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06-21-2011, 08:34 PM   #1
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Pentax PZ-1p for professional rigors

Hey everyone,

I've been really loving film photography and have now made use of my Pentax optics and put them on full frame bodies... yup! Film!

I love my Pentax PZ-1p and am thinking of getting another. That way I can shoot with both a wide angle lens (like my SMC A-28mm F2.8) and also a normal lens (on full frame) like the DA*55 F1.4 without having to change lenses.

My question is: Has anyone used the PZ-1 or PZ-1p extensively for professional use? If so, curious on your thoughts? If they break down very often, I would have to go another direction.

The pro use? Documentary photography, especially weddings.

06-21-2011, 09:37 PM   #2
brh
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I never used my PZ1 'professionally,' so to speak, but I did use it as my exclusive camera for a number of years. A lot of time put in shooting in the woods, sometimes in wet/rainy conditions. I bought mine secondhand. At the time of purchase, the thin bit of plastic right outside the battery door (to the left, if you're holding the camera upside down with the lens pointing away from you) was split. I planned to patch it up w/ some plastic cement, but never did. I can see why this broke, it's incredibly thin, and I would expect to see it broken in other examples. But, the actual battery door latches on the frame under this bit of cosmetic plastic, and is not affected. Anyway, that's the only thing resembling failure that mine ever saw. Still works the same today as it ever did, I just have fallen out of love with it. I think they're pretty solid machines, personally…!
06-21-2011, 09:43 PM   #3
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Don't know about professional use either but I bought one used 2 years ago that came with a non-popup flash. Apparently that's not that uncommon with those. I had Eric CLA it and fix the flash this year. Through a long chain of events I wound up with a second PZ-1p body. I don't need two of them. PM if and when you are interested in buying a second body. They are solid cameras and were the flagship model for a few years in the '90's.

BTW - the PZ-1 and PZ-1p are very similar but slightly different cameras. I learned that the hard way.
06-22-2011, 12:50 PM   #4
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It is as good a platform as Pentax has for af film. Its big compared to the MZ-S is about the only downside to that body.

06-23-2011, 02:54 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by brh Quote
...At the time of purchase, the thin bit of plastic right outside the battery door (to the left, if you're holding the camera upside down with the lens pointing away from you) was split…
Mine is broken right there, too! No effect on functionality.

I never shot professionally, but my PZ-1 has been on a couple different continents with me. I carry it in conjunction with my digital stuff as the front/rear dial interface is the same...makes it easy, but sometimes I shoot it and look at the back to see the pic!
06-23-2011, 07:29 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Portland Pete Quote
Mine is broken right there, too! No effect on functionality.

I never shot professionally, but my PZ-1 has been on a couple different continents with me. I carry it in conjunction with my digital stuff as the front/rear dial interface is the same...makes it easy, but sometimes I shoot it and look at the back to see the pic!
As long as you don't start seeing pictures your good. I have done the same thing with my MZ-3.
06-23-2011, 10:47 PM   #7
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Geez. Now I've got this bright idea of taping random pictures to the back of my K1000, just to throw people off.
06-23-2011, 11:35 PM   #8
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A friend of mine drew a portrait picture of themselves (stick figures) and pasted it on the back of their film camera. Was pure awesome!

My PZ-1p has been holding pretty steady and is a pretty tough camera. Having AF confirmation for manual focus is actually... very useful. I'm tempted to maybe partner it with (now) a Super Program...

06-25-2011, 02:01 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by dugrant153 Quote
Having AF confirmation for manual focus is actually... very useful.
Precisely why I want an ME F

That one Chinon does it as well, I believe…
06-30-2011, 10:33 AM   #10
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I have seen the latch for built-in flash broke. The flash ended up in up position all the time (fired every shot of course). Because of that, I now have the habit that whenever I use a built-in flash on a SLR body, I use my finder to guide it to a soft open instead of letting it open all by iteself.

The bottom plate crack near battery door is a common (cosmetic) problem.
06-30-2011, 03:02 PM   #11
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PZ-1P bottom cover cracks (near the battery door) are pretty common.
This is something to always check for before buying one.
I'm sure spares are by now scarce or unavailable.

Chris
07-04-2011, 07:13 PM   #12
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Shot with PZ-1p for several years, made money with assignment photography as well as magazine submissions. Excellent camera. Never used it "professionally" in the sense of eight hours a day, six days a week, so I can't speak to its endurance.

They're so cheap, though, that you might buy three or four bodies, assuming you really like them.

My inclination might be a pair of low-mileage F100s or EOS-1Vs, but then you'd have to switch systems.
07-07-2011, 11:44 AM   #13
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Pro use of PZ-1

Don't know about the PZ1-p, per se, but I did buy a PZ-1 the first day they came out with it in 1992. Mostly got it for the 1/250th sync speed and the OTF flash sensor that worked with the AF280T as well as newer flashes. Really enjoyed it for the HyperManual Mode when used with the spotmeter. Only ever used it with MF lenses Took a lot of great photos with it. Beat the snot out of it for a dozen years, and it still works.

That said, there were any number of things that made it less than a top-flight professional offering:

-Multi-Segment meter was too biased toward overexposure for chrome films.

-It wasn't weathersealed like the LX. It entrained a lot of dust because the back had no compressible seal.

-Viewfinder was less than 100%.

-Shutter lag was considerably longer than the LX, so I missed a lot of peak of action stuff.

-It tended to eat $12 non-rechargeable batteries, and had cold poor coldsoak performance problems despite it being a 2CR5 Lithium.

-Worst of all, because of the way that it spooled film, it can put a crease in thin emulsions that looks and scans exactly like a longitudinal scratch. And no, it wasn't the little roller or arm. Almost drove me nuts til I figured out what it was. It never did this with Kodachrome, interestingly, but that might be because the unprocessed emulsion was thicker and/or the RemJet backing got scrubbed off in K14 processing. It was my Kodachrome-only camera for this reason.

Compared to the other flagships cameras of the era (Nikon F4, EOS 1N), that are now dirt cheap, there's not a whole lot to recommend a PZ-1 besides it being the only 1/250 synch Pentax body of the film era.

Last edited by Ivan J. Eberle; 07-07-2011 at 11:58 AM.
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