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09-04-2008, 08:07 AM   #1
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Metering with M/K Lenses On The MZ-50/ZX-50 (and other questions)

I'm looking to get a Pentax MZ-50 (or ZX-50, if you're in the 'States) and will mainly be using it for ultra-low light work - like ISO 6400 low light. Since my fastest lenses are all K's, I need to know if it can meter with it.

I was wondering if it's as easy to use M or K lenses on the MZ-50 as it is with my K100D. In other words, I understand it's a crippled mount, but can you stop-down to meter by pressing the AE-Lock button in Manual mode, like with the K100D?

Also, how hard is it to set the ISO manually? DX coding only goes to 3200, so there's a problem. Manually underexposing each shot by a stop is just too much effort for me (I will be using Delta 3200 in it.)

I know, I know, I should get an MZ-S, MZ-7, MZ-6, PZ-1p, but I know where I can get an MZ-50 for cheap now...


09-04-2008, 10:54 AM   #2
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I'm seeing some conflicting information on the MZ/ZX-50, some seems to say it can, some say cannot use K/M lenses, but most of it including the manual (download and read it!) is sugesting to me that it cannot even meter with K/M lenses, so I would avoid this body for this purpose.

Maybe go for a MZ/ZX-7 or MZ/ZX-10 instead. These are pretty cheap, and are pretty close to a MZ-6/ZX-L, and offer unparalled lens compatibility--work with M/K as well as lenses without aperture rings. All you give up (compared to the more upmarket -L/-6) is the 1/4000 shutter, depth-of-field preview, and wireless P-TTL support, and it has a slightly slower 1/100 flash sync speed.

You shouldn't need to use stop-down metering with a body like this; it has a "non-crippled" mount that can do open aperture metering, so in that respect it's better than any of the digital bodies. Basically only restriction is that it will use center-weighted rather than matrix metering, and you're limited to aperture-priority or manual exposure modes.

DX-coding goes to 5000 I think, but can be manually set to 6400. This is pretty easy to do--after film is loaded, it will normally DX auto-detect. To override, just turn the dial to ISO and use the toggle control to set to the desired manual ISO value. I believe it autodetects whenever film is loaded so you may need to do this each time you load film.

It should go without saying that older bodies like Z/PZ-series and SF-series are also plentiful and generally capable of doing what you ask.

Good luck.
09-04-2008, 12:01 PM   #3
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Not 'round here, they're not. And by cheap, I mean same-cost-as-a-roll-of-Delta-3200 cheap*. When PZ-1's and single-digit MZ's come up for sale they're normally in the triple digit range (as they're being sold by people who know what they are and what they're worth.)

I did mean to write "5000" instead of "3200" in the above post.

I have downloaded and read the manual, numerous times, but it simply says is "a correct exposure may not be obtained" (emphasis added by me) with M lenses. It's not definitive.

Like I said, I would certainly buy a PZ or MZ-7 or 10, if one came up for this price and I knew where to find it tomorrow. But one hasn't, and I don't know. '

I don't care about flash sync, DOF preview (I've never used it) or fancy shutter speeds. And even at ISO 6400, I doubt I'll need 1/4000.

But thanks for the advice on ISO changing (the manual tells me to go to page 73 to see how to set the ISO manually...the copy of the manual I had stops at page 67.)

*That's 15 dollars. Antipodean dollars.
09-04-2008, 10:04 PM   #4
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I read that language in the manual too--not worded very well. I think what it might mean is that you can set the speed & aperture and trip the shutter but the meter isn't going to help you out. It probably ends up working as if aperture is wide open or stopped all the way down.

I usually see the ZX-7's and -10's going for about 50 USD. Here people know what the -L, -6, -5 add and they generally go for >$100. If you want even cheaper, the similarly-capable PZ-10/PZ-20 go for even less, maybe USD 30-40. SF bodies are a little brick-like but can also do what you ask, I would expect to find those for ~30 USD, maybe less.

The manual focus bodies probably wouldn't be suitable for your purposes, nor would they really be any cheaper. P-series lacks manual ISO override. A-series only handles up to ISO 3200. K and M bodies up to ISO 1600.

If you're really trying to close the deal for only 12-15 dollars then you probably need some luck as most of your $ might go to shipping. I'm thinking if you can afford the film and processing, you might have to forgo a roll or two to get the body that can do what you want.

Good luck...


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