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07-21-2011, 03:20 AM   #1
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Which film SLR - MZ-50, MZ-S or LX?

Quick question. Which is the better model for a film SLR?

I STF and it appears that these are the favourite pentax film SLRs....I am however, not familiar with film SLR. Which of these has the fastest AF, best metering? I am thinking of getting one from ebay. I have 3 FF lenses (1 FA50, 1 Tamron 28-75 and 1 Tamron 70-200).

Appreciate your feedback.

07-21-2011, 03:50 AM   #2
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If all 3 of those lenses have aperture rings then the MZ-S may be the best choice. If you want to be able to use lenses with no aperture ring then the PZ-1p may be a better solution. Most of the MZ series bodies have no provision for manually controlling the aperture on a lens with no aperture ring, however you can still use the lenses in Program or Shutter Priority and adjust the programmed exposure using exposure compensation.

You might want to confirm, but I don't think that the MZ-50 is fully compatible with manual lenses. An MZ-5, MZ-5n, MZ-3, MZ-6 or MZ-7 might be a better choice.

The LX and MZ-S both sell for somewhere around $400. The LX also has limited compatibility with lenses that don't have an aperture ring. The metering on both should be excellent, and the LX doesn't have autofocus.
07-21-2011, 03:59 AM   #3
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Yep. all these lenses have aperture rings.

I might get also the 28mm manual lens (I dont know which version however...not familiar with the lens model no of older lenses). So should i hunt for Pz-1p, MZ-5, MZ-5n, MZ-3, MZ-6 or MZ-7?
07-21-2011, 04:17 AM   #4
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It really depends on how much you want to spend. My MZ-5n with an AA battery grip was something like $40, and the general market rate is around $80 +/- 20. The MZ-6 or -7 (and all of their ZX variants) are similar in price or a little cheaper.

Unfortunately all of the MZ and ZX bodies except for the MZ-S can suffer from a weak plastic mirror motor gear, but if the camera is working when you get it it could be good for quite a while. Some bodies have a brass gear, but I don't know of a way of telling them apart without disassembling the camera. Even if you get a body with a broken gear and have it repaired with the brass replacement part (or do the work yourself like a couple of forum members) you will still probably pay under $200.

A PZ-1p is more like $100 or a little more, and you can't get an AA grip for it, so you are stuck with CR-5s.

The MZ-S is the best built camera of the bunch by a long shot and you can get an AA grip for it, but you will probably pay 4 or 5 times as much as the other cameras.

The A 28mm f/2.8 is a nice enough wide angle on film, and it is much easier to focus on a proper 35mm viewfinder than on an APS-C body.

07-21-2011, 07:05 AM   #5
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So assuming that I do not want to take the risk to get a potentially faulty motor, I should really be looking at either the MZ-S or the PZ-1p?
07-21-2011, 08:00 AM   #6
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The cheaper MZ-5N, 6, and 7 are very durable auto focus cameras if they have up-graded mirror motor with metal gear. I've replaced over a dozen mirror motors in MZ series cameras and the work has been routine to me now. I continuously use these cameras without any issue. 5N is more convenient to operate with retro-dials; it has spot and matrix metering. The controls of 6 and 7 are more like digital cameras. 5N has penta-prism in the viewfinder. The kit lenses, DA 18-55 and 55-300mm work very well in these cameras. I have a sample photo taken with MZ-5N in the thread "Lets see those film shots" page 392.

Last edited by violini; 07-21-2011 at 10:38 AM.
07-21-2011, 08:06 AM   #7
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Skip the MZ50; go for the single digit ones but be aware that thay can suffer form the sudden-death syndrome due to a faulty gear

The MZS should be a great camera, but expensive and hard to find

Maybe a PZ1p?
07-21-2011, 08:41 AM   #8
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Despite the potential long term mirror issue, I don't hesitate to recommend the MZ-5n. I have been very happy with mine and if the mirror does run into problems I'll have it repaired, after which there shouldn't be any more issues. The controls are logical, the screw drive autofocus is relatively fast, and having to use DA lenses in Program mode hasn't bothered me at all. The ability to use AAs as the power source was one of the major reasons I went with an MZ series camera.

If you go that way, just make sure the camera is tested (by you or the seller) and working with the mirror firing properly before you buy it.

07-21-2011, 03:38 PM   #9
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The MZ accept DA lenses? I thought the da are meant for crop bodies?
07-21-2011, 03:52 PM   #10
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In DA 18-55, you get dark corners between 18-20mm. DA 40 and 70 will cover 35mm frame.
07-21-2011, 04:10 PM   #11
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which of the MZ series (MZ-5n, 6, 7) has the best metering? Does all have spot, centre weighted and all? Do they have the green button? Do they all have the DOF button?

I don't quite understand about the pentaprism part. Is that desirable or not.
07-21-2011, 05:58 PM   #12
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Pentaprisms are brighter than pentamirrors (they let more light through), making the viewfinder a bit easier to see.

The meters should all be the same. I expect that all 3 have spot, centre weighted and matrix metering but I only have an MZ-5n in front of me to confirm for sure. The respective camera manuals will give more information on the metering modes. The MZ-6 and MZ-5n have DOF preview but the MZ-5 and MZ-7 do not.

I'm not sure if any body before the MZ-S had a green button. Most of the other MZ cameras has a green program (auto) mode but you have to change the mode dial to get there.
07-21-2011, 09:10 PM   #13
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The MZ-5n has DOF preview but the the MZ-5 and MZ-7 has no DOF preview......hmmm...

so the better model would be MZ-5n since it has pentaprism and has DOF preview.

Is this a fair statement?
07-22-2011, 12:09 AM   #14
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I'm throwing a spanner in the works here - but why not consider a fully manual metal bodied SLR like the LX or MX?
Less old things to break, reliable, joy to use... The FA50 will still work on them, or you can get a lovely manual focus 50mm.
You may find the build of the manual focus film SLRs to be way better than the auto focus ones!
07-22-2011, 12:44 AM   #15
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Mzs have data imprint will write the av and tv value in the gap of the film; )
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