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07-17-2015, 02:56 PM   #1
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Pentax AF films SLR opinion request... the abridged version

Hey guysNgals...

Just thought I'd start a thread for my own information regarding the later model AF SLRs out there, of which there is a FLEET and of which I am only a bit familiar with a small handful. I've never owned one but am thinking of picking one up. I've perused the Reviews section a number of times, but there are so very many models and so many reviews, as well as so very many of them easily rating 8.5 or higher... Add in the fact that quite a few of the models seem to have very little in the way of features that distinguish them from one another, so......

What are you fav 3 (or 2, or 1) cameras from that era, SUCCINCTLY, and why. Just hoping to get an extremely abridged opinion thread on these. Again, I know this information exists, but I think something that focuses on brevity would be a great thread for future use (and for me right flippin now).

Cheers
Kevin


Last edited by chickentender; 07-17-2015 at 03:39 PM.
07-17-2015, 03:33 PM   #2
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I cannot give you a top 3, because I only had one: MZ-S. Worked very well for me, and seems to be right up there with a few others.
07-17-2015, 03:39 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Canada_Rockies Quote
I cannot give you a top 3, because I only had one: MZ-S. Worked very well for me, and seems to be right up there with a few others.
Maybe I ought augment that to read "top 3 or less".
07-17-2015, 03:59 PM   #4
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The MZ-S, PZ-1p, and ZX-5n are generally considered the better AF 35mm offerings from Pentax. The MZ-3 is basically a 5n with a higher top shutter speed. The MZ-3 has usually been quite hard to find, but recently there have been quite a few available on Ebay from Japan.
The PZ-1p and MZ-S were Pentax's attempts at a pro level body. I've owned a MZ-S and a PZ-1 (slightly downgraded version of the PZ-1p), and they both have strengths and weaknesses.
My 2 favorite AF bodies so far have been the MZ-L (ZX-L/MZ-6), and the ZX-5n.
The MZ-L has some great features otherwise only available on the MZ-S, like being able to rewind the film with the leader left out. I think it also supports wireless flash with the AF-360. The MZ-L also works superbly with DA type lenses, as well as K and M type lenses.
The ZX-5n has a great classic, simple control layout, and also a very nice true pentaprism finder. I'm pretty sure that the 5n/5/3 cameras are the smallest AF SLRs that still have a true prism finder.

---------- Post added 07-17-2015 at 04:06 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Swift1 Quote
The ZX-5n has a great classic, simple control layout, and also a very nice true pentaprism finder. I'm pretty sure that the 5n/5/3 cameras are the smallest AF SLRs that still have a true prism finder.
And it looks superb with the FA 43/1.9 Ltd.


07-17-2015, 05:52 PM   #5
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THAT was precisely the post I needed. Just ordered an MZ-3 from across the Pacific, ships tonight. (That one was already on my shortlist from what I knew, so that's great). I do run up against needing an ND filter at time when I'm shooting faster films, which is not terribly frequently but my thought is I'd like a cheaper body with a few more conveniences for throwing in the bag as a "walk-around" (the 43 was intended to land on whichever body I grabbed), but if that is truly what it's used for it's very likely it will see faster films more often than the others just due to the 'casual' nature that I use them for.
Also, I'm about to ship my LX (finally) and 67 off to Eric and want another 35mm body around to play with in the interim other than my MX (well, two MXs actually, but variety is the spice of... yeah.)
And that silver 43 does indeed look mint sitting on that MZ. I had the silver one initially, but sold it and bought the black. (Slick like that) Sure is purdy when it's shiny tho.
07-17-2015, 07:08 PM   #6
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I know some of you are still very much into films. But when I look at the printed photos from my film days, they all look dull, usually not sharp and flat; usually bright areas are too bright and dark areas are too dark with limited dynamic range compare to my digital photos produced from k-3. There must be something I am not seeing that you folks are harping on and still enjoy photos using films. I wouldn't mind if you can enlighten me.... thanks in advance...
I have quite a few film cameras and I like the look of the classic look. Other than that, I don't think I will use them to take photos; and I have a few rolls of old unused kodak films still in the freezer.
07-17-2015, 07:20 PM   #7
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My favorite would be the PZ-20. It works great with DA lenses that project a full frame image like the DA 35 and 50. These lenses don't have aperture rings so the aperture must be controlled through the body. The PZ-20 has an Av shooting mode. Hooray!
07-17-2015, 07:57 PM - 1 Like   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by aleonx3 Quote
I know some of you are still very much into films. But when I look at the printed photos from my film days, they all look dull, usually not sharp and flat; usually bright areas are too bright and dark areas are too dark with limited dynamic range compare to my digital photos produced from k-3. There must be something I am not seeing that you folks are harping on and still enjoy photos using films. I wouldn't mind if you can enlighten me.... thanks in advance...
I have quite a few film cameras and I like the look of the classic look. Other than that, I don't think I will use them to take photos; and I have a few rolls of old unused kodak films still in the freezer.
Send me your film

07-17-2015, 08:02 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by aleonx3 Quote
I know some of you are still very much into films. But when I look at the printed photos from my film days, they all look dull, usually not sharp and flat; usually bright areas are too bright and dark areas are too dark with limited dynamic range compare to my digital photos produced from k-3. There must be something I am not seeing that you folks are harping on and still enjoy photos using films. I wouldn't mind if you can enlighten me.... thanks in advance...
I have quite a few film cameras and I like the look of the classic look. Other than that, I don't think I will use them to take photos; and I have a few rolls of old unused kodak films still in the freezer.
- Film is more fun
- The old cameras are more fun
- Already full frame and no "keeping up with the Jones's"
- Medium format film
- Switching films types is like getting a new camera
- Digital shots look too sterile
- B&W is always better on film

I'm sure others can expand.

Phil.
07-17-2015, 08:13 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by chickentender Quote
THAT was precisely the post I needed. Just ordered an MZ-3 from across the Pacific, ships tonight. (That one was already on my shortlist from what I knew, so that's great). I do run up against needing an ND filter at time when I'm shooting faster films, which is not terribly frequently but my thought is I'd like a cheaper body with a few more conveniences for throwing in the bag as a "walk-around" (the 43 was intended to land on whichever body I grabbed), but if that is truly what it's used for it's very likely it will see faster films more often than the others just due to the 'casual' nature that I use them for.
Also, I'm about to ship my LX (finally) and 67 off to Eric and want another 35mm body around to play with in the interim other than my MX (well, two MXs actually, but variety is the spice of... yeah.)
And that silver 43 does indeed look mint sitting on that MZ. I had the silver one initially, but sold it and bought the black. (Slick like that) Sure is purdy when it's shiny tho.
Congrats on the MZ-3! I think you'll really like it.
You can basically shoot it like an autofocus MX.
07-17-2015, 09:15 PM   #11
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MZ-S is the nicest, but expensive. I prefer the ZX-7 to the ZX-5, but have never had a 3 to compare. Had a PZ-1 but it was kind of bulky and I never got into it. I did like the PZ-70 a lot.
07-17-2015, 09:40 PM   #12
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Pz-1
Z-1/PZ-1 vs. Z-1p/PZ-1p: differences? - Photo.net Pentax Forum
07-18-2015, 03:48 AM - 1 Like   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by chickentender Quote
THAT was precisely the post I needed. Just ordered an MZ-3 from across the Pacific, ships tonight. (That one was already on my shortlist from what I knew, so that's great). I do run up against needing an ND filter at time when I'm shooting faster films, which is not terribly frequently but my thought is I'd like a cheaper body with a few more conveniences for throwing in the bag as a "walk-around" (the 43 was intended to land on whichever body I grabbed), but if that is truly what it's used for it's very likely it will see faster films more often than the others just due to the 'casual' nature that I use them for.
Also, I'm about to ship my LX (finally) and 67 off to Eric and want another 35mm body around to play with in the interim other than my MX (well, two MXs actually, but variety is the spice of... yeah.)
And that silver 43 does indeed look mint sitting on that MZ. I had the silver one initially, but sold it and bought the black. (Slick like that) Sure is purdy when it's shiny tho.
The Z1P had a lot of upgrade over the Z1 the display and metering was better from memory, but the MZ3 is the best Pentax AF slr in my experience, and I owned 3 MZS the MZ3 scores over the MZ5N higher top shutter speed, but best of all the flash synch speed had increased to 125 from 100 sec, this made it easy to set studio flash, combine this with the FA AL 28-70 MM F4 and you are using the best their is.
07-18-2015, 05:31 AM - 1 Like   #14
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I've owned maybe 20 Pentax SLR's going back to an Asahi Pentax S of the late 1950's. Among the last Pentax bodies owned, here are my favorites.
1) Pentax LX was a really lovely manual-focus camera, a jewel. The high-eyepoint viewfinder was wonderful to use, especially because it could be rotated for viewing straight down for low-level macro work, but it was bulky. However, the LX is a rather dainty, fragile camera, requiring loving handling to prevent damage. The TTL flash system is complex with a primitively low synch speed. The similarly featured Nikon FA I had for a while was a far-far more rugged camera body with a 1/180 synch speed, but not as "nice."
2) Pentax ZX-5n, purchased sometime after the LX, I actually preferred to the LX because it had: AF, spot & center-weighted metering at the flip of a switch, automatic film handling, faster flash synch. The body retains a real shutter speed dial. This camera is incredibly compact and light, and will take more rough use/abuse than the LX*. Something I did not like: the electronic cable release because the contacts could go bad fairly easily (this is a pet peeve I have for 90% of DSLR's: no provision for a mechanical shutter release, a devise that proved its worth for maybe 150 years, cheap and reliable).
3) Pentax *ist (however that is pronounced): AF speed is faster than the ZX-5n and a few other improvements, otherwise this "step-up" from the ZX-5n was in my opinion more of a step sideways.

Were I to use film again, I would take the ZX-5n, for more reasons than the fact it is the only one of the cameras listed that I still own.

*Twice I dumped the ZX-5n to the ground while is was atop a fully extended tripod - - it still has a blemish near the rewind knob from the first fall when that point struck a rock. Camera continued to work flawlessly. I shudder to think what such an accident would have done to the LX, which required Pentax maintenance on the TTL flash system, shutter, and instant-return mirror.
07-18-2015, 07:47 AM - 1 Like   #15
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I bought a reasonably priced but jammed up MZ-3 with the intention of sending it to Eric for repair and upgrade.
As expected the motor had the usual cracked plastic gear; he replaced it with the improved motor with metal gear.
Eric also replaced the stock focusing screen with one from a ZX-M/MZ-M for greatly improved manual focus.

Chris
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