image and microprism. While the viewfinder is nice and bright focus doesn't "pop" on the ZX-M screen the way it does on the coarse and grainy screen of my P3N.

I've found the autoexposure to be flaky the few times I used it. Typically I shoot on manual mode with a handheld meter so this isn't a worry for me.

On the plus side they're very light, fairly sturdy, and cheap enough to be considered disposable.
10-24-2010, 06:50 PM   #15
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I upgraded my MZ-3 to the ZX-M/MZ-M focusing screen, and as Nedski says, it's still not a great focusing screen. Still optimized for the slow kit zoom that came with the camera. But it does have split-image and microprism, so at least you have a fighting chance.

The MX has an awesome viewfinder, huge image, great screens. It will make you happy if you don't wear eyeglasses. Only complaint I have is that chaging shutter speeds is awkward.
n
I do wish that there was a high quality third-party focusing screen for the MZ-3, ZX-5n/MZ-5n and siblings. Great controls, autofocus that's much faster than the early Pentax DSLRs, and great user interface. The green LED viewfinder display is awesome.
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