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06-23-2016, 11:40 PM   #1
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Am I missing something regarding the MZ-S?

So, recently, just for giggles, I've been looking at the top of the line film cameras for each manufacturer, and I can't say I really get the MZ-S.

It's gorgeous, and small, but seemingly nowhere near as high spec as other offerings of the time. For about the same price as an MZ-S, you can get just about any other top-tier camera from the time, and have better specs and similar durability. And the accessories for the MZ-S seem to be quite rare and costly themselves.

MZ-S owners/users, is there something I'm missing that would make this a better buy than, say, a Nikon F5 or Minolta Alpha 9? (Barring the expectation that one already has lenses for any of them, of course)

06-24-2016, 12:13 AM   #2
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Well , I never used one but they seem to hold the value, there is one , near mint, on AU eBay, asking price AU$450.
The question is, will it sell for that much?
06-24-2016, 12:22 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by SpartanD63 Quote
So, recently, just for giggles, I've been looking at the top of the line film cameras for each manufacturer, and I can't say I really get the MZ-S.

It's gorgeous, and small, but seemingly nowhere near as high spec as other offerings of the time. For about the same price as an MZ-S, you can get just about any other top-tier camera from the time, and have better specs and similar durability. And the accessories for the MZ-S seem to be quite rare and costly themselves.

MZ-S owners/users, is there something I'm missing that would make this a better buy than, say, a Nikon F5 or Minolta Alpha 9? (Barring the expectation that one already has lenses for any of them, of course)
QuoteOriginally posted by SpartanD63 Quote
MZ-S owners/users, is there something I'm missing that would make this a better buy than, say, a Nikon F5 or Minolta Alpha 9? (Barring the expectation that one already has lenses for any of them, of course)
Frankly not much, if you don't need to have a film camera with a K mount. The MZ-S is a great camera but other manufactures' flagships certainly had higher specs. I'm not sure how many pros were shooting with Pentax at the start of the new millennium.

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06-24-2016, 12:47 AM   #4
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In comparing those three cameras, it looks like each company focused on different features. Light weight and ergonomics were a focus for Pentax, in keeping with their lineup of the previous few years (and a historical focus back to the 70's). But still, the MZ-S had more autofocus points than the other two, and Pentax claimed the widest autofocus coverage. I'm not that familiar with the other two cameras, it looks like the Nikon had much more advanced metering, and the Minolta had the fastest shutter speed ever, but were there other things in particular you feel are important that the MZ-S is lacking?

Lee

06-24-2016, 01:39 AM   #5
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The biggest one seems to be general flash sync (not HSS modes for Pentax flashes) being 1/180th rather than at least 1/250th (not much, but still,) limited functionality with lenses without aperture rings, and a much slower winder. And I hate CR2 batteries.

Before anyone thinks I'm suggesting that the MZ-S is a bad camera, I'm not. It just seems like you can get a bit more camera for the same money with the other brands, at least for cameras of that time.

That said, an MZ-S is still on my wishlist.
06-24-2016, 03:32 AM   #6
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Nowadays I don't think you can really compare prices for (old) flagship cameras between systems. Most of the people in the market for these kind of bodies these days likely already have their system of choice - if you're a Pentax shooter a Nikon F6 isn't going to be much use to you, regardless of its ability.

Thus top-of-the-line attracts a premium because its top-of-the-line.
06-24-2016, 03:51 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by nickthetasmaniac Quote
Nowadays I don't think you can really compare prices for (old) flagship cameras between systems. Most of the people in the market for these kind of bodies these days likely already have their system of choice - if you're a Pentax shooter a Nikon F6 isn't going to be much use to you, regardless of its ability.

Thus top-of-the-line attracts a premium because its top-of-the-line.
That's a very good point on the prices. Perhaps what I mean to say is that they're valued the same now, were at similar places in each brand's lineup at around the same time, yet had quite different capabilities. You look at Canon, Nikon, and Minolta; all pushing big, super spec'd cameras while Pentax went a completely different route for their top-of-the-line camera, opting instead for size and ergonomics. I find that kind of interesting.

And yeah, I suppose most people wouldn't buy an MZ-S or F5/6 as a first camera today (or back then) and would already have lenses if they were buying either, though I'd be interested to know the thoughts on the MZ-S from those weird types who do have more than one system. Being one of those who toys with multiple, that's what started this entire search and line of thought.
06-24-2016, 06:47 AM   #8
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The MZ-S was crippled by the "keep it small" mindset of Pentax engineers at the time. That, honestly, is its only "advantage" over the other guys. Even so, the battery they chose to power it is woefully inadequate if you need to shoot a lot of rolls fast, or are tired of wasting money on batteries. Pentax saw this flaw and created a battery grip for the MZ-S, which when used, immediately throws away the size advantage.

Quite a few company flagships have been fatally flawed. Canon's T90 comes to mind. If you can tolerate the pathetic battery life, the MS-S is a fine compact pro SLR.

06-24-2016, 11:08 AM   #9
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As has been said - size. And ergonomics. It was made for Pentax shooters and was like nothing else before. Quite honestly, I was nonplussed about it for years and picked on up only half a year ago (at the urging of another member who shall remain nameless) - I remained nonplussed for a few days. Since then, with every passing day of use it becomes more and more one of my favorite cameras ever. The design, for me personally, is unmatched and become so intuitive and unobstrusive in shooting practice. Everything is where it ought to be and the small size is a huge bonus. Yes, the grip adds considerably to the size weight but its still smaller. Even things like double exp at the flick of a switch in the shooting modes (remaining on until you turn it off) is wonderful. I'm a convert, personally.
06-24-2016, 12:52 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by chickentender Quote
As has been said - size. And ergonomics. It was made for Pentax shooters and was like nothing else before. Quite honestly, I was nonplussed about it for years and picked on up only half a year ago (at the urging of another member who shall remain nameless) - I remained nonplussed for a few days. Since then, with every passing day of use it becomes more and more one of my favorite cameras ever. The design, for me personally, is unmatched and become so intuitive and unobstrusive in shooting practice. Everything is where it ought to be and the small size is a huge bonus. Yes, the grip adds considerably to the size weight but its still smaller. Even things like double exp at the flick of a switch in the shooting modes (remaining on until you turn it off) is wonderful. I'm a convert, personally.
How do you feel about the lack of a second dial? On paper at least the Z1-P seems much better which is what I bought for my autofocus film camera. When researching I was really disappointed with the lack of hyper-program mode and aperture-less lens support. Using a second dial to control during aperture priority is my preferred method of shooting. Especially with A-lenses, I'm concerned with the aperture ring breaking as seems to be a common thing with A-lenses, so I like to keep them on A mode. Does it have an aperture window so you can change without taking your eye from the camera? Design wise, the MZ-S looks like it has fantastic ergonomics as opposed to the bulky Z1-P with its overly-beefy grip and stiff dials.
06-24-2016, 01:17 PM   #11
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Another vote for the PZ-1. It is bigger, but performs wonderfully. I never found the dials to be stiff on any of mine. MZ-S has exposure info between the sprockets, though.
06-24-2016, 02:45 PM   #12
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Some years ago a fairly large group of users contended the PZ-1P was the best Pentax film camera ever, OBF spring failures and corner stress fractures notwithstanding.

On MZ-S - Program AE, Shutter Priority AE, Aperture Priority AE, Metered Manual and Bulb is plenty of choice for me. Actually setting the Aperture on the lens and counting clicks (when necessary) is no biggie.

What I find truly remarkable is how much of the basic conceptual operation has carried forward into even K-1. I contend a person who has only used Pentax digital cameras could pick up an MZ-S and operate it without a User a guide in ten minutes.

Last edited by monochrome; 06-24-2016 at 03:04 PM.
06-24-2016, 04:35 PM   #13
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Spec's aside--for many situations (maybe not sports/not flash, but thats not my thing) all film cameras are basically the same. And (for me) it is all about what camera feels right! And on that criteria the Pentax actually is the best for me--the best of any Pentax dslr and any (all brands) 35mm film camera I held since 1960's.
06-24-2016, 08:30 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
Some years ago a fairly large group of users contended the PZ-1P was the best Pentax film camera ever, OBF spring failures and corner stress fractures notwithstanding.

On MZ-S - Program AE, Shutter Priority AE, Aperture Priority AE, Metered Manual and Bulb is plenty of choice for me. Actually setting the Aperture on the lens and counting clicks (when necessary) is no biggie.

What I find truly remarkable is how much of the basic conceptual operation has carried forward into even K-1. I contend a person who has only used Pentax digital cameras could pick up an MZ-S and operate it without a User a guide in ten minutes.
QuoteOriginally posted by dms Quote
Spec's aside--for many situations (maybe not sports/not flash, but thats not my thing) all film cameras are basically the same. And (for me) it is all about what camera feels right! And on that criteria the Pentax actually is the best for me--the best of any Pentax dslr and any (all brands) 35mm film camera I held since 1960's.
Gotta agree with both of these points. In most cases, Pentax cameras are super easy to use and are quite comfortable.
06-24-2016, 10:48 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by SpartanD63 Quote
The biggest one seems to be general flash sync (not HSS modes for Pentax flashes) being 1/180th rather than at least 1/250th (not much, but still,) limited functionality with lenses without aperture rings, and a much slower winder. And I hate CR2 batteries.
Are you sure about these points? The MZ-S supports HSS with the AF540FGZ and AF360FGZ, both of which were available at launch for the camera. The MZ-S also provides full body control for automated exposure with A-contact lenses (including those without aperture rings) as well as Av mode with K, M, and adapted M42. Lens and flash compatibility is actually a bit better than our dSLRs.
Edit: Wrong again Steve Pentax regressed a bit on the MZ-S and returned to the aperture ring to support both Av and M modes.

Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 06-24-2016 at 11:39 PM.
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