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03-27-2012, 07:37 PM   #1
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What does an MZ-S feel like?

I actually like large, heavy camera bodies, and my D3 is still my preferred camera in most cases. I've never held a high end pro Nikon film body, but the F100 surpasses anything I've put my hands on. I love that camera. But it won't mount my FA Limiteds, so I've been exploring Pentax film bodies for a while now. The old, solid metal bodies feel great, but when I'm not just screwing around I want the camera to advance the film for me, and I even sometimes want to take advantage of AF. So now I'm trying to find a Pentax body that feels as sturdy and dependable as the F100. I picked up a cheap PZ-1 last week. Really nice; excellent ergonomics and weight/balance. But the back and the baseplate are...well, ridiculous.

It's just a weird personal thing, I suppose, but even though I'm not generally rough on gear, I like to feel as though I could bludgeon an intruder to death with my camera and then take photos. I don't get that feeling from the PZ-1.

So what about the MZ-S? I know it's lighter, but it's also smaller. Though I generally like larger bodies, I've adapted to the K-5. The K-5 feels great to me...very dense and sturdy. Does the build quality of the MZ-S even approach the K-5? I didn't pay much for the PZ-1, but I'd hate to fork over $400+ for an MZ-S and feel like it wasn't any more weapon-worthy than the PZ.

03-27-2012, 07:46 PM   #2
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The MS-Z feels pretty good (especially with the grip), but it's not as good as the K-5 IMO as it's lighter and the handle is significantly smaller.

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03-27-2012, 07:53 PM   #3
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Really, the handle is noticeably smaller? That's a bummer. Love my K-5, but to go any smaller would be difficult for me.

I guess maybe the PZ-1 is where I want to be for using my Limiteds. I'll save the money I would have spent on an MZ-S and put it toward an F6. Or maybe have someone custom-machine me an alloy baseplate for the PZ, LOL.
03-27-2012, 08:08 PM   #4
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If you don't like the PZ-1 you probably also won't like the predecessor the SFX.

So what about an LX with a winder or motor drive? You lose autofocus but you gain dust seals and a made-of-metal body. It's a good match for the FA Limited lenses, I've used mine quite some with the FA limited lenses.

03-28-2012, 01:08 AM   #5
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The feel of the MZ-S is fantastic. The feel of the MZ-S with the battery grip is the best I have ever had. I like it even better than my K-7. But it is a personal thing.
Yes the grip is smaller, but I find it better sculptured, and therefore it feels better in my hands. (Yes I am talking about a camera not a woman :P )
03-28-2012, 02:22 AM - 1 Like   #6
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03-28-2012, 06:10 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Todd Adamson Quote
I actually like large, heavy camera bodies, and my D3 is still my preferred camera in most cases. I've never held a high end pro Nikon film body, but the F100 surpasses anything I've put my hands on. I love that camera. But it won't mount my FA Limiteds, so I've been exploring Pentax film bodies for a while now. The old, solid metal bodies feel great, but when I'm not just screwing around I want the camera to advance the film for me, and I even sometimes want to take advantage of AF. So now I'm trying to find a Pentax body that feels as sturdy and dependable as the F100. I picked up a cheap PZ-1 last week. Really nice; excellent ergonomics and weight/balance. But the back and the baseplate are...well, ridiculous.

It's just a weird personal thing, I suppose, but even though I'm not generally rough on gear, I like to feel as though I could bludgeon an intruder to death with my camera and then take photos. I don't get that feeling from the PZ-1.

So what about the MZ-S? I know it's lighter, but it's also smaller. Though I generally like larger bodies, I've adapted to the K-5. The K-5 feels great to me...very dense and sturdy. Does the build quality of the MZ-S even approach the K-5? I didn't pay much for the PZ-1, but I'd hate to fork over $400+ for an MZ-S and feel like it wasn't any more weapon-worthy than the PZ.
your philosophy and Pentax's philosophy in cameras couldn't be more different, so it may be difficult for you to find a Pentax film body that really meets your liking. Nikon has always built big, heavy, chunky cameras. compare a 1959 nikon F to a pentax of the same era. completely different cameras. now compare a late 90's/early 2000's pentax and nikon. still two completely different cameras. Pentax is about small, light, compact. more elegant in design. nikon is about big, brutish, heavy, "Pro" (I use that term loosely but not derogatory) cameras. Pentax has had its share of heavier 'weapon like' camera bodies, but then look at the LX compared to a pro nikon or canon of the era. they take that to another level.

you will be disappointed in the MZ-S compared to a F100 or F-5, etc. as I believe your taste just simply swings towards nikon's design philosophy. so no sense in wasting the money I would think.
03-28-2012, 12:04 PM - 1 Like   #8
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It would be difficult to be disappointed with an MZ-S, its so intuitive in the way it functions and is designed. With a grip its not much different in size to a K5, just a little bit slimmer, as Twitch's comparison shows. Of all my SLRs and DSLRs, Pentax and Minolta it is by far my favourite to use.

03-30-2012, 01:18 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ole Quote
If you don't like the PZ-1 you probably also won't like the predecessor the SFX.

So what about an LX with a winder or motor drive? You lose autofocus but you gain dust seals and a made-of-metal body. It's a good match for the FA Limited lenses, I've used mine quite some with the FA limited lenses.
Thanks, Ole, that's a suggestion worth looking into.
03-30-2012, 01:19 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Macario Quote
The feel of the MZ-S is fantastic. The feel of the MZ-S with the battery grip is the best I have ever had. I like it even better than my K-7. But it is a personal thing.
Yes the grip is smaller, but I find it better sculptured, and therefore it feels better in my hands. (Yes I am talking about a camera not a woman :P )
It's posts like these that make think I just have to try it for myself. I'm convinced it's not my ideal camera, but I'm not convinced I wouldn't love it.
03-30-2012, 01:20 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote



Much appreciated! These are helpful.
03-30-2012, 01:21 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by G and T Quote
It would be difficult to be disappointed with an MZ-S, its so intuitive in the way it functions and is designed. With a grip its not much different in size to a K5, just a little bit slimmer, as Twitch's comparison shows. Of all my SLRs and DSLRs, Pentax and Minolta it is by far my favourite to use.
See my comment #10.
03-30-2012, 01:27 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by séamuis Quote
your philosophy and Pentax's philosophy in cameras couldn't be more different, so it may be difficult for you to find a Pentax film body that really meets your liking. Nikon has always built big, heavy, chunky cameras. compare a 1959 nikon F to a pentax of the same era. completely different cameras. now compare a late 90's/early 2000's pentax and nikon. still two completely different cameras. Pentax is about small, light, compact. more elegant in design. nikon is about big, brutish, heavy, "Pro" (I use that term loosely but not derogatory) cameras. Pentax has had its share of heavier 'weapon like' camera bodies, but then look at the LX compared to a pro nikon or canon of the era. they take that to another level.

you will be disappointed in the MZ-S compared to a F100 or F-5, etc. as I believe your taste just simply swings towards nikon's design philosophy. so no sense in wasting the money I would think.
Your juxtaposition of "compact and elegant" with "chunky and brutish" is noted.

You're likely right that Pentax hasn't made my ideal camera, and no doubt my "ideal" has been affected by my long use of Nikon. Which doesn't change the fact that even after 20,000 frames on Pentax bodies, I'm still more comfortable with Nikon bodies. But I'm still hopeful I can find a Pentax body that really clicks for me, because I like the FA77 and the FA43 better than any Nikon lenses.
03-30-2012, 01:31 PM   #14
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Hey Todd good to see you, I'll just pipe in with the try an LX (Think Nikon F2 or 3 but more compact and solid as a rock.) they really are my favourite from the film era (I haven't tried the MZ-S yet though but I have been tempted a few times)

My most sincere wish is that the first FF digital is an update on the LX actually
03-30-2012, 01:42 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Todd Adamson Quote
It's posts like these that make think I just have to try it for myself. I'm convinced it's not my ideal camera, but I'm not convinced I wouldn't love it.
IMHO if you are careful about your purchase price your money risk is pretty small if you decide you don't like it. Same with an LX. Obv if you buy from a premier Used seller like KEH, then sell here you might be at risk for 15% of the purchase price. I've never had an MZ-S - so I haven't commented until now - but I have an LX w/ grip and drive. The feel is uniquely pleasureable - unique being the key comcept. It doesn't feel like anything but an LX.
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