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05-24-2008, 03:06 PM   #1
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Advice on buying a Pentax Film body

Hi all!

I want to buy a Pentax auto focus film body and ideally want to spend $125 or less. I have been thinking about the PZ-1 and would like opinions about that or other alternatives. I shoot mostly in aperture priority-very seldom in P or auto mode.

I would like to shoot B&W, and occasional color, but mostly B&W.

Thank you for your help.

Bob

05-24-2008, 03:41 PM   #2
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If you can find a good PZ-1p for that kind of money, that'd be perfect. It handles almost exactly like the K10/20D, and have most of its features (save for the digital sensor and other odds and ends).

Otherwise, an MZ-series camera could work for you as well.
05-25-2008, 06:24 AM   #3
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I own a PZ-1. It was my last film body before going digital.

It is an excellent camera, and in some ways better than my *istD and K10D. Especially the 1/250 flash sync and 1/8000 shutter.

I keep it because it is an excellent back up to my DSLRs. It uses every lens I own, and the autofocus has never let me down.

In many ways, I wish pentax would just release a replacement digital back for the PZ-1.
05-28-2008, 05:12 PM   #4
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ZX-5n's are getting into that price range and they are fabulous cameras, with very bright and accurate viewfinders. That would be my vote.

Don

05-29-2008, 07:34 AM   #5
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I know that you have specified an AF body, but after going back to manual focus cameras, I feel I should relate my experiences. I have owned several different brands of camera bodies, both MF and AF. After comparing and constrasting the benefits and trade-offs, I am now down to only one AF body (out of four), and may even part with my remaining AF body for another MF body. I find that only if I am shooting something that is moving especially fast do I need autofocus--and even then, I have mostly mastered the art of pre-focusing (i.e. when I shoot fast-moving trains). In fact, when using my Spot F and screwmount glass, I find that focusing is so smooth--and the viewfinder is so clear and accurate--it seems I focus even faster and more precisely when focusing manually.

Thus, I agree with Don that a ZX-5n is a nice choice (I almost opted for one myself). However, in view of my experiences, I would opt for a Spotmatic F (and all those nice, dirt-cheap screwmount lenses), a KX if you want a bayonet mount, or a ZX-M if you want a more modern body.

Regards,
Glen

Last edited by zx-m; 05-29-2008 at 10:24 AM. Reason: typo
05-29-2008, 09:25 AM   #6
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I don't know if either the xz-5 or pz-1 are better, but the main two annoyances/limintations I have with my xz-10:
- autofocus is primitive... though somewhat lens dependent
- metering range is better than the Spotmatic, but worse than the Program Plus.

Granted the metering comes into play in extreme situations (very dark, or using a pinhole)

All other aspects of the xz-10 I don't consider annoyances as they are simply missing features.

I do enjoy the simplicity of auto exposure (with override ability of course) and agree with Glen... with the addition that all AF is equal - the better the system the more useful IMHO. The zx-10 does the job, but I wish it were better. And when I do go to MF, I'd much prefer a MF body.
05-29-2008, 10:19 AM   #7
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I agree: I definitely prefer using MF on an MF body, and this is one of the reasons why I chose to buy a second Spotmatic F.

Glen
05-29-2008, 11:21 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rmpjr7 Quote
Hi all!

I want to buy a Pentax auto focus film body and ideally want to spend $125 or less. I have been thinking about the PZ-1 and would like opinions about that or other alternatives. I shoot mostly in aperture priority-very seldom in P or auto mode.

I would like to shoot B&W, and occasional color, but mostly B&W.

Thank you for your help.

Bob
The PZ-1, PZ-1p cameras are great but they usually go for more than $125. The ZX (MZ) series are great but which to buy depends on your preferences. I have both the MZ-5n and the MZ-7. The MZ-5n has a great huge viewfinder, manual dials for most functions but you have to have lenses with apeture rings to use apeture priority. From your signature, that doesn't seem to be a problem but something to keep in mind.
The MZ-7 has scene modes and is generally geared toward the consumer market but it does control apeture electronically so you can use DA and FA J lenses with no apeture ring. The MZ-7 goes for less money in general.
I am about to put one of each of these bodies on e-bay but would consider selling on this forum if you are interested. Shoot me a PM.

PS: I find the focusing on these cameras to be very good as long as you remember that they will not focus on a horizontal line of detail. The focus sensors only see vertical lines. The newer bodies added cross focus sensors so that they can focus on horizontal detail as well. Ironically, I find that the PZ-1p focuses faster than my K100D using the same lenses, as long as you remember the limitation above.


Last edited by felix68; 05-29-2008 at 12:13 PM. Reason: Adding information
05-29-2008, 12:22 PM   #9
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Indeed, the ZX-5n does have a fairly large viewfinder with good magnification, 0.80x. The ZX-M's viewfinder is not bad either, and I have never had any problem focusing manually with its 0.77x magnification.

Actually, in terms of magnification, many of the expensive modern pro bodies have comparable or even lower levels of magnification: Pentax MZ-S, 0.75x, Nikon F100, 0.76x, Canon EOS 3, 0.72x. In terms of engineering constraints, there is a trade-off between viewfinder coverage and magnification (i.e. an inverse relationship). Personally, I prefer to have the higher magnification, as opposed to more coverage, since a small percentage of the frame will be lost anyway in processing. Thus, the 93% coverage of the Spotmatic F, for example, is pretty close to what results in the end product (a print or slide). Hence, the 0.89x and 93% in the Spot F yields the "best of both worlds."

Glen
05-29-2008, 06:37 PM   #10
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If your interested I have a Pentax PZ-20 with Pentax 28-80mm (Power Zoom) lens for sale. Includes a case a remote shutter release AND an AF280T flash. The Flash alone sells for $50-70 on ebay. Everything works but it does have some dings and scratches here and there.......none on the lens or important areas of the camera. I'll sell the whole shebang for $115.00
05-29-2008, 07:42 PM   #11
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there is a PZ-1P for sale in the marketplace but it is more than you have listed as the amount you want to spend but I figured i would let you know about it
05-29-2008, 08:18 PM   #12
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I love my ZX-5N with AF lenses. The only thing I miss is the split screen focus for MF lenses.
Ryan
05-29-2008, 08:19 PM   #13
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Original Poster
Thanks for all the advice.

For now I bought an SF-10 to play around with.

Bob
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