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03-15-2011, 09:52 AM   #1
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Recommend a cheap 35 mm Pentax

I've been shooting a lot of film lately, on my Nikon F100. I'd like to be able to have a couple of rolls going at once, and also, of course, to use my Pentax glass. So what's a reasonable Pentax camera to pick up on eBay, or the board marketplace, etc?

I'd like to be able to mount my K lenses directly. I'd like a dependable spot meter, and a bright viewfinder and focus screen. Those are the important things....the other stuff doesn't matter as much.

03-15-2011, 10:32 AM   #2
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Depends on your definition of cheap. Except for the LX and MZ-S, Pentax film bodies are pretty cheap.

I think the ZX-5N might fit your requirements. 0.8x Pentaprism, non-crippled KAF2 mount, less than $100. The plastic mirror gear is a weak point, but a metal replacement isn't very expensive.
03-15-2011, 10:35 AM   #3
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if you shoot a lot of older MF on it than the older MX/Kx would be better cameras, but the mz5 is a great camera and will work with your FA lenses (i had one for a long time until i went digital, should buy one back now but i have 4 pentax film bodies already)
Viewfinder wise the MZ5 doesn't touch the older metal bodies like the kx/mx/lx
03-15-2011, 10:46 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by eddie1960 Quote
if you shoot a lot of older MF on it than the older MX/Kx would be better cameras, but the mz5 is a great camera and will work with your FA lenses (i had one for a long time until i went digital, should buy one back now but i have 4 pentax film bodies already)
Viewfinder wise the MZ5 doesn't touch the older metal bodies like the kx/mx/lx
But the MF bodies don't have a spot meter. Pentax didn't add a spot meter until the PZ series. In fact, the PZ-1 might be an even better choice.


Last edited by boriscleto; 03-15-2011 at 10:52 AM.
03-15-2011, 10:54 AM   #5
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A super program perhaps? If you also want af, try the pz-1 or zx-5n.
03-15-2011, 10:56 AM   #6
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Missed that Boris. I have a handheld spot for when i need it and when on walkabout with a film body am just as likely to use sunny 16 (and the built in meter on my mx is pretty accurate in most situations)

I did use spot a lot on the mz5 though. Haven't used a PZ but they are generally pretty darn cheap
03-15-2011, 11:10 AM   #7
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Have your pick. You can get any Pentax with a lens for $20 at most thrift stores. At that price, try them all out.
03-15-2011, 11:16 AM   #8
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I have two MZ-5N, but when shooting film, I always use MZ-6 because I can use DA lenses in Av mode. 5N is easier to operate if you use lenses with aperture ring. DA lens will also work but not in Av mode. All my MZ cameras have metal gear on mirror motor shaft. I seldom use the two kit lenses, DA 18-55 and 55-300mm on my digital cameras. These two lenses work very well on MZ-6 (only get dark corners at wide angle end). The Fresnel focus screen is good enough for me. Also the hexagon will light up inside the viewfinder when proper focus is obtained. You can select spot metering in these two cameras.

The viewfinder of auto-focus cameras is not that bright as compared to the manual focus one. The reason for that is: the center area of the mirror is partially silvered to allow some light to transmit through for auto-focus.


Last edited by violini; 03-15-2011 at 11:59 AM.
03-15-2011, 11:19 AM   #9
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I've recently picked up some Pentax film cameras as I never had any before. My favorite is the PZ-1p as it's reminiscent of the K-10 (two toggle wheels) and it was the flagship model. I also obtained a PZ-10 fro $20, which is a yawner (it works but no bells and whistles).

I got a ZX-m (MX-m) (manual focus only) and a ZX-5 (MX-5) for about $20-30 each. I like this series, it's plasticy but has a nice feel and operation and was (I believe) the last series before the *IST and digital cameras. The suggestion of the ZX-5n is a good one BTW as it has DOF preview.

I guess that I'd stay away from the higher number models in each series as they tend to be dumbed down. Before buying one (assuming that it's in good condition), read the reviews of it here as they are very helpful in making that buy / no buy decision and also look here for more info:
Pentax Camera Bodies
03-15-2011, 02:51 PM   #10
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Thank you for all of the replies.

I've been looking at info about all of these bodies, as well as some others, and I am starting to wonder if I should remove "spot meter" from my requirements. I suppose if I had to I could get used to center-weighted. And it seems like the models that appeal to me build-wise and appearance-wise don't have spot-meters. I like the idea of something heavy, solid, and sturdy. I'm liking what I see about the K2, the K1000, LX, and a couple of others...
03-15-2011, 03:43 PM   #11
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Love my Mx! Small, sturdy, workhorse, great light meter! Try it, you won't be disappointed!
03-15-2011, 03:53 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Todd Adamson Quote
Thank you for all of the replies.

I've been looking at info about all of these bodies, as well as some others, and I am starting to wonder if I should remove "spot meter" from my requirements. I suppose if I had to I could get used to center-weighted. And it seems like the models that appeal to me build-wise and appearance-wise don't have spot-meters. I like the idea of something heavy, solid, and sturdy. I'm liking what I see about the K2, the K1000, LX, and a couple of others...

The k1000 is a fine camera if you like the semi-manual approach. All you get is a meter that centers, basically go no go with your selected settings. If you like a little program work for aperture priority or shutter priority modes the ME super served me well for many years. It still has the full manual, bulb and remote shutter release via cable functions.
03-15-2011, 04:08 PM   #13
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i really have to plus one rense the mx is a really nice little camera at a quarter of the lx price
the kx also just a little larger
k1000 are overpriced usually for what they are a kx, k2 km mx are all better for less
03-15-2011, 04:47 PM   #14
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OK, I have made further considerations. The LX looks sweet, but not really looking to spend $500 right now. I think I've abandoned the spot meter requirement, and it may be coming down to either the MX or the ME Super, so if anyone feels like pushing me in one direction or the other...

There's a supposedly CLA'd ME Super on eBay from Pro Photo Camera Shop. Anyone know anything about that operation? If that CLA means the seals were all replaced, I assume that would be a good price.

I'm guessing I can pick up an MX in reasonable shape from eBay for about $100. If it needed a CLA, that would be $110 + any parts with KEH. So I'd have more money in the MX if that happened...but a well-restored MX for $250 or less might not be too far out of line, and wojld last a long time.
03-15-2011, 04:55 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Todd Adamson Quote
OK, I have made further considerations. The LX looks sweet, but not really looking to spend $500 right now. I think I've abandoned the spot meter requirement, and it may be coming down to either the MX or the ME Super, so if anyone feels like pushing me in one direction or the other...

There's a supposedly CLA'd ME Super on eBay from Pro Photo Camera Shop. Anyone know anything about that operation? If that CLA means the seals were all replaced, I assume that would be a good price.

I'm guessing I can pick up an MX in reasonable shape from eBay for about $100. If it needed a CLA, that would be $110 + any parts with KEH. So I'd have more money in the MX if that happened...but a well-restored MX for $250 or less might not be too far out of line, and wojld last a long time.
Eric Hendrickson charges $63.00 for a ME Super CLA. He charges the same for the Spotmatic and K1000. That includes shipping and minor parts. Email him and ask him what he charges for a MX CLA. A CLA (Clean, Lubrcate, Adjust) is a little more than just replacing the seals, the meter and shutter are calibrated and the gears lubricated.

pentax27@aol.com

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