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11-18-2007, 09:38 PM   #1
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Wife wants a 35mm Pentax advice help

My wife wants a 35mm camera that used film and her dad whos a photo nut said Pentax are good cameras...just thought you guys might help me in what might be good for her.

I use digital rebal xlt and don't know much about the older cameras


any info will help

11-18-2007, 10:23 PM   #2
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Welcome to Pentax Forums SnowWolf,

Your probably aware that Pentax made several wonderful 35mm cameras.
And the good thing is that you can often find them dirt cheap at yard sales, and what not.

I haven't spent much time in their film world, so I won't try to advise you, however if you could tell us your wifes level it might help.
As in has she shot in Manual, or does she need a fully automatic camera type thing.

I think that Marc, otherwise known as 35mmfilm_user will probably have the best advice.
11-18-2007, 10:41 PM   #3
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If you can pick up a working K1000 she'll be very happy. This match-needle beauty was one of the best entry-level cameras of which I can think. Of course there were many others (i.e. MX) but the K1000 was the best known and one of the last to hold its own.
11-19-2007, 01:15 AM   #4
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i have a pentax ZX-50 film slr body only, if u r interested...... it has both auto focus and manual focusing options...... very clean, no scratches or dings, works perfect.....

11-19-2007, 06:05 AM   #5
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Answer depends on what she would be comfortable with. Manual or Auto focus.

If manual is ok with her, i would suggest the K1000 as some one has already mentioned. A really good, basic camera with decent metering, easy to use.

If its an AF camera, i would look at the PZ-1 or SF-1 series or the MZ series like the 5N.

Pentax has some great lens out there.

If she wants inexpensive zooms for manual cameras(will work on the AF ones to) i have the 35-70, the 80-200 and 28-105, all are very good, not to expensive and produce clear photos. Oh the 28-105 is an AF lens now that i think of it.

Also have a look at the older spotmatics if you want classics, like the sp500 sp1000 etc. There is still a lot of screwmount glass out there for sale and those lenses are just wonderfull. Look for the 28, the 50 or 55 85(expensive) or 105.

Hope that helps

11-19-2007, 06:39 AM   #6
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I will make a giant assumption here and assume that while she wants a film camera, and yes pentax made some great ones, she would also like at some point to move into digital.

Assuming this will all be done with pentax lenses, and she wants to have the maximum flexibility, i.e. manual and auto focus, manual and automatic exposure control, spot & multi segment metering, etc... the best choice would be a PZ-1 or PZ-1p

These are full size autofocus cameras, but they were targeted at the serious amature.

The list of features is impressive, and you can download the manual from if you want to research them further.

These bodies will allow you to aquire a large number of relitively current pentax lenses, and they will all still fuinction giving the best of both worlds.
11-19-2007, 06:58 AM   #7
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I'd agree with those suggestions above and it also would depend on the budget. The PZ-1 or PZ-1p would be the best of the best and usually sell for around $150.00 on places like Ebay. Just make sure you get a manual although PDF copies are available on the net. Some will say the MZ-S is the best ever produced and it would be hard to argue that but you're looking at around $500 for that body and it lacks the Hyperprogram of the PZ 1 and PZ-1p which I think is a fantastic feature.
The 2 PZ's mentioned will work just fine as full manual cameras with full automation as well.

The K1000 was a great camera and usually sells for less than $100 these days. Solid and well built, just totally manual but takes great shots. The LX is another superb camera but there is a risk with this model on the used market. It has shown issues with the mirror bucket and the "sticky mirror" problem with older models so one that I would highly recommend from the pre AF era but a bit risky as a used camera.

The Sf series are good and dirt cheap at around $30-50 these days. AF is a bit slow and the camera is a bit noisy but it's well featured. I've got one you can have (with a new battery) for $35 shipped complete with manual if you want a cheap starter unit.

As for lenses. I'd consider the lenses listed above and also add a fast 50mm like the 50mm f1.7 or 1.4 (available as Manual focus or AF). Also a 28mm f2.8 is a good wide on film. and a 135mm f2.8

With Pentax lenses there are a couple of designations to learn. They will be printed around the barrel or on the front around the filter ring. It will look like "SMC Pentax M 1:2.8 28mm"
SMC stands for Super Multi Coated and is considered one of, if not the best flare resistant coating with excellent contrast rendition.
Also AF lenses might have "SMC Pentax-F 1.1:7 50mm"

M & K series (often just Pentax SMC with no "M" on the lens) Manual focus lens with limited functions on some AF bodies such as the camera can't do stop down metering (Some MZ series bodies)

A series: Has full function on all bodies (execpt Crippled KAF bodies) with stop down metering, no auto focus.

F, FA Series. Works as A series with Auto Focus.

FAJ similar to FA series but will not work on certain boddies.

DA series. Designed for the Digital camera series

D-FA series. Works on all bodies. Optimized for digital but works on all.

See the chart here for a complete list:

The Pentax Camera Lens Compatibility Chart

Also hae a look at the forum reviews for every Pentax brand lens made:

Pentax Lens Review Database - Main Index

There are other lenses from 3rd party suppliers available and you'd have to post some "what about this lens" questions if you come across a 3rd party lens you like.
11-19-2007, 06:58 PM   #8
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Thanks guys and gals.....on the advice on you all I did some research and found this little Jem on ebay.....I am sure she will be very pleased and if she dosn't like it I'll keep it and get her something else....L
Pentax PZ-1 PZ1 camera, 2 zoom lenses, swivel flash - (eBay item 280172846241 end time Nov-19-07 17:53:50 PST)
shes the love of my life

11-19-2007, 07:17 PM   #9
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And now for the real value. That camera alone sold for $999 when it was new. She'll love it after she spends a week or 2 wrking through the manual. You got a good buy there and the lenses are good starters.
11-25-2007, 10:13 PM   #10
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I would check your local shops to see who still doing film . Might save some bucks and headaches .
11-28-2007, 06:40 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by SnowWolf Quote
My wife wants a 35mm camera that used film and her dad whos a photo nut said Pentax are good cameras...just thought you guys might help me in what might be good for her.

I use digital rebal xlt and don't know much about the older cameras


any info will help
That depends. If she isn't into turning knobs the IQ zooms (Point and shoot) are a reliable and flexible camera. There are a host of different models mostly with minor differences.
11-28-2007, 11:12 AM   #12
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ME Super - bullet proof, k-mount, simplicity, quality.
11-30-2007, 05:48 PM   #13
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I highly recommend the Pentax MX with a 50mm - either the SMC-PA or SMC-PM 50/1.7 or 50/1.4 to start with. The MX is like a little Jeep. IMHO, the best Pentax SLR after the Pentax LX and it is relatively inexpensive. The viewfinder on the MX is one of the best ever made - quite bright with 97% coverage.

You may also want to consider a classic Spotmatic. The screwmount Takumars are wonderful. The 50/1,4 is bliss. There are many screw-mount lenses available from all sorts of manufacturers. I have a Soviet Helios 85/f1,5 as well as a Carl Zeiss Jena 20mm/f2.8 Flektogon that I love. Personally, I don't have a Spotmatic camera - I use the screw-mount lenses on my Pentax MX via an m42-K adapter.

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