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11-17-2010, 05:02 PM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by keyser Quote
I'd recommend the Superprogram as the best combo of look, feel and functionality.
They are nice. Not to date myself, but they were one of my favorites to set customers up when they were brand new. (And I've got a Super A myself right now, to back that up. )

11-17-2010, 05:43 PM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ratmagiclady Quote
They are nice. Not to date myself, but they were one of my favorites to set customers up when they were brand new. (And I've got a Super A myself right now, to back that up. )
I agree, the Super A was, (and is!) a great camera. One of them in good shape, even now, would be a great find.....plenty of lenses & other things like flash etc available too.
Cheers, Pickles.
11-17-2010, 07:28 PM   #18
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To the OP: most college courses that teach film shooting want you to have a camera that is completely manual, or at least has a manual mode.

Some Pentax cameras, like the ME, have only automatic modes, so be careful. You can download the manual for any Pentax camera, film or digital, from the Pentax USA website at http://www.pentaximaging.com. Just click on the support tab and follow the questions until you find the camera you're interested in. Its free.

The classic student camera is the K1000. It is a completely manual camera. You must set the shutter speed and aperture, although the camera's builtin meter will tell you if you have chosen a "correct" combination, but it will not prevent you from using an "incorrect" combination. They're cheap and readily available.
11-17-2010, 11:45 PM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
As much as I love Pentax manual film bodies, I wouldn't recommend a K/M/A/P series camera. There is too high a probability of it having "issues" (bad seals, shutter calibration, etc.)

The ZX-M would be the ideal choice, it was the designed to be the successor to the K1000 as a student camera and is compatible with all Pentax lenses including the DA series.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-manual-focus-film-slr-camera-revie...mz-m-zx-m.html
Any camera in the ZX or MZ series is a poor recommendation due to high failure rates and expensive batteries.

Also a poor recommendation due to high failure rates.

Your bet bet would be to buy a P3n or P30t with the 50mm lens. Both cameras can be had for under $50 with lens, and a backup body can be purchased for under $30. They are very reliable, are very easy to learn, and are so cheap now that if they are lost or stolen it is no big deal.

11-17-2010, 11:58 PM   #20
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Most college level photography courses actually encourage the use of the Pentax K1000 even now. It's a safe bet that her teacher will fully approve of that one. After that I'd say a similar Nikon or a Canon is a good choice, but K1000's do tend to be pretty ubiquitous in Photography 101 for some reason.
11-18-2010, 01:33 AM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by magkelly Quote
Most college level photography courses actually encourage the use of the Pentax K1000 even now. It's a safe bet that her teacher will fully approve of that one. After that I'd say a similar Nikon or a Canon is a good choice, but K1000's do tend to be pretty ubiquitous in Photography 101 for some reason.
The photography department at my school has a whole grip of K1000 with Takumar 50mm f/2 lenses for students to check out.

I personally shied away from the K1000 because it does have the "student camera" reputation and is a bit over priced on fleabay.
11-18-2010, 06:06 AM   #22
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KM is a good K1000 substitute, basically an upgraded K1000. Adds DOF preview and Self Timer otherwise remains much the same and well built. I have one that will likely go up for sale with a M 50 1.7 once my MX is back from the shop in December sometime
11-18-2010, 08:21 AM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by eddie1960 Quote
KM is a good K1000 substitute, basically an upgraded K1000. Adds DOF preview and Self Timer otherwise remains much the same and well built. I have one that will likely go up for sale with a M 50 1.7 once my MX is back from the shop in December sometime
Yes a KM is a good choice over a K1000 and could even be cheaper!

A KX is an even better choice, as it has a better metering system than the KM/K1000 and will not cost that much more.

Phil.

11-18-2010, 02:15 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by Steve Beswick Quote
Your bet bet would be to buy a P3n or P30t with the 50mm lens.
I second that recommendation. I've been playing with a bunch of Pentax film cameras lately trying to figure out which I like best. The P3n has surprised me. It's not often mentioned, but it's a really, really nice little camera that I've really come to love. The only knocks I have against it are a lack of MLU, a lack of film speed over-ride and the shutter sound.

That last one isn't really a good reason to pass it up, either. I'm just a fan of the pleasing "ka-thwack" of something like a K1000 or a Canon FTb. The P3n kinda squeaks and isn't nearly as acoustically satisfying.

Beyond that, though, the P3n is a great, lightweight user that you can't go wrong with.
11-18-2010, 09:35 PM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by GhoSStrider Quote
a lack of film speed over-ride
If this camera insists on reading the film canister barcode, you use to be able to buy stickers to put on bulk roll canisters (which are usually plain black) but if the course requirement is to develop your own film, I'd image establishing your own EI would also be part of the curriculum, and so such a camera would be a non starter.
11-18-2010, 10:01 PM   #26
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Failure Rate of ZX-M?

QuoteOriginally posted by Steve Beswick Quote
Any camera in the ZX or MZ series is a poor recommendation due to high failure rates and expensive batteries.

Your bet bet would be to buy a P3n or P30t with the 50mm lens. Both cameras can be had for under $50 with lens, and a backup body can be purchased for under $30. They are very reliable, are very easy to learn, and are so cheap now that if they are lost or stolen it is no big deal.
Interesting. I have both the ZX-M and the P3n. The ZX-M I've had for a year, have shot a dozen rolls with it--a wonderful camera, and the battery it came with is still going strong. A couple of months ago I bought a P3n, shot two rolls with it, and then it mysteriously died. I liked it and have bought a replacement, but it's the camera that, for me, I worry about failing. So, just on the basis of my experience (admittedly limited), I would second the recommendation of the ZX-M.
11-18-2010, 10:15 PM   #27
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No photo course I ever took required the use of bulk loaded film, nor use of an EI different from the box speed.
But as much as I like the P3n/P30T, IMO a manual exposure-only body like the KM or K1000 would be preferable in this case.
A student must understand proper exposure, a lesson best learned without the temptation to resort to autoexposure.

Chris
11-18-2010, 10:41 PM   #28
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Why don't we recommend the ZX-M? All of the ZX/MZ series bodies
have a fatal flaw - a plastic gear on the motor that runs everything.
These invariably break, making the camera completely nonfunctional.

The improved replacement part has a metal gear and will last much longer.
But unless you bought a body that was already repaired or you are capable of
replacing the motor yourself, expect a $100+ repair somewhere down the line.

OTOH I have purchased several used P3n and P30T bodies for friends
and family members. Each has continued to work perfectly for years...

Chris
11-19-2010, 07:45 AM   #29
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Plastic Gear on ZX-M

QuoteOriginally posted by ChrisPlatt Quote
Why don't we recommend the ZX-M? All of the ZX/MZ series bodies
have a fatal flaw - a plastic gear on the motor that runs everything.
These invariably break, making the camera completely nonfunctional.

The improved replacement part has a metal gear and will last much longer.
But unless you bought a body that was already repaired or you are capable of
replacing the motor yourself, expect a $100+ repair somewhere down the line.

OTOH I have purchased several used P3n and P30T bodies for friends
and family members. Each has continued to work perfectly for years...

Chris
Thanks for the information, Chris. I didn't know about that fragile gear. Fortunately, ZX-Ms aren't costly these days, and when mine breaks, at least I don't have a lot invested in it--other than sentiment and the memory of lots of good images from it. Rather than spend a hundred dollars on repair, I could probably find another on eBay for under fifty. Same goes for the P3n, and I do like the P3n and hope that my second one outlasts the first.

For a student just learning, maybe the best choice after all is the one most frequently recommended, the K1000.

Last edited by Fiddling Bob; 11-19-2010 at 07:47 AM. Reason: corrected title
11-20-2010, 10:02 PM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by Fiddling Bob Quote
Thanks for the information, Chris. I didn't know about that fragile gear. Fortunately, ZX-Ms aren't costly these days, and when mine breaks, at least I don't have a lot invested in it--other than sentiment and the memory of lots of good images from it. Rather than spend a hundred dollars on repair, I could probably find another on eBay for under fifty. , .
My ZX-L has performed very well. If I were worried about failure of that gear (and it could be a real issue), then I'd buy several. They are priced so cheaply these days that they are almost disposable. As it is, I have other bodies.
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