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04-30-2015, 04:45 AM   #1
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Going back to film...

So, I just picked up M4/3 body and lens set up and it does everything that I want, to the point where I am seriously contemplating selling my APS-C stuff. I have a a few M and A lenses and a P30T and ZX30 that I have used in the past but, honestly, cannot remember which I preferred best in terms of useablility and functionality.

Can anyone explain the differences, beyond cosmetics, to me? Which will be best to dive back into film with? The 30T being a little more manual than the ZX, in that the ZX has things like aperture priority.


Oh, and I plan on shooting B&W almost exclusively. If I remember correctly, I should use an orange or yellow color filter to get sky/ cloud detail. Am I misremembering?

04-30-2015, 05:12 AM   #2
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The answer is pretty simple. If you are planning to use the M lenses aswell, you cannot use the ZX30. I am not sure if you really cannot use it, or only take photo's at open aperture. So planning to use M lenses, the P30T is the way to go (I have a P30n, and it is a really fine camera). The ZX can only use lenses from A onwards.
Yes, an orange or yellow (or red for real dramatic) filter will bring out the clouds in the sky more
04-30-2015, 05:50 AM   #3
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The A lenses will probably be more used as I have more of them. Why can I not just dial the ap I want into the lens?
04-30-2015, 07:23 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by derelict Quote
The A lenses will probably be more used as I have more of them. Why can I not just dial the ap I want into the lens?

You can dial it in, but nothing will happen the ZX will just keep it fully open (or not fire at all)

04-30-2015, 07:33 AM   #5
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The ZX-30 has no ability to do stop down metering. It will not work at all with a K or M lens.

Pentax MZ-30/ZX-30 - Pentax Autofocus Film SLRs - Pentax Camera Reviews and Specifications
04-30-2015, 07:41 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
The ZX-30 has no ability to do stop down metering. It will not work at all with a K or M lens.

Pentax MZ-30/ZX-30 - Pentax Autofocus Film SLRs - Pentax Camera Reviews and Specifications
Well, that is no good. I was leaning towards the ZX because it allows me to push/ pull, which the P30 will not allow. Might just have to jump on the classifieds section and buy a different body.
04-30-2015, 09:45 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by derelict Quote
Well, that is no good. I was leaning towards the ZX because it allows me to push/ pull, which the P30 will not allow. Might just have to jump on the classifieds section and buy a different body.
Pentax MZ-5/ZX-5 - Pentax Autofocus Film SLRs - Pentax Camera Reviews and Specifications

Pentax MZ-5N/ZX-5N - Pentax Autofocus Film SLRs - Pentax Camera Reviews and Specifications

Pentax MZ-6/MZ-L/ZX-L - Pentax Autofocus Film SLRs - Pentax Camera Reviews and Specifications

Though they all share the plastic mirror gear flaw.
04-30-2015, 10:46 AM   #8
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What is the plastic mirror gear flaw? I might just look for a good MX or the like.

04-30-2015, 11:15 AM   #9
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Pentax decided to cheap out on the MZ/ZX series. Instead of a metal mirror gear they went with a plastic one. When the plastic gear breaks the camera no longer functions. A metal part to replace it is only a few dollars, but you have to disassemble the camera to replace it. In addition the ZX-5 had a bad pop-up flash spring. I have 2 and both have broken pop-up flashes.

If you are looking for a M series camera or Super Program make sure it has been CLA'd or factor that into what you pay. Figure maybe $80 for a trip to Eric Hendrickson. $250 for a LX...

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04-30-2015, 11:24 AM   #10
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That is all too bad as I prefer the ergonomics of the ZX bodies over the older, metal bodies. If the gear is only a few bucks, that is not too big a deal and if I was using the flash, I would use my old Pentax hotshoe one. Which of the plastic bodies would allow for pushing/ pulling but also allow for both A and M lenses?
04-30-2015, 01:53 PM   #11
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I've gone through some similar evolutions here, so maybe my experiences can help you a bit, or at least give you something to think about.

I got an Olympus OM-D E-M5 a while back, and it has worked so well that I too am seriously thinking of ditching all the APS-C stuff. The only thing the E-M5 does poorly is manual focus, and I can live with that. Its AF is fast and good anyhow. (I know some people don't like an EVF, but it has won me over.)

I have a Sears KS-2 and a Ricoh XR7, which are K-mount and actually are the same camera -- Sears just put their own label on it. I may be biased, since a KS-2 is what I learned on, but I think they're fantastic cameras. Both of the ones I have now came off fleaBay for nearly nothing, but I had to re-seal them with foam. That was easy, though there were several rounds of trial-and-error with light leaks before I got it right. That huge viewfinder with split prism and micro-prism focuser makes this camera perfect for manual focusing.

I also got a Pentax ZX-5n, which is a real hero of a camera. It has autofocus, auto film advance, built-in flash. The controls are perfect, since it lets you use the aperture ring if you want, or you can set it to A for automatic, and you have the same option on the shutter speed dial. Mine also has the broken flash pop-up spring, but I can hold it up with my thumb or a rubber band if I need to.

I don't shoot much black and white. Kodak Ektar 100 is my favorite film. Also, I've found that although both of these cameras are fun to use, and both of them can take very good photos, I began to see the limitations of 35mm pretty soon. The color and dynamic range are superb, but you can really only get roughly 6MP scans out of 35mm -- beyond that, you're just getting more noise and film grain, not real image detail. The limited definition and sometimes-visible grain is just enough to be annoying when compared to a M4/3 digital camera. As a result, my satisfaction with 35mm has waned, and I've begun shooting more medium format film.

I picked up a Fuji GW645 camera, which shoots 120 format film with a 6x4.5cm frame. It's not all that much bigger than 35mm, but it definitely gives images a sharper and smoother appearance. This can hold its own against digital cameras, IMHO. I also have a Ricoh Diacord G, TLR type camera from the 1950s that shoots a 6x6 square film frame. It's tedious to operate because absolutely nothing on it is automated, but it produces excellent results when I do my part. The Fuji, by comparison, can be used like a point-and-shoot.

The next camera I have on the way is a Fuji GW690 III, a huge rangefinder type camera that shoots 6x9. That's more than double the height and width of a 35mm film frame! It won't be the cheapest thing to shoot, only getting 8 shots per roll of film, but I'm really looking forward to seeing what kind of image quality it can crank out.
04-30-2015, 02:42 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tony Belding Quote
I don't shoot much black and white. Kodak Ektar 100 is my favorite film. Also, I've found that although both of these cameras are fun to use, and both of them can take very good photos, I began to see the limitations of 35mm pretty soon. The color and dynamic range are superb, but you can really only get roughly 6MP scans out of 35mm -- beyond that, you're just getting more noise and film grain, not real image detail. The limited definition and sometimes-visible grain is just enough to be annoying when compared to a M4/3 digital camera. As a result, my satisfaction with 35mm has waned, and I've begun shooting more medium format film.
I am certain we all have our own limitations for one reason or another but I would disagree on this one by comparing a couple of real world images - one taken from a 24MP Sony A900 at ISO 400 and the other a scan of Fuji Sensia 400. These are unprocessed/unaltered and 100% crops. Keep in mind that the A900 file pixel count of 6048 x 4032 actually exceeds the Coolscan file of 5583 X 3655 (cropped). It is completely coincidental that they happen to be very similarly framed of the same looking cat but they are different. I took the Sensia shot years before the A900 was even introduced which was at the time of release the highest pixel count full frame dslr.

->Fullsize Sony A900 & Fuji Sensia 400

I also have a Coolscan 9000 for those medium format film and of course my medium format 6X7 film scans exceeds 35mm by the area of film difference using the same film.


I only shoot medium format 6X7 so I have a comparison of that with 35mm film as shown below.



We don't have to descend down the film vs alternate road but on the film forum I wanted to be sure nobody mistakes 35mm film resolution being limited to a measly 6MP.

Last edited by LesDMess; 04-30-2015 at 02:47 PM.
04-30-2015, 03:53 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by LesDMess Quote
We don't have to descend down the film vs alternate road but on the film forum I wanted to be sure nobody mistakes 35mm film resolution being limited to a measly 6MP.
I read somewhere long ago that under ideal conditions with fine-grained film, good light, and a professional drum scanner it was possible to get useful image detail from 35mm film up to 24 MP scans. Maybe I'm just seeing the limitations of the relatively affordable scanning service (and their hardware) that is available to me. I've never paid for a drum scan of anything, nor am I very likely to do so. Thus... Whatever the reason, the 35mm scans I've been getting done at 6 MP are just slightly soft, and the 645 scans are not. (And incidentally, I believe Kodak Picture Discs returned 6 MP files -- which seemed ginormous back in the day!)
04-30-2015, 04:25 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tony Belding Quote
I read somewhere long ago that under ideal conditions with fine-grained film, good light, and a professional drum scanner it was possible to get useful image detail from 35mm film up to 24 MP scans. Maybe I'm just seeing the limitations of the relatively affordable scanning service (and their hardware) that is available to me. I've never paid for a drum scan of anything, nor am I very likely to do so. Thus... Whatever the reason, the 35mm scans I've been getting done at 6 MP are just slightly soft, and the 645 scans are not. (And incidentally, I believe Kodak Picture Discs returned 6 MP files -- which seemed ginormous back in the day!)
I have heard such before but I have used enough film of various brands and types that I personally know what to expect from a given film brand/type that I use. It is unfortunate that some scanning service provide less than optimal.
Although I have not personally had any of my own film scanned with a real drum scanner, I have seen results that would indicate that some 35mm film types are not limited to 24MP either.
04-30-2015, 08:21 PM   #15
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As long as we're on this topic. . . The other reason I've been drawn to medium format is to explore that subtle "medium format look", which is not only a product of high definition and smooth tones, but also shallow DOF combined with a relatively wide perspective. It's an effect that, optically, you just don't get out of small-format systems, although everybody keeps trying!
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